Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elevators and keys.

When I got my bike, I got two keys.  One was fiddly and didn't work so well.  I didn't trust it so it got stashed as my "Spare."  I've been wanting to get some extras though, especially for the cool knobs for my side bags that I was given at the BBQ4U.

Well, I've had two unsuccessful attempts at getting at least one spare key made.  I've got the latest failure ready to take back this weekend and have them try again.

So where's the funny?  Patience, I'm getting there!  Leaving work this afternoon I realize I left something at my desk.  I toss all my stuff into the Shad and lock it and head back upstairs.  Grab what I forgot, take the elevator back to the lobby.  Then as I board the elevator to the parking garage my keys slip out of my fingers and drop directly through the gap between the building and the elevator car.

Ugh, off to find building security.  He and I head downstairs and go through all kinds of maintenance doors and while we are able to find the room under the main elevators, we can't find the one I need.  He calls maintenance and they inform him that there's no room under it.  A call to the building manager and they tell me they can't do anything till Monday and it's going to require calling out an elevator tech at my cost!  Couple hundred bucks they say.

Ugh.  My work laptop, my wallet, my phone, it's all in my Shad.  I call from the building but my wife won't pick up because she doesn't recognize the number.  Finally get a hold of her dad and then her and I wait for a ride to bring the spare key for the trunk and take me home.  Then a long search of the house and I finally turned up the spare key with the little key reorder tag code thing.  Fell off the hook where I keep it and was under the washer.

So yea, to top it all off, me and the kiddo missed our father/son movie night so I took him for some fast food.  He asks for Wendy's.  I noticed it was packed but it wasn't till I placed my order that I realized it was "Old people karaoke night."  Sigh...this really hasn't been my day.

So, take a moment and laugh at me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Maintenance and I'm an idiot.

Spent the weekend with FJR parts strewn all over my garage. Actually, many of them are still there. I've got a few things to finish up tonight and button it all up.

First up, 7K+ miles on this baby means it's time to go. This tire was on the bike when I bought it so I have no idea how many miles Steel put on it before me, but Rockwall Yamaha refuses it seems to put the bike's mileage on their receipts so that spot is blank on all of Steel's impeccable paperwork.

I had my little helper assisting with the tire change.

With new tires, it was time to finally dig in and check those valves which was long overdue. All in spec with a couple of exhaust valves close to the loose end of acceptable parameters. Will have to keep an eye on those.

I'd like some time with the engineer who thought that was a good place for the radiator fill cap! Did a cursory change of the fluid. Not a full flush per say, but I did say a 1/3 flush. So that's out of the way too.

And finally, installed my wynpro covers. Wow that makes things so much nicer. Next throttle body synch will be SO much easier!

Here we are, before the install.

And after....

Note the nifty cap on the airbox. Picked up an assortment of caps at autozone and had one in there that was just perfect.

Closeup shot of the covers.

And lastly, why I'm an idiot. Ok, the first part isn't so idiotic. The question is...why do we cover holes up with paper towels or something? This is why!

I was so glad that I'd taken the time to do this when I dropped that little bolt in there. That sucker would have been gone. Easily retrieved I'm sure with a magnetic wand, and would have necessitated me actually finally buying one, but not this time.

And lastly, got the bike semi back together for a function test. This part always gives my stomach issues after doing this much stuff. Last valve check I did I pinched the gasket and found myself sitting at a gas station wondering where all that oil was coming from. Anyway, I go to fire up the bike and it cranks and coughs once or twice but nothing. Hrm, not getting any gas. Fuel line is all hooked up and all clicky parts are clicked. This is not looking good.

"Hrm" I think. Gas was very low when I brought it in here. I figured this would be a good thing when removing the tank from the bike. I bet the fuel pump isn't picking anything up with the tank propped like that. Drop the tank and she fired right up! Woohoo! Whew! No leaks, ran the bike to four bars and then shut her down and went to bed. Tonight I'll top off the coolant and button her back up for a ride in to work tomorrow!

Thanks for reading up on some boring idiotic routine maintenance! Thankfully we had a cold front move through this weekend as it was 88F on Saturday. I always seem to get stuck changing tires when it's 104F outside but not this year. Fun stuff wrenching in the garage but I'd have rather been riding this weekend with the new great weather!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shad SH50 Topbox

Finally got my Shad. I chose Shad after two not so great experiences with Givi customer service. Sadly though, my experience post sales with Shad was "Does not meet expectations." Prior to making the sale they were great of course.

That said, I love the case. Being able to put the key lock in a position where you don't need the key does rock. Just push button and pop it open. This is good for when I'm either warming up the bike or have the side case opened. I don't lock the case at home or for my rides, so it's just locked while I'm at work with my gear inside.

I've verified that it will indeed fit two Arai helmets inside with room to spare, not much but there's a little wiggle room. Compared to my previous Givi it's every bit as good. My main nitpicks would be as follows:

Key lock is kind of notchy. I presume it'll break in.
Matte black really shows fingerprints bad and they are hard to clean off due to the surface.

Other than that, I'm super happy. No more carrying my laptop backpack on my back. Airflow through my mesh suit is much better with that gone. Plus I'm more comfortable.

I have pictures of both the Matte black and with the silver top plate because my silver top plate didn't get shipped with my case. Shad was good and shipped it right out no questions asked though. Anyway, I tend to talk too much and delay the pictures, so here you go.

Matte Black:

Silver. Doesn't really match, but they told me it wouldn't and I don't care, it's close enough.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

BBQ4U with the Two Wheeled Texans

I've determined that good BBQ is worth riding for. Well, riding is it's own reward but it's like squared when you have BBQ.

I'm a member of the Two Wheeled Texans group and we do lots of rides for pie, they hold one a month. However, two years ago a couple of the die hard BBQ smoker guys got together and put up a little festival of BBQ for the members of the forum. Folks rode in and I had to miss it because I was currently working Saturdays. I got to hear how wonderful the food was and how much I'd missed out on some great camaraderie and an all around good time.

I was determined to make it then next year. I started a new job that didn't have me working Saturdays, but I didn't have any vacation time available yet. This event is in San Antonio and I'm in Dallas, so the fast (insane) way is about a 5 hour ride each way. I was still on my FZ1 and didn't have an SS1K under my belt so I hadn't moved on to immortal status yet, but was just a mere sport bike rider at the time so no way was I going down and back in a day. Then crap came up at work and I took a long hard look at my rear tire and realized that I just wasn't going to make it. I sat around the house moping in a state of depression and then proceeded to watch the forum and see everyone reporting back on what a great time it was.

THIS YEAR! This year I am NOT missing this! As soon as the date July 14 was posted I put in for vacation and announced (asked permission) to the wife that I was going!

This deal is hosted by one of the members at his house in a cul de sac but he doesn't cook. He welcomes everyone to come and throw down a sleeping bag in the house and crash wherever we can find floor space. I'm totally doing this!

Here's the FJR packed up and ready to go!

Hrm, you might have noticed that while it's packed up and ready to go, it's sitting in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere, going, um...well...nowhere. Let's take a look in front of me.

Well, that doesn't give a good view of the situation, now does it?

That's better, how bout we look behind me?

Eeew. So I have a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, the bike is turned off and I'm thankful it's still early and the sun isn't up to roasting angle yet. However, there is the matter of me being on a time crunch here because I've scheduled to meet riders from San Antonio, Houston, and various other locations for lunch and then an afternoon Hill Country ride. Mind you, the organizer of said lunch and ride is none other than myself. I'm not leading, but I did put this little deal together so I kind of should be there.

So after 30 minutes I see vehicles starting to move atop the hill and I hop on the bike and fire it up. Yep, much less heat bars than when I shut her down and we are on the move. They had the road shut down for 10 miles to one lane going one direction at a time, but they'd shut both directions down while they transferred the chip seal convoy from one side of the road to the other requiring the entire convoy of tools and dump trucks to change direction, hence our wait.

I finally hit Hico and head south on 281. I arrived about 10-20 minutes late and the guys were already there. Lunch is at the Chrome Cactus in Johnson City, Tx. (***EDIT - sadly this restaurant is now closed***)

I meet up with the guys and order up the Cheddar Burger. OMG, I've got an entire thread post on this burger over at the FZ1forum's burger thread but I'll just say that this was probably the best darn burger I've ever had. I could eat the bun by itself and the rest of the burger was that good.

Face stuffing number one out of the way, we head out. I'm escorted for a less sporty ride than I'd hoped for, but still a very scenic and pleasant ride around part of the Hill Country and San Antonio areas seeing stuff you just don't see without a local guide. I didn't take many pictures but we did have a mandatory photo op in Oz.

I didn't see the wizard and apparently the yellow bricks were too costly so there was only crappy pavement leading there, but now I can say I've been there.

We wind around, and then they tried to make me crash. See, we got to ride the river road, and there's all these folks on tubes in the river, and many of them are good looking young ladies in skimpy bathing suits. It's hard to keep your eyes on the winding road with such distractions present. Sorry, no pics, that would have just guaranteed I'd end up in the drink with my bike and camera both destroyed. And if I did I think I'd garner more laughs from the bikini clad women than sympathy.

So we end up at our destination. I hop in the pool for a quick cool down because I've been sweating bullets and draining my camelbak. Finally I'm cooled off, not so smelly and sitting in the shade in the front lawn with a big cup of ice cold sweet southern tea. And then we sit and await the guests of honor. First pit arrives around 6pm.

After much more waiting, the pit master for this event, Scott, shows up with "Major." his giant smoker on a trailer.

After getting everything set up, it gets dark and it's time to start fires. Oh what a sight!

At this point, another member fires up his wok and oil and begins the traditional friday night fish fry. I'm thinking of hitting McDonalds because, well, I just don't do fish. Thanks but no thanks. Then I have a piece of fried golden redfish thrust into my hand and I have to be polite so I take a bite. Holy wow! This is darn good! There's no organized method of serving, we just have an incredible couple who just returned from 37 days traveling Canada and Alaska the day before who slave away churning out piece after piece of fried fish. They get dumped on a plate and people walk by and grab some. I think I ate fish for about two to three hours while he did this, all while sipping sweet tea and enjoying an unusual pleasant evening outside in Texas in the summer.

Face stuffing number two is complete. After some more socializing I decide that it's been a full day and I need to retire. I say goodnight to Scott and Phil who will be tending the fires throughout the night and go crash on the basement floor where it was nice and cool and dark and quiet.

I wake up in the morning and Scott is still going, and now he's made breakfast for everyone. What a guy!

Those things you see closest to the camera are Breakfast Fatties. Basically pork sausage stuffed with cheese and tomato stuff and bits of sunshine straight from heaven. He serves them up on a biscuit with butter and jalapeno pineapple jelly. Holy wow! These things are worth coming for all by themselves. I wait around and make sure everyone else has gotten some and Scott gives the signal that it's not ok to approach for seconds and I pounce.

Face stuffing number three complete.

Now it's time to wait around for lunch. Folks are starting to arrive.

It's not a gathering of motorcyclists or a real party until the cops arrive.

Food starts to come off of the grill. Four pork butts and five briskets...

A couple of ribs...

And about a gazillion sausages.

A couple days before I'd gotten a message from a forum friend, Andrew, saying he had read my SS1K report and he's not decided it's time for him to do the same. As it turns out, this very Saturday is the day and his turn around point is a zillion miles away from me in a town just outside of San Antonio. Except it's not a zillion miles away because I'm going to be in SA. I shoot him back a message telling him that since I had BBQ at my turn around point, why doesn't he do the same, and I send him the link to the event.

Shortly before lunch time he arrives in tow behind a guy from the ST forum who happens to live only two blocks away and has been looking for folks to ride with. Welcome aboard! He'll join up the TWTex forum a few days later.

Here's Andrew and his sweet mile crunching machine.

I introduce Andrew to the host and the pit masters and then inquire as to the schedule pointing out that he's on an SS1K run and kind of on a time crunch. Scott, who has at least three documented SS1K's under his belt runs inside and comes out and thrusts a brisket sandwich in RH's hands before anyone else has even gotten to eat yet. Great folks I tell ya! The dinner bell rings and folks pour inside to the food line. I see off RH and his friend as they head out to ride to his turn around point and then he'll head home to complete his SS1K.

Ok, enough with being friendly, I wave and run for the line. I'm the last guy through and only manage to scrape together some tidbits for my plate.

I then put away another half plate and enter that painful blissful thanksgiving day sick feeling. But....ok, there's still room for brownies!

Face stuffing number four complete!

Unlike many events where you start with a meal, this one ends with a meal. After lunch, folks let their food settle and then start the process of taking off. Some will take off to go ride local roads as they live close, others pack up for the ride home. I get the bike all packed, get suited up and then go jump in the pool. Yep, gear and all. I'm dripping wet when I sling a soggy leg over the FJR and point it into San Antonio traffic. As I start moving I'm pleasantly chilly. Fight my way through San Antonio and jump on 281 to beat feet out of town.

On the ride back I realize that I'm presently not having any fun and wish I was home. Whoops, there's that indicator. Time to stop for a break. Yep, I'm a little achy from the riding and sleeping on the floor, I haven't had an ounce of caffeine that my body is used to, my socks are damp, warm, and steamy and not providing any cooling effect, and there's that rumble in my stomach as it fights for room for the massive intake I've just done and wants to expel some old stuff. I take care of each of these needs and get back on the bike and now I'm smiling.

About the time the heat hits me and I'm wishing I was still wet from the pool, I pass through two micro rain storms. I certainly don't bother with the rain suit and just ride on enjoying it.

Just past Hico, I think I'm on 220 headed for 67 but find I'm on another road headed back south. Balls! I pull out the phone, figure out my location, yea, missed that turn back in Hico. Hrm, how to fix this. Let's see, I can take that road to that town to that road which will dump me on 67. Ok, let's go. Quick u-turn (yes, an AE can do a u-turn) and I head back a half mile and make my turn. A couple hundred yards down the road I'm greeted by the sight that brings a smile to motorcyclists faces the world over. The squiggly road sign. It appears getting lost was a good thing because 220 is straight as an arrow and now I've got some high speed sweepers to shred.

I roll home and narrowly miss some really nasty storms that hit us ten minutes after I shut the garage door. My three year old greets me with his usual enthusiasm and a huge hug, all of which I know will disappear in a few years, so I cherish them while I can get them.

All in all, a good ride and a whole lot of good eating! I'm liking this long distance ride to eat thing, gotta keep it up!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pop's fathers day ride.

I don't know what it is about the FJR, but ever since the day I rolled it into the garage, my wife's grandfather has been bugging me about when I was going to take him for a ride. I told him to let me get used to this auto clutch thing first and when I'm comfortable I'll take him for a spin. Lately he's been giving the me the "I don't think I'm ever going to get a ride" bit.

So I decided Fathers Day was a good day for a quick spin on the bike. Got him fitted up with some minimal gear that fit him and with my wife, son and my father in law in the car armed with cameras, off we went.

He had a blast. I pulled off after he was comfortable and told him we were going to turn around and head back but to hang on as I was going to goose it a bit. I think it was about 1/4 throttle really but he thought we were on a rocket. We zoomed past the car going ticketable speeds. I then took him a bit beyond that and we nudged a number on the speedo that would be a bit of a milestone and then I shut the throttle down and came back to reasonable speeds.

After he got off the bike, a major feat in and of itself as he's not that mobile, but he had two people helping him...I was using all the muscles in my short little legs to keep the bike far the scariest part of the trip for me. Again, after he got off he had to catch his breath and then he couldn't stop talking. Memaw just laughed when we told her how fast he went and said we were crazy.

Safety briefing...

Ready to roll....

Stopped for the turn around briefing...Pop looks like he's giving thumbs up but he's trying to figure out how to open the visor.

Relaxing after a short high speed run...

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's 4am and I have a craving for BBQ!

This one isn't very picture heavy due to the fact I was busting out a certification ride, so packing in the miles takes precidence over sightseeing.

10:00 PM - bike is prepped and ready to go, so am I but it's time for bed.

2:45 AM - why is it that when you are excited about something that you know you need sleep for, this is the hardest time to sleep? Ugh, I have to be up in an hour.

3:45 AM - Alarm goes off, I groan and climb out of bed and grab my frappacino I bought for just this moment.. Time to drop some posts to my favorite folks online and get on the bike.

4:00 AM - I roll into the busiest gas station in our little town in hopes of finding a witness to sign my paperwork and give me their personal information. Ugh, not a car in the lot. Maybe the clerk is bored and willing to help out. This is the part of the Iron butt I'm most nervous about because I'm not good at this. Door is locked, oh wait, here comes the clerk. Crap, it's a woman. Yea, like she's going to give her home address and phone number to some strange random guy who walks in at 4am? Oh well, let's try. I explain what's going on and what's required and ask if she'll volunteer. She responds with "Oh yea, sure, where do I put the information?" Hrm, where's the "That was easy" button?

4:12 AM - I am topped off and the receipt with my starting time stamp rolls off the printer. I'm filling out my paperwork and I'm all antsy. You know you have plenty of time but when you are starting out you have this "I'm on the clock" attitude and you need to be eating miles not trying to fill out paperwork on the seat of your motorcycle.

4:13 AM - On the road finally! Cruising through the metroplex, it's in the 60's, a tad chilly in my mesh suit but I know the hotter temps will be coming later today.

4:50 AM - TRAFFIC? Yep, traffic is totally stopped on I30 around Cumby Tx. But as I approach, just behind the traffic is an exit. Thankfully 98% of Texas highways have service roads alongside of them. I roll to the stop sign at the intersection and look up on the highway and see that the incident causing this is right before the entrance ramp. No problem, one traffic problem easily avoided. As I roll along the service road I notice that there's a fire truck and they have massive lights on top of it like you see on a road construction area when they work at night. Bright enough to turn night into day and kill vampires. As I roll up the entrance ramp I glance backwards and my face goes pale. There's a jack-knifed Semi truck blocking both lanes and a mangled piece of metal that I assume was once someone's car. I say a silent prayer for all involved there and work to get that pit out of my throat.

6:20 AM - Time to pull off and exchange my bug encrusted clear shield for my tinted shield that I've prepped with electrical tape along the top. The disadvantage of heading east is that you ride into the rising sun in the morning and into the setting sun in the evening. I'm convinced that iron butt rides are better done to the west. But the prize today is worth it. I've never done the electrical tape thing on the visor but it's a Godsend. Works every bit as advertised.

7:00 AM - I don't know what's going on here, must have been fighting a bit of a headwind but I've had the speeds lower than normal and there's my fuel indicator blinking way early. I just passed through Texarkana and I'm wracking my brain for the next fuel location. No GPS with me (mine is so out of date on gas stations anyway) but I've done this road many times. Sweet, Hope Ar. Pull in and fill up. 39.5mpg. Not my worst ever but certainly worse than I expected to get just cruising. Worse than my normal commuting mileage and the worst of the trip.

From here on out it was pretty uneventful. I had my ipod playing through the Autocom Pro. I can't get good enough volume out of it to play well over my earplugs to crank the tunes and jam and sing along. I have to have my music loud enough to drown out my own voice if I'm going to sing along. Let's just say if I were to try out for American Idol I'd get the full aired tryout, but not for singing well. I did find that the low volume of the autocom and ipod made for a nice non-distracting background music which helped greatly throughout the trip. Nice unexpected find there.

I finally roll across the bridge into Memphis. Thank you Tennessee for putting your "Welcome to Tennessee" sign on an overhead sign deal in the middle of a bridge. One of these days I'll have to enter your state from another direction so I can find a place to stop and get my state sign photo.

My target is Mason Tn. From my town to Mason it's almost 500 miles exactly. I've decided to push on to Stanton so I have some extra miles logged as I don't want the IBA to come back and say "Nope, that looks more like 998 to us, denied!" I need computerized receipts with date and time for all of this. I know there's a gas station actually off the highway in the town of Stanton...or there was when the Google Street View car came through town, but here's a sign saying there's one just off the highway to the right. No name place, unpaved parking lot, not looking good. Oh wow, those pumps look like they were the latest and greatest in technology when people were pumping gas with a hand pump! Turn around and head into Stanton where I encounter some light twisties on the way in. It's a pleasant surprise but my brain is in cruise mode so I actually find it difficult to transition to this mode of riding. I get to Stanton and have to wait in line to get gas at the only gas station in the area but I got my receipt for my turn around point.

I chose Mason Tn as my destination because there's this restaurant "Bozo's Hot Pit Bar-B-Q" there It's been open since 1923 and my wife's grandmother has been going there since she was a little girl. She lives near us in Dallas now and the last trip there last year for her sister's funeral showed that her health cannot take a trip of this nature anymore. Since then she's gotten worse to the point that it's a major undertaking for her to go even to a local restaurant. I got my first taste of Bozo's last year on that trip and I was sold. When plotting out my route choices I noticed that the circle I drew on the map of 500 miles put me in the vicinity of Mason, and after thinking how cool it would be to ride out and have lunch, I realized the greater mission. That mission was to not accept that since my wife's grandmother could no longer eat at her favorite restaurant, I'd bring the restaurant to her!!! Mission accepted!

All my timing worked out well as I rolled up right at lunch time and parked next to a Harley out front. Got my picture of the bike with the sign and went inside. As I was setting my gear down the waitress approached me and asked if I was having a good ride." I smiled and replied....

Me: Good and long!
Her: Where your riding from?
Me: Dallas.
Her: Dallas Texas?
Me: Yup.
Her: Where you headed?
Me: Right here. I'm here for lunch and then going home.
Her: You rode all this way to have lunch here?
Me: Yep!

She gives me double high fives then notices as I remove my jacket that I'm wearing my Bozo's T Shirt my wife got me a couple of years ago on a trip I wasn't able to make. I get another double high five (high ten?) and she yells across the restaurant to the owner that I just rode here from Dallas to have lunch and I've even got a T shirt!

Lunch was great, enjoyed it very much and then I place my to go order. They take my collapsible cooler and freezer bags I brought and arrange everything in it for me ideally. They did a good job of packing it all up for me. I then explain who the food is for and why and she flips out, another double high five. Now she wants a pic of the guy who rode 500 miles to put on Bozo's facebook page. I happily oblige.

1:20 PM - Back on the road, time to roll. I had downloaded a short audio book and figured I'd play this on the way back to give me something to focus on during the more tired part of my ride. I've got this going and am back on the highway headed towards Memphis. Cruising through Memphis I encounter my first dangerous situation of the day. I'm in the left lane as I need to be on the left side of the highway for the split coming up so that I can remain on I40 west. I see a car weaving around in traffic, she's three lanes to my right. Sure enough, she jumps all three lanes at once and I evade to the shoulder. She gets the wtf arm gesture (no finger gestures) and I romp on the gas and go around her. She of course refuses to even look at me to acknowledge me and as soon as she's around the car to her right she zips four lanes back to the right as all this time she needed to be on the right side of the split. Good riddance.

4:10 PM - Bonking. Things are NOT good. I'm a person who has a daily caffeine intake on a normal day. Thus far today my only caffeine has been my chilled coffee this morning when I woke up. Add in the belly full of meat, a long ride and this guy droning on reading a book in my ears and I'm at a dangerous point. Time to pull off NOW! I'm in Carlisle Arkansas. I get some caffeine in me, and for good energy take down a cliff bar I have in my stash for just this moment. On top of everything else I'd run my camelbak dry as well so I filled that with ice and water and changed out the ice in the cooler for the pork as well. I really just sat and moved with small movements trying to just take my time and rest. At this point you have to remove the "I'm on the clock" attitude and realize that you have plenty of time and to take time to take it easy and rest when you need it, so I'm doing just that. After about a 30 minute rest stop I top off the gas tank and get back on the road. Music is back on and the audiobook is long gone. I'm a new man feeling recharged and good. Amazing what a short stop like that can do for you and very important to recognize this and act on it.

At some point I encounter my second dangerous incident of the day. Out in the middle of nowhere there's two cars road raging on one another. I hang back to watch as I don't want to be near them. One car gets in front of another and slows way down. I watch and the back car is determined to continue riding the rear of the car in front through all of this. I see traffic catching up behind me and realize I'm about to be forced into the area of the situation. I decide to drop two gears and leave these two fools behind. Of course, as soon as I drop the gears and get on the gas the back car jumps right and attempts to get the drop on the guy in front so he can run up and cut him off. I manage to brake and dodge this situation and watch them zoom up the road to continue their games now at high speed, yet far away from me. For the first time on my trip I pray that there's a cop up the road.

4:50 PM - Oops. There went my exit for 440 which would take me around the south end of Little Rock. Looks like I'm going right through downtown at rush hour...just what I didn't want to do. I commute daily in Dallas so this isn't a big deal but I've really got to adjust my brain and riding style from touring mode to commute/survival mode. Turns out I'm going the opposite direction of most of the traffic which is good as we are flowing but it increases the craziness of the drivers. I manage to make it through without any incidents and all is well.

At this point I'd like to point out that just about every single motorcyclist who's been paying attention and seen me has returned my wave, in fact many were enthusiastic waves. Even from the HD crowd and groups out riding. Sure put a smile on my face.

Back in Texas!

9:20 PM - I'm back in the Dallas area and now I'm in the friday night crowd on 635 headed through Mesquite. Even though I ride this daily, my condition is not optimal for dealing with this. No incidents but I'm in tour mode and my brain is tired and I can tell I'm not in top form for Dallas survival mode but I manage to make it through all the normal Mesquite speed traps and deal with the traffic to finally roll into the gas station in my town at 9:40 PM. Even though the place is a busy hub of activity I smile as I manage to roll up to the very same gas pump I started my day with. I shakily dismount the bike and try to figure out who I'm going to ask for a witness. Right at that moment a guy pulls in and parks on a Harley. I walk up and strike up a conversation with him, he's never heard of the Iron Butt Association. I explain that it's a group of long distance riders and I'm completing my 1000 miles in 24 hours. He replies "Holeee sheeet! I thought I was doing good to put 600 miles on my bike in a week!" (Direct quote) I explain that I need a witness and explain what I need and what that means and would he be my witness and he replies "Hell yea!" and fills out my form.

And bam, just like that, it's done. Well almost. When I rolled out of my driveway this morning I realized I forgot to grab an envelope to keep my receipts in. I've done a good job of keeping them wrapped up in my paperwork. As I open my paperwork to add my final receipt a gust of wind blows. Ugh, I'm chasing two receipts that got away. I get them and look at them and wow, my start receipt and turn around receipt. The two most important ones in my stack! Ugh, that would have suuuuuucked.

I head home and roll into the garage. The house is quiet because our plan is in motion, my wife and son are at her grandmothers house. I change clothes and head over to their house. After presenting my gifts her grandmother is in a state of shock/disbelief. She's trying to work out how I managed to get this stuff. I explain that I rode to Tennessee for lunch and have an argument over whether or not I really did. Finally everybody gets it that I'm insane and actually did this and I get a big hug.

Mission accomplished!

Final numbers
1048 miles - odometer
1019 miles - google maps
2 state lines
17 hours 28 minutes
High mpg - 46.9
Low mpg - 39.5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Operation Smoothness

Note: This was originally posted to the FJRForum and reposted here on my blog.

Well, I bought this 07 AE knowing about the throttle issue, but I figured I could ride around it and if not, then the fixes are well published. So I bought it anyway.

After several weeks of fighting with the throttle and the herky jerky clutch motion I was having serious second thoughts about my purchase. But my FZ1 sold so I had a small amount of money from that sale I could funnel to the FJR before paying off some medical bills. I decided I'm gonna fix this thing.

G2 or PCIII? That is the question. I decided, screw it, I ain't jacking around with this, let's go big guns and whole hog so I ordered both.

Nothing like a little get to know the new bike quite like stripping it down to pieces. My family thinks I'm nuts but it is good time spent with the bike.

First thing I went after was a clutch soak. This was delayed a day due to my wife finding a bed on craigslist for my son all the way across town. Then we found the mattress we had wouldn't fit so we spent some more money fixing that problem and now my son is quite happy. I must say it's a proud day in a grown up geeks life when the Star Wars bedding is allowed to return to the house.

Ok, so back to motorcycle stuff. Clutch soak...right. This went without a hitch. Tearing into it.

And here I am fighting against whatever is inside of me that will not allow me to be organized. I envy those of you who are methodical and organized by nature and also envy your nice neat garages.

With that complete, it was time to tackle the throttle body sync. I dragged out my Morgan Carbtune Pro and went to work. Second time I've used this tool since buying it. Considering shop costs, I'm sure it's now paid for itself. Then I did the throttle spring unwind. Rather than go the suggested method of letting it zip around on it's own at light speed, I figured I'd try a more controlled method. I came to this conclusion from hearing stories about it zipping around more than once sometimes. I figured control is better. So, with some safety wire bent in half with a nice kink and then wrapped around a socket extender for a handle (wasn't sure how much tension I'd be fighting here and didn't want to trust sweaty hands on safety wire) I went to work. Oddly, my plan worked perfectly exactly as designed. I allowed the spring to move around in a controlled fashion.

Now, having spoken to the previous owner he'd never done the throttle spring unwind. I'm not sure if the dealer did it on a service or maybe the sling around at light speed is the better method, but my success was to be thwarted. After letting the spring go 90% of the way around I let it be free, and it just kind of sat there, with a gap between it and the hook it's supposed to be sitting against. Eventually it stretched its way against the hook but it feels very light. In addition a later test ride showed that while letting go of the grip at full throttle with the bike off will allow it to snap home, letting go at small throttle openings doesn't bring it home. I played around and tested and my tool will also work to rewind the spring. I'm going to let it go for now and see if it gets any better but I've already got plans to rewind it back.

Then time spent routing wires and such to install my PCIIIusb and some assistance from my wonderful wife on getting the stock heated grips off the old tube and onto the sweet G2 with delrin inserts. While I had everything off, I ran my "Wiring kit" for my fuzeblock I got on the group buy. I need to buy an inline fuse holder and figure out where exactly I wish to mount it and then that will be the next project. I also dropped in my Autocom that'll be wired up through the fuzeblock just to test fitment.

Nothing more to do at this point than to button everything back up. I managed to have zero left over bolts so that was good. After getting it reassembled I suited up and went for a ride.

Oh wow, like a totally different bike. So smooooooooth. My lack of confidence in the bike going into a turn going from off throttle to on is gone and replaced with a huge grin on my face. I am now ready to start really loving this bike.

So, there ya go, is that a proper amount of farkling for a guy with a new to him FJR? I think I'm pretty much done for now. Well, except for needing to get a Givi. I can't keep hauling my work laptop back and forth to work in a backpack. I miss my Givi I had for my FZ1 but I want a bigger one. Once I get that, that'll do it. Well, I do plan to buy some of the wynpro block off plates because I want to get in there and check the valves and I'd really rather remove the plumbing at the same time. But that'll do it. Ok, so maybe some highway pegs. I do need a newer GPS. And a radar detector too. Yea...and...and....oh crap, it's started!