Wednesday, November 24, 2021

DRZ - Adventure Spec Mini Fairing Install

 I bought this mini faring by Adventure Spec second hand from Two Wheeled Texans a while back.  I had some issues installing it on the DRZ because of clearance with the fork caps.  I was curious if the tubes were set too high and I should lower them because the previous owner of the fairing had them on a DRZ.  I ordered a shop manual and confirmed the height of the forks is correct.

I figured out a solution to this by killing two birds with one stone and ordering some Zeta 3/4" bar risers from Revzilla.

This moved the bars up making it easier when I'm standing and also gave me the clearance to install the mini fairing and my GPS mount on the fairing.  I used some 3M vinyl to try to make it match the bike and got close enough I think.  It looks better in different lighting than in the photo.  I can always take it off and leave it black if I don't like it.  I still have to run the wiring in these photos but they show how the fairing is mounted and used.  I'll need to figure out how to relocate my Vapor gauge at some point though.

Monday, September 20, 2021

NAFO/YFO - Day 14

Day 14

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Distance: 501.8 miles
Duration: 7 hours, 6 minutes, and 49 seconds
Average Speed: 70.5 mph
Minimum Elevation: 378 feet
Maximum Elevation: 4241 feet

Today is get home day. My alarm goes off at 5am and the bike is already packed so all I have to do is suit up and hit the road. Not much to do in the early morning hours except watch the fascinating synchronized red flashing lights on all the windmills.

More windmills on the horizon as the sun starts to light up the sky.

Riding through Amarillo, one more day of riding into the sunrise before turning a little away as I take 287 to the Southeast. The bugs sparkle beautifully in the sun. LOL.

More windmills as the sun makes it's full presence in the sky.

After that it was a pretty unremarkable ride across terrain that I know all too well. Not much to photo or film. I did get threatened with thunderstorms at one point and was enjoying using the weather radar on the GPS but the storm had rolled through by the time I got there so all I got was sprinkles from the sky and spray from the semi trucks around me.

I rolled back through Dallas in full battle mode to deal with our traffic. I rolled into the house and was greeted by my wife and my previously angry and depressed, and now super excited dog. I got cleaned up and fresh clothes and was able to surprise my sone when he got home from school thinking I'd be home about dinner time.

A great trip in the books, the trip I've dreamed about since buying the FJR and have had to experience vicariously through the ride reports of others in the past. This time it was my turn and it was so worth it.

My FJR is fifteen years old and almost ready to hit 100k miles. She took me to see my parents in Florida earlier in the summer and now has taken me to California and back. What a treasure Yamaha has developed in this fantastic motorcycle.

Two days later I cleaned up the FJR and put on two of stickers I purchased (Forgot to grab a few stickers when getting magnets, oops) on the top box to go with the others from previous trips.

Suitable stickers to remind me of the amazing things I've seen on this trip.

Now, time to start planning for next year...

Go back to Day 13

NAFO/YFO - Day 13

Day 13

Monday, September 6, 2021
Distance: 554.9 miles
Duration: 9 hours, 31 minutes, and 37 seconds
Average Speed: 58.3 mph
Minimum Elevation: 4051 feet
Maximum Elevation: 7321 feet

Today I'm running from one old Route 66 town to another. I've got my sights set on Tucumcari NM.

I ride off into the sunrise, yay! Not.

Apparently there's an early morning smudgie/bug on my camera lens that takes me waaaaaay too long to notice. Apologies, I'll try to stage my captures so it messes up the image as little as possible.

My route destination today is fairly early on. As I depart my hotel I'm still not sure if I'm going to take the time to check it out after my day of heat yesterday. However, I spent yesterday evening looking at the weather predictions for my route and it seems like today will se a comfortable 95F for the high temperature of the day. I can definitely handle that. So, I make the decision to hit my morning destination and swing through the Petrified Forest National Park, thus bagging my fifth National Park of the trip. Stickers and magnets are of course purchased at the visitors center.

Side note. At the Grand Canyon I presented my Veteran's ID to get in and was given the military park pass.

The guy at the Grand Canyon informed me that I'd just have to present this to get into the parks. However, the lady at the gate of Sequoia National Park read me the riot act about how I'm to present this AND my photo ID. I offered to get out my photo ID and she said it was fine and sent me on my way. I showed both this and my ID at Yosemite but they were more concerned with seeing my reservation pass to make sure I had that. Death Valley didn't have anyone to check, but instead had a vending booth that sold the access tickets, which irked me because I had to pay for that one. Oh well, if I only had to pay for one, that's not bad for all the enjoyment I got. It occurred to me riding off that maybe instead of putting my credit card in the machine that maybe it would have accepted my pass. Oh well. The best though was the guy at Petrified Forest. I handed him my pass and ID and he didn't even look at them, just handed them right back as soon as they touched his hands, and then being super friendly he engaged in a conversation with me about motorcycles. Crazy.

Petrified forest is a nice little ride through with some stops to check out. I should have stopped at the Crystal Forest but I was well past it when I realized what it was.

Once again, I'm walking back to my bike and am struck by the beauty of the old girl who is wrapping up the adventure with me.

Crossing back over I-40 with just a little more to see before exiting the park.

Then, I know it's going to be a boring day after this so I start messing with putting the GoPro in other locations, specifically on the Ram Ball on my brake reservoir.

Hey, it's me!

Still me, trying to figure out which way I have to go apparently. This also gives a good view of the chin mount that I usually have the GoPro attached to.

Trying to capture a sideways view of the passing scenery and the oncoming train.

Not the greatest view.

Making sure I stay hydrated.

GoPro back on my chin, taking in the dwindling nice scenery as I continue to head East, knowing sooner or later I'll be back in the area of the country that is flat, hot, and boring.

And then I come to Albuquerque. I stop just prior at a truck stop and have some of whatever fast food restaurant is inside. The food is not memorable and there wasn't a reason for a photo.

I'm quite surprised. I've been told that posting your spotwalla link on the forum and then passing through this city is a guaranteed way to find yourself pulled over by local law enforcement. I manage to zip through unscathed though.

For a long while I watch a column of black smoke in the distance. Most of the time it's off to my left, however, as I approach I see the road curve to the left and realize that there's trouble on my side of the highway.

Everyone is on their brakes headed for the left shoulder, me included. Well, all except that semi truck you see in my mirror that came blasting up on my right before he woke up and realized what was going on and hit the brakes pulling over and right behind me.

yep, somebody is having a bad day.

As I roll past it, I realize it looks like it started in the engine compartment and is burning it's way back, but hasn't reached the gas tank yet. That makes me quite nervous and feeling exposed as I roll by.

But I'm on my way and I end my day stopping into my favorite little motel in the world, the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari NM.

Blue Swallow Motel

It's changed owners but the new owner is just as friendly and helpful, and very proud of his little establishment. As he walked me to my room I started laughing and told him that this was my third or fourth time staying in this room. He was blow away that I've been there before, let alone that many times. I pointed out the one other room I stayed in my first time there and we got a good chuckle that I and my family have been in the same room ever since.

I unloaded the bike, then headed down the street to gas up for the morning, and to the grocery store for a six pack of Shiner to enjoy this evening. Then I walked down the street to Del's Restaurant.

Dels Restaurant

My meal is delicious.

Then it's back to the motel for a few beers as I enjoy the usual show of the fully restored neon lights from the old Route 66 era powered by the original restored power transformer. I've taken more photos before but I snap a few anyway.

This guy rolled in so I had to walk over and chat and take a few photos. He tells me it's all for show, and that he's in a hearse club and tells me about some of the other fully functional vehicles in the club.

Oddly, tonight the mosquitoes are pretty bad. They are biting despite me applying the spray that's been working for me the entire trip. I decide that I've seen the neon before and head inside a little early so I can get a head start in the morning. I'm close to the time zone line to enter Central Time Zone in the morning so I plan on a really early start so I can be home before my son gets off the school bus.

Continue to Day 14

Go back to Day 12

NAFO/YFO - Day 12

Day 12

Sunday, September 5, 2021
Distance: 584.6 miles
Duration: 10 hours, 40 minutes, and 56 seconds
Average Speed: 54.7 mph
Minimum Elevation: -250 feet
Maximum Elevation: 8134 feet

It's Sunday, and that's head for home day. You might think this trip is over, but I know that the slog home is usually the worst part if you are just trying to make miles and get home. I have three days to get home so I've decided to make this a part of the trip and have some things to see on the way home.

First up is Death Valley. I'm not so excited about it but it's on the way, let's see it, get the stickers and magnets, and cross it off the list.

The problem here is weather. True to it's name, it gets pretty hot in Death Valley, so I'd like to hit it as early as possible. However, that means shoving off early in the morning when it's still hovering just above freezing. I make a plan to start off right before the sun will come over the mountains so I'll only have to freeze for a little while before the sun starts to warm me up.

It's a beautiful morning and while I can't see the sun yet, I can see it lighting up the tops of the mountains. I'm certainly in for a spectacular sunrise on the road.

It warms up to around 50, then drops back down, then back up, then back down. I see 34F at the coldest point of the morning.

I might be slabbing it south, but the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Range sure does make it a scenic slab.

Before turning East toward Death Valley, I stop in the last town and top off the gas tank, have a bio break, and remove all my warm layers as it's now gotten quite nice, and I know what's ahead.

You wouldn't think there'd be twisties out here but the road does twist and turn as the elevation plunges ever lower. I'm headed toward one of the lowest points in the United States.

Somewhere around here I descend to below the altitude of my home.

We go up and twist a little before heading back down down down.

The road descends below sea level and that's when I learn that the Garmin Zumo XT will display negative numbers for altitude. I film quite a bit here trying to find my lowest point. Eventually I get down to 250 feet below sea level. If you head to Badwater Basin, which I did not, you can go down to 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in the United States.

I realized somewhere that it's 10am and it's already over 100F here. This is a place to visit in the winter so I do not linger, I stop at the visitors center and buy my sticker and magnet, then give the camelbak a much needed refill and get back on the road.

The hope is that I can climb out of Death Valley and into more tolerable temperatures. The joke is on me and my optimistic self.

I stop off at Rubalcaba's Taco Shop in Pahrump, NV for lunch, a little hole in the wall behind the local Walmart. I do this right after filling up with some finally sane gas prices here in Nevada. Lunch is delicious.

I have plans to swing through Red Rock Canyon on my approach to Las Vegas. The temperatures are around 105F and I've seen Red Rock Canyon before. Even though it only supposedly adds 12 minutes to my route, that's 12 minutes I'd rather not spend in the heat, so I skip it.

Before that I'm passing through Las Vegas again. Only the road doesn't really pass right through the city, it dumps you onto surface streets that you have to navigate to get to get back up to 215.

I've got Hoover Dam set in my GPS as the next location. As I approach, there's a little exit to the "Robert L Mendenhall Scenic Overlook" so I take it. There's not a lot of parking spots and they are all occupied. I wait a bit for a couple to get into their terribly parked truck and finally figure out how reverse works and get out of the spot. I grab my camera gear and trudge up to the scenic overlook and find, the worst scenic overlook of my trip. It's an overlook of the highway I've been riding on!

I exit the highway and take the twisty 2.5 mile road toward the dam. As I round a corner I see a horrific sight in front of me. I can see about a half to a full mile of standstill traffic trying to get through the security checkpoint to get into the dam. I can see once in there that there's a lot of walking and climbing of stairs that I'll have to do in full gear carrying my tankbag and helmet again. Sweat is pouring off me as I come to a stop noting that my thermometer on the dash says 109F. I look at the not moving traffic and decide this is something to come back and see in a vehicle with air conditioning. As soon as there's a break in traffic I flip and U and get back on the highway. That's two things scratched off the itinerary today that I'd planned on seeing, but it's just too hot.

Eventually I see 110F today, which is a long way from the 34F I experienced this morning.

Moving into Arizona I'm tracking south of the Grand Canyon area, which I'd tracked north of on my way west. The views are quite nice here.

It's still freaking hot though. I stop at a gas station to fill up my gas tank and my camelbak. As I get back to my bike with a camelbak full of ice and water, an older guy gets out of the truck next to me and we have the following dialogue.

Him: Hunnertanate.

Me: Pardon?

Him: It's a hunnert and ate degrees.

Me: Oh yes, that's what my dash has been telling me too. {Duh captain obvious}

Him: Stay haadrated, this shitell kell yea!

Me: Yes, thank you, got my camelbak full of ice water

Eventually I climb in altitude, and things get greener and I rejoice at 91F temperatures.

At this temperature the mesh on my jacket does it's job and allows my sweat to evaporate in the dry Arizona air and provide some cooling effects, which is better than the earlier part of my day. I spent about 5 straight hours in triple digit temperatures.

I've spent so many miles on this trip all over on roads lined with the yellow flowers seen above. It's definitely a theme for the trip.

I've been sucking down the water for a while and now that things have cooled off I have to stop and use the restroom, shortly after using the restroom at the last stop. I'm definitely hydrated. Only this is a mistake as I'm dumped into one of the old Route 66 towns. As I gear back up from my stop I get to hear the family having a screaming fight in the car next to me as teenager girl thinks she's being mistreated. I hop back on the road only to find out there's no entrance ramp to the interstate for another 12 miles, so I cruise along reading the recreations of the old Burmashave ads along the old Route 66.

Eventually I roll in and check into my room at the Red Roof Inn+ in Williams Arizona. I'd originally had my heart set on camping in the Flagstaff area because I heard it was beautiful (It is) but there was a slight problem with that plan. See, it's Labor Day weekend and I'm within an hour of one of the biggest tourist spots in the USA, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Every campground is requiring a three night stay because they know they can fill up even with that requirement. I find a local KOA that'll rent me a single night, but it would cost me $50. Red Roof Inn will rent me a room for the night for $55 so it was an easy decision when I was making my reservations.

Williams Arizona is another of those Route 66 towns, but one that is definitely located well to continue to prosper as other towns have long since died off. I walk down the main street enjoying the old Route 66 vibe and swing in for dinner at the Station 66 Italian Bistro. There's a long wait but since I'm by myself I'm let right in. I have the lasagna with garlic bread for dinner.

Later, back at my hotel, I hear all kinds of commotion and booming outside. I step out and am treated to what is apparently a Labor Day fireworks show. Also, man, that's a lot of bugs I have to wash off when I get home.

Continue to Day 13

Go back to Day 11