Friday, July 22, 2016

Post Cannonball - Day 7 (24th Day of Riding)

July 21st, 2016

Independence, MO to Bella Vista, AR (194 Miles)

All repairs done, heat index low (at least at 8am) and Mike and I are off. This is the home stretch for me. And it will give Mike a few days rest before returning to California. I understand it's his wedding anniversary next week and he would be in less than poor condition if he missed that.
But I started ticking off the last few miles...

Getting closer...

Almost there...


After an hours rest, we started getting Mikes scooter ready for the return trip to California.  This meant one more rear tire change so we removed the wheel and headed down to MopedU #mopedu in Fayetteville.  This is my go to for tire swaps.  Thanks guys!

Unfortunately, we did find a bearing lose in the rear end of the red Helix, and that is a fix for tomorrow.

But this is the end of my story.  

I'm home.  Hugged my family.  The three dogs have all said "hello, we miss you, don't leave again."  All my laundry in the works.  Spent time in MY shower.  And I'm starting to feel human again.

I'll drop one last post in the next day or two to close this blog out.  I want to ponder this adventure while sitting at my desk without feeling the "oh so odd" contours of the Helix seat clouding my brain. 

Last days map:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Post Cannonball - Day 6 (23rd Day of Riding)

July 21st, 2016

North Sioux City, SD to Independence, MO (294 Miles)

I think we are starting to wear out.

But that being said, we got on the road early to try and beat the heat.  It's another day with a high heat advisory and we have close to 500 miles left to get to Arkansas.

Knowing I needed the different year brake pads, the Home Support Team (HST) made some calls and found a set in St. Joseph, MO.

So we rode on.  

The scenery was a little more diverse in Missouri.

We got to the Honda shop and procured the pads.  It was close to noon so there was not much shade to be found around the shop.  We did locate a tree in the parking lot of a nearby mall and 20 minutes later, the pads were installed and we were ready to roll again.

Or we should have been.

Getting off the highway and driving to the Honda shop, I felt the handling of the scooter was "very off."  In the little drive through the mall parking lot, it went from "very off" to "what the hell is wrong."  A quick inspection showed my rear tire developing a large bubble.  It's been 7500 miles or so, and there was enough tread left to easily make Arkansas where I have a new Bridgestone in the garage waiting to replace the spent one from the Cannonball.

I think this is natures way of trying to keep me out on the road.

So the HSTs got back on the phone and found a Yamaha shop with 3 different brands of this tire size just 5 miles away.  What luck.  

By the time we got to the shop, there was a second visible bubble and as the tire was mounted, I guess a third one was popping up on the inside. I wish I would have thought of taking a picture before leaving but this tire was probably within 10 miles from bursting.  The heat and straight interstate riding are taking a toll on the equipment.

I do want to mention that this is an old school motorcycle shop and I felt right at home.  This isn't one of the new shops with carpet and neon, but one that has a stack of parts (some covered with dust) and gojo with hand brushes in the washroom to deal with real grease.  The proprietor let us use a side garage bay to take off the tire so we could get out of the sun.  Thanks McBride's Yamaha, you get a 5 star recommendation.

Another picture of a tireless scooter:

By the time we got there, there was a second visible bubble and as the tire was changed, I guess a third one was popping up on the inside.

This tire was probably within 10 miles of bursting.  

So once the new tire was on, it was now mid afternoon and into the full heat of that advisory I mentioned earlier.  We rode the last 60 miles to Independence, MO and checked into a hotel.  The air conditioning is running full blast and I think we are finally comfortable.  It really was the smart thing to do in breaking up this last leg into two sections as we are wearing out just as much as the equipment is.

And today's map

Tomorrow, 189 miles to home.

Post Cannonball - Day 4 & Day 5

So I finally missed a day.  I'll mash them both up in one post.

July 19th, 2016

Rapid City, SD (about 150 Miles just goofing around)

We spent the morning getting a new tire mounted on the rear of Mike's scooter.  Funny thing was that a BMW/Yamaha shop was the only one in the area to have a scooter tire of that size.  Nobody knows why it was even ordered, but we are glad they did.  

So drop the rear tire in the parking lot, have it mounted, and we are back in business.

We drove through both Deadwood and Lead.  Neat little towns where I'm sure spousal units would spend a little coin.

I'm sure I saw something interesting

But it was a great ride to Mount Rushmore

And a close up of what I passed by in the Cannonball

Google touched up another picture
A view from the sculptors studio. Gutzon Borglum was able to sculpt and measure the progress on the mountain at the same time.

Mike declares that there is just too much walking around and goes on strike.

... and we called it a successful and restful day.

Tuesdays Map:

July 20th, 2016

Rapid City, SD to North Sioux City, SD (422 Miles)

Not to leave a post Cannonball day without some mechanical incident, we noticed some brake issues with my scooter just before Mount Rushmore.  The pads I thought were in "fair" condition before leaving are now "not so fair" after close to 7000 more miles.  The HST (Home Support Team) did some calling around and a pair was found in Sioux Falls, SD (only 388 miles away).  No worries, I can ride without touching the front brakes.  It's just a straight line there right?

Yes it is...

So after a bit, we stopped at Wall Drug in Wall, SD

Which isn't really a drugstore but a series of shoppes and an indoor mall of sorts.  Once again, be careful when bringing the spousal units.  I'm sure they will have fun wandering around and finding neat trinkets to liberate cash from the pocketbooks.

Once again, Mike makes friends wherever he goes.

But soon has to have a heart to heart discussion about what "stranger danger" really means.

and then back to this...

And it's really hot in South Dakota.  The afternoon temperature was 94 degrees with a heat index between 105 and 110.  Add the dry wind and concrete temperature and it was a pretty miserable stretch.

We did get the brake pads, but found out for some reason my Helix has one model year earlier calipers and I'll need a different set.  So no more front brake again till maybe Kansas City tomorrow.  Once again, it's a pretty straight shot.

We also had dinner at Sugar Daddy's Sports Bar & Grill.  Not bad at all.  The staff was really friendly and most of the clientele seemed local and acquainted with each other.  So a real good atmosphere. 

and today's map:

At this point we are only 490 miles from Arkansas and my home.  I am in the final stretch of this adventure (Mike still has to ride to back California), and still loving even the hard days and the mechanical issues.  Of course that just means the good days of riding stand out even more.

Lets see what tomorrow will bring!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Post Cannonball - Day 3 (20th Day of Riding)

July 18th, 2016

Bozeman, MT to Rapid City, SD (503 Miles)

Today was brutal.

We started off as we had the last few days.  Wrenching.  The oil leaks have been taken care of.  I changed my fuel filter to try and fix some top end issues in the hills (I still have the issue so tomorrow is the control module).  Mike cleaned out his clutch to get rid of the last of the oil from the blown line.  While doing this, we see that his rear tire has a growing bad spot.  It's a little early for this to happen based on the mileage, but we have been riding hard.

The plan was to hit Yellowstone after the morning repairs, but it looks like we will skip this and head for Rapid City, SD while the HSTs (Home Support Teams) call around Montana, Yoming, and South Dakota to try and find a tire.  This tire will most likely not make the 1300 mile back to Arkansas.

Good luck and one was finally found in a shop in Sturgis (yeah team!), which is only 20 miles outside Rapid City.  We can have it changed late Tuesday morning, then spend a little time in the Black Hills.

More interstate.  And to save the tire, we slow down to 60.  So we tick away the miles.  Lots and lots of miles.

And our standard afternoon rainstorm.  Why does the road always stay under the clouds and never go into the light?

Double rainbow

And this wasn't the worst of it.  Sorry for the video length.  I'm not doing much editing on the road.

after a quick break, it got worse.  I think we are riding into Hell.

Probably 60 mile an hour winds and we had to finally seek shelter 35 miles from Rapid City and wait it out and warm up.  No video of this as we were doing our best just to hang on and ride sort of straight.

30 minutes later, we finished the trip, got to the hotel about 9:30 and called it a day.  Good thing the deliver pizza.  I'm not going out again.

Today's map:

Tomorrow:  A tire change and the Black Hills.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Post Cannonball - Day 2 (19th Day of Riding)

July 17th, 2016

Spokane, WA to Bozeman, MT (410 Miles)

Wrenched on the bikes a bit first thing in the morning.  I cleaned off my clutch after finding and fixing a breather tube hose crack.  That should fix my chatter.  On Mikes, he found that the repaired oil line which was still seeping could still take half a turn on the wrench.  We will ride on and see how the repairs take.

It's going to be a long day, and unfortunately, all interstate.  We got on the road about 10:30.

Beautiful day in Coeur d'Alene

Back into Montana

and some storms between Butte and Bozeman

The one thing I have been having a problem with is getting out of Cannonball mode.  So I jumped off the scooter an immediately took a picture of our hotel (last checkpoint of the day)

It looks like the oil leaks are clear.  We will clean the clutch on Mikes bike and change the fuel filter on mine in the morning.  All looks good.

Finished up with Bison Burgers at the Montana Ale Works.  Delicious.

Today's Map:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cannonball Final Standings!

And the final numbers are in!  Looks like I held my 11th place slot from day 10.  Here are the other Helix riders (and one token Reflex):

Bob (BigKart) - Finished FIRST!!!
Me (ctopher) - 11th
Frank (febail) - 18th
Mike (Mike Smith) - 19th
Steve (svhess) - 23rd
Marty (sheepdog) - 32nd

Now to look forward to besting that in 2018!

Post Cannonball - Day 1 (18th Day of Riding)

July 15th, 2016

Mukilteo, WA to Spokane, WA (300 Miles)

Not to rest on our laurels, we made the decision to head out.  This initial plan is to head home through Coeur d'Alene, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore (and stay for more than one picture), then off to Arkansas.

We at least took the morning off and didn't get on the road until 11:30 with plans of making Spokane, WA today.

Most of the long stretches will done on the interstate to make the best time.  

It was still green and at least we didn't get rained on...

... until Spokane.  Then we got rained on.

We did notice a little more oil seeping on Mike's scooter.  Not enough to hurt anything, but we still had my son in Arkansas call some of the Spokane Honda dealers looking for the three washers needed to fix the issue.  He was able to find one.  Google maps had us arriving just before closing.  In fact, we were so close, that I made it in the shop just because I was able to cross traffic first.  Mike was locked out.  Not a great way to run business but I understand wanting to go home at 5 on a Saturday.  Luckily they opened back up the parts counter for me and we got the one washer, with hopes of matching it up at a local auto parts store.

We struck out at both O"Reilly's and AutoZone so off to dinner.  During this in town riding, I really felt the rear end of my scooter chattering.  Mike checked it out and on Sunday morning we will pull of the case and look at the variator and belt.  If they are worn, then it will be a rough ride, but nothing catastrophic and we can wait until we get to Arkansas to fix it.  But this may cause us to take a straighter route home.  The scooters are in need of an overhaul, and if this happens, we still have had an awesome trip.  

Today's map:

Tomorrow... we will see.