June 8, 2005
I hit the road a little later than I had wanted to but made really good time so it didn't matter. The headphones worked really well and it was really nice to have some tunes on the road. The Hydrapak, when full, forces me to sit up a little straighter because it hits the T-bag but that is a minor annoyance compared to not being dehydrated.
I stopped in Oklahoma City to pick up a shirt from the dealership and had some lunch.
I got in to Wichita at about 2:30 and decided to push on a little more since I was making such good time. I finally stopped for the night in Emporia, Kansas.
June 9, 2005
We had some severe weather roll through the part of Kansas I was in last night. It was a good thing I decided to stop when I did. The nasty weather was still there in the morning so I left a little later to give it time to blow through.
The rest of the ride through Kansas was a bit damp but uneventful. I got in to Kansas City just before noon, ate lunch and made my way to the rally site.
I wasn't the first person in, but pretty close to it! This would prove its worth because the good campsite under the trees kept me drier when the overnight storms hit.
Lee set up the keg and beer consumption started, helped out by some of Turbo Sam's Wild Turkey. There was a pretty good turnout today with about 35 people showing up early. I finally turned in at around 10:30.
June 10, 2005
We had some strong thunderstorms roll through overnight but the tent held up well. I didn't though, it was a sleepless night.
Lee led a group out to The Cracker Barrel for breakfast before we went to the plant for the tour. It was a nice ride out over a bunch of country roads.
The plant tour was a lot of fun, even though the Sportster line was shut down for retooling. We got a bunch of pictures outside and the obligatory shirt.
After that we headed back to the campground where the beer drinking commenced.
The factory sent a couple guys out with 2 Sportsters and a custom V-Rod that's being raffled off (I bought a ticket). The Sportsters were audit bikes and we got to give them a look over in exchange for some Harley doo-dads.
As the night wore on things got progressively wilder. Especially the lap and table dances!
June 11, 2005
Recovering from the fun of last night was the morning's goal. Things got a little out of hand last night, but it was all good fun.
After that Cat and I headed out to St. Joe's Harley-Davidson to pick up some new footpegs because the small highway pegs that I've got are killing my feet. It started raining on the way out and my boots got thoroughly soaked, so I added some gaitors to the shopping list. After looking around I settled on the Skull footpegs. They're wider than the ones I've got and will hopefully work out well. I also picked up a rare Sportster t-shirt and the boot gaitors. I did have a problem with the footpegs though. I got all the way back to the campsite and started installing them only to find that the left peg's adjuster hole was drilled wrong. I raced back to the dealer to get a replacement and got there 15 minutes before they closed. The replacement peg fit perfectly and at least on the ride back they were a lot more comfortable.
After dinner we headed over to the amplitheater for the concert and raffle drawing. The first band, Crisis, put on a good set of covers and original pieces. After that we had the raffle drawing where I won a $20 gift certificate from Reb's Parts.com. After the raffle the headliner, The Jeff Scheetz Band took the stage. They were absolutely amazing. Great guitars, fantastic original pieces and some good covers as well! I picked up a CD to enjoy later.
After the concert I headed off to sleep to be rested for the ride to Peoria on Sunday.
June 12, 2005
Finally! A dry night!
It was too good to last though and at around 7:00 in the morning the sky opened up. It's a lot of fun packing up a motocycle in pouring rain.
And as it was time to leave I hooked up with a group of 7 bikes heading for Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois and hit the road. It was a good thing that I got that extra rain gear because we rode through driving rain from the campsite to almost Des Moines, Iowa. After that we got ahead of the rain and had it chasing us the rest of the way across the state. Somewhere between Kansas City and Des Moines I rolled over 40,000 miles on the odometer. The first two members of our group peeled off at Des Moines leaving the five of us to ride the rest of the way. I parted company with them in Davenport, Iowa and continued on down I-74 to Peoria.
I finally got in just before 6:00 PM. This is rest stop two in the trip.
June 13, 2005
Today was the first day of my Peoria stopover and I spent some time finding a new seat for the Sportster. When I was unloading the motorcycle last night I noticed that the right side seam had split. Since I've got 1800 miles to go I decided to buy another seat. I called Walter Bros. Harley-Davidson to see what they had in stock and it turned out that they had a Sundowner touring seat in stock. It's about 3 inches wider than the one that I had on the bike and it feels a little softer so hopefully my butt will like it a little more.
After that, Reese and I went home to play with his new motorcycle track.
June 14, 2005
Today was the last day of the Peoria stopover. It was a slow day but I got my laundry done and the new seat installed. After that Reese and I went over to a barber shop and I got my hair cut really short. I just got sick of helmet hair so now I don't have much.
After that Reese and I went to see Madagascar. It was really funny, with plenty of jokes that only the adults will get. See if you can spot the Twilight Zone joke.
Finally I packed up the T-Bag so that I'm ready to head to Indiana in the morning.
June 15, 2005
I left Peoria a little earlier than I had planned but that ended up being a good thing. It was almost chilly this morning, especially with the vented jacket!
I found the Champaign, IL dealer by accident as I pulled off for gas and picked up a shirt and had a nice chat with a fellow Sportster rider.
The new seat is working out well though my butt is still getting used to it. I think it, the early start, and the cooler weather were why I made it to my planned stop by 12:30. After eating some lunch I decided to push on a little farther.
I got a little lost in Louisville looking for a dealer to buy a shirt from and stopped in an Enterprise car rental lot to call them when one of the emlpoyees came out offering me some water to drink. I thanked her and got directions to the dealer. It turned out that I was one exit off.
When I got to the dealer I got to see a car fire at the gas station next door. That was my excitement for the day! The staff at Bluegrass Harley-Davidson were friendly and helpful and didn't give me any ribbing about touring on a Sportster.
After that I made my way to Lexington, KY where I stopped for the night. Putting that extra distance on today means that I will be able to run Deal's Gap tomorrow as well as Friday.
June 16, 2005
I left Lexington at 9:00 in the morning and has a leisurely 3 hour ride over to Alcoa, TN. I got in at around 1:00 in the afternoon, unloaded the bike, ate some lunch, and headed out to The Dragon.
Deal's Gap is everything I thought it would be. 318 turns in 11 miles! I went slow on the way down and stopped to take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. When I got down to North Carolina I stopped at The Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort to pick up some souveniers before I headed back. I did the ride back a little faster and had a blast. I'm going back tomorrow for a few more runs before I head home.
June 17, 2005
I slept in a little today, but was on my way back to The Dragon for a couple more runs. I'm really glad I could do a few runs yesterday because there were a lot more motorcycles on the road today. I did manage to increase my run speed by about 5 mph and the tires are scuffed a lot closer to the edges. I really think this trip has had a positive impact on my riding skills because I'm much more confident in turns and at speed.
After The Dragon I went to Smoky Mounain Harley-Davidson to pick up a few shirts. It's a really nice shop and has to be one of the biggest ones I've ever been in.
Finally a bison burger at Ruby Tuesday capped off an early night. I've got a long leg of the homeward bound trip tomorrow.
June 18, 2005
I hit the road at 8:00 in the morning, stopped for a quick breakfast in Knoxville, and headed down I-40 towards Little Rock. The day started out almost cold, to the point where I was thinking about breaking out the sweatshirt.
As I moved west through Tennessee the change in geography was amazing. The eastern side of the state is a lot prettier than the western side. As for I-40, I'm beginning to think that it's a NASCAR training track. I was doing 80 and was still getting passed like I was standing still. Once I got into Arkansas the truckers got a lot more obnoxious, flat out refusing to share the road at all. I was stuck behind two trucks running side beside below the speed limit for miles. I finally had it with them and split lanes past them at around 100 mph. Jerks!
In spite of that I made good enough time to push on past my planned stop and finally called it a night in Little Rock. The hot weather is back and those few extra miles will mean less to ride tomorrow. I did about 540 miles today.
June 19, 2005
I left Little Rock at around 8:00 in the morning and made excellent time heading back. This was a minimum stops run to get home. I pulled in to the garage at 1:15 in the afternoon, safe and sound.
Here's the stats on the trip:
47 Hours 30 Minutes in the saddle spread out over 12 days.
2975 miles ridden at an average speed of 62.6 mph.
59.872 gallons of gas burned, which works out to a little over 49 miles per gallon.
It's good to be home.