Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On The Road Again.......

Yup, I just haven't gotten my fill of riding yet. This morning, after a slow start I was on the road to St. Paul, MN. I met John at his place and we headed out for South Dakota.
The odometer at the start of the day at my place in WI.

Picking up John in St. Paul.

We left the cities on I-94 and took hwy 7 west to hwy 23 down to Granite Falls, MN. Then 67 to avoid road construction.
We stopped for the night at the city park campground in Faulkton, SD.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

ZX-14 Comfort Modifications.

Today, Brady Steffl, from the blog, Behind Bars left a comment on my blog, asking how I could do 700 miles a day on a Ninja. Well Brady, here you go. These are the comfort related modifications I've made to my 2009 Kawasaki Ninja Zx-14.

The very first thing I did to my '14 was to change the seat. On the way home from the dealer, I noticed that the stock seat felt like a 2x10 with a vinyl cover over it. It was also tipped forward so the "boys" were being crushed into the gas tank. The seat would be OK if I were constantly hanging off and dragging a knee in the corners, but not so good on the highway.
I had read on a few of the Zx-14 forums that the seat from the new Kawasaki Concours 14 was a direct swap and very comfortable. I watched a Concours 14 forum, waiting for someone selling the stock C-14 seat. It turned out to be the best $125.00 I've spent. The seat swap involves trading brackets between the seat pans.
The ONLY thing I'd change would be to buy a C-14 seat from a newer model. The newer ones are all black, the earlier ones like I bought are black & gray. The stock Zx-14 seat cowl won't fit on a C-14 seat, but I can live with that.
The stock Zx-14 seat

The Concours 14 seat.

I also installed a set of bar riser blocks from Helibars. The machined and anodized aluminum spacer plate is only .75" thick, but it makes a huge difference. The spacer raises the bars just enough to help take some of the weight off my hands, and some of the bend out of my back.

Left bar with riser block removed. Fork adjustments easy to access.

Right side bar with Helibar spacer in place. Fork adjustments now sit slightly recessed.

The last thing I did was to change the wind screen. The stock screen is fine for the track. But in real world driving, which includes bugs and rain, a taller one is a plus.
Stock clear screen, and a Zerogravity Sport/Touring screen.

Some people on the Zx-14 forums will install foot pegs from a Buell Ulysses. That swap lowers the foot pegs bout an inch and a half. I've never felt the need to do that. I have plenty of legroom.

I've changed to Michelin Pilotroad 2 tires and get 10,000+ miles from them. I've mounted a Ram Ball in the steering neck to mount a GPS. I added a set of Givi V35 PLX side cases on SW-Motech mounts from Twistedthottle.com. A Throttlemeister helps with the ability to take my hands off the bars to rest them a bit.
The changes I've made, make is possible for me to cover fairly long distances in relative comfort. At nearly 40 MPG and a 5.8 gallon tank, at 200 miles I'm ready to sit up and stretch.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 10...There's No Place Like Home...

After a depressing night at a meth addict infested, crap hole of an "RV Park" in Glendive, MT, I set my sights on getting home. 11 and a quarter hours, 710 miles (1142.6 Kilometers) later, I'm here... I didn't even try to take pictures along the way. I missed the giant buffalo statue in Jamestown, ND. The giant catfish statue in Floodwood, MN. The Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley, MN.

The only pictures I took were... Almost there...

Getting closer...

At last...

10 days of riding. Almost no rain. 3479 miles! (5598.9 km)

What a great trip! I got to meet some really interesting people and ride in some new areas. I can't wait to go back!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 9... Still in Montana.

This morning, I knew it was going to be hot. It was 75 degrees when I pulled out of the Mustang Motel in Townsend. I followed 12 and diverted around White Sulphur Springs. There was a lot of road construction on US-12.I rode 30 miles of ripped up roadway. I will have to be checking the fork seals after that! I also had a bad head wind and high heat to contend with. I wanted to ride to Bismark, ND, but I had to stop in Glendive, MT, there was a huge storm cloud ahead of me. The weather radio was talking about Quarter sized hail and lots of lightning. I checked out the free camping at the City park, but the lot was mud and the place had 2 large groups of teens. I found an RV park and paid my $15.00 to camp.

The day was not a total bust. I had a little excitement on 12. A rancher was moving a large herd of cattle down the highway. They were on 4 wheelers and had dogs helping.

I was a little intimidated by thr number of cows. Luckily, a pick up truck came up behind me and then got in front of me to divert the cows. That worked great.
I snapped a picture of the dinosaur in the city park in Glendive.

These last 2 wont mean anything to anyone but Nancy......

Got to go, running low on battery. I hope Wednesday goes better.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 8... Headed Home. 4 States, 450+ Miles.

This morning was quite cold. It took me a while to get going. Karen packed up and was on her way about an hour before me. I was nearly packed, but not ready to leave.
The tents....

Fog rolling down the mountain...

I had planned how to get to the IMBC, but I never gave much thought to getting home. Bob had suggested taking hwy 3 north from Enterprise.
Looking back south towards Enterprise, OR..

Thanks for the tip Bob... another ride through the "High Pasture"
Hwy 3 takes you past the Joseph Canyon Overlook.

After the overlook, the highway gets even more interesting. It runs down hill for many miles, There are a few 180 degree turns...

Once the road reaches the bottom, it crosses the Grande Ronde River.... Then climbs back up hill. I stopped at the bottom for a bottle of water.

I finally reached the top, Rattlesnake Summit.

3 became 129 once I crossed into Washington. I rode it all the way to Clarkston, WA. I got on US-12 and rode it all the way to Townsend, MT. I was thinking of camping tonight at the campground just outside of town, but there was no electricity and my netbook battery was low. I also didn't want another cold night inthe tent. I grabbed a room at the Mustang Hotel for $40.
I only took a few pictures along the way...
The sign at the west end of US-12 near hwy- 13.

Last year I saw old saw mill incinerators and didn't know what they were. Now I see these things... any ideas??

Be sure to zoom in on the are near the Oregon-Washington border.
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A Day of Rest...

I'm a day behind on the blog, but Sunday was a day of rest. We all met at the hotel in Joseph, where Bob and Richard were staying. We spent most of the day in the shade of a large tree. We took a walking trip up and down Main street,exploring the shops. We had a snack at Mad Mary's Soda Shop. We went back to the shade tree for a while and talked some more.
The view from the street...

Mad Mary's

At dinner time, we walked down to the Mutiny Brewing Company. I had a bowl of their Bean Soup. We talked until the sun started to set, then everyone said their good byes and headed to their hotels/campgrounds.

What a great bunch of people! Thank you for letting me attend!!! I look forward to another meet sometime in 2014.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 6 of My Trip... Day 2 of the iMBC 2012.

I packed up early and was out of the Knights Inn before 0730. The original plan was for all 8 of us to meet at a Bakery downtown. There was a small problem, The city had closed off streets for either a parade or run. There were joggers on the closed streets and cars were filling the surrounding side streets. Plans changed and we moved breakfast to the Sumpter Junction.

After breakfast, we all headed out for Hell's Canyon via 86. It was a nice road except for the recent chip-seal project. most was OK, some not so much. We followed 86 to Oxbow. From there, we rode up Hell's Canyon Road. Some of the group rode all the way up to the dam. I held back for photos and to find some shade. There was no way to get lost... it's a dead end road.

We went back to Oxbow for a short break. It was getting pretty warm.

At one of the stops the cameras came out.... Here's Brandy (Oregon) and Richard (Alaska)

Brad (Oregon) and Karen (Ontario)

Bob (Vancouver)

Sonja and Roland (Vancouver)

We back tracked a little further and took NF-39 the 75 miles to Entrprise, OR.

We stopped at the El Bajio Mexican restaurant for a group dinner. After dinner, we all said good bye to Sonja and Roland. They were going to be leaving first thing in the morning. It was great to meet you both!
Everyone had made different motel/camping arrangements. Both Karen and I stayed at the Log House RV Park and Campground. Brain Walker, the owner, and his wife, Margaret, are really great people. They are motorcyclists them selves and are very motorcycle friendly. Their web site is www.LogHouseRvPark.com.

The day wasn't entirely without incidents though... 2 bikes were dropped, one at a stop sign, and mine in the middle of a low speed U-turn in a gas station parking lot. I knew better than to touch the front brake... I managed to scratch the paint a little, but it's not too bad. Nothing broke. I've also misplaced my vented summer riding gloves!

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