Monday, June 24, 2013

Finally, an Update on My Latest Trip...

When last I posted, I was spending the night in a tent at the KOA in Ely, Nevada. I made it home OK, and I wish I could claim that it was an incident free trip, but things went wrong on Tuesday morning, 6-18-13. I had finished my last blog post that morning because the camp's internet service was very slow the night before.

As I was packing my gear, I noticed that my rear tire looked a bit low. I kicked it and discovered it was dead flat! I hoisted it up onto the center stand and spun the wheel looking for something in the tire.... I found it, I pulled it out with a pliers and it looked like a rusty chunk of barbed wire.

I carry a Stop & Go brand tire plug kit with me and it has 4 CO2 cartridges to re-inflate the tire. I used the tool to plug the tire, and a guy from the neighboring tent site loaned me his bicycle tire pump to inflate it. It took a few attempts to get the plug in the tire, but in the end it worked quite well. I'm going to have to rethink my choices after this. I think I'd prefer some type of patch/plug with glue, and a pump powered off the cycle battery.

I had originally planed to ride out into the middle of Nevada, but with a glue less, mushroom headed plug in my tire I was rethinking that idea. It's not uncommon for it to be over 150 miles between small towns, and traffic can be light to non existent! Think of most of Nevada as America's Outback! If a person went missing off the beaten path, it might be days, weeks, or ???? before you'd be found. With that in mind I decided to get the tire patched with something a bit more permanent, before I traveled out to the middle of no where!

I drove into town and stopped at Gale Oil and Tire. They were great. They said if I took the wheel off and put it back on, they could patch the tire from the inside. Great, no problem, right? I mean I do all my own tire work and I have the 32mm socket and breaker bar with me, how hard could this be...

I had the tire off in just a few minutes. I usually use a small piece of 1"x6" scrap deck material under the center stand, just to rise up the rear a tiny bit. It makes it easier to roll the wheel out from under the bike. All they had was a bunch of pieces of 4"x4".. I finally found something thinner, more like a true 2"x4"... A bit thicker than I normally use..... I'm sure some of you can guess what happens next?

I had the tire off and Randy took his time dismounting and remounting the tire so he didn't scratch the rim. Thank You! It didn't take him long to put a patch over the hole on the inside and get the tire aired up and ready to put back on the bike. He was an interesting guy with lots of stories!

This is when my day turned bad! I rolled it back under the bike, slipped in the spacers, lifted it up so I could slip the axle though.... That's when I noticed some sand had blown onto the greasy axle. I held the tire in place with my foot and attempted to reach for a near by rag. That's when it happened. The bike rolled forward and off the center stand. It crashed to the ground, landing on it's right side! $$$$$

The guys from the shop ran out and lifted the bike up, while I got out from under it. I reset the stand and blocked the front wheel. I was so mad at my self. Once the wheel was back on, I sat and contemplated what was next.

I tried to call home and get Nancy's input but she was out for the day. I know she would have convinced me to break open the wallet, buy a replacement tire, and keep going. In the end, I decided to head for home. The GPS said 1640 miles.

I left Ely, Nevada about 1:00 in the afternoon. I drove up Alt-93 to Wendover and took I-80 to Lyman, WY, where I stayed in another KOA. The next day's ride was Lyman, WY to Rapid City, SD. The last day was the longest, 775 miles to home! The last 50 miles in rain and the last 10 in darkness.

I did get a chance to play with the GoPro. I shot some video while riding up US 85 from the WY-SD border up towards Lead, SD. When I get time to edit it, I'll post a link to YouTube.

It wasn't a total failure as a trip. I met some pretty interesting people along the way.. The guy in Ely, that loaned me his tire pump for example. He and his wife retired and sold heir home, gave their kids a bunch of stuff, sold the rest, bought a new pick up truck and now spend their time travelling... homeless by choice. He was very interesting to talk to. The strange thing is he has political and religious views similar to me... hummm. I guess living in a tent out of a pick up is not much different that owning a huge RV and no home. With internet banking and on-line bill pay, who needs a home!

I didn't snap many pictures on the way home, but I did stop for a shoe/hat/glove tree along US-93, south of Wendover...

I tried to get a few pictures of the dry salt flats along the road too.

If you Google, Blue Lake, Tooele, UT, switch to "Satellite View" and zoom out, you'll see just how big the area of salt around the famed Bonneville Salt Flats is.

The trip was 4099 miles.

1 flat tire

$700 in damaged plastics + another $178 for a replacement tire.... ouch!

9 days of riding with just a bit of rain on 2 of them.

Lowest price/gal for Premium... $3.49 Casper, WY Exxon

Highest price/gal for Premium.. $4.48 right here at home, BP station

Lots of interesting people, and more fun that I've had in a while, even with the unfortunate body damage!

I tried to update earlier, but no matter what I wrote, it sounded like I was the worlds biggest whiner!!!

Do I replace the cracked and scuffed plastic???? It's only cosmetic... OR, do I just ride it and leave the damage as a symbol that my bikes get ridden and used????


  1. Oh, no! Poor Ninja. Glad you didn't get hurt much, pride aside. Well there is always something good in it, you did get home safely, right? So let the green monster wear its scars proudly. No need to patch up if it is just cosmetic. I would have it fixed when riding is affected though.

    1. Yes, I made it home with no problems, and yes, it's only cosmetic. No mechanical issues, and thankfully no injury to me... except pride.

  2. I'm in the "Leave It" camp (you should see my Ascot) but you'll have to know if it's within your tolerance zone. As you've mentioned, if the plastic didn't cost 1/3 the price of a new bike, it would be easier to justify putting new pieces on.

    Welcome home!

    1. Thanks Doug. I'm leaning towards "leave it". I really don't want to spend the $$$ on repairs. I will replace the tire though.
      Thanks for the link to the pump @ looks good

  3. I thought you had installed frame sliders on your bike? Getting a flat tire during a road trip is one of my nightmares. Sorry to hear about the damaged plastics.

    Riding My Own Biography
    NINJA ZX-14 MotoVlog

    1. I had wondered about sliders for the bike. I have them on my FJR. It would be interesting to know how much plastic might have been saved with sliders, and if having the rear wheel off might have changed the outcome?

  4. Bummer about the bike falling over! I dunno about fixing or not, my Connie has some scars from falling over (same side both times) and I haven't fixed it. But they don't show so much on a silver bike - your green is gorgeous...

    I highly recommend carrying a portable compressor on a trip. I have mine with me always and have used it a number of times on my bike and others'.

    1. I've been working on my chronic over packing for years. I think there's room for either an electric pump or a small foot pump.

      I think if I had an easier way to inflate the tire, I'd feel better about the glueless plugs.

  5. Mate, I was looking forward to a good read, but after the dropping the bike incident it was all down hill.

    Maybe next time grab a cable tie from the guys at the shop and zip tie it around the throttle and squeeze in the front brake and do it up tight. The bike can't roll forward then. Just a tip.

    Sucks to have your nice shiney bike with scratches on it. Hope your hiney cans didn't get scratched as well. Only person who can tell you what to do about the plastic damage is you i'm afraid. If it was me and it looked bad, I'd probably replace it, but if it didn't look to bad then I'd probably leave it.

    1. I didn't notice any damage to the exhaust, but I'll have to look closer. When I change tires in the garage, the blocks I use are lower. The tall ones I had to use changed the angle of the stand enough to make it too easy to push forward. I like the zip-tie on the brake idea.

  6. Another tip, I carry a ratchet strap to tie the center stand to the front wheel or forks to prevent the center stand from folding. This is even more important since I usually need to remove the front wheel to get the rear wheel out. Me, I'd leave the scratched plastic on until it really gets damaged.

    1. Another good idea with the strap.!

      I'm leaning to "leave it" too.

  7. It sounds like a great trip other than the unfortunate flat and bike nap.

    I'd be inclined to leave the plastics. Can the scratches be buffed so they don't show too much?

    Ummm haven't they been replaced once before? To change color? I seem to remember you adding more green.

    And if anyone asks about the scratches - tell them it was the previous owner.

    1. Yes, after last years nap in the gas station lot, I replaced the black lowers with green. This time it got the lowers, the middle section, and the large section the holds the windshield. 3 pieces= $700 yikes! I'll probably clean it up and ride it scratched.

  8. my Raider has hail dents on the tank, stone chips up front, scratches and wear marks here and there. Each has a story... Each is a memory, like a photograph.

    If it's a SHOW bike, repair the damage. If it's an "Adventure" machine... leave the patina.

    1. Brian, it wasn't really a show bike, but it was pretty much spotless! I'll probably leave it..... patina.... nice!

  9. Erik:

    I'd say to leave the battle scars. surely a sign of bravery . . .

    Two months after I purchased my Vstrom New I had an "incident" and my crash bars slid on the gravel scratching some plastic. Hardly noticeable to anyone, but I cringe every time I see it. My side cases are scratched too but that's what decals are for. I can donate some decals if you need any

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Hummmmm, decals, spray truck bed liner... many ways to hide it I guess.