Limpio Has Entered The Building (Home Safe)

Limpio has entered the building, trip total for 21 days of riding (23 days if I count the 2 days spent on the shift linkage mechanical and trade up fix) is 7,087 miles total for the trip (6,117* miles on Sucio and 970* miles on Limpio).

This vacation was my longest ever, and I’ll never forget it. Thank you Florida for stupid labor laws. I plan to do this every year although it’ll probably be 2 weeks instead of 3.

“So like the new bike?” Has got to be the number one question asked in the past few days.

Ok, well the Road Glide was beyond imagination. 80-90 mph on stretches was so easy, with music too! Such a superior bike for longer, faster rides.

I need to add an adjustable H-D back rest (I’ll need it once the sissy bar bag is removed). Definitely need to get a 2″ higher handlebar (the sweep back grip angle made my wrist sore after a couple days). Not sure I need to get a taller windshield, since air flow is already excellent.

The Street Bob was enjoyable but at speeds up to 50-60 mph. Anything higher and I found myself holding my left arm across my chest to help eliminate buffeting. It can not be fixed with a larger windshield. It can not be fixed with side spoilers. A Batwing would have helped since as far as I know those don’t come with vents to cancel the vacuum, which is the root cause of buffeting.

Having tried both a Street Glide and Road Glide at highway speeds, I found that even though both models’ fairing have vents, only the Road Glide was comfortable at 80-90. I’m sure the Road Glide would have done better than the Streer Glide with side winds since the fairing is attached to the frame but I never got a chance to test that (read several reviews that mention that).

Do I wish I had both bikes? Yep. I won’t be using the Road Glide to commute. So I won’t put 16,000 miles per year on it. But I do plan to do a whole lot of riding, and that riding will be quality long distance stuff. Like the past few weeks.

Thanks to Jim Colley and Merle Fisher for letting me latch on for a couple days, and to so many other people who I met during the last few weeks, and for all the cheers and support here on Facebook. Kudos to every Harley-Davidson shop who helped me with supplies, service, parts, and advice.

Huge huge thanks to Kenny “BB” Waller at Rock City Harley-Davidson who tolerated my borderline shyster level negotiation. He actually saw me come in the previous day for a bandana, and had me pegged for a trade in. Karma is a thing. He saw me the next day when I had Sucio towed, and he read my mind on what bike I wanted. Aha! I see what he did! LOL

*Sucio’s miles don’t exactly align with Fuelly pics.

*Limpio had 4 miles when I bought it.

First Two Days With Limpia

DAY ONE (Friday; 382 miles):

At the 50 mile mark Limpia lived up to her name. It started raining heavily and she asked if we could hang out at an overpass until it ended. Limpia showered yesterday, so of course I said yes.

This gave me a more time to study the navigation center console. Wow it’s packed with functions. I never knew the radio had were Weather Bands!

Apparently I hit a button that shows me current music track rather than speed limit. Fixed. I also had to figure out how to get audio turn by turn. Fixed.

Searching for songs/albums/artists is as good as it gets for now, since I’m sporting a half helmet, so can’t ask Siri for help. I see a Full Face helmet in my very near future. 🙂

Cruise control is very simple to start/set/stop, and boy am I using it on long stretches. Switching between functions is a bit convoluted but got that sorted out too.

I am happy to report the hard saddle bags are fully sealed. Not a drop of water got in, even in pouring rain at 80mph. And man they are huge compared to the Pelicans I had on the Dyna Street Bob.

The handlebar grips are angled a little too inward. My wrists are complaining a bit. Is it possible to get carpal tunnel on a bike? Adding slightly higher bars with less offset to the list. Maybe 10 degrees.

DAY TWO (Saturday, 233 miles):

I got up early to go to Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson, to get a Jiffy Stand Extension Kit, since I could barely reach it. Now I can reach it with my heel to extend, and my toe to bring it back. This was a stress point for me, where I’d somewhat panic if I couldn’t find it the first time. Now, no problem. #wipesBrow

I took my time today, did a bunch of slow speed turns to force myself to get used to it. . One more day of riding from Tallahassee, FL to Ocoee, FL tomorrow. I also stopped at a few overpasses when rain got heavy. In one spot there was a couple on the other side of the highway, also under the overpass. We exchanged peace signs so we could get selfies, from across the highway, like anyone would care. LOL

One more day on the road. From Tallahassee, FL, to Ocoee, FL. Roughly 250 miles.

No Relive route to publish today.

Bye Sucio…Hiya Limpia

Before I head out this morning thought I’d share a picture of Limpia, who replaces Sucio. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you have all the details.

I’m having breakfast, before putting the sissy bar bag on and hitting the road again. So far I’m extremely impressed with the fixed fairing design. Not only is the bike easier to handle (once your brain processes how it works), but believe everything you hear about the brilliant air flow design.

Harley-Davidson did their homework and deserve kudos for putting to rest buffeting at high speeds. How effective is the design? How about my sending a feature request to the company to give us a “Hey asshat, slow the fuck down before you get a ticket! This isn’t a drag race ya know!” alarm if we go over 80.

When I picked up the bike around 3pm it was late enough to reset expectation on how many miles I would do the next day (today). My original 300-400 mile plan for a full day was supposed to become a 150-200 mile late day.

Thanks to all of Harley-Davidson’s wind tunnel work, I hit 270 miles without realizing it. It was starting to get dark, my only indicator that it was time to look for a cheap hotel to rest up for the next day.

I could have gone on another few hundred miles if it wasn’t so late. I was going 80 or so along the straightaways, with the (stock) stereo volume at 60%. I was jamming and singing along without any buffeting. I can’t believe the difference.

To be fair to traditional fairing bike owners, I test drove a few Street Glides before I ever tried a Road Glide. It was OK, I’m sure I’d invite a Street Glide to prom night over a Road Glide. Heck I would even bring a Street Glide home to meet the parents.

The Road Glide is a different animal. Your parents warned you about Road Glide. The one that corrupts your mind and soul. The one that has you doing crazy shit just because you can. The one that transforms you.

Will update later once I have a few hundred more miles on the saddle.

Shift Linkage Doohicky Be Broke

So in my last few miles on Tuesday, I found myself stuck in 3rd gear, because my Shift Linkage broke.

I found myself having to take stop and take off in 3rd gear, which I’m not sure is good for the bike. Even worse, once I got to the hotel parking lot, I had to turn off the bike while in 3rd gear, knowing I wouldn’t be able to start the bike again, since it only starts while in Neutral. Once I got to my room I started to look for the nearest Harley-Davidson shop, turned out to be Rock City Harley-Davidson in Little Rock, AK.

I got up early and called them once they opened to ask for a tow. At the very least I didn’t want to hang around the hotel after checking out. They picked up me and the bike by 0930. Spent the next couple hours trying to source the required replacement Shift Linkage, but amazingly nobody within a 100 mile radius had the part we needed. Wow, and this is a 2017 Street Bob!

Spent all morning looking, and by afternoon I started to wonder if it could be that the bike I planned to buy next Summer might in fact be bought today? I’ve been planning on getting a 2019 Road Glide, base model plus ABS and Navigation options. I promised myself I would wait two years to see if I really enjoyed motorcycling. I figured if I rode 6,000 miles per year, I’m serious. Well after 2 years later I have more than 33,000 miles, even though I only tracked 32,020 miles using Fuelly.

A salesman walked over and asked what if I had a specific model in mind. I told him I wasn’t ready to buy, was only there for a mechanical issue. Plus, it didn’t look like they had what I wanted in stock. Would you believe he took me to the storage area and there it was. 2019 Road Glide, in Vivid Black, with ABS and Navigation, with 4 miles on the odometer.

Wow. Really? Did I wobble into the Twilight Zone? Arc Murphy? Perfect Storm?

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I took some time to reflect on things. I’m already past the 2 year mark. I’ve already proven to LOVE motorcycling. It was at that moment I knew I was going to buy it, and we started what turned into a 3 hour negotiation. I’m quite an effective negotiator, and after the first round, they figured that out. So they knew they had to make some miracles happen.

They knocked $1K off the base price, and extended the warranty to cover 4 years. That was a good start. I was able parlay and get an OEM sissy bar and docking kit, and nut protectors (is that what they’re called?). The financing contract gave me $2K of wiggle room for any upgrades. I was able to get the Stage 1 upgrade, grips, windshield pouch, and LED signal/brake lights. They squeezed that all into the negotiated price plus $2K.

When the time came to sign the paperwork, I did what I normally do, got GAP coverage ($5K), Theft coverage ($1,500), paint/chrome/finishing repairs ($5K), not to mention the 2yr additional warranty that was already thrown in during initial negotiation. I’m glad I spent several hours negotiating, what I didn’t tell them was I had the local FL shop on the phone trying to match things…they tossed in the towel early. 🙂

So tomorrow I pick up the 2019 Road King, and spend the next few days riding home. I’m cancelling the Tail Of The Dragon leg of this trip. I need to spend a few months getting acclimated to the new bike before taking on that monster. Then in the Fall I’ll plan a week long trip just to go there. By then I’ll be used to the bike’s handling. #safetyFirst

A few buddies asked “Why Road Glide?” Because Harley-Davidson invested a significant amount of time and effort doing wind tunnel testing to give that model the best wind protection. Frame mounted fairing to handle cross winds and lighten steering effort, and provide a significantly bigger vacuum envelope for the rider.

So the decision was made purely based on comfort and control, which combined makes riding safer and more fun. It took months of research and testing the different models on the highway, very happy to have taken the leap, and to have picked this model.

Once I get home, I’ll have an idea which of my planned tweaks to hit first from the list, sizes of stuff pending:

To the lucky person who buys Sucio, many happy miles…the sun sets on her…

No route today.

Oklahoma City to Little Rock

Rode from the spot where that asshole killed 168 people in 1995, to the place where the most famous sexual predator got his start in politics.

Today’s ride was supposed to be 300 miles but took a couple side trips to replace my bandana, after it decided to sit on my extremely hot pipes.

Found the new bandana at Rock City Harley-Davidson. They have the famous custom Alka Hauler on display. Amazing piece of work.

Found a cheap hotel room at Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Bryant (Little Rock), AR – Bryant…they had me at English Breakfast!


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New tire, then Amarillo to Oklahoma City

Got up early enough to enjoy breakfast at one of my favorite cheap hotels, Baymont by Wyndham Amarillo East, while I called some more motorcycle shops to see about getting my back tire replaced. Three states, and not a single shop had the Michelin Commander 2 in 160/70-17B.

Well, this morning I got lucky. Tripp’s Harley-Davidson in Amarillo had the exact tire in that size. Boy did I get lucky. I swear I got there 15 minutes before they opened and they already had a dozen bikes lined up for service. Yes, the Freewheeler next to mine has a laundry hamper bungee corded down. No, I didn’t ask. LOL.

Here is a side by side picture, before and after. Thanks to an old Army buddy for the good advice, in preparing for Tail Of The Dragon.

I took off on today’s 300 mile trip from Amarillo, TX to Oklahoma City, OK. Standing temperature reached 102, which felt like 108, not even factoring the wind at 80 mph.

I stopped every hour, to hit the bathroom and to rehydrate. I was pleasantly surprised the water in the flask was still cool, even after an hour in over 100 degree weather. One of the rest stops had signs up warning folks to stay away from the grass and rocks. Because. Rattle Snakes.

At one gas station some dude pulled up with a fine example of Duct Tape use #5403.

Today’s route amounted to just under 300 miles, as always I forgot to start Relive when I left the hotel.


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Slab’n it to Tail Of The Dragon (part deux)

Before I left on Interstate 40, I took a moment to do some math. If I head out today, from Santa Fe, NM to Amarillo, TX, that would leave me at a spot with 1,800 miles to go…1,200 miles to get to Tail Of The Dragon, and then another 600 miles to get home.

This means that starting tomorrow (Monday), I can do 300 miles per day, and have time to enjoy (endure?) Tail Of The Dragon. Monday through Sunday is seven days, so six days at 300 miles per day seems like the perfect way to wind things down.

That’s assuming I don’t get wiped out by one of those Darwin Award candidates ripping through the turns on racing bikes, or a trust fund kiddie in dad’s Ford GT.

I had 260 miles or so to do today, so I hit the slab, keeping to <redacted> MPH. On one of the gas stops I had to wait 20 minutes for a windmill fan blade to negotiate a parking spot on the side of the road. Pretty friggin’ amazing riding past one of these blades.

The driver happened to be a mechanical engineer, and even he said the amount of engineering that went into designing the blade is staggering. He wouldn’t tell me what the blades cost. I told him my guess is “too fucking much since they are paying mechanical engineers to drive the trucks”.

He didn’t think it was funny. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On a gas stop I took a really close look at my back tire. Geez, yea, it looks like it might just make it home, but hoping to replace it before I get to Tail Of The Dragon. Even though I plan to take it easy, I want to make sure I have maximum traction.

On a side note, that’s the same tire I rode back in October when I relocated from Simi Valley, CA to Ocoee, FL. I hit 32,504 miles at today’s last gas stop. So that means I have about 20,000 miles on that tire!

I’m a believer in what they say about the durability of the Michelin Commander 2. Roughly twice as many miles as the OEM tire, which I replaced at 12,000 miles.

Today’s route:

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Slab’n it to Tail Of The Dragon

Ok I spent a week getting to the Mid West, and a week meandering all over the place. After yesterday’s off-road technically challenging (read: WFT was I thinking?!) ride, I promised myself, if my arms don’t fall off in the morning, I’m going to do the Tail Of The Dragon.

I slept in today, and stopped at Chili Hills in Moriarity for the requisite yummy breakfast (brunch?).

Hitting the road for the next few days to get to Deals Gap in North Carolina to do the notorious Tail Of The Dragon.

This video should scare the crap out of mere mortals:

Tail of the Dragon – The most intense, epic, nauseating video you will see in the next 12 minutes!

I’m not a tourist, and so not into souvenirs. However I might make an exception if the shop has these posters for sale. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll survive. If not I made arrangements so those who have been good to me over the years (unfortunately that does NOT include members of my dysfunctional family) will get all my shit including life insurance. LOL

I’ll be taking Interstate 40 to get there. With luck and no mechanicals (other than getting my rear tire replaced along the way), I’ll be posting pictures and any weird stuff I may encounter.

I heard there were a number of Big Foot sightings over at Tail Of The Dragon, not sure I’ll be able to post any pics.

And off I go!

Short Day But Technically Challenging

With checkout at Noon, I had a chance to wash the week’s worth of clothing. During the wash and dry cycles, I made a few calls to see if any local shops carry the Michelin Commander 2 rear tire (160/70 17B), even though it should make it back to Florida. No luck, so I’ll have to check the next town I’m passing through.

I knew this would be a short day so I looked for a shorter but challenging ride. Found Sandia Mountains, specifically Sandia Crest, which is a paved road that snakes its way up to 10,679′. Lots of challenging turns, but it didn’t really feel like I got a good technical day in. That’s when I took a closer look at the map and found there is an attached road that is much more technical, but its a gravel road. I’m fine with gravel. So I went ahead and rode through it.

Well, let me tell you, 165 looked like your run of the mill gravel road. But after a few miles, it looked like a WWII bombed road. It got really challenging, and stayed that way for miles. At times I felt like getting off and carrying the bike…wait…its a Harley. I thought for sure the bike was going to go down, at SEVERAL spots along that gravel road. But I was able to negotiate all the rough parts, got back to the main road with sore arms. I wonder how the bottom of the bike looks, since I bottomed out a couple dozen times.

Red is all paved. Blue started as paved, until I went on to 165.

The view from the top of Sandia Crest was pretty amazing. Even if the valley itself is already 4,000′ above sea level.

The view was even nicer along 165, although you couldn’t really stop, for fear of having a hard time getting started again.

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Tomorrow my destination is likely a place that has the Michelin Commander 2 tire. 🙂


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Thu & Fri: Maintenance, Laundry, and Rest

I’m combining Thursday and Friday, since I needed to catch up on some stuff.

Early Thursday I went to Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson. The picture at the top of this blog post shows they’ve got a very clever sculpture outside, made of a piece of rusting steel (the tree trunk), and what is quite likely stock pipes that never made it to the dumpster. Very impressive!

First, the new highway peg mounts and pegs I installed needed to be aligned properly. After 15 minutes the techs at the dealer had the highway pets in the perfect location for those long stretches of slab. Position is everything.

Next is my fucking clutch. I’ve been tolerating the issue (can’t shift into Neutral when stopped) since I had the apes installed. This time I asked them to adjust it *and* show me how to do it if I’m on the road and have issues later. Turned out to me easier than I thought, simply turn the collar at the clutch cable where it enters the clutch handle body.

Next was a trip to REI for supplies.

First, I needed to replace my new Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger, as it turned out the one I bought was from a bad batch and wouldn’t hold a charge after a couple days. REI told me when I bought it, and said I can go to any REI if it fails, to get it swapped it no questions asked. Their word is gold, I was in and out in 10 minutes.

I actually would have been out in 5 minutes, but while I was there I bought a 40 oz Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle. This will replace the cheap plastic water bottles that keep getting crushed when I attach them to sissy bar bag (basically I slide them through the nets and bungee cords).

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I kicked off Friday with a great breakfast at a local diner, mmmmm….

Walking back to the bike, saw a ride I’ll never ever try. Its a “Zip Line” (not “Zip Tie” as I mentioned in the video).

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Thanks to a biker buddy, while I passed through Winslow, AZ, I went ahead and stood on the corner. I saw a flat bed Ford, but didn’t see the girl.

On Friday I planned to go to Santa Fe. If I’m luck I might run into Holly Holm and get a selfie! Um, I’ll pass on the head kick though. Update: the team are on the road, didn’t get to meet any of them.

On Friday I also had a chance to stop at Petrified Forrest National Park. Been there before, so didn’t bother spending too much time there. If you’ve never been there, its quite a fascinating experience.

The entrance has an awesome piece of petrified wood. Not sure I’d ever notice it if I found it out in the woods. Pretty amazing.

Window Rock has some awesome scenery, unfortunately I was late so didn’t get to do much more than take a picture.

I really lucked out using the Hotels app on my iPhone. Since it was 8 PM, I looked for cheap hotels in Albuquerque, NM and found a $299 room for $60. As it turned out, the folks who booked weren’t able to make it. The hotel comped them half their cost, and charged me $60.

Lemme see…warm breakfast with a three hour window…laundry facilities…checkout is at Noon…what’s not to like?

No route to post unfortunately…I accidentally deleted it. I remember it was 355 miles. I reached out to the Relive folks, to strongly request a way to “undelete” an event, they’re still recovering from their Strava falling out.

Arizona I Am In You

Today was one of the highlights of my trip. I love traveling through the Mid West, especially through Navajo Nation. Never got a chance to meet their President Jonathan Nez but sent him a tweet to see if he is around as I pass through his area later today.

Thought I’d blog about choice of riding clothing in extremely hot weather. Its easy to get complacent and not realize the sun will fucking wreck your shit if given the chance. Here are two things you’ll need to protect yourself.

First, protect your arms. Sure you can wear a flannel shirt. Looks cool but it flaps all the time and your arms don’t get the feeling of the wind that makes motorcycling so awesome.

I always pack a pair of white Pearl Isumi Sun Sleeves. You’ll feel the air without catching all those dangerous rays (50 SPF), and your arms will feel cool even though its 100+ degrees. They take up almost no space, are easy to put on and take odd, so it’s a no brainer. Oh, they come in different colors, but if considering why we use these, I go with white.

Second, well, it only really applies to half and open face helmets (although full face would leave the back of your neck exposed). Get yourself a tube style bandana to keep the sun, bugs, and dirt off your face and neck. I’ve used Mato & Hash over the years but there are lots of options.

Some pictures from today’s ride:

Today’s route:

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400 miles, Meandering Day

Today was a mix of fast, slow, and meandering riding as I headed West.

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535 Miles With Jim and Merle

Sunday was a rest day. Here is today’s ride.

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Threading the Needle, Take Two

Yesterday I did Needles Highway (SD-87) from North to South. I went to sleep frustrated because I took my GoPro HERO 7 Black with me but I wasn’t prepared for this last minute route.

So after a good night’s sleep, I decided to thread that needle again. This time I went from South to North, since I wanted to swing through Sturgis Harley-Davidson. Since my right highway peg disappeared, pretty sure someone swiped it. So things sort of fell into place.

This time I took some time to prepare. Now that the RAM Offset Reservoir Cover Ball Base is gone (see a previous post where it caused leaks), and I never bought the RAM Ball Adapter for GoPro Base (didn’t seem secure enough), I had to come up with a way to mount the GoPro.

I had to swap my iPhone for the GoPro, since both use RAM Mounts stuff. I had to move the GoPro Rail Base that I used to mount the iPhone (to the bottom of the ape hanger) to near the top of the ape hanger. I used my favorite RAM Composite Double Socket Swivel & Ratchet Arm, to position the GoPro.

I took a few minutes to level the GoPro, and to tweak the settings to get a decent 1080p by 60fps by 16:9 video resolution, enable SuperView, and enable HyperSmooth. I am powering the GoPro off of a Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger (buddy recommended) using a X~PWR-H5 48″ All-Weather External Power Kit to make the kit weather proof.

The five videos total around 8gb, but for this blog I trimmed it down to three clips, one clip per tunnel.

Iron Creek Tunnel:

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Needle’s Eye Tunnel:

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Hood Tunnel:

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To give you an idea how incredibly narrow these tunnels are, take a look at this video that showcases the talent of these bus drivers.

Today’s route:

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Threading the needle

I was going to go to Sturgis today but figured I’d just be watching a bunch of bikers drinking. Myea. Nope. Didn’t come here for that.

Went to grab a bite and got pinged by someone following my blog. He recommended Needles Highway, or SD-87. Wow am I glad I checked it out.

Didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures of the three *really* tight tunnels we had to go through. One was barely 8 feet wide, and two of three were single lane. All three were awesome. Here is Wikipedia shot:

On the first tunnel a mountain goat held up traffic. The nerve of the bastard, drinking water flowing across the road. The most exciting part of that was watching it jump 10′ or more up the rocks after he interrupted us.

A small group asked me if I knew how far the nearest gas station was. He was out of gas. I let him have the 30oz out of my fuel bottle since I had over 1/2 tank left, plenty to get through the ride.

After the climbing and threading the needle, stayed on 87 towards Hot Springs. I planned on camping but today ran late so cheap hope it is!

In the last few miles I ran into two Bison (figuratively speaking), ran over a chipmunk (like literally…*crunch*), and nearly hit a deer (scared it off with my pipes!).

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My favorite part of Needles Highway were all the rocks. These things stood up as if something nasty happened millions of years ago. I hope when the next nasty event happens, it ends human life on earth quickly.

The route included what I think might be the first 240 degree turn I ever saw.

Todays route:

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