COUNTDOWN: 21 days left

21 days before the beginning of my 3wk road trip!

Planning my road trip to wherever is a lot of work. The route is the easy part. Avoid cities. Camp wherever possible to save money. Blog every day. Hope for good weather, be prepared for the worst weather.

For emergencies I have my Garmin inReach Explorer +, which supports GEOS (24/7/365 search & rescue), so if the shit hits the fan out in the middle of nowhere I’ll be able to get help. Paired with Garmin Earthmate iOS app and you’re ready for anything.

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I picked up an REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 tent and footprint, and a Big Agnes Dumont SL 30 sleeping bag (had my eye on it – who would’ve thought the price would go down 50%?!). I couldn’t believe how small these items were. The bag will easily slip into the sissy bar bag, the tent will have to be strapped on the outside.

I have no idea what route I’m taking, except that I plan to avoid states that don’t have a reciprocity agreement with Florida (sticking to the blue states).reciprocity

The biggest issue I have right now is I need to put my sissy bar back on to mount the sissy bar. This means my Pelican saddlebags will only open to 45 degrees. #firstWorldIssue

I’ll have to call Anarchy Motorcycles to schedule my 30,000 mile maintenance a little early,

Hello WordPress…goodbye Bluehost

I’ve been using donmontalvo.wordpress.com for years, and have been planning on transferring donmontalvo.com. I got an alert from Bluehost that my domain auto payment went through on July 5, so now I have a 60 day wait before I can transfer.

Not happy.

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I needed to get this done now so I called WordPress and was told I can use an A-record for now, until the 60 wait is over. At that point I’ll be able to complete the domain transfer. They helped me set things up in less than 10 minutes:

Changed nameservers to:

NS1.WORDPRESS.COM
NS2.WORDPRESS.COM
NS3.WORDPRESS.COM

Set A records to:

192.0.78.12
192.0.78.13

I’m a happy camper. I’ll be happier once the domain transfer is complete, so I can get rid of Bluehost once and for all.

If you want to blog, there’s only one game in town…WordPress (personal opinion).

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Dakota Digital MLX-3012-K

Whether its a car, or a motorcycle, speedometer design is important. When I bought my 2017 Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob (FXDB), the dealer upgrade the gauge so I could more easily see the RPMs. I love the upgraded gauge.

Or should I say I loved it. It had an issue fogging up in humid weather. Noticed it from the first month when I was in California, and the issue persists today. I called Harley-Davidson but didn’t get a response.

I did some research, and found this can happen to any speedometer, but folks who bought a Dakota Digital gauge have reported it doesn’t happen to them. Not sure what the difference is, but I’ve had enough of being on the highway and not being able to read the digital numbers at the bottom of the gauge.

Whether I’m checking the time, or the trip mileage, the fog in the gauge made it unusable. I decided the cost of a speeding ticket, or the inconvenience of running out of gas warranted looking into an alternative.

Looking through the Dakota Digital site, I found the model I need for my motorcycle is MLX-3012 (chrome) or MLX-3012-K (black). I was pleasantly surprised to find that every retailer was out of stock. To me, that means its a hot item!

I called Dakota Digital and they pointed me to Dennis Kirk, who had a couple in stock. Ordered it, should be in by Saturday. The instructions say its a straight swap, not sure yet if I’m going to risk doing this on my own. FWIW within a few minutes of ordering mine, the second one flew off the shelf.

It isn’t the prettiest display, but the numbers re huge, and you can customize colors, criteria to display, etc., and amazingly offers a Bluetooth app to manage these things!

Can’t wait, will post a full report once I get this baby installed and give it a whirl.

[UPDATE] Device arrived, installed it but it’s raining so didn’t get a chance to take photos of it installed yet.

The unit appears to be made of cast aluminum, and machines do the edges are smooth. Excellent workmanship.

The Harley-Davidson upgraded unit is a lot lighter, appears to be make entirely of plastic.

UPDATE: It’s installed! I set all the display items to white. There are a ton of possible display items, and colors, and even inverting the center of the display (for a white box and black characters). For now I’m displaying voltagegear, and time. Very happy with this baby!

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Rainy weekend mods

It was raining a few weeks ago so I did a couple mods that were on the back burner. I had Anarchy Motorcycles replace the derby cover.

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A month or so ago I swapped out the old chrome engine guard and highway pegs, I finally got a chance to circle back to replace the Harley-Davidson pegs with proper Kuryakyn Longhorn Offset Highway Pegs.

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Gas cap and gauge recap…apparently Arlen Ness gauge wasn’t CAN bus compatible. So replaced with Harley-Davidson, and couldn’t be happier.

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Fuck off love-bugs; hello Memphis Shades

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Having survived my first love-bugs season, I decided it was worth moving up from a 14″ to a 17″ windshield. I put that on the back burner because I wasn’t ready to spend another $400 on a Harley-Davidson brand 17″ windshield.

Then someone on hdforums.com pointed me to Memphis Shades‘ site, where you can buy a replacement windshield, while recycling the mounting hardware. I was ecstatic, since I’m a huge fan of Harley-Davidson’s fork clamps that leave nothing on the bike when detached (vs Memphis Shades’ unsightly clamps).

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A 17″ replacement windshield set me back $92 plus shipping. A couple days later, I spent an hour or so swapping the windshield. Boom! I had 3″ more clearance. As an added plus, the headlight cut-away gave me more options for raising/lowering the windshield. So I could lower it and be 2″ higher than the 14″. After playing with the placement I ended up 2.5″ higher than before, which is perfect.

The Memphis Shades windshield is made of Lucite Acrylic (harder to scratch; easier to shatter), where the Harley-Davidson windshield I’m swapping out uses Hard-coated Polycarbonate (harder to shatter; easier to scratch, although they coat theirs so not really sure).

Harley-Davidson’s windshield is about 10-15% darker as well, probably due to the material. I would say maybe it is age too, but I do remember when I installed it that it had that bit of density. The Memphis Shades windshield is as close to transparent as you can imagine.

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Memphis Shades windshields is about 30% thicker than Harley-Davidson windshields (took a close up of them side by side).

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So I had to move to the next longer bolt size, from .75″ to 1.0″, which meant I needed to use counter sunk washers for the nuts to set properly. I have to admit, the counter sunk washers do give it quite a custom look.

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If you have a Harley-Davidson windshield and plan to go to the next higher size, or lower size, or even if you’re just replacing a scratched one, go with Memphis Shades, you won’t be sorry. 🙂

I’m forking shocked

This was also on my “kick the can down the road” list, but front shocks really should have been one of my first mods, along with the rear shocks. Not much to report here, except they weren’t cheap, but they make a hell of a difference in several ways.

First, the decision came down to Progressive Monotube Kit and Legend Axeo cartridges. The difference between the two, well, I rode both on different bikes, so no conclusive way to tell a difference.

So I relied on reviews on as many sites as possible. The Progressives had a handful of complaints, nothing earth breaking, but a little bit concerning. The Legend had only one complaint, that there is no way to adjust without disassembly.

Progressives were $400, and Legends were $750. I usually try to go with the cheaper choice, but the negative reviews for the former led me to go with the later. Whether there’s a difference between the two in terms of performance, I’ll never know.

But I’ll rest soundly knowing I went with the one that had the best reviews.

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Key West weekend

I felt like getting away last weekend, but didn’t want to go too far. I wanted scenery but I also wanted to avoid crowds and expensive hotels. Someone suggested riding to Key West, and I realized it is the most southern part of the continental US.

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The solo trip was awesome. About half the ride was between Key Largo and Key West. The experience of riding across the ocean on a man made bridge was quite a thrill.

To prepare for the ride I removed my saddlebags and sissy bar, so I could fix the broken my left rear fender bracket. The front part snapped, so I ordered two new ones. Well when the new brackets came in, I decided they were crap (sorry Harley-Davidson!) compared with the ones that came with the 2017 Street Bob. :/

So I went to Lowes and bought a few stainless steel bolts, and came up with a much stronger solution. While I was at it I removed my sissy bar, and mounted the Pelican bags about 1.5″ higher. I noticed there was a bit of rub and wear where the shocks came up against the Pelican bags, so it was good to move things. Might miss the sissy bar though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This trip also helped me iron out some GoPro issues, such as constant power, mounting it high, keeping it level, dealing with multiple SD cards, and which SD cards to get. Learned a lot. The trip was fun, I plan to go back again in the Fall if the weather is nice.

I’d post some of the GoPro video but that would mean upgrading WordPress account. Um. Nope. 🙂 Well, here’s a screenshot of the 2.5 hour ride from Homestead, FL, thru Key Largo, to Key West. The best stretch of course was Key Largo to Key West, a bit over two hours each way…two very mellow and relaxing hours.

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