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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I’m shocked

I have no idea why I waited so long to do this. The dealer told me “you’ll want to upgrade your shocks at some point”, and I guess I didn’t think about it until after my cross country relocation. Fast forward a few months, and after researching, studying, and asking folks who have upgraded shocks on their FXDB.

I decided to go with the Progressive 490 Sport Series (12.5″). Cheaper than some of the other brands, and it gives the rebound adjustment I wanted. Not bad for $679 retail (I actually got a lower price after Veterans discount) at JP Cycles in Daytona. I had them installed by Anarchy Motorcycles in nearby Winter Garden.

After spending a couple weekends dialing it in, I can confirm that the dealer was right. No upgrade makes for a more comfy ride than getting better shocks (rebound adjustment for the win!). They look nice, but they’re definitely not “bling”. 🙂

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Out with the old, in with the new…

My engine guard had been an eye sore for the past year or so when I bought it at Harley-Davidson in California. I needed something for a long technical ride I was going on, but the only one they had in stock was the grandpa styled oval-ish chrome model. It fit, but man it was fugly.

I finally broke down and ordered a Lindby Customs, Inc. Multibar in black.

It took me two weeks just for the research alone. Lindby states on his site this bar is only good for mid-controls. Ok…so I have Harley-Davidson’s further-forward controls that move my feet roughly 2″ forward.

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I pinged Lindby and they strongly advised that I don’t buy the Multibar, since they are ONLY for mid-controls. Their reason, your feet might hit the Multibar, since it mounts to your forward-controls holes on your frame.

I spent a week doing all kinds of measurements and calculations, and finding riders on Dynas who had the Multibar installed. Several had further-forward controls and had plenty of space, even with size 10-12 feet! Heck, I wear size 8 so I took the chance.

I’m glad I did, there’s PLENTY of space, no way in hell my feet would ever hit the Multibar, even if I have my highway pegs extended. So happy I took the plunge!

An ape walked into a bar…

I’ve spent the past few months trying to decide what I’m going to do for ape hangers.

After sitting on 100+ Dynas (with owners’ permission of course!) I decided I need 16 or 17″ bars for my hands to be at shoulder height (when sitting properly <wink>)…ended up going with 16″.

Southern Cycles is handling the install as I type. The bar is a HardDrive Fat-Z. I wanted the width to be 32″ or less, these are 31.5″ wide.

I’m having the front signal lights relocated to the fork, and the silver mirrors replaced with black mirrors, mounted under the bars.

Here are a couple of pics of the technician doing the install.

Will polish off this post once I’m on the road with the new ape hangers. 🙂

BrBrBrBrBr!!!! Loud pipes!!!

Ok, time to get those Vance & Hines Straightshot slip-ons replaced with something that sounds better (read: louder).

After spending a few weeks researching, observing, asking, hearing…decided on the Vance & Hines Hi-Output 2-into-1 Short in black.

Southern Cycles in Apopka handled the install, they were the only shop able to source the pipes. They did a beautiful job, the pipes look great!

Next on the list, 16″ ape hangars and Linby Custom Multibar…stay tuned…

Big Al’s saddlebags – hellllooooo rain!!!

For 2019 I decided to finally take care of some mods that have been on my to-do list for quite some time. Sorry Sucio, time for a facelift. 🙂

Sprockets Speed Shop in Orlando handled the install, which included relocating the license plate and rear brake/signal lights.

I had a Performance Machine air intake installed, with a Vance & Hines Fuel Pack FP3 for proper tuning of course.

Here’s Sucio after the facelift. 🙂

I spent an afternoon and a tank of gas getting auto tuning finished.

I’m so glad I picked this saddlebag solution…its incredibly practical, not a drop of water gets in, and 20% more space than the crap Viking bags that were installed (tossed them in the dumpster). 🙂

Intervention, Rollin’ Heavy, and Walking Cranes

I finally got to ride with a group,…woohoo!!! :):):)

Joined Asphalt & Iron on their ride through the Ocoee National Forest.

Wow they are huge with more than 6K members. We met up at Wawa. Apparently that’s a favorite group meetup point. Rough guess, close to 200 bikes were there. I was like, what did I get myself into?!

As small groups took off, I realized it’s just a popular starting spot for bike groups. When we left we had a group of 14 bikes, probably around 20 people. They are quite an adept bunch. Very smooth, predictable, and respectful.

It was a sweet ride, the air smelled fresh and there was so much incredible scenery. The sky was crystal blue with lots of Herons and Egrets flying by. We had to stop at one point to allow a couple of them to walk across the road. We rode by a LOT of ponds and lakes

After 70 or so miles we stopped at Black Bear Pub for lunch. I’m usually the guy in the corner check work emails and surfing Facebook. I was doing that until I was hit with INTERVENTION!!!

A few of the women on the ride scolded me for behaving like an outcast – they weren’t having it.

I was under duress so I started to talk. Not always a good thing if you know me. I guess that whole intervention thing works. I need to learn more about this strange phenomenon “socializing”.

We head out again. Along some of the stretches a few of us have a bit of calculated fun accelerating along some long stretches. On one stretch the couple ahead of me take off and a bandana nearly hit me, I came so close to catching it!

Later I found out it was a 20 year old bandanna that has a lot of memories attached to it. The group didn’t stop to get it. The whole thing reminded me of a viral video…

https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/video/man-pranks-wife-while-driving-in-their-car/vi-AAz13lW

We ended up at Shovelhead Lounge where an amazing group Rollin’ Heavy played through midnight. Two guitarists, one bassist, a drummer, and a lead singer. I’ve got to tell you, they absolutely nailed it! It would have been a successful bootleg recording!

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All along the ride at all the stops I had my usual Pepsi or Coke. Hypoglycemia sucks. I don’t respond well to alcohol, unless it is (up to) one beer after a good meal, and ONLY if I’m not riding

The music was sooo good it reminded me of a Monsters Of Rock that I went to in Nürenberg in the early 80’s.

It started getting late so I head out. When I got home I posted the group’s expected “Got home safe” post on their Facebook page. I passed out and woke up Sunday afternoon

I checked my trip odometer and saw I had 205 miles for the day. Not too shabby!

I’m looking forward to doing this again!

CVMA, DD-214, and Michelin Man

Funny thing happened on my way to join the local chapter fo the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association as a Supporting member, since I did not see combat in my US Army 1979-85 stint. I decided to leave my leather vest at home, since I never wear patches. I decided a long time ago if I ever wear patches, it would be in support of our US Military.

So I head out on the 30 or so mile trek from home (Ocoee, FL) to Seminole Harley-Davidson in Sanford, FL. Its a beautiful day, mostly clear blue sky. I’m doing about 10 over the speed limit, low enough to not be pulled over (hopefully), and sadly slower than most of the traffic around me.

So I’m in Interstate 4 wearing my favorite Harley Davidson short sleeve shirt. You know, the one with snaps instead of buttons. Funny how that thing ballooned on the highway when the wind hit me. Felt like the Michelin Man! It was funny, but also annoying, I felt like it was slapping me on the chin, ala Nate Diaz.

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I didn’t mind it too much, except I figured I looked really stupid.

When I arrived at the dealer, I locked the bike, grabbed my application papers, and when I reached into my shirt pocket that’s when I noticed my Passport, DD-214, California Motorcycle Registration, and California Firearm Registration were gone.

Well, shit.

I got to the dealer and asked around to see if I could find the group. Nobody heard of CVMA or Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Strange. I posted to their Facebook page, got a few responses. They were upstairs, so I headed there. Found they were meeting in an office, with some folks in the hallway.

Turns out I wasn’t able to join since I needed a paper copy of my DD-214. I have a picture of it that I took to send to the Orlando Harley dealer (inquiring about discounts). But CVMA won’t accept a picture. Oh well, rules are rules. So I’ll need to request more copies, although I have two more copies in my car (which I haven’t shipped to FL yet).

I’m just relieved the really important stuff like my California Drivers License, my US Homeland Security Global Entry card (which required my DD-214), credit cards, medical cards, etc., were all safely stored in my wallet, chained to my belt loop.

I ordered a new Passport and a new DD-214. Not sure if I’ll need to order a copy of my California registration for the Harley, since I have 30 days from Oct 22 to get it registered in FL. As far as the California firearm registration, well, Kamala Harris can suck fierce arctic moose dick.

I guess I won’t be able to go to the CVMA Florid Rally this coming weekend. With only a few months of riding weather, well, sucks what a gust of wind can do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Day 7: Florida, I am in you

Odometer is at 20,500 miles…I made it to third base! 😄

Route:

I took the lower route, starting with the 10, then the 20, then meandered until I got to Orlando, FL.

California to Arizona to New Mexico to Texas to Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama to Georgia to Florida.

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Hotels (includes taxes/fees):

  • $65.20 Oct 16 Days Hotel by Wyndham (Mesa, AZ)
  • $73.44 Oct 17 Red Roof Inn (Van Horn, TX)
  • $90.93 Oct 18 Plaza Inn (Big Spring, TX) *Unscheduled, work emergency*
  • $64.22 Oct 19 Days Inn by Wyndham (Irving, TX)
  • $46.30 Oct 20 Inn @ Meridian (Meridian, MS)
  • $57.43 Oct 21 Motel 6 (Macon, GA)
  • $74.10 Oct 22 Wingate by Wyndham Convention Center (Orlando, FL)

Meals:

I came in at under $50 per day for breakfast (McDonalds!), lunch (diners), dinner (supermarket food at hotel), water (lots), and snacks (mostly junk).

Mechanicals:

  • Handlebar lock cylinder rusted, I’ll hit it with WD-40 tomorrow (else Harley Davidson will need to replace it; has to match ignition lock key!).
  • USB/SAE adapter rusted pretty bad, I’ll need to revamp wiring to prevent that from happening next time.engineer-workflow

Gas mileage:

Looks like my average was in the high 30’s to the low 40’s. I felt like I was in a headwind all the way! I was trying to stay 10MPH above the speed limit, but I have to admit those long stretches of smooth road/highway begged me to go faster.

I hit 106 on one of those long Texas stretches. I realized on this trip that the reason my bike never got past 95 was because of cable slop. Comanche Cycles fixed the slop, now I hit 105 without any effort, at which point I back off since I’m a pussy.

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Learned:

  • Rain gear…buy it and use it and put it on BEFORE it rains.
  • Come up with a better solution for running SAE/USB cable to handlebar.
  • Viking Saddlebags are not waterproof. #wellDuh
  • Remember to bring small WD-40 and a roll of Duct Tape.
  • Bring more ziplock bags than you can imagine you’ll ever need (different sizes!).
  • 10 zip ties were not enough (really, maybe bring two sizes next time too!).
  • Be smarter about where you pack stuff (realized after second day I had to unpack/repack to make sure the stuff I needed was easiest to get to on the road).
  • Nets, nets, and more nets…needed third net to attach second helmet to sissy bar.
  • When merging onto the highway and the road is wet, try not to accelerate so fast (fishtailing was fun but in hindsight probably wasn’t the smartest thing).

Saddlemen:

I can’t say enough good things about this Saddlemen. Their S3500 bag is as bullet proof as they come, and WOW all those pockets! Their Step-Up LS gel seat felt sooo much better than the buckets found on touring bikes.

Place to live:

I arranged to rent a room before I left CA, but after a couple days I got a call from the home owner saying he had to pull the listing. He wanted to help displaced families (Hurricane Michael). He gave me some other options, very grateful to him for being honest and helpful.

I ended up finding a room for rent about 30 min from Celebration, FL. Rent is fair, and the neighborhood is really very nice. I can park my Harley Davidson in the garage, and I can park my Honda CR-V on the street once it arrives.

There’s probably more to write about, but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow I’m going to run some errands and get settled in. Then I go to the office on Wednesday.

Can’t wait to do this again!

Day 6: Heloooo sun!

Today is an SPF 50 day.

Crystal blue sky and cheap gas!

Crystal blue sky and cheap food.

Today is a 300 mile day so I adjusted the route to pass the Edmund Perth Bridge at the Alabama River. #bloodySunday

Today was fairly event free, except for the beauty of the sky during sunset. Full moon and all. I took lots of little breaks and side trips, after 5 days of hauling ass and dealing with some rain. Consider today a rest day. 🙂

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Day 5: Annie was right

The clouds finally gave way to sunlight. Not a lot, but enough to put the rain gear away. Got a late start today from Irving, TX, so it was about 2200CT when I got to Meridian, MS.

I needed to cover 500 miles, starting around Noon. I realized half way through today’s trip that I couldn’t see through my windshield.

Not ready to rinse Sucio down yet, so I used the bottle of Plexus I bought at CycleGear. It did wonders to the windshield, everything that was stuck to it came off without effort.

I made sure I wore my gloves so I didn’t get any of if on me (silicone product).

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Pretty sad that this was the highlight of a boring day, ey?

But wait, there’s more!

Four more seedy hotels, and I get my fifth for free! 🙂

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On a sad note, the liner on my drink holder flew off. I’ll get it replaced once I’m in FL.

Day 4: Rain, Sucio, rust, Kinfolk MC, Infidels MC

Odometer is at 19,211. Sucio is purring like a kitten, thanks to Comanche Cycles in Simi Valley, CA!

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Today’s route was pretty straight forward, even though the road was mostly straight, it had enough curves and slight rollers to keep it interesting. Not even close to being a big boring interstate:

Oh, it rained, just a bit. I’m loving Carrot for iOS , snark and all!

The rain ruined my iPhone charging setup. The SAE to USB adapter rusted out. So did the long cable I had attached to it. Both went into the trash.

I think I’ll use my power packs for now, and get the bike wired so the USB cable is under the seat as some have suggested.

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Is it me, or is Sucio looking happier than a pig in shit ?!

While I was at a gas station, I met some Kinfolk MC guys (1%) who were riding to Dallas. They allowed me to hang with them since I was heading in the same direction. Of course I stayed in back out of respect to their group.

This was the first time riding side by side, instead of staggered. Somehow it felt safer than staggered. Despite doing 75 on wet highway roads. It was an awesome experience.

On the next gas stop we saw some Infidels MC guys. For some reason I thought they were a 1% club too. I didn’t know what to expect. The guys in the two clubs didn’t know each other, but they were quick to meet and greet. Man the level of brotherhood was awesome to witness. #respect

The Kinfolk MC leader gave me his card, told me to keep in touch, and I do plan to. Out of respect I won’t show the other side that has the leader’s contact name and number. After topping off we headed back on the road and I peeled off a few miles later.

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The rest of the route from Simi Valley, CA to Orlando, FL is undefined at the moment. I decided to pick a route each morning, splitting the rest of the trip into 3 days. This way I can avoid any potential Category 4 hurricanes, and any roads that were swept out to sea.

Day 3: Rain, Odessa, and work

(Click on “Watch on Facebook”)

Today started with light rain. So much for weather forecasts.

I put on my rain jacket, but dummy me, forgot to put on the rain pants. Never knew how heavy a fully soaked pair of jeans can get. 🙂 Boots got soaked too, enough that I was able to pour out water once I got to a hotel.

I only did about 220 miles, since I got a call from my team asking me to stop and help fix a shell script. Figured I’d camp out here in Odessa. Found a cheap hotel room (*), logged in and resolved the issue.

Ordering food now. Hoping I can catch the new Myans M.C. episode.

Tomorrow I’ll complete the trip to Irving, TX, but I might extend it  a bit since I no longer need to stop there. I originally planned to possibly squat at our corporate office for a day.

(*) Hotels so far were $58 (Tue) and $67 (Wed) and $59 (Thu). All were 2 star; guest rating of 3.5 or higher.

 

 

Day 2: Late start, then drizzle

I got a late start today, unfortunately the only pictures I have are screenshots of the weather forecast (50 mph complete with snide remark, thanks Carrot!), and of the route (thanks Bad Elf!).

Thanks to a wealth of feedback and mentorship from Society of Riders, I have finally overcome my fear of riding in the rain.

That, and I was freezing my fucking ass off and wasn’t about to stop.

The first half of the ride went smoothly, humming along between 80-90 MPH, but it was sunny and dry (I try not to go more than 10 MPH over the speed limit).

The second half was rain, well, drizzle. So I slowed to 10 mph under the speed limit. That was, until other motorcyclists, cars, and truck zoomed past me at the speed limit (80 MPH) or faster. So I brought it back up to the speed limit and didn’t have a problem.

When I got within 100 miles of the Red Roof Inn in Van Horn, TX, the temp was dropping down to the mid 50’s. I stopped for gas one last time, and I bought a coffee. Well, the coffee ended up being free. The guy behind the counter was probably thinking “What kind of dumb fuck rides a motorcycle in the rain?”

This dumb fuck. I’m a firm believer in riding the shit out of my bike.

Plus, this all makes me a bad ass. 🙂

Well, unless you see someone riding a wheelie across the whole US. The. Whole. Fucking. Country.

Compared to him, I’m a pussy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Note to self…put on rain suit before it rains.