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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Day 10 and end of trip - 5408 miles total, according to bike's trip meter. the Relive i'll post later says lower mileage, but some of that is due to the map sometimes just drawing a straight line between 2 'pause' points instead of the actual mileage taken.

trip of a lifetime, but i'm glad it's over. factoring out lunch and fuel stops, for the first 2 and last 2 days of the trip i was on the road moving for 11-12 hours each day. during the middle, even though some days i was only getting 3-400 miles because of all the lower speeds i had to abide by, i was still in the saddle for at least 9 hours for those days. don't know why Tapatalk extremely downgraded some of the photos i uploaded, so i'll repost some of those in this following debrief or journal. and thanks to everyone for all the tips, comments, and interests you've provided. it's been really appreciated.



DAY 1:
didn't get out of the driveway before already hitting a snafu. the USB charger i installed is positioned so that a cable plugged in will get crushed against the tank if you turn the handlebar too far. really? first time using it. amazingly, it still worked for the entire trip so i could keep my phone charging.

2nd snafu was before my first fuel stop. i had researched much needed fuel stops along the route because i knew there were several extended passages along the way without any gas stations. i hadn't figured on needing to research along the interstate in Texas during my first day. i had been keeping the needle around 85mph and the fuel economy dips significantly after you pass 70mph. no worries, as i exited when i saw a sign for gas somewhere near Roosevelt, TX. except there was no gas station in this 'town' of nothing. i could backtrack 20 miles to the previous station since it was doubtful i could make the 38 miles to the next town, but i hate backtracking. my gauge was already on the "no fuel" warning. i decided to take my chances by just dropping down to 70mph which was 10 below the posted 80mph speed limit. as soon as i got back on the interstate, i decided to draft behind an 18-wheeler going about 75mph. the '19 Chief has a real-time gas mileage monitor that showed me i had been averaging about 35 miles/gallon or less. i drafted about 10-15 feet behind this semi and hunkered down behind my windshield trying to make myself as aerodynamic as possible and i kept resetting the fuel mileage indicator to show i was now averaging over 55 miles/gallon with this tactic. did this all the way until i made it to the next station. i poured in 5.2 gallons of fuel into my 5.4 gallon tank. whew!

it was remarkable how amazing the scenery was along the interstate in west Texas. there's mountains on both sides miles and miles away that i showed in my first posted photo. i thought it would be pretty boring until i got out of the state since all the interstate travel in central and east Texas where i've lived my whole life is pretty flat and boring to look at.

day 1 ended after 780 miles and crossing 2 time zones and 2 states from Austin, TX to Duncan, AZ
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Wow, good first day. Looks like weather is nice. How’s the bike handling with the extra gear? Be safe and enjoy!
bike handled excellent the whole trip. i didn't notice any drag. i situated my sleeping bag and pillow in the 80L Givi dry bag behind me so i could use that bag as a soft backrest. worked great being able to lean back against it on the straightaways.


That is a long, long ... long day. That Indian must ride comfortably.
it really is. 780 miles in one day is just short of my longest ever tally of 806 on my VStar 950 with Mustang seat. i've said before that i've never gotten fatigued with that seat before. i didn't feel butt fatigue after day 1, but after a few days in i started to realize the tipping point for the stock seat begins around the 7 hour mark. at that point i have to adjust my seating position every half hour or so until i stop. i may have just been getting fatigued from the long trip as the miles started adding up, or it could be that i'm 11 years older than the last time i went 806 miles on the Mustang seat. but still, 7 hours of complete comfort for stock seat during an extended bike trip is pretty good.
 

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Administrator - "Loose Nut" - Houston, Texas
2001 Vstar 1100 Classic (sold), 2006 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
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Great to hear bike preformed well. I had questioned you taking off since you had some electrical gremlins with your lighting. I’ll agree, 7 hours on stick seat before having to wiggle some is pretty good. What type of fuel mileage did you average? I know higher speeds kills mileage, but still would like to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
on the days with higher mileage, i probably averaged around 38 miles/gallon as i was going at higher speeds. on days with lower mileage, about 45 miles/gallon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
DAY 2: Duncan, AZ to Vegas

Sky Cloud Plant Plant community Mountain


Sky Mountain Plant Vehicle Tree





the following is on the Coronado trail and my first taste of the twists and turns that would become almost non-stop for the next 3,000 miles. i didn't stop and take many photos while going up and down mountains because 1)i hate stopping, 2)it takes you out of the moment, and 3)pictures of narrow twisty passages don't really do it justice.

Tire Wheel Sky Mountain Vehicle


Cloud Sky Plant Blue Azure


Tire Cloud Wheel Sky Plant


Tire Sky Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire
 

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Administrator - "Loose Nut" - Houston, Texas
2001 Vstar 1100 Classic (sold), 2006 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
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Great pictures. Clear enough I could make out the feathers on exhaust, nice touch. In other pictures it wasn't clear.

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Automotive tire Automotive lighting
 
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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
DAY 3: Vegas to Bakersfield, CA by way of Valley of Fire Loop and through Death Valley


Sky Plant Light Cloud Automotive tire


Sky Mountain People in nature Natural environment Bedrock




going through Death Valley the temp on my bike's gauge showed 106°. gas prices a little high as well.

Sky Automotive tire Motor vehicle Road surface Asphalt


Sky Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Asphalt




i ended the day on probably the most harrowing road of my life, at least on a bike - 483/Caliente Bodfish Rd/Caliente Creek Rd. barely a road carved into a trashy mountain range that was nothing but ugly scenery, narrow roads with constant blind hairpin turns going up and down, cliffs of instant death on each side, more pieces of road missing than road present, and this coming at the end of a day baking in the desert. the road itself could be fun if it was the only thing you were going to do that day, but i just couldn't wait to get off of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Great pictures. Clear enough I could make out the feathers on exhaust, nice touch. In other pictures it wasn't clear.

View attachment 110032

it's laser etched. i posted a closeup before it was installed -

 

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Administrator - "Loose Nut" - Houston, Texas
2001 Vstar 1100 Classic (sold), 2006 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
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it's laser etched. i posted a closeup before it was installed -

I'm getting old and forgetful. :unsure:
Really like the shot with the sun above mountains.
 
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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
DAY 4: reached the Pacific coast near San Luis Obispo and ended in San Francisco (L.A. was further south of my route so i was never near there)

my first sight of the smoke from the fires. wasn't that bad today. i would go through about 20 minutes of smoke coverage but then it would clear up for an hour or 2. rinse and repeat. i stayed on Hwy1 through most of the way up California with the ocean on my left. it had been suggested that i do this route in reverse, but i had no trouble pulling over at any of the tons of scenic spots. traffic wasn't bad at all to be able to cross over lanes, and this was Labor Day Weekend. maybe the smoke kept people away?

Water Tire Sky Fuel tank Wheel




the only 'side' venture i took is the La Honda loop which was very similar to riding the Tail Of The Dragon found in Tennessee/North Carolina. just an endless barrage of twists through the woods. very fun and challenging. surprised i had never heard of it until someone suggested it either here or another forum.

made it to San Francisco as the sun was setting and the smoke was now very thick over the city, and the temp was showing 58°. nearly a 50 degrees drop from the day before in Death Valley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
DAY 5: San Francisco to Fortuna. Hwy1 all the way through the Redwood forests


The Golden Gate bridge. isn't is majestic? what you can see of it? i thought this shot was funny.

Water Tire Vehicle Sky Motorcycle



i would be riding through smoke through most of the day, so not a lot of photogenic opportunities. was really amazed how twisty Hwy1 is. i think i spent more time on the sides of my tires than the middle. after today i became convinced that this is the best road i've ever been on and definitely deserving of the reason for this whole trip. and unexpected. i just thought the road would be a little curvy, but this had about as many hairpin turns as anything else.

met a younger guy pulled over in the Avenue of the Giants who was working on his rear brake. i thought i was taking a long trip, he had started in Rhode Island to Alaska for a cousin's wedding, was traveling down California in pretty much the reverse faction as me on his way to Florida for another cousin's wedding while hitting 29 different states over 3 weeks. he had a 4.5 gallon tank strapped to his sissy bar rack so he could go twice as far between gas stops that he was having different people sign that he met along his journey. pretty cool. i couldn't complain about my temperature experiences because he had come from 35° in Washington just the day before.

Plant Vehicle Tree Automotive tire Helmet


Hand Automotive tire Hood Leg Motor vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
DAY 6: Fortuna, CA to Carson City, NV


the pics posted from this day look like they are of decent quality so i won't repost them here.

started the day at 64° on Hwy36 and over the course of 30 minutes the temp had climbed 30 degrees to the mid-90s. we have a saying in Texas - "if you don't like the weather then wait 10 minutes". we get swings of temperature changes of 30-40 degrees in a single day several times a year. but i don't believe i've ever experienced this much of a change in such a short time period before. would see more smoke today since i was basically traveling between several previous or current fires both north and south of me. the road had actually been closed just a week before i began my trip so i was lucky to be on it. although enjoyable to ride, the most remarkable part of it was riding through all the burned forest around me including one town that was burned to the ground. and there were several places where traffic was backed up because they were blocking the road to clear off trees and carnage.

this road was supposed to be the main curvy road of my trip. and it was definitely curvy as it was almost entirely on mountain passages, but it didn't seem any more so than most of Hwy1 with most twists being up or down mountains at 20-30mph with very few straightaways. given the multitude of this type of riding, i was almost begging to change the channel just to get a break. it can get tiresome after a while.

saw 2 bear cubs run across the highway in front of me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
DAY 7: Carson City, NV to St. George, UT

finally got some much sought after straightaways. still a few twisties, but not nearly as many as i traveled down "the loneliest road in America" - Hwy50. a little disappointed in the name. cars were definitely scarce, but not as much as going through Death Valley.


Sky Plant Automotive tire Fuel tank Automotive lighting



saw actual tumbleweed rolling across the road. on Main Street. in St. George, Utah, population 84,500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
DAY 9: Cortez, CO to Albuquerque, NM

this is what i considered my last official day of sight-seeing for the trip since the next day would be strictly on flying home as fast as i can with no more pictures. and it was arguably the best. before, i had been going up and down mountains all day, but this is the first time i would actually be going through canyons between the mountains right up next to me. scenery was unbelievable.

Cloud Mirror Sky Land vehicle Plant



Cloud Land vehicle Sky Vehicle Mountain


Tire Wheel Cloud Sky Fuel tank



this one might have been from the day before. these pictures are starting to get mixed up at this point.
Sky Cloud Eyewear Road surface Road




and i drove through a herd of cows

Sky Plant Mountain Cloud Highland
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
FINAL THOUGHTS


equipment:
everything worked. i spent nearly a year customizing this bike and figuring out electrical things on it and was astonished that nothing gave me any problems. only thing i thought was a hiccup was when the emergency light came on the day the temp gauge rose to 109°, and the power button would not turn off the electronics when i shut off the engine to re-fuel. but that remedied itself later in the day so i think it just got a little overheated.

bought a $130 luggage rack so i could sit my $100 80L Givi dry bag on it
used the $120 Firstgear saddlebags i bought for my VStar 950 over a decade ago that might have more storage capacity than any other saddlebags i've ever seen - 18.00”(L) x 12.00”(W) x 12.00”(H).
used a free sissybar bag handed down to me from the folks when they retired from riding, strapped it to a $230 sissybar/luggage rack from TCMT on Amazon
gear accumulated over the past 10-20 years total luggage costs: $580

California gas pumps:
why on Earth does this state use two-handed pumps? for those that don't know, their handles require you to push back this rubber grommet in order for the fuel to be pumped. i assume the structure of most vehicles naturally pushes back this rubber piece, but there is a metal bar just 2-3" below the lip of my tank that prevents the nozzle from going in any further. makes it easier to fuel up as i can just rest the handle on it, but it means that i had to use my free hand to hold this rubber piece for every fuel-up in California. annoying.

i wish i was a better photographer. for every decent photo i shared here, i could have snapped a thousand better ones if i knew what i was doing. every 5 minutes for nearly the entire trip i felt like i was riding through a painting or a postcard. and the few times i did stop to snap a picture, there was usually an even better view just a minute later or around the next bend. and i wasn't going to get in the habit of stopping every other mile or slamming on the brakes or turning around because i just missed a great moment. and the few decent photos i took weren't even close do doing justice to the real thing. for the most part, it was better to just be in the moment and enjoy it rather than try to immortalize it with my camera.

holy freaking cow were there a lot of twisties. i had no idea. i mentioned La Honda was similar to doing the Tail of The Dragon, but it feels like i did about 3,000 miles of Tail of the Dragon. i'm still by no means an expert on slinging my bike through the corners, but i'm definitely better than i was.

my Relive video is coming up that includes even more photos, mainly taken while actually riding down the road. so some of them are a little blurry as it's surprisingly difficult to get a stable photo from a camera phone strapped to a vibrating motorcycle going 80mph down the road, but some of them did turn out quite well. you can pretty much tell which ones are taken while moving if you can't tell that i'm on the shoulder or standing off the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
final thoughts p.s.: i couldn't stop thinking how much i've become enslaved to technology for this trip. here's everything i've used that i couldn't have 20 years ago:

cruise control
beeline navigation tool
smart phone apps: gas buddy, google maps, internet, streaming music, Relive, camera, and probably a couple others i'm forgetting now
the gas buddy app alone helped me find the passages where gas stations were scarce enough that would have been impossible to know otherwise. there were about a dozen different stretches of road that had no gas stations for at least 90 miles, with some as much as 120 or 140 miles between filling up. since you're not going to re-fuel at every single stop, how would people have taken this same trip 20 years ago without running out of fuel? you couldn't even do this on a bike with a tank that was too small.

and an updated list of all the top roads i took (motorcycleroads.com):

Coronado Trail
Valley of Fire Loop, east of Las Vegas
Death Valley Run, through Death Valley National Park
Caliente to Kernville on County Road 483, east of Bakersfield
The Lost Highway 58, Bakersfield to San Luis Obispo
Hwy1 up the California coast from Morro Bay to Fortuna
La Honda loop
Avenue Of The Giants
Rt. 36, 140 miles of twisties
431 Mt. Rose Hwy
Hwy50, "the loneliest road in America"
Hwy9, Zion Canyon Utah
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument tour
Valley Of The Gods, Mexican Hat to Bryce Canyon
McElmo Canyon - Bluff Utah to Cortez CO to Bluff Utah - aka WORST ROAD I'VE EVER BEEN ON, aka Highway to Hell
San Juan Mountain Skyway
Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Road - CO 141, dubbed "greatest road in America" by Car Trek youtube series
 

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That for sure is a bucket list of roads. Good jod on the planning and how to get that many in.
 

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the gas buddy app alone helped me find the passages where gas stations were scarce enough that would have been impossible to know otherwise. there were about a dozen different stretches of road that had no gas stations for at least 90 miles, with some as much as 120 or 140 miles between filling up. since you're not going to re-fuel at every single stop, how would people have taken this same trip 20 years ago without running out of fuel? you couldn't even do this on a bike with a tank that was too small.
I guess these signs were the only way...
Sky Cloud Ecoregion Infrastructure Road surface

One has got to ride real smooth to make it...
 
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