Tuesday, February 3, 2009

BBFO '09 Day 5 - Going home

No matter how you look at it, the last day of a motorcycle trip is always bitter sweet. Sure you are going home to see your sweetie pie. But you are also going back to the chaos known as your life too.

This morning the alarm clock went off at 6:10am and the next thing I knew I was up, dressed and carrying things out to the bike. I was actually ready before Doug for once. I was shocked and so was he. Everyone seemed to be ready before 7am so we all walked over to Casa Falcon for breakfast. No grits on the menu but a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with hot tea sounded good. Once done with breakfast we paid our tabs and walked back to finish packing the bikes.

By 8am we were all packed and the bikes were running. It was a chilly 26 degrees. We headed north out of town on FM337. The sky was clear and the sun was bright. It made watching for deer a real challenge, so we kept the speeds conservative and went on down the road only seeing one axis deer far up the road. When we got to Leakey we continued on FM 337 to Vanderpool. There we headed south on 187 until we reached 470. Eventually 470 took us into Tarpley where we stopped at the general store for a break. This was the point where Dick would be leaving us as he was going north of San Antonio to get back to New Waverly and we were going south to 90.

After the break and our farewells, we headed south out of town on 462 to Hondo. There we picked up 90 heading east. Just east of town it was clear, the get away was over. We started contending with stupid drivers, polution and warmer temperatures. Now it was just a matter of getting home. 90 runs into I-10 and we stayed on it until Seguin where we stopped for gas.

Once the tanks were full it was time to get back on the road, we were heading for Taco Tony's in Eagle Lake for a late lunch. We decided running the I-10 super slab would get us there quicker so we took it. Getting on the on-ramp I had a little excitement as the bike hit a slick spot and got a little sideways. Luckily I recovered quickly and kept on going without incident. When we passed through Columbus we headed south on 102 to Eagle Lake. With the little slip and slide incident still fresh in my mind I took it easy as I figured my rear tire was pretty much shot at this point.

Lunch at Taco Tony's was pretty good. I had a chicken salad, surprise, surprise. While parking the bike I noticed the center of my rear tire was showing the final stages of it's life so after lunch I told the guys I'd be taking it slow and easy for that last 48 miles to my house, staying a few miles per hour below the speed limit. So once we got through town Doug and Fred passed me and I watched them for quite a few miles as the road is so straight. I decided to go straight through Richmond/Rosenberg although it would take longer because I could go slower and preserve the tire I had left. About 2:30pm I pulled into the driveway. I was home. The tires had made it. Looking in my mileage book it turns out I only got 10K miles out of the rear and 16K out of the front. Not bad considering most of those miles were long distance touring with side cases and luggage.

Total miles for today was 315. Total mileage for the five days was 1,930. Not too bad for a long weekend get away.

Since my rear tire was completely shot and I'll likely need the bike tomorrow for an appointment, I decided to change the tires and mount the TKC 80's because I plan to use them in Alaska too. Hopefully I can get 6K out of the rear, otherwise I'll be purchasing a rear tire on the way home this summer. I haven't bought the portable bead breaker for the trip yet but I had everything else so I decided to change the tires using just the tools that I'll have in Alaska. It turned out to be pretty easy, and I had both tires mounted and balanced in 2 hours. The only real challenge was getting the bead to set on the front tire, I ran out of patience and used my shop compressor but I'm pretty sure I could have used my little portable compressor if I had just tried a little more.

Taking the extra time coming home, really allowed us to travel roads that we would have otherwised skipped because of time constraints. I got to travel on roads that I hadn't seen before and I got to ride 337 which is one of my favorites. Between the new shocks and the riding skills I learned last spring at the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, this was definitely a fast paced trip when I got into the twisties with good visibility. The GS pulls so well through the corners and now with the shocks I know I can snap it into a corner and the boke will just go where I want it to go. I can't believe I waited so long to get the shocks.

The only things I'll change for the next trip are:
1. make sure I have a good set of tires when going west. They were fine in the twisties but didn't really hold up on the long slab ride home.
2. watch myself a little closer in gravel parking lots.

I don't have any overnight trips planned between now and June when I leave for Alaska but I'm sure there will be one or two more. And at some point I'll start blogging about my preparations for Alaska. It should be interesting.

1 comment:

Bill Fowler said...

Did you know that when you sign up for this service it deletes the message you've already written?! Randy Gleason directed me here. Good blog, it'll help if I ever make that trip to Big Bend. I'll be looking for your write-up of your Alaska trip. Have fun!