2013 Road Trip
Posted: Mar 12, 2014 at 01:44 PM
While 2013 brought about a lot of unforeseen road-bumps, it did bring me on a much needed road-trip. As sort of a last minute decision, (quite literally it wasn’t until 3 days prior to leaving that I decided to go), I chose to go for it. The week leading up to leaving involved figuring out if my bike would even make the 5,125 mile trip. At the time I had been using an experimental VW carburator setup, and it wasn’t exactly reliable. So with the few days I had, I rebuilt the original carbs, and replaced the contact points. After testing it for half a day, I deemed it fit for travel!
Starting from Des Moines on a brisk Friday morning in July, we took off for our first long stretch to escape the flat, seemingly endless landscape of the midwest. This involved over 700 miles to Rapid City. Let me tell you, my butt was hurtin after that day, riding on a steel pan seat that I made. But for the most part, most long days were manageable.
The next day, we stopped by the Devil’s Tower. Then moving onward to Yellowstone. We spent a few days in Yellowstone since there was so much to see. On the second day there, we spent the day in these thermal pools where it merges into a river. We had buffalo stopping traffic for nearly 30 minutes. And saw old faithful blow her top.
We then kept moving west northwest, until we took a break in Missoula, Montana. What a charming little city. We had an iced coffee in a brilliant cafe, Liquid Planet. This is where we decided that it was just too freaking hot to continue going west, and that we should start moving north into Canada. Well that plan decision was unanimous, and so we started north.
Next major stop was in Banff, Canada. I think this was one of my favorite towns we stayed in. The surrounding parks and environment was astonishing, and the town was the coolest little melting pot I’d seen in a while. Next we moved on to Jasper where we stayed a few days. It was surprisingly cold and rainy most of the time. I did manage to find a hidden cafe in an underground Laundromat that served Flat Whites! I haven’t had a Flat White since New Zealand (well, truthfully last was in Poland, then Australia, THEN New Zealand. But NZ has the best). And it’s worth noting that it was superb. Just as good as a NZ Flat White.
During this trip, I had been having a routine overheating issue. The coolant kept slowly disappearing on me, which told me it was likely a head-gasket issue. Well turns out, it was. While on our way back, in Glacier National Park, Montana, I was seeing signs of it about to go bad. So we rode back into town and found a Honda dealer with the head-gasket I needed. Then spent the next 3 hours in their ally-way in the rain replacing it. After that, it was running good again and we were back on the road.
Then, 2nd to last day on the trip, 900 miles away from home, the clutch goes out. This happened while going down the highway at about 65, tried to put it in gear and it didn’t want to go in easy. After that, any minuscule amount of throttle would throw the clutch out. It still rode fine, just had to limp it home for the next 2 days. After getting it home, I just pulled the clutch from one of my other 3 spare motors and put it in. Then I was right as rain.
Over all, this was by far one of the best and only good parts of 2013. Had a great time.