Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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-   -   Boston to Ushuaia on 2 BMW F650GSs - Corporate Runaways (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/boston-ushuaia-2-bmw-f650gss-54201)

masukomi 9 Dec 2010 02:24

Boston to Ushuaia on 2 BMW F650GSs - Corporate Runaways
 
Who doesn't get tired of the corporate grind? We've decided to run away from our corporate jobs and take our bikes from our home in Boston down to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego - the End of the World. We'll be riding roughly 20,000 miles through 14 countries and we're giving ourselves 4 months to do it. The plan is to avoid civilization whenever possible, camp constantly, enjoy beautiful scenery and hopefully find just enough adventure along the way.

These are our bikes:

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This is Kay:

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And Dachary:

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This is our proposed route:

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and this is our website
Corporate Runaways where you'll find these posts, a link to our spot tracker, videos, and more.

We're going to be documenting the journey from the start (yesterday) as we try and make it out of the North East without hitting any snow.

Will our dauntless heroes make it out before the snow strikes? Will the motorcycles be so overloaded that the frames break before they even leave the U.S.? Will hypothermia claim the brave riders and end the trip before it's truly begun?

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride with us!

Paulo Assis 9 Dec 2010 02:45

End of the world?
It depends.
You will see.
When you are there and have your face looking at the sea... maybe it is the end. But if your backs are to the sea, well, it may be the beggining of America....
Have a good journey.
Remember: if you meet any hipopotamus crossing the road on hunting for some pigmeos, you'd better change your GPS, get back a little and ask some info to the nearest local guy.
My dear heroes: I'll stay tuned!
Cheers!
beer

masukomi 9 Dec 2010 02:50

Day 1 - Leaving the Great Cold North (Or Not!)
 
Note: Dachary and I (Kay) will both be posting via this account although most of the posts (like this one) will be written by her.
---

Motorcycle trips always seem to take longer than you expect to prep, and a 4-month trip over 20,000 miles warrants the extra time. We’d done as much as possible to get ready to go before the big day came, but there was still a lot we had to do the morning of to get the house and dogs ready for the house/dog-sitter, and get us ready for the road. We had some last-minute packing to do, and a few last-minute scares of things we thought we’d forgotten and had to unpack and then re-pack to check. Long story short, we didn’t get on the road until after 11AM, and didn’t hit the interstate (where we’ll be spending much of our time in the U.S.) until close to noon.

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Dachary's bike packed to go.

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Kay's bike packed to go.



We quickly discovered that Kay’s bike needed some adjustment. The bike was initially having speed wobbles at 65mph. We’d put new chains on the bikes, and added a dry sack duffle to the back of Kay’s bike, but otherwise hadn’t changed the configuration so the wobbles were a mystery. We only got about 15 or 20 miles from Boston before we had to pull off at a service area to check out the bike.

A quick Web search later and we adjusted the pre-load on the front suspension, checked the alignment, checked tire pressures and decided to hit the road again. Cranking up the pre-load helped immensely, but the bike was still wobbling a bit around 70mph and it was decided to stop again before we hit I-84 into Connecticut. We hit another service area just a few miles before the exit, and cranked up the pre-load and added a bit of air to the tires. Of course, the bike was on a slant and when Kay stepped off of it it fell right over. Checking underneath before lifting it revealed that no, the kick-stand hadn't done anything wrong. The bike had simply pivoted on it when it went over. When we got back to the interstate, the bike was riding well. Pre-load and air had done the trick.

By this point it was past lunch time, and we’d been riding in the cold, so we planned to stop at Traveler’s Books and Food in Connecticut. We didn’t realize how close it was to the Massachusetts border and reached it far sooner than expected. Had a tasty lunch, and I got the most amazing grilled cheese and tomato soup combo I’ve had in my life. Seriously. Truly heavenly. If you’re in the area, stop there and eat.

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The Perfect Soup and Sandwitch

We managed to get about an hour and a half down the road before we had to stop again. It was time to gas up, and we were getting close to New York City during rush hour, so I decided I’d like a bathroom before we tried to tackle any of NYC’s notoriously traffic-y bridges. The first gas station we hit was a dud, so we rode on until we found a Stop N’ Shop gas station. One of Kay’s ears was hurting so he took the helmet off to adjust and give it a breather, and took glasses off to take the helmet off. And, leaning forwards to set down the helmet, crushed underfoot the glasses which had fallen to the ground in a way that looked impossible to repair.

At this point, it was around 4:30PM and already getting dark. The temperature was around 35 degrees and Kay effectively had no glasses (and needs them to drive). Back-up glasses, you say? Kay doesn’t have any - the plan is to grab some when we hit a border town in Mexico. We were mulling over our options when a guy at the next pump in the gas station heard us talking about the divey looking hotel we’d passed and recommended one just down the road. He said it was cheap but clean, and that’s how we ended up at Shoreline Motel in Milford, CT with the sun setting at 4:30 on a Tuesday.

We only made it 160 miles from home on our first day, but between getting out late, diagnosing bike troubles and broken glasses, there’s not much we could do about it. We prefer not to ride at night anytime, and with the cold it’s really quite dangerous to ride at night, even with our heated gear. We immediately exploded our gear all over the (cheap) hotel room and pulled out the JB Plastic Weld that I remembered we’d brought. Kay went to work fixing glasses while I called around on my never-ending quest to find some Michelin Anakee 2 tires for my bike. A few hours and some Domino’s delivery later, we’re fed and warm, have fixed the glasses, have located some tires for me in Louisiana, and I actually managed to get some work done, too. With one black rim and one white JB Weld rim the glasses look like a reject project from some 1980’s video though.

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Kay's JB Welded glasses

Not how I’d have planned our first day, but not horrible. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we’ll try to hit the road earlier (and find some wi-fi so I can send my work off to a client and post stuff to the site for the ride report) and cover some miles. The immediate goal is to put the Great Cold North behind us - the sooner, the better!

Hippy 9 Dec 2010 14:16

go for it guys! will be interested to follow your story. ride safe!

masukomi 10 Dec 2010 14:20

Day 2 - The War of Attrition Continues
 
Day 1’s casualty was Kay’s glasses. Day 2’s casualty was my boots. I’d gotten the Rev’It Rival H20 boots just a couple of months ago from RevZilla. I called up Neil at RevZilla who spent nearly 40 minutes on the phone with me measuring the calf-size of boots and we decided the Rev’It boots would be my best bet. We didn’t know it until today but it turns out women’s calf muscles extend lower than mens, which makes them wider at the top of boots, and explains why it’s so hard to find an adventure boot that fits a woman well. Anyway, they were great - up until a few weeks ago.

In prep for the trip, we’ve been doing a lot of mini-trips around the area. A few weeks ago we rode down to Rhode Island and rode around with some ADVRider folks in Arcadia and Pachaug. I’ve only been riding for about 7 months, and my inexperience combined with the stock Trailwing (Deathwing) tires on my bike = me falling in the mud a lot (and cracking two ribs). The boots stayed waterproof on this, their initial foray into wetness, and I didn’t think twice.

Fast forward to a week or two later when I tried to don my boots to ride the bike to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get the left boot to zip up properly. I fussed with it for a few minutes and then handed it to Kay, who was able to work the zipper up and down a bit past the problem spot. It seemed like the zipper was working in so I put it on and rode out. Zipper was even harder to zip on the way home, but I just figured there was some dirt in the zipper from its immersion in mud and thought it would work its way out.

When I put on the boots yesterday, I realized there was a spot where the zipper wasn’t zipping properly. Today, I unzipped the boot completely and tried re-zipping it to get the teeth re-aligned. It wouldn’t go. An even larger portion of the zipper was borked. We manhandled it past the trouble spot and through the hard part just above that and decided to give RevZilla a call and see if they could help us, since we didn’t have time to wait around for a warranty repair. More importantly, we didn’t want to get stuck south of the border with boots that wouldn’t stay closed properly (or at all).

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The Zipper of Doom

See those tiny zipper teeth? Ridiculous idea on something that’s going to be down near the dirt. We’re both 100% against the idea of getting motorcycle boots with zippers now - particularly zippers with fine teeth.

I spoke with Chris at RevZilla, who gave me the contact info for Rev’It and offered to help expedite the repair. Unfortunately, even an expedited repair would mean I wouldn’t have riding boots for several days, and we didn’t want to wait around in the cold cold north, in costly motels. We didn’t want to spend the cash, but I made a decision to go to RevZilla since Philly was on our route and see if they could find me another pair of boots. Of course all of this calling around took time and it ended up being after 10:00AM (when Rev’It’s offices opened) before we finally hit the road.

Got to Philly at around 1:45 and the staff at RevZilla were just as awesome in person as they have been on the phone and on ADVRider. There we met Chris who had helped me on the phone, Patrick who helped me try on pretty much every boot they had in my size, and Anthony who does the video/is an owner (the owner?) at RevZilla. Patrick’s family owns property in Costa Rica and he’s ridden as far as Panama and into the Darien Gap on an F650 (he’s hardcore!) and was able to offer us lots of helpful advice.

First though, we had to get the boot off. At some point between putting them on and riding to Revzilla the zipper had come open all the way from the bottom. It took Kay pulling with a Leatherman to get it to move, and then the zipper pull came completely off.

In the end, the pair of boots that fit me best (i.e. fit over my calves, but also fit really well) was the Dainese Visoke D-WP Boots. Sad for me, they were expensive and I hadn’t planned to buy new boots - but they fit so well. Actually, they were the only ones that fit properly at all. And they’re so comfortable. And they kept me nice and warm even in the low 30s we were riding through for much of the day. Of course, we totally forgot to take a picture of me surrounded by opened boot boxes.

Stood around and chatted with the guys at RevZilla for a while and I still can’t say enough good things about these guys. They’re real riders who actually care about their customers and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’re taking care of the warranty exchange for me on the Rev’It Rival H20 boots (which I’m gonna turn around and sell when I get home - anyone need a pair of boots?) The guys came out to check out the bikes and Anthony took a couple of pictures with us - all three of them were really cool.

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Us at RevZilla

Hadn’t had lunch yet and by the time we left RevZilla it was 3pm. Anthony had recommended a Pork Shack around the corner for lunch but they closed at 3 so we had to make due with the IHOP across the street. Not the most exciting cuisine, but warm food relatively cheap. By the time we got back on the road it was close to 4PM. We rode until around 5:30 to get to the Days Inn hotel we had chosen for the night (because it had WiFi and wasn’t exorbitantly priced) in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Day 2 tally: 242 miles. Milford, CT to Aberdeen, MD. Again, a short day, but we spent a while at RevZilla (and getting off the interstate in Philly) and hit the road late because of all of the calling around. If the attrition continues at this rate, we’ll be broke sometime in Mexico - gotta stop having these expensive malfunctions! But it was lucky we were near RevZilla and they were open. I am loving the new boots and hopefully the unexpected expense doesn’t set us back too far in the long run.

Goal for tomorrow: break 300 miles! (We’ve done around 400 comfortably before, but the cold, the wind, the fact that the sun sets around 4:30pm and all of the delays have been costing us mileage. We want to get south where it’s warmer, damnit!

Side note #1: Revzilla’s toilet revs.

Side note #2: Today’s unsung hero was the 5-function digital meter we got from Aerostich. It includes a battery voltage meter, which we were able to watch while riding and determine when our heated gear was drawing too much power. In stop-and-go traffic, there’s less available voltage and having the heated gear cranked could prevent the battery from charging properly. With the meter in place, we could keep an eye on our voltage and turn down the grips/jacket as needed to keep our batteries happy.

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masukomi 10 Dec 2010 14:21

Day 3 - Big Push, Big Cold
 
With all the delays of the past couple of days, we were both getting a bit discouraged by our lack of progress and apprehensive about what might happen next. Our big goal has always been to get further south where it gets warm, but we just haven’t been able to make the miles we’d expected. We’d planned to be much further along, but we made a big push today - from Aberdeen, MD to Burlington, NC - 384 miles.

Today’s big note was cold. It was 17 degrees when we started loading up the bikes, and they were covered in frost.

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Frosty Morning

Horse didn’t want to start - took a little extra throttle - and both bikes were a bit demanding until they warmed up. We felt the same way. We ran into traffic fairly steadily from just north of Baltimore until we got south of Washington, D.C., so it took us 2.5 hours to get south of D.C. By then, I really needed a bathroom break and decided it would make the most sense to combine with lunch to avoid excessive down time.

We got off I-95 at Woodbridge, and when we spotted a Denny’s, we both jumped on it. Kay ordered 6 eggs sunny side up, bacon, toast and hot tea, and I contented myself with an American slam and coffee.

Neither of us felt particularly hungry when we stopped, but as soon as we went inside, we started shivering. We didn’t realize how cold we were until we got off the bikes and went into a warm building. We lingered over lunch with warm drinks for nearly an hour, until we got our core body temperatures up.

The break made a huge difference. It’s always nice to get off the bike and stretch every few hours, but warming up made a dramatic difference in the cold. We both felt warmer after lunch, and we were downright cheerful and energetic when we hit the road and it turned out the outside temperature had warmed up, too. We felt like we could keep going all day at that point, and we had a very pleasant couple of hours. We celebrated when Kay’s temperature gauge hit 15.8 degrees Celsius (mine indicated around 44 degrees Fahrenheit), singing about it in the helmets and dancing on the bikes. It was awesome to feel warm.

Sadly, when we hit I-85 and turned further inland, the temperature started dropping dramatically. As we made our way west across North Carolina, it got colder and colder. We started seeing snow left over from a storm they had over the weekend, and our spirits dropped with the return of the cold. By 3PM, we were riding on sheer will alone - neither of us felt like being on the bikes in the cold anymore but we both wanted to get more miles under our belts.

By the time we arrived at the hotel where we’re staying in Burlington, we were chilled to the core. We took a few minutes to take things off the bike and then straight into a hot shower, when we discovered that Kay’s Aerostich Kanetsu heated vest had left red burn marks in his back.

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Aerostich Kanetsu Burns

We first saw the marks at least 10 minutes after turning off the heated gear, and two hours later, the marks have faded somewhat but are still burned into Kay’s back.

Today’s lesson? Don’t buy the Aerostich Kanetsu heated vest. And we’ve discovered that we can do a long day even in the cold, but even being a few degrees warmer makes a dramatic difference.

T.H.E 11 Dec 2010 15:39

Sounds like an ambitious trip, Just wanted to say good luck and be safe out there. Buy extra O rings for your Optimus stove while you're in US, they WILL break and you can never have enough O rings. Buy at least 20 in all sizes and take them with you. I don't see spare tires on your bikes, you know that tires are out of this world expensive down here, don't ya? Take two rear tires with you and buy new ones in Colombia. (the cheapest). a typical tire for your bike in Ushuaia will cost you $400 IF you can find it.

masukomi 11 Dec 2010 16:10

We were hoping to pick up tires in major cities as needed on the way down. Weren't expecting to be able to get any in Ushuaia in particular.

How much should we expect to pay for tires in Colombia?

masukomi 11 Dec 2010 16:20

Day 4 - In Which More Things Break
 
Today got off to a slow start. Trouble sleeping last night, and dreading the cold this morning, we didn’t get out of the hotel till 10AM. When we came out we discovered two things: one it was wonderfully warm “We could ride all day in this!” and then that Kay’s rear tire was flat. We thought maybe we’d be able to make it to the gas station for air, which was located at the end of the block, but it quickly became apparent that the bike wasn’t going anywhere until we aired it up. Dealing would have been painful if not for the nearly 40 degrees of warmth.

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The tire of flatness

Luckily, we’re prepared. We dug out the Cycle Pump from where we’d stowed it and filled the tire. After we’d inflated the tire, Kay removed the Cycle Pump nozzle and we heard air hissing from the valve itself. It seemed like a problem with the core. We’ve got some spare cores, although neither of us is quite sure where they are, but Kay decided to try to tighten the core with our core tool that came with the Bead Breakr. Success! The core was tightened and tire fully inflated to spec. Checked the other tires and we were off.

Got on the interstate and noticed pretty quickly that my Gerbing’s heated jacket wasn’t working. It was somewhat warm and I decided to try riding without it heating me for a bit, but I started getting colder and colder at interstate speeds. I agreed to stop if we came across a rest area to check the connection, but I didn’t want to actually exit the interstate because I felt that would take too much time out. It was already after 11AM when we hit the road and I didn’t want to delay us any further.

After about 20 minutes of riding, the jacket magically came on. I was warm! And less than 5 minutes later, the jacket turned off again. A few minutes later, when I was just about to ask if we could pull over at a gas station, we hit a rest area and pulled off. I jiggled the connections a bit (pushed up from underneath, where they were connected) and the jacket started nice and warm again. It was lovely. Off we went to Charlotte, NC to pick up our Corporate Runaways stickers!

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Stickered! by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr

Stickers were surprisingly fast (walked in and saw them sitting on a table waiting for us) and we stopped for lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant that was advertising a cheap lunch special. You know it’s a good Mexican restaurant when 90% of the clientele are Mexican and the TV is on a Spanish channel. This restaurant even had trash cans next to each toilet. And anyone who’s read about travel in Mexico knows what those are for.

While we were there, Kay revealed that the right arm of his glasses were coming apart again where he’d JB Welded them. An ongoing debate started about whether the glasses were functional enough (Kay maintained that they were, while I said it was silly to go further without more functional glasses). The debate got even more heated when Kay went to pull the glasses off later and the JB Welded arm fell off. Two lenses, one arm. Not a pair of glasses, I maintain. Kay still wants to wait till we get to a border town in Mexico where he thinks he can get glasses cheap. This has become a point of contention now.

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Entropy and glasses by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr

Went back to the bikes after lunch and turned on our Sena SMH-10 headsets for our typical headset check, and I couldn’t hear Kay’s microphone. I could hear them connect and it sounded like I should be able to hear Kay, but nothing from the mic. We’ve had two microphone/clamp units fail on us already, so we were exasperated.

We tried swapping the headset transmitters and when Kay’s transmitter was on my helmet and mine on his, I could hear him. The problem seems to be with one of the pin connections. Unfortunately, since the GPS is synced with Kay’s transmitter, it meant I had to take the GPS for the rest of the afternoon. Am concerned about the longevity of the Sena headsets at this point, since we’ve had so many problems with them. If any headset manufacturers out there want to show up Sena by sponsoring a trip across the Americas we’re all ears and easily FedExable until we leave the US.

Taking off after lunch, I noticed quickly that my heated jacket wasn’t warm again. Pulled over at a gas station before we got on the interstate and pushed up on the connecting wires again and the jacket was magically warm. Started to get worried about the jacket at this point, because I was pretty sure it wasn’t user error. At this point it was getting late (after 3PM) and we still had a lot of miles to make it to our “early stop” hotel. Hopped on the interstate and determined that we had just enough gas in the tank to make it to the hotel.

Unfortunately, at around 130 miles (after roughly 2 hours on the interstate) my Gerbing’s jacket cut out again. Out of nowhere, the heat just turned off. I tried pushing on the wires. I tried wiggling around, standing up, leaning forward, backward, sideways - everything I could think of to reconnect whatever wires weren’t connected. Nothing. We still had around 30 miles to go, but it was getting dark and I was getting more and more convinced that the problem is with the jacket itself, so I decided to push on without it.

By the time we arrived at our hotel for the night, I was half frozen. Was also annoyed to realize that the “non-smoking” room smells like smoke (and has an ash tray), and that the Wi-Fi doesn’t actually enable me to load a web page (we can ping and do dns lookups). Saw on the iPhone that I had an email from a client, so I had to get back on the bike half-frozen and ride down the street to McDonalds to get a working Wi-Fi connection. Now I’ve gotta get some work done for a client and go back to McDonalds in the AM to send it off.

This has been a day full of ups and downs. We were happy to find warmer weather, and to solve the flat tire problem so easily. Less happy because Kay’s glasses are officially broken (although he still insists on wearing them), we may have a problem with the Sena headsets, and my heated jacket may be broken. And instead of dealing with any of that, I have to get some work done for a client.

Today’s tally was only 279 miles, with the late start, the effing around in the middle of the day and the early sunset. We made it from Burlington, NC to Lavonia, GA. Tomorrow we’ll push on - trying to get to Baton Rouge, LA to pick up some tires for my bike. We’ll probably end up putting them on in the parking lot because we don’t feel like paying them $80 an hour to do it for us. Looks like we’ll be in Baton Rouge early in the am on Monday, and the bike shop isn’t open until Tuesday, so haven’t figured out what to do about that yet. Logistics in the US are proving surprisingly difficult. Looking forward to leaving the country so there are fewer plans and more fun riding.

Side note: Kay is totally running around the hotel room stickering everything he can find to sticker. Several stickers on the panniers, stickers on the laptops, stickers on the helmet even - and stickers on the bike tomorrow when it’s light out. Want a sticker? We’ll send stickers to the first 10 people who ask - we’ve got plenty. Just send me a PM with your mailing address! (Anyone who donates can also get a sticker - just send an email via our website with your mailing address and we’ll send stickers either before we leave the U.S. or when we get home in April, depending on logistics.)

Kay’s addition: Dachary’s convinced my glasses are going to implode at any moment. I contend that one arm is more comfortable in the helmet than two, and when they’re not in the helmet they stay on most of the time. I’m seriously concerned about her Gerbing. We still need the electrics for two or three more days I think... Stupid cold spell. I’m somewhat afraid of my Kanetsu now and keeping it dialed as low as I can, but despite it’s pain in the ass SAE connectors and 1970’s tech, it works. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to ride in back while she dealt with the GPS, but I am pissed about the Senas. We love the design and the usability, but three hardware failures in under six months?!

T.H.E 11 Dec 2010 16:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by masukomi (Post 315588)
We were hoping to pick up tires in major cities as needed on the way down. Weren't expecting to be able to get any in Ushuaia in particular.

How much should we expect to pay for tires in Colombia?

Colombia has a lot of motorcycles and parts are plenty. I would shoot for Medellin as they had everything i needed. The same tires i bought in Mexico city were half the price in Colombia.

I traveled with no tire and when things go wrong, they charge double just because you need it. Take a spare with you. it won't weigh much and if you need it, you'll have it. Trust me on that.

masukomi 12 Dec 2010 15:05

Day 5 - Temps Warm Up, Heated Jacket Dies
 
Got another late start today, but this time it’s because I had to get some work done for a client this morning and then go to McDonalds to use their wifi to send it, since the stupid hotel didn’t have WiFi that worked. We also had an email from our iPad app developer (we’re planning to do an iPad magazine from the road, and our app is in the final stages) and we had to download and review his most recent revisions and send him bug notes. By the time we finished doing this and futzing around via McDonalds’ painfully slow WiFi connection, it was noon when we hit the road.

I tried reversing the connection on my Gerbing’s heated jacket liner this morning at Kay’s suggestion, because the electric still wouldn’t stay on consistently. It looked like that did the trick. We rode from Lavonia, GA to Lawrenceville, GA, where Cobia235 on ADVRider suggested we hit Cycle World to pick up some Guardian Angel Bells. (We did.)

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Guardian Angel Bell

While we were en route to Cycle World, we remembered that we’d wanted to stop at the Unclaimed Baggage store, and that it was somewhere in Georgia or Alabama. We looked it up when we stopped, and discovered that it was in Scottsboro, Alabama - which would take us back north again. It was 200 miles from where we were, but we figured we could get there before they closed and we had time to kill before I can pick up my tires in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, anyway. So we grabbed lunch at a nearby Subway and planned to saddle up, but I checked the weather while we were stopped and we had a nasty surprise.

The weather in Scottsboro, Alabama was scheduled to be downright unpleasant. If we rode north, we’d be riding right into a near-freezing thunderstorm. It was supposed to continue to be bad overnight, and maybe turn into a rain/snow mix then with a potential for flurries tomorrow. We can’t ride in snow, and with my Gerbing’s jacket being unreliable yesterday, Kay didn’t think it would be safe to risk riding back into the cold with it. So we nixed the plan to ride to the Unclaimed Baggage store and headed along our original route, which took us past Montgomery, Alabama to Greenville, Alabama.

At some point during this trip, my Gerbing’s jacket cut out again. It was actually a bit warmer today (near 60 degrees, at one point) so it was bearable without the heated liner, but my arms were still chilly and I kept getting the shivers. Periodically I’d start shivering uncontrollably, and I’d have to focus on a part of me that was warm and think warm thoughts and after a few minutes of this, the shivers would go away. This happened 4 or 5 times on today’s ride, but I didn’t mention it to Kay because I knew he’d make us pull over and I wanted to push on.

We stopped for gas and I tried to fix the liner, but no amount of wiggling, connecting and jiggling could get it to stay on. We still had 162 miles to go at that point and I had to do it all without a heated liner. If we’d been further north, we simply wouldn’t have been able to go on. As it was, on the interstate going 70+ MPH, I was chilled, but it was bearable.

Made it to Greenville at around 5:30 local time, but it was well after dark. We gained an extra hour crossing into the Central time zone, but the sun still set at around the same time so effectively the sun set an hour earlier. We still did 316 miles today even with the late start and early sunset, though.

We’re trying to figure out what to do for the next couple of days as it’s only going to take us one day to get to Baton Rouge, and we’ve got two days and two nights to kill. We can’t camp because it’s going to be too cold. I’m lobbying for staying in a cheap-ish hotel I found south of Baton Rouge, which would enable me to get some work done and keep us out of the cold. Kay is unhappy with this idea because it’s spending money for no forward travel. I’m also concerned because the high temp one of these days is 42 degrees - hopefully it’ll be when we’re not riding, since my heated liner has died. Now I wish I had my thermal liner from the Rev’It Sand Jacket - would have been a better insulator than the Gerbing’s is without the heat.

Dodger 13 Dec 2010 00:00

Gerbing heat trollers are notoriously unreliable .Try replacing it with a Warm'n'Safe heat troller .

Did Kay wear the heated vest next to his skin ?- always wear one layer between you and the heating elements in the vest.
It's very easy to underestimate the wind chill on your front and crank up the heat , your back will cook .Try to wear an extra windproof layer on your front .
Best of luck on your trip ,it looks like a good'un .

masukomi 13 Dec 2010 00:24

Day 6 - Practice for Patagonia
 
The weather reports at the end of day five were pretty conclusive. Get out of town now! The only problem was that the temperature had dropped and Dachary's electric liner was still on the fritz, but the choice was either get stuck in town for days because of the crap weather or take a chance today. So, we took a chance and I made her promise to request we pull over if the jacket failed again and she was feeling particularly chilled.

We're happy to report though, that a careful insertion, and application of duct tape kept it working all day.

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Solving the Gerbing's problem

Of course, Dachary literally didn't move from her saddle for 300 miles for fear that it would cut out again. When we finally did pull over for food (about 30 miles from our destination) we were both feeling cold even though everyone was walking around with t-shirts. Towards the end of our break Dachary had an attack of uncontrollable full-body shivers. We went back out to the bike because at least there she could plug in.

Getting to the break though… that was work. Winds of 30+ with gusts over 40 interspersed with "Mother ****ing Bridges" where it was even worse. We are at a loss regarding Mississippi and Luisiana's obsession with huge arching streams of concrete.

There's a huge bridge going to New Orleans that both of us had been looking forward too. It's five minutes of concrete suspended above water. And today it was a bit of a rush… It was also kind of like being pummeled. We've got some video, that we'll cut a few seconds of into todays video diary when we get it up, but our heads are being battered around so much that it's makes you kind of sick to watch more than that.

In other news Expedia and Howard Johnson's decided to both bill us for our stay here in Louisiana while we wait for the motorcycle shop to open on Tuesday so that we can pick up the tires. I'm just crossing my fingers that they've actually got the ones for tube tires and not tubeless. I realize we *can* run tubes in tubeless tires but I'm not convinced it's something you *should* do unless you have to.

In the equipment department: That 5 Function Meter we were praising the other day? Yeah, absolutely not designed for motorcycles. It got wet when it rained last night, water got in between the plastic / crystal layers froze, and generally bored it. Her voltmeter is reading too high in the afternoon, my temperature read 18:8.8 E for most of the day, and her clock lost 15 minutes. My opinion of Aerostich is dropping by the day. Also, I melted a bit of the extra webbing that was flapping around on the Wolfman Dry Duffel on the muffler yesterday, and I've discovered that my new helmet cam is mounted at too low of an angle. I have one more shot to get it right tomorrow, but if that's not right…

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Getting frisky with the muffler

Started today in Greenville, Alabama and ended the day in Houma, Louisiana where we'll be staying till Tuesday AM. 344 miles today. Could have gone further because there was plenty of sunlight left, but we have to wait near Baton Rouge for the tires. Now that we're stopped for the day, though, we're drooping by the second. Fighting with those winds all day was so tiring...

masukomi 13 Dec 2010 00:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dodger (Post 315731)
Gerbing heat trollers are notoriously unreliable .Try replacing it with a Warm'n'Safe heat troller .

Did Kay wear the heated vest next to his skin ?- always wear one layer between you and the heating elements in the vest.
It's very easy to underestimate the wind chill on your front and crank up the heat , your back will cook .Try to wear an extra windproof layer on your front .
Best of luck on your trip ,it looks like a good'un .

(Kay) The Aerostich is reversable and has fleece on what's normally the outside. So, I reversed it today and that gave me the fleece between the wires and me. Which worked out ok, but i'm not sure how good it would be on a reeeally cold day.

Regarding the front/back thing. My front doesn't actually tend to feel particularly cold as I can usually keep a good air gap between me and the front of the coat, but I get chilly overall and as the only place where I can really feel the heat is against my back, I was pushing back against it to get as much as I can, which is what burned me. The Aerostich does a poor job of distributing the heat beyond the wires, so you end up dealing with them feeling too hot in hopes of getting more heat in the places in between the wires.

Relative to the Gerbing, It's entirely possible that the wiring has broken at the end of the cable just before it goes into the plug that you insert into the jacket. At least, that's what today's experiment implies to me. We don't think it's the controller itself, although maybe Gerbing makes crap wires coming out of their controllers...

Dodger 13 Dec 2010 00:57

A few years in Canada's winters has taught me that fleeces and synthetics do not keep you warm at very low temps . An air gap doesn't really insulate either .You need to have lot's of small air gaps .Fur and wool have worked for thousands of years .
Try a long sleeved cotton T shirt between you and the wires ,it might work better .

Check that the front heating is actually working in your vest , one circuit may have become detached .

I see that you are wearing a Rallye jacket , do you wear a wind stopper over it ? That might help too .


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