Etna, CA – RVLife

We’ve had a great last couple of days exploring and riding. As we’ve got nearly 2 weeks of time to kill, we decided to come down the Washington and Oregon coastline, stopping in various places. We unloaded the bike a few times and explored the backroads and the likes…but the PNW weather isn’t always cooperative. It pretty much rained on us every time we rode. Meh.

But then we got back to CALIFORNIA! The sun has been shining and the temps have been magnificent! As much as I’m starting to dislike CA and it’s politics, it’s pretty damned hard to beat the motorcycle roads out here. I mean sure, there ARE great roads in other places…but nothing like we’ve got here in CA. At least not to the extent Cali has ’em.

I’ve done a little bit of riding in the Etna area before…but I hadn’t explored ALL the roads yet. This trip did not dissapoint.

On Weds, we boondocked somewhere along the eastern portion of highway 96. We got there in the afternoon, but still had plenty of time to unload the bike and ride 96, Scott Bar, and whatever that road is north of Seiad towards Oregon. :) All roads I’d previously not been on. And it was good.

thor four winds siesta fj09 tracer mt09 highway 96
Our camp for the night
Continue reading Etna, CA – RVLife

GoPro Karma Drone Crash in Follow Me Mode

While flying my Karma today using follow me mode in mimic, my Karma had a mid air malfunction, causing it to crash. Nearly everything was destroyed. It had never been crashed prior and had been problem free.

I was riding my motorcycle at approximately 25-27 miles per hour with a passenger who was observing the video (making sure it wasn’t going to fly into the mountain, etc), holding the controller in her hand but not giving any input to the controller (unless necessary, however none were necessary as it had a clear flight path).

The Karma was oriented on my left, slightly ahead of me, as we went into a corner. As we passed underneath the Karma, it suddenly flipped itself upside down from roughly 60ft in height, completely unobstructed, and flew itself into the ground mostly upside down the entire time. I happened to be looking at the screen at the very moment it errored and saw “Camera Disconnected” suddenly flash across the screen while watching it’s last moments in the air before impact. After the crash, I stopped a few feet later and looked back at the screen. It was prompting me to locate the Karma now or later. I selected “now” and found it 64ft (according to the controller) to the right of the road (north), upside down. I took a picture of it in it’s resting place before I picked it up.

Photo link (with full EXIF data): https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Blog-stuff/n-f3hQL/i-VR6fzv2/0/f2f26ae0/5K/i-VR6fzv2-5K.jpg

crashed gopro karma drone
Continue reading GoPro Karma Drone Crash in Follow Me Mode

This Week in RV Life (Jan)

This last week has been a weird one, but ultimately a pretty fun one. We’d been staying in the greater Phoenix area for the last 3 weeks as we had a YCRS school that we were working at on Jan 6th and 7th…rather than leave and spend a bunch of money on fuel, we opted to hang out locally.

I made my first big “boo boo” while emptying out our holding tanks…I wrote about it on Facebook:

Jan 4th, 11:22pm
I made such a rookie move tonight while dumping holding tanks in the RV…
I didn’t secure the poop-shoot-tube into the dookie-hole in the ground properly… I popped the valve and EXPLOSION! Hahaha!
I flew backwards like a bandit in a western after catching both barrels to the chest, then ninja-cartwheeled back towards the valve and snapped it shut with only about 3-4 gallons on the deck.
Somehow, some way, nothing splashed on me and I didn’t even step in it.
I cleaned it all up with a nearby hose, flushed my tanks, topped off my water, then slunk off, knowing 100% of that was captured on CCTV and I’m gonna get laughed at tomorrow. #lifeontheroad

There are zero pics or video for proof…except the video the RV place probably has since saved and posted to youtube by now. Haha!

So anyways, we’ve been “Wallydocking” about 50% of the time so far… It’s a term I’ve heard being used to describe staying overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Haha! It seems as tho they have a mostly nationwide policy to allow RV’s to stay in their lots overnight. It’s actually pretty convenient!

While walking Bijou, the @TinyTinaTurnerDog the other night, I came across an entirely new sight that brings my faith in humanity to an all time high. ;)

catheter bag at walmart wal-mart wallydocking

I mean, why not, right? Bleh.

I ended up doing some more modifications inside the RV. I’d put in 1 watt LED wedge bulbs in the dining area and stuff..they were terrible. I had quite a few left over G4 LED bulbs, so I bought some G4 bases to swap out in the light fixtures…I spent about 30 mins wiring everything all up, and now I have perfect LED lighting inside the RV. Each bulb is only 2 watts…and BRIGHT. I’ve linked directly to the products I got above.

Here’s the video:

I also got this ammeter/voltage meter that I’m going to install today…in fact, right after I’m done writing this… :D

VANJING DC 0-120V 0-30A Color LCD Display

Back to YCRS; we had a great time! It’s only the second time I’ve been to Arizona Motorsports Park… I turned a bunch of laps on Saturday by myself and a bunch more on Sunday two-up with Brianna. It was her first time on that track. No pics of our riding this time, but I did get a fun slow-mo video of Kyle backing it in!

We left AMP on Sunday night and started heading north. We simply drove until we didn’t feel like driving anymore, hit a dirt road and….and… and…then it got super gnarly, the road was all overgrown, and there was no where good to stop…so I drove all the way back to the main highway and started heading north again. Ha! I drove for another 30 mins or so until I found another dirt road that looked inviting on the GPS…and BAM! Parked for the night, listened to the coyotes yipping for an hour or so in full force before falling asleep.

We woke up to this.

I’m loving this RV Life stuff. Freggin loving it.

We left again and drove up over by Hoover Dam before stopping for a little walk. Bijou gives zero fecks.

teacup poodle poop tinytinaturnerdog bijou

I’m currently writing this from Beatty, NV, where we’re at the Space Station RV Park. $25 for the night for full hookups, Wifi, Cable TV, power, etc. Oh, and no specific check out time. I love RV people so far. Everyone is so go-with-the-flow. I love it!

We’ll press on today with very little by the way of plans. Ultimately, Reno is the next official stop, followed by Vacaville. We’ll get there. When we get there. ;)

Another FJ09 Oil Pan Bites the Dust

So, as you guys may have read in a previous blog of mine, I did a 12 Step “how to” to replace your FJ09/FZ09/MT09/Tracer oil pan after you crater your shit. If not, you can read it here:

The 12 Step How to Replace the FJ09 Oil Pan

Well, so, yeah…I smashed another oil pan the other day. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as bad as shearing off the entire bottom of the oil pan like I did last time. This time, I simply put a small hole in it while parking for an epic photo. Yes, while parking. I was doing approximately half a mile an hour. *sigh* I was so livid that I didn’t even get the shot I wanted.

fj09 oil pan cracked fz09 oil pan mt09 oil pan
Continue reading Another FJ09 Oil Pan Bites the Dust

You’re Crazy for Putting a Shinko on your Bike

Shinko 009 Raven Radial Rear Motorcycle Tire 180/55-17 XF87-4047

EDIT TO ADD// I put 5231 miles on that Shinko tire before I mounted up another one. It’s THAT good. Now read on:

Ha! I bought this tire as an experiment…I’ve always ridden hypersport tires on the street and race tires on the track…and I’ve always steered WAAAY clear of Shinko… but I have an “old man bike” now (Yamaha FJ09/MT09/Tracer…whatever you call it in your country). The tire is good. In fact, it’s GREAT on my bike. I turn TC off every time I get on the bike (how the hell else am I supposed to do wheelies!?) and I run it in A mode (pure, un-ECU-flashed angry A-mode!).

I’m not slow. And this tire works.fj09 fj 09 mt09 tracer yamaha iowa hill road

Normally, I get around 1000 miles on a Pirelli Rosso 2 rear or about 1400 miles on a Dunlop Q3 rear… so far, I’ve put 600 twisty miles on this tire, and aside from striations and some minor tearing of the leading edge of the tread, it barely looks touched (the tearing is undoubtedly due to the stock shock being undersprung). I wanted to see if I could get a tire that would last me 3000 miles without being made of bowling ball material…this tire looks like it might be it!

I approached grip cautiously on this Shinko 009 Raven…I expected the worst. I imagined high-siding out of the local Starbucks parking lot the moment I turned the throttle even though my old man bike doesn’t really allow me to carry elbow dragging lean angles like I do on my spr0tbiles at the track…Alas no! Thus far, I’ve been pleased! I’ve even purposely spun it up just to see how it reacted and it’s smooth and predictable. It didn’t spin any sooner than a hypersport tire would.

Trust me, guys, I’m just as shocked to be writing this as you are to be reading it.

All that being said, I’ll be buying this rear tire for my FJ09 again (only $97 on Amazon) if it continues to perform as it has been. I will continue to run hypersport tires on the front of the FJ09, as fronts last me about 2500-3000 miles anyways and I won’t compromise front end grip, no matter the budget. I WILL NOT put these tires on my track bikes…and I’d be somewhat hesitant to put them on a street going hyperdupersupersport-leader-bike GSXR 600-750-1000 yut-ugh as well…mostly because of Shinko’s reputation, not because of real-world experience…

I’ll let you know if I end up upside down because of this tire later on. :D

Buy it here for cheap: Shinko 009 Raven Radial Rear Motorcycle Tire 180/55-17 XF87-4047

shinko 009 raven sport touring

Sportbikes are the Problem, Part 2

As I am sure you have read Joe’s letter to the world, “Sportbikes are the Problem”, I am your savior, I am here with the Solution.

Here is where Joe and I differ, he believes that the FJ-09 is an “Old Man Bike”. Listen here Billy, it’s motor is in a naked street bike with oversized dirt handlebars (comparable to hypermotard, speed triple, etc). No matter what hooptie frame you slap in that there engine block in, there is no way it can be a touring bike. That ain’t no old man bike! It doesn’t have massive side storage pockets!

Unlike Joe, I actually went full AARP and bought myself a proper old man bike, a Honda ST1300. It’s this elongated, elegantly bagged and refined piece of Japanese craftsmanship. Straight from the early 2000’s this bike set the standard for long distance, mile munching comfort. What’s the catch? This piglet weighs in at something like 730lbs, its manly aluminum monocast frame and related giblets aren’t light. It’s a good thing that it makes rocketship like power from it’s 1300cc restaurant freezer like engine. Cause she’s hefty.

st1300 wheelie aerostich od man bike
yeah….she hefty alright.
Continue reading Sportbikes are the Problem, Part 2

The life of the Rallement

I’ve had my beloved Honda Element (affectionately known as the Rallement) for 7 years now. I bought it used with 33K miles on the odometer. I now have 330,600 miles on it. It’s dying now. It needs a heart transplant. And I’m sad.

It’s funny how one can drive so many miles, yet never really leave too far from home. The Rallement has visited California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. It’s literally never been any further than those states. Even though I’ve driven enough miles that I could be nearly halfway home on my return trip from the moon. I could have driven the Rallement to New York City and back 57 times. I could have driven around Earth just over 13 times. There’s so many places I could have gone, things I could have seen. Cultures I could have immersed myself in. People I could have met. Friends, experiences, and memories I don’t have because instead of driving around the Earth 13 times, I simply drove back and forth through the 6 states I mentioned.

honda element rallement
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First Ride on the Yamaha FZ10

EDIT//

Looks like I’m going to have to edit my article later as I just learned some SHOCKING news from Greg Sharp (thanks for pointing it out)… Yamaha has ditched their conventional A, STD, B mode with this bike and effectively reversed it. B mode no longer being the “rain” mode…It’s now what A mode used to be: full power. So I’ll have to ride it again today in B mode.

END EDIT//

So, I got a chance to play on the new Yamaha FZ10 today (MT10 for you Europhiles). It’s a bucket of fun.

And a quick disclaimer: I am not the person riding in these photos…I took these photos of the World Champ, Scott Russell today. :)

The bike looks like garbage. I’ll just lead in with that. I don’t know what the hell Yamaha was thinking when they designed it. That actually seems to be a bit of a trend lately with Yamaha and their new line up of bikes. Like the FJ09. It too looks like a recycled can. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it! The FZ10, not at all to be confused with the FZ1, because that’s a COMPLETELY different mo-sheen, also appears to be made of post-consumer products.

The FZ10 is a completely new motorbike constructed of…well…recycled cans and Yamaha bits. It’s got the tail light from an FZ09, the controls of the Super Tenere, the motor from an R1, Johhny 5’s face, and who knows what else.

johhny 5 is alive
“NO DISASSEMBLE!”
Continue reading First Ride on the Yamaha FZ10

Sportbikes are the Problem

Okay, okay, okay! Before you get your panties all in a bunch, I’M not saying sportbikes are the problem…I’m just saying that sportbikes are the problem. Allow me to explain:

Over the last 15 or so years, I’ve owned a handful of bikes. All fully faired, “crotch rocket” style bikes as far as the uneducated masses are concerned. The kind of bike where you see assholes doing wheelies up and down the freeways like lunatics with no regards to anyone else, being menaces to society and probably dealing drugs to kids at the local middle school. You know, sportbikes.

Until last year. I bought what I’ve dubbed an “old man bike.” I got a Yamaha FJ09. It’s the first upright, “non-threatening” street-going motorcycle I’ve owned.

Over the last year and 12,000 miles I’ve put on the bike, my habits in the twisties around other cars haven’t really changed compared to how I was on spr0tbiles back in the day. I still roll up on cars and give them a bit of room. I wait em out for a few mins to see if they’re going to use the turn out like they’re supposed. I’ll gently pass them giving them the shakka when they do in a display of exuberance… or blow their doors off in a look-back wheelie-scowl as I pass them—DY be damned—if they don’t move.

grumpy cat wheelie
“I hate everything.”
Continue reading Sportbikes are the Problem