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.
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. ;)
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
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.
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. ;)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I went for a short ride today. 229 miles on the odo. I’ve been so busy since I got home that I wanted to just stop working for the day and GO RIDE. I haven’t ridden my FJ09 much lately, so it had to be done. And it had to be done today, because it’s supposed to rain everywhere all weekend. Meh.
I headed out the door just before 10am. I grabbed my summer gloves… but took pause and stared at my winter gloves thinking that I should bring them, just in case. Afterall, I do live in Reno. Who freggin knows what’s gonna happen with the weather around here. I decided not to take them.
So, off I go. I have a loose plan: 395n, cut across 70 to hwy 49, and ride to Downieville, be back by 4 so that the family and I can go to the movies. :)
I didn’t make it 30 miles before I was literally cursing myself in my helmet… “Joe, you stupid dumb idiot…you HAVE saddle bags. You HAVE the room to carry stuff. WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU BRING THE WARMER GLOVES!? God, you’re SOOOO DUMB!” By the time I got around Loyalton, I saw 47 degrees on the ambient temp gauge. So dumb.
So, as some of you guys know already, I cratered the oil pan on my FJ09 while riding two up with Kinsy on Carmel Valley Road over xmas. All 3 quarts of yummy synthetic 10w 40 splooged everywhere. On rear tire, the undercarriage, the saddle bags, and even on the backpack Kinsy was wearing. Everywhere. Instant slip-n-slide-deathride.
So I recently fixed the bike and I took pics throughout the process.
EDIT// here’s the FJ09 FZ09 MT09 updated oil pan part number: B56-13400-00-00
Step 1) Stare at the bike for an incredibly long time, hoping that it will somehow fix itself, only to realize that it will not. And be dissapointed by this fact.
It’s late in the day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. The sun is low in the sky, yet still shining brightly through a thin layer of clouds. The winds are steady, cold, and piercing through my hoodie I’m wearing. Dust is swirling across the track and upwards into my eyes, my nose, and everywhere as far as I can still see on the horizon. There’s grit in my mouth that I’m constantly spitting out. It’s cold. Very cold.