Not much to say… Just watch. :D
[day 2 of] ten freggin days posting motorsport related garbage. per usual, i’m bending the rules to make it fit what i think it should have been in the first place… and day 2 gets dedicated to my honey bunny, bribri.
i’ve ridden upwards of 600,000+ miles in my day…i’ve had so many ups and a few pretty hard downs in motorcycling. shit can get real pretty fuckin quick on two wheels. and if you get caught out, even for a SECOND, your life can change forever. in 2008, i had a pretty bad crash that was 100% my own fault…in fact, for those of you that have known me for a long time know my “com3” alias… and maybe you even remember back when i used to host the “com3 death rides”… it was on one such death ride that i ended up being life flighted off the mountain (mosquito ridge road again!). it was then that i decided i wasn’t fit to ride motorbikes on public roads any more… and for just over 7 years, i did not. i mean, i kinda cheated a few times in 2010 and did maybe 500-600 miles on the street, but aside from that, i was all dirt and all track.
i returned to the street in 2015 on my sweet ass FJ09 that’s i’ve playfully dubbed “The Mighty FJ” (even though it’s fragile as fuck). i did a buncha miles 2 up with my then girlfriend, kinsy, knowing that more than just my own life was on the line… “keep those wheels on the ground, joe!”
We left Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday evening from the Overland Expo that we were covering. We made it to within about 20 miles of the Highway 9 west turn off. It snowed overnight on us pretty good, with a decent buildup of snow on the RV. By noon, nearly all of it had melted off, but it was still cold. By about 1pm, the rains came back and it was dreary. I ALMOST decided not to ride and instead just take the RV into Zion. It would have meant an extra 40 miles worth of fuel (at 8 miles per gallon, 40 miles is nearly $20 in fuel…I think about these things). Finally, I told Bribri, “WE’RE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE! PUT SOMETHING WARM ON!”
This is the kinda garbage we had to deal with. ;) (link to map of this spot)
We rode in. The temps were in the low 40s, and it was raining and sleeting on and off…but me-oh-my, was it beautiful! We did catch some lucky breaks in the weather throughout the day though.
We have an annual national park pass. We try and use it as often as we can. I think we’re at 6 different parks now, but that’s another story.
We made it! I wasn’t sure if we would have time with all the dentist appts and the likes and stuff…but the dentist got us in a day early, and I went FULL crackhead and smashed out 600 miles in one night to get us into New Mexico. Yesss! *Napolean Dynamite fist pump*
We drove up Highway 15 just past Pinos Altos in the RV and stayed the night in the woods.
Check out that sweet articulation!
Today, we unloaded the bike and rode up Highway 15 all the way to the end and visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Park. For those of you not in the know, btw, it’s pronounced “Hee-lah”. People will be snarky at you if you get it wrong. ;) Anyhow, Bribri and I have an annual national parks pass, so we just strolled on in. If you don’t have a pass, it’s $15 per person 16 or older.
Also today…and kind of as an aside…I created a Patreon page. It’ll have the same content on it as I post on my blog…but it will also have EXTRAS that won’t be on my blog. ;) If you want to check it out, here’s the link: https://www.patreon.com/4theriders
The road in through Pinos Altos is quite nice!
Brianna and I stayed just up above Lake Castaic last night with the thoughts of getting up early to go for a ride up towards Neenach, CA to see if we could catch some super bloom action. Our original plan was to have done it last week, but after a sudden emergency—and costly—trip to the dentist on Tuesday, everything got pushed way back.
I woke up excited at 8:15am. I knew we weren’t going to the epitome of the super bloom, but I knew that we’d be able to catch some pretty sweet poppies, for sure. We were out the door by 10am. by 10:00:38am, we were already doing wheelies and hitting some sweet twisties. We took Hughes Rd up towards the Lake Elizabeth split and went north towards hwy 138. We rode west on 138 for a few miles before turning north again, and beginning our adventure.
We were so close, we could almost taste them.
So, I got another email yesterday kinda out of the blue mentioning my blog and how they enjoyed reading it and the likes.
I felt both pride and guilt…pride because I don’t really keep track of who actually reads my blog. How many people read it? I dunno…I guess I don’t always write for other people; I mostly do it for myself…but I still get a certain satisfaction knowing that other people enjoy reading it. Guilt, because I neglect the hell out of my blog. Haha! I seldom ever take the time to write anymore. That makes me a bad human, I know. *sigh*
Anyhow, Brianna and I had two extra days to kill on our way from The Ridge Motorsports Park down to Thunderhill. Frankly, I wanted to take as long as possible, knowing that it’s supposed to be a hundred and fifteen fucking degrees on Friday at the track. I’m sooooo not looking forward to that…so instead I plotted some squiggley lines on the map and headed for Oregon.
I didn’t realize it’d be as hot as it was in Oregon…it was 100F for the better part of the day today, but whatever. It wasn’t 115F. :)
Our route was from Wolf Creek Rd to Agness, OR with several other side roads thrown in. I posted the general layout of what we’d done below:
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:
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.
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 hate everything.”
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.
“Joe, you’re fired.”
I originally wrote this as an email to Yamaha. It was sent off to Yamaha over a week ago, and I haven’t heard a single peep in reply. So, on behalf of myself, and anyone else who’s experienced this issue with their FZ/MT/FJ09 motorcycle who also agrees with me…here’s an open letter to Yamaha:
I’m pretty disappointed with Yamaha right now. This is only the second motorcycle I’ve EVER purchased brand new, the first was also a Yamaha.
Long story short, I was riding a fun little section of twisties with my girlfriend, Kinsy, on the back of my new FJ09. I was plodding along around 35-40mph as I crossed a small bridge over a creek. There was a build up of slurry/tar on the transition from road to bridge. Definitely a bump, but nothing so bad to cause for much concern. Until I hit it. And the bike completely bottomed out on the drain plug, shearing off the bottom of my oil pan spraying oil all over my rear tire, saddle bags, undertail, and even all over the backpack Kinsy was wearing.
I didn’t crash. I have lots of experience on two wheels, dirt, track, and street. It was certainly a 500ft death slide afterwards, but I managed to keep it upright in the end.
I’m disappointed because after this happened, I go to research a new oil pan for the bike, I see that I’m not the first person to have this experience. In fact, SO many people have had this happen to them (some in the most trivial of ways), that Yamaha has redesigned the pan and updated their part number to supersede the original design. The originally FLAWED design.
They say recalls are for safety reasons. Like the new 2015 R1, for example. The transmission locks up and causes the rider to crash, as has happened with one of my friends already. Or the o ring on the oil filter assembly does seat correctly, causing oil to spray from the engine, possibly causing someone to crash, as has also happened to another friend of mine.
Well, having the lowest point of contact be the drain plug on a motorcycle isn’t very safe. Decking it out on the ground at 40mph with your loved one on the back, instantly saturating your rear tire with synthetic oil, IS NOT SAFE.
I’m upset because Yamaha has acknowledged that there is an issue without even saying “there is an issue with our original design.” They simply redesigned it and quietly updated their part number to patch over an issue that many of us with the FZ/FJ/MT09 line of motorbikes is having. AND MAKING US PAY FOR IT.
The fortunate ones, such as myself, who don’t actually crash because talent, scenario, or pure dumb luck was on their side are simply left with a:
– $202 bill for an oil pan
– $18 for a new gasket
– shop labor of 2 hours @ $95 per hour
– roughly $400 for a new set of tires (oil was all over both of my tires)
– plus mount and balance fees of $80
– $35 for a new set of rear brake pads
– and 5 hours of their time cleaning up the mess out of the back of their truck they had to tow the bike home with as well as the bike itself.
And sadly, my newly updated how-it-should-have-been-in-the-first-place design of an oil pan DIDN’T EVEN COME WITH A NOTE SAYING “SORRY THAT HAPPENED. HERE’S YOUR FREE OIL PAN CAUSE WE GOT IT WRONG THE FIRST TIME”
I should have waited to buy the Africa Twin.