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Everything posted by jroberts427

  1. @Grum With the bike having been parked for an extended period of time (years possibly), do you think there is any possibility of part of the fuel line or related components being clogged from the Ethanol used in US fuel?
  2. That was me. See my post from May 2 on this thread. Pics and part numbers included.
  3. Hmmm....sounds like its running on less than 4 cylinders. Possible misfire in the mix?
  4. Always figured it came from the pipes being made out of stainless steel. Love the look and the sound anyway.
  5. Also posted a short start-up vid for those wondering what a Staintune sounds like. I did a few revs after the bike had a chance to warm up. Sounds so much better in person.
  6. I have had a ton of fun riding this summer. The bike is running awesome but I still had a few things left to address. I noticed there was a leak at the right fork seal so I ordered OEM seals, bushings, and related bits as well as Honda SS-8 fluid. Luckily there is a YT video for the 6th gen forks so I just followed that. One trick for seating the new bushings and seals, if you don't want to buy the tool, is to wrap the fork tube several times with electrical tape or painters tape. That worked well and did the trick. Also took the opportunity to clean up the forks and brake calipers. With the forks done I decided to go for a 600 mile shake down run in Southern Utah. People kept telling me about Hwy 12 being one of the best roads in the state so I scheduled some time off and headed South. Hwy 12 goes from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon and it was epic. 78 degrees and only light traffic since it was mid-week, with amazing scenery at every turn. Highly recommended if you are in the area. I didn't get a lot of pics but here are a few. On the way home I noticed a slight vibration in the front at freeway speeds. I knew the tires were a few years old and suspected that might be the culprit. Once home I looked at the date codes on the tires. Sure enough, 2014 front and 2015 rear. Oops. Even with good tread remaining that's still over due in my book and the front was cupping. Time for new meats. Inspired by another thread on the forum I ordered some Michelin PR2s from Amazon. They were priced well and people seem to like them. Went for a short scrub in ride last night and it feels like a new bike. Still looks great at 20 years old. It's a shame we get snow in my area but there's still time for a few more rides while the weather is good. Cheers, Justin
  7. I went to Amazon to have a look. Had to laugh at the "frequently bought together" suggestion. Do you by chance have a cat?
  8. Welcome! The Blackbird has always been on my list of "one day I need to get one" bikes. Post up some pics. 👍 Justin
  9. I'll replace seals, bushings and any other small wear items while I'm in there. Thanks.
  10. Hi all, Looks like my right fork is leaking slightly. Can someone recommend a kit that includes all the parts needed for the job? OEM or at least high quality from a trusted brand. Thanks, Justin
  11. What paint did you use on the forks? Thanks Justin
  12. Hello all and hope you are getting some great riding weather where you live! I have been making some progress as parts have been coming in. While I liked the functionality of the tank bag that came with the bike my eyes couldn't handle the plastic mounting ring that was bolted to the fuel filler cap. I ordered a stainless steel bolt kit and the fix was done in minutes. Interesting to note here that 4 of the bolts on the cap ring are simply cosmetic. They bolt into the ring but they don't actually attach anything. Just makes it look more uniform guess. I like the smoother lines on the tank without the mounting ring. I took some time to bleed the clutch line which was easy enough with my brake bleeder tool. I am going to bleed the brakes with the help of another local VFR owner later this week. The clutch fluid was a little dark but not too bad. Also took the time to carefully clean out the clutch MC. Nice to have this task done and documented on my VFR maintenance spreadsheet. There were a few small bits missing from the bike that I wanted to have in place. Franken bolts and some miscellaneous pieces. I love that you can go to the Honda parts fiche and order just about any small OEM part you need. Many of the larger parts are no longer available but most of the smaller bits are. I had previously done some voltage testing and everything was in spec but I didn't know how old the battery was. Upon cleaning off some dust I found a date inscribed into the battery: 4/25/11 (!) If that is accurate all I have to say is wow! That and the battery tender the PO used must be magical. I would have never thought that a battery would last 10 years. Not wanting to risk an issue out on the road I ordered a replacement and put it in with the current date inscribed. The rear brake pads looked low so I ordered a new set from the local Honda dealer. I also ordered EBC HH for the front and they should be delivered this week. Yep, the rears were due: New set installed: Did a full coolant flush using Honda Type 2 50/50. I wasn't expecting it to be blue for some reason but it will work all the same no matter the color of the dye. As the gents from Project Binky would say: Sorted! The chain looked a little old (minor surface rust in some spots) and I wanted to go back to the 17T front so I ordered a DID gold chain (Flava Flav!) and 17/43 sprockets. The front is a lightweight design and seems to emit a slight vibration so I have ordered an OEM rubber insulated front sprocket to use instead. Worth noting here that my cheapie Amazon master link flaring tool self-destructed upon first use. You do indeed get what you pay for in tools I have found. I had enough of a flare to ride but I wanted a little more so I stopped by the local Honda service dept and they flared it a bit more for me free of charge. Great service at Monarch Honda in Orem, Utah. Torqued to spec and looking good. While looking through the service manual I noticed the spark plug replacement interval. Thought I might as well start fresh there and ordered some NGK Iridiums that should easily last longer than the standard interval. I will install them this week. Also bought an OEM windscreen from a forum member. Compared to the DB screen, the stocker is about an inch lower which places the wind below my chin instead of right at it. Took a few minutes to install and we are good to go here. Lastly, I did a bit of initial polishing. I have done some automotive detailing as a side gig in the past and still have all of my stuff. I hit the tank with a dual action polisher just to see how soft the paint was and how it would react. Got some finer scratches out but didn't want to get too aggressive with it. Also hit the Staintune with a cotton buffing wheel and compound. It looks better but needs a big industrial wheel to be done right. No worries though, it looks good enough and sounds amazing. I need to polish the rest of the bike and do a proper detail once all of the maintenance is up to date and I'm no longer removing panels, etc. Cool to see the metal flake in the Honda wing on the tank! On Saturday I took my bride of 18 years on a ride up the canyon. Our very first date was on my original VFR back in 2002. The ride was awesome. Nice flowing sweepers, waterfalls and a some lakes to pass by. Had lunch at a park in Heber, UT and then cruised back down the canyon. Made sure to properly engage tunnel mode through the short tunnel on the way. 😉 I am absolutely loving this bike and riding again. I can't believe I missed out on riding for so long. Just a few more things to address and I think we'll be ready for summer! Ride safe and take care, Justin
  13. Looks great. Love the blue. We only got red and yellow in the states for 5th gen. I did see a blue one while visiting France years ago. Keep up the good work! Justin
  14. I read some of the threads on the topic and did some initial checks last night: My R/R is the SH579C-12 which is the better version installed as factory in the 00-01 years according to what I read. While I can't prove it, there is a good chance it is the original unit as the bike has just 21k miles on it. Voltage at idle is 13.6. Voltage at 5000 rpm is a steady 14.2 This is the VFRness harness that is installed: https://www.wiremybike.com/product_info.php?cPath=1_4&products_id=271 Also I noticed some slight acid/corrosion on the positive battery terminal. I neutralized and cleaned it off with baking soda and water. I'll have to pull the fairing and rear cowl to inspect the rest of the wiring.
  15. For maintenance items I am adding the following: 1. Clutch and brake fluid flush 2. Coolant flush 3. Possibly new brake pads 4. Possibly new chain and 17/43 sprockets 5. At minimum I'll attach a multimeter just to see what the voltage is doing. 6. Inspect fork seals 7. Check valves Are there any other maintenance items I should add? Thanks.
  16. Yes Sir that was a good day when I brought the bike home! The coolant level was low so I topped that off while doing the oil change. I'll keep an eye on the temps to make sure the fan is coming on when it should. Thanks! The sticker on the right frame was a college parking pass for the previous owner. I took it off along with the factory stickers that were on the top of the fuel tank. Here's another question: Did all 5th gens come factory with a catalytic converter? My first one was a California bike so it had the cat plus the charcoal canister below the oil filter. This one is a 49 state bike as far as I know. It has the cat converter but no charcoal canister. For some reason I thought 49 state bikes didn't have the cat? Justin
  17. Hello fellow Vifferini! I recently picked up another 2001 VFR800 after a 15 year hiatus from riding. I posted a trip report in the ride reports section documenting the 1,000 mile journey to bring it home. With the bike now in my garage it's time to get it dialed in and "make her mine" so to speak. The goal is to loosely recreate the memory of my first 2001 that I bought new back in the day. Here is my first '01 the day I brought it home from the dealer. I was still living at home at the time so I told my mom it was her mother's day present. ; ) And after a few mods: Genmar risers, Sargent seat, Staintune Highmount, K&N air filter, rear fender delete, Vista cruise throttle lock and tank bra. Sold after 5 years and 26,000 (s)miles. Here is my new bike. It has 21k miles. Current mods are Vance & Hines pipe, 16T front sprocket, speed healer module, headlight modulator, Stebel Nautilus dual tone horn, Heli bars, VFRness harness, Cortech tank bag with mount, ZG double bubble windscreen. It runs great but needs some maintenance and a good clean up and polish. Things I like: Heli bars! Love these!! Way better than the Genmar risers I had before. Headlight modulator. If it helps to be seen why not? VFRness harness. We're all familiar with the R/R issues on these bikes so this is a great upgrade. Things to change: pipe, seat, probably get a new chain and OEM sized sprockets and the tank bag has gotta go. It's useful but I don't like the mounting ring sticking up from the fuel filler. Also needs oil and filter change and a new air filter, and I need to dial in the wind buffeting better. The first thing I ordered was a new Sargent seat. Prices have gone up on these but I am glad they are still available. I was able to negotiate 10% off for being a repeat customer (even 20 years later!) and they throw in a Sargent hat with the order as standard practice. This is such a nice upgrade over stock. By comparison, the stock seat is like a piece of plywood covered in vinyl and the Sargent is like having Richard Simmons personally hugging your bum while you ride. It’s quite wonderful really, for short or long rides. Nice for the wife/pillion too. Once I installed the seat I also took a chance to give the bike it’s first wash since being home. Next up was the pipe. The V&H sounds better than stock but the Staintune is where it’s at for me. The Staintune company nearly went out of business but has recently joined up with another company in Australia to continue making products. I spoke with the parent company (torqit.com.au) last week and was told it will be a few months before they are ramped up and start turning out stock. I had posted on the forum that I was looking for one and another forum member reached out to me. His pipe had a couple minor dings and needs a good polish but we settled on a price and he shipped it out. My plan is to polish it up and see if I can pull the dings somehow but for now it’s on and it sounds even better than I remembered. 😊 And when I’m riding I can’t see the imperfections, I just hear the glorious V4 noise that this bike makes. When it comes to go fast bits, the Aussies don’t mess around. Super happy with it. Wind buffeting was an issue on my ride home from Kansas. I’m just 5’8” tall and the combination of Heli bars and the DB windscreen puts turbulent air right at my helmet. Even with ear plugs it’s really noisy. I thought I’d try a cheap air deflector from Amazon as they are adjustable. I first angled it up hoping to push the wind up and over my helmet but it created a lot of turbulence. I moved it around a bit and found that setting it up like a biplane wing seems to smooth the airflow much better. So the air still hits my helmet but it seems to be much cleaner and noise is reduced by some margin. Combined with better ear plugs I don’t have nearly the same amount of buffeting noise as before. I also installed a new Vista Cruise like I had back in the day. Great to have on long rides between twisties. Now we move on to the air filter where I found a bit of a surprise. The filter on the bike is definitely OEM, and who knows, could be the original, or at least 10 years old. Not sure how this thing breathed all the way home from Kansas but the filter did it’s job. The throttle body trumpets were all clean and looked good. I ordered a new K&N, removed the old filter and airbox O-rings and installed the new. Also took a minute to clean up the airbox lid. I removed the snorkel just to try it out as I remember that being a thing way back when. Went for one ride and put it back in. It just makes a little more intake noise and I’d rather hear more exhaust than intake. With those items tackled it was time for new oil and filter. Honda GN4 and an OEM filter ought to do the trick. Took some time to clean up around the filter a bit. Also noticed the coolant level was low so I topped that off. **Question** Does anyone know at what temp the radiator fan is supposed to kick on? I noticed earlier in the day that the bike got up to 206* F while idling in the driveway and it didn’t seem like the fan had kicked on yet. I need to make sure that is working properly. After the air filter install and the oil change I went for a ride last night and the bike runs great. I’m sure it was happy to be breathing better and have fresh oil. Next steps: 1. Eliminate the tank bag mount for which I have ordered new bolts for the fuel filler. 2. Do a full polish on the paint to see if I can give it some new life. 3. Clean and adjust the chain or just buy new to start fresh there. 4. Get some proper franken bolts 5. Touch up a few nicks on the wheels where the paint is missing 6. Possibly new brake pads front and rear 7. Go on some more epic rides! Anyway, it’s great to be back on a bike and certainly something as cool as a 5th gen VFR. I am loving it big time. I live between a mountain and a lake so we have some decent roads to cruise on. More to come! Cheers and ride safe, Justin
  18. Me at Laguna Seca back in 2002. This is in turn 8a also known as "the cork screw".
  19. LOL! Glad someone got the reference! 😉 And I think I will frame that drawing. Great idea. Justin
  20. My fascination with V4 power started back in 1999. I was still new to riding back then. Having been influenced by an older co-worker as well as a good friend, I purchased my first bike, a 91 CBR600F2. I was having fun, gaining some experience and trying to stay out of trouble. Soon after, that same buddy of mine imported two bikes via the grey market: an NSR250 and an RVF400, the latter resembling a miniature RC45. He let me ride both before he sold them. The RVF with it’s tiny V4 had this unique sound and power band. I was immediately hooked. About a year later I sold the F2 and bought a 2001 VFR800 new off the showroom floor. I quickly added a Staintune high mount exhaust and a Sargent seat, and then proceeded to ride about 26,000 miles over the next 5 years. I was living in Northern California at the time. Weekends comprised of trips to the coast, mountains, commuting, etc. I loved that bike with the power delivery and the sound it made. I went on some great rides and made some great memories. When my first child was born I thought I’d better slow down and be more responsible so I sold the VFR and settled into the idea that I’d probably never own a bike again. Too much risk I thought. Over the years I built a few cars, dabbled in some other hobbies, told my kids stories of riding and how much fun it was. About that time I did a track day at Laguna Seca, and the time I topped it out in Death Valley, only to get pulled over 20 miles outside of Las Vegas for doing 15 over. Thought it would be great to get another bike, if only to have that V4 sound in my garage again. Fast forward some twenty years to 2020. My older brother gets a VTX1300. “Hey man why don’t you take it for a spin?” “Nah, too big for me, besides I’ll never ride again. Too many distracted drivers, people texting not paying attention, etc.” He nods silently “How bad is it?” I inquired with some curiosity but still trying to justify my position, “Do you feel like people are gonna run you over every day or anything?” “Nope, not really” “Hmmmm…………interesting…..” Something to know about me is I have the unique ability to talk myself in or out of anything. If I spend enough time thinking about a certain venture, stuff just materializes. I decided it was time to recreate a memory. I went to the VFR forums and online classifieds looking for another bike, just like mine. Had to be a 2001 due to a few changes that were made when compared to the 98/99 models. Last year of the gear driven cams. Not interested in the VTEC models. 2000 would have been fine but the US only got yellow that year and my eyes just can’t handle that much yellow. Besides, everyone knows that red is faster. That’s been proven. Just ask the Ducati guys. Sent my brother a text with a picture of a potential candidate for sale: “You’re a bad influence. Just sayin’” “lol” His simple yet affirming reply I looked for several months, spoke with a few sellers. Surprisingly the 2001 models were a little hard to come by but a few popped up. Some had higher miles, some had accident damage, some were a little overpriced, some were too far away on the East coast. But then I got tipped off about a bike listed on a different forum. Looked really clean, only 21k miles, some nice mods, priced really well and only two states away. I scrambled to create a user profile on the forum. “I’ll take it!” I posted. “Cash in hand and PM inbound.” That was a Sunday. I spoke with the seller the next day. Hung up the phone and bought a plane ticket for a place called Manhattan, Kansas. I had to look that one up. “The little apple”, the seller joked. I spent the next few days getting things in order. New helmet, gloves, jacket, ear plugs, Ibuprofen, etc. I mapped out the journey. 999.2 miles per Google maps. I would travel due West from Manhattan, KS through the Colorado Rockies into Southern Utah and then North-West toward my home in Utah County. I wondered about the weather, particularly in the mountains of Colorado as they had been pummeled with snow about two weeks prior. The weather report called for 70s in Denver and 50s in the mountains. Road cameras showed clear highways. What luck! Let’s do this! Friday found me on a plane bound for my first stop in DFW, TX. I sat next to a young lady who was travelling to Puerto Rico with her boyfriend. “I’m flying to Kansas to pick up a motorcycle and ride it home” I told her. “I bought one just like it brand new 20 years ago.” “Well I’m 21.” she replied with a slightly perplexed millennial’s smile. I laughed to myself and thought about how I was “in my prime” at that age. Young, single, confident, I still had hair on my head. (Remember those days?) I’m only 45 but part of me still longs for the good old days, until I remember that I’m actually in the good old days right now, just a different version. I have a house, a stable job, and fantastic kids. One day I will miss these days my dad reminds me. And I know he’s right. She told me how they had purchased a bike about a year earlier. Totaled it 3 hours after purchase when a driver turned left in front of them. She showed me the pics on her phone. Both came away with only minor injuries. “It could have been a lot worse” she said. A sober reminder to always be vigilant on a bike. I had a few hours at DFW before my flight. Got some lunch and then found my gate. Settled in to check the news, people watch, and wait for the flight to board. I saw an older woman close by sitting in a chair with small wheels, not anything she could push by herself. She was missing her left leg, right at the knee. She looked miserable. Stranded. Left alone and forgotten. I put my phone away, mustered up a little courage, cleared my throat and walked over. “Can I give you a hand with anything?” “I’m really hungry” she said, glancing over at the vending machine. “Let’s get you something.” I released the brakes on her chair and pushed her over to the machine. She started to look for some change in her pocket. “I’ll take care of it. Anything you want.” I said. She wasn’t fussy. Just a Coke, a pastry and some chips. She seemed genuinely grateful. We spent the next hour talking. Victoria was 50 years old and from Houston. Truth be told, she looked much older. She had short brown hair and she was missing several teeth. He clothes looked like they had just been pulled from a pile at Goodwill. Something someone else had thrown away. She’d never been out of Texas, hadn’t done much. Had a rough childhood and most of her adult life was spent in the clutches of drugs and alcohol. Never one for subtlety I inquired about her missing limb, “What happened, you kick the dog too many times?” “I’ve been in the hospital the past 3 months. They took my leg. I’m diabetic and too much drugs.” she explained. “My dad’s gone, well my step-dad.” She paused and took a long look out the window. “He was my best friend. But my momma’s still alive. I’ll go and stay with her a while.” I asked about her life, and mostly just listened. “I used to be good at art” her eyebrows raised slightly from a rare, good memory then settled back down into her reality, “but it is what it is. I can’t remember much these days.” “Everyone has struggles,” I said hoping to offer some reassurance. “I think everyone could write a book about their life and experiences. And look on the bright side, you’ll save money on shoes!” I said with a wink. She eeked out a laugh while eating her Ruffles. I left her in the hands of a caring airline employee who assured me that she would get her on the plane ok. And that she did. I left thankful to have met her, and more thankful for what I had waiting at home for me. Soon it was time for me to board. I hopped on a small plane headed for Kansas. I overheard another passenger say they had to remove the pesticide sprayers to convert our crop duster into a commercial airliner. He wasn’t far off. It was cozy but got the job done. I was tempted to poke my head into the cockpit and say “I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you,” in tribute to the late Leslie Nielsen but I chickened out. In hindsight I should have went for it. Instead I proceeded back and found my seat next to a retired Kindergarten teacher from South Carolina who was flying in to see her grandkids. Her name was Kathy, like my mom. “Easy to remember that one,” I said. “My son-in-law is stationed at the base there. Hopefully he doesn’t have to go overseas again. He spent 9 months in Afghanistan on one tour. The baby was born while he was away” she said pensively. “What’s the best thing about being a Kindergarten teacher?” I asked. She didn’t hesitate at all, “Showing up to work every day and feeling loved.” Now I was the pensive one. I like what I do but it’s not like that. Hmmm… Upon landing she wished me a safe ride and I wished her a happy Easter with her grandkids. At the airport I shot a text to the seller’s son who lived close by and had offered to pick me up. “Give me 5 minutes. Red Chevy truck with a KTM front plate” he replied. I could tell right away that Tyler was a good kid. He had sunglasses and a slightly sunburned face from time spent outside. He was polite and well-spoken, like his dad. Gave me the impression that he’d been raised right. Said he worked a lot of hours driving truck, local not over the road. Had bought a Yamaha Tenere 700 recently to do some adventure riding with his brother and their dad. Said it was time to sell the VFR after having owned it for 7 or 8 years. In a few minutes time we arrived at the house and there she was propped up on the center stand. By now it was about 5pm on Friday. My goal was to make it home by late Saturday night so as not to miss Easter morning with my kids. We got right to business. “I installed the rear cowl for you and lubed the chain. Oil level is good and looks amber through the glass,” Tyler said, his riding experience evident. Like I said, a good kid. He threw in the tank bag and a Ram mount for my phone at no extra charge, knowing I would use both on the ride home, which I did. “Oh yeah, the front headlight blinks during the day with a sensor and it’s got a train horn on it,” he says. He gave the horn button a quick blip and I immediately realized he wasn’t joking. Two tones and what had to be more than 120 decibels. Too funny. But I could see how it would be useful. Got the title and bill of sale, gave the bike a quick once over, donned my new gear as the engine warmed up. Gave Tyler a handshake and hopped on the VFR, for the first time in 15 years. Put my hands on the grips and took a quick moment to question my decision and the journey ahead. “Just take it easy, you got this,” I thought. Tyler looked like he was uncertain if I’d really make it all the way home as I had planned. I was a little unsure myself. I double checked my helmet, pulled in the clutch lever, clicked down one for first and eased down the steep driveway and onto the street. First impressions: This thing sounds great. And how did I ever live without Helibars?! Oddly enough getting back on was “just like riding a bike” as they say. Go figure. I acclimated quickly. Two tenths of a mile down, only 999 miles to go. Now, I had brought a throttle lock I harvested off my brother’s VTX in a rush the night before. The Vista cruise I ordered from Amazon wouldn’t arrive on time. My brother’s throttle lock turned out to be too big and wasn’t going to work and I dreaded making this trip without something to hold the throttle in place. Luckily there was a bike shop near the seller’s house and they were still open for a few minutes. They sold me a throttle lock, set my tire pressure at 36 and 42, and even gave me a tire pressure gauge for the trip. “How far you headed?” “Trying to be in Salt Lake City by tomorrow night.” “We did a ride to Toronto last year” he said. “That guy made the trip on an RC51!” pointing to one of the mechanics who gave an awkward smile back confirming the accusation. Suddenly my VFR was a Goldwing by comparison. “Thanks gentlemen! Really appreciate it!” “Ride safe!” they said as they resumed closing up shop. That was 6pm on Friday. I stopped to top off the bike with fuel and get bearings on how to get to the freeway a few miles away. Gently got it up to speed and settled into 6th gear at around 60mph. Then this happened: Holy cow this helmet is loud!! I had forgotten to put in my ear plugs and the wind noise was extreme. Pulled over just before the freeway on ramp to rectify the situation. An older gentleman in a farm truck stopped and asked if everything was ok and if I needed any help. “No I’m good, thanks though.” He waved and drove off. With ear plugs in place I rolled onto the freeway thinking, so far, every person I’ve met in this state has been absolutely stellar. Very cool. On the freeway once again I settled in at 6th gear, 70 mph or so. Love the Helibars, not sure about the double bubble windscreen. It seems the wind hits right at my helmet. At 5 foot 8 I can’t really get above the buffeting. And with the tank bag I couldn’t really get below it. No worries, I can dial that in later. Right now I have several hours of Kansas freeway to tackle. A decent side wind made things interesting but subsided as it got closer to dark. I chased the sunset, pulling over for fuel and to change into my cold weather gear when the temps dropped. For those of you who have never experienced Kansas, let me tell you something. This place is flat, like really flat. Like I looked across the horizon and I could see the back of my head flat. And straight. Hardly a curve or a hill to spice things up. Nothing against the land or it’s people, just not what I’m used to having grown up in NorCal and Utah surrounded by 11,000 foot snow covered peaks. I had driven through West Texas once and that was flat too, unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. Lots of corn fields though. But I trudged on. With my old VFR I could get more than 200 miles on a tank if I recall correctly. Something like 42-45 mpg typically. So I thought I would see how far I could go before filling up. The seller had installed a new front sprocket but couldn’t remember if it was down one tooth or what. The rear sprocket was stamped 43 so we were good there. Couldn’t see the front as it is blocked. The seller had also installed a device to correct the speedometer reading which matched my GPS so that looked good. I kept an eye on the fuel gauge. Around mile 168 on the odometer the reserve started flashing. Hmmmmm…not too many gas stations around here amidst the corn fields. At about 180 miles on the odo I finally found a gas station and filled up. It took 4.7 gallons which worked out to 38 mpg. Interesting. To be safe I figured I would just fill up at around 140-150 miles. Throughout the trip the MPG was a bit of a mystery. Across the trip I saw 38, 36, 44, 49 (downhill stretch), and 43, oddly enough averaging out to 42 overall. I don’t know. The thing ran great though. Smooth and powerful and flawless. Stopping at 140-150 miles had another benefit. I could stop and stretch. After so many miles I noticed a few things: my wrists were fine. Lower back was fine. Ankles were fine. It was the shoulders and the lower glutes that were in pain. I googled up the top 10 shoulder stretches and did some variant of that at each stop. It made a big difference. Would have killed to have my Sargent seat again. But I do have a new one coming in the mail. Here’s something I forgot about, the digital coolant temp reading was generally about 100* F higher than the air temp. I remember my old VFR was like that. Cool that you can toggle between the two on the gauge cluster. I rode into the dark until it was too cold. Stopped and got some IHOP for dinner and booked a room at a nearby hotel that had good reviews. Called the wife to check in and give a report of the trip so far, plugged in my phone and helmet Bluetooth to charge and went to sleep just after midnight. I woke up at around 7am, took a shower and had some of the hotel’s continental breakfast and headed out. The morning temps were cool at first but with the rising sun came warmer temperatures. And eventually the Colorado border. For future travelers it’s worth noting here that Eastern Colorado is just an extension of Kansas. There’s even a small town near the border called Kanorado. It’s the same landscape! But the road is smoother on the Kansas side. Just as straight and flat though. I caught my first glimpse of the rocky mountains about 100 miles off in the distance. Remember this: if you’re doing this trip, the rockies of Colorado are the reward for enduring the flatness of Kansas. Just hang in there, it gets better! I laughed to myself as I quoted a few lines in my helmet from the movie Dumb and Dumber, where there is some debate about the Colorado mountains and the rockiness therein. As I recall, John Denver’s integrity is questioned at one point. I continued on I-70 and rode past downtown Denver. Pulled in for fuel and lunch at Subway, and to do my stretches. Filled up at a grocery store gas station called King Soopers that had a large banner that read #boulderstrong. Took a moment to think of the Boulder situation that happened recently. Just regular shoppers like the people around me, stopping in for hotdogs or milk or bread, who never went home that day. I guess I need to carry everywhere now. Thankful I still have the right and ability to protect myself and my family. Many people in the world don’t. I ate my lunch outside but went in the Subway to clean my helmet shield real quick. Got mildly harangued by a thirty-something Subway employee for sitting at a table that was marked as closed due to Covid and social distancing. Hmmm… Didn’t she notice that all of the tables were marked that way? And that there was virtually no one else in the restaurant? “I won’t be long.” I said. She seemed satisfied with my response and let me be. I quickly cleaned up my helmet and set off again. I had made it halfway, only 499 miles left to go. Now things were about to get fun. Several hours and miles of elevation and gentle curves through some amazing landscape. Can I make it to Grand Junction? Will I make it home tonight? Wow look at those mountains!! Hey there are a lot of Audis on this stretch. And tunnels!! Buckle up Todo we’re not in Kansas anymore! For those of us who appreciate appropriate exhaust scavenging, there is a specific process or tradition if you will, that happens when approaching a tunnel. In my foxbody Mustang for example: windows down, slow slightly, downshift into 3rd and hit it til redline, all in a safe and prudent manner of course. Repeat as necessary. The bike is equally fun but you have to watch the speed as redline in virtually any gear is exceeding posted limits. The Eisenhower Tunnel is 1.6 miles long. Ooh I’m gonna like this (activate stupid grin). Assess traffic, slow down slightly, click down a few gears and hit it. VrrrRRRRRRROWW!! Now in the interest of safety didn’t take it all the way to the VFR’s near 12,000 rpm redline but I did ring it out a bit. Just enough to hear that V4 song resonate out the Vance & Hines pipe and reverberate through the tunnel walls. I quickly let off the throttle, regained composure and washed that down with a couple of hits from my train horn and I was good for the next several miles until another opportunity (that is to say, tunnel) came my way. I could say with some certainty that the young couple in the Kia next to me appeared to be glad that their windows had remained up in the Eisenhower. He didn’t appear to have down shifted either. And it was a Kia. Poor girl. It was all downhill from there. Literally. Things warmed up as I descended in elevation like a pilot coming in for a landing. Almost made it to Glenwood Springs when I just had to pull over for a break. My right shoulder wasn’t having it anymore and the numbness in the Southern quarters indicated a need for some blood flow. I pulled over, put the kickstand down in the dirt and sat on a concrete block for a bit. Stretched out and popped a couple of Ibuprofen. Counted a group of 5 riders on kitted up BMW GS’s cruising by on the freeway in front of me. That looked like fun as well. A local kid on a quad came by to investigate. Not much to see, he turned and left without a word. I pressed on and stopped in at Glenwood Springs for fuel. An older gentleman approached me. “Is that one of the new VFRs?” he said with a slight accent that I couldn’t immediately place. “Nope, it’s a 2001. She’s 20 years old” I smiled. “I have a VFR1200” he returned, “Great bike. Ride safe!” “Will do, thank you Sir.” I was taught in my youth to be respectful of older people. Many of them served in past war efforts and helped preserve the freedoms I now have. They have great experiences and stories. That was another thing I was getting used to again, biker comradery. Lots of waves on the highway and instant conversation at the gas station. Hey I remember this. This is cool. On this next bit I made a slight mistake. I had packed an old Go Pro thinking I might do a little filming at some point. I wondered about the stretch from here to Grand Junction but decided to forego in the interest of time. Well, that proved to be some of the most spectacular riding of the entire trip. Sorry guys. You’re just gonna have to experience it for yourselves. It was amazing though. Great cliffs and rocky ledges, and the road following the Colorado river for miles. It was beautiful all the way into Utah. I stopped in at Grand Junction for fuel and more stretches. Sat on some concrete with my back against a brick wall and was more physically comfortable that I’d been for the past several miles. Orange Fanta and beef jerky never tasted so good. Took a few minutes to rest and then saddled up again. Nightfall would be coming before too long and I had 279 miles to go. Before I left home I purchased a Bluetooth unit to go with my helmet. I hadn’t used it much of the trip but decided to have some tunes for the final stretch. It works fine but I need to do a little fine tuning I guess. I have to have earplugs because of the wind noise, so that means I have to be at or near full volume on the unit to hear the music. I think if I can get the wind buffeting dialed in it will be better. I was able to talk on the phone for a bit on the highway and it worked fine. So that was cool. Never did that before on a bike. May never do it again but it was cool to see that it worked as intended. I am a lifelong guitarist of sorts so my playlist is varied. Tool, followed by Johnny Cash with some Depeche Mode, Daft Punk and Bon Jovi mixed in got me through Southern Utah and pointed toward home. Two good things about Southern Utah: 80 degrees and 80mph speed limit. I set my throttle lock on 85 and went for it. The bike ran flawlessly, gobbling up mile after mile and begging for more. I had no plate on the bike so I didn’t want to risk getting pulled over (nor did I want to increase the risk of dying in a crash or scratching up my new bike) so I kept things pretty reasonable. Cruised past the turn off for Moab and Arches National Park and I was now in my back yard so to speak. Last fill up in Green River and a quick text to the wife: “Should be home by 10pm”. I hung a right onto Hwy 6 and headed North toward home. I watched the sunset on my left as I climbed through Price and into Spanish Fork Canyon, praying the whole time that a deer didn’t run out in the dark, which thankfully one didn’t. Pulled over in Spanish Fork for one final stretch and some water. Just 45 minutes from home now, somewhat surprised I had made it this far without incident. Pulled down my face shield, set the playlist again and hopped on the freeway. Bounced over the concrete slabs for the next 30 miles to my exit. Left over the overpass, cruise for a few miles, then left again toward my neighborhood and my family. I pulled in at about 9:46pm local time. Pulled up to the garage and gave a rev followed by a quick tap of the horn to let my kids know the Amtrak had arrived. It must have worked because the garage door opened and I was greeted by smiling kids and a confused wife. I had made it. 1,000 miles in two days, through prairie and mountains and high desert. Home safe with little more than a sore shoulder to show for it. The old Honda did her part and God kept the roads clear for me so I could get home to my little ones. It was nice to be back on a bike again. Nice to have an adventure with some stories to tell. And it was nice to be home in once piece to enjoy Easter morning with my kids the next day, which we did. I shot a quick text to Tyler to let him know that I’d made it all the way home and show off a pic of the bike next to my Mustang. “Awesome, enjoy it!” he replied. I intend to. Ride safe, Justin
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