Monday, May 28, 2012


Sweet home.

Last Leg

Final stop out of the way. It's KC or bust.

Headed home

Enjoying some time on the super slab today as we ride home toward our beautiful wives.

Danny is apparently also enjoying some delicious Doritos. He texted me this:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"New" headlight

Well it's dark now. And my only remaining light stopped working. I got a bulb earlier to fix my first-to-break aux light, but I discovered the housing had abandoned ship somewhere in Kentucky. So 10 minutes, some duct tape, and...

Voila! New, manually operated weak-sauce headlight.

48 States (for real this time)

Here's the proof that marks 48 states on a motorcycle (for real this time). A five year journey, well worth it. I can't wait to ride to Alaska next month with my dad, to make 49!

Made it

Literally, within 30 seconds of kick-off. And oh how good it feels to be in some A/C and just STAND HERE.

Out of gas at Elizabethtown

Just outside of Elizabethtown, Danny gave me the perfect motorcycle handbook signs for "pull over soon", "I need gas."

A mile away from the gas station... His bike stopped going. Empty. For me, this was exciting. As it gave me an opportunity to use the siphon I brought for just this situation. I gave him a pint or so, and we basically rolled down a hill and into the gas station. And what do you know. It's closed.

No worries, he made it down the street to an open one. And we got to see some firemen douse a car that was on fire.



Today our quest is to get to Buffalo Wild Wings in Paducah, KY by 3:30 to watch the Sporting KC game. Based on our previous days' averages, we MIGHT make it.

We shall see.

The Palace

Maybe bringing a mansion to sleep in contributed to my bike's elephantiasis.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lost some lights

Somewhere today, I lost the functionality of my headlight. I have an HID headlight and two auxiliary lights. Somehow my main headlight stopped working, and one of my extra lights. But God was gracious enough to leave me one to limp around with.

I took it apart and found a broken bulb filament in my left aux light, but I can't figure out my headlight. Fuses seem good. And I have no idea how to tell if an HID bulb is out.

Pictured: my view of Danny's tail with only one aux light, and the view of my bikes innards as seen from my camp flashlight.

Also, doing it all in the dark at a campsite is sorta frustrating.

We're there

Made it to West Virginia! And to Hillbilly Hotdogs for lunch.

And this place is crazy.

Mission Accomplished.

Tool Tube

You ain't goin nowhere, sucka.

Why West Virginia?

So I have ridden through all the 48 lower states. Half alone, half with a good friend. He has ridden through the 48. We finished them together with Wisconsin. My dad has also done it, and my. Dad and I are riding to Alaska together next month to make it 49. Except, apparently, I missed West Virginia. My friend pointed it out one day when looking at a map of all my routes. And I can't have that missing state on my conscience before I head to Alaska.

So Danny and I are heading towards West Virginia. Me for my 48th (for real this time), and he to expand his 4 states to 8. But there's more. How could we not go to West Virginia, when Hillbilly Hotdogs is there?



So there you have it. Hillbilly hotdogs is the apex of our trip, which should nicely coincide with lunch time tomorrow. We've been planning the trip for weeks and thinking about what we'd be getting on our hotdogs for a long time. Unfortunately we didn't think about it tonight, and we got hot dogs to grill over campfire. Sorry, digestive system.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Camp 2

Made it. Just getting there, without hitting deer, popping a tire, or overheating... feels good.

Much later than anticipated, but here nonetheless, with five states behind us.


Still Alive

And we finally got to some curvy roads.



We just got to Danny's sixth motorcycle trip state: Indiana!


Slow going

Well, we haven't had any major hold ups today (Day 2). But we also haven't gone far. Just finished lunch. It's 3PM and we've only gone 160 of today's 400 miles. Lots left to cover.

The Rain

Danny: Looks like it's going to rain. Let's pull over.
Nic: C'mon, it's not going to rain. Let's keep going. Forecast says no rain.
Danny: I'm pulling over and putting my rain suit on.
Nic: Fine.

We stop, Danny suits up, I put on rain pants but still have on sandals and no gloves. Confident.

5 minutes down the road, getting POURED ON.

Nic: I'm soaked. Let's pull over.

Sparks Fly

Not 5 minutes after being soaked in the rain, and 10 minutes from first camp, Danny starts yelling in my ear (helmet comm system),


Luckily there was a rest stop off-ramp only 200 ft away. We pulled off and slowed down, CAREFULLY, and he says it's still sparking. I'm trying to figure out how I've been comfortably cruising at 70 on a tire so flat that the rim is sparking. AND trying to figure out how I am going to get past a flat rear tire to continue the adventure.

Well we stopped, and it turned out my tool tube was half-hanging off the front of my bike. It had a metal pipe clamp holding one side, and plastic zip ties holding the other. And what broke? The metal clamp. It had been dragging long enough without either of us noticing that it rubbed straight trough the tube, and the asphalt was lightly grinding one of my wrenches. Hence, the sparks.

Strapped it on the back. Hit the road gain.

Differing Dinners

Nic: Mexican Pizza, drink.

Danny: Chicken wing, chicken leg, mashed potatoes and gravy #1, mashed potatoes and gravy #2, Doritos taco 1, Doritos taco 2, biscuit, drink.

He may have been comfort eating after dropping his bike...

The Danny drop

Our first break out of Kansas City was in Concordia, MO. We went looking for a Mexican place that google swore was down a gravel road in the midst of some corn. Nada. Turning around on the gravel left the boulevard in a ditch, on it's side.

Danny's pride was the only thing hurt. I was still more frustrated at having to give up on Mexican for dinner.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On the road

2006 KLR 650 +200 lbs crap
2007 Suzuki Boulevard M50

Two much weight, too far back

Loaded up for the trip to West Virginia.

Riding to work this morning felt like riding an elephant. The weight is so far back that the front wheel feels nearly useless, and when I lean at slow speeds, I think I can actually feel each knob from the rear tire give way...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ode to JB Weld

Well, 141 degrees (F) on the test-ride, through city traffic and stoplights, and she's holding up. Thanks, J.B. now stay strong. We've still thousands of miles to do.

Thinking about cruising across states with a J-B Welded radiator makes me feel like a legit KLR rider.


Cracked Radiator


Well the radiator is definitely cracked. Its a small crack. But a big problem. A new radiator is $300. Shipping it to KC quickly is another $100. And I don't have time to replace a radiator before Thursday. Luckily, JB Weld is $7.

It's supposed to withstand 600 degrees (F) and 4000 psi of pressure. My step-dad, who knows of such things, said "hmmm," "it MIGHT work," and of course "be careful." I hope it holds.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Silly radiator. Coolant doesn't belong on the ground.

I'm leaving for a 1500+ mile road trip to West Virginia in a few days. Without much time next week to pack and prep the bike, I realized I'll need to get everything ready this weekend. So I rode to work today. Not to shakedown the bike or anything (which I thought was solid), but just because I'm getting excited for the trip.

And sure, my bike smelled a little like coolant before I left, but I just assumed it was my garage. Wrong. I got to work today and noticed a casual drip of neon green. It appears to be coming straight from the bottom of the radiator, but it's hard to get a good luck with all the plastics on. Guess my Friday night is now planned.