Monday, January 22, 2018

Goldwing Added to the Stable

For some time now, I have been looking for the right two-up freeway flyer.  I had pretty much settled on the Golwing, GL1800 as having the features and comfort I wanted/needed for spending hours, if not, days covering miles on the Interstate Highway system, or the numbered highway system.

This will not replace my Norge, but will be an addition to the garage.

I finally decided to pull the trigger in December of 2017 and the search began in earnest.  I was fortunate to be offered a 2008 with less than 50,000 miles from a fellow long distance rider.  The bike is equipped with both ABS and CB, which were my two must haves.  In addition, he had added a number of nice features that will make long distance travel even nicer.  

His touches include:

  • An auxiliary 5 gallon fuel tank w/quick release and electric pump
  • Hidden trailer hitch (the fuel tank mounts there)
  • Wind Bender adjustable wind screen
  • Baker Built Hand Wings (keeps the air off your hands)
  • Show Chrome adjustable driver back rest
  • Kuryakyn Highway pegs
  • Kuryakyn Trunk rack
  • Trunk organizer
  • Firecreek Farkle Shelf
  • Garmin Streetpilot 2720 (replaced with my Garmin 665 w/XM Radio
  • Air Rider Bluetooth to Honda 5-pin adapter which allow me to access all the navigation and entertainment features through my Sena headset.
  • Valentine 1 Radar Detector w/remote switch
  • Full and half covers
  • Kuryakyn trunk rack bag
  • Owners manual for the bike and all the accessories
  • Official Honda Service Manual (all 10 pounds of it!)
  • XS Nolan helmet (wife wears this size)
  • OEM windshield
  • Several seat cushions
  • other stuff that I can't remember at the moment
Nicely set-up.

Oh yes, the bike was in Palestine, Texas, and I am in Los Angeles.  So a quick flight into Tyler, Texas (rose capitol of Texas) and an hour ride to his place.  We had dinner at a BBQ place in Tyler while waiting for my luggage to arrive first, however.

I was introduced to the Wing and given way more information on the accessories and general operating systems than I could absorb - hopefully it will all (mostly?) make sense by the time I get back to LA.

I spent the night in their guest quarters (he lives on 37 acres of beautiful Texas pine forest) and headed out the next day.

Of course nothing goes completely according to plan.  I stopped in town for a quick breakfast and discovered a dead battery when I went out to start the bike.  Hmm, forgot to ask where the battery is on this beast.  Call to the now previous owner and he came right out with a replacement battery.  Now I know where it is.

Just outside of Palestine in Franklin, I came across a ranch that has a bunch of African animals.  Looks cool and is open to the public.

On the way to San Antonio, I went through Hutto.  Interesting little place with some great old buildings.

Off again with a stop in San Antonio to spend the night with an old Military buddy.  Finally got to meet his wife.  She has always been out of town when I've come through, so it was fun to finally meet her.

From Phil's place in San Antonio to mine is a bit over 1500 miles.  That would have made a great Bun Burner (1500 miles in 36 hours) or Bun Burner Gold (1500 miles in 24 hours), but I didn't want to push a new-to-me bike that hard, so I took the easy way and made a couple of overnight stops along the way.

No trip to Central Texas is complete without a stop in Luckenback.  

On the way, I came across this

It's not every day you see a Bob's Big Boy in somebody's front yard.

I have a lot of fond memories of this place from back when I lived in the area.  In the back of the old Post Office there is a pot bellied stove that was keeping folks warm, and a couple of guys singing.

I sat in with them for a while, and while there is no evidence (that I have seen at least) that I was anything less than in perfect harmony with them, there is nothing to prove that I was, either.

Of course I had to pass through Fredericksburg as well.  Since is was a couple of weeks before Christmas, the decorations were in full swing, including this wonderful piece in the main park.

I wanted to visit the Prada store in Marfa, Texas, so that sort of determined my route for the rest of the day.  Unfortunately, I decided to take I-10 to Ft. Stockton before heading south to Marfa.  I should have turned down to US-90 and found my way to Marathon or Alpine for the night, but I had never stayed in Ft. Stockton before, so I rolled into there well after dark.

Let's just say that I made sure I didn't leave anything in Ft. Stockton so I would not have to return.

Next day, down to US-90 and Marfa, Texas.  Yep, there is a Prada store right along the highway.

You can look it up on Wikipedia to see the history of this place.

We don't have any Sonic Drive-Ins in Los Angeles City.  The closest one in about 40 miles away - not that far, but not all that close by either.  So when I'm on the road and one jumps up in front of me, I have to stop and have a Cranberry Limeaide.  

Other than an abandoned gas station or two, 

there was not much else that I found interesting on this trip, as it was a bit time constrained and I wanted to get back to LA.

I spent the final night on the road in Goodyear, Arizona.  Nice Holiday Inn and good food nearby.

All in all, it was a bit over 1800 miles from Palestine to home with a couple of side trips along the way.

Impressions?  I really like this bike.  Comfortable, quiet, good weather protection (I never really got cold in the 40* temperatures) and very predictable.  I can certainly tell it's a couple of hundred pounds heavier than the Norge - especially at low speeds.  It's going to take a few thousand miles to get really comfortable handling her, especially when I add a passenger.

There is really not much, if anything that I will change.  I do need to tweak the communications system a bit as I currently cannot transmit over the CB using the Sena.  That may require a newer Sena with the 5-pin adapter built into the mount, or just a change in how things are configured with the Air Rider.

We'll see.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I needed to visit the four Tour of Honor sites in Northern California and wanted to meet and ride with some guys out of Sacramento locally known as the Old Farts. Soooo, consulting the local crystal ball for weather, I decided the week of October 15 would be better than the week of the 22nd. That and some of the Old Farts would be out of town the week of 8 October sort of narrowed it down a bit.

Since I was on a rather tight schedule, I didn't take a bunch of photos but here goes...

I headed up US-101 for the Northbound run and had planned to come back down either by US-395 or PCH. However, I ended up returning via I-5 and cutting my trip short by a day.

I enjoy interesting cafes and other places. This cafe had a poker parlor attached to it. Atascadero, California, along Highway 1

The first location I stopped at was in Santa Clara - the Santa Clara Veterans Memorial. A quick photo and then find a place to sleep.

Before bed, I filled the tank. Using Gas Buddy on the cell phone, I found this place with relatively inexpensive fuel.

The next day was a blast up to Weed, CA and the Living Sculpture Memorial Garden by way of Santa Rosa.

The Pacific Air Museum was the next stop.

This was great! I'm a sucker for old aircraft and found a bunch of really cool stuff, including three of my all time favorites:

The BD is on my short list of fantasy airplanes to own. Totally impractical, very touchy to fly and a complete blast.

The F-4 holds a special place in my heart. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the back seat of one after picking up the downed pilot of one from a beach in Vietnam.

Of course I always am drawn to the UH-1D/H models. I flew those in Vietnam for a couple of tours as well as when I got back. What a work horse. With continued upgrades they are still flying. Unfortunately the Army has seen fit to replace them with the Blackhawk.

Interstate 5 (I-5) up in NorCal is not the flat land boring I-5 we know and love here in SoCal. The scenery was great and riding up through the canyons was very nice.

On the road North out of Weed (CA-97) headed to the next stop.

The photo on the ToH site showing this memorial does not do it justice. Part of my brain was saying "Let's get this over and get back to lower elevations and rest". Wednesday promised to be a fun day and this second 500 mile day was getting tiring. Once I got there, however, I was totally blown away. I was unprepared for the impact his site had on me.

I parked at the Hot LZ and walked toward my destination.

Finally the unassuming entrance to my goal for this stop

Getting closer, it hit me what this really was

Sort of changed my whole outlook on the day. I spent a lot longer there in contemplation and remembrance. I left six behind on one day in 1971 - four pilots and two crew chiefs. Their bodies were never recovered even though we believe at least some of them started off as POWs. That was one of the not-so-good days from my tours.

Leaving the Memorial, I took this shot of the north face of Mt. Shasta. Nice peaceful vision to keep with me on my way back down.

A stop in Weed, CA. I mean, how could you not stop here?

Spent the night at Travis AFB and on Wednesday met up with the Old Farts for breakfast and a ride. I knew I had fallen in with a bunch of Yankees when I asked for Grits at the waffle place and was told they didn't have that on the menu.

Getting ready to head out...

I'm not real sure where all they took me

I know we went this way

At one point we came from there

And were headed this way...

Moving right along

Until we came to here.

This is the memorial to the five riders killed on their way to Hope Valley. Here is a blog like about this memorial --> Linky

We left there and headed toward Apple Hill for lunch.

No photos of lunch as I was too busy eating and enjoying resting my butt. Those old guys ride pretty damn good - and relatively quick as well. It sure helps to know the roads. Many thanks to Papa Ken and the boys for showing me some beautiful roads, welcoming me to the group, and some really fine apple cider.  It was pretty cool being the youngest in the group for a change  ;D

Here's a link to the map of the lunch ride. Pretty close to a 200 mile round trip. After lunch, the group broke up and I headed in to Sacramento to bag the last of the four sites I came up here for.  Papa Ken later gave me the following directions:

We did take the backroads to the outskirts of Auburn to tie in with 49.
Took that down across the American River up to Cool. At that point 193
to Georgetown and Wentworth springs rd. to Ice House Rd. down to 50 turned
east on 50 to silverfork rd. at Kyburz and went south to Mormon Immigrant and
the five crosses memorial, then onward to High Hill Ranch via Snows Rd. to Camino.

Back in downtown Sacramento - right across from the State Capitol building is the California Peace Officers' Memorial

I debated on staying another night at Travis, heading toward CA-1 and stopping by San Francisco, or finding my way over to US-395, but instead turned south on I-5 and slabbed it home, arriving somewhere around 1am.

1717 miles in three days or 28 hours of road time

The bike ran flawlessly, but I do need to either reconfigure my ass or the seat if I'm going to do many more of these multi-day 500 mile plus days.

I really love the Norge.  I could spend pages detailing why this is the perfect bike for me, but I'll just leave it at this - the ergonomics of this bike are perfect for me.  I love the sound, feel and responsiveness of this bike.  No, she's not the fastest in the group.  No, she's not the smoothest, nor the most plush.  But she handles very well, is comfortable on long rides (despite my minor complaint about the seat or my butt), loves twisty roads, eats up sweepers, gets pretty darn good mileage, and comes with ABS (that you can turn off when playing on dirt roads), an electric windshield, heated grips, and side bags as standard.  By the way, did I mention that I love this bike?