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
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.