« Let's Fly to Arkansas | Main | Day 2 on the Africa Twin »

July 7, 2017

Day 1 on the new bike

So, I get up this morning at 3:00 a.m. and drive to the airport for a 5:20 a.m. flight to Dallas. Surprisingly, I landed at Love FIeld. I don't think I've ever flown into Love Field, and I lived in Dallas for 7 years.

Then, I wander around and find the connecting gate, and hop on a plane to Little Rock (Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport). Then, I rent a car from Enterprise, and drive from Little Rock to Russellville, Arkansas, about 80 miles away.

Find the place, walk in. They don't have it ready for me, even though they said that they would. They wheel it away to do Lord knows what to it. Gas it up, apparently.

I pay them more money than I ever have before for a motorcycle. They put a paper license plate on the back that says "HONDA".

They guy follows me to drop off my Enterprise rental car in Russellville, about 5 miles away. Then, I ride back with him to the Honda dealership.

I've paid them the money, and signed a bunch of papers. They hand me the key, the spare key, show me where the owners manual is (under the seat).

The guy helps me set the clock, because the time is wrong.

At some point, my boss texts me and asks if I'm taking today off. "I'm traveling," I offer. As if that makes it ok somehow.

"I'll be on the teleconference",
and I take off, hell bent for leather.

Im driving about 85 mph in a 70 mph zone and I pass a cop. I'm sure he's coming for me, so I exit and hide for a while, Eventually, I get up the courage to get back on I-40 westbound. Then, I pass another cop, but this time I'm only going like 75-80. I'm trying to get the Fort Smith in time for the teleconference.

This cop doesn't come after me either, I dunno why.

So, that's twice that I've passed cops when I was speeding and they didn't come after me. And, I have no license plate. And I stayed up late creating phony insurance documents. All for naught, it would seem.

Finally, I roll into Fort Smith. McDonalds has Wifi. YES! So, I plop down at 2:50 just in time to call in and realize that I have another hour before the teleconference. Argh!

I sit down at a McDonald's and start into this teleconference, connecting people all over North America...SF, Toronto, and Fort Smith Arkansas. Lord.

THey want me to share my screen and I'm like..."I can't do that...I'm not smart enough...I'll just explaint the problem to you."

The truth is that I really don't know where to go on my bike. I don't really know why I'm here, or why I bought it, or where to go next. All I know is that, it's got to get better than this. Because this isn't working.

I guess that I'll ride it back to Denver. But, I should mention that this is nothing but a coin toss. I am very close to driving back to Jackson, MS and spending next week there.

I think that, because my boss got onto me about not working today, I'm inclined to ride back towards Denver, instead of Jackson.

It is 97 degrees F in the shade out there. I'm sweating like a whore in church. And now, I've got to somehow try to make it back to Denver without dying from the speed wobbles. This bike does not handle as well as my KTM, IMHO. But, I'm going to try to get back to Denver this weekend.

I think that today is Friday.

Here is a map of roughly where I rode today.

This map shows I went 458 miles. My bike shows that I went 500 miles. I did a little bit of back-tracking when I got turned around in Tulsa. I ended up in the North end of Tulsa, and it's not a safe area, I can assure you.

Also, it dawns on me that I'm dying of thirst, so I stopped in at a gas station and get 2 massive gatorades. This is one of the cardinal rules of riding a bike. Carry food and liquids with you. If you break down, and are stranded, you will need food and water. It's all about survival. So I stock up on gatorade.

Then, I was going west on US Highway 412, going west out of Tulsa, and I'm heading right into the maw of this massive thunderstorm. But, I'm thinking that, at some point, I'm supposed to run north on I-35 somewhere near Perry, OK. So, sure enough, just as it start to rain on me, we turn north on I-35, and I basically outrun a very nasty storm.

Now, as I'm going North of I-35, I finally see that there's an indicator that shows how much gas is in the tank. And, of course, I decide to push it to see how far I can go. My goal is to go 200 miles on a tank, but really, I can only get about 150 miles.

And, now the gas light indicator is flashing, and I only have 0.8 gallons left, and I'm about to run out of gas in the middle of BFE Kansas, but by the grace of God, there's a gas station and I stop and fill up with only a few miles to spare.

Also, my Garmin Montana is completely drained, and the Honda Africa Twin has no USB ports. It appears to have a cigarette lighter, so I try to pull the cover off while I'm driving down the road, but it won't budge. So I push it in, and it disappears down inside the bowels of the motorcycle. Huh.

So, I have no GPS. Only a cell phone, which is tough to use while I'm driving down the highway.

Oh yes...also...there are many toll roads. I'm not clear why. But there are toll roads all over in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. But, the beauty of the Toll Roads is that my bike has no plates. It just has a piece of paper that says HONDA.

So, I go through all of the "toll-tag only" lanes, and blow through them, knowing that, even if they take photos of me, that have no clue who I am, as the bike has no plates.

Finally, I'm driving north on I-135, run running balls out. The speed limit is 75 mph, and I'm following this car and he's going 90 mph, and we run like this for about an hour, it seems.

My goal is to make it to Salinas, Kansas, becuase then, I think that I'll have driven more than half of the distance today. And I'm looking for a place to stay for the night, because it's about 11:30 p.m., and it's dark and I really don't need to be driving at night and I'm looking for a room, and I roll up on this hotel that has about 50-100 motorcycle riders in the parking lot.

So, I ask if they got a good rate, and I go to the front desk and explain that I'm with the motorcycle riders, and my rate is $75 a night. Woohoo!

The bikers are in some sort of cult where they have rides around Kansas, but they're in every state, apparently, and they donate money to people who are victims of house fires, apparently.

Their motorcycle club is called the Fire and Iron club, I think.

So, I check in and crash for the night. My plan is to get up early and hit the road again. Another long day tomorrow.

I rode roughly 500 miles today. It looks like I've got roughly the same distance to ride tomorrow.


I originally wasn't sure where I was going to go when I picked up my new bike. Part of me wanted to go to Mississippi and hang out there next week. But my boss discovered that I was traveling this morning instead of working, and he was pretty upset about it. So, I figured that it would be a better move to just ride the bike back to CO, and keep it there for the summer. I'm supposed to be in Oakland on Monday, apparently.

Also, I should mention that the bike now handles very well. It's a smooth riding bike, and I'm very comfortable on it. I just lean over the handlebars, and run about 90 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Once the sun went down, it cooled off considerably, so I kept riding. Because, in the heat of the day, I was roasting and thought I was going to die. It was the hottest day of the year so far in Russellville and Fort Smith. I was roasting.

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 7, 2017 at 2:43 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)