Day 6

June 18, 2009

My sprocket order was too late in the day yesterday. I cannot get it until tomorrow. I’m on vacation so I am relaxing. All I need is a beach to lay on and a cold beer to drink. Unfortunately I’m in western Oklahoma, so all they have is beer.

Woodward has a huge three screen movie theatre that shows a matinee on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The two shows that were playing were up and the hangover. Considering it was 2 pm and there would probably be a lot of children at the showing of up, I watched the hangover. I know I enjoyed the movie. I’m not sure if the two other people at the theatre enjoyed it.

After the movie I went to the laundromat and washed all my dirty cloths. Exciting day!

Day 5 pics

June 18, 2009

Day 5

June 17, 2009

The temperature was 85 when I started riding. The roads started out pretty nice. Lots of twisties and a hand full of creek crossings. They eventually flattened out so I was riding in between wheat fields. By noon the temperature was close to 100. I was riding along at a good pace and stopped for lunch in Kiowa, KS. according to Sam, the TAT man, I had about 20 miles left for the day. I decided to keep riding.

After lunch it was more fields followed by some pastures with cattle in them. I rode for another 70 miles after lunch and was drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, but was not feeling too good towards the end of it. I opted for the 18 miles of paved road to the nearest gas station where I immediately got a Gatorade and hung out in their ac for a while. After I was done feeling like I was going to die from heat stroke I went outside to fill up the bike. I took a look down the block and saw the bank sign that said it was 104.

I looked over my bike and noticed that my rear sprocket was missing all its teeth. They had broken off. The chain did not have excess slack that would have caused this failure. I’m thinking it is a combination of the heat along with the gravel, sand, and dirt roads that caused the aluminum sprocket to fail.

Since I was in the town of Buffalo, OK, population 1312. I assumed I would not be able to find a new sprocket. I tried posting on advrider to see if there were any locals that might be able to help. I also asked around town to find out if anybody might have a sprocket. The one person in town that has a dirtbike said his would not be compatible. After a few calls I was able to find a dealer 30 miles away that could order it and it would likely be there tomorrow. I tightened up my chain to remove most of the slack so it would not jump off the sprocket. I made the 30 mile ride to Woodward where I will hopefully get a call tomorrow morning telling me my sprocket has arrived.

I hope this does not become a daily routine.

Day 4

June 17, 2009

I woke up at 7 am today. That is mighty early for me. I packed everything up and left the state park by 7:30. I was going to try to make the three day ride that is oklahoma in 2. Unfortunatly this did not work out for me. About 10 minutes into my ride I hear a clicking noise and have no power to my rear wheel. I coasted down the hill I was on then pulled to the side of the road. I was about 15 miles from the nearest town. As I pulled the front sprocket cover off my bike, the nut and washer fell to the ground. I was hoping I could refasten the nut and ride on. The nut just slipped over the threads on the output shaft. All the threads on the nut were stripped. Looking through my tool bag I noticed I had a hose clamp. I figured I’d try that and see how it worked. After a short 20 foot test it was working, so I loaded all my gear and tools back onto the bike and slowly rode to the nearest auto repair shop in the nearest town. After waiting there for a half hour they were finally able to look at it for three seconds and say they did not have a nut or a tap and nut that large. They pointed me to the auto parts store a block away. No luck there either. Onto the hardware store. They were able to point me in the direction of the nearest motorcycle dealer. 15 miles down US-62. I bought two extra hose clamps, jb weld, and expoxy from them to make sure I could get to the dealer. Somehow I forgot to pack the jb weld and epoxy before I left Illinois.

As I started out on US-62 I remembered the story of a chaingolian rider losing that nut and using duct tape in its place. I added some duct tape. It’s a good thing I added the duct tape because I think it held the hose clamp together at 65mph.

I arrived at the dealer and asked the parts guy for the nut. He said they did not stock it and nobody had ordered one from them in 2 years. He suggested I talk to the service department. The guy at the service department went to ask the sales team and came back to the service area pushing a new drz400sm. He’d give me the nut off that bike if I went and bought one at the parts counter. I walked out of there with a new nut and a washer that was used once. I installed the washer and nut. Cranked it on as hard as I could, then bent the washer over in two places to help prevent it from spinning. Luckily the threads on the shaft were stronger than the threads on the nut.

Back to the trail. At about 3pm I saw three bikes spread out along the road. It was the same three guys I saw yesterday. I asked if I could ride with them for the rest of the day. They said I could so we a rode off together. There was still about 100 miles left on this leg of the TAT. They rode a bit slower than my pace but were on some larger bikes. The majority of the time I was riding with them I was in the back. Oklahoma is very dusty. We rolled into town at 7. I got myself a motel room for the night.

Mmmm. Shower with soap. 😀

Back in business

June 16, 2009

So the dealer does not stock the nut. But luckily the service department was willing to disassemble a brand new drz400sm to sell me a new nut. It cost $5.39! There was enough thread left on the output shaft that the new nut fit and is locked on. Now I just need to ride 23 miles back to the trail.

Really?

June 16, 2009

My nut came off and is stripped. I hope this hose clamp holds for the 15 mile trip to the dealer.

Day 3

June 15, 2009

Probably the best day of riding yet. I started off at about 8 am. As I was riding this morning I kept seeing other motorcycle tire tracks. Knowing that it had rained recently I knew there must be other riders in the area. The roads were a lot of fun and I was going pretty fast. I wondered if I could catch up to the riders that laid the tracks. At about 9:30 I turned a corner and see aklr650 stopped at the next intersection. I pulledup along side him as his wife is coming back from a wrong turn. The two of them were riding the Arkansas portion from Clinton west. After chatting for a bit and takings couple pictures I took off ahead of them.

I was still seeing fresh motorcycle tire tracks after passing those two riders. Less than an hour down the road I realized that one of the fresh tracks was made by a tkc80. Within 30 minutes I pulled up to 3 bikes on the side of the road. A klr650, an f650gs Dakar, and a dl1000 with tkc80s. We talked for a while about the trail and riding. A group of quads went flying by. Six quads, eight people, four coolers, zero helmets. Most of the group was drinking a beer as they rode. The 3 riders I pulled next to were trying to prvent the f650gs from melting the saddle bags on it. After about half an hour I said my goodbyes and kept riding.

The roads and scenery were beautiful. I pulled into Oark for lunch at 12:15. When I opened the door with the ADV and TAT stickers on it, I knew I was in the right place. The cafe / general store / gas station had one customer in it when I arrived. I was able to chat with the cook and waitress about my trip. They told me they get very few people doing it alone. As I was waiting for my food to cook, two fellow advriders walked through the door. They were from 60 miles north of Oark, and that they were just riding around the area. After chatting and eating, I filled my tank and rode away.

The afternoon ride was full of more of the Ozarks. This area would be a great place to do a weekend trip of riding.

I stayed at the Devil’s Den state park.

Day 2 revisited

June 15, 2009

On day two before I got to Arkansas. I was riding down a road in Mississippi called miss levee. The road was a gravel road on the to of the levee. The road eventually Started cutting through an open pasture full of all different cows and bulls. They really didn’t want to get put of the way for my tiny motorcycle. One of the bulls was taller than me and was just staring me down. After a couple minutes of slowly creeping through the herd I exited the other side. I thought I was going to start a stampede.

Day 2

June 15, 2009

My day started out with 2 hours of rain. Needless to say, that part sucked. Just before the rain stopped, my bike died. So I flipped it onto reserve. It still wouldn’t start and I see that I have a half of a tank of gas. The bike should not be dying like this. It seems like it isn’t getting gas. So I pull the gas line off and only a small amount of gas is coming out of the carb. I’m starting to think about where can I get a new petcock 50 miles north on Memphis on a Sunday. After playing with the petcock for a bit gas starts flowing again. So I put everything back together and ride on.

It dies on me about 5 more times before I pull into an auto parts store parking lot. Sweet! I should be able to get what I need here and fix it. I was planning on disassembling the petcock to make sure it was working properly. As I’m trying to empty the tank I realize what the problem was. The gas tank vent line was unable to allow air into the tank allowing gas out. I fixed the vent hose and haven’t had a problem since.

So I finally make it to the start of the TAT. I’m following the route for about 10 miles before I find the first tree blocking the road. It took me a bit of time to clear enough of a path thru the branches for me to pass. After dropping my bike twice on the tree I finally made it thru.

The route continued on many awesome roads. The previous rain made some of the difficult. On some of the dirt roads I could not go faster than 5 miles per hour otherwise I’d be sliding sideways, which I did a lot of. I’ve included a look at one of these types of roads.

Route route route. Getting late. I’ll find the nearest campground or state park. I stop and grab a bite at sonic, then head to the state park. “Park Closed until further notice.” Great. At this point I’m feeling lazy and start to look for a hotel. But I found an RV park and pitched my tent. Now I’m going to sleep.

Day 1

June 13, 2009

I started a little bit late today. I was not on the roadr until 11 am. I decided to take some rough roads in champaign county to start with. It helped me get a good feel for the extra weight I am carrying with me. I did not have any route planned out for today. I just rode wherever my bike took me. It took me down some interesting roads. Lots of gravel, some mud, and one road that turned into a muddy quad trail. The 20 or so miles of rain in the morning were not fun, but I got to test out my new rain gear. I rode about 175 miles south and stopped in Belle Rive for lunch at 3.

After lunch I continued to take fun roads until I ran into the Ohio river. At that point I had to take a state route to Cairo, then over the Ohio into Kentucky. The hills of Kentucky were quite beautiful to wind through.

There wasn’t much of Kentucky to ride through, so I entered Tennesee. I am spending the night at the Reel Lake State Park in Tennessee.

Here’s a pic of the road that turned into a quad trail south of Effingham, IL.