The CX500's first Long Haul "Trip to Nowhere"
Well we both made it back alive… Barely... I’m kidding. We’re fine. Just trying to peak your interest and force you to read on. I will say that my bike had some issues that need to be attended to.
Overall, it was a great trip that evoked a range of emotions from excitement and aw to gut wrenching fear (for me).
Getting ready was typical of any “long” distance trip where you’re relying on the reliability of your bike at highway speeds for extended periods of time. Go over all the fluids, nuts & bolts, fuses and make sure you bring an array of tools that will allow you to “MacGyver” your way out of any situation. No bars of soap and paper clips or anything, but you may want to bring some zip ties, duct tape and bungees along with wrenches, bulbs, fuses etc. I think I used just about every tool I packed.
Day One: Friday, September 24th
We left work early (Sorry Ryan) and headed to the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth, PA which was about 60 miles away. It was at that point that I realized how much I hate highway riding. I don’t know if it was the bike or me, but I wasn’t exactly loving life on the highway, behind the bars of the CX. It felt like I was holding a piece of plywood, against the wind, with a parachute wrapped around my neck. Needless to say, it wasn’t confidence inspiring. Keep in mind that this is my first “real” ride with about 50-100 miles under my belt. Up until 60-65 mph, it was fine, but above that it was pretty rough. I thought it had of been really windy out, until I looked at the surrounding trees that were comically calm. The leaves looked as if they were stricken with rigamortis.
After all was said and done, we made it there with about 5 minutes to spare before the last tour set out. That factory is beautiful! If you play guitar, own a Martin or are just curious about how they’re built, you should definitely check it out. The care and quality of craftsmanship that goes into each and every guitar there is mind blowing. They employ roughly 600 people at that particular factory and churn out about 230 guitars a day. Now keep in mind that it takes about 28 days for them to build a guitar and that will give you an idea of how many guitars they have on hand at any given moment. Anyway, it was awesome. Back to the trip…
After the factory tour we split a bag of beef jerky. We’ll call that “lunch” and headed out to our next destination, Morris Pennsylvania which was another 170 miles away.
We had to stop every 60 miles or so due to Damian’s 2.2 gallon tank, which is fine by me as it allowed me to go over the bike quite often. And thank God I did. While Damian was fueling up I noticed that my rear tire was covered in oil. After wiping everything down with some carb cleaner, I found that the leak was coming from my rear. Not my ass, but the rear drive of the bike. “Maintenance Free” huh? I had a bad seal, so the fluid was dripping out of the weep hole on the bottom of the rear, dripping onto the tire and flinging all over the right side of the tire. Right hand turns..? No problem! Yet another butt-hole-puckering thought every couple of miles or so.
We exited 15 and came to a stop light. Almost there. Left turn signal and boom. No lights… No headlight, tail light, turn signals or gauges. It was starting to get dark, but the bike was running and we had about 9 miles to go so why not, right?
It got dark FAST! Damian rode behind me and lit the path ahead of me. A little sketchy, but it worked. Our phones/navigation died about a minute away from the house, but we figured it out.
We were starving at this point and needed some food stat. We went into “town” and settled down at the only place that had the lights on. Drinks were cheap ($3 for Crown, cheap) and food was cheaper. When I say “food” I mean peanuts cashews, beef jerky and my favorite, hot bologna. I’ve had better, but to completely honest with you, we had a great time drinking and eating ‘til we were full and shitty for next to nothing. I think we tipped the bartender more than the cost of the food/drinks.
Day Two: Saturday, September 25th
Got a late start, but after home cooked meal and a hot shower, I was feelin’ good. Changed out the culprit, which I’m sure you already guessed was the main fuse for the bike and headed out to the Grand Canyon of PA. Don’t worry, I had no idea it existed either…
It’s uh… It’s a big valley. Beautiful, but come on PA. Get some shovels and make that “canyon” a little more “Grand!”
Next stop: Benezette, PA to find some herds of Elk.
It was at this time that the bike was running like crap between 4500 and 5500 RPM’s. The engine would break up to the point that I would have to either downshift or hope for a hill. After getting fed up, we decided to pull over and check it out. We figured we’d check the plugs. That’s weird. The wire isn’t attached to the cap. I’m no mechanic, but I’m thinking that could have been the problem. Screwed the wire back into the cap, threw some electrical tape on there and I was golden boy again.
Once we got to the different Elk viewing spots, I figured there was no way we’d see any, but sure enough, there were a few 6x6 and 7x7’s with a ton of cows nearby.
We stopped at a camp ground about an hour away in Bellefonte, PA. Gram and Pap’s or something like that? A bunch of “youngins” were celebrating their friends 28th birthday nearby. I knew we were far from the city when two of them came over to us while we were setting up and invited us over for some food and drinks. We obliged, but didn’t want to come empty handed so off to the liquor store we went. We maaaaay have overcompensated a bit. We figured, they were young and looking to get weird, which I was ready for, but it was kinda like we brought and bazooka to a knife fight. We already had wine and two bottles of local “moonshine,” but decided to get some more just in case. After all, the night was as young as our new friends and we were wearing our drinking socks. After strapping the beer to the bike with enough bungees and ratchet straps to safely secure a Prius to my bike rack, we headed back.
Turns out they weren’t really into the hard stuff… Well the majority wasn’t, but the birthday boy WAS and decided to go shot for shot with me with me. I figured the kid can barely stand up, how many more can he possibly do? To my surprise, that 140 pound human put that bottle in front of my face about 8 more times. Finally his girlfriend kindly asked me to stop taking shots with her boyfriend. Pretty sure he passed out soon after and so did we. Good times…
Day Three: Sunday, September 26th
Time to head home... We were about 4 and half hours away #NoTollsNoHighways=NoPuckeredButtHolesForDannyBoy and had all day to get there.
That’s when we hit my favorite stretch during the entire trip, 192 East. With long straights and even longer sweeping turns surrounded by beautiful farm land on either side of us, I felt like I was finally able to lose myself in the moment.
Throughout the highway portions of the trip I had an internal struggle between feeling like I should hang up my balls for feeling “uncomfortable” at high speeds and looking like a complete douche, hunkered down with my chest on the tank and my helmet between the bars doing a BLISTERING 75 mph. But, on 192, I didn’t care… Say what you will, that was FUN… Cue the music… Enter “Isle of Man Dan”…
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful and we made it home without any more mechanical hiccups.
Now it’s time to fix the rear and get back out there again before the bike gets torn down during the winter months.
The Race of Gentlemen was postponed due to the Hurricane so we won’t be able to provide any covered of it next week.
There are probably a TON of grammatical errors, but it’s getting late and I wanna get the hell out of here.
Until next time…