|Travelogue -- Dr Bob's US Northeast Motorcycle Ride|
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12 June 2015
Another of my rides has ended, my Northwest Territory Ride. I hate to see them come to an end, but I must say I am glad when they are finished. It is an intensive time, it takes a lot of energy, plus I can only tolerate so much of a good thing. I rode through all six of the Northwest Territory states, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The red lines on the map below show where I went on this ride. My overnight stops are marked in blue. The big blue arrow shows the start and end points, North Palm Beach.
The map below shows where I have ridden my bikes.
This ride was beginning to feel difficult toward the end, though, too many things were zapping my energy -- the weather -- the bike issues. Let me address them separately.
There were three bike issues, none of them that bad or expensive, but a nuisance:
1. My fried fob (see 5/25). It was 100% my fault, I was stupid for not making sure the fob was securely attached to my belt rather than hanging down on the pipes. I sure am glad that I did not turn off the ignition, the problem might have been much worse. I forgot to mention that the battery went dead at the end, just when I tried to start the bike to ride away from Powder Keg HD, the battery did not have enough left to turn over the starter, Drew had to jump it for me, but then everything was OK.
2. The shifter shaft (see 6/2). As far as I know, this one was not my fault, the spline was worn causing the shifter to come apart. I have read that using too heavy a foot on shifting can cause this type of wear, so maybe I did it, maybe not. I think I will be gentle with the shifter in the future, just in case I did it.
3. The broken wire (see 6/8). This has to be a fault in the manufacture of the bike, a wire in the middle of a harness that is not under stress. This problem worries me the most, because of harness problems I had on my Route 66 Ride. Wires kept breaking in the harness that goes around the neck. Is this bike going to have future broken wire problems? I sure hope not. (For the Route 66 wiring problems, see 8 May at Route 66 Ride)
The weather problems were greater in number:
1. The first problem was caused by a bad 18-wheeler accident on I-10 in FLorida (see 5/20). I had a 4-hour wait on the highway, and the wait included a severe thunderstorm that passed right overhead.
2. I rode in rain between Louisville and Cincinnati (see 5/25), and this may have contributed to my fried fob problem. (But it was still my fault. With the extra layer of the rain jacket, the fob is not visible but hidden under the jacket, I would be less likely to notice that it was not on my belt.)
3. I lost a day in Sault Ste Marie (see 5/29) because of a cold front that came through, blocking me from going west. The radar images showed very heavy rain, and I don't want to ride in that stuff.
4. Tornado Alley severe weather (see 6/2, 6/3, 6/4). Seems that I was having to ride around storms a lot. There were tornado warnings every night very close to me. There were flood warnings where I was. These things did not cause a lot of delay, or cause me to get wet, they just played with my mind.
5. Rain in Baton Rouge (see 6/9). This one was very tiring for me, it was getting late in the ride, I was trapped at a gas station, and I had to stand for two hours. This is probably the issue that caused me to write this entire section on bike and weather issues. I had simply shrugged off all the problems until this happened, and this made me start thinking more about the other problems.
One more comment about bike problems, the problems this year were minor compared to what happened on my Route 66 Ride. On that ride I was towed three times. The problems were not minor. And, getting them fixed cost a lot of money.
On the positive side, I saw several relatives, some I had not seen in a long, long time.
I met with Dean and Phil to award them their choclolate shakes, and with my brothers and sister and their families, and saw a childhood friend that I had not seen in about 50 years (this part was actually done when I was in my F-150, it had been scheduled to be during the ride, but it didn't work out that way, but I still consider it a part of this ride).
And, as always, I just love sitting on the bike cruising along in the breeze enjoying all the sights around me, especially on country roads. That's why I do these rides. The problems noted above do not diminish that enjoyment.
I rode an estimated 6,117 miles (about 296 miles with a broken odometer). I was on the road for 23 days, that would make my average day 266 miles. If you only count the 21 days that I went somewhere, it would be 291 miles per day. I used 146.4 gallons of premium fuel. My overall gas mileage was 41.8 mpg. The highest tank was 47.5 mpg riding country roads in Ohio and the lowest was 37.5 mpg between Topeka and Broken Arrow. I am not sure why that was the lowest mileage tank, I cannot remember anything specific that day that would have caused that result. This was before the broken odometer, so that is not a factor.
I did not have a predetermined route planned, just major places I wanted to go. I changed my mind several times on where to go, for example, International Falls was not in my original plan. My ride south from International Falls to Dallas was pretty much north to south. I had thought it would be more an arc from the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula to Dallas.
I had one chocolate shake, that's right, just one, and I did it for Dean, not for me.
I rode through 20 states, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. I would have ridden through Iowa, but was pushed west by the weather.
I took 602 pictures. I showed you 183 of them.
And something new for this ride, I gave you two audio clips, the sound of a Harley and the sound of a John Deere. If you feel like listening to them again, go to 5/28.
I picked up three more of the 48 Capitol cities, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas, plus the old Capitol of Indiana. I also visited the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee two times, on the way north and on the way back south. Plus I visited the Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. You know that I am taking pictures of the Capitols. You can see them on my US Capitols page. I am missing only three of the 48, Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona. I plan to get them on my ride next year, and to visit my daughter Cindy in the desert in California. I will probably ride through Death Valley again, I have done that a few times already. Next year's ride may look something like this, I have not given it a name yet.
I will leave you now for another year, please do come back next year.