After 10 years and approximately 13,000 miles, I wanted something different. I was trading in my Kawasaki Concours for a different motorcycle.Over the years, I had spent far more in repair cost than the cost of the bike and I was starting to loose confidence in the bike. There were many little things that were off, but it is a 15 year old bike.But I won’t forge the time in Arkansas with Hiatt, or the Colorado trip where I had to purchase a truck to bring the bike home, or the 5 corners of Missouri. I had fun, but the fun was getting long. I didn’t ride it much. Part of this was due to the thread of breakdowns, and the other because it takes a while for the engine to heat up before its ready to ride.
I did research online and got permission from the wife to make the purchase. The only dealer near St. Louis was about 80 miles away. But the price was fantastic and I worked out the details over the phone before heading out.
Eric and I left on a 40 degree day. The ride out there was long and cold, even stopping for Eric to buy some snow pants to help him warm up. Eventually, we made it out to ATVs and More which is on the site of an old Target, so its beyond HUGE! I got to business quickly making the deal I came for. There was a bit of back and forth, but they committed to the original quoted price and I appreciate that!
So while they prepped the bike, Eric and I wondered the store…
When the time finally came, I wrote the check and we were out of there! The V-Strom 650 was mine. And most cool, it had 0 miles on it!!!
Here I am riding out of the parking lot for the first time!
Fortunately, it warmed up for the ride home. Without that 1000cc engine of the Concours pouring heat out on me, the increased temperature was appreciated. And finally home!
I occasionally go out to the garage in the winter and start my motorcycle (Kawasaki Concours C10). I like to hear it and believe its good to get the fluids circulating every so often. I happened to notice extra heat coming out of the vent. I saw that the exhaust header was glowing. This was due to the choke being on.
Of course, I’m a curious guy, so I had to see how hot it actually was!
Over 700 degrees is nuts and probably bad for the engine. I’ll be more careful with the choke in the future!
On Friday 9/29/2017, Eric and I set out on the 5 Corners of Missouri adventure. Its a trip I dreamed up after reading about other motorcycle adventures. The plan was to ride around the state of Missouri and visit the roads that were closest to the corners of the state. I came up with 5 corners because The northeast corner has a more eastern and a more northern area. If I got them both, I would have no doubt that I covered them all. Here are a few photos of the trip and I’ll include the YouTube video once it finishes uploading.
Two guys from the office, Jeff Hug, Eric Ent, and I decided to go for a Saturday morning motorcycle ride. Its fun to share hobbies and motorcycle people like to ride together. The plan was to ride down the river road in Illinois and catch the ferry to St. Genevieve to get back home. I love going on trips, so it should be no surprise that I arrived first.
While I was waiting, I went into the gas station looking for breakfast and coffee. This station is large, but it mostly sells alcohol, so I was relegated to a stale pastry and coffee.
It didn’t take long for Eric to show up on his Yamaha FZ-07 ready to ride after filling up.
Eric and I were wondering if Jeff would show up. We weren’t sure based on how far away he lived. We sent him a text and said we would give him fifteen more minutes before we left without him. Turns out that Jeff slept in and rode very fast to get out to us with time to spare before we gave up on him. His bike doesn’t have a ton of range due to a small fuel tank so he filled up as well.
With full tanks, we headed out to explore the riverside! We all followed Eric as he had done this ride before and had a vague sense of where to go. During the ride south, we paced a southbound train. Eventually after about an hour of riding, we got to the ferry crossing. It didn’t open till 9am giving us time to play around before it opened. We were quite concerned about the ramp to get on the ferry. The metal edges didn’t fit nicely against the pavement and looked bad for our tires.
We didn’t know what to think so we tried to get our minds off of it. We started by exploring the area around us.
Before we knew it, the ferry had arrived and it was our time. The guys asked me to go first as I said it wouldn’t be that bad. I picked a line and went slowly and everything worked out pefectly. The guys followed the same line behind me and we were all set to cross. This is always a fun time on a motorcycle as you always get off and walk around to check it all out. I was a bit worried as smoke continued out of the engine room of the tug, but it never stopped running and crossed without incident.
On the other side, I promptly rode up the ramp from the river to the road to meet Eric’s sister Alisa. She was going to join our group to make it a foursome. After a few moments talking to her, I saw Eric park his bike at the top of the rise and walk back down. This seemed like trouble so I excused myself and walked over. Trouble it was.
Jeff’s Suzuki C90 wouldn’t start. It was running perfectly the whole trip (I even rode it while waiting for the ferry). Eric and I pushed it up the hill to the top. It was decided to bump (push) start it. After a few tries with Eric and I panting for breath, it started up. All was not well with the electrical system as can been seen in the video below.
Eventually Jeff’s bike settled down and we were on the road. We decided to take I-55 straight north and get home ASAP. Unfortunately Jeff was almost out of fuel. Eric and his sister had departed earlier so it was just Jeff and I. Unfortunately, to fuel up, you have to turn the motorcycle off and use the ignition key to open the fuel tank. We made three laps around the gas stating trying to bump start his bike to no avail. After two tries, we eventually jump started it with cables from my bike to his.He made it home in after the final jump start to diagnose the issue.
It was quite the eventful ride and most of us had a great time!
Today was a day of pain, opportunity, and luck. It started out as the previous two had, in a motel room quickly getting ready before the sun came up. I had about an hour’s ride before I got to Silverton, CO, the northern gem of the Million Dollar Highway. From there south for at least an hour would be some of the most spectacular views of my ride. I was off to a gas station to fill up my bike and my belly!
Riding any Colorado road in the mornings or night can leave a person bone chilled. The sun was out, but it was frequently behind the scenery. I realized that if I was too cold, I wouldn’t be in top riding form, and found it best to stop and put on my rain suit for extra wind protection. Here is what that looked like!
Finally warm, I was able to ride normally and happy. Its worth not looking “cool” to be happy and warm and the stop only took about 10 minutes. It didn’t take long till I further south and the road got very interesting as did my ride.
Watch the video below, and you’ll see around minute 4:50, I pull over to look out at an overlook with a waterfall. Its a great view, but when I get back on my bike I mess with it a bit cause it won’t start. Eventually it fires up and I go on my way. At the 7:25 mark, I have to stop for a traffic signal for one way traffic. It seemed that I was going to be there a while, so I shut off the bike again. At 9:55 you can see the traffic light turn green and me try to start the bike. It took about 20 seconds for me to get it to work including some frustrating hand work and attempting to wave on the traffic backed up behind me. But she did start and I was off.
My problem now was I knew that the next time I turned off the bike there was a very high likelihood that it would not start again. At this point in the trip, I’m ahead of schedule and willing to stop more to view the things around me, with a machine that doesn’t want to cooperate. Deep down inside I knew that the moment of truth would come and I didn’t want to ride in fear all the way to Durango without stopping.
Eventually the moment was right and I stopped on an uphill to see a scenic looking waterfall coming down from the mountain. Delaying the inevitable, I hiked around to get a good look.
From the parking lot up into the waterfall.
Back to the pull out I parked out.
This is how the water goes under the road, they must expect lots of water in the spring!
Eventually I went back to the bike and it failed to start. But a few summers ago, I did a solo ride in St. Louis and had a similar issue. I rode out to Hermann, MO and stopped at the river to enjoy the view. When I got back on it wouldn’t start. After a Facebook post to the Concours Owner’s Group, I got a reply telling me to check the fuses, and it turned out I had blown one. So with past experience as my guide, I started to take off the side panel that hosted the fuses.
With the first panel off, I learned that I took off the wrong one 🙁 But I also saw the manual adjustment for the suspension that I have never tried before. So I took a chance and adjusted it. I wouldn’t know what this did until I could get the bike started and back on the road. So I put the panel back on and went around to the other side. I took off the panel and found the fuse box. Then I triumphantly took out each fuse knowing that I would find a blown one and could just replace it and be on my way.
When the last fuse was pulled and none were blown, I got momentarily flustered. I have no cell signal to call for help and I’m not sure what is wrong with my bike. I remember reading a story by Daniel Meyer about approaching a guy on the side of the road in Alaska beating his motorcycle gear because his bike wouldn’t work. Once the guy calmed down, they went over the bike system by system till they found the problem and got him going again.
With a little patience and a happy mood cause I was in Colorado about the farthest away from home I would be the whole trip, I started taking the motorcycle apart checking every electrical connection I could find and then testing to see if it would start. Eventually, under the seat was the ignition pack that when wiggled caused it to work once then fail. After some working of the harness, I was able to get it to work 5 times in a row.
With things back together, the ignition didn’t give me any more problems for the rest of the trip. Ohh, and the seat adjustment was amazing, making it more bouncy. My butt complained a lot less which made me happy. Come back in a few days for the continuation of the rest of this day.