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!
My motorcycle was due for inspection to get new license plates. There are not nearly enough places that will inspect motorcycles in Missouri. So I went with a co-worker and his sister down to Surdyke Harley in Festus Missouri. We always look for an excuse to ride and they had inspections on Saturday! Corvin wanted to go with me, so we rode down there. While we waited for the inspection, we of course walked the lot looking at some fantastic motorcycles and 4 wheelers!
After the successful inspection, we rode out to Waterfall for a quick look around.
Eventually it was time to head home, but a fun productive Saturday morning ride!
After my problems, the rest of the day was going to be smooth riding. I just knew it. In face, the perfect air and view on the San Juan mountains showed me they would be!
Okay, so maybe there was something up with the perfect air. I know a fire when I see one!
But a few miles down the road, I got an all clear.
They were doing preventative burning of the forests to keep them healthy. I stopped to ensure Danelle could see the photos as she loves doing these with her job. And still being ahead of schedule, I made a stop an an alternate route to Chimney Rock National Monument. I was interested in driving as close as I could and then considering a hike. As it turns out, its an active archaeological sight. I paid extra money to ride up a steep gravel road just to get a little closer, but opted out of the 2 hour guided tour. I didn’t spend much time off the bike but I came to ride!
Looking at Chimney Rock
View from the parking lot.
After this detour, I had one more alternate route before my real fun began for the day. I had a map and plan to ride across the Royal Gorge bridge. I didn’t get a 100% feeling if I could make it or not based on online information, but I didn’t look too hard. I figured that would be part of the adventure. I found my turn off for the south side and was promptly greeted with a sign saying that side was closed. So I decided that the Royal Gorge wasn’t in my plans for this trip as I had one more big thing to do this day.
My grandfather “Daddy” always spoke of a road; Phantom Canyon Drive. He had been to Colorado several times and it was his favorite. Danelle swears we drove it on our honeymoon, but that was 15 plus years ago and I’m only about 5% confident that we drove it. So I wanted to be 100% sure that I took Daddy’s favorite road.
I had the camera charged and a photo of the highway intersection so I would not miss it. At the town just before the road, I gassed up, getting food and drink in case it took longer than expected. Then I set off.
I made my turn onto Phantom Canyon Drive and knew it would be a few miles before I got the the really fun part. But something was up. There was a road closed ahead sign. Something about the road being washed out due to summer flooding. Of course being on a motorcycle, it was quite easy to get around the first sign to get closer and inspect. I saw a jeep coming from that direction and figured it safe. Plus I took up much less space on the road and could go around a lot! And so, I”m a bad man…
The sign from the north side of the road.
And the video of the ride for those of you that are dreaming of when you can go yourself!
At the end of the ride, I consulted a map, not sure where to go. My best guess was right (east). So I started riding and just didn’t see anything. I came upon a truck stopped and pulled up. They had binoculars out looking at an animal. I asked which way to Victor, CO. I got a strange look and they asked which way I had come from. I explained I ignored the signs and went through Phantom Canyon. That got a look but they said the town was the opposite direction. So I rode down the gravel road to a flat spot to turn around.
As I was performing my turn, a different truck came down the road and I wanted to be out of the way. I started to cut my turn short to the edge of the road and got my front tire stuck deep in sand. It took a few minutes of rocking the bike before I got it unstuck and then stuck again in my haste. When I finally pulled into the town of Victor, CO I was tired. It was a very cool looking mining town.
Daylight was gone and I just found the only hotel in town with a note on the door to call. I walked into the bar next door and asked if they knew about the hotel. They told me it was a bit pricey, but to try 5 miles down the road in Cripple Creek, CO. So I headed out for my first mountain driving in the dark and found a mini Vegas.
The room was cheap and came with food vouchers. Once my stuff was in the room and Danelle and I talked, I headed to the restaurant. There I had my first sit down meal of the whole trip. A steak with fries. While I waited for my food, I called Hiatt as he was with me for my last motorcycle trip to Arkansas 5 years earlier. I talked excitedly to him about the things I had done this day with him, excited to share with somebody who would understand. When my food came, it was perfect!
I walked the casino before going to bed for the night. On my way out, I was stopped by an older gentleman. He asked to be forgiven, but did he overhear me talking about Phantom Canyon Drive? I told him it was okay and explained all about my day. Mervyn Cooper is from the Isle of Wright in England on a multi-week holiday. He is driving over the western US with his wife and son. He wanted to take Phantom but saw it was closed. Mervyn talked about Shelf road and suggested that I should take that as it would be just as interesting. I told him I would do research on the road. After a long talk, he agreed to me taking his photo with his wife and we parted ways.
I went up to my room for some quick research and much needed sleep!