Colorado Motorcycle Trip – 9/18/2015

Today is the start of a multi day trip via motorcycle to Colorado. I’ve been planning this trip for a few months and the time finally arrived. The goal for the day was to get out of work and get on the road asap, making as many miles as possible the first day so I had lots of time in Colorado for riding.  The document below is the document I created for the trip. Its basically a city to city plan of where I want to go. There are a number of cities on the way out so I can decide if its worth pressing on or not.

HoganMotorcycleTrip2015

Around 10 am, I had finished all of my assigned tasks at work and asked my boss if I could take off a bit early for the day (was planning to take a half day anyway). Since it didn’t’ make sense to start anything new for an hour, he sent me on my way. I was quite excited to get home and trade the minivan for a loaded motorcycle. I put on all of my gear: riding jacket, gloves, armored pants, and helmet. I placed the printed notes from the word doc above in my tank bag. Then turned on my Spot Tracker, put my phone in airplane mode and headed for the interstate!

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I took the photo of the odometer so I could keep track of the distance I would ride during the trip.

I had overcast weather and ended up putting on my rain suit about an hour into the ride and topped off the fuel tank and got lunch. Since I didn’t have anybody with me to complain, this would be the first of many gas station meals on this trip!

Around Kansas City, I encountered rush hour and had to sit in traffic, waiting for a fresh accident and lots of rubbernecking. During the traffic jam, I unzipped my Tour Master Elite II one piece rain suit to navel level. Eventually traffic started flowing and the wind cooled off my sweating body. But only a few miles further back at highway speed, the wind started catching the open suit and made it difficult to hang on to the bike. I was able to zip it back up one handed after a few tries.

If there is one thing that I dislike, its interstate toll roads. The only one I would encounter during my ride was on I-70 in eastern Kansas. Once at the gate, I had to stop and grab a ticket. But in order to stow the ticket, I had to take off a glove. On the end of the toll, I again had to stop and take off wet gloves. Then I grabbed the ticket and paid. It took me about the same time as 5 cars going through due to my equipment. Eventually, I gave up on the wet gloves and rode a short distance sans gloves away from the toll gate to the shoulder to get out a dry pair of gloves before continuing on.

I have not been to western Kansas since 2002, so a lot had changed. There were tons of wind farms collecting power from the wind all around me. I forgot how windy it got out there. In fact, I apologize to whoever ends with some of the trash from my gas station diner late in the day. I set the paper down on the motorcycle and it was gone before I could think to catch it.

I ended up going about 650 miles and ending up in Goodland, KS for the night. I found a nice hotel right off the highway. While I can ride at night on the motorcycle, I prefer not to if I have a choice for safety. Now I was in mountain time zone. What a great start to my adventure!

Hogan Haake

Two Ferry Ride Again – 9/13/2015

Okay, I swear this is the last time for a while that I do this ride! I went with Eric Ent from work and Sonora on the back of my bike. We tried to get his sister to join us, but she couldn’t make it. We made a slight variation on the last two rides, making a small side trip to Pere Marquette start park for a view over the river.

Eric got  quite a kick out of both of the ferry rides and Sonora enjoyed her second pass at them. IMG_20150913_084232 IMG_20150913_084206

And of course from on top of the bluffs!

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Finally, if you’re still interested, I have a video from each motorcycle. First from Eric’s bike. Its a fixed mount at the handlebars.

Second is a mount from the top of my helmet.

Hogan Haake

Two Ferry Ride – 9/6/3015

In preparation for an upcoming long distance motorcycle ride, I decided to get some seat time in. In order to do that and be a good dad, I decided to take Corvin with me. The kids generally like going on rides with me.  The general map is below going counter clockwise.Thanks Google for the map!

Thanks Google for the map!

The route is in red. Corvin had never gone this way. He was excited to go, but had no idea what was in store or him. Of course, it took me a few tries to get the directions just right and get where I wanted to be. When we pulled up the the first ferry, he couldn’t believe that we were going to ride onto a boat and take it across the river!

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I don’t think we took any photos on the second ferry, cause he was still trying to take it all in. Unfortunately, we finished the ride in the dark from about Grafton, IL on, so he didn’t get to take in most of the beauty of the Great River Road. But it was a great time to spend with Corvin!

Hogan Haake

Victory Motorcycle Demo Ride – 10/11/2014

I met Eric Ent early on a Saturday to do a demo of Victory motorcycles. We met at the dealership and walked around looking at all of the motorcycles. Lined up next to a semi truck were about 20 examples of Victory’s finest bikes ready for us to try out. Eric is a newer rider, so he is always curious. He sat on a few and found one he liked. But as we got closer to the demo, he declined to do the demo. He was worried his skills would not be enough. Even so, he looked good thinking about riding!

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Me leaving the parking lot for the demo ride. The bike looks good.

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I’m not much of a cruiser when it comes to motorcycles. I have a sport touring bike that I enjoy very much. I was looking forward to this demo. Many of the cycle magazines extol the virtues of the v-twin motor and how much torque they have all the way through the power range.

Sitting on the bike, I got everything adjusted and moved my leg very far forward to shift into first. Then took off in the group. I immediately noticed that the foot controls were a far reach. I was not comfortable using the rear brake or shifting as it unsettled my riding position and had me feeling slightly off balance. I didn’t look forward to stopping as reaching for the shifter and rear brake required lots of shifting.

The handle bars were very long to get to the front of the bike, so it had poor response at low speed. Even with all these faults, I was looking forward to the massive power that was reported. Again I was disappointed. This bike is a heavy pig, robbing it of any excitement a large motor should have provided. When I laid on the throttle, I waited for the power to come. Unlike my Concours, there was no fear from from the acceleration. I never felt like it was every close to out of control as the power came on slowly.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Victory bikes are not for me and the reviews  for new bikes are to be taken with a truck of salt!

Thanks to Victory for the demo ride, but your products are not for me.

Getting back on my Concours, I was quite happy to ride my own bike home. I even reached a mileage milestone on the way back.

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Hogan Haake