Author Topic: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip  (Read 2588 times)

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Offline sammermpc

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Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« on: August 03, 2014, 09:06:15 pm »
I'm planning to ride my '72 CB500 out to Iowa (one way) in a couple of weeks. I haven't done a whole lot of route planning, so far, but I'll update this thread with my progress and my plans. I've got to make pit-stops on the North Fork of Long Island, so I'll be taking the ferry across — and spending a night out in NW NJ as well.

I'll be camping, so bringing a tent. Picked up some armored paints and an armored jacket, too — mostly because my folks keep telling me that I'm gonna die — and well, why tempt fate? Maybe I'll ditch some of the gear when I've put more miles on my bike, and have less to lose. Not to be all grim, and everything.

Anyhow, I've never felt super-comfortable on my bike on the freeways & turnpikes, so though I want to make good time, I'll try and stick to the state highways. I did pick up a windshield (a spitfire), but unfortunately, it mostly directs a stream of air right into my faceshield, so I'm thinking of riding without.

If anyones' got route suggestions, timely stop-overs, etc., let me know! I'm hoping to do the NJ to Iowa leg (1200 miles) in two days/three nights, which should give me some time for the slower roads, but not all that much.

And when I'm out in Iowa, I'll be looking for a CB350 or similar for my lady. She just got her license.  :D

1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline bluezboy

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 08:05:28 am »
 That's a lot of miles you're trying to cover in a short time, especially on state roads. i rode the back way from Atlanta to Waynesboro, Virginia in May and that was a 15 hour 546 mile ride, my right hand is still tingling from it! You need to allow more time if this is your first long ride and be prepared to hop on the slab if you need to make up time! It will be a beautiful ride for you though, PA, West VA and ohio are beautiful states to ride through, and of course Mass is also!

Offline dusterdude

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 04:18:09 pm »
Good luck and have fun
mark
1972 k1 750
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Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 01:01:51 pm »
Ah, I think I mean three-days, two-nights -- hopefully that should give me some wiggleroom. Seems pretty doable at ~400 miles-a-day, though that is a lot of hours in the saddle. Maybe I should pick-up one of those cruise control gadgets.
1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline Schnell

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 06:27:26 pm »
What has been your longest day ride to date?
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. --Lao Tsu

1975 CB750  :)
1981 BMW R100/7,

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Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2014, 09:39:27 am »
Well, my longest ride to date was yesterday, when I put about 170 miles on the dial, riding from Boston, MA to Mattituck, NY (I made a few detours). I tried to stay off of the interstates, as they make me a bit nervous. I always feel really blown around, and I've had a persistent front-end wobble which I've yet to resolve. I replaced the fork oil and fork seals, but should probably take a look at the bearings. And I'm sure I haven't played with the tire pressure enough, either. That's on my to do while I take a day off with my family.



Ready to take off from Somerville

Anyhow, I took Rt. 9 outt've town, which roughly parallels the Mass Turnpike. Not the most pleasant highway, but it worked, and opened up as I got farther on down. I hit some traffic where an enormous crane was blocking one lane — but then I got to watch them lift an enormous oak bough out of a yard, so seemed fair. Followed 9 to Rt. 20 (had a few false turns, there) — and then Rt. 20 westward, across 395. Nice here—I missed my turn-off down to New London, but it didn't matter much, and proved for the best. Rt. 32 was a gorgeous drive. All new blacktop and a bit off the beaten path, so not much traffic.

The bike is holding up well, excepting the wobble—and I lost one of the thumbscrews that held my windscreen in place. Not a big deal. I already grabbed a replacement. I'm trying to mount it higher so that it works a bit better. At the moment, it sends a nice, solid stream of wind right into my face. A fellow also let me know that my brake light wasn't working, so I'll have to take a look at that as well.

Rt. 32 brought me into New London where I made the 4PM ferry to Orient Point, NY. I've taken the motorcycle on the ferry before and it's kind've fun. Everyone else is in their big ol' cars and SUVs, packed with kids and coolers and dogs, and you get to wait up at the front gate and be something apart. I love riding the ferry, too. I'd highly recommend it on any itinerary. A bit pricey, though. Seas were a bit rocky, but the kickstand held-up just fine.



Waiting in line to board



All set in the hold.

Anyhow, the next leg is another 150 miles or so to Newton, New Jersey. I think I'm starting well, doing modest days to begin with. From Newton to Iowa city is about 1000 miles, and I'll try to do at 300 or thereabouts miles per day. We'll see how it goes.

1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline Schnell

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 04:12:16 am »
Good luck!

I tried a wind screen on my bike, and as you've said, it directs buffeting wind into my face. I preferred no wind screen. It may also be the cause of your wobble. Just a maybe.

Please keep us updated!
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. --Lao Tsu

1975 CB750  :)
1981 BMW R100/7,

My little website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

Offline grcamna2

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 04:36:25 am »
Good luck!

I tried a wind screen on my bike, and as you've said, it directs buffeting wind into my face. I preferred no wind screen. It may also be the cause of your wobble. Just a maybe.

Please keep us updated!

Sammermpc,
 Load the heaviest stuff down low in your saddlebags and put the lightest big bulky items behind the sissy bar(but not too 'wide' or 'tall'..,they'll catch air) over the taillight. The stepped seat that you have is taller behind you and not as low as I like but you can put the heaviest things just behind you on the seat rather than on that far rear luggage rack;any weight that you put on the bike rearwards of the center line of the rear axle can cause a speed wobble.I still think saddle bags are the best place to put any heavy things because they keep the weight so low,just make sure you balance the weight between them as best you can.
How are you enjoying your awesome trip so far ?  :) Man,I would love to be doing that right now;an August road trip  Yeah !  ;D 8)
75' CB400F/'bunch o' parts' & 81' CB125S modded to a 'CB200S',1982' Suz. GS450TXZ
  I love the small ones too !
Do your BEST...nobody can take that away from you.

Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2014, 09:21:38 am »
Okay, I made it through! I wanted to write-up the trip, just to get some of my notes down. I'll do this day-by-day.

Day 2.
The first day was pretty modest, distance-wise, and so was the second -- about 175 miles -- but the route took me through New York City, which was intimidating. I also (finally) installed a little 12V-to-5V USB converter so that I could use my phone on the RAM mount I installed. It took some tweaking to get everything working right, but it ended up being perfect -- except for my lousy cell-phone service.

I took off from Long Island in the morning and headed down Rte. 25, which runs along the north edge of the island. It was gorgeous for a bit, farmlands, vineyards, and the like, and then it turned into the Northern State Parkway. The bike behaved well and driving on highways isn't all that bad without the trucks. I sped toward New York on pretty good time, and after a few dicier sections on I495, snapped this photo from Long Island City.



I jumped on the 59th St. Bridge into Manhattan, which was stunning -- the bridge and skyscrapers above, and then down into the madness of midtown. Going through Manhattan, I had one of the closest calls of the trip -- I decided to head uptown to the George Washington Bridge on Park Avenue. I was heading following a taxi (admittedly, probably too closely), and somehow didn't hear the siren of a crossing ambulance. The taxi stopped suddenly in the intersection and I slammed on my brakes, fishtailing behind him. I stayed upright and stopped with a foot or two to spare -- not so terrible, really, but alarming. Wouldn't of been any fun to lay down the bike on 72 St!

Anyhow, after that scare, I cruised up the Henry Hudson and across the bridge. I took the upper roadway (of course), and had spectacular views up and down the Hudson. Then into New Jersey, where I probably spent more time in traffic than the rest of the trip combined. No surprise there, but still tedious. I think splitting lanes is legal in NJ (it's not in MA), so that helped move things along. Farther west, there's some beautiful country, so that was nice.

At my stop that evening, I checked out the front wobble. I popped up the front wheel and checked the obvious factors -- only took a moment to realize that the front caliper was rubbing. I'd mangled the caliper adjustment screw a while back and for whatever reason, the caliper only let the front wheel rotate <1 turns before stopping it. Not great. I picked up a replacement bolt at Autozone and tweaked it some that night. Not perfect, but definitely better for an early departure. The next days needed to be serious -- I wantd to make it out to Iowa City in three days, and avoiding highways, that meant about 400 miles a day.



1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2014, 08:59:19 am »
Day 3
I've driven Rte. 80 through PA and definitely didn't want to do it on the bike. Too many trucks. I plotted a route that headed north from Newton, NJ, mostly sticking to Rte. 6 throgh northern PA. The plan was to make it as far as I could.



I got an early start and headed out across the Delaware River. Lovely, fast two-lane roads, with thick morning fog, that gave everything a dramatic feel. It was so chilly that I put on my fleece under my jacket. The tweaks to the caliper seemed to improve the wobble issue somewhat as well, so smooth sailing.

Using Google Maps to navigate was a little janky, especially because I kept losing reception. It kept on finding little 'shortcuts', which maybe shaved a minute or two off of the travel time, but meant a whole lot of turns and backroads. Kind've fun, but I would've traded simplicity for a few extra minutes of travel time.

Thanks for the tips on the saddlebags — I definitely agree. It was the saddlebags that gave me the main trouble of the trip! When I was going over a fairly deep dip on one of those back roads, the acorn bolt holding on the front of my left bag sheared right off! The front of the bag dropped, hit the pavement, and dragged on the ground. I pulled to a quick stop. It actually wasn't that bad, just annoying. I was on a real backroad, as well, which though remote, was certainly better than being on the side of an interstate.

I'd had trouble with the mounts from the beginning, as there was not quite enough thread left on the bolts to get great purchase. I probably over-torqued them in an effort to tighten them securely, as they kept on vibrating loose as well (I also put on some threadloc). At any rate, I unloaded the bag entirely and secured it with zipties, some rope, and bungee cords. Seemed pretty precarious, I know, but it held for the rest of the trip. I'll look into getting some better mounts made, as I love having the hardbags (though I don't have keys for em'). My roadside repair job below...



It was still pretty early, so I didn't lose a whole lot of time, and pushed on down Rte. 6. Forests, fields, little towns -- gas stations were few and far between. That was a bit of a pain, as my mileage was lousy still (probably because of the calipers?). I haven't calculated it out, yet, but I probably was typically getting 25 mpg. Not great. 



Pennsylvania is one long state! It was great to zip through all sorts of small towns. I was surprised by the number of big factories that still seemed in operation in places, which was cool. Finally, towards the end of the day, I cut north up to 90 and jumped on to make some quick miles to make it to...Ohio!



I stopped for the night in Ashtabula, OH, at around 7:30PM. All told, I made it about 425 miles. I was pretty impressed the bike held up so well. What a machine!
1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline grcamna2

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2014, 09:05:08 am »
Those are nice bags,  and a Beautiful pic in the early morning light w/ the bike !  8) 8)
75' CB400F/'bunch o' parts' & 81' CB125S modded to a 'CB200S',1982' Suz. GS450TXZ
  I love the small ones too !
Do your BEST...nobody can take that away from you.

Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2014, 05:57:48 pm »
Thanks, grcamna2! I figure I'll just keep on throwing installments in here.

Day 4.
This took our from Ohio all the way over to Joliet, IL. Anyhow, I've had a long-standing oil leak out of the left crankcase. Not a huge deal, but I replaced all of my oil pump seals right before the trip to take care of things. Either I did it wrong, or something else is leaking, because it was clear that I was losing a lot more oil than I had been before. Where I used to find a drop or two under the bike, I was now seeing four or five, and the centerstand was dripping too, wet from oil spraying back from under the oil pa.! I checked my oil in the AM outside of the motel and found it shockingly low, a bit above the lower marker. I probably lost of a quart on the road, somehow, if that's possible?

Once I started up, I was even more nervous, because my oil pressure light wasn't blinking on, and given my shennanigans w/ the oil pump...well, I just didn't know. At any rate, I took off, planning to stop at a supply store first chance I got.

Luckily, there was an Autozone around the corner, and I picked up another quart of the Castrol 20W-50 that I'd been using. I showed up right when they opened and topped off in the parking lot. And of course, what did I notice when I stopped? I'd left the dipstick cover unscrewed -- that's why the oil pressure light wasn't coming on start! Though I have to wonder, it seems like it should've anyhow...that's probably worth another look. 



Then I hit the road. The plan, basically, was to keep follow 20 to 2 to Rte. 6, where I'd make up most of the distance. This was probably the most rural part of the trip, heading south of Toledo across northeastern Ohio and Northern Indiana. The roads were straight and field after field of corn. 



I grabbed this somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I probably didn't have cell reception for 200 miles (mostly because of t-mobile, I saw towers). I knew I had a bit more time today, because of the time change, so I stopped and grabbed lunch at Spengler's in Napoleon, Ohio. Here's a short from the main street.



And then more and more corn, until I hit the mess of Chicago highways, and made the mistake of getting on 30, which is one enormous stretch of strip malls and traffic (it was also around rush hour by then).



I finally made it out to Channahon Parkway State Park, which was absolutely beautiful. They've got tent camping for six bucks a night and there was only one other tent in the grounds. I never saw the other people, so it felt like I had the place to myself. It's also walking distance from a great local dive, Lallos Grill, where I had a great dinner and a few beers for $15. Not bad after another 400+ mile day!

1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline bluezboy

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2014, 04:28:41 am »
It looks like you've found your rhythm for riding long days, great job! It looks like a fun trip and I'm glad your bike is doing well, I'm always amazed how well our old girls perform. I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip, nice photos too!

Offline grcamna2

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 04:58:09 am »
Great pics Sammer  8)
75' CB400F/'bunch o' parts' & 81' CB125S modded to a 'CB200S',1982' Suz. GS450TXZ
  I love the small ones too !
Do your BEST...nobody can take that away from you.

Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2014, 07:39:40 am »
Thanks! Anyhow, this is the last installment.

Day 5
I'd made up such great mileage on the previous two days, that I didn't have as far to go on Thursday. All the same, this was one of the toughest days. There were persistent thunder storms throughout western Iowa, which hit pretty hard when I was passing through Davenport!

I kept checking my oil, of course, and for some reason, I didn't see the levels drop like I did that first day. The leak was still there, of course, but it just didn't seem to be a huge amount. Maybe I measured wrong the first time, or something, but I was relieved the problem wasn't greater.

Rte. 6 was closed in places, so I got a bit lost, but it was fine all the same. Just a few detours. The Quad Cities seemed interesting, but I was in too much of a rush to beat the rain to enjoy em'. That, and the bridge over Rock Island across the Mississippi is one of those grooved-metal grate numbers. My heart dropped when I saw it coming around the bend, but it was too late to do much other than ride over er' and try to keep everything steady. It's nervewracking like nothing else, feeling the bike weave and wander around, but I made it out aright, took a quick glimpse at the Rock Island Armory, and headed into Davenport, IA.

I'd been flirting with rain clouds all day, and it was about now that the skies opened up and I had my second reasonably close call. I kind've panicked and nearly laid the bike down on a section of slick pavement coming off the shoulder. Didn't though, and that's all the difference. :D



Tried to wait out the rain, but ultimately went for it. Turned out it was nothing to be worried about, though I poured water out of my boots when I finally made it to IC. I actually kind've enjoyed riding through the country, storm clouds above, corn fields on either side, like some character from a movie.

Made it, 1400 miles later. Parked out front of my new place...



That's 1415.5 to be exact.



All in all, I'd absolutely do it again, maybe out West next time.

1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

Offline 70CB750

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2014, 07:46:30 am »
Well done!

Offline grcamna2

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2014, 09:39:48 am »
NICE TRIP Sammer  :) ;) 8)  Now I'm ready to go for it once I get my bike on the road and a few other things;that was an exciting trip and Thank you for sharing it with us.
I've only ever used soft bags... but I imagine those hard bags of yours were excellent in the rain.
75' CB400F/'bunch o' parts' & 81' CB125S modded to a 'CB200S',1982' Suz. GS450TXZ
  I love the small ones too !
Do your BEST...nobody can take that away from you.

Offline andy750

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2014, 11:14:29 am »
Nice trip report and you should add a couple of your pics (wind farm one for example) to the Calendar thread!

cheers
Andy
Current bikes
1. CB750K4: Long distance bike, 17 countries and counting...2001 - Trans-USA-Mexico (CB750K4), 2003 - European Tour (CB750K4), 2004 - SOHC Easy Rider Trip (CB750K4), 2008 - Adirondack Tour 2-up (CB750K4) , 2013 - Tail of the Dragon Tour , 2017: 836 kit install and bottom end rebuild. And rebirth: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php/topic,173213.msg2029836.html#msg2029836
2. CB750/810cc K2  - road racer with JMR worked head 71 hp
3. VStrom DL1000 2003
4. XLR650L 2006

Where did you go on your bike today? - http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=45183.2350

Offline seanbarney41

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2014, 02:09:59 pm »
cool thread Sammer, I have those same hardbags and have had loads of trouble with the brackets and mounts as well.
If it works good, it looks good...

Offline BobbyR

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2014, 05:45:43 pm »
I am glad you made it. I spent a lot of time in Somerville and I live in NY. I am very familiar with the roads on Long Island  and  going over the Queesnbrough bridge can be a life changng experience in a car. THat was a great ride report.
Dedicated to Sgt. Howard Bruckner 1950 - 1969. KIA LONG KHANH.

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Offline zachz

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2014, 05:53:23 pm »
If you've not yet found a 350 for the lady - http://desmoines.craigslist.org/mcy/4644906274.html

Offline sammermpc

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Re: Boston to Iowa >> August 2014 Trip
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2014, 04:59:52 pm »
Quote
cool thread Sammer, I have those same hardbags and have had loads of trouble with the brackets and mounts as well.

Yeah, I found some replacement 10mm female to 8mm male adapters for the one that snapped off, but I'd like something more robust in general.

Quote
Nice trip report and you should add a couple of your pics (wind farm one for example) to the Calendar thread!

Thanks, Andy. I'll do just that.

Quote
If you've not yet found a 350 for the lady - http://desmoines.craigslist.org/mcy/4644906274.html

Thanks! I've had my eye on it, but I really want a four for some reason. There's a nice CL200 up in Quad Cities right now too. A little small, maybe, but I want something for around twon.
1972 CB500, 1979 CB750F SS (dohc), 1982 Yamaha Maxim XS400

 

;
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