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Topic: 2019 RPM Rally and Bun Burner 1500  (Read 6433 times)

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« on: November 07, 2019, 02:17:50 am »

The trip report for the ride out to Oakdale, CA. for the 2019 RPM Rally.

The RPM Rally is an Annual 1 day Rally held the weekend preceding Columbus Day. RPM is a company that specializes in parts and service for the Yamaha FJ1100/1200, Legends and Thunder race cars that use the FJ1200 engines.

Day #1;

I charted a course on Google maps for a route to RPM from Wichita, Kansas. Being well into Fall, the obvious route through Denver on Interstate I-70 was not an option. Very cold temperatures and the very present threat of snow in the higher elevations. Interstate I-40 was a better route further to the south.

I work night shift, (11:00pm to 6:00am). This presents a challenge for planning. Either take the night off prior to leaving to try and get some sleep and basically waist a day of vacation, or, try and get as much sleep as possible the day before and work a full shift and then hit the road immediately after work is finished in the morning. I opted for the latter. Tuesday morning the 8th, I got a full 8 hours of sleep as soon as I got home from work. Got up and finalized packing and such for the trip. Rode the VFR to Bike night at Cycle Gear, won one of the raffle prizes, (A phone holder clamp w/charging capabilities). Once I got home, I was able to get a 2 hour nap before heading into work. The bike was completely loaded and I took my riding gear in with me. As I was leaving work, I changed into my riding gear and headed to the gas station for my first receipt.

As I got gas and my paperwork signed by a departure witness, the sky started leaking. I had bought a new rain suit just for this ride. A true test under fire. Ended up riding about an hour and a half in steady rain. Once it stopped, it was clear sailing into Gallup, New Mexico.

A small issue arose with my Air Hawk. I noticed that it just didn't seam as comfortable as usual. At the fuel stop in Tucumcari, New Mexico I figured out that it had developed a leak and was deflating as I was riding. A trip to Wal-Mart in Gallup for a bicycle tube repair kit fixed the leak.

Trip meter set at 0000

Mileage for the day was 739. Catch a few hours of sleep and hit the road for California.

The Bun Burner 1500 part. The total mileage by google maps puts the distance from Wichita, Kansas to RPM in Oakdale, California at 1606 miles. With vacation days at a premium and wanting to maximize my time off, the decision was made to attempt an Iron Butt Association, Bun Burner 1500. This certificated ride is 1500 documented miles ridden in less than 36 hours.
















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« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 06:05:49 am by aviationfred » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 03:09:31 am »

Day #2;

I got maybe 5-6 hours of sleep and on the road again. Got going just before 4:30am. I-40 across the desert is mighty dark and F***king cold. Most of the leg between Gallup, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona is between 6000 and 7500 feet elevation. The temperature over the 2.5 hour ride was between 35°F and 45°F. Heated hand grips helped, but with 4 layers of clothing, my chest was still cold running at 80mph. I arrived in Flagstaff as dawn was breaking and thinking.... please let the sun warm everything up. Getting into Kingman Arizona my wish was granted and I started shedding layers.  yahoo
As I got closer to the Colorado river the wind picked up. Being from Kansas, riding in 20mph wind is normal and not an issue with me. The winds here were probably in the 30-40mph range. I crossed the river and the freeway turns North. Holy Smokes, the wind got really bad.... I even contemplated stopping for awhile. Fortunately, as the freeway turned toward a more westerly direction the wind ended up being a tailwind and all was good, it helped push me into Tehachipi, California.

I had pre-arranged to meet up with CutterBill in Tehachipi and actually arrived there ahead of him. I waited about 30 minutes and he arrived on his Yamaha Super Ténéré. Being from Southern California and me not having ridden in Socal freeway traffic in 25 years, Bill took the lead and we blazed up Hwy 99 towards Oakdale. It was never discussed between Bill and I, but I think he knew that I would be hesitant to lane split due to being out of practice for 25 years and having the hard bags on the bike. Fortunately we only hit stop and go traffic for a short distance.
I had talked to Bill about the importance of getting my mileage in by a specific time. He had set a trip meter for the remaining miles that I needed and we both kept an eye on the clock. 20 or so miles out of Fresno, Bill picked up the pace and gave me the thumbs up signal when his trip meter hit the magic number I was looking for. I took over the lead, as now I needed a gas station to get my last time and date stamped receipt. I kept an eye on my clock and wanted to pad my mileage as much as I could. The time was getting close so we swooped into Fresno for the final fuel stop. Official mileage was 1515 miles and the time was 35 hours and 53 minutes.  7 minutes to spare. Gassed up and took a breather.

Now for the last push into Oakdale. Pretty uneventful and arrived shortly after dark. I will gather up my fuel receipts and other required documents to send to the IBA for Official Certification.













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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 06:25:26 am »

Nice FJ
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 10:33:44 am »

Nice Yamaha.

When I undertake anything like that, I get very anxious leading up to my departure, relax once underway then anxious nearing the end.  Huge relief when finished.

Good write-up. Bigok
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 12:43:05 pm »

Very cool, Fred.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 02:13:02 pm »

Congratulations.
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2019, 05:00:33 am »

Thank you for the compliments on my FJ.

The 2 posts are just covering the Bun Burner 1500 ride out there. The complete trip covers 9 days and a total of 3908 miles. There is a write up for each day and many photos. Stay tuned for following posts.

In my first post I mentioned that I rode my VFR to Cycle Gear. 3 days prior to my departure for this trip I purchased a 1990 Honda VFR750F RC36/1




Fred
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 05:21:02 am »

Day #3;

Bill and I had Friday pre planned for a ride to Monterey Bay to have lunch on Fisherman's Warf. Another FJ owner, Frank had also arrived and we tried to talk him into joining us. He had other plans, so Bill and I headed out for the coast. Both of us were traveling on roads unfamiliar to us. Bill was using an older automotive based Garmin for navigation and I was using the basic Google maps on my phone. About 15 miles out, at a stop sign, my nav said turn left and Bill went straight. We got separated and reached I-5 about 20 miles apart. With a phone call, we met back up and continued on. Once off of the interstate, traffic was steady and allowed for some high speed riding through the mountains. We picked up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Castroville and skirted Monterey Bay into town. Accidentally found the perfect parking spot near Fisherman's Warf with dedicated motorcycle parking. We found a restaurant to our liking and ordered some awesome seafood. Breaded fish, shrimp, Calamari and steamed oysters on the half shell. After lunch we wandered down to the end of the Warf and took in the sites of the bay. The return trip back to Oakdale was a bit more interesting. Heavy stop and go traffic. We were actually on a schedule and wanted to be back in Oakdale by 6:00pm. We left Monterey a bit after 3:00pm. I motioned to Bill that I was going to try and lane split to try and make up some time. I used to lane split regularly when I lived on Southern California back in the 90's, and I still had the saddlebags on the bike. We probably did 20-30 miles of lane splitting without a hitch. During a long stretch across one of the valleys, Bills Garmin strikes again, it directs him to head North for about 5 miles, then east for a bit and then South. We end up back on our original route only slightly closer to our destination. The rest of the ride was uneventful and we were only about 20 minutes late for dinner. More good food with great company.

I will trust my Google Maps over Garmin in the future.

























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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 07:23:21 am »

Monterey

Beautiful I must say!
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2019, 07:42:46 pm »

Day #4;

 Saturday was the Rally ride day. Gorgeous weather. 12 FJ's were in attendance, with a Super Ténéré and a Kawi ZZR included. Hwy132 out of town was a nice warm up road and the Little Dragon did not fail to impress. Randy set a great pace. An incredible relaxing lunch stop on Coulterville. Greeley Hill road was fun and the short twisty section of Priest Grade was amazing. Everyone made it back to RPM safely for dinner and camp fire. The FJ's in the following photos are between 35 to 25 years old.









Fremont's Fort overlook of The Little Dragon









A nearly perfect 35 year old 1984 FJ1100



OEM front end vs An inverted fork conversion





Lunch stop in Coulterville, CA









Looking content after dinner






Fred
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2019, 12:44:22 am »

Day #5;

A few decided to head home early Sunday morning. Others stayed for the Manshed day at RPM. I needed to make an adjustment to my exhaust as I had noticed the muffler was rubbing on the swing arm. With a lift available, the task was easily dispatched. A clutch slave cylinder replacement was accomplished on another FJ while mine was on the lift.

By noon a few more had departed and shortly after that Randy, Frank and I found ourselves as the only ones left. I had not planned to ride, but Randy suggested we head out to the hills for a lunch run. After some prodding from Randy, I headed back to the hotel for my riding gear. Frank and Randy met me at the hotel and off we went. We covered much of the same route as the day before. There was a bit of traffic going up Priest Grade, but with only 3 of us, we were able to pass a few big diesel pushers headed to Yosemite. A few miles from the Yosemite National Park entrance Randy turned onto an old one lane logging road. The best description would be a paved goat trail. This road like all they did was lay asphalt on the ground and let the trucks smooth it out....  EEK! it had not worked out well and put the suspension on all three bikes to the test. We stopped at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite. We ended up missing lunch by 5 minutes and dinner didn't start until 5:30. While Randy and Frank had a beer, I went outside for a few photos. This is when I discovered the goat trail had jumbled the circuitry in my phone and affected the main camera. The camera would not focus no matter what I tried. Just blurry photos were being done. The front selfie cam still functioned and I was able to get a couple of shots.
We ended up going back on a different goat trail that was actually much better, but nowhere near what normal roads are. We found a restaurant in Buck Meadows and had an early dinner. The food was awesome and spending extra time with Randy and Frank was priceless. It was getting late and we had to get out of the mountains before dark.... traffic down was much lighter and made for a quick descent into Oakdale. A blurry photo as an example of my defective camera and we got a good collection of bugs on our way into Oakdale. A big shout out to Randy and Frank for an awesome extra day of riding.

Inside the RPM shop



Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite





An example of what the goat trail did to my phone's camera. It refuses to focus at any distance.






Fred
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2019, 01:25:02 am »

Day #6

Departure day and the long ride back to fly over country.  Sad I had one of the best times spending time with Fellow FJ owners and riding some great California roads.

Frank impressed on me the importance of having a functioning phone camera for my trip back home. My route back would be much slower and plans were made to ride across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, going through Yosemite National Park. Taking a page out of my friend Ron's ride playbook, no day's end destination, but few routes destinations. Sights to see for the day included, Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and Mono Lake.

Before departure, I had to wait for the phone store to open. Being Columbus Day there was a chance that they would be closed. Fortunately they were shown to open at 10:00am when I googled the store. I found the store and spent way to much for a new phone. Spent another hour syncing the new phone to the old phone and transferring contacts and files.

Finally, on the road at noon. As expected, gorgeous weather and perfect temperatures. A 4th traverse over Priest Grade was fun with very little traffic. Once up near Yosemite I was riding in heavy forest and the temp cooled down a bit. I turned off of 120 towards the sites and wonders of Yosemite. Traffic was light and made good time. Rounded a corner and in the distance was Half Dome. Definitely a sight to see. Literally a block of granite cleaved in half. Continued riding and ride past El Capitan and found my way to Bridalveil Falls. After a short hike to the base of the falls it was time to get back on the road for the ride east to Mono Lake. All along Hwy 120 there were beautiful sights to see, Alpine lakes, shear drop offs, Granite Domes and overlooks where you could look out for miles and see nothing but wilderness. I Crested the pass at almost 10,000 ft elevation and dropped down rather quickly to Mono Lake and the junction to Hwy 395. Gassed up at the filling station and met a young rider on a Versys 1000. He was having issues with the gas pump. My pump was working fine and motioned him over and filled up his tank. He offered to pay for the gas, but I insisted it was on me and my way to help a fellow rider. He was riding from Texas to Oregon. I made my way into Bishop, California for the end of the ride day. The photo of the speedometer shows the elevation under the mileage at Tioga Pass.






Half Dome in the background









Yosemite Valley





Bridalveil Falls





Elevation at Tioga Pass



Mono Lake







Fred
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2019, 06:41:26 am »

Fantastic! What did you think of the road out of Yosemite on the way to Mono Lake? Good peg scraping road!!!

Sounds like a great trip for you. The time spent with good buddies and the memories made are priceless.
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2019, 07:53:02 am »

Aviation Fred has the most beautiful motorcycle  Thumbsup

And nice hard luggage too (no meals on wheels boxes)  Thumbsup
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2019, 07:54:24 am »

I want the VFR too.
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2019, 12:46:48 am »


Fantastic! What did you think of the road out of Yosemite on the way to Mono Lake? Good peg scraping road!!!

Sounds like a great trip for you. The time spent with good buddies and the memories made are priceless.




Being as I was traveling solo, I didn't ride Hwy120 at a peg scraping pace. I kept the speed around 70mph which made the ride enjoyable and still able to look at the amazing scenery as I rode.


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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2019, 01:04:32 am »

Day #7;

Today is desert travel day. The temperature was 34°F when I woke up and decided to wait for it to warm up a bit. I hit the road a couple of hours later at a balmy 43°F which is more manageable. A quick run down to Lone Pine and I stopped at the Death Valley Visitors center. Mount Whitney was looming directly to the west of me, bathed in the morning sunlight. At 14,505 feet it is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. The peak is just above the front fairing photo. Photo #2. Shortly onward I am on one of those desert highways that seem to disappear in the distance. There are actually a couple of passes that you go through before dropping into the really low valley that is below sea level. Remarkably there is only 84.6 miles to the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park at 282 ft below sea level. Much of this area is used by the military as bombing ranges and I did see a few fighter jets strafing down the valleys. I will say that this was the perfect time of the year to visit this area. By 1:00PM the temperature had risen to 95°F. During the summer this area would be brutal to visit at temperatures that often get in the 115°-120°F range. As breathe taking as the alpine views were the day before up in the Sierra Nevada Mountians, the views of the desert were amazing. The canyons formed out of washes and the huge expanse of the sand flows were something you have to see for yourself, Joshua Trees have always intrigued me. Oh, I have to mention, the road from Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek was a great ride at a steady 75MPH. The canyon walls with multi colored layers of rock were interesting as was the stop at the sand dunes area....miles and miles of beach... but no water in sight. My stop in Furnace Creek was the lowest elevation that I had on my trip at 186ft below sea level. I did find out that my GPS speedometer which has an altimeter, does not display below 0. I so wanted to see a - number displayed. Climbing out of Death Valley I headed towards the town of Pahrump, Nevada. I decided to head into Las Vegas for the night. I rolled into town shortly before sunset and got a room at the New York New York Casino. After I checked in and got a few shots of the strip, I was heading to my room and noticed many people in the casino were wearing Vegas Golden Knights hockey jerseys. In my room, I had a view of AT&T Arena.... it dawned on me, there may be a hockey match tonight. I inquired at the concierge desk and in fact there was. I have been to Vegas a number of times and didn't need to see the sights of the Vegas strip, so I went to the arena box office and got myself a ticket to my first ever NHL hockey match. The Golden Knights lost, but i had a good time.

A brisk morning leaving Bishop, CA.



Mount Whitney



The road leading into Death Valley National Park







Joshua Trees





My favorite photo during the whole trip



Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes





Pit stop at Furnace Creek. I had not realized how warm it was.







My residence for the night. New York New York Casino, Las Vegas, NV.



Lady Liberty in Nevada



NHL Hockey, The Las Vegas Golden Knights vs The Nashville Predators



A view of the Las Vegas Strip














Fred
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2019, 07:37:10 am »

How do you keep your bike from getting stolen in Vegas?
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2019, 07:25:28 pm »


How do you keep your bike from getting stolen in Vegas?




I usually forget something that I had intended to pack. For this trip, I forgot my disc lock. During my Wal-Mart run in Gallup, New Mexoco, I picked up a replacement. A bit of redneck engineering and I had a disc lock that should keep a casual thief at bay.

A large standard padlock and a length of colored rope.





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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2019, 09:44:23 pm »

Nice setup  Thumbsup
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