First tour on First Gen
About a month ago I picked up this 2003 FJR. My first destination in mind was Nellis AFB in Las Vegas to see my newborn granddaughter. The bike had been well cared for so only a few things needed to be sorted before this trip. CCT, grip puppies, heat fix mods and a few other minor things and it was ready for the road. Oh, I drilled two 2 inch holes near the base of the tall windshield to help eliminate the vacuum effect and provide a bit more air flow on hot days.
The day I planned to leave was crazy busy and I didn't get out of Albuquerque until 5:30 in the evening. Up until the last minute I was fiddling with a camel back, rounding up camping gear and supplies, most of which ultimately got left behind. I opted for frequent hydration stops and motel stays.
I had no real plan for the route, only a destination and two days to get there. I really wanted to avoid interstate travel as much as possible for this trip. Heading West through Albuquerque at rush hour I noticed a traffic jam on the Northbound ramp to I-25 (imagine that! LOL) so I thought I'd continue on I-40. Not being crazy about over 400 miles of nothing but interstate, I reluctantly decided to do it. The next few miles had me rethinking my plan here unless I wanted to stop already and throw on the rain gear. OK, on third thought it looks like the Northern route is the way to go. Scrambling to get ready, I forgot to eat before setting out. UGH, OK, stop at Subway for a sandwich and check tire pressure, then hit the highway. Sheesh, nearly 6:30 now and still in city limits.
Finally, out of town heading Northwest with thunderclouds to my left blocking the sun. Very nice ride to Northern NM the FJR and I were loving the open road. Stopped for gas in Bloomfield and thought I'd better pick a spot to spend the night. I really wanted to ride through Monument Valley, and hopefully before noon the next day. Picked a hostel in Mancos, CO using my phone and got back on the road. I made it to Durango right as it got dark. I love the headlights on this bike! Riding at night, especially through the mountains, used to be something I dreaded. It was a delightful 75° in Southern CO. Made it to Mancos and checked in to the hostel for a short night's sleep.
Up at 5am and riding long before sunup. Man, I was not prepared for the cool morning mountain air. A couple extra layers were in order. No worries, it'll be way too hot in no time. I crossed the border into Utah at sunup, shed a couple of layers, and made it to Monument valley much earlier than anticipated. Zigzagging between Utah and Arizona I stopped a few times for gas, water and the occasional photo. Every fuel stop seemed to be an ordeal with Covid restrictions. One person in a gas station at a time, no dine in food stops, etc. I carried plenty of water, cliff bars, fruit munchies and beef jerky so most gas stops I didn't even get off the bike. I found I could stretch and move around enough while riding that my body didn't cramp up....much.
Temps are in the low 90's now so not too hot at all. I'm trying to drink plenty of water at every stop. Just finding shade to have a snack and um, dehydrate was challenging. The FJR still running like a top. Not being sure how far it is the the next fuel stop I only burned four gallons or so before refueling. Listening to Pandora and the occasional GPS directions on my Sena unit was great! I've never used the GPS on road trips, but I will from now on. I still had the paper map on top of the tank bag as a backup.
I stopped at Lake Powell to stretch and take a photo. I'm starting to notice the haze in the air now from wildfires in the region. Still, the colorful desert was a real joy to see. I loved the long straight roads that I could look around and see the scenery. By now I was getting updated from my wife, who was already in Vegas, about my daughter. Her water broke and she was admitted. Grandbaby willl get there before I do. No hurry really though since Covid prevents family from goin into the hospital. She'd be there a day or two afterwards too, but I still sped up the pace a bit.
After fueling up in Hurricane, UT I hit I-15 and made a b-line for Vegas. Now it was getting really warm, well over 100°. I was soooo glad I took measures to eliminate as much heat as possible. I had a long sleeve T-shirt under my mesh riding jacket that was wicking sweat away helping me to cool a bit. The closer I got to vegas, the hotter it got. I made it to the main gate at Nellis AFB at 3:30pm before the hottet part of the day, but it was still 111°! Four of my other grandkids met me at the door of my daughter's house. Somehow I still had energy left to give attention to them. Maybe it was the RedBull in Arizona, LOL.
I stayed four nights in Vegas. Got to see the baby, make paper airplanes with the grandkids and grab an In-and-Out burger. Also, I noticed some weird uneven wear on the tires which explaines the odd handling I felt. The rear was nearing the end of it's useful life so I took the opportunity to pull the wheels off and have some new tires mounted.
Sorry this is so wordy. I'll continue in another post.