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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was scheduled to fly to Tampa, FL from Atlanta yesterday for a conference in St. Petersburg Monday through Wednesday. Saturday night my wife put the bug in my ear that maybe I should just ride the bike down. That way I could take of on Thursday and Friday and play some golf with her Father in Gainesville. It didn’t take much convincing, especially when I got up on Sunday and the weather was absolutely perfect.

Now I have had this bike only just over 3 months and it has been a while since I have owned one (20 years). I have ridden as much as possible given my travel schedule. About 2400 miles before this trip. Last weekend was my first 2 up ride in forever. I was a little nervous since this was a big trip and I haven’t change the wonderful stock seat out for something that fits yet.

So I took the tags off of my new Tour Master jumbo bag and loaded up the laptop and projector along with enough clothes for the conference. My wife will drive the car to Gainesville and bring the clubs and clean clothes on Thursday. It took some doing getting the bag loaded with all the essentials. I actually had a little space left. I positioned the bag on the passenger seat and secured it like crazy to the passenger backrest. The bag was a really nice backrest for me on the ride.

I pulled away from my home at 9:30AM on Sunday morning with a full tank and empty pockets. I stopped at the local, friendly BOA ATM and I was off. I stopped when I had about a gallon of gas left for more fuel, some hydration for me, and to shed and pack the leather jacket I started with.

The next stop was Hooters if Valdosta, GA, where I was at about a gallon left again. This is a great place to let your butt rest and watch some Sunday football . This is where I decided that I definitely was not going to bail on this crazy trip and decided to cancel my plane ticket and rental car. I continued this ride until the fuel gauge was on one bubble all the way to St Pete. I stretched my legs for 10 to 20 min at each fuel stop, got some water or soda and hit the road again. The butt would start hurting at about 1 ½ hrs, so the fuel stop 45 min later was very welcome. This was not only my longest ride, but it was my first freeway ride. I found that almost all of the people in the cars were more than considerate. I got lots of waves, kids especially liked watching me pass. I got lots of comments and several long conversations at the gas stations. Seemed that everyone wished they could be out riding on a day like this.

About 100 miles from St Pete things took a slight turn. The bike started sounding and responding differently. I also started backfiring on deceleration and gear change. More on this in a separate post.

The problem with the bike bothered me, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. The bike was still running. I hit the Tampa Bay Bridge on I-275 at sunset, could not have planned it better.

Shortly after that something terrible happened. I arrived at my hotel. The trip for now was over. My butt hurt, but I wanted to keep going. This was the most fun this guy has had in a long time. Just me, my bike, and the road. I don’t get that much time to myself between family, fiends, and work and had forgotten how much fun that can be.

I just hope the bike is out of the shop before I need to leave on Wednesday afternoon. Something tells me I will not enjoy walking to Gainesville very much.
 

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Road Trip

Bulldog,
Sounds like a welcome tonic. I too find it relaxing and stress releaving to head out on my bike, even if it's just for a day trip around the local area. I'm curious about a few things though, I grew-up in Lake City Fla. so I know that neck of the woods pretty well. Was there much visible distruction in this area from the recent storms? And also do you have a windshield on your bike? My sister in Lake City was telling me how bad the "love bugs" are right now, they could really mess-up a good day.And the main question of course is how is your bike? What did the dealer find wrong with it? Hope it all worked out ok for you on the return trip. Please keep us all posted.
Lonestar
 

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I haven't done that kind of trip yet, but I'm planning to ride down to Pueblo, CO, where my parents live, soon. The traffic on I-25 is nuts, but I know the best times to ride to avoid the worst of it. It's getting kind of late in the year, though, and the weather can change in a few hours (and the forecasters never seem to know about it!). But I might take a chance anyway. I just got my bike. Don't want to wait until spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
lonestar,
Area seems fine. Didn't see much of any problems. Seems the real damage was localized south of hear. The news seems to really blow things out of proportion. I am running a conference we do twice a year, always have 150 plus in attendance. Rotate FL every other year and NC other year. Atlanta every year. We had only about 50 this year. All because of the reported weather and possibility of more storms. Now the return or Ivan did freak me out some. Never heard of that. No bad weather for St Pete., only rain, but it is back in the gulf where it can gain strength again. What is up with that?

I will post the details of the bike problem on my post related ot the exhaust problems, but the short version is that the deal that did the recal work on my muffler mountin bracket didn't replace the exhaust gaskets and the began to leak causing the backfiring. All repaired under warranty. Was without bike for a day, but I was busy and it was raining, so it was all good. Lucky for me the Kawasaki shop was only 8 miles away from my hotel.

On a different topic, this shop actually had some F&S merchandise on the shelves and wall racks. This was a small shop, much smaller that the others I have checked out but the only one I have seen that was exclusive Kawasaki. All the other sops only carried Honda and Yamaha stuff.

Yukief,
The ride down here was great. Weather permits pretty much year round rides and in FL you don't have to worry about the snow and ice, just the occasional hurricane. Good luck on your first freway ride. I still prefer the curvy roads of of the Smokie Mountains to the freeway stuff, but it was a nice change. The conferece is over tomorrow and I am headed to Gainsville to the in-laws. I will have to telecomute to work on Thursday, but Friday I am on the links.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On Wednesday afternoon, I set of for the first part of my return trip to Atlanta. I drove from St Pete to just outside of Gainesville. Pretty uneventful ride. I had some light rain, but no problem, typical FL afternoon. I did stop at a Kawasaki dealership in Ocala and drooled over a VN2000 that they had dressed up to sell. It had HardKromes, backrest, FI Processor, Saddle Bags, and some other stuff that they claimed was worth $2K. The bike looked pretty good and sounded great. All this for 13.5. I almost talked trade. My wife would have killed me.

I forgot to replay to the question about the love bugs. They are bad. I had to clean the windshileld at every fill-up. I would not want to think what my face would have looked like witout the full face or my short without the windshield.
 
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