What’s the best way to get outa Texas?

Discussion in 'Trips & Events' started by sfdownhill, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. duccmann

    duccmann Insider

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    Yah no
    One of the best mods I’ve ever done since wearing a backpack since the 80’s.
    Plus I commute to work and it’s perfect for what I need


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  2. duccmann

    duccmann Insider

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    Why thank you Mr


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  3. sfdownhill

    sfdownhill New Member

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    I know the rules; photos or it didn't happen. So this trip didn't happen. If it had, the 200 miles leaving Austin heading northwest on country backroads was awesome, the 400 miles of west Texas after that would have been hot and flat, New Mexico would have been beautiful, and Arizona would have been impressive, with Flagstaff/Sedona/Jerome AZ the highlight leg of the journey.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in to help with routing.
     
  4. sfdownhill

    sfdownhill New Member

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    Update - I was able to squirrel away a couple photos. Thanks to everyone for help and encouragement!

    Here's the 5th gen dubbed Red Riding Wheels by Henry [member H3nry]. Wolf exhaust, R/R replaced with Mosfet unit located on left passenger rearset, auxiliary fans on right radiator, voltmeter, 8112 miles on her. Michelin PP1 rear tire w 60-70% tread, Dunlop GPA front, 80% tread. Henry had worked the edges of the Dunlop pretty hard during a track day on his GSXR, but the middle of the tire that I'd be traveling on was fat. I had checked my Givi rack and top case onto my flight from San Diego to Austin.

    [​IMG]


    There was a monstrous biker rally in town, the 'ROT Rally' [Republic Of Texas] made up of about 80,000 mostly Harley riders. Henry was worried there would be too many people carrying helmets through the airport to be able to pick me out, but we ran into each other with no problems. The ROT riders on sport bikes were required to squeeze into shared parking spaces to save room for the Harleys:

    [​IMG]

    Running a few around-town errands on the VFR - mandatory Cycle Gear and Harbor Freight material and tool acquisition runs - I got my first taste of the VFR running on the hot side [Coolant 209-223F on the freeway, 228-233F in traffic with aux fans on]. I spoke with Henry about it. He said this was normal for this bike and as long as the temps were stable, it would be OK. This 2001 Texas VFR with 8112 miles, no Power Commander, stock catted headers, and Wolf exhaust is noticeably stronger than my other California model 2001 with 50,000 miles, tuned PCIIIUSB, 98/99 headers and Staintune slipon.

    Henry and I moved the ECU from under the left side of the rear cowl [It was there to make room for the Wolf Exhaust]. My Givi rack has a critical support arm that needed to go through the space occupied by the ECU. We put the ECU into a small storage tray Henry had engineered into the few cubic centimeters left under the seat by the Wolf installation, and wrapped it in a microfiber cloth to insulate it. Here it is after I removed the cloth because the cloth was blocking airflow and causing extra melting of plastic...way way beyond the expected, standard melting of plastic. I used 3M's gnarly grey doublestick tape to fasten a little plastic patch kit box under the ECU to allow airflow. I find the 3M doublestick tape as important to my kit as duct tape... it looks red in its package because the backing film you remove is red.

    [​IMG]

    I insist on extremely hot french fries and ECUs
    [​IMG]

    I was able to travel slab free all the way from Austin until somewhere a bit east of the Arizona/California border.

    The country roads leaving Austin going through the hill country of Texas were rolling, sweeping, fun, mostly two lane country roads with a posted speed limit of 75mph and no visible enforcement. Riding at a brisk pace, I got the feeling they put up the speed limit signs because they had to post something, but go on as fast as you want, we don't care.

    West Texas was 400 miles of flat, a strange combination of not desert, not agricultural, not cattle country. It had some of each, but none of it concentrated enough to call a region. Towns felt like they were barely able to get enough people to live close enough to one another to merit a post office. 104-107F ambient and I was watching the VFR's coolant temps stay stable between 226-229F, noticeably higher than my other 5th gen and the 5th/6th gens of people I know. I suspected the thermostat not opening fully [The thermostat was sourced from an auto parts store and intended for a Mustang], and exchanged emails with Henry about it.

    A few miles after entering New Mexico I was winding up a lush green valley on a fun river-following road, through Las Vegas New Mexico [Where they are a lot less likely to let what happens there stay there] up to Taos for the night. Day 1 763 miles

    I was going to to loop north the next day through Durango and Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado, but that route had very large wildfires with possible road closures and almost certain smoky air. I again requested 'avoid highways' on my GPS and set out through New Mexico. Beautiful skies, wide open country, like riding through the scenery in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Electric Horseman. From New Mexico, 100+ miles south of Durango, I could see four or five giant columns of smoke billowing high into the atmosphere. The smoky fire-heated airmass was rising so fast that it condensed at 20,000-30,000 feet like thunderclouds. Day 2 486 miles

    Overnighted in Flagstaff AZ, and rode the best route of the trip on just repaved, smooth as glass hwy 89A down a canyon to Sedona. Sedona is everything you hear about beautiful red rock formations, crystals, vortexes, and hippies. Across two valleys and a set of switchbacks up to a quaint little tourist town, Jerome AZ, which is literally perched on the side of a steep mountain, like someone stapled it into place up there. GPS kept me on great backroads, angling southwest to eventually merge with the 10 freeway westbound. Ambient 111F, coolant temps 228-233F on the freeway at a groundspeed of 80-85mph.

    I stopped off in Hemet CA to see member riprocop and yack about RC, aviation and VFRs. Backing the VFR out of riprocop's driveway, I heard a scraping noise. Investigation revealed a thin aluminum 'fender' was scraping the tire. I'm not sure whether I'm glad I looked at the tire then, only 59 miles from home, or wish I hadn't looked and seen this:
    [​IMG]

    I thought at first the thin wimpy aluminum plate had dragged and worn through the tread, but I showed this photo to Henry and he said I spent too much time running too fast on extremely hot pavement - I burned up the tire. I had been lubing the chain every night, and checking pressures/inspecting tires every morning [The tire had NOT looked like this early that morning], but I hadn't carefully checked the tires during the day, so hadn't noticed anything amiss . Why check the tires at every gas stop? I wasn't doing any serious turning and burning, just blasting straight ahead.

    So I babied the abused Michelin home the last 59 miles, nice and easy, grateful to feel the lump in my wallet that I knew was my AAA card, complete with its 100 miles of flatbed motorcycle transportation privileges. Day 3 494 miles
     
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  5. duccmann

    duccmann Insider

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    Wow, glad yah made it safe.
    Great read


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  6. sfdownhill

    sfdownhill New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  7. H3nry

    H3nry New Member

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    Glad you made it without problems. Since I don't know any local VFR riders, I can't compare running temps etc. with other bikes. You can swap sending units with another bike and see if this one reads high, or the engine really runs hotter. In any case, this bike has always run 210-230 degrees.

    I've cooked several rear tires on hot, straight desert roads on fast bikes. Michelin street tires wear especially quickly if overheated. I've taken a rear from new to cords showing in one tank of gas, and destroyed a brand new Michelin front in 150 miles of twisties. I ran Dunlops on my Suzukis because of that, and would have switched Red's rear tire when it wore out.

    I think you've tested the hot weather performance pretty thoroughly. Glad to hear this VFR runs strong. I tuned it to run smoothly and cleanly with the stock setup, except for exhaust, and I wouldn't change that exhaust & cam sound for anything. I'm happy the bike went to an enthusiast, and really enjoyed hanging out while he bolted his rack in place. So now she's done a dozen laps of COTA, short rides around TX hill country, and a longer initiation into the touring fraternity. Versatile.
     
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  8. sfdownhill

    sfdownhill New Member

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    Hi H3nry! Thanks for the suggestion to check the ECT sensor/sending unit by subbing in another. I hadn't thought of that, but it just so happens that I have one here on another bike that I can try.

    I had never heard of cooking the center of a rear tire until you described to me what is happening when one is moving at a good clip along very hot road surfaces. It makes perfect sense - if we cook the edges of our tires by turning very hard, we certainly must cook the center of the rear tire by powering hard straight ahead.

    You're also spot on that the trip back from Austin proved Red's mettle. She's a runner with a great sound. At idle, the Wolf exhaust has this silky burble with just a hint of a cackling overtone. It popped up on the other forum that the 49 state ECU allows greater punch - this bike with OEM fuel management and headers is noticeably more powerful than my 2001 California VFR, even with the CA bike's 98/99 headers, tuned PCIIUSB, and Staintune slipon [This combination cranks out a stunning 99hp on the dyno]. I didn't know you had her out to COTA - I'm jealous! I think it was on the 130 freeway near you where I passed the 'COTA next exit' sign...just a few miles from your house!
     
  9. H3nry

    H3nry New Member

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    You're in a unique position having two 2001s to cross-check. Some of the stuff I learned on my GSXRs worked on the VFR, some didn't. You can probably improve the setup from your experience with your other bike.
     
  10. RVFR

    RVFR Member

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    Ok now i can say whoa... and tho think you're heading up here shortly, talk about Iron-skillet butt.
     
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