26 November 1998

>Good thing you left your earplugs in, otherwise you woulda whistled
down the
>road. But then again, that would chase the deer away.

i just smile and let the gap in my teeth take care of the deer...:}

>I met Tom last time I was in Phoenix. I enjoyed our morning together..

yes tom was really nice and a lot of fun to talk with!
so was bullhead city bob, i can't really say enough nice things about
either of the two. they both helped me along in my trip and were a real
pleasure to meet and tool around with. i actually left bob's place with
my bike in better condition than when i got there! (helped me replace
the turn signal indicator bulb)

>How many miles was your trip?

my route, san jose to tucson (literally, gas station to gas station)
1,010 miles! been tooling around tucson a little bit, there's a lot of
great roads here that wind every which way AND go up and down over small
hills and through desert washes so i get the whole roller coaster ride!
haven't ridden mt lemmon highway yet but even in a car it is
breathtaking! gets up around 6000ft so it's more of a spring/summer
getawat from the heat arond here...

>Let us know about the Bashful Bandit.

awright, here goes!

today i rode east through the stop lights of tucson out to spanish trail
rd which runs southeast from town to saguaro national park east (whcih
has a fantastic 8 mile loop for $2 but it's worth it - they're overly
protective here about the environment [hooray for that!]) and continues
into the wilderness out to colossal cave which is a must see even if
just to watch the madras plaid wearing tourists...one of the rolloer
coaster roads that used to get me carsick as a kid now is much better at
60 though you have to watch for cattle since youre riding through open
range ranches in the arizona foothills...LOTS of cactus of all types,
very very dry air and visibility for about 40 miles average. the road
ends up in vail, AZ which is teeny and has better real estate prices
than the snowbound counterpart (oh, and one soda joint!). picked up I10
(still boring!) to head back into town since i was meeting my fambly at
one of the main houses for t-day. I10 east is notorious for having a
speed trap that everyone forgets about and teh police know it. there are
usually about seven or eight cars working the road east of the city.
today, though, there were only two with their lights on swapping stories
on the other side of the road so i was being passed at 90(!) so i got
the 12ball up to triple digits and after a couple of wrong turns too
early into a construction zone gettin back to town finally made it to
speedway Ave. what a name for a main drag...:) bummer you can't split
lanes in arizona, BIIIIG ticket!! pull up to the infamous Bashful Bandit
bar in the late afternoon. the lot is for motorcycles only, cars round
back. i've got a mediocre-quality pic to post soon... the harley awning
isgone but the mural of the known associate busting through a brick wall
is still there streetside and the minivans are stepping on it to pass
the place. there were three bikes there: one hot rodded harley,
blackwith red flames and apehangers, one O-L-D HD tour deluxe with half
its body missing, and a yamaha ratbike tourer with tan bags and dust
colored black paint. backed the 12ball in and got several looks from the
denizens (thought i saw dawg in there ;)) and lost the helmet quicklike.
ambled in to the bar with all sorts of old school hd memorabilia on the
walls, lots of old dry wood walls and floorboards and one pool table
with what looked like a couple of blood stains on it (could have been
bike oil) everyone there is much dustier than i but i plop on the
lopsided barstool and the bartender is a guy early 40s usually on this
side of the bar and i ask (just a hunch mind you) "afternoon...got any

"only in cans..." sold american!

it was the most refreshing drink i've had all year!! raised it in toast
to the Roadhouse and settled in to the place listening to the guy next
to me talking about whatever while taking in the ambiance. i felt like a
highschooler who had just bought his first 12pack and playboy with a
fake id...

mind you i'd left my knife at home (after some deliberation) and it was
3pm in the afternoon before thanksgiving. and i did have my "if you can
read this the B****H fell off!" t-shirt as well. i was tempted to go
back tonight and see how it goes but i think i'll wash the bike instead
(might need a chisel for this job) and i didn't want to push my luck.
the bartender ended up being really friendly and was cool with me taking
a pic of the place. i might try to go back tomorrow night before i leave
to see what it's like when the kiddies are in bed...

still quite a rite of passage for me, i've been wanting to go in there
since i was about 12 with my snout pressed against the car window as my
dad stepped on it....

tomorrow more beans with turkey and corn fritters and we pack for the
trip back...and I10 is still boring.

damien "and it's all true" gonzalez

san jose / tucson AZ



Later that same day:

hi all, getting ready to head back home from tucson. actually washed the
bike this morning and noticed a couple of things...all you VT1100 owners
and wrenches i have two questions:

first, the rear tire balancing weights have fallen off! this would
explain why it feels like the rims are out of round (hope that's a
symptom and not really what's already happened) there were two sets of
weights on the rear tire clamped on: one left two clamp marks and one
left three on the inner part of the rim. are there standard weight sizes
that the dealer can just snap on there or do they need to remove the
tire and do a major job on this? the clamp marks are on two separate
sides of one of the alloy spokes

second, is part of the shaft effect a strong urge for the bike to turn
to the left if i let go of the handlebars? i've noticed that i'm
constantly correcting a pull to the left. is this also cause of the lack
of balance weights or is there something else wrong?

thanks for the help!

ride safe, i will do the same on the 1,000 miles back...

damien "uhhhh...is that red light a bad thing?" gonzalez

san jose CA



27 November 1998


hey pick,

i didn't notice the weights missing till yesterdat so it could have
happened anytime in the past. i do notice the wobble (more like i'm
going over a road with subtle speed bumps) slows down if the bike does
so it's not a speed wobble type thing. i thought maybe one opf my rims
wasn't round anymore...

heading over to the dealer before i leave for the return trip.

damien "jitters" gonzalez

tucson AZ


> Are you sure you had those weights on there after the last time you
>changed the tire?

the dealer replaced my tire last memorial day weekend and maybe it
happened then...*gulp* plenty of time to mess things up...

>That out of round
>feeling might be something called speed wobble that comes from tires
>not properly lined up. That would also explain the pull to the left
>you are complaining about.

i was wonderring about alignment but i didn't know who much of an issue
it was on a bike versus a car...


Later that same day:

well it turns out the problem with the bike was the interface between
the seat cushion and the handlebars...overinflation of the tires. ended
up having the rear tire replaced and they took care of the balancing and
everything else. still leans a teeny bit but i think that's more of how
i'm sitting on the bike. off we go to kingman ariz by way of meeting ed
sprankle on the way in phoenix...kinna highg prices on the tire. they
didn't have a metzeler in stock nor a dunlop stock so it was a better
model of dunlop....for 140.00.....hmmmm that's the price LIST at my home
dealer...my seat suddenly seems more sore than it should...

damien "got me by the cajones" gonzalez

tucson AZ



2 days later, 29 November, 1998

[this is going to roger and kevin of the iron horsemen and to the

>Damien, good to hear you're still having fun and still riding. The
>here has been wet all day with possibly more of the same tomorrow. Its
>supposed to clear Sunday so the ride to Greenfield should be a dry one.
>to see you there. In the mean time ride safe, Roger Ramjet over and

hey roger (and all!) hope your thaksgiving was good. today was the
hardest day of riding so far. the system that has been dumping on the
west coast moved inland and i met up with it by the time i left Essex,
CA (about 25 miles west of needles). spent the first night in kingman AZ
since i hadn't heard from bullhead city bob and unfortunately missed ya,
ed. hope we can hook up some other time.

made it into kingman at about 9:30pm and found the fabulous hill top
motel (a AAA one-star). very basic, no frilss but had everything you
would expect from a route66 motel! shoulda snapped one of the big neon
sign...btw, verry little to do in kingman on a friday night...looked
like the bowling alley was the place to be so i got my fix of the
cartoon network instead.

met a trucker from riverside at breakfast and got the full-blown
traveler's experience chatting with him (well, listening to him, anyway,
sorry to make it up with this email) and hit the road by 10am PST. first
rain outside of essex and kept the rain suit on from there. mostly VERY
windy (from the side so i doubt the windshield would have helped) and
met a ST1100 heading from 29palms to las vegas at ludlow's gas station
traded weather reports and back to drag racing the 18wheelers (all
winney, wazzat you?)

rode sideways from ludlow to mojave from the winds and had some
spectacular views of desert basins with rain clouds hiding most of the
40mile views but made some dramatic color changes in the landscape.
finally pulled another 12ball: got gas in ludlow, was going to stop in
barstow since my arms were cramping up but couldn't find anywhere that
felt right so i went on to mojave - 126 miles west of ludlow...at 125.9
miles onthe odometer i ran out of gas. funny thing (i was laughing) was,
i was AT the intersection of the first gas station but decided to make a
right to hit the chevron down the road. pushed her back 10 yards to the
driveway and filled up there. :)

from then on into the tehachapi mtns and all the way to bakersfield it
was a big fogbank plus rain in buckets. visibility got down to 10 feet
and i slowed to 35mph while having to tap my brake lights to make sure
the cars behind me could see me! by this time i was worried about
frostbite in the fingers and then the bike starts hesitating (no not
here!) forgot about the elevation: i was at 4000 feet over the pass and
i'm assuming the difference in evelation was causing it. had to keep
accelerating until i got to a lower elevation (fortunately i could see)
then finally made it in town. quite the endurance ride!!! i'll let you
know when the pics are up from the trip on the homepage.

KEVIN AND ROGER: not sure what time i'm leaving here, so far my track
record this trip has been about 10am on the road. it's 120+ miles from
bakersfield to atascadero and it's on 58 so that'll be about 2.5hrs if
the weather's as good as i hear it is. should put me on 198 east to 25
around 1pm...i'll keep an eye out for you guys along the way. personally
i think you are missing the best part of hwy 25 if you turn on 14 to go
to greenfield/king city but then again that's lunch ;)

thanks so much for the help with the route planning! i'll see you guys
tomorrow! i'll be checking the email later tonight so use my hotmail
account address (the one above)

ride safe, all!

damien "almost into the sunset" gonzalez

bakersfield, CA


More, same day:


>I ride with 40 lbs in the rear and 32 up front. What were you riding

hi ron, i have been riding 40psi on both tires since on the rubber it's
printed max load @ 41psi so i thought that's where it should be...now
they're both at 36 which is sposed to be the recommended setting. always
thought it was rather squishy in turns at lower pressures so i would
jack it up to the limit. oops...

so far so good....

damien "psssssss" gonzalez

bakersfield CA


James Langley wrote:

> We should controlled the population by exterminating Child
> molesters,rapist,murderes,drug dealers,buglars and such as that. This would
> be both effective and beneficial to everyone except the above mentioned.

no because the molester wants to experience what it feels like to molest and
the rapee wants to feel what it's like to be raped. we are here for the
experiences, ah-member? just trying to put out the fire with napalm...but i
believe this philosophy (NOT as a rationalization for committing such acts i
feel to be horrible) so i wouldn't wipe anyone out who is already alive, just
let their ethics die out with them and make sure future generations are better
educated. i'm hoping this works on jesse helms as well....

oh by the way, i made it home but BARELY! off to a rough start:

pulled into the gas station after forgetting to ask directions back to hwy 58
out of bakersfield (downside to arriving late at night) and the bike stalls!!!
what the hell? after filling up and finding that it's only during idle but if i
pull the choke full on it's fine. great. on a sunday too...after further
inspection starting with what i was messing with last night to get her running
better - the cause:

the idle mixture screw (the one where we all have drilled out the cap to get to
to minimize the backfiring on decel) has FALLEN OUT!!! oh gawd, no...

my guardian angel was awake early since i found the screw in front of the
cashier's window. guess ACE hardware wouldn't have had that one from the looks
of it. make sure it's in there and bring it out 3.5 turns (it was out 4.5 and
it fell out so i'm not risking it) and she's backfiring like a pot of popcorn
the way home and the vibrations are much worse, i think i need to resync my
carbs since they've never been done since 10k miles ago (started the home

it's morning and dry, but cold and my gloves are wet still from last night.

head out over 58 and get going in the turns after several more stops to further
adjust the screws and make sure i hadn't lost either of them. dig this, the
front cylinder doesn't pop at all 3.125 turns out but the rear is the
culprit...any advice?

into the turns over what was a real challenge on the way in late at night and
tired but are now more like practising SLLR, lather, gun it, and repeat. pass a
couple of cars (one VOLVO who didn't want to be passed..sound familiar?) and
start picking up the pace in the hairpins west of the central valley and
SS_CC_RR_AA_PP_EEE!!!!!! guess who lost his virginity on the right side? :)

fueled by the achievement i decide to take an OOH-WHERE's-THAT-ROAD-GO? turn
off the route and end up finding a shortcut with less turns but better time
through more ranchland in the foothills into paso robles. by the time i get
into town though my hands are so numb i can't tell if i've got the clutch all
the way pulled in to shift from the damp gloves.

take a pizza break, call roger, get gas and water and headed out to 101 north
averaging like 90. quick right on 198 to 25 and the temp had warmed up but the
fog was rolling in on my heels. 25 is in its own valley separate from anything
else except a few lucky ranchers. saw four(!) tarantulas crossing the road
(three made it - my fault too...) and several large hawks pooping on road
signs. even got to see a bull mount a cow! ah, the wonders of nature...

no one met up at 14 and 25 cause of rain in san jose at breakfast time so i
used the last of my extra tank and high-tailed it through 25 into hollister,
popping and spurting the whole way. after that, it was back into the
me-first-you-die traffic rat race. you can just feel it approach like you're
getting into a bathtub of vinegar...anyways, made it home and got the bike
garaged and we'll start twiddling with it tomorrow.

all in all a good trip with lots of lessons learned and memories to be kept
(and pics posted too!) hope you enjoyed the play by play and thanks for

ride safe and use ski gloves in the rain,

damien "there's no place like...the road!" gonzalez