These pages are for the Motorcycle Experiences

Harley Road Trip 2013 
Day 6 It's Friday and headed back home.  (11-22-13)

It's all about the ride today.

I went to sleep with the sound of hard rain last night.  When I woke up today, the rain had left its mark.  Everything was dripping wet, including my bike!  Good thing I put a seat cover on last night, really just a plastic garbage bag tucked in around the edges.  It is always nice to have a soft and dry seat.  I didn’t take pictures today so will try to describe my thoughts and what its like to ride distance on the road. 

Last night I gassed up the bike, cleaned my quick release windshield, and was all packed and ready to go. It rained all night so in the morning, the bike had to be wiped down a bit. says to leave at 9am to avoid the worst of the weather.  I have planed a 465-mile (7 hour) trip for today.  This lands me 90 minutes from Sacramento where I have a service appointment with the local Harley shop.  They have 57 positive reviews and I am looking forward to an excellent experience there.

I start westbound on Hwy 40 to Barstow, then, it’s northbound on Hwy 99 toward Sacramento.  I intend to stop for the night in Turlock, which is a larger-sized community for that area.  I already know that I’m going to need to a clean and comfortable place to stay tonight so have selected a town that I know has newer hotels.

Riding in the rain really isn't all that bad.  I have lots of protection from the elements on the Harley Road King.  I have the fairing lowers to keep my legs and feet dry.  The windshield and helmet keep the rest of my body from getting wet.  I also have gloves and my jacket, and with all of that, stay very dry and comfy.  You don’t feel that you’re getting wet at all, so being able to relax while riding is fairly easy. The only annoying part is that the face shield does get wet and the drops are a constant reminder that you are indeed riding thru the rain today. 

Today is really cold. The storm was supposed to go north, but ended up stalling, growing tremendously, and moving directly west. That's directly on my path, and basically covering most of my roads with clouds and rain for today. I had two options… I could wait it out for a day, or just I could just go for it and complete my day on the other side of this storm. My personality doesn't allow a “wait it out” when I can keep moving and make progress... So onward!

I handle cold and wet pretty well. It's a good thing my wife had me put on long underwear and handed me some inner glove liners before I left last week! They’ve been a life saver all along this trek and very comforting to have as I started my day today.

To ride in the wind, you really need to ride loose but firm.  This keeps the bike more fluid and stable and allows you to move more freely on the bike without losing control.  Wind gusts are no different, however you must stay on your guard and be careful to not override the immediate conditions.  Its essential to keep the arms very bent, wrists loose and hands very lightly on the grips.  This is much easier with cruise control, but I need to be mindful of using cruise control when it is wet, slippery and windy.   So, I am going to have to do lots of miles manual today.

I naturally like to use my entire back muscles to soak up the bumps and blasts of air.  This method works well for me when hitting bumps and when riding across the wind; and it allows the bike to track smooth and straight.  I’ll stop for gas today at 150-225 mile intervals so stretching and relaxing while on the bike are my ways to keep from getting stiff or tired.  Not during gusts of course…

You know how bikers do ‘the wave’ when they pass each other?  Well, on days like today, when I come across other bikers venturing over the highways, it is more of a hold the hand high in the air, hell yeah, high five!  Gotta love that camaraderie that bikers will always take care of each other in times of need and share in the joys too!  After a particularly bad stretch of gusty winds… I was having difficulty just staying on the road sometimes and had to slow it down more that a few times.  I had finally made it past the worst of it when I came upon a couple two up on their touring bike!  They made it too!  An enthusiastic high five in the air and we bonded.

On the road, I’ll play with my speed, changing it up to keep the motor happy.  I love the sound and feeling of a big inch V twin and this is one thing that keeps riding long distance anything but boring.  I am thoroughly impressed by how much fun it is to ride very long distances on this Road King.  It is very calming and exciting at the same time.  The 110-inch motor can definitely get the blood boiling anytime you need it.  Sounds like a drug, doesn’t it?   It can take off very rapidly from 3750 rpm and up.  But all the same… it can tick away at 3k all day long without feeling stressed in any way.  The cruise controls are easy to use and each click adds or subtracts one mph.  Nice and smooth when coming across CHPs.  BTW, I think CHPs have a thing for Harleys.  They seem to just accept any speed that you may be going as safe.  Hmm.  I don’t let that guide my judgment, but its good to know.  Lots of CHPs are on the roads of California.  They view giving tickets very seriously.  Especially seeing travel trailers getting stopped.  They must go 55 mph no matter what the posted speed limits are. My roads today are typically 70-75 limits and the typical speeds are 10 mph above that.  That doesn’t happen when the weather is as bad as today and many times we are doing lower than the posted limits.

The rain and wet roads lasted all day and didn’t dry until just before Fresno.  I was hoping to outrun the rain by going right thru it, but instead found myself in the middle of the storm and the highest windy conditions!  And after all of this planning, I actually saw the sun as I entered the city limits of Turlock!  I had sunshine on me for about 5 minutes before I headed off the hwy and found a nice hotel to dry out for the night. 

It's been a wonderful trip.  I'll repost the first 5 days to this blog when I get back.


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