So…patient readers…I haven’t written in a while.  The start date of my trip was delayed by various tasks that needed to be performed.  But…alas…I am well on the road.  More on this in a bit.

I won’t go into details but I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t put 24-36 hours of work into the bike to prep it.  The prior mentioned 685 upgrade kit seems to be a success.  At first we saw a little “weeping” from a gasket but some extend high RPM riding shows that the job was a success.  I cannot comment on fuel economy.  I am carrying a lot of stuff (and am finding it difficult to jettison *any* of it).  I am also running 50/50 tires (on road/off road).  And the SuperSlab I am riding on demands a fairly high speed.

What’s going wrong?  I really need to get rid of the rear Mefo Explorer tire.  The knobs are starting to crack.  What else?  I find that I have way too many chargers for everything.  One for each phone, netbook, cameras and on and on.  It would be nice to find a unit that would take care of charging it all.  And there are a few loose pieces on the bike I need to tighten shortly (very minor) but that is par for the course.

What is going right?  Well, I generally find the bike very capable for what it is doing.  It can feel a little taxing on some of the freeways here which have a maximum of 70 miles an hour (uh hum…seems to be the minimum).  My favourite mods and farkles right now are my cheap-ass highway pegs fitted to my SW-Motech crashbars, my Laminar Lip windshield extension and my Kaoko “cruise control”.  Normally this bike is ridden in a very upright position.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like having my back straight (healthy on the back) and being able to look over Hummers…but on these extended highway runs it is nice to be able to lay back a bit and stretch out a little and duck my head under the airs tream.  I am absolutely praising the Kaoko right now.  I know from previous trips that my wrist can get quite sore after extended hours of riding.  The Kaoko basic adds enough friction so that the throttle doesn’t move unless I move it.  It definitely presents a higher risk than normal throttle operation (NEVER use it around dense traffic) but on the clear open road it always some flexibility to relax that right hand for a while.  And…oh ya…the 685 kit seems to have fixed the oil burning problem.

What else?  I am basically on a quest to change out some of my riding gear — most importantly my pants and boots.  I need a tougher boot — but not as heavy as a motocross boot, if I can help it.  And I need a pant with *at least* a single vent in them.  As soon as I stop, I am constantly sweating in my Olympia Ranger II pants.

So where am I?  I am presently amidst the Ozarks near a town called Cuba in Missouri.  The hosts of the RV park have been very hospitable and I arrived earlier enough to have some good WIFI time before bed.  Earlier today I hit REI in St. Louis as I needed to get some more compression stuff sacks, and various other doodads.  The previous nights I stayed near Chicago, IL and Grand Rapid, MI.

One of the cooler things of the day was that I ran into a couple dozen members of the Latin American Motorcycle Association (LAMA) at a gas stop.  There was lots of American (and some Japanese) v-twin thunder.  Surely a couple members felt relieved when I “explained” that the state trooper that just arrived was probably just looking for me, the Canadian 😉 …graciously, Hooch, Mike and Mario provided their card and services — if, for what ever reason — I need a helping hand in the regions that their MC club represents, hopefully they can help.  A very timely coincidence.   Muchos gracias.

Well.  It is off to bed with me.