OTRA Day-4: Return From the R80GS 40th Anniversary Rally

This is the last OTRA blog I plan to post. Tomorrow I should be back home again.

This morning it looked like I would get to test out how well the waterproofing of my nearly 15 year old Aerostitch riding suit is holding up. The parking lot at the hotel in Jefferson, MO, was wet as it had rained and the sky was full of low grey clouds. But the upside was cleaning bug goo off Gonzo was quickly done. I added a 1/4 Qt of oil to the motor and let a bit of air out of the front tire to compensate for the higher elevation.

After I finished breakfast and headed out to load the last pannier, the sun came out and the low clouds had moved off to the west, but they were still in front of me. Thankfully the clouds kept dissipating as I rode west so I didn’t get to test how well the stitch did in the rain after all.

US-50’s personality was very much the lumbering superslab all morning. After about a half hour I was feeling sore and not really enjoying the ride. I was getting into a “hurry up and let’s get this day over with” frame of mind. And then I looked at the Garmin GPS, and my wish was fulfilled. 🙂

Wow-I'm Really Making Time :-)

Wow-I’m Really Making Time 🙂

The Garmin projected I would cover 385 miles in a bit less than four hours for an average speed of about 96 MPH. 🙂 Gonzo could go that fast, that long, but we were being legal, so this was not realistic.

This kind of mistake happens when the Garmin misses some of the satellite signals when it computes the average speed. It thinks it covered a number of miles in zero time. On another Garmin I owned, this same issue would shown my maximum speed of 135 MPH. I reloaded today’s route and it recomputed my arrival time to a more realistic 3:35 pm.

And, yes, the Garmin is working again. It turns out if I just briefly touch the ON/OFF button on the back, it goes into sleep mode, but it’s not turned off. I assumed it was off since the screen was blank. If I leave it in this state over night, it drains the battery. Then when I plug it into the cradle on the bike in the morning, or to the USB port on my laptop, it doesn’t run until the battery gets some power stored in it. The sleep state with a drained battery looks exactly like it took a permanent dirt nap.

And the annoying messages about not being in the cradle or it going to turn off in 15 seconds are no more. I finally traced that to the power plug in the cradle. I pushed down on the rubber socket as hard as I could and the terminals of the socket now stay seated on the two tiny copper terminals on the back of the GPS. Ain’t modern technology neat? 🙂

I chuckled when I saw this whimsical decoration applied to a town water tower in Missouri.

Whimsical Water Tower in Missouri

Whimsical Water Tower in Missouri

When I was about 20 miles east of Kansas City, I pulled off the US-50 superslab and picked some state highways 291, 2, 68  to the south and west of the city that intersected US-58 to get to my gas stop in Lawrence, KS. I ended up adding about 60 miles to the route by taking this loop around the metropolitan area, but it was a good trade-off as the roads were mostly two-lane, lightly trafficked and conformed to the texture of the land instead of forcing the land to conform to a flat, straight road. Making that 60 mile change reversed the degradation of my body and mind and after about 15 minutes riding the new route, my butt and shoulder stopped complaining and I was flowing with the road as it moved gracefully over the contour of the Kansas countryside. Sometimes, extending your mileage with the right kind of miles shortens the day.

I crossed into Kansas on state road 2. It rated one of the smaller “Welcome to [insert state name here]” signs I have seen.

Back Roads Get Smaller Welcome Signs

Back Roads Get Smaller Welcome Signs

After I got gas in Lawrence, KS, I picked up US-24 and took it almost all the way to Ft. Riley before getting on I-70. On the west side of Ft. Riley, I saw a sign for a Buffalo Soldier monument and got of I-70 to see if I could find it. Along the way, I came across this house with “we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto” decorations. Those are alligators on the roof and a palm tree metal sculpture in front with various nautical paraphernalia scattered around the front yard.

Ah ... I Think He Wishes He Was in Louisiana

Ah … I Think He Wishes He Was in Louisiana

I found the monument which was made into a city park.

Buffalo Solider Memorial Park

Buffalo Solider Memorial Park

Gonzo Resting Near The Buffalo Soldier Statue

Gonzo Resting Near The Buffalo Soldier Statue

Buffalo Solider with Horse

Buffalo Solider with Horse

Buffalo Solider with Horse

Buffalo Solider with Horse

Brief History of Fort Riley

Brief History of Fort Riley

9th Cavalry Had Buffalo Soldiers

9th Cavalry Had Buffalo Soldiers

10th Cavalry Had Buffalo Soldiers

10th Cavalry Had Buffalo Soldiers

On the second day of the ride to the rally, I came across General John “Black Jack” Pershing’s home town in Laclede, MO. Now I learned where the nickname “Black Jack” came from. He was a First Lieutenant with the 10th Cavalry regiment and because of his stated respect for the black officers and troops when he taught at West Point, cadets derogatorily called him “Nigger Jack”.  This got changed to “Black Jack” by the press when reporting on his exploits in the Spanish-American war when he fought with the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry at San Juan Hill.

The rest of the day was spent on I-70 heading west to Hays, KS. Fortunately the traffic was light, only a handful of trucks were on the road and the posted speed limit was 75 MPH; or, 80-85 MPH if you didn’t want to get run over from behind. Gonzo gets his second wind at about 4500-5000 RPM.  That translates to 85-90 MPH. In this speed range, the engine gets turbine smooth, the frame settles down on the suspension, and he just wants to go faster. At this RPM in 5th gear, a slight twist of the wrist adds 5 MPH in a second.  I found it hard to keep him reined in to “more or less” legal speeds.

The stock 1977 RS peak torque is at 5,500 RPM. Since Gonzo has a CFO engine, his torque peak is about 500-700 RPM lower. That means a slight twist of the wrist in this RPM range accelerates the bike quickly. This couple of hours of I-70 riding demonstrates what Hans Muth had in mind when he designed the R100RS, an Autobahn burner. 🙂

Tomorrow I return home and the trip will be over. There is clothes washing, grocery shopping and bill sorting awaiting me. But I don’t have to think about that until the day after tomorrow. 🙂

8 thoughts on “OTRA Day-4: Return From the R80GS 40th Anniversary Rally

    • Hi Sanders,

      I hope you get to take your airhead on a week or more ride. It calms the mind and strengthens the muscles 🙂

      Best.
      Brook.

  1. Brook, Thanks for taking us along on your journey!! The roads east of Jeff City and in the Kansas City area are some awesome riding. Maybe one of these days, we can take Gonzo and my RS (no name) and I’ll show you some of my favorite roads in the area!! Glad you are all most done with your excellent journey!!

    May you and Gonzo make it home safely tomorrow!!

    • Hi Radar,

      I’m on the back porch sipping a TALLLLLLL G&T. 🙂 Yes, we could do a weekend trip out that way and you can show me more of the sights.

      Best.
      Brook.

    • Hi Dom,

      You’re welcome. The Buffalo Solders and the Tuskegee Airmen are untold stories that need more telling in schools as part of American History, IMHO.

      Best.
      Brook.

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