09 June 2010

Trip Report: FZ1OA Rally Riding Day 1

Friday 4 Jun 2010:
Total Miles for the day: 185.

Cruzman had committed us to ride with PJFZ1's Group for lunch in Highland.  I think his route was just to take 28 into Highland then do whatever after lunch.  He'd also promised to help me service my EXUP and we wanted to ride the Dragon before Kick Stands Up (KSU) at 11.  Unfortunately, it took a little longer than Cruzman thought for us to Service the EXUP and we didn't arrive at the Deal's Gap resort until 15 or so minutes before KSU.

EXUP in Exhaust
EXUP stands for Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve and controls the exhaust back pressure.  A proper functioning EXUP system allows for greater power all the way to the rev limiter.  It is located inside the exhaust where the four pipes from the headers meet.  It starts out fully closed at idle and is eventually fully open at 9,000 to 11,000 rpms.  Pat's FZ1 site for does a great job of detailing how to do it but I still didn't feel comfortable doing it for the first time by myself.

Cruzman was kind enough to step me through it before we left to meet PJFZ1, MotoMinx, and whoever else was going to show up.  Unfortunately, on the way, my rear turn signal adapter plate broke and I had a dangling turn signal.  While we ate breakfast, I searched for a way to put a temp fix on it so we could still go on the ride and Teddy revealed he didn't feel like riding at all.  I am the first to say if your head isn't in the ride you don't ride.

With Teddy feeling ill and my turn signal dangling, Cruzman and I accompanied Teddy back to camp amidst a rain shower and searched for a way to temporarily mount the turn signal so it wouldn't dangle.

Taking Teddy back to Camp:

The best solution turned out to be attaching it to the bracket I put on the tag to hold the bungies for my luggage.  The signals were lopsided, but it was a temporary fix.

Since we already missed the ride to Highlands, we decided to see if they had a hardware store in Robbinsville to find a more permanent solution then ride the Cherohala Skyway to Tellico Plains, TN.  On the way to Robbinsville, we switched bikes so Cruzman could see what a stock motor felt like and I could see how a jetted one felt.  I also got to see how the Gen II bars felt.

We stopped at a lookout along 129 to swap back.  I told him I liked how his front end didn't dive when you hit the brakes and he said it was a simple fix.  With a flat head screw driver from my tool kit, he dialed the adjustment screws out three turns (or was it in?) to match the setting he had.  He also un-tweaked my handlebars that I didn't know were tweaked.

The stiffening of the front end made a big difference and I really liked how Baby felt afterward.  It seemed the rain had pretty much stopped too and just as we rounded a pretty good sweeper, I noticed a bike shop on the right side of the road.  We passed it because the idea of last minute braking on wet roads for no real reason wasn't appealing to either of us.

We turned around to discover a gem of a shop, Wheeler's 129 Performance.  The little place did everything and there were several people waiting for tires or their bikes to be finished.  We met a fellow Gen I FZ1-er and the other two guys we'd seen the evening before coming to check out what was wrong with one of their chains.

I found a permanent solution with metal turn signal adapters and fixed them right there in the parking lot.  I also adjusted the toe shifter downward again to accommodate my riding boots better.  It was starting to drizzle again and it was very hot.  I didn't want to ride in the rain but I didn't want to stand in the shop parking lot sweating either.  In the end, we rode on into Robbinsville, got gas then hit the parkway.

It turned out to be a good decision as we left the weather behind us.  Here we are at the Hooper Bald Overlook:

I'm sure the view from there is spectacular during the winter when the foliage isn't all growed up.

More info about the scenic area:

I think the Hooper Bald is the highest point on the Skyway.  The cool temps were certainly a welcome change from the heat at the lower elevations.  Kind of like riding through the A/C.

We ate a light late lunch in Tellico Plains and Cruzman had a chance to talk to Cruzwoman for the first time since early the day before.

The ride back got a little exciting when we found a rabbit in the from of a Porsche Carrera after getting stuck behind a Chrysler Sebring, a Ford Ranger, and a couple of cruisers.  The Porsche was inching closer and closer to the double yellows looking for the first opportunity to pass.  I knew we'd be right on his bumper.

As soon as the passing yellow appeared, the Porsche pounced across the line in an attempt to pass both Harleys before the short passing area was gone.  He was not successful, mostly because the front Harley rider sped up and prevented the pass.  We all ducked back into line and eagerly awaited our next chance.

During the entire weekend, I found most of the cruiser riders not willing to let us pass when it was obvious they were holding up traffic.  A few would hug the white line and beckon you by, often times in areas where you couldn't really see well enough to pass, but that didn't happen as often as it should have.  This Harley rider was just a taste of what we'd encounter for the rest of the weekend.

As soon as the next passing zone appeared, the Porsche again jumped out and executed a wonderfully fast pass of all three vehicle impeding progress along the Skyway.  We were right on his bumper and as we climbed the hill, we could see his intention was for us not to pass him.

He was going fast enough so that wasn't necessary.  He could get the ticket for all we cared.  Unfortunately, he pulled over at one of the overlooks so we didn't have a Rabbit all the way to Robbinsville but we still kept the pace he set.  The ride was exhilarating!

It was nice to know you could apply something you read and have immediate results.  I was much smoother this time than I had been in early May when I rode the same road with TopWop.  It seemed Baby and I were in sync the whole weekend.  We stopped again at Hooper Bald, mostly because it had a bathroom before continuing on into Robbinsville.

That's when I noticed Baby had 25,007 miles.  He'd passed 25k on the Skyway.  For me it was 17k on Baby.  I could definitely tell the difference with the EXUP maintenance done.  It seemed to pull a little better at the lower rpms and with the dive adjusted out of the forks Baby felt a lot better.  Cruzman was talking about syncing my carbs too!!  By the time I left the rally, he planned to have Baby purring.

We were running a little late for the BBQ at Rally HQ and our promised rendez-vous time with Teddy back at Camp next to Fontana Dam.  We tried to get back as soon as we could:

HWY 28 South going toward the campground:

Teddy wasn't there when we got back.  Since we were only going a mile more up the road, we decided to be squids and rode in only our helmets with no other gear.

Dinner was Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Sausage on the grill with cole slaw and potato salad from some store.  I got to meet some more people from the FZ1OA forum but no one seemed really friendly.  I thought I was just tired and not feeling like socializing.  Eventually, we ran into the guys from Dallas we'd met the evening before at the Gap Resort and soon the conversation was flowing.

Me talking to pokihokie:

CrazyBiker and FZ1_ARAO:

It seemed everyone had a good day and was looking forward to another one.  We decided we'd ride together the next day and since they were all new to the area, Cruzman and I would plan the route.  pokihokie didn't care where we went as long as we rode the Cherohala Skyway.  Okay fine with us.

I really wanted to go to the Blue Ridge Parkway and maybe ride the Snake but the tread on my back tire was getting low fast.  It was probably better to stay in the area.  The road surface on the Dragon and the Skyway is nearly perfect while the Snake and some of the roads surrounding it are all chewed up.

We returned to camp and were relieved to see Teddy had made his way back.  He was already asleep when we got back so we planned a route that would include him and be accomodating to FZ1_ARAO's girlfriend too.  We hoped she could meet us at Hooper Bald scenic area and ride half of the Skyway with us after we road the Dragon.

Just before I went to bed, I noticed the light hitting Stella just right.  I had to call Cruzman out of the trailer so he could see the sight.  Then we played with the camera and a flashlight until we could recreate it.


It's the only time I've wanted a fancier camera!!  I won't post all of the pitiful attempts it took to finally get this one, but we captured what we saw and it was time to go to bed.  We'd said KSU tomorrow at 9 a.m. for a Dragon run.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog