Sunday, June 19, 2011

Road Trip 2011, pt. 1

Well, it's over, it was amazing, but it went all too quickly. Road Trip '11 is over and what a trip it was, my wife and I took 17 days off, visited 11 states, and covered just over 3300 miles. I've gone through and edited pics and still have over 400 of them so instead of one huge post I'm going to break them down into several posts over the next few days.

Our ride for this trip was the newest addition to our stable, our '02 Kawasaki Vulcan Drifter 1500.
Loaded and ready for some miles!
The Drifter performed great during the trip. She rides like a caddy, although I need to get the rear suspension dialed in a bit better, bottoming out was not uncommon on rough surfaces. I was somewhat disappointed in the Corbin seat. After 700 miles my tailbone couldn't take it anymore so I stopped at a HD dealer in Southhaven, Ms and bought a Saddlemen gel pad. That was a very well spent $100 and made 500 mile days a breeze. This was also my 1st experience having a drivers backrest, I'm spoiled now, that made miles very relaxed. I found that fuel mileage was directly related to the twist of the wrist, lol! The worst I got was 37mpg with the best tank coming in right at 49mpg. Overall, I averaged a solid 40mpg for the trip, not bad for a fully loaded bagger. I would say that my only disappointment with the Drifter is it's handling in twisties or rather lack of. However, to be fair, I'm used to my Vulcan 900 and  my '06 XL1200C, both of which are very nimble, well balanced bikes. The Drifter is a pig in comparison, the 900 and 1200 weigh in at 650lbs and 570lbs respectively, while the Drifter weighs in 720lbs, then add 100lbs of gear and 300lbs between my wife and I, and you've got one heavy set up. There was definitely no lack of power, the 1500cc's provided plenty of power for every situation, the Drifter is an excellent touring bike. Without a doubt, it's the best bike I own for putting serious miles, not to say the 900 and 1200 can't do it, they just can't do it as smooth or comfortably as the Drifter.

The 1st leg was a 500 mile shot from home to Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. We've made this same run before and there's not a lot for scenery so we changed things up and took a back road in Missouri that we hadn't been on before. Hwy 14 runs through part of the Mark Twain Natn'l Forest and is a very nice ride.

The view from our room in Mammoth Spring, Ar.
Unpacked and relaxin" at the end of day 1

Headin' out early into Arkansas!

No comments: