Monday, May 26

Jesse's break-in is OVER!

We've exceeded the 600 miles break in! Jesse goes in Tuesday for its first check up. Glad the break-in is over! It was tough in that I had to stay cognizant of rpms. It wasn't difficult staying within the prescribed range--just annoying, just one more thing to keep track of while riding.Today's ride goal was to see how it felt to ride the bike long. I had no real destination in mind but ended up in Champaign, IL, approximately 140 miles from my start. I made one stop getting there, not because I needed to, but because I felt I should. While at a gas station a man pulled up next to me and said, "I saw you on the highway, so what is that you're riding." I stepped back from the bike so he could see. "Oh, a BMW?. How do you like it?" I told him. He asked a gazillion questions (thank goodness I had read the manual and had done a year's worth of research) all of which I could answer (e.g., "What is the drive on it?", "Is that a single swing arm?", the weight, the cc, etc.). He told me about his new bike, a Harley, that he should have been out riding. We chatted some and said our goodbyes. I must confess, when he pulled off, I waited some extra time as fears of him bumping me off the road from behind ran through my head. Ugh!

Arrived in Champaign. The town was dead! In fact, the roads all along the trip there were thinly populated. The town appeared as if it had been evacuated. It's the home of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and most of the college kids have left, which explained the vacant streets. Before leaving, I stopped for lunch at Nitaya, a Thai-Japanese restaurant that I just happen to pass and thought looked interesting. There were more people in the restaurant than I saw on the streets. I ordered crab fried rice after making sure real crab was used and not that imitation stuff. The elderly Asian server looked slightly hurt when I inquired about the crab. She assured me that they only use real crab. I ordered it spicy. It arrived. It was perhaps the best crab fried rice I've ever had! I thought the same dish I had in Seattle was exceptional--this was even better! I would return to Champaign for another meal there is a flash!

Feeling renewed, I gassed up and headed home. Was there a memo for all drivers that stated that turn signals are optional. I saw so many people switching lanes without signaling. This is another reason to stay away from people. When they make their inexplicable moves without alerting those around them, you'll be far enough away to not be effected. Geeze!

I did the return trip nonstop. The ride was exhilarating. Here's one huge difference between the SV and the ST. The SV's ready to ride position bends the leg fairly tightly. I've written before about my leg cramps after about 120 or so miles and how annoying this became. I went from thinking it was a potassium deficiency to the onset of rigor mortis! The ST's leg requirement is also bent ; however, it is slightly less flexed and that makes for a more relaxed leg and ride position. I experienced no leg fatigue or need to stretch--absolutely no muscle whining. It makes sense that a sport-tourer would have a more relaxed ready position.

The Speed Challenge

The return trip seemed quick and easy and the bike performed smoothly. Jesse is so easy to ride. One adjustment I'm still making pertains to speed. I am not a speed freak. I like doing about 5-10 over the limit. Even though people are zipping by me, I try to stay within that range. I'll admit to going a wee bit faster when the roads are clear and conditions are ideal. I've looked down at the speedometer many times and to my utter amazement, I see that I am going faster than I thought. The SV feels a particular way at 65 mph; the ST feels this same way but is 15 mph faster. I thought I was doing 65 the minimum on one long stretch of road. In reality, I was doing 80! On the return trip, I monitored my speed closer and on many occasions, I had to slow down. I guess that's the difference between the pull of a 650cc engine versus an 800cc?

Once in the city, I navigated some congested roads for about a 12 miles stretch. One silly (to me at least) incident occurred when a man tried to strike up a conversation with me at a stoplight. His greeting was way too familiar--as if he knew me well and it way too cheesy. He smiled way too much and asked me how I was. I glanced at him briefly and only nodded my head. But I got a good look at the woman sitting next to him. She looked annoyed, really ticked, which he didn't see as he was too busy hanging out of the window trying to engage me in conversation. But I bet she gave him an ear full later.

Chicago to Champaign 285 miles RT
Highlight: Lunch at Nitaya Thai-Japanese Restaurant