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This is really more of a VMAX story than a Warrior story, but WTF? I posted it under the Utah section but there might be a wider audience here. It is intended to be interesting with some humor. Any comments, good or bad, are welcome.
My daughter Katie gave me tickets to see the band America at the Concert Hall in Wendover, Nevada, on Friday night the 24th of October, 2008. Montego Bay Casino usually has a Texas Hold’em tournament on Friday’s at 12 noon. Barbara, my wife, had to work all day. This looked like an opportunity to ride. And I wanted to break some land speed records.
Last June, 07, I was with my son Jonathan ( 100th Anniversary 1200cc Sportster ) and our friend Nick M.( 2002 Intruder Volusia VL800 ) on a Southern Utah ride. On our last morning we left Hite Marina at the north end of Lake Powell and headed toward Hanksville. There’s some wide open country. Mr. Max started wobbling at 120 mph and I had to back off. In October, 07, when I had it in for inspection I had the wheels rebalanced. Never had a chance or place to open it up again.
I had wanted to ride the VMAX since the previous Sunday when I found the battery had drained down and Mr. Max wouldn’t start. Where is the battery? I checked the owner’s manual. It indicated the battery was most likely under the seat and I should take the bike to a Yamaha shop. So I called Wayne B., another VMAX owner and knowledgeable mechanic and got some “ How to find the Battery “ instructions. So I got the seat off and the coil mounting plate out of the way, the battery out, cleaned, watered, charged, and reinstalled everything with NO left over parts. This process proves the Japanese have skinny fingers. The engine fired right up. Couldn’t believe how quiet it was. I had been riding the Road Star Warrior all summer. Washed the bike and put some air in the tires.
I was fully under the ass-umption the bike would get to Wendover on one tank of gas. 130 miles shouldn’t be a problem. Should it? Even if the last 70 miles has no gas stations. Past the airport to Saltair I was cruising between 80 and 90 mph. Had a thought, checked the gears. Yup, I did that in fourth gear. Might have burned some gas there. On the straight-a-way past Dell, I went up to 120 mph, no wobble. Might have burned some gas there. I will try to go a little higher on the Salt Flats later. Took the Eagle Range exit. Stopped and stretched. Trip meter is on about 70 miles. 11:05 AM. 60 miles to go, no problem. I get going again and a few miles later pass the rest stop, cruising about 85, reach over and lock down my mechanical throttle lock. Seems like a few seconds go by and then, WTF?, the engine is dying. WTF? Looking at the controls. My glove hit the engine kill switch when I clamped down the throttle lock. Way to go dumbass! Switch on, engine fires, mufflers ignite, bang. Almost to Knolls, this is the Eastern edge of the Salt Flats. Engine dies again. WTF? This is just great! Looking at the controls. Red fuel light is on. WTF? Push the fuel switch from ON to RES. Down to about 20 mph now. Engine grumbles to life. You’re shitting me! How much reserve do I have? I should have forty miles. I hope. ( INFO BREAK: VMAX has .8 gallons reserve tank. ) Bonneville Salt Flats exit is a few miles before Nevada and there is a gas station there. I feel a case of Stupid coming on. Pigs on the Wing. I’m about to get hit with some flying ***, my ***. WTF! Lock down the throttle at 75 and cruise. Maybe I burned a lot of gas earlier. That much? I should have been able to make it. So I thought. There’s the Tree. 24 miles to go. And Bonneville exit is a few miles closer. Not going to make the poker game. Might just be out here all day.
Mile marker 21. Engine sputters. This is just fucking great! Clutch in, find neutral, and coast. The shoulder on the road is in the wrong direction for the kick stand. Parked the bike perpendicular to the freeway and dug the kickstand about an inch into the gravel / dirt / salt. Put out the thumb. About the fifth vehicle to pass by pulled over. A truck with a horse trailer. He offered to put the bike in his tack room but it was about a knee high lift with no ramp for the 418 pounder. ( That was another INFO BREAK: Interesting *** in the owner’s manual. I wonder if gas consumption doubles during VBoost operation? ) He gave me a ride to the gas station at the Bonneville exit.
The Chevron people there were nice and loaned me a gas can. I got about a gallon and a half and started walking. Me, my helmet, and a red plastic gas can. Got to the base of the overpass and a Utah Highway Patrolman stops. He gave me the look. I could tell he was thinking “ If this guy ran out of gas on a motorcycle, he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. Now he has a can of gas and wants to walk around on my highway. If I fix this now, it might save me a lot of trouble later. ” He offers me a ride back to my bike, even though it’s about 17 miles back. I put gas in the beast, it fires up, and I’m on my way. Thanks U.H.P.
Back at the Chevron, gas up, and return the gas can. I figure I might as well drive out to the end of the road where the Bonneville Salt Flats racing takes place and take a few pictures.
That night Barbara and I got to see America in concert. They put on a really good show, much better that I ever would have thought. I hadn’t paid the group much attention over the last decades except for hearing them on the oldies radio stations. They do have a new album out. Most of their music was done on acoustic guitars. I thought “ I Need You “ sounded exceptionally good. They were really rocking with “ Sand Man “ and the stage video screen was showing a variety of pictures from the war and social protests of the era. It’s good to see the general public doesn’t blame our young military people for the actions of the government like they did during Vietnam. I’m sure I listened to them back in the early 70’s when they were more popular but I don’t remember much from back then. :) Anyway, they were good and I would see them again anytime.
The drive back the next day was uneventful. I kept my speed down near the speed limit. I didn’t want to be getting a ticket from the same officer that gave me a ride the day before. I did stop in Tooele for gas. My butt was really sore by then anyway and I had to stand up for awhile.
Who knows? Maybe a FJR 1300 or a Royal Star Venture someday.


John Bill Love


 

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Whoa... I know it's a pain to run out of gas. I did it on my Warrior once when I was in reserve (fuel light was on). The Warrior doesn't go far on reserve.....
 
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