Friday, December 23, 2011

I REALLY Love Heated Gear

Recently Ed and I invested in some First Gear heated gear for cold conditions.  When he hooked it up and tried it out he came home and told me it was really good.  “Like wearing an electric blanket.  If I had known it was this good I would have bought these years ago.”

Well I got busy, and frankly it wasn’t cold when I had time to go out and ride.  So I waited and waited and waited to put mine on and try it out.  Well we finally had a nice cold day in the forecast last Saturday.  We cleared our calendar and made a plan to ride to our favorite diner on Route 66, The Rock Café.  Which by the way we HIGHLY recommend if you’re ever in Stroud, OK. 

Getting up at 7 am, this was my 1st hurdle as I generally like to sleep in on Saturday’s.  My 2nd hurdle was the 27 F on our thermometer.  UGH!  So that’s a smidge colder than I wanted, but I am proud to say I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants, hopped on the Wing, and plugged in my jacket.

I’m not sure I can get across how much I love my heated liner. So let me try. I love it like rainbows, kitties, and puppies.  I love it like the smell of bread baking.  I love it like I love like beautiful fall day’s and long rides on the Wing.  I love it like I love chocolate.  Yes, I love it THAT much. 

The first thing I noticed is that it started to warm up immediately.  I mean I could feel it within seconds.  YES!!!  Next, I noticed that as we started to get going down the road the wind was blowing the heat off of me but I wasn't cold at all.  Normally I can feel the wind and even with the gear I can feel the bite of the wind when it’s super cold.  In other words, I was in complete comfort at 27 F.

My hands and feet are another story, so I might have to think about heated socks and gloves.  I don’t expect 27 F as a norm on our trip to Alaska, I do anticipate that to be an extreme for us.  At least I know I can handle it, won’t freeze to death, and turn into a Devon Popsicle.

Recently, we met up with a nice couple we met from one of the motorcycle forums we frequent, they are fellow Wing people.  They have some family in Oklahoma they were visiting for the holiday and were kind enough to stop our house for a quick visit.  It was nice to put a face with a name and get some AWESOME pointers for the trip.  They were also kind enough to leave a DVD of their trip with us.  It was fun to sit and see all the spectacular pictures and think ‘Man were actually gonna get to go there in a few months!’  They titled it "An Adventure of a Lifetime", and I couldn’t agree more. 

We hope you all have a great Christmas and safe New Year.  We’ll be on vacation until the New Year, but  
have a Merry Christmas.  Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions, Ed and I really love and appreciate all the help we’ve received.
I know we keep saying that we can’t wait but we really can’t wait until June!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trunk Rack Reinforcement and Oil Drain Plug

Ed here, sorry it has been awhile.  We are continuing to work towards our adventure, but just have not had much time to post.

With the trip less than seven months away, my focus is now shifting toward preparation of the bike.

Our Goldwing has a rack on the trunk.  You would think this would be a great place to stow some gear; however, these racks are mostly decorative for the Wing.  They are only rated for a load of three pounds.  Why you ask?  It really has to do with the plastic of the trunk lid.  What happens in the weight in conjunction with bumps and wind can make the plastic under the rack legs crack.  This is very disheartening when it happens.  Our lid was cracked when we bought the bike, so I repaired the crack from the back side with some epoxy and vowed never to use the rack.  This trip had me thinking of a way to make it so we can gain some additional storage space.  I was able to find the solution on one of the forums I frequent.

The dreaded crack!  You can see it as the base of the star washer moving to the left.
What I went with is the Rudy's Trunk Lid Reinforcement Kit. These are heavy, large 1/4" thick plates that have been pre-formed to fit the interior of the trunk lid for a quick and easy installation. If you will follow me into the garage, I'll show you the kit and how to install it.

Some information about the kit.
This photo shows the top of the kit.  The kit comes with two pre-formed plastic reinforcements backed with super high strength 3M adhesive strips.  The kit also comes with two 3M adhesion promoter packs.
Here is the back side of the panels.  Note the super high strength 3M strips.
Step 1:  Remove the rack.  I had some difficulty with this step as the screws holding the rack to the lid were severely rusted.  When putting this back together, I will use some anti-seize.
Step 2:  I sanded down the epoxy repair I completed a few years back when I bought the bike.  I next completely cleaned the area to get rid of the dust and any oils.  I then wiped it down with some rubbing alcohol.
Step 3:  Hold the reinforcement to the trunk lid, take a pencil and make an outline of it.  Take one of the adhesion promoter packages and open the top of it.  Pull the sponge out slightly and rub the promoter all over the outlined area.  Once the promoter is on, let it dry.  The next part of step 3 was a tad intimidating because it is a one shot deal and is pretty much permanent if you mess it up, but don't let that fool you.  If you take your time and be careful it is not a big deal.  You peel the backing off the adhesion strips, line up the reinforcement up in the tracing and stick it to the lid.  It is best to start at the back and kind of roll it towards the front as you install it.  Man oh man, the adhesion strips are extremely strong, there is no way you will be able to pull the reinforcement off to reposition it so be careful.
Here is the first side done.  Step 4:  The steps are repeated for the second side.
Here is the lid with both sides complete. 
Step 5:  Drill holes through your existing holes and remount your rack.  I had to purchase new screws which were longer than the original screws for my rack.
This was an extremely easy and well worth wild upgrade to the bike.  It took me about thirty minutes to complete the upgrade.  I have read on the forms that this kit increases your load capacity considerably.  I will report back on this upgrade during our adventure.

The second upgrade I did on the bike was to add a Dimple Oil Drain Plug.  I heard about this product on my favorite motorcycle talk show, Side Stand Up.  This is an extremely powerful magnetic drain plug.  The object of this plug is to pull tiny metal shavings out of the oil.  The OE Goldwing drain plug is not magnetized.  I have had vehicles with magnetic drain plugs in the past and it is amazing what they pick up.  I figured this would be a good upgrade to help protect my Wing and would have probably done it sooner had I knew they existed.

Anyway, I ordered mine on a Saturday and it was here on a Tuesday.  Let's go back to the garage and I can show you the plug.

Here is a side by side comparison between the OE plug and the Dimple plug.  The Dimple plug is on the left while the OE plug is on the right.  The dimple is a little smaller than the OE plug, but is threaded the same size as the OE plug.  The OE plug has a 17mm head on it while the Dimple plug is a 13mm.  You will note the magnet in the center of the Dimple plug.  This is a very powerful magnet, it is more powerful than I expected.
Again, the Dimple plug is on the left and the OE is on the right.
Here is the plug installed.  I will report back about how it worked at my next oil change which should be just before the trip.

One other thing that I did was I switched brands of oil when I changed out the plug.  I have been running Rotella Synthetic oil for years in all of my bikes.  I recently read on one of the forums I frequent about Delo 400 LE oil and decided to try it.  Rotella is a 5w 40 oil while Delo is a 15w 40 oil.  

The difference in weights was apparent when I changed the oil out.  It was 27 degrees out when I changed the oil.  The Rotella came out and was thin and runny just like the bike had been running for a bit even though the bike was stone cold.  This is due to the 5w rating (the lower the w rating, the thinner the oil is when cold).  When I put the Delo in the bike it was considerably thicker which did cause me some concern since I am a year round rider and do have at least two cold starts every day.  Here in Oklahoma, it does not get extremely cold, most mornings in the winter are in the twenties but it can get into the teens or single digits at times.  I did some reading on the forums about the difference in the oil weights and if it would be OK for my situation.  The general consensus seems to be that the 15w oil would be OK for my situation.

Right after changing the oil, Devon and I went on a 130 mile ride.  I will let her tell you about that since it was her first sub freezing ride.  The one thing I will tell you is that the Delo oil was simply unbelievable.  My Wing shifts smoother than it ever has.  With the Rotella, shifts were a little on the clunky side, but with the Delo it was like riding an entirely different machine.  The difference was so drastic and so remarkable I really don't know if I will ever use Rotella again.

I have a few days off this upcoming week and am planning to change the brake an clutch fluid on the bike, clean and repack the bearings on the trailer, and do some work on Devon's car.  I will try to post about the brake and clutch fluid change and bearing service prior to Christmas, but it may be after Christmas as it has been a zoo here lately.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting.  It was sure nice talking to you today.  If I don't see you before the holiday, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


Hello, Ed here


I can't believe December is already here.  Only 7 more months before our departure.

This week I decided not to write a tech article about the installation of the Garmin Zumo 550, but rather a summary of why we selected it and some of its features.

First let me say that this was a rather expensive addition to the bike, but with kids still living at home the set up we went with gives us some piece of mind while on the road.  One thing that we wanted to be able to do is to be accessible to the kids as possible while we are on this ride.  This GPS gives us the ability to receive and make phone calls via a blue tooth connection to our cell phone while riding.  We do realize that there will be many places on this trip where we will be unable to get cell coverage, for those areas we will have to find somewhere with internet and we will Skype the kids.  The GPS also has an MP3 player, is water proof, allows us to plot our route, store and use additional data on an SD card.  It also came with all of the hardware to mount it on the bike.  This hyperlink was the best deal I could find on the internet, they were doing a Black Friday deal on this GPS so I was able to score it at a good price.

To make this work, we installed a Kennedy Cell Set into the bike.  This set up allows us to hook the GPS up to the intercom system in the Wing.  This way, we can use our head sets to talk on the phone, talk to each other, listen to music, talk on the CB, and hear turn by turn directions from the GPS.  This is quite the upgrade from our previous Garmin 2610 set up that we had.  It works wonderfully and was quite easy to install, it was all plug and play.  The downside to using the Kennedy Cell Set is that they are no longer supporting, providing a warranty, or manufacturing the Cell Sets.  The upside to this is that they are clearing out their inventory and doing so on a make an offer basis.  That being said, I was able to negotiate a smoking deal on the Cell Set.

The Zumo 550
A nice and clean install.  The plug ins on the side of the cradle hook to the Cell Set.
Also,  a few weeks back a friend from the Steve Saunders Goldwing Forum read our blog and made a really good suggestion for a pillow for me.  He recommended the MEC Base Camp Pillow.  The pillow arrived yesterday and I think it is going to work quite well.  It is an inflatable pillow so you can set how hard or soft you want it.  It rolls up quite small and weighs a whopping 7.47 ounces.  I meant to try it out last night but forgot about it.  I will try it out and let you know my thoughts on it next week.

We ordered a good quality silicone tarp this week and can't wait for it to get here.  Since we will be going during the rainy season, we figured a tarp would give us a good place to be sheltered from the rain during cooking, eating, and socializing.  Next we are going to have to order poles for the tarp.

It finally got cold enough here for me to test one of the heated jacket liners, they are wonderful.  I am a year round rider, and have not had a car for the past 8 years so the cold has never been a big deal for me.  I can tell you that the heated liner makes for a much more enjoyable cold weather ride.  It's like riding during a nice spring or fall day.

Ya know, all this new gear, gadgets, and prep work is fun and exciting but the one thing I am looking forward to the most is being able to spend a ton of time with Devon away from the hustle and bustle of the world.  Every day I feel so fortunate to wake up to see her and to realize that we are much more than the average married couple, we are true partners and soul mates.  I love and cherish my wife very much, we draw closer to each other every day and this trip will certainly add to our experiences and memories together.