Coast to Coast in 50 Hours – Day 3

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Day 3 – October 20th, 2018 – Monahans, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee: ~850 miles


Missed Day 2? – October 19th, 2018 – Tucson, Arizona to Monahans, Texas: ~630 miles.

A positive outlook would be to say that my mistakes were getting less severe with each day. On Day 1, I managed to drop one of the saddlebags within the first few moments of the trip. On Day 2, I realized that I left my laptop charger at the motel. Monahans, Texas seems to be more about pickup trucks than computers, so I wasn’t expecting to find a replacement cord anytime soon. No worries – today was all about slogging on the freeway to cover miles, and I’d be going through Dallas. My hope was to at least get into Tennessee by the end of the day so I could set myself up for a visit with a Bike-urious reader the next morning.

The morning was very uneventful as I just maintained a routine of highway/gas stop/highway/gas stop. There was the potential for an amazing sunrise but the cloud cover ended up being too heavy.

The green light next to the left grip in the photo above lets you know that the heated grips are on, which means I now have an excuse to talk about the touring features of the H2 SX SE.

I’ve mentioned the “comfort” seats and 28L quick-release bags in previous days of this story, but the H2 SX SE also packs some touring-oriented technology. Thanks to ride-by-wire, the H2 SX SE was the first bike in Kawasaki’s lineup to get electronic cruise control – a huge help in long term comfort. The system is very intuitive, but I don’t like that you have to hold the + or – buttons to change your speed once you’ve set it. Other manufacturers let you make changes just by tapping the button, which is much quicker. In addition, I think it’s silly that you’re not allowed to set cruise control above 85 on a bike like this. Frankly, I was most comfortable on the H2 SX SE at 90 miles per hour, where the motor is in a sweet spot and the windblast is at the perfect amount to counter the inherent lean of the ergonomics.

The left controls let you operate the cruise control, heated grips, and a whole bunch of settings on the dash.

The three-stage heated grips are similar to the cruise control in that they work well but there’s a minor UI issue. The heat level setting isn’t obvious because the only indicator is the small light next to the left grip. When it’s on, it’s green, but the only time you’re given an indication of the setting is when you switch levels – then the light flashes yellow to correspond with Levels 1 to 3. That means you have to look at the button instead of the road. It’s not a dealbreaker, but every other bike I can remember with heated grips has been able to make it instantly clear which setting the grips are on based on tactile feedback from the switch or a light on the dash. It’s especially silly in this case, because the H2 SX SE features Kawasaki’s first TFT LCD screen, and it’s a beauty.

The newest generation of TFT displays (such as what BMW slapped on the S1000RR) is wonderful, but there’s something very satisfying about still having an analog tach paired with the digital screen – especially when the digital screen has a bar graph for boost! The above picture shows the display in Sport mode – I like how the circle of the tach is completed in the display. There’s also a Road mode that makes the speedometer larger and provides more trip/mileage related information. In either mode, important information is easy to read. The overall gauge setup is quite well done.

Rounding out the package is a smooth quickshifter and full LED lighting, including cornering lights that activate at 10/20/30 degrees of lean. If you recently read my review of the Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+, these features should sound familiar as the Versys borrowed liberally from the H2 SX SE. There’s also several safety-based pieces of tech, but we’ll look at them in a later day.

I took advantage of the touring features to keep chugging along the highway until I encountered a large can of soup in Eastland, Texas.

It was supposedly part of an outdoor art exhibit in 2002, and it’s held up pretty well since. Shame about the spelling of Warhol, though.

Once I got to Dallas, I found a Best Buy that sold a third-party laptop charger and got back on the road. An hour and a half east of Dallas, I took a bathroom break. But I wasn’t planning on using the bathroom, I just wanted to take a look because it’s one of the weirdest restrooms in the country – the public toilet in the courthouse square of Sulphur Springs, Texas.

The lovely courthouse.

The bathroom is distinctive enough from the outside as a mirrored rectangular prism:

But it gets freaky when you’re inside, as the walls are one-way glass. So you can see everything around while you’re doing your business, if you’re into that. Baby Jack sure was.

A quick video showing the transition from inside to outside:

OK, that’s probably enough time spent discussing a bathroom, even if it’s an odd one. 100 miles later I got to stop at another state sign, meaning I was finally done covering the gigantic landmass of Texas.

The H2 made quick work of Arkansas, though I needed a gas stop to make it happen. The gas log continues…

City
1. Palm Springs, CA
2. Blythe, AZ
3. Tonopah, AZ
4. Tucson, AZ
5. Bowie, AZ
6. Las Cruces, NM
7. Van Horn, TX
8. Monahans, TX
9. Colorado City
10. Ranger, TX
11. Royce City, TX
12. Texarkana, TX
13. Little Rock, AR
Gallons Consumed
3.607
3.687
2.983
4.102
3.637
4.605
4.480
3.630
4.235
3.768
4.326
4.267
4.238
Price Per Gallon
$4.139
$4.299
$3.499
$3.119
$3.999
$3.799
$3.439
$3.729
$3.639
$3.159
$3.299
$3.499
$3.351
Miles Covered
116.2
133.3
99.2
156.5
120.4
158.5
182.1
129.7
152.4
140.8
167.9
155
152.5
Miles Per Gallon
32.215
36.154
33.255
38.152
33.104
34.419
40.647
35.730
35.986
37.367
38.812
36.325
35.983

In Memphis, I found a gastropub called South of Beale – I figured I could enjoy a local beer while catching Game 7 of the MLB National League Championship Series.

Though I live in Los Angeles, I don’t usually root for the Dodgers. Today was an exception because if the Dodgers won the NLCS, then they’d face off against my Red Sox in the World Series, and I wanted an excuse to give my local friends some crap. LA went on to win Game 7 by a score of 5-1, and I got plenty of messages from friends back home who were feeling confident and ready to talk smack.

I found some graffiti en route to a cheap motel in Memphis, and called it a night.

Tomorrow I’d get to visit a Bike-urious reader in Tennessee and get to check out his collection!

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