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