Day 4 – October 21st, 2018 – Memphis, Tennessee to Cleveland, Tennessee: ~420 miles
Missed Day 3? – October 20th, 2018 – Monahans, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee: ~850 miles.
One of my concerns with a ride of this length (>5,000 miles when it was all said and done) was giving Vy a way to keep tabs on me. I also wanted a device that would record GPS points to help prove that Nathan and I did the return coast to coast run in 50 hours. A couple of weeks prior at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show, I randomly stumbled upon a booth for Spot Trackers. The hardware was close to perfect for my needs, but they have a subscription model and it required a year long contract. I wasn’t interested in paying for a year’s worth of service when I only wanted two weeks of it, so I decided I’d just try to find a free phone app to take care of it later on. Funny enough (because it’s taken me so long to get to this story), the Spot website now shows that they’ll offer month to month pricing, but they charge you a $24.99 “Annual Flex Charge” just for the privilege of going month-to-month. Spot’s pricing strategy rubs me the wrong way.
Of course, if I had a Spot tracker on me, Vy’s question for today would be “why did Abhi stop for so long in Tennessee?”
The answer is simple – Bike-urious reader Rusty, who goes by czmx in the comments. Rusty is awesome, and he was one of the few stops I planned out in advance in my eastward crossing of the US. He invited me to stop by his house and check out his collection, and I would have been a fool to pass that up.
Even better, there was another motorcyclist in the area that I tremendously respect, and he came by to visit. I’m lucky enough to see Somer Hooker twice a year – once at Mecum Las Vegas, and once at the Quail, where he is the Chief Judge. Somer is also awesome, and he proved that when he showed up in a beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint.
Rusty’s collection is amazing, and I could have spent all day talking to him. I asked him to pick out a few of his favorite machines for a closer look.
Ken has a website with some photos of his racing days, though it can be tough to find images of #26. Here’s a poster that Rusty’s got in his garage:
I liked it so much that I even made it a “Guess That Bike” feature months ago.
Avecroues got it very quickly, so I shared some more photos of the bike in the reveal..
If I was left unchecked, this post would be 2 miles long with photos of Rusty’s bikes, so I’ve created a separate gallery for those of you that have a similar taste in motorcycles as him that want to check them out. Thanks again to Rusty for letting me check out his wonderful collection of motorcycles! Though his motorcycles are tremendous, my favorite thing in his collection may actually be a page in a magazine. Specifically, it’s the last page from an issue of Dirt Bike, where they used to have the “Crash and Burn” section to wrap things up. Yeah, that’s Rusty in the picture. Or really, just his leg.
On my way out, Rusty lent me an Airhawk and provided me with a CD. Of course, I managed to forget the Airhawk. Rusty kindly mailed it ahead to my final hotel in Orlando. I also had to wait to enjoy the CD, as I didn’t have anything that could play it on me! The album is Dopamine Machine by Hadden Sayers, and Rusty plays bass, drums, and guitar throughout. I finally got to enjoy it when I got back home to LA, here’s one my favorite songs:
OEM tires on the Kawasaki H2 SX SE are Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21s, which is great if you want to carve corners on a big bike, but I wasn’t confident that the tread would take me all the way across the country and back. This is how they had squared off after approximately 2,200 miles:
Having to replace a tire during my 50 hour cross-country return attempt would pose a problem, so Bridgestone kindly obliged by sending me an extra set of tires for the return trip – they were waiting for me in Orlando. I opted for the Battlax T31s, which are more of a sport touring tire. It’s not like I needed trackday levels of grip at the edges of the tire if I’d just be going straight on the highway the whole time. Bridgestone is based in Nashville, so I reached out to my contact at the company and we grabbed a quick bite downtown.
Somer was a wonderful host, and I really wished I could have spent more time with him. But I was due to meet some more Bike-urious readers the next morning and I wanted to get closer to our designated meeting spot. This mean heading out into the night in some very cold weather. At one point it got to 31 degrees, and I saw a warning that I never have to worry about in Los Angeles.
My plan was to stop at a hotel in Cleveland, Tennessee, so I was a bit surprised when I dipped into Georgia about two and a half hours later (plus a time zone change), at 1:43am. Turns out the 24 freeway dips into Georgia for 2 or 3 miles before coming back up into Tennessee. At 2:23am, I was finally in front of my hotel – the weather was a balmy 37 degrees. Time to get some rest before meeting up with a few readers to enjoy the twisties of northern Georgia!
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
14. Braden, TN
15. Centerville, TN
17. Cleveland, TN
On to Day 5!