Part 3

Monday - Feb 28’ 2011

Time had arrived to finally head back east home to Tennessee. I had left there on Jan 14’ 2011 to start this road trip south to Biloxi and then points west and I was hoping I would find spring had sprung once I get there. The weather Gods had smiled on me and produced a perfect pocket of nice weather all the way back it appears. Behind the front that had just moved through Arizona the temps were cool but the skies clear. I rolled out of Buckeye, Arizona south on Highway 85, around 7:30 a.m. and without the weather to be concerned about it seems as though I would have a pretty care free ride for the next several days but as always there is something to contend with. This time is was my aging 2004 Wing with close to 220K miles on her.

Seems she has been burning a lot of oil as of late and I’ve had to continually had to add oil about every 1,000 miles of riding. Of course when she was in her prime I never even had to check the oil between changes but that was no longer the case. In addition to that concern I was noticing the temp gage was on the move again ... moving past the half way point on the gage about 1 tick up. It usually never moves no matter what speeds I ride or how hot it gets unless I’m in stop and go traffic and it has a reason to heat up. As I made my way over to Fort Stockton, Texas, which is where I ended up for the first day heading back east, I nervously watched the needle and while it never went much above that 1 tick mark it was obvious it was not running at it’s optimum. Plus the fans were constantly coming on all the time at slow speeds which they shouldn’t have needed to. Was a worrisome sleep this night.

Tuesday - Mar 1’ 2011

Leaving Fort Stockton I made my way over to Beaumont Texas where I’m resting tonight watching the temp gage continue to flirt with higher than average readings. She was running fine but and it never reached near the red line for over heating but there was obvious a problem somewhere that was going to need some attention when I get back home. Checking the oil again after stopping for the day and having covered over 1,000 miles in the last two days it was time to add oil again. Supposed to meet my daughter tomorrow as she is driving in the opposite direction heading home from her training at Keesler AFB going back to Arizona. We plan to hook up tomorrow and have lunch somewhere when our paths cross. Hoping to continue hobbling towards home tomorrow.

Wednesday - Mar 2’ 2011

Timing couldn’t have been better as Jessica and I were able to meet at an Olive Garden just off the freeway for lunch together. She was heading West to her home in Buckeye, Arizona and I was heading East then North to our home in Tennessee. That was in Slidell, Louisiana. After a great lunch and catching up it was time for her to continue West and for me to begin heading North towards Tennessee. The bike was continuing to run good but the fans ran constantly at each stop and the temp gauge was flirting with higher marks than I thought it should be although at no time did it get into or near the danger levels. I was convinced it wasn’t a critical issue but something wasn’t quite right somewhere in the coolant system. I stopped at a Honda Dealer in Mississippi to pick up another quart of oil and after checking the bike it again it needed some additional oil. Found a new Black 2008 Wing at this dealership but the price was too high and it didn’t have ABS. I continued on northeast a little further and then stopped for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. Once again a terrible night of not being able to sleep well probably due to worrying about the bike and making it home tomorrow.

Thursday - Mar 3’ 2011

Cranking her up in the morning she roared to life as she always does. As I proceeded northeast she continue to exhibit the same temp issues. By midday we rolled into Chattanooga, Tennessee where I wanted to stop at Southern Powersports Honda. Many other Wing users had mentioned this dealership as one of the best places to cut a deal on a new Wing. I was very impressed with the size and scope of this dealership. Unfortunately, they had 3 Black 08 ABS models but two had already been sold and the third someone had just put a deposit down on so I was out of luck by just a few days. They check all their network and couldn't come up with any. These guys do some serious wheeling and dealing on Goldwings .. many of which are done by them not Honda ... probably as a result of how large they are and the volume they deal with. For a price of around $1,500 they are even willing to paint one the color you want although I'm not prepared to go that route. Not to mention the $ 1,500 dollars they give you for accessories when you purchase a Wing from them.

I went ahead and placed a deposit on a new 2012 Black ABS Wing so when they get one in within the next couple of months they are going to hold one for me. They even said if it turns out I don't like it when it gets in and I see it up close and personal they would even be willing to return my deposit. Can't beat that. What sold me on buying my next bike from them is that they offer an option to buy a lifetime engine guarantee. With as many miles as I have put on my 2004 Wing (221,000 miles to date) and my plans to put even more on my next Wing this was welcomed news. However ... buyer beware and things aren’t always what they appear to be so will have to read the fine print on their engine Warranties they offer

By early afternoon I was on the last leg of this road trip and quickly zeroing in on Dover and home. Weather was fine with some high clouds and overall the past 4 days had been perfect weather wise. I did good picking a window of opportunity to make the ride back. I rolled in my driveway around 4:30 p.m. and grabbed a cold one and sat out on my deck and took in the sunset reflecting on the last 7 weeks of riding. Hard to believe I have put 12,000 miles on my bike just since Jan 1’ 2011. Odometer now stands at just shy of 222,000 miles.

I'm getting my bike into my local dealer in Clarksville next week to be looked at. I have some warranty work that needs to be done as well before it expires in mid March and will need to get the coolant issue resolved hopefully under what’s left of my warranty.

This concludes this Road Trip .... Need to stay home awhile now and keep a lower profile ..... with gas prices going sky high it’s getting harder and harder to put on the number of miles I’m accustom to .... Will maybe have to stick to some local rides before taking on any more cross country trips. Condition of my old Wing and the timing of getting my new one will impact when I can really get out on the Road again.

Take Care

Donnie

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