The Road To Gumption

The Road to Gumption was 10 day, 2941 mile motorcycle road trip that covered eleven US states. It was my first long distance solo run. While plagued with electrical demons and the ultimate failure of missing two state lines, it is still my most meaningful motorcycle ride.

(Kev)-That was what Billy had written about the ride.  I wanted the ride story to be told, as I think it is one of the most honest, and powerful video rides he has had.  So I put together a ride story based on the videos and some notes.  Thanks.

The basis for this ride was (as told by Billma in the videos), that Tracy and Billy were planning this ride immediately after BWOM 3, and it had the prelim title “The Quest for Yuengling”.  He said that he and Tracy got into a fight, and he didn’t even remember what it was about.   (I think I remember it being about a girl that Tracy wanted to bring along, a friend of his, and Billy didn’t like that idea, but I digress.) He went on to explain that they both got huffy, and that Tracy ended up heading West and Billy ended up heading East.  His (Billys) trip began in Tracys garage, because even though they were fighting, the friendship was still there, and it would work itself out, as it always seems to.  On this first day he went through Oklahoma City, out to Denton, Texas, where a wasp flew into his helmet and stung him on the nose.  Great start to the trip!!!  Cracker Barrell for dinner and 3 hours to go, he made it to Shreveport, LA (just after midnight).  Along the way, he got pulled over for trying to catch up on some time. 


Next day (7/28/2008), Billma plans on heading to Pensacola, FL.  He explained that one thing he learned from camping on the last trip was that it wasn’t for him.  Tracy explained to me later, that you are tired, and if you ride a long day, a/c and a nice dinner and beer is a must, and that the camping just didn’t work for the two of them. 

During this day, he had some electrical gremlins rear their ugly head on the VFR (which honestly made me feel better about the RC51 having issues, that it wasn’t just my bad luck).  He realized that riding alone, as opposed to with Tracy, didn’t include stopping to eat.  He came to the realization that this was kind of a social time that you need to have. 

Day Three, Pensacola to Burmingham, AL.  The electrical problems did not seem to be a glitch, as they are still there.   Starting with the thought that the alternator is the issue, he went to the internet to trouble shoot.  He found a downloadable service manual, paid for it, and, of course, it didn’t download.   So no help there.   Went on a quick tool shopping mission, as you can never have too many tools.  Decided, instead of the beach, just to get to Barbers motorsports museum, which was the goal.  Unfortunately, the VFR was struggling with an ailment, and stopped in the rain, and died.  He said the battery was so bad that the tach and other gauges would stop when he turned on the blinkers. 

Billy hit Barber Motorsports Museum.   If you ever get a chance, it is incredible.  Two things I noticed when I was there, which Billy commented on as well, 1. They have every bike, not just the types you would think of at a museum (NR 750, Indian Chief, etc) but also the ones that we used to actually ride,  (600 Ninja, Katana 750).  Second thing I noticed, was that they display them in the same way that you would store your hot wheels cars in a case.   Upright, but same thing.   It really felt like being in a life sized hot wheels bike collection.   For sure one of the most amazing motorcycle things I have ever seen.  At the end of the day, due to the VFR having constant electrical issues, he wrapped up the video with him calling it quits and deciding to rent a uhaul. 

He didn’t.    He limped to see Brecken (his son), and felt rejuvenated.  He bought a whole buncha batteries, and made his way to a bike shop to get a rectifier from Honda of Fairfield.  They not only ordered the part, but also helped him put it on. 


On to the Corvette Museum.   After getting in and out of the Vette mecca, it was on to the Pig Trail.  KM-when I limped home in the Uhaul in “The Motoscavy”, we were supposed to go to a place called Pig Trail.  I thought about following Billma and Tracy in the Uhaul, but I didn’t think they could keep up, and also, it was a ridiculous idea.    They ended up not going either.   Long story short, since he couldn’t go to Deals gap, he decided to make up for the pig trail ride and hit it on the way to closing out the movie.  


Then home. 


The lessons---

---1.  He could do a ride by himself.   Not that he wanted to, but knowing you can handle anything makes a big difference.  He told me that this was one of those things he really knew, but was big to actually realize.  

---2.  That maybe Tracys Suzukis aren’t as bad as the hard time he gave him about them.   In the rides, the busa was solid, and the RC (Honda) and the VFR (Honda) both had UHaul grade issues.  This he told me begrudgingly.  :)