Tubing Across America – All-Season Rider

22 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Tubing Across America – All-Season Rider
Buell 1190RR

Tubing Across America and Why Talking to Strangers is a Good Thing

A good number of people at Homecoming (and in other sects of my life) seemed pretty interested in this story and, more importantly, the photos that accompany it. I don’t consider myself an expert photographer nor a particularly talented writer, but I think I can hold my own so bare with me as we cover something like 4,000 miles, 15 states and 12 days together.

This thing really started waaaayyyyy back, probably three years ago or better, when I tried planning a cross-country trip for the first time. Three years passed and no trip, mainly due to time and my self-imposed unwillingness to leave a significant other behind for the month or more I’d be gone.

Fast forward to October of 2009 and the announced closure of Buell – needless to say this was something that hit us Buell enthusiasts in soft spot and within 2 weeks two things happened: a) The Buell Homecoming was loosely planned and I decided this would be the year I would attend, and b) I would sell my 45-year-old Sportster which I hardly rode and trusted even less and finally get myself the S3T I’ve always wanted.

I was ‘lucky’ enough to find one of the exact year and color combination I wanted for sale when I first started looking, and not too far from me. A 2002, Orange and Grey – sex on wheels. The deal was made and I rode it home 250 miles from NH to find that, despite being told otherwise, the front isolator and motor mount were toast, saddlebags cracked, and a slew of other issues that I don’t need to go into detail about.

Needless to say, preparation of the bike for Homecoming wasn’t going to be a small task – in addition to fixing what was broken I also elected to install an HID headlight to get rid of the downright dangerous stock bulb, fabricate a luggage rack since you can’t just buy one for this bike, change all the fluids and put on new tires. But I got it done, just in time.

While all of this was going on, I was staring at a map at work as I so often do and quickly decided that I would continue west after Homecoming and see the Black Hills and South Dakota Badlands and come home to Albany, NY via the north, the Michigan UP and Ontario, Canada.

Buell 1190RR

A few weeks went by and I realized if I was as far west as the Black Hills, I was closer to the Pacific than I was to home and after some quick planning I decided I would make the trip one way to California and ship the bike home via truck while I took to the sky for my return journey. Not ideal, but this was how I was going to fit in a cross-country trip on my budget and on my schedule. I just turned 27, I have a mortgage and a dog, who knows when wife, family, kids and such would keep me home.

Now was the time.

I spent the whole night before packing, hardly slept from all the excitement, but I felt ready. The bike was packed, all I had to do was wake up, jump in the shower, suit up and go. And say goodbye to the girlfriend. not easy.

And about the name. for those that don’t know, Buell models up to the 2002 model year all had a tubular steel frame (save for the Blast!) and are affectionately known as tubers.

I’ll do these in one-day installments and include lots of photos as I know folks are interested in those. so, without further ado, we begin.

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