what an adventure! glad you made it, your TDub is proving it's worthiness
Well I'm running late, last time 45 days made for a leisurely trip on a 12 speed schwinn but for this trip I need to arrive in plant city FL in 3 days. I make the trip from Durham NC to Plant City FL twice a year and title problems with a transportation upgrade have put me behind schedule. The bicycle was a wonderful ride but very limiting, upgrading to a 87 TW200 should allow for avoidance of weather and exploration into rougher terrain. Though now, no time for playing around with the new ride exists, this will be a race on a bike not made for racing. I had hoped to test the bike out to make sure everything was sound and ready for such a journey, a few 100 mile trips would have done the trick but at this point I just have to let it ride. no reason to baby it, a 700 mile full throttle, all it, balls to the wall test drive will have to do.
Its 10:30 in the morning and nothing left to do but take off. The weather is a little nasty, cloud cover and a high of 58 will make the start of the ride a little colder then I would have liked but I can't be picky at this point. My homemade deer stand rack is loaded down with around 50 pounds of gear, another 14 in extra fuel and its time to get going. Choke out and a swift turn of the starter has the bike idling nicely. The Carb is brand new, when I purchased the bike for $600 it came equipped with a Chinese 50cc scooter carb that couldn't get the job done. The new Carb fit like a glove and was happy in its new home. Shift into first, ease off the clutch with a little gas and I'm on the road. Its only a few miles of residential roads to my buddy's house for a quick stop to say good by. My friend is a motorcycle guy and after telling him what I was looking for in a bike he had found this TW200, it was waiting for me in his garage when i took the train back from Plant City. He looks over the bike, takes it for a quick ride and pulls back into his driveway. "The rack has some side to side play, other then that it seems ready to go. The new tires look good." (Tw34&31) "yea I noticed the play but the road doesn't seem to duplicate the motion as much as moving it by hand does." He agreed and asked "what's the worst case scenario?" "The motor blows up I kick it in a ditch and hold out my thumb." "That doesn't sound so bad." He said as we laughed. I jump back on the bike, throw it in first and take off. Besides a hotel and gas this was the last stop before Florida. After a few miles the houses thin out and I take a left onto 751 highway, this is the first time the bike has run at any speed. I open it up until the speed says 65 and listen closely to the engine scream to see if i can decipher any problematic noises. I smile under the helmet and open up to full throttle, the speedometer now waves back and forth as through it doesn't know what to do at these speeds, it appears to scream "I WONT GO MUCH OVER 70 STOP PUSHING ME!" I listen and back off to around 65, she sighs as to thank me as when a man asking for change is given 3 pennies, better the nothing but not good for anything. Going past Jordan lake I reminisce, I spent a lot of time here as a child and it brinks a smile to my face. I peer down all the small trails and wish to stop and explore, enjoying the potential my new transportation provides. I take a right on US1 for a short time before the engine stops. I pull to the side off the road and hit the ignition, she fires right up. Were off again but a mile down the road she cuts off. "Can I be out of fuel already?" I though to myself as I unscrewed the cap. She was low and after a quick fill up out of the 2 gallon gas can it was back to full throttle. All total I hold close to 4 gallons of fuel, two in the tank and 2 in a gas can beside the rear wheel. At the rate were looking at 50 MPG but I never expected to get eighty at these speeds. I continue on and a few miles from the North Carolina South Carolina state line I hear a swift pop and a brown liquid starts spraying all over the place. "FUCK! already!â€œ as I cussed the bike and pulled to the side of the road I realized the liquid was coming from the front tire. a sigh of relief swarm over me as I realized the liquid was 'ride-on' and it was clotting up the hole in the tire as it should. I step off and visually inspect the oozing hole. It was over an eighth of an inch in diameter but the oozing slowly decreased to an occasional bubble. I took out the tire gauge and checked the pressure, 14lb a loss of 15lb. I pump the tire up to 28 and go slow for a few miles thinking the magic goo in the tires will move to the proper spot. After a few miles the pressure is down to 25 I pump it back up and repeat, this time 28lb and the leek seems to have stopped. Another 10 mile run and a pressure check confirms that the tire is holding air, full throttle again. I zigzag through small towns and back roads for a few more hours and it starts getting dark. I look for a place to camp for the night and spot a four wheeler trail around the wire guarding power lines somewhere south of Sumter. I whip the bike around and take it. My first off road experience on the bike goes without problem. Hiding in some tall grass I settle down and my ass thanks me. After a quick visual inspection of the bike I notice oil leaking from the gasket that connect the crank case and the cylinder. "This isn't good" I thought as I smelled the liquid to confirm it was oil. I pull the bike straight up and shined a flashlight at the oil peep hole, lower but still acceptable. "Fuck it, I'll mess with it in the morning but now its time for some rest.
The morning comes quickly and I awake to tackle the problem at hand. Checking the area where I noticed the oil from the night before and no oil has been lost through the night. I go to the tool kit and find the 5mm Alan, sure enough the bold is about 2 turns to loose. Two finger tighten and a check of all other bolts and I notice another problem. The bolts on the front of the sprocket are worn down, I slide the chain and realize the chain is riding on the bolts. "That fucker at the shop have me the wrong chain, Fuck!" I play with it a little more and it doesn't seem to be rubbing anymore the damage has been done. 'Fuck it keep going nothing else to do". Back on the road, not another drop of oil leaked out the hole trip. Full throttle for the morning only stopping for gas, continuously cussing the guy from the shop and my butt is tired. "Should have bought that seat cover from Walmart" I though as I inched into Georgia. Savannah is a place I have grown to love and any excuse to stop is good enough but by this time I am really hungry. I head straight for the waterfront and hit Keven Barry's for some Irish food, a few laughs and a non alcoholic beer. I could have stayed there all afternoon and drink away with the regulars but I sadly had to leave. After a kick of the "big ass back tire" by a few chatty fellows from the bar I hop on the bike and ride on. Outside of Savannah its full throttle again. I take 17 past the Florida line and as the temperature heats up so does the weather. The dark clouds pour in and at the next refueling I check the weather on my tablet. Definitely storms all around so i throw on the rain gear, cover my bags with my tarp and hope for the best. The rain was unavoidable, as soon as I reached 301 the bottom fell out. I slowed done from 70 to 55, the engine was happy but I was nervous. The rain was torrential and before long the spray from a passing road tractor was as if someone was throwing 5 gallons of water on me, I could have dove in a lake and not been as covered. the flood doesn't last very long and subsides to a tolerable light rain and gradually stops. The rain continues on and off for the rest of the afternoon until the big drops start again. The road turns into a river and I have had enough. I pull into a motel just not of starke FL and leave a gallon of water on the floor of the office. I leave the desk with 3 towels and thirty dollars closer to broke but well worth the price. After a few beers with the man in the room next to me I fall asleep before I hit the bed.
The bed and sheets are cheap but cozy so its hard to get out of bed. I want to arrive in Plant City around noon so i hit the road. By now I'm getting use to the full throttle whine of the engine but the wind is still annoying. "after a new fucking chain that Jim guy windshield is the next thing I buy ." I thought. 301 for a while and around Ocala it starts to rain. I need gas anyways so i pull over and chat it up with a guy on a Suzuki something or other. The rain isn't hard but isn't stopping either so we both suit up and head our separate ways. The rain continues off and on until I reach familiar territory. I hit hw39 and reach Plant City shortly after, I take a left off of 39, look up and my boss is sitting at the light going the opposite direction, looking hard and pointing. We pull over at a neighborhood intersection, he jumps out of the jeep and says "I saw you going down the road and knew it had to be you" we both laughed, bullshitted for a while and I headed to my home away from home. After two nights and three days on the road I made it safely. After a little work we will be off on a new adventure and I now trust this bike can take me wherever I want to go!
what an adventure! glad you made it, your TDub is proving it's worthiness
Quite a story. Glad you made it.
Sounds like you have friends in Plant City.
I live in PC six months of the year... I'm there (here) now but will be heading to Murphy, NC next week.
If there is anything I can do to help you with the bike, send me a pm. I have a workshop and tools available.
2018 Triumph Street Twin..............2016 CB500F
2014 XT250 ..................................2008 H-D Softail Deluxe
2008 SV 650..................................2007 DR 650..
Thanks for the offer, if I can't get these sheered bolts off with a pair of vice grips I'll let you know. Ordered a d.I.d chain, sprockets, bolts, gasket and some other stuff from the shop of of airport road but I'm still waiting on the chain. I only spend about 6 months in plant city also, I work the winter and spring growing season and mess around for the rest of the year.