Suzuki Burgman USA Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well I've had to change my signature to remove the part about doing the USA Four Corners Tour in 2004. I aborted after the first 2 checkpoints because of weather. It wasn't just the heat in the Arizona desert - though that was tough to deal with. No, it was the series of hurricanes that hit Florida just when I was scheduled to do the run down the coast to Key West & back.

What follows is a long story about a short trip.

What is the USA Four Corners Tour? It's an event sponsored by the Southern California Motorcycle Association ( http://www.usa4corners.org/ ). Succesful completion requires that you ride your motorcycle/scooter/trike to Blaine, WA - San Ysidro, CA - Key West FL - Madawaska, ME in any order within 21 days and document your trip with photos, dated gas receipts and "secret" phone numbers at each corner. I've wanted to make this ride for years but couldn't find the time until I retired. I registered and attempted the tour last year on my trike but failed before the first checkpoint when the engine in my VW trike seized up. SCMA also sponsors the Three Flags classic ( http://www.3flagsclassic.org/ ) for those who want to participate in a shorter trip. This event is so popular that you have to enter a "lottery" just to get the chance to have your name selected as a participant. The closest I've ever come was to be selected as an alternate if one of the primary selectees dropped out.

I ride a silver 2003 650 Burgman that I outfitted for the trip with a GIVI windshield and V46 top case, DJ Ellis hump bag, Alaska Leather butt pad, Jac Vinson backrest Pauljo Throttle lock, Throttle Boss and an Eclipse seat bag that I've had for years. For style points, I had hand pin-striped flames and Iron Braid lever covers added in Sturgis this year. Personal equipment consisted of Frogg Toggs rain suit, Cruiserworks boots, Aerostich Unobtanium electric vest, 2 sets of gloves and 2 helmets and Hearos ear plugs. AAA provided Trip-Tiks and maps.

The ride started auspiciously enough on August 31st, a bright sunny day. I left my home in Port Orchard, WA for the first checkpoint in Blaine, WA where I took a picture of the scooter in front of the town's welcome sign, got my dated gas receipt and secret phone number. After mailing everything off at the Blaine Post Office I returned home for a good night's sleep and an early departure the next day.

Day 2 had me running through intermittent light rain and drizzle through Washington and northern Oregon and into northern California. Frogg Toggs kept me dry all day. Stopped in Weed, CA for the night.

Up early again on day 3, heading for SOCAL. The lights on the Burgman are fabulous. Nice beam pattern and high beams should come with a fire extinguisher to put out the small brushfires they start. Seriously, If you're over riding the high beams, you're going way too fast. Lake Shasta in the pre-dawn light was just gorgeous. Stopped early for the night at NAS Lemoore because the sun was getting pretty bright and I had neglected to pack sunscreen. Besides, I was right on schedule.

Friday, Day 4, I had occasion to purchase the most expensive fuel of the trip at a gas station in the Grapevine: $2.339/gal. Poor timing for the early morning rush through L.A. area traffic. Arrived in San Ysidro before noon where I did the checkpoint thing again. Prior to starting the trip, I had made arrangements for South Bay Motorsports in Chula Vista, CA to perform the Burgman's 4,000 mile service on Saturday. Although I was a day early, they agreed to work me in on Friday afternoon. Spent the night at my son's home in Imperial Beach. By now, things began to look grim weather-wise in Florida.

Hoping that the hurricanes might change course, I decided to press on. Coldest part of the trip was early morning in the mountains east of San Diego where I was particularly pleased that I'd brought the electric vest. All that changed when I descended to the desert floor and hit the oven. By El Centro, I had begun to un-bundle and was using a wet bandanna around my neck to keep cool. Within 15 miles, the bandanna was bone-dry. Fortunately, I had packed a couple of micro-fiber towels and they stayed wet for an hour+. Decided to stop early at MCAS Yuma so I could plan on riding through the relative cool of the following night. When I called home, my wife informed me that my brother and his family who live in Palm Bay, FL had evacuated in the face of the hurricane. When I couldn't reach him on his cell phone and the Weather Channel was forecasting the worst, I decided to abort the effort and return home.

Now that I wasn't pressed for time, I took the road less travelled via the Salton Sea, through Indio, CA, past the largest wind farm I've ever seen to March ARB in Riverside, CA. Spent a quiet evening just relaxing and planning my return journey along the coast.

I'll let you all in on a little secret. The best time to travel through the L.A. area is very early on Labor Day morning. I lived in SOCAL for many years and have logged a lot of miles on those freeways. I've never seen so little traffic there.

Hooked up with Highway 1 and had a beautiful ride up the California coast to Monterey where I stayed for the night at the Navy Post Graduate School. When I arrived, they were putting on their annual Big Band Concert on the lawn right outside the visitors' quarters,

Continued up through San Francisco the next day and crossed back over to Highway 1 again as soon as I was able. It's been many years since I've had the pleasure of riding that particular stretch and I'd forgotten what a great motorcycle road it is. Just let me say that I didn't wear out much center tread for miles. And to my delight, the scooter handles like it's on rails. Detoured about 12 miles in-land to the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma, CA for the night. The Coast Guard trains their cooks here and the meals in the galley were excellent and very inexpensive.

Back to the coast through thick fog the next morning for more corner-carving. Life is good, The northern-most 22 miles of Highway 1 are awesome. Freshly paved, curvaceous and passing through a beautiful wooded setting. It doesn't get any better. As an aside, I must commend the majority of car drivers all along the coast. They actually used the turnouts to let bikes pass them. Switched back over to Highway 101 and stopped for the night in Port Orford, OR.

The remainder of the trip along the Oregon coast on 101 is pretty but it takes you through lots of small towns so don't expect a high speed run through there. Crossed into Washington from Astoria across the Columbia River and made it to the military recreation site at Pacific Beach, WA for my last night on the road. I was safely home by 2 P.M. the next day having stopped for lunch with friends in Port Angeles on the way.

Total miles on the trip: 3661

Gas mileage: 45.8 MPG

Most/least expensive fuel: $2.339/$1.859
Please Note: Some ARCO stations have begun charging a 35 cent fee for using your ATM card. On a 3.5 gallon fill-up, that adds .10/gal to the pump price. I quit using ARCO after I noticed that.

Average speeds. 5-10 MPH over the limit (actual, not indicated) with a few blasts over that on rare occasions.

I'll post pictures later this week.

Regards,

Dan
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,296 Posts
Hey Dancote

Great report and you made the right decision - discretion is the better part of valour! :wink:

Sounds like you had the best of it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
NormanB said:
Hey Dancote

Sounds like you had the best of it. :)
Yes, you're right Norman. If I ever attempt this again, it'll be in the Spring to avoid hurricane season.

Photos are in Dan Coté's Album in the gallery.

Regards,

Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,278 Posts
Dan,

Even though you had to abort the 4 corners tour, it still sounds like you had a great ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
foiled again ( l-o-n-g)

:D I sure enjoyed reading your post. I can't waite till the day i can take that kind of a ride. 8)
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top