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The Wife and I took 59 and 259 north through Texas and Oklahoma. Not much to write about there, but things got a lot better on the Talimena Byway. The Arkansas side was much smoother and a better ride. Sort of like Blue Ridge Lite. Stayed overnight in Mena and then went to Mt. Magazine and the Pig Trail Byway. Great ride there once we got out of smelling range from the damn chicken houses. My wife did an admirable job trying to keep up with me on her Vulcan 750 in the twisties. She couldn't, but she drug both footpegs and just about took the chicken strips completely off both Metzelers. Wuss that I am, I still have almost a half inch of chicken strip on my Dunlops, and the pegs are unmolested. I suck.
Unfortunately, the Vulcan died about 10 miles from our destination. We found lots of willing helpers in Pea Ridge, including the mayor who drove me to parts stores to find a replacement battery for the 750. Also got some great help from the guy at Motorcycle Supply in Gateway - and it's a pretty well stocked place for accessories. It appears the charging system on the Vulcan quit, and we're guessing bad stator. This is the second summer in a row that her bike has broken down on us. Last year the rear drive unit went out 1,000 miles short of our destination.
Anyway, the Versys had no such problems. I tried out the Alaska Sheepskin and found it badly lacking. It is soft enough, but too slick. It makes the nutcrusher seat that much worse. I lifted the nose of the seat with a couple of washers, but it was still worse than the seat was stock. MPG was better than 50, so good there. The bike is way more capable in the twisties than I am, I regret not riding it even harder in the tight stuff. Vibration in the bars was never enough to numb my hands, so it should go from minor non-issue to complete non-issue when I get the ProTapers on. I remembered to wear the earplugs, so I wasn't deaf at the end of the trip. Something definitely has to be done about the windscreen. I also need to spend some time getting the suspension sorted out. The back is still a bit harsh and the front dives too much on braking. The brakes almost bit me once when a small coyote ran across the road and I thought for sure an oncoming car was going to smack it into me. Fortunately the coyote just beat the car, and I suffered no consequences from my locked up rear. I only noticed it was locked when I heard the squeal and felt it start to slide. No feedback at all.
The Roads:
259 north of Broken Bow started to get good and had a few nice corners before the Talimina Byway. The Byway was nice but not too tight and a bit rough in OK. The pavement smoothed and turns got tighter in ARK. 23 and 309 to Mt. Magazine were OK, but the Pig Trail (23) north of the mountain was awesome. Not quite the Dragon but close. The hospitality in Pea Ridge was great.
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