Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Very Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

Man oh man, what a Memorial Day Weekend I had.  Definitely one of the most interesting and memorable weekends in recent years.  Riding from LA to Tooele, UT for the SBK races and back, a lot of time on two wheels!

I left on Saturday morning and took the boring route of I-15.  Before I even got to my first gas break I saw 6 CHP's.  I knew it was going to be a tough weekend, police wise, as cops are usually out in force on Memorial Day weekend, but 6 in less than 125 miles?

My first gas break came at Barstow, CA.  After a quick fill up, I got back onto I-15.  Traffic was a bit on the heavy side, but still flowing pretty well.  As soon as I merged onto the freeway, I made my way over to the leftmost lane and just as I was about to open up the throttle a bit, my trusty TPX went off.  Ka band, about two bars.  Immediately I backed off on the throttle and settled into the same pace as the surrounding traffic.  In less than a couple of seconds, the two bars quickly jumped to full six bars and sure enough, there was a CHP parked underneath an overpass just ahead, hunting for speedsters.  Count that as a save.

I would see two more CHP's before I cross the state line into Nevada, where I took a quick lunch in Las Vegas before hitting the road again.  It was pretty uneventful riding through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah on the interstate, and the cops were not as abundant in those states as in California; I only saw one cop in each of the three states.

I finished the day in Draper, UT after about 700 miles.  I could have made it into Salt Lake City, but decided to stop a bit earlier so that I could catch the last few minutes of the Stanley Cup game.

The next day I headed over to Tooele for the SBK races.  It was a gorgeous day with some awesome racing.  During the down times between the races, I would venture out to the parking lot to see other people's bikes.  I'm particularly interested in seeing what other gadgets people put on their bikes and how they do it; it's where I get some of my inspirations.  Anyway, while I was checking out the bikes, I met Mark from Washington, who rides a FJR1300.  He had just got to the track after leaving the Seattle area earlier in the day, and he went on to show me one of the most ingenious radar detector mounting methods I've ever seen:

Yes, that's right, he strapped his cordless radar detector to his forearm and would "wear" his radar detector on his rides.  He runs earphones up to his ears so that he could hear the detector going off.  Pretty clever!  While clever, I still think the TPX set up is much better than his!

After the race was over, I hit the road again.  My original plan was to take the back roads back to LA, but after a few hours of riding, I had to change my plan.  I was filling up in the town of Ely, NV and getting ready to cut across the state on US6.  Just as I got out of town, a sign posted on the side of the road said the next gas station is 167 miles away.  Crap.  Time for a detour because my Gixxer Wannabe can go about 145 miles or so on a full tank.  167 is a bit out of reach.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to take US93 instead.  Oh, and by the way, as I was leaving town on US6, my TPX went off.  I wasn't speeding at all as I knew full well to always obey the posted speed limit in little towns, and sure enough, right up the road was a cop trying to catch people speeding through town.

US93 is literally in the middle of no where.  It runs north and south along eastern Nevada and it's both scenic and desolate.  Traffic was extremely light, and I decided to take the opportunity to find out the top speed of my Gixxer Wannabe.  As it turned out, the Gixxer Wannabe's top speed is 129 mph according to the Zumo, and I've tried several times to verify it.  On the speedometer, the top speed registered 142... how generous.

Right before it got dark, I ended up in the town of Pioche, NV for a gas break.  I had thought about calling it a day since it was starting to get dark, but I was feeling good and figured there's still some daylight left, so I decided to trek on to the next town of Caliente.  By the time I got to Caliente, it was dark and I'm starting to get tired and hungry.  I decided to look for a place to stay.  First motel that I rode by was closed.  Next one, no vacancy.  Third and last one, same thing, no vacancy.  With no vacancy at all the motels, I had no choice but to ride on.  Now, the speed limit in Caliente is 25 mph and I was going pretty much at 25 or maybe just a tad faster.  As I approached the end of town, I see two sets of headlights coming from the opposite direction.  First vehicle went by me... and as the second vehicle got pretty close to me, my TPX went off with Ka on full tilt.  That's gotta be a cop, I thought to myself.  Sure enough, it was.  Since I thought I was going right around 30, I didn't think I would be in trouble at all.  Wrong!  The cop flipped on his lights and made an U-turn.  I thought to myself there is no way that the cop was pulling me over for speeding; I wasn't going fast enough!  Plus, I was close enough to the edge of the town that the next posted speed limit sign of 40 is only about 20 yards in front of me!  Maybe the cop just want to run my plate and make sure I'm not trouble.

I pulled over, the cop came up to me and asked me for my license.  He asked me if I knew how fast I was going and I told him I was probably going around 30 or 35, admitting that I was going faster than the posted speed limit of 25.  He said he got me at 42!  I was shocked, but I didn't argue with him, I was just being polite and told him that I'm really surprised that I was going that fast.  He asked for my license and I gave it to him, he then asked me if all my paperwork is underneath my seat.  I said "yes", and he told me to sit tight while he runs my license.  A few moments later he came back, handed my license back to me and asked me to ride careful in the dark.  I was thrilled.  On one hand, I couldn't believe that he didn't give me a ticket, on the other, I figured that he couldn't have possibly issued me a ticket because I wasn't going that fast and even if I was going at 42, the speed limit sign of 40 is just in front of me and I was probably close enough to be justified for going at my speed.  Plus, being polite to the cop probably had something to do with it also.

Regardless, this just shows that no matter if you have a radar detector or not, there isn't much you can do if the cop uses instant on and you are the only vehicle on the road.  Three years of riding with the TPX with thousands of miles underneath my belt, it finally happened... me getting pulled over.  But still no ticket yet!

I ended up spending that night in Las Vegas, and for the day, spotted 6 cops, with one memorable encounter.

The following day I had the pleasure of splitting lanes for a good part of the ride getting back to LA from Las Vegas, but made it safe and sound.

For the weekend, 1,588 miles, close to 24 hours on the bike, 23 cops spotted, getting pulled over once, and still no ticket!

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