Aaron had opined, while we dined at the end of Day 2, that “just [I] wait until we hit wide open road”, where Aaron’s bike excels.
Of course, yesterday involved the tail end of Montana, and the beginning of North Dakota. There is very little but wide open on the roads we were at, and just as predicted, Aaron’s bike outpaced The Weapon by such a margin that he would often become a red speck of a tail light against an otherwise blue and tan horizon.
We covered around 380 miles or so in 13 hours, including some fairly long breaks, and of course: more dirt. Nowhere near as epic of dirt as Day 3 – that dirt was the kind that makes people cry (or drop their bikes). That actually wasn’t even dirt – I’m convinced we were not actually allowed to be on those roads (not a first), and it was actually a trail for burro riders and billy goat tamers (actually that’d be awesome). Pashnit does not have a goat score for that road, it presumes your bike would shatter into a million pieces were you to ride it. Rocks the size of your head.
Nonetheless, we have gotten quite good at sitting still for long periods of time (well, relatively still) and staring blankly at the road before us. Miles slip under us now, albeit slowly, to the point that the last 130 or so miles of Day 4 seemed to vanish. We got to the hotel comparably fresh to our Day 3 roll-in, where we had arrived after 15 hours of saddle time and felt bruised and punished for the folly of taking this trip.
Today is actually technically less miles than yesterday (we should be able to stay more on route today – we did probably 18 miles more than the original route as spec’d). We might be able to get in at a reasonable time.
Of course, to jinx that, last night I did some work on The Weapon. Swapped out rollers (discernible flat spot was getting on my nerves), changed belt (was feeling it slip, had too many miles on it), cleaned the air filter which had a white pitch thanks to 2 back to back days of 30+ miles of dirt. Hopefully my efforts will be useful. My top speed has been slowly dropping probably due to belt wear and a plug heading south as a result of constant firing at high revs, and I want that speed back. If anything to help cut down on the hours by a higher average speed.
Getting closer to doing more general maintenance: oil change, plug, etc. Both our tires look good for the time being. Gas tank is behaving like a champ.
6 more days, baby.