As I alluded to in my last post, I had a couch waiting for me in Daytona Beach. It wasn’t in the nicest part of Daytona Beach, but it was cheap and clean. My host for the night was a 19 year old lifeguard. We had a nice conversation about about life in general. He had to get up early in the morning and I had a few things I wanted to do before I left Daytona, so we both hit the sack in preperation for an early morning.
The scope of this place is immense. The entire facility covers 480 acres of land, including Lake Lloyd a 29 acre lake in the infield. The grand stands hold seating for 101,000 people (a considerable reduction from the 146,000 it had before), and there are thousands of camp sites in the facility.
The SAFER barrier lines all of the track walls. It is designed to absorb the energy of an impact, thus reducing the severity of the collusion on the drivers involved.
If watching the race isn’t good enough. One can opt for the Ricard Petty Driving Experience either as a passenger or a driver.
This is an exact replica of the Ford 999 built by Henry Ford and Tom Cooper. That is a 1,155 cubic inch 4 cylinder motor that puts out a tire shredding (for its day) 80hp with a top speed of 91.37mph.
Bill France was the inspiration behind the Daytona Speedway, and it is still a family business.
Denny Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500 last year with the closest finish in Daytona history, 0.011 seconds. The car will be on display until the 2017 Daytona 500, where it will be replaced by this years winner.
After leaving Daytona I began my journey north towards Cape Hatteras NC, where I will start the Trans America Trail.
A day after leaving Daytona Overkill started to give me some attitude again. I noticed that the rear shock wasn’t damping very well. I also found that the adjustment ring was no longer clicking when I turned it. That’s less than ideal. I fired off an email to Todd at Cogent and explained the situation, then I got on the road again.
After about 50 miles I decided to stop and check the shock again, just to make sure it wasn’t leaking oil and wasn’t going to break in half on me. I checked my phone and found that Todd had tried to call me, twice, and that he had replied to my email too. I called him back and we talked about the situation.
We had two options, first Cogent could overnight a new shock to me, or I could ride to Cogent and they could install the new shock in person. I was planning on bedding down for the night in Summerville South Carolina, which, it turns out is about 220 miles from Cogent, straight up I-26. That made the decision easy, I’ll ride up to Cogent tomorrow, I’ll be there before lunch.
In an effort to get there as soon as possible, I was on the road by 7am. That’s probably the earliest I’ve been on the road since I left on this trip.
Taking into account my luck so far, I decided I would stop every 50 miles or so to inspect the rear shock. I made it about 110 miles down the road before catastrophe struck.
Fortunately for me, I was at a rest stop when it happened. I checked the shock, it still wasn’t damping. If anything it had gotten worse. It wasn’t leaking oil though, so I threw my leg over the saddle and bounced up and down a couple of times, and my bike fell over. The first thing I looked at is the rear shock. It is basically in two pieces, the shock tube had separated from the bottom mount.
After I pick Overkill back up and get her on the center stand I call Todd and explain what had happened and he offered to send someone out to pick me up. A couple of hours later and Joyce, one of the co-owners of Cogent, showed up and we load the bike into the back of her cargo van.
This is the third time I’ve had to be rescued in less than two months… I’m not happy about that. On the bright side, I got to wear my favorite hat, which is nice.
As far as severity of incidents goes, I think they are decreasing.
When I got stranded in Arizona, I had dropped the bike 3 times, burned out the clutch and I had to hike 2 miles, soaking wet with temps in the low 40’s with a mix of rain and snow, before I got enough cell reception to call for help. Then it took another 4 hours for the deputy to get out to me. I also had to cut my trip short and rent a U-Haul truck to get my bike back home.
With the pinch flat in Texas, I only dropped the bike once (but I was doing around 45mph when it happened) and it was pouring rain. Help was immediate though. There was a fire fighter 2 cars back and he called a wrecker for me right away. I only had a 2 hour wait until my cousins husband rescued me, with a rented U-Haul motorcycle trailer.
And that brings me to the present. Overkill fell over in a parking lot, it was warm and sunny and the rescue vehicle didn’t involve U-Haul at all. Oh, did I mention I got to wear my favorite hat too? It’s the small things.
So what happened you ask? The connecting rod that holds the shock piston to the shock body sheared off. When that happened that allowed the shock tube to separate from the bottom mount. Of the thousands of shocks the guys at Cogent have built, they have only seen this type of failure once before, on another KLR.
In the case of the other failure, it was because the swingarm bearings were severely worn and the shock was subjected to a lot of lateral force. The bearings on my bike are fine though. We were unable to find a smoking gun to indicate what could have caused this failure.
All in all, major kudos to Joyce and the rest of the Cogent team. They really helped turn a pretty crappy day into a halfway decent one, thanks guys!
They did have a new shock ready for me though, so that was installed and I was on my way.
I didn’t go far though. I’m staying at quaint hotel in Hendersonville, about 20 minutes from Cogent. I’m going to be staying here for a few days. This string of failures is really starting to wear on me. I think taking a few days for some nice easy riding through the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains is just what the doctor ordered. It will give me time to regain some confidence in myself and my motorcycle.