Thursday, May 24th, 2018
The corn states. I've managed to see the rest of the lower 48, but I confess I've been putting off that big flat chunk of land in the middle of the country. This particularly trajectory - from Tucson to Boston - provides the perfect diagonal across the heartland for state-bagging. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana will get me to 48 - in this, appropriately enough, my 48th year of life.
But first I need to take care of the motorcycle. I order tires and set up an appointment with a local independent BMW mechanic. These Michelin Pilot Activ tires lasted for 13,000 miles - and they still have some decent tread - by far the most mileage I've ever gotten out of a set. Probably a combination of improving quality and the fact that so many of those miles were on the highway last year. In fact the wear pattern is dramatically different from my other trips; the back tire in particular looks worn right down the middle (which makes the bike feel goofy in the turns). I tell the mechanic to lube the final drive splines as I always do when changing the tires. He calls with bad news: the splines are not looking good, maybe 20% left. The K75 Achilles heal strikes again. I weigh the pros and cons, the rational decision would be to just ditch the bike at this point, it doesn't make much sense from an economic point of view to fix it, but I've had this motorcycle for so long (18 years now) that I just can't let go. I find a final drive and shaft pair from a local guy and have the mechanic swap them out. It costs me more than I could sell her for at this point.