New trailer - trip report


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New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 29, 2012 11:39 am



I saw cal3san's trailer for sale message a couple weeks ago and thought; "wow, that's a fantastic deal, I'd love to buy it..." I got him to send me some pictures and sent them off to my wife for her comments. She loved the idea...but kind of shot it down with a "do we have a spare thousand sitting around to buy it?" I had to admit that we didn't. However...the very next day, a friend who had owed me a thousand dollars for over two years - money that I had long since written off as "never going to see it" - came through. I took this as a sign and told cal3san that I would take the trailer. Apparently I beat vtxcandyred by only a few minutes!

I had a receiver on my GL1500 already, but I had ripped out the horrible trailer wiring when I first got the bike, thinking "if I ever do get a trailer, I'll just put a new trailer wiring harness in then." Well, "then" had arrived, so I was off to Cyclemax to buy a trailer isolation harness, and then to Tractor Supply for the hitch to fit in my receiver, and sundry connectors, etc. I spent a day wiring it all up and getting everything set up to my satisfaction. On Saturday, I set off for cal3san's home on the North Carolina coast, a 700 mile trip, at 6 am on Saturday morning. It started out cool at 65 degrees, but quickly heated up, and the entire day was spent in 92 degree sunny heat. I had brought almost an entire case of water with me, and I went through almost all of it. After a spectacular trip through the West Virginia mountains, I arrived at cal3san's house at about 6 pm. Cal was great, and treated me to a great dinner. I got hooked up, and set off almost exactly two hours later at 8 pm.



My goal was to get to Ashland, VA, just north of Richmond, which I did - at about 1 am. Pulling the trailer through the dark, deserted highways was a bit surreal, and I did see some deer - thankfully, standing on the side of the road looking at me, and not jumping out in front of me, as there would have been nothing I could have done if they had. I did notice my mileage decreasing substantially - particularly traveling at 70 mph, I could really feel the drag of the trailer behind me, and I worked out that I was getting around 31 mpg - so lots of fuel stops:



After a total of 930 miles and 17 hours of riding, I crashed into bed.

7:30 the next morning I was off, headed for McLean, VA, where I got to see a choir perform at a church service - which was fun, as I used to sing in that particular choir, and hadn't been back to that church or see any of the people there in almost fifteen years. On the ride up I-95 towards McLean, I found myself in the midst of many hundreds of motorcyles, and overpasses filled with people waving American flags. I had happened upon the Thunder Run, and enjoyed seeing all the bikes - about 99.5% Harleys, it seemed. I stayed out of their packs with my trailer, and left them behind. I had miles to burn off!

After McLean, I headed west on 66, back to West Virginia. This time however instead of the freeways, I had set up a trip in my GPS to take me on two-lane roads, through small towns. I was looking forward most to the small, winding road that I would be taking over the mountain ranges. Every so often, the two lane roads would open up to a four-lane highway for 20-30 miles, then back down to a two-lane road again. The scenery was spectacular, and I was in awe of the huge mountain passes blasted out of solid rock:



It was extremely hot, 94 degrees and humid, but as long as I kept moving, I wasn't too hot. I wouldn't want to do it without my mesh jacket and pants and wind wings, however! I stopped for lunch at around 2 pm in Moorefield, WV, and had a nice chat with an older couple in a Mercedes convertible who I had passed a while back. They were amazed to hear how far I had come...and still had to go.

At about 2:30, I entered the Canaan Valley and started up the mountain, the windy road I had been so looking forward to. However, I noticed some menacing looking black clouds high up the mountain side, and hoped I was going to be able to circumvent them. No such luck. As I started up the side of the mountain, it started pouring rain. I stayed reasonably dry as long as I kept moving, although I noticed virtually every other motorcycle (Harleys, of course) cowering under gas station shelters or under trees, lest their precious bikes see a drop of rain. :) The rain started getting more intense, and it started with lightning and thunder as well. Out of nowhere, the rain became a deluge, heavier than I had ever ridden in. Of course, just as this rain started, I hit the most challenging part of the route, covered in 180-degree switchbacks as the road zig-zagged up the mountain side. I figured the rain couldn't last at that intensity for very long...and I was right: it got worse. Several times I thought; "it can't get worse than this" - and then it did. My forward visibility was steadily decreasing, and I was seriously thinking about pulling over. However, I knew that the weather was moving northwest, and pulling over only meant it would move past me, and I'd then have to ride through it again. Not only that - there was nowhere for me to pull over. I had a rock face on one side, and guardrail on the other. With the trailer behind me, there was no room for me to just pull over, without the danger of being hit from behind. Several times I came upon small enclaves on the side of the road for you to pull into, but the visibility was so bad, I couldn't see these until I was right upon them, and by then there was no way I could turn into them. I figured as long as I could make out the yellow center line through my windshield, I could make it through. I tried standing up on my footpegs and just taking the brunt of the water on my helmet faceshield, but I could see even less that way. I got to the top of the mountain, running in second gear, about 20 mph, with my hazard lights going. At this point the rain was so heavy that I had absolutely zero forward visibility, and the lightning was flashing almost constantly. I was using my GPS to determine when I was about to come upon a curve or another switchback, and I was looking down and to the left, watching the yellow center line on the road next to me to ensure I was staying in my lane. I was just hoping I didn't come up on another car or other obstruction, because I wouldn't be able to see it.

There was SO much water coming out of the sky, I didn't know it was possible for this volume of rain to come down - it felt like there was more water than air. I was absolutely soaked through by this point. This was extremely tough to do, tremendous stress - like flying an airplane on instruments through a storm, but ten times harder - and with only one instrument (my GPS). I was now descending the far side of the mountain, going through switchback after switchback. While looking forward, I came up on a slight curve that my GPS didn't depict, and felt the right trailer wheel go off the road. I looked to the left to see the center line and in horror saw that I was far right in my lane, and about to go into the rock wall. I swerved gently left (no sudden moves, there was SO much water on the ground) back into my lane. At this point I thought, "I have reached the limit of my riding abilities; this is not going to end well." I couldn't stop, I couldn't keep going. Well, I had to keep going, it was my only option. Another 30 seconds of this hell, and I noticed a light in the sky in front of me - the clouds were starting to clear. Almost instantly, the rain started to let up. 60 seconds later, the rain had stopped entirely, and two minutes later I was in bright sunshine again - sopping wet. 25 years of riding motorcycles, and this was without a question the most difficult, most challenging thing I have ever done on two wheels. I'd prefer to never have to do it again!

The temperature had dropped to 64 degrees at the height of the storm. Within five minutes after exiting the rain, it was back to 92 again. Crazy! I spent the next hour and a half riding with arms and legs extended out into the wind, drying out. In the 92 degree heat, it actually felt nice to be wet.

A quick fuel stop in Weston, WV, and I headed along highway 33 toward Camden. When I got into the small village of Camden, my GPS oddly told me to turn right onto this tiny two-lane road. So I did, of course. :) The road was Churchville Road, and it turned out to be the highlight of my trip. I quickly found myself in the middle of absolute nowhere, surrounded by gorgeous hills and small farms, on a tiny two-lane road that had turns and curves every twenty feet it seemed. I followed this road until it joined with Route 18, which I followed all the way up to highway 50. It took just about an hour to travel the length of Churchville Road and Route 18, and every foot of it was gorgeous, perfect motorcycling road, the best I have ever been on. I never saw another vehicle of any kind, and rarely saw any sign of human life, other than the occasional farm. The pure joy of riding this road more than made up for the pure hell of riding through that storm on the mountain. After an hour of continuous curves, dips, hills and turns, I was ready for the straight, long 70 mph run on highway 50 that took me to I-77, and I arrived home at around 9 pm.

In total I rode 1613 miles over 31 hours in two days. The bike performed to perfection the whole way, and I enjoyed (just about) every minute of the ride. If you have Google Earth (or another mapping program) that can read KML files, I used the free http://www.instamapper.com and my cell phone to map my route as I traveled (and to let my wife watch my progress in real time on her computer). You can download the KML file of my trip here: http://goldwingdocs.com/images/NC_Trip.kml - apart from a few sections of WV that had no cell coverage, the entire trip is represented there.



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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby vtxcandyred » Tue May 29, 2012 2:19 pm

You bought the trailer I was going to buy you rascal you.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 29, 2012 3:01 pm

vtxcandyred wrote:You bought the trailer I was going to buy you rascal you.


Yup, notice the last sentence in the first paragraph: "Apparently I beat vtxcandyred by only a few minutes!"

Sorry about that. :)

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby zamboni920 » Tue May 29, 2012 8:36 pm

Yes....I bet he is really sorry :lol: .
Great story :) !

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby Mag » Tue May 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Good story, always dig the pics along the way, etc., etc. And 1600 in 31 hours? I would not be able to walk, my knees would be locked for sure ;)

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby vtxcandyred » Wed May 30, 2012 5:52 am

zamboni920 wrote:Yes....I bet he is really sorry :lol: .
Great story :) !

Yeah. You can tell!!!!!!!!

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby themainviking » Wed May 30, 2012 7:18 am

I looked at the route on Google Earth, and it is about as perfect a ride as could be imagined. Only thing missing was a lake in the middle of it for the panoramic views. I have ridden individually around Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron and the views are fantastic. I have also circumnavigated Ontario and Eerie, as a pair, but never each individually, which is in the future. I also like Coastal riding when the road hugs the coast. Love them twisties. Glad you had a good time WingAdmin.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey

ImageImage

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 30, 2012 10:20 am

Mag wrote:Good story, always dig the pics along the way, etc., etc. And 1600 in 31 hours? I would not be able to walk, my knees would be locked for sure ;)


That's why I love the forward foot pegs. I have long legs, so I have to have them mounted as far forward as I can in order to be able to stretch my legs out straight!

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby Mag » Wed May 30, 2012 10:55 pm

I don't have pegs, I have the boards....do not know if I like them. Makes me feel like my knees are starting to head toward my ears (and that is not a good feeling).

May want to change that somewhat.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WA9FWT » Wed May 30, 2012 11:51 pm

That sure was some trip, you had me on the edge of my chair reading all that was taking place as you went along.
As usual ,the pictures are great too.I see you said you averaged about 31MPG,and thats what I have been getting
hauling around my extra wheels.Thanks for sharing that trip with all of us, and glad you made it back safe.

WA9FWT Phil

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 31, 2012 10:21 am

Mag wrote:I don't have pegs, I have the boards....do not know if I like them. Makes me feel like my knees are starting to head toward my ears (and that is not a good feeling).

May want to change that somewhat.


The reason I like them is because when my knees start to hurt from being bent, positioned on the regular pegs, I can stretch my legs out straight ahead. A few minutes and they feel great again.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 31, 2012 10:23 am

WA9FWT wrote:That sure was some trip, you had me on the edge of my chair reading all that was taking place as you went along.
As usual ,the pictures are great too.I see you said you averaged about 31MPG,and thats what I have been getting
hauling around my extra wheels.Thanks for sharing that trip with all of us, and glad you made it back safe.

WA9FWT Phil


I wish I had taken more pictures! However I actually forgot my camera, and so all I had was my phone, and I wasn't about to start fiddling with that thing while riding. I didn't really want to keep stopping and taking pictures, I had a lot of miles to cover.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby littlebeaver » Thu May 31, 2012 2:41 pm

That was a really fun story to read, so how do you like the trailer, it looks like a camping type trailer. I'm glad you didn't crash in that terrible rain storm.. :D Whata story...Cool...

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 31, 2012 3:53 pm

littlebeaver wrote:That was a really fun story to read, so how do you like the trailer, it looks like a camping type trailer. I'm glad you didn't crash in that terrible rain storm.. :D Whata story...Cool...


It's really a great little trailer. I've pulled and repacked the wheel bearings, and I've currently got the wiring torn apart to redo, as I want to put a small battery inside the trailer storage area to run LED lighting inside, and I want it to charge from the motorcycle. Here's what it looks like opened (pictures from the manufacturer's web site):

Aspen Sentry 1
Aspen Sentry 1
Aspen Sentry 2
Aspen Sentry 2

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby littlebeaver » Thu May 31, 2012 4:25 pm

See now that' there is one of those good one's, I can't blame Red for trying his hardest to get it too, that sounds like a good deal , I think Todd's is something like it too, I will say, riding your cycle to a campsite and fishing and eating your catch is a lot of fun... I love that kinda thing..Now I know why you sold off your 1100, you had a plan all along, your a sly one.. :lol: I love the trailer, and the bike isbad either, Todd's is cool too... :D

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WA9FWT » Thu May 31, 2012 9:16 pm

littlebeaver wrote:See now that' there is one of those good one's, I can't blame Red for trying his hardest to get it too, that sounds like a good deal , I think Todd's is something like it too, I will say, riding your cycle to a campsite and fishing and eating your catch is a lot of fun... I love that kinda thing..Now I know why you sold off your 1100, you had a plan all along, your a sly one.. :lol: I love the trailer, and the bike isbad either, Todd's is cool too... :D

Now I know why we don't get pictures of all the fish you catch Beaver.You eat them right away :lol: :lol:

As for the Wing-Admin's trailer,I had no idea it was top shelf!! What a nice looking trailer.

WA9FWT Phil

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:39 am

Being that my 70 mph mileage dropped from 43 mpg (no trailer) to 31 mpg (with trailer), it's obvious there is a lot of drag at speed. I'm fairly sure this is due to the fact that the trailer has the aerodynamic properties of a brick - there's a big flat wall that I'm pulling through the air, and at 70 mph, there's an awful lot of wind resistance.

I'm thinking of building some kind of fairing for the front of it, to try to move air around it a little better, perhaps a foam-core fiberglass layup that bolts to the trailer tongue. It would have to be light, to keep the tongue weight down. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby zamboni920 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:33 pm

Check into the roof top air wings used on Pick-ups and SUV's when pulling tall campers. Don't know any specific source, and most might be too wide (can perhaps be cut down). I do know they are fairly light weight, and usually mounted on an adjustable rack.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby Mag » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:24 pm

Why can't you build some sort of "triangle" that comes from the corners of the front of the trailer to a point somewhere down the trailer arms to the hitch? I have seen several custom jobs built that were matched to the trailer color. All you are looking is to stop the air force against the front, right???

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:29 am

Mag wrote:Why can't you build some sort of "triangle" that comes from the corners of the front of the trailer to a point somewhere down the trailer arms to the hitch? I have seen several custom jobs built that were matched to the trailer color. All you are looking is to stop the air force against the front, right???


Well, no actually. What I'm trying to do is reduce turbulence. There is drag involved in the air hitting a flat front, but a lot of that drag is created by the turbulence that is a side-product of that flat front. Turbulence = drag.

With the square front, not only does the air have to suddenly change direction (which creates drag), but there is a lot of turbulence at the front of the sides, where there is a sudden low pressure area, and the displaced air gets sucked into the sides. Same thing happens at the back, where the trailer suddenly ends, and turbulence is the result:

Square Front
Square Front


An improvement is the triangle front, it helps with the air suddenly changing direction on the front, but we still have the low pressure areas creating turbulence/drag on the sides and back:

Triangle Front
Triangle Front


An improvement still is a round front, which helps to gradually push the air out of the way of the trailer, but reduces the lateral velocity of the air before it reaches the side of the trailer, preventing the low pressure areas from forming, reducing turbulence, and thus drag:

Round Front
Round Front


To make it perfect, we'd need to put something on the back as well, like a tail that gradually lets the separated air come back together again:

Teardrop
Teardrop


Notice the resemblance to a teardrop, or drop of water falling - that's no coincidence. Nature automatically creates the perfect aerodynamic shape for denser fluids moving through lighter fluids (i.e. water through air, or water through oil). If you look on the highways, you'll see quite a few tractor trailer rigs with fold-out panels on the back of the trailer that do exactly this - to reduce drag, and increase fuel efficiency.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby zamboni920 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:53 am

There are many studies and products on the subject. Most are related to the turbulence and drag created around tractor/trailers, but could easily be applied to smaller vehicles:

http://www.me.rochester.edu/courses/ME2 ... uckin'.pdf
http://www.airtab.com/how.html

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:13 pm

So this past weekend we decided to head out for an overnight and give the trailer its first try. We didn't go far - just 20 miles or so away. We were going to a local drive-in to see a movie anyway, so knowing that there was a campground right next to it, we headed over to the campground, set up the trailer (takes only a few minutes!), then headed out to the movie. We got back late, jumped into bed and fell asleep fast.

I figured I would wake up very early - at sunrise - as I usually do when camping. However, I didn't actually wake up until 9:30 am, when the sun started heating things up enough that it got warm inside. Unzipping the windows took care of that, and we packed up before heading home.

The end result? It's fast and easy to set up and take down, easy to pull, amazingly large inside, and very well made. We're thrilled with it - we plan to get a lot of use out of it!

I took a couple pictures before we headed off to the drive-in. I have some pictures of the inside the next morning when we woke up - but I'd be in severe trouble with the boss if I posted those. :)

Trailer set up
Trailer set up


Showing off the trailer
Showing off the trailer

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:40 pm

I noticed the flooring carpet turf stuff, did you add it yourself or did it come with it? And the main question is, Was the wife [Boss] happy with it? Sure looks like she is..Pretty lady you have there Wingman.. :D I think it was money well spent...

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:46 pm

littlebeaver wrote:I noticed the flooring carpet turf stuff, did you add it yourself or did it come with it? And the main question is, Was the wife [Boss] happy with it? Sure looks like she is..Pretty lady you have there Wingman.. :D I think it was money well spent...


The carpet turf stuff was Cal3san's idea, so it came with it. It's to protect the bottom of the tenting floor that goes on the ground, should it happen to be on anything sharp (i.e. rocks etc). I found it also helps in that it keeps that floor dry from dew/grass, so you can fold up the thing dry. The turf/carpet takes all the dampness, and it can easily be laid out later in the sun to dry it out. Works great!

My wife LOVES the thing. She wasn't sure at first, but once she saw it, she was thrilled.

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Re: New trailer - trip report

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:31 pm

Yeh, I know what you mean,, a few years ago [2004] we were in Mo. and I bought a 1971 Starcraft pop up and my wife thought I was nuts, got it for $700.00 I totally restored it to a new condition, wish I had photo's of the progress on that project, it was really nice when I got done but really crappy before, she and the kid's loved it, had ac and a sink tv. freg. restroom, awning everything, now my next and last question is, How was it pulling the trailer with two up? :D I think I have seen small 150btu air units fastened to some of these little guys..I know those small air units work well..




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