Friday, March 20, 2009

Laughlin, Nevada Ride

I had planned to leave for Laughlin, Nevada at 10 AM. But, I also needed to take Petunia in and have her dyno tuned because I had screwed up the Power Commander so bad I couldn't fix it. At 8:15 I called Thunder Manufacturing and talked to Travis who said, "Come on down at 11." Quickly thinking of my options I agreed, knowing I could leave by 3:30-4:00 and still get to Laughlin.

I arrived at Thunder Manufacturing at 10:50 to find that Travis had gone to get some materials, but should be back in a bit. Great! Set an appointment and then leave. While waiting there were two kids who kept me entertained. A second grade boy and his little sister. They were pretty funny. Travis arrived, put Petunia on the dyno, and invited me in to watch the process. It was interesting to watch how it worked. Short version is he dialed in 117 individual settings and then readjusted my desired cruising speed figuring in the load of the sidecar. He had to shut Petunia off two times to cool down and explained why he was doing everything and answered every question I could come up with. The end results were an increase of 7.25 horsepower and 2.5 foot pounds of torque. What that really means to me is an increase of 8 mpg at 75 mph. I left for Laughlin about an hour after he was finished and averaged 43 mpg for the trip. I'm pretty happy with that because Petunia has never gone over 35 mpg since I've had her.

In my haste to leave I took the camera out to load up, set it down, and never picked it up again. It was still right where I put it when I got home. It was a bright, sun drenched, high eighty degree afternoon that was covered in a dull haze. The desert was in bloom and covered in a carpet of green and white that was muted by the smog.

The ride down was uneventful except for me watching the fuel and oil temperature gauges. The fuel gauge was falling slowly and the oil temperature climbed up to 230 when I was behind slow moving traffic. That was without the sidecar. The oil cooler will be installed in the next week or two.

In Laughlin I stayed at the Edgewater Hotel and Casino. For my $24 a night I didn't get to stay in the fancy 26 story hotel tower, I was put at the far end of the fifth floor of the old original hotel. But, the bed was comfortable and I will stay there again. They also have dedicated motorcycle only parking in the parking garage. Funny thing about that is when I asked at check in the woman at the desk didn't know if they did or not. On the recommendation of my daughter I ate dinner in the Hickory Pit Steakhouse where I enjoyed a great prime rib dinner. After dinner I went outside to enjoy a walk along the riverwalk. It was a pleasant evening.

The ride home was more of an adventure. There was an accident where a SUV had rolled a couple of times. I got there before the Highway Patrol and it just happened that an ambulance was ahead of me. There were plenty of people there and the ambulance crew jumped in to try to get the people out. Not a good way to start the day. Then there was the trucker who pulled over in front of me going up a hill and just rode next to another truck at 50 MPH for about 10 miles. When I finally got around him I gave the universal one finger salute and was off. Then looking in my mirror I saw him coming. Fast. I changed lanes and accelerated to 80 and he followed. This was the same truck that in Kingman swung wide turning onto the freeway and ran a truck off the road. Being no match for an 18 wheeler I put Petunia up to 90 and held her there for the next eight miles to my exit.

That was my no picture spring break ride. It is now time to go wash Petunia again and have her ready to go pick up the freshly painted sidecar tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see how she looks in Gun Metal Pearl.


  1. Sounds like quite an adventure. We like staying at the Edgewater when we go to Laughlin. Clean, cheap rooms. Perfect!

    Glad you outran the crazy trucker! Wow!

    Can't wait to see the sidecar!

  2. I think it must be universal truck driver piss off car drivers and motorcycles month. The other night we had two semi trucks pull next to other trucks and drive right along side of each other for miles so that we couldn't get around them.

    Sounds like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Next time remember that camera. LOL :)~