But before we get to the trip -- The day starts with
not so pleasant events.
We had just started out on I-70 for St. Louis and the trip across
Illinois and Missouri
-- 8 a.m. or so. As we cross the border from Indiana to Illinois, Mike's
bike seized-up, dumping large quantities of oil. Pictures tell the story.
The bike was trailered back to Terra Haute, and the mechanic confirmed
that he had thrown a rod and punched a hole about the size of a quarter in
the casing. No chance of repair. Mike decides to buy a new bike, and after
some agony, decides on a used Honda Magna with about 2700 miles as being
something he can afford.
[Mike's story starts here]
6 years of rain and speed and faithful service, The black Suzuki VX800, a
very unknown edition of V-Twin Sport touring engineering, literally had a
stroke as it entered into the great state of Indiana.
Having just set out for our days push westward, a knocking started
and I couldn't place it as coming from my VX or from the truck we were
next to. The engine started to bog and sputter. John motored ahead
OBLIVIOUS to my frantic waving as I tried to make it to the shoulder in
between the morning rush of semi's. Just as I got to the shoulder the
engine died. I coasted and stopped 100 ft from the "Welcome to Illinois"
immediately got off and smell the burning oil and saw some drip out from
near the oil filter. Black, burnt oil. Then came the realization I never
checked the oil any of the mornings of the ride. "Shit" I thought, "Did I
burn out all the oil with the two days of hard constant riding?" The bike
had never so much as dripped a spec of oil and I'd had it changed the week
before the ride. Did the engine over heat and kill itself to protect it?
Did I seize the engine as a result? Lots of thoughts went through my head
while I waited for John to return. None good. John had jinxed me the night
before at the Harley Davidson dealer saying I should buy a new bike. Hmmm.
after a wait and a tow to the local Suzuki dealer (Thompson's Motor
Sports, Terre Haute), it was discovered that a quarter sized hole was in
the engine casing just above the oil filter. The leading theory was I'd
pushed a rod on the engine. Dragonwing, my VX's name, was dead for the
foreseeable future. So whether it was lack of oil or just hard riding,
who's to say. I was in the position of having to get a new bike if I was
to continue the trip.
The selection of bikes in my credit range, thank you Discover Card,
was slim, but the Honda Magna V4 750 seemed up to the needs of the moment.
The test ride was nice enough and it handled well. Also the fact that it
only had 2708 miles was in my favor. So $7500 later, I'm riding away in
the best ECMC tradition on the new ride.
have decided that I cannot afford to keep it and will be selling it once
home on LI. I may even make some money if market is good (though better in
April, but a good hard luck plea may get me the full nut of the cost.
[Mike's story ends.]
[Mike later discovers that the Blue Book retail value is $4850 and
trade in $3340. And we come to the realization that he was ripped
off by smilin' Bob and the friendly folks at Thompson's Motor Sports.]