There’s something about waking up face down in a strange motel room in yesterday’s clothes that gives one pause. Or at least it should. No, I hadn’t been on a bender the night before, but after 11 hours of unconsciousness, I could no longer deny how sick I was. I had to accept that my (overly?) ambitious route for this extended Honda Gold Wing Tour ride was simply not going to happen. Still, I was determined to visit the Titan Missile Museum as part of my newly shortened trip home.
The only drug store in Wilcox, AZ, has a motorcyclist as its pharmacist, and he set me up with the right over-the-counter meds to prevent me from coughing up a lung while not getting drowsy in the process. When I arrived at the museum 90 minutes later, I felt a little better, but I was by no means a picture of health. Still, when I looked at the group of mostly retired military types waiting to take the silo tour, I knew that I couldn’t force them to spend an hour in the enclosed space of the facility with me and my flu. The tour would have to wait for another time.
For the long slog home, I decided that I would spend the day using CarPlay and Apple Maps. I wanted to see how well Honda had adapted Apple’s touch interface to the controls on the left grip. The short answer is: quite well. On my first couple days, I had intermittent issues with CarPlay not starting and requiring that I re-pair my Sena 30K to the Wing. After some thought, I decided to delete the pairing between my iPhone and the Sena. After that the Gold Wing’s CarPlay integration worked flawlessly. If I owned a Gold Wing, I’d use the navigation systems in the following way. For long trips that I could plan in advance, I’d use the Wing’s GPS and its ability to read routes from a USB drive. For daily trips, I’d use CarPlay and Siri’s ability to take voice commands. Since Apple’s Maps App requires a cellular connection, it isn’t ideal for long trips that might go off the grid. This is where the Honda GPS shines.
The rest of the apps on CarPlay worked well, too. I spent my last day on the road listening to mostly Pandora and the Overcast podcast app.
The ride itself was long and uneventful. However, there was one section of highway where I encountered an approximately 20 mph cross-wind for about an hour. During that time, I felt none of the interaction between the wind and the windshield that is sometimes encountered on bikes with large fairings.
Finally, there is the issue of the Gold Wing Tour’s range. Over the course of my 1,900 miles aboard the Gold Wing Tour, I averaged 39.5 mpg (Low: 37.3 mpg, High: 42.1 mpg). This yields a mathematical range of 217 miles which is significantly less than the 255 mile range Honda has mentioned. I know this will be an issue for some riders, but for me, I’m ready to stretch my legs after 200 miles.
According to Google Maps, my final day’s ride was 604 miles. The thermometer in my bathroom says I had a 102.1° fever when I arrived home late Friday evening after approximately nine hours in the saddle. While this wasn’t exactly the conclusion of the Nuclear Tourist ride that I planned. I had a tremendous trip aboard the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. Look for me to sum up my experience in the near future.