I kept riding it around, further and further. I rode it all the way to Charlotte for a meet-up at Lupies Chili Joint for one of the NC Adventure Rider dinners. We would have dinner and sometimes a sleepover somewhere in the state every month. It was a lot of fun getting to know strangers that ride, from the site that taught me how to work on my bike.
Some things happened, the order of these events is not certain.
-noticed popping sound under hard revs when I got the bike running again.
-realized it was the head gasket
-blew base gasket for no apparent reason (it was not related to the leaking head gasket)
-replaced both topend gaskets and gently replaced cam chain tensioner, not beating it in like a caveman, like last time
-used washers under all of the head bolts this time
-noticed valve train sounded better and engine was more powerful
-noticed head gasket popping still did not go away, questioned my torque and cleanliness of the head bolt threads, etc.
Somewhere along the way I realized that the steel cylinder sleeve was not level with the top machined surface that sealed the rest of the head gasket, like the timing chain hole. Having nothing to compare my cylinder to, I thought that maybe that was normal, but with all the popping and leaking, even after I used washers with all of the head blots (unlike the first time) and an OEM honda head gasket, it persisted.
I fell deeper in love with the bike though, even moreso than the truck. Through the ADVrider website, I saw the kinds of touring that were possible on even a small bike. I developed an interest in riding to the west coast on it. I had wanted to live near my sister in Oregon since I started visiting in 8th grade. ADVrider introduced me to the wild dirt bike world-tours of Lois on the Loose and Mondo Enduro. I still need to get a copy of Mondo Enduro.