Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Having just written the previous article on hazardous  fix'es...  I should share the latest in boot repairs...

Self induced Wardrobe Malfunctions~

So back in FL on a glorious Saturday morning back in March, I'm   headed west from Palm Coast with 7 riders from the ADV Trans-Florida Un-rally.   At the time I had a handy little LED flashlight attached to my jacket zipper, making it easy to grab the zipper with my left hand while cruising.   Or, so one would think...

At the same time, I have my pocket camera firmly strapped to my right glove with a home made mounting strap.  Harmless, right?  I just reach over with my left hand and hit the ON and then VIDEO buttons and drive on with my clutch hand shooting the approaching trails.

About 10:00 AM the temp climbs up into the 70's and it's time to bring some fresh air into the upper body...   Reach for the zipper with the clutch (camera) hand and tug the zipper down a good yank.   Back to cruising...   NOT!

The camera strap finds the flashlight and the zipper ring and promptly falls in love while lacing itself into the gadgetry.   Now my left glove/hand/wrist/arm are bound about 6" from my chest.  NO clutch.  No way to balance against my throttle hand which now is flying solo...  

Images of taking a one-handed launch into the brush alongside the FL highway during bike week... (this is gonna be bad press...) with a bunch of ADVriders (notorious for sharing every possible incident...)   flash across my mind set...   Despirately hoping that the $.95 cent flashlight was made in Korea from recast KIA bumpers, I throw my left arm out toward the horizon and pray for attachment failure.   UGH... success...   

The guy behind me politely notes that my flashlight is laying on the double-yellow at mile marker 24.439 west of Palm Coast...   good to know...    All I can think is how lucky I am to be vertical and still traveling in my lane.

End of the saga,,, right?     Nope...   gotta push the 9-lives all day...

Chapter 2:   Right Glove Wardrobe Malfunction...

Not 15 minutes later we come off of a dirt trail, onto pavement and crank up the throttles on a pretty 2-lane section for about 5 miles.

I wear an air vest, but I don't keep it connected when I am riding in dirt...   Now back into vehicle traffic, I simply slide my right hand down the lanyard to the clip and reach down near my right knee where there is a caribeaner (you spell it please...)  attached to the engine guard.   Snap the little sucker in place and back to cruising...   right???   WRONG, partner...   

After two-years of flawless connection moments, the atachment hook decides to fall in love with my glove right at the end of my pointer finger...   The hook does a vampire bite into the leather and locks on to a very VERY sturdy BMW logo glove and now I am riding one-handed (clutch only) and loosing speed fast within the group of riders.   

I remember thinking to my self how nice it is that this is happening on a beautiful march morning and the 6:00 news is going to detail the entire mess in glorious color...

First TUG yields nothing.  My right hand is firmly bound to the bike beside my right knee.  Digging for an answer to the question, "What would Harry Houdini do?"  I decide that brute strength may undo the 2" velcro from around my lower arm AND the similar strap which tightens the glove around the base of my wrist.   Luckily the blood draining (or pumping) from my hand lets my wrist think it just lost three dress sizes and my hand starts sliding out of the glove... while the glove lining turns inside out and exits with my paw.

So much for the best laid plans of mice and motorcycles...   The day went on to many miles and smiles and no further incidents.   I re-gifted the camera strap to a friend and gave up on attachment moves while at speed...   Let's hope I don't invent something similar in the future.

Murphy was right.

Travel safe.


$'s for driving...

My pocket book regulates my driving speed these days (being last week of the month.   At 60 mpg (55 MPH) I can to 1,600 miles on $100.   at 80 MPH my MPG is down to 40 and my range is 1,066 miles.   From today until 6/2 I need to make it to Lake George NY on $145.00...  so I figure the faster I drink this weekend the slower I will travel Sunday and Monday... go figure.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Packing light, dumping ballast.

Getting ready to head to Atlanta/Birmingham/Saratoga/home/Florida...   Took several sessions over several days to pick out things that just aren't needed/duplicates/excess.

Taking to thrift store:  Table lamp, odd shirts, hats.
Pitching:  broken tripod, extra salad oil, odd containers, excess shampoo, worn out bungies/straps.
Shipping to home:  Big flashlight (forehead light is plenty and conserves batteries), computer keyboard, extra shirts, jeans, towel, papers, magazines, refrigerator magnets, back-up 35mm DSLR with lenses, 49 tooth sprocket.  There must be more than that because the box weighs a ton.  Extra duffle bag.
Dropping off along the way:  KNOBBIE <<< Looks impressive but have been called on the carpet for being a 'poser'.

Somewhere along the line all those extra pounds have taken their toll on things such as:  
Leaking rear shock
3 rear tires at 9,000 miles each
Front and rear brakes
TWO sets of rear bearings
Broken side-stand
MPG in the 40's when fully loaded.   Will see how well it does now.
THREE sets of chains and sprockets averaging 12,000 miles each

Let's chalk it up to being more professional and a more balanced/reasonable payload for safety and economy.   The appearance on-the-road will only change by removing the tire, but luggage will be more managable and everything about maneuvering will be more managable and responsive.

Travel safe this Memorial Day Weekend!    Jeff

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maintenance and your fellow riders.

Last week I made it in to Grassroots BMW, Cape Giradeau, MO, for last checkup before 36,000 mile warranty expired.  Having curtailed my riding for a couple days I arrived with 35,997 miles on the odometer.   Just in time!

The dealer in Modesto told me as I was departing that my rear shock was leaking.   Grassroots agreed and ordered the replacement part for tomorrow install.   While they gave the bike a 20-point inspection I started applying for mortgages, lines-of-credit and instant cash pawn shops...   Here's the summary:

Rear Shock, 36,000 and leaking
Front and Rear Brake Pads - 36,000 and still signs of life.
Chain and sprockets - 10,00 miles.  Mechanics says front sprocket was installed backwards!  Will be talkin to, BMW about that one!  That could have also caused bearing failure.
Rear Bearing - 22,000 miles.   Hermy's installed a set last July.

Now to an example of how this could have affected other riders...   Flash back three weeks to the BMW GA Mountain Rally in Hiawassee, GA.   200 miles before my destination I stopped for fuel and the side stand gave way.   (I think this was featured in this blog previously)  Next day, knowing that I would be challenged to dismount and put bike on center-stand by myself I took off on a ride with Skert and FootLoose.  

Getting on the bike I press the starter and it won't crank.   OH... (I figured)   the side stand interlock switch might be bent.   So I wiggle the bungie'd side stand and the bike cranks and starts.   No problem...   (or so I thought...)

We head out on Skert's 'cooler route' (so named because it is a way to cool your need for speed after traveling distances...)  South to an un-named back road, West on GA 180 (gotta love that road) and on to 129 South.   By this time Skert is leaving me in her dust and Footloose (Cliff) is breathing up my tail.   We turn south and Cliff rockets past me at a wide spot and the two of them disappear up past the Appalachian Trail Crossing.  Little do they know that my engine died.   I kicked the side stand and things came back to life...   at least until I was over the crest of the mountain.  Starting downhill I see them going slow looking for any indication that I was following.   They see me, get back on the throttle(s) and my engine dies again...  with no kicking helping the side stand interlock switch to find it's happy place.

I coast more than a mile down Rt 129.   This is the same twisty asphalt that makes up Tail of the Dragon some miles north.   Light traffic is in my favor so I'm rolling along on a silent 650 with flashers blazing and just thrilled that there weren't any Harley's or Crotch-rockets catching up with me with giggles...   That's all I need to find on Youtube...   I make it down one hill, up a rise, do some dog paddling over another crest to roll a bit and finally come to dead stop just past a right-hand curve.   All of 6" of a gravel shoulder between me and an abrupt drop to bear country.

Now what???   I sit and ponder.  No sign or sound of them returning for a few minutes... they are probably in TN or nearby Turner's Corners, having a brew and saying, "He's a big boy..." 

Not wanting to get rear-ended by an 18-wheeled logging truck, (mind you, I am still of the pavement where I have a PRAYER of getting the center stand down) .  Logic tells me that If Skert (Google Carol SKERT Youorski) and Cliff come back and find that I am NOT UNDER the bike with tools I can just kiss salvation and good friends good bye.  OK, so I get off the bike and do one of those super-human lift-the-railroad-car-off-the-victim moves and the bike is up on center stand.  I place my hi-viz helmet uphill about 50 yards back as a warning to approaching motorists to put down their beer and take a wide pass at this curve.

I know that this story is getting long, but it's all good stuff.   Continuing:::   I lay down on the shoulder side of the road and drag myself under the bike.  When side stand let go it pressed the interlock (plastic) switch up against the exhaust.  Problem identified.  AND Skert and Cliff come rolling in.

Here I am, started the ride KNOWING that I had an issue.  Now here three of us sit on one of GA's best roads creating an obstacle to others.  My two bestest friends are standing in harms way with their travel day interrupted because I didn't take the time, before I rode today, to fix a problem that I knew existed.

The same goes for loose gear hanging off the luggage.  Socks blowing in the wind to dry, held on by aging bungies and flapping at 75 miles per hour.   What are we thinking?

Guess it's time to own up to my own personal Wardrobe  Malfunctions.  

Story to post today!

More to follow.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Letters to Home... and friends.


Good Morning from So IL.   Home of SIU and my old stomping grounds.   

I heard back from Brian and he says he is out of the mowing business.  I offered to let him use my mower, but have not heard back'  Will call Robert to see if he can take care of it.  Do you know anyone?   Maybe if you see a sign at the grocery store you could send the phone #.

Mayhaps will be home for a few hours the last weekend of the month.   Will be going from Birmingham to Lake George and then to FL later in the week.  I am at 23,000 miles since I left in September. This week I had to do new brake pads front and back. new wheel bearings (2nd set) rear, and new chain and sprockets (3rd set).   Will struggle thru with 45 - 61 MPG.  

Have a great week.  The weather finally dried out here.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Roadside Friend Alerts!

How often does it happen that we pull  up to a gas pump and someone waves, shares a smile or walks right over to see what we're riding?  My estimate is somewhere between A) every time and B) more than once per gas stop.

Last year I was on the way to Tellico Plains from Blairsville and a guy on a Harley was fueling up across from me.   We got talking and ended up  traveling together across the Cherohala Skyway and round tip on Tail of the Dragon.  He and his g/f were out for the day and shared overlooks and lunch with me...  Did I write down their name or contact info?   noooo... Drat.  I did get a photo if I can find that...  Sometimes things that happened last year stay in last year.

Eastern Ohio I team up with a guy on a Bergman 650 scooter and chase each other all the way to State college, PA.  Lost his name (shame on me) but he had started his travels in Waukeegan the day before I left Hanover Park.

Two weeks ago at March Moto Madness I refueled just outside of Geenback one evening and Simon from Vonore, TN came over to see the bike.  He's from England and has been in the area about 15 years... His fav bike is his Husaburg but I think he said he has three or more bikes.  His brother comes from England to visit and also rides.   Couple days later I am in line at the cash register (same store) and the guy in front of me is busy flirting the cashier...  and it's getting to be my turn...    Go figure... It's Simon again and we got back into discussions of local roads.  Andre (V-strom) was waiting for us out at the bikes and we went  from being straners to Simon to planning a return to Tellico Plains for a weekend ride on Simon's routes in July.

Bishop, CA.   November 26, 2013 I get up and prepare to leave M6 at 7:30, headed to Lake
Tahoe and isn' t there  guy sitting in a lawnchair beside my bike...   

to be continued.

Don't forget that I am your USA contact for Helite Air Bag Motorcycle Vests!

When I get caught up there will be videos and more stuff at the HELITE USA BLOG. <<<

Most sizes are in stock at my PA location, Black or Hi-Viz.

Jeff Kurtz