Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Feb 3, 2013
I don't know how many marques have odometers that allow you to roll up 100,000 miles and then keep going, but BMW does. Here's a pic of the odo on my 1990 K75 BMW. After many miles as a solo ride the bike...nick-named Coda... was transformed into a tug for our sidecar outfit.
Since then it has hauled us all over the mountain west pretty much effortlessly.
We cruise the interstates at about 70 mph with enough left to pass at a good clip when necessary. Pretty respectable performance for an old 750. Considering the fact that I've seen K75s with more than two hundred thousand miles on their odometers I'm counting on many more happy miles.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
My Sunday is usually spent on the scoot, trying to avoid death at the hands of some cage driver blathering on a cell phone, but there was no ride today.
It was time to oil my carport. This is something I do about every three thousand miles. I don’t intend to do it, I just do it. It’s a motorcycle guy kind of thing.
Over the last fifty years motorcycles have become so high-tech that there is not much I can still do myself in the way of bike maintenance. I could no more get a steel belted radial off a wheel rim than I could fly to the moon; the carburetors that I used to re-jet myself have been replaced by fuel injection. Adjust the timing? Forget about it, that’s all done by a sealed black box. If you are in Dismal Seepage Nevada when it goes south ain’t nothin’ you can do but wait for the Greyhound Bus.
About all that’s left of my pride of independence is changing my own oil and filter.
And oiling my carport. I never do one without the other because the bike in question has no center stand, and can only be worked on from one side.
It’s a sidecar outfit. It’s a monster of inconvenience to work on. The tub is on one side and the sub-frame for its mounts are attached to the fittings that used to carry the center stand. There is only six inches of clearance between the oil pan and the carport floor.
The only way to work is stretched out on the ground. By the time the drain plug is out and the oil is draining into the drain pan I have burned myself at least once on a hot header pipe and accidentally shoved the drain pan so that oil is pouring out on the floor.
Every move I make drips or splashes oil on the floor. Getting the cover off the oil filter and then unscrewing the filter will loosen things just enough so that hot oil drips down my arm and….wait for it…on the floor. The whole job takes about an hour. Cleaning up takes another hour.
The bike purrs along in well-oiled condition and the carport floor looks nice and shiny. It’s been a day well spent.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
The bike runs effortlessly on the slight downhill run into a blind right hand corner as I pick my line…easy…easy…not too fast… aah, smooth. Now pop the bike upright and set up for the left hander ahead…look for the groove…that’s it…add a little power andWow, what a feeling. Don’t get too complacent for there is another blind right hander just ahead. The road sign says “Caution: Congestion Ahead” but I ignore it as the tourist season has not yet set in and I know the locals do not walk or park in the road.
The road is a smooth ribbon of asphalt that wanders along with the river on one side and a black bluff on the other that drips moisture out of the mountain. The thought crosses my mind that this road was originally carved out of the wilderness so that someone could get his wares to market. The settlers that laboriously hacked out the road probably followed a trail that my ancestors had used for hundreds of years for the same purpose. Even this early in the Spring the bluff side is dusted with small blue flowers that are already blooming. As I gaze ahead down the road and drink in the sight of the road and river I realize that this is still America the Beautiful.
The old woman that is working in her tiny garden on the other side of the river stops to give me a glance and a wave. I wave back and set up for a quick ess curve that almost catches me off guard. Although it has been a while since I saw another vehicle I know how important it is to maintain lane discipline; all it takes is to swing wide on one curve and things could turn nasty. The road is smooth and the air is clean. All is well in my head.
Since I fueled up at the gap I have plenty of gas left; I have ample rations on board and a permit to camp anywhere on Federal Land so there is no pressure to arrive on time at any destination. With this new sense of freedom Raven and I charge on down the river road and pick up the pace a little just because it feels right, not because we must keep up with anyone nor do we have anything to prove, but because it feels right. My head is clear. For a moment there is no war in Iraq where my brothers are being killed, there is no economic recession, there is no racial stress, and there is no drug problem. All that exists for me at this very moment is America the Beautiful.
I become a little hungry so Raven and I pull into a roadside table for a short rest. I have some jerky in my bags and find a little spring of crystal clear water coming out of the mountain. Lunch is good and I reflect briefly how it may have been not so different a couple of hundred years ago as my great-grandfather could have passed through this very spot on horseback. I can feel the cold of the river as it rushes past, seeking its way toward larger and ever larger rivers before pouring into the ocean. I wonder if the river has always been here; is it eternal? It seems to never stop or slow but plods on with an unfaltering determination.
Back on the highway we leave the river for a little while and climb towards the mountain range ahead. As we climb the air becomes cooler and dryer. I can breathe really well. Although it is getting somewhat late in the day I think it would be better to seek a camp at less altitude. The road crests the mountain and it seems that I can see forever. The bike acts if it likes the altitude and makes good power as I exit the long sweeper that leads into the tunnel. Darn, I never do like the tunnels and this one is no different. Bright sunlight with contracted pupils and then bang into the darkness of the tunnel. Is that something ahead? A bicyclist? Or worse yet, a bear? Darn it, why don’t they put better lights on BMW’s.
Safely out of the tunnel we press on toward the valley below that I had spotted from the mountain top. I point Raven toward a series of curves ahead and let him kind of have his head, so to speak. The bike falls into a comfortable rhythm of downhill left then right then left then right turns. This continues for twenty or so miles before arriving onto the valley floor. My head is clear. I realize that I am smiling.
The road begins to follow another river and we settle into a comfortable gait along the slow sweepers as I enjoy the scenery of this calm valley contrasted against a background of steep mountains. I see a spot ahead just off the road that looks like a good place to camp and pull in for a better look. The ground is dry, there is plenty of spring water, and firewood is for the picking up. I set up my tent and gather enough firewood for the night. I have some dehydrated soup in my bag that is easily prepared and very warming. I settle into my sleeping bag and zip up the tent. For just a short while before falling asleep I have time to think…this truly is America the Beautiful.