Another Adventure Commute
So, a while ago I got paid to ride my bike to work.
Now, it's happening again. This will be a short five hour slab.
This one began in the usual hurry up we forgot to plan anything manner I've become accustomed to from my handlers.
A week ago two of these guys put their heads together and decided this is what we'd do. Of course they didn't talk to me about my schedule.
You see I'm off on assignment in the land of the blue-haired ninjas and have been for several months now. Things were purring along at a good clip, sometimes frantic sometimes mellow. The usual roller coaster ride.
We get a trip back home every 21 days so this weekend was to be my first. I'd been driving the five hours each way when I could take the time in an attempt to see some of my wife and daughters and keep whittling away at that honey-do list.
One thing on that list had been the service on my Adventure. Mostly it has been rotting in the garage for the last seven months. I'd ridden it twice to coffee in that time.
Yeah full Starbucks Adventure mode. Only I didn't go to Starbucks. :lol3
Anyway, the handlers and the travel folks decided I'd be switching modes on Monday; meaning no more hire car, and I'd need to switch to a month to month rate hotel. They "Fixed" that up real nice for me.
See, I didn't have to make this switch until mid March so we had time. I'd ordered some parts and was toying with ordering some more gear to replace the worn out bits and pieces.
First thing that happened is the hotel got nuked thanks to the travel lady swapping the charge form the corporate deal to the travel folks deal. My room went away.:eek1
Great. That meant Thursday night I had to drive across the valley a nice way to spend three hours. Then pack all my rap and arrange a new flight since the original round trip got nuked too. Now, I'd be traveling one way.
All that meant I had Saturday to do all the service work and run any errands and hopefully nothing would go amiss.
Oh, and just to add a bit more pressure, the deal usually includes a paid day at either end to pack and unpack. I don't get that since we're in hell-bent-for-leather mode. And just because that wasn't quite enough I got handed some work that somebody else was supposed to have done, in fact three somebody elses were to have done.
Suffice to say, that ain't getting worked by me this weekend. My time just ran out.
I got to the airport in plenty of time to avoid most of the stupid traffic but but not the horrible pizza, and one dumb fuck who decided it was a great idea to carry one his ginormous bag and stuff it into the overhead then slam the lid hard enough to break the hinge.
No really break the hinge. So the whole plane gets to sit there and wait for a mechanic to come over with parts and re-work it. Great guy. I think we all should have gotten to kick him in the jimmy on the way off the plane.:clap
So my plane was late getting to the home airport and I was too beat to do anything ther than partially unpack and head to bed at 10:30PM, having been awake since 3 AM.
I woke at 4:30 as usual, only that's 3:30 here.:huh
Finally gave up on sleeping made coffee and headed out the garage, where I find my new hottie battery. Damn! I ordered the terminals backwards. :baldy
Good time to go for a drive and think this over. Off to coffee and a long think...
I got the oils and filter changed and decided to let the valves be. Checked the TB's and they were right where I left them whenever it was I touched them last. Old motorcycles are nice in that they are very stable.
Now it was time to get some packing done.
Camping crap plus work crap and of course the outsized near-useless laptop I do my work with...
Part of the pile,
Part of it packed,
All that remains is the big yellow bag of stuff and a tank of gas, and I'll be on the road tomorrow sometime.
More later, Now it's time for a beer and the hot tub.
Man, it was cold. For me anyway. I didn't use my electric vest until I got to the hotel for the ride over to the east valley to retreive the rest of my gear. Five trips up and down the 5 floors and I'm pretty close to moved in. I hope this is my digs for the duration.
One probelm with not getting any long rides in or any rides really is that I'm not used to it. My neck is hammered now.
At least that keeps my brain off my bad back. :lol3
Time to ice my back and get some sleep. 4:30AM isn't too far off.
A Weekend Off
After a week that included an 18 hour shift followed five hours later by a 9 hour straight no stopping shift, I needed a few days to rest up and clear things out.
I'm not as young as I used to be.
First up was breakfast,
I'm heading out to find some gravel. I'm thinking easy at first over to Tortilla Flats and up over the top. Then head South I think.
More in a bit.
Gravel, but first lets dump this on the pavement.
Yep, off to a great start. Went past my dad's to talk and let the day warm up some. Upon leaving I dropped the bike rocking it off the centerstand. Very rusty indeed.
No big deal the retirees to the rescue and I'm back on two wheels before I can dig out the camera. :lol3
I headed out past Tortilla Flats to hit the gravel/dirt that starts a bit past there. First up was a water crossing. Cool. I should have taken a picture but didn't.
I finally stopped on this descent to record the place. I had to use the kill switch and leave the bike in first to keep it in place.
The ride to the pavement past the dam was fun and tiring. It took me a good long while to get semi comfortable with riding on loose stuff again.
Looking down the hill,
Looks like you are having fun. Hope to see more of this.
Well now, it has been a while since my last update. And a lot of drama between then and now.
First up I ran back to the coast with the intent of installing a few bits and bleeding the clutch and brakes.
As the saying goes, "the adventure begins when things stop going as planned."
The adventure began at lunch. Or rather on my way back from lunch. I noticed the rear tire spooled up real easy, like a high horsepower superbike coming off a favorite corner.
I found the rear tire was low. real low. Mud pressure low. :eek1
Out came the aging compressor and up went the pressure. Slowly.:huh
I got out of the plant about 4, so later than I'd wanted but not terrible. It was warmish so no vents open no liner.
About 40 miles east of Quartzite I noticed the oil temp gauge was hovering just under the red zone. Hmm?
Decided to stop for gas in Quartzite and check on this. When I stopped I had other things on my mind but the oil slicked side stand got me to focus real quick.
Where is the oil coming from? And it is not heavy more of a mist, but not good. The filler cap had been leaking and this was worse now, but not to account for this much oil.
After a run to the restroom and a big bottle of water and a quart of oil I pushed the bike over to the pumps to get a paper towel to wipe the sight glass and see what was up and investigate this leak.
As I wiped around near the sight glass, my knuckle touched the glass and I heard a "tink". :huh
Looked and saw this:
Not good. Got on the phone to the auto club.
An hour or so later the bike and I were loaded into a trailer and pick up and on our way over the river to Blythe.
My knowledge of how this towing thing works over long distances was expanded at about the same rate as my wallet was emptied.
First up they told be a tow back to Phoenix would run somewhere north of $900. This is with the 100 mile free tow the auto club RV and motorcycle towing provides. This company charges what they call a "port to port" fee of $185. No definition of "port" was offered.
Oh and the tow company calendar is odd. For storing the bike less than 20 hours I got charged for two days. $50/day plus a $100 cash only call out fee for the owner to drive all the way across Blythe at 5PM, (rush hour I guess:lol3) on a Saturday.
Anyway to back track, while I waited in the Denny's, (open 24 hours and the food never gets any better), I texted and talked to Poolside who came up with the scheme to rent a truck. That turned out to work great.
Truck rental was about $135 and gas ran about $150, so still not $900
The sight glass is $44 and Brown Motor Works had one and was on the way so we did that. We opted to work on the bike in the garage rather than in the heat in Blythe.
Jim found the three largest guys at the hotel across from the tow yard and they basically picked the bike and me up and set us safely in the back of the truck. Even with Poolsides two ramps. Strapped down like load of pipe we headed back to t he OC. Jim driving. between us we were working on about 6 hours sleep. We got to the house where friends of my daughters husbands served as replacements for the big guys in Blythe.
Sunday I made it look like this:
A couple of days of testing to make sure we had an oil tight motor again, and it was back across the desert.
Seemed fine at the local adventure stop,
About a hundred and fifty miles into the return trip the temp gauge hovered below the red zone again.
I'd left my iPhone at home and the company flip phone from AT&T is useless. Dial a call, and it hangs up if it doesn't have a full contingent of bars.
So, I stop often and let things cool. I finally decide this has to be the thermostat for the oil cooler.
Once I got to my hotel I confirm this suspicion with Poolside. And run the usual roadside diagnostic on it the next morning. For running back and forth to work it works. It is only six miles. I order the parts from the dealer down in Chandler, and I should have those in hand this weekend.
A few more bits of drama were added as we went along. Back in the OC I found that the clutch slave was not happy. Bleeding it did very little to get the feel back. So those parts were ordered form Beemer Bone Yard.
Oh, and that low tire?
Well it turned out to be this:
I plugged this one, there were three, and headed off into t he desert.
A slow leak but not terrible.
I was not interested in pulling the tire off and putting my spare tube in. So I didn't. One of these wires was stuck in the block and a third was so far in the block I could not extract it.
Things are functional here,
Once I get the thermostat replaced I'll head back to the CO on the following weekend. Tires and clutch bits await there. Sadly that will end this chapter of the commute adventure because I'll drive the Murano back with my bicycle. At least I can get into shape.
I should be back in the OC tearing the bike to pieces about mid May. I'll do the clutch disc if I have to and the upper line if I have to. Tires, and that stuff. Should be good as new by June.
Great writing style! :D Good luck getting the bike all fixed up.
the more I ride road the shorter distances get
I rode singletrack for the past 30 years and started getting into adventure riding more lately
gnarly singletrack is a workout but road riding is just absolutly grueling and wears me out more in other ways
I recently built a full touring fairing for my bike that created a full bubble of protection, quiet smooth no buffeting of wind roar . It was so much warmer and the miles just click away . Only down side is the ugliness and bulk off road.
I also found that letting the front tire pressure down in the front makes it handle excellent in gravel and deep sand but is very dangerous when back on the hiway, so I let the air down to 17 for off pavement and carry a slime pump to bump the pressure back up to 35 for superslab which makes the trip very pleasant on the 950ktm, did the same on the '07 12 GS I had
Off To Find Some Gravel
Unpaved roads anyway. I slide my CF card into the 2610 that holds a pile of USGS topo maps for the four corners states.
They are there, but not the one where I am.
I figure this out after adding fuel. Just 5 gallons I don't need to be picking up anymore than I have to. I figured I could wander around for an hour or so on the three liters water I had on my back.
Turns out I was right about that. Bloody hot out today, but felt wonderful. I only noticed the heat and the weight of the bike when I was opening and closing gates. The one had what felt like a concrete filled pipe at the end of it. Without a map I had no idea which gate was the right one at that point, and I'd past it so turned around at the dead end at a ranch and as I neared a van and two ladies were at the gate. I stopped and asked of that was the road, They said it was and asked if I'd help. The top loop wire had been tightened so it took two of us pulling and pushing to get the thing open. We fixed that so it was plenty snug, but with a little extra effort one person could manage it.
This was over on the west side of I 17 North of Phoenix. There were some folks out there target shooting and an OHV area I ran into up another road. I gave up on the west side after running up each road to a locked gate.
At this place somebody had dumped a lot of nails, bent and straight. Looked like when it was wet so they would be covered in the mud.
Lovely example of a human being that. Idiots. I suppose there is some reason, but it still doesn't make sense.
Saw a rattle snake on the road on the way to this point, but I was concentrating on staying out of ruts on the little hill I was coming down and couldn't really pry my attention away to find a parking spot for a picture. When I did get turned around and came back of course there was no trace. It was a small one maybe three feet or so. Pretty long rattles though, about a hand-width long. Black banded tail too.
The roads looked mostly like this on the west side except for one spot where some trucks full of quads went by. Just over a rise from that point was this huge ditch/rut across the road that I decided to not bother and attempt on that short steep descent. Alone, I'll chicken out unless I just have to get through. I didn't have to so I turned around.
more in a bit.
After dodging beater pickups being driven like trophy trucks and finding a load of locked gates and finally one big ditch I was not willing to attempt, I decided to go look at the east side of the interstate.
My GPS was not that helpful,
After coming to another deadend at a ranch gate I'd about decided the day was over. I turned around again, but back up the road a bit I came upon a van and a lady struggling to unhitch a gate. I had not even noticed this gate. I asked if this was Table Mesa Road and it was, so I helped with the gate and we fixed it so it was not such a struggle. Still good and tight, just not enough to tweak my back again.
After we got the van and my bike through we re-hitched the gate and the two ladies were off to the river beyond. They had warned me I might not get the bike very far, and after I passed them bouncing along about a half mile up the road, I came to my first water crossing in quite a long time. Long enough ago, I don't recall when it was. The approach was all babies head rocks but a nice shallow angle. The exit was into deep soft sand, a bit smaller than pea gravel. The bottom went the same way from rocks to sand. I walked it just to be certain and on my way back the van with the two ladies caught up. I told them I was going to cross, and should be fine, they drove across in the van and I followed after a bit. All alone.
From the sandy side looking back from where I came,
After taking the picture a family in a Suburban came by and I waved. I found a spot for as they say, a nature break, then saddled up in the heat and headed up the road. The desert went from scrub to cactus. On the other side of the freeway I'd seen a rattlesnake, which today I found was a diamondback. I wished I'd been able to catch a photo.
After a few more miles I caught up to the suburban he was semi-lost and asked about directions. I showed him the Garmin. Then I checked my water in my backpack. Hmm, not good. Less than a liter there and I got maybe 35 miles home. I really should have grabbed a couple big bottles when I got gas.
Now, I know that for next time. I ran back across the water it was easier going having it under my belt and going from sand to rocks I liked better.
It was a fun outing If I'd had my maps loaded and more water I might have ridden further. As it was I headed straight for Safeway and some much needed water by then. The three liters were gone about two exits north of the store.
I got a two liter bottle and drank that while I walked around picking up the rest of what I needed.
Some fat tires just in case I felt the need for a tall cold beer.
I felt the need.
Now that the weather has finally turned warm, it is time to head back home. One more morning commute here and then an evening ride into the sunset and home.:clap
The Rally 3 jacket works fine in this heat for me. I get to work after my short commute usually with my shirt a bit damp from the morning heat, (about 6:00 AM here it is already warm).
By noon temperatures hit about 100 out this side of town with pockets that feel almost too hot to have the visor open.:huh
The bonus is riding to lunch and as I move an arm or turn the bike I feel that little crease of fabric that stayed chilled from the office A/C.
A nice little surprise.
I'll miss the per diem, and hotel cleaning. I won't miss being away from my family, and friends and my normal routine.
I get a weeks vacation between work storms. I'm jumping from one near finished storm into the jaws of an unknown other. The usual work routine for me.
I won't get my epic five week ride, but I've not ridden enough to be in shape for that to be fun anyway. And all the housework that has piled up over the course of the last year and a half is mostly waiting on me picking up where I left off on all those projects.
So tomorrow about this time I hope to be about at the border and some short bit later stop for some arty shots of the old battle-bike in it's natural element. Here's to hoping I'm not too tired to pick the bike up when I tip it over for a rest.:lol3
More tomorrow and on,
And done, a week ago.
I rode home after several months in Arizona.
No drama this trip, nothing broke, fell off or got lost. I went from afternoon high 90's to freezing to me. Had to stop at Whitewater and close the vents. Should have put on my windproof liner. Then welcome to LA about 6 miles form the 91 and 60. Car flipped blocking one of two lanes. A mile later the far side was a mess. :huh
I drained the camel-bak and re-filled it once. Got home around 10PM tired and wind whipped.
After a week's vacation, I feel like I could use a couple more.:evil
Monday it is back to my usual commute to the beach. :clap
...until the next time.
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