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Old 09-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #56
BC Brian OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Fraser BC
Oddometer: 605
Day 10 Sept 26 112 kms Bernalillo NM to Moriarty NM

I wanted to try to make it as far as Amarillo today, but was thinking I might try to stay off the freeway. I looked at some maps, saw some twisty looking roads that connected Bernalillo and hwy 40 over some mountains, googled Sandia Crest Hwy, looked good, twisty and paved and headed out. It was early, so I wore lots of clothes, thinking I could take off some layers as it warmed up later in the day. I headed up hwy 165, got into a the little town of Placitas, and saw this sign.


I am not sure about here, but signs like this at home don’t usually mean nice twisty paved highways. Nice and twisty maybe……. Paved…. Not as a rule. I carry on for a few miles and come to a rough looking gravel road. I check my map, yep, this is supposed to be it. On my Buell I probably would have tackled it. On this old shovelhead…….not so much. So I jammed out and headed back down the mountain.

I head down Highway 25 for Albuquerque, about 20 miles down the road, just into town, the traffic is getting heavy, and just as I am thinking I am getting into the last stages of rush hour I hear a loud backfire, and my engine quits.


I am in the middle lane, with traffic all doing 70 miles an hour, and I have no engine. I signal, pull over, dodging traffic. I can’t make the off ramp, so I pull over just past the off ramp, near an open area.

I am thinking that it sounded like ignition, so I pull off the timing cover, and it doesn’t look good. The bolt holding the Ignition in place is broken, and there are metal filings everywhere.

The backside of the electronic ignition plate is pretty chewed up, but no wires are hurt, and the sensor looks OK.

Now all I need to do is find a 2” #10 by 32 bolt and put it back together. I see a hotel nearby, so I put everything away, and plan on heading there to use their phone. I checked my iphone just before heading there, and I had wifi…. From the hotel. Sweet. I google autoparts, find a place only a mile away, lock my helmet to the bike, grab my jacket ( I don’t really have space to strap the jacket) and start walking. As I head over there, it is getting warmer, but its only a mile, right? I get there, and can you believe a huge auto parts distribution warehouse doesn’t have the bolt?

So I head out, checking for free wifi (there’s lot’s in that area) and google motorcycle places. There is a Harley dealer 2 miles away, but a place called Renegade Classic motorcycles, or something like that only couple miles away. I start walking, watching for a cab I can flag down. I walk there, without seeing a single cab, and they are a T-shirt and bandana and jacket store. No parts.


So away I go. I see a body shop, and go in, hoping I can buy a bolt out of their bolt bins. Nope. They don’t have a bolt bin, but he directs me to a hardware store that is closer than the Harley shop. I walk over there, and now its getting pretty hot out, and I am still wearing my “cooler weather” clothes, packing my jacket. I get to the store, buy some bolts and some washers, use their free wifi, and its 1.6 miles back to my bike. Should I call for a cab? Nah…. By the time it shows up I will already be there, so I buy a bottle of water and away I go. I get about half way and decide that it might have been better to sit in the air-conditioned store while I waited for the cab J

I get to my bike, put it all together, start cranking it over…..nothing.


I check the timing mark I had made, yep that’s good, I pull it apart again, check that its together right, reassemble the ignition, crank it over….. nothing. I change the timing, and when I have it retarted all the way, it will run on one cylinder.


I call my buddy who owns Sonic Cycle in Williams Lake for advice. He says “did you check this?”


“Did you check that?”


“Does this pin line up with this?”


“Does that pin line up line up with that?”


“How does it look in there?”

“Pretty ugly”

“Throw out the ignition and put points in.”


“Yep, they are cheap and it will work.”

OK then

So during all this performance, people are stopping by to see if I need help, and one guy, who calls himself Dr Dave ( a retired doctor) had told me that if I needed help to call him and he would drive me for parts. I was just getting ready to call him when a guy pulls up in a big diesel pickup and asks if I need help.


And that’s when I met Henry, a general contractor who had been riding Harleys for years, and still has the first bike he ever bought, a 1979 low rider, as well as a modern touring Harley. He says he knows what it’s like to have problems on the road and wants to help.

I tell him what’s going on and that I need to get to the Harley shop to buy a points set up. He says we can load my bike on his trailer and he will take me to a place where they specialise in old Harleys. Sweet.

Away we go to the bike shop, talking bikes and rides the whole way. Henry has ridden about as many miles as anyone I have ever met, and has ridden almost every state except Alaska.

I buy the points and install them with the bike on the trailer (just in case), fire it up, it runs great, unload it, and I take him out for a burger and a beer.


Henry’s rescue truck

We exchange info, I invite him to stop by for a day or a week when he rides to Alaska. I stop in the parking lot to call Dr. Dave and tell him I am on the road. He asks me if things went well, and if I have eaten. I tell him it is all good, thank him, he god blesses me, I god bless him, and I hit the road. I was beat, so I just rode as far as Moriarty and got a room.

BC Brian screwed with this post 09-26-2012 at 09:23 PM
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