The old fashioned mechanical ignition points didn't have the moisture resistance that new solid state ignitions have. After four days on the ferry back from Alaska, the bike spent the night outside in the foothills of the Cascades, and the next morning I kicked for a long time without gettting a pop. Finally pulled the ignition cover and gave everything a shot of WD-40 and then it started right up.
We take a lot for granted today. The XT valves were very easy to adjust, but they loosened with miles and made a racket to let you know it was time to snug them down a little. Oil changes were a bit of a process with the oil in the frame and various filters. It really preferred premium gas. The starting process was pretty intricate until you learned where the piston was by feel and didn't need to stand on your head to look at the little window in the cam cover any more. No counterbalancer, so you knew what a big single felt like -- more shake than buzz.
I never again owned a bike that was as easy to ride long wheelies as my XT500. I'd own one again just for that.