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Old 05-26-2009, 07:29 PM   #106
Douf OP
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Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
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Day 12 (part 2): Choteau MT - Bondurant WY.

Tagging the Mexican border seemed like a great idea and a good bonus for the end of the ride, plus I hadn't seen much of New Mexico or western Texas before, so it was with a renewed sense of anticipation that I rolled out of Hi-Tech Motorsports - solo for the first time on the trip. Yellowstone - another uncharted destination for this traveler - was right down the road from my current location and seemed like as good a place as any to start this lonesome odyssey; so I pointed precious in the direction of the park's north east entrance and its' approach road: Beartooth Pass.



Heading up the initial slopes of the Beartooth Pass: 45mph - Yeah, whatever

Wow! Almost before I'd started ascending its' dizzying heights, I couldn't believe my luck. At this stage of the journey, with somewhere in the region of 9-10,000 miles on the clock, I had (almost accidentally) stumbled on what may very possibly have been the best stretch of road so far on the trip. In addition to the stunning scenery, the nature of the road's breathtaking series of switchbacks as it clung to the mountainside on its' sharply upward trajectory was definitely the stuff of dreams for any motorcyclist who's ever aspired to anything more challenging than riding down main street in a thong and a tank shirt. However, although being attractively draped amongst the mountainous landscape which naturally encouraged a rapid rate of ascent, our spirited progress over the pass was regularly punctuated by necessities of a visual archive and consequently I found the urges of sportbike ecstasy competing keenly with those of the photographer, as each successively stunning overlook struggled for a place of affection in my over-awed consciousness. Additionally, at the crest of the range, there were a series of vibrantly shimmering mountaintop lakes which - if indeed it were actually possible at this point - added to the overwhelming visual serenity, and of course further delayed my sporadic advancement by directing additional tenderness towards my already impressively blistered fingers controlling the shutter release of my point and shoot.



Those sure are some purdy mountains though

Ultimately, after slicing my way enthusiastically over Beartooth's spectacular summit, and with a gratifying cache of picturesque photographic evidence duly collected, I crossed over into Wyoming, presently approaching the Park's official entrance (Beartooth itself is actually located outside the perimeter of Yellowstone). Waiting in line as patiently as possible in the heat of mid afternoon's oppressive temperatures, with the hordes of other equally expectant visitors, my mind's misanthropic tendency towards human claustrophobia inevitably conspired to conjure dismal images of depressing two wheeled progress conducted at a microscopic rate, as the local herd of recreational vehicles united in a collective display of soul destroying gridlock. The reality though was actually considerably different, but predictably alas, the result was depressingly familiar, since, although the battalion of heavily armored RV's did indeed complement the military precision by which the exercise was seemingly accomplished, it was actually the dishearteningly extensive camera laden infantry along with their abandoned roadside artillery that successfully cemented the stalemate.



The road up 'em doesn't look too bad either

Ansel Adams - or at least his management team - I'm guessing is these days an extremely wealthy entity, since on the current visual evidence, for some reason or other half the tourist population of Wyoming was desperately attempting to duplicate his particular brand of spectacular yet predictably bland monochrome majesty as, united in photographic purgatory, they earnestly toted around an impressive armory of expensively phallic cameras, and hauled along countless battalions of ungainly tripods while they jockeyed for position in a frenzied quest for digital utopia.



And on we went.



Merely on the basis of the apparent financial gulf existing between the outlay for one of these three foot long telephoto behemoths, versus my rugged yet primitively functional ride and shoot model, I would imagine that my brothers in photographic arms and I doubtless shared a distinct mutual dis-admiration for each others' efforts. However, quite apart from the apparent non-appreciation relating to the conflicting methods of image capturing warfare taking place, I had my own quest to consider, which simply involved getting a flavor for the overall ambiance of Yellowstone, while making my way through the park in as expedient a fashion as reasonably possible. And it wasn't going that well.



Doesn't look like it'd be too bad if you over cooked it either



Like I said

The further I went, the worse it got too. I started to form an impression, - having nothing to do with my immeasurable frustration level I'm sure - that while quite impressive in an overall light, there was very little - compared to other national monuments I'd visited - about any one particular feature in this place that was in truth singularly awe-inspiring, and possibly the whole extensively irritating landscape was just an excuse to form a super sized tourist trap of unyielding misery around a handful of geysers. I must confess though, on the basis of the visual evidence, most of my fellow inmates appeared to be quite happy with the situation.



Yummy!



Nearing the top.

On the verge of spitting the dummy out of the pram, the park's interminable vistas - with their speed associated hand in drastically delaying my exit - looked like they'd be my mental undoing, and the corresponding parade of arbitrarily wandering tourists dawdling along at the park's ridiculous speed limit (or slower ) had me in such a helmeted hissy fit that I blew right by (If one can ever refer to trundling along at an asthmatic 15mph as blowing by) the park's most famous natural wonder - Old Faithful - without even stopping for a peak. If I had ever actually stopped and dismounted, it's a pretty safe bet that, with fists maniacally clenched and blood vessels bulging from the enraged confines of my reddened forehead, I'd have been jumping up and down on the spot, stamping my boots furiously on the ground and screaming at anyone in earshot in pretty short order. fwiw if you hadn't already guessed by the self-indulgent, attention seeking nature of my writing, I am an only child.



Almost there.



About the only sight I can remember during the whole visit, which briefly succeeded in lowering my blood pressure below boiling point and possibly (unconfirmed) even brought a smile to my face, was the unlikely presence of a Buffalo obliviously wandering down the center of the road while further holding up the already virtually stagnant flow of traffic (I didn't realize they could walk that slow ). Fortunately - for the sake of my continued sanity - this mood altering encounter occurred not far from the southern exit to the park, so at least as finally and with unbridled relief the revs picked up, the bike accelerated and the park disappeared from the rear view mirror, I was perhaps a little happier than might otherwise have been the case.



Within a few brief miles of exiting that government sponsored crucible of misery however, the simple pleasure of motoring blissfully along an open road - made even more remarkable by the unbelievable difference in velocity of my regular cruising speed versus the national park's mandatory funeral procession - had magically resumed my hitherto suicidal outlook to its' usual carefree disposition; and if you believe that, you'll believe anything! Also improving matters, a little further on the unlikely yet regal presence of the Grand Tetons emerged spectacularly over the horizon. Now, on power touring trips like these, this is how I like my scenery: Drive through - no lines! You show up, like Clark Griswold at the Grand Canyon, take a brief look, grab a quick photo - and you're gone. Excellent! It's not as though I wouldn't love to spend an entire week hiking around the local trails, it's just that on a whistle stop journey like this, that's really not an option. You do what you've gotta do; you pays yer money and takes yer choice.



Anyway, following a mercifully expedient break mainly spent committing these Tetonic wonders to photographic immortality, with the daylight hours rapidly evaporating from the day's schedule my thoughts naturally turned to the evening's final destination and finding a room for the night, with maybe something to eat thrown in just for good measure. A quick look at the map and the welcome sight of Jackson appeared, which on the face of it looked like a large enough settlement to present a reasonable chance of securing a room for the evening, even though the dreaded twilight hour of limited hotel reservations was fast approaching. As I rode through the outskirts and into the town proper, it was indeed a place of quite some character - one of those places where the solo motorcyclist with a family back at home thinks ' I'll have to bring the wife back here sometime'.



Jackson was filled with a lot more people than I'd seen in one place for quite some time, the town center was a hive of activity, and judging by the amount of young people wandering around in military regalia, there was apparently some kind of defense related convention going on. Unfortunately as far I was concerned though, the distinctly undesirable result of all this hustle and bustle was, that after circling the entire town along with its' suburbs and making numerous inquiries at an endless procession of lodging establishments, for all intents and purposes there appeared to be not a single vacancy available in the entire area.



Before even crossing the state line, the first cowboy hat appeared.



Needless to say I was less than enthusiastic about this inconvenient state of affairs, so at around 9pm, with darkness having fallen and after finally conceding defeat in the quest for a bed, I refueled the bike while nervously making the decision to leave behind the welcoming security of Jackson's downtown lights, and headed out into the darkened uncertainty of the mountains to the south of town. Making this option even less palatable, was the fact that for the next 100 miles in this direction (until reaching the interstate in fact) there were only a number questionably sized settlements marked on the map which, from previous experience, I was all too aware could in reality turn out to be nothing more than names themselves. Spending the next three hours anxiously groping around in the desolate darkened reaches of southern Wyoming's mountainous terrain amid an unknown compliment of four legged companions (who'd likely be cavorting indiscriminately in and out of the hedgerows), was not a scenario that I was at all comfortable with. But that's why they call it an adventure, right? So off I went.



My pessimistic imagination was no doubt significantly enhancing the actual depth of any current peril in which I found myself but, the roads - which would have been absolute heaven in the daylight - immediately began a tortuous ascent into the upper elevations of the hills, with every shadow's sinister flicker possessing - in my mind - the potential to morph into reality and, with a single leap into the path of my oncoming bike, turn the entire unfortunate escapade into immediate and total disaster. I began to relive all the previous occasions on which I'd almost met motorcycling catastrophe at the hands of an carelessly roaming night bound creature, but somehow, since I was either close to home or riding with companions, those instances didn't seem nearly as serious as my current plight. I saw myself hitting one of those critters and running off the road into a ditch, out of sight of subsequent travelers; and with my current sole means of communication - the cellphone - potentially being all but useless in the limited signal strength of my present surroundings, I started to wonder if anyone would even find me if the unthinkable actually did occur.



Well, - even discounting the emotional turmoil of leaving Joe and Gary on the highway outside Billings - this particular day had certainly provided my psychotic disposition with a little of everything: exhilaration (cresting the inspiring upper reaches of the unbelievable Beartooth Pass), frustration (dealing with the tourist infested log jam that dictated a distinctly unsatisfying sojourn through Yellowstone's otherwise scenic pastures), Panic (as I pictured my trip abruptly ending in he darkness outside Jackson, possibly on the rack of a mule deer ) and finally relief as, rolling into the extremely limited metropolis of Bondurant, I spotted what appeared to be a vacancy sign.



Hmmmmmm...........

Son of a be-atch! At the side of an otherwise dark and deserted mountain top highway indeed lay a rustic looking reception/bar structure around which was situated a small cluster of log cabins. This modest assemblage of real estate collectively formed the Hoback Village Resort and I for one was incredibly relieved to find it. I stumbled into the inner sanctum of the bar area to find the premises completely deserted except for a rather dapper looking gentleman standing purposefully behind the bar, who I took to be the proprietor of the establishment. Looking like an exceptionally rugged version of Kenny Rodgers, this quite excellent character was outfitted - without any apparent hint of self consciousness - in some of the most flamboyant western attire imaginable, including a fabulously ornate belt buckle that had been polished to within an inch of its' very existence and a preposterously extravagant hat which, being adorned with an arrangement of impossibly vibrant feathers, was absolutely and in every respect the aesthetic equal of the aforementioned ironmongery. His incomparable level of sartorial elegance was thoroughly complemented by an overly thick full white beard and an equivalently lavish shock of similarly white hair that protruded conspicuously from beneath the brim of his hat.



Show us your Tetons



After thankfully confirming the availability of a night's accommodation with our aging westernized Beau Brummel, I was however, a little perturbed to discover the associated non-negotiable terms of the agreement: cash only; and naturally I currently had not a single producible dollar to my name. Hoping - under the circumstances - for some flexibility regarding the nature of an acceptable financial instrument, I engaged in a short but ultimately unsuccessful bout of negotiation after which, in a state of mild irritation, I inquired of our stubbornly inflexible host where he supposed I might find a local ATM at this hour, since I'd had enough trouble merely locating him and all his finery.



.......and they were rather Grand



Apparently having rehearsed this particular script on numerous occasions, our genial proprietor calmly described how I might retrace my steps back down the mountain for a couple of miles, where I would likely find a bar on the left hand side of the road. Now the bar did not itself actually contain such a money dispensing device, but the small convenience store, adjacent to the hostilliery and under the same ownership, apparently did. However at this hour the store would likely be closed, but 'Not to worry,' he said, all I had to do was enter the bar, accost one of the serving staff, produce a credit card and convince this person to open up to store for the sole purpose of operating the ATM in order to supply me with the desired monetary denominations. Unsurprisingly, after the day I'd had and the lateness of the hour, at this stage I was utterly disheartened by the nature of the ridiculously convoluted process required just to obtain a handful of banknotes. However, our western friend was still adamant that these were the only acceptable terms available and therefore since it was a simple choice between: money now = room, or no money = no room, I dejectedly suited up in my collection of motorcycle paraphernalia and trudged morosely out of the door. However, as I was leaving, my fiscal nemesis assumed a mildly conciliatory tone and agreed that, even though it was technically time to close for the night, as a special favor he would stay open until I returned. Kenny, you're all heart buddy!



Surprisingly though - maybe because either I represented such a pathetic figure as I stood dejectedly at the bar, or possibly simply because they knew what a pain in the ass our dandy yet hard-headed cowboy was to deal with - the series of money acquiring events progressed in a remarkably straight forward fashion exactly as described. So it was then, with a sense of relief - matched only in significance by a corresponding sense of exhaustion - that I retraced my steps back to the Hoback, where - as promised - I found our true-to-his-word western friend with the lights still on and, after eagerly snatching the wad of bills from my hand, he presented me with a key and directions to my cabin which, when all was said and done, actually turned out to be rather nice!

Douf

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Old 05-27-2009, 07:05 PM   #107
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:21 PM   #108
Douf OP
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Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
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Coolant Fill Procedure

As promised here's a shot (sorry for the poor quality) of the section of KTM's manufacturer's manual detailing the lifting requirement for coolant bleeding. FWIW the Orange Crush procedure so excellently documented by Pyndon - which doesn't specify raising the machine - is actually done correctly for his model year, since as far as I can tell from the pdf version of the 2003/4 manual I have, there is no stipulation in the text that mandates the machine being lifted. For some reason though they changed this procedure in '05



And for the sake of completeness, here's the oil filter which, judging by the waviness of the fins had already started to become waterlogged by coolant which was leaking past the pump shaft seal into the oil supply. Ignoring this would ultimately have resulted in the oil pressure light flickering occasionally and, ignoring that - well that would eventually cause the whole plot to seize



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Old 06-01-2009, 05:38 PM   #109
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I've been through there...

I blinked and missed Bondurant. When I got out of the traffic in Jackson, I didn't stop until I got to Pinedale. No quirky B&B owners in Pinedale - just a boring motel. The riding was nice though....


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Old 06-04-2009, 04:18 PM   #110
Douf OP
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Douf vs. Precious

Day 13 Bondurant, WY – Limon, CO.







Without Sergeant Major Gary to kick my unenthusiastic carcass out of bed before the crack of dawn, I must admit it was very tempting just to wallow in my smelly pit for a few more hours, but as the saying goes 'We rest when we get home.' So with that in mind and paying continued respect to the pre-ordained 5am departure hour, with a strange mixture of mild physical apathy and a curious excitement, my aching bones slowly displayed a few initial signs of morning mobility. Anticipating the first fully solo day of the trip while completing the usual pre-ride preparations, I contemplated the potential of what the next few hours might have in store for me with a studied uncertainty. Obviously, being alone felt quite different from having the other two guys with me; though we weren't always exactly full of the joys of spring every morning, even having someone at whom to grunt a couple of hollow platitudes was, in retrospect, something to treasure and the loneliness of my current situation was all too evident as I circled my partially loaded machine in an eerie silence. Noticeably though, the lack of vocal commotion succeeded in accentuating the atmospheric aura somewhat, as the stillness of the morning's cool air was sporadically punctuated by a crisp crackling sound as my heavy boots crumpled the frosty ground beneath them. Loading the final articles onto my ever willing machine, what sounded suspiciously like a wolf howling in the distance added considerably to the sense of isolated drama and, although not feeling particularly threatened at the time, it was with a definite sense of relief that the KTM's starter button for once produced only the desired result. So, with environmental defenses of the electric vest and gloves set on broil, my solitary orange companion and I headed out to seize the day.



Precious in front of my cabin at the majestic
Hoback Village Resort

Although both of my erstwhile riding companions were currently heading towards the north east with every last ounce of haste they could muster, eventually it was a sense of familiarity rather than isolation that predominated my thoughts as the route started to traverse areas of the country that I was actually vaguely acquainted with. It was great riding too. For anyone on the east coast who's looking to do their first major trip: do yourself a favor and get out to Colorado (any of it) or Utah (preferably the south). There's such a high density of great riding in these areas that you can't really go wrong. Colorado in particular is so easy to tour - in my experience, you just pull the map out and head over anything that has 'pass' in its' name - it really is that simple. The only thing that requires any kind of thought is timing the trip so that there's not six feet (or more) of snow covering the roads/trails.



Like I said, you've got to carefully time your Colorado trip. This was from a previous trip taken in the first week in June! Ophir Pass - one of maybe 30% of the offroad passes that had even been cleared by that stage.

Anyway, with this warm sense of familiarity, some of the best riding so far on the trip started to roll under my companion's eager wheels. One particularly steep descent down through the north eastern corner of Utah had a series of around ten highly enjoyable switchbacks, along with accompanying signs counting them down one by one. Excellent! At this stage, the prevailing terrain of the region was conspiring to take on a familiarly barren desert like aura, with very little in the way of obvious civilization apparent along the route; the starkness of these surroundings, appropriately enough, was complemented by some brutally oppressive heat too. More of the same terrain presented itself as presently, my route crossed the state line into Colorado, continuing in a generally southern direction along the state's western border, and after well over an hour of covering some pretty isolated mileage - with nothing else of any significance to occupy me and being the incorrigible pessimist that I am - I started to consider the unpalatably grievous possibility of getting stranded out here, which, with a total lack of shelter and the unwelcome attention of midday's incessant heat was certainly a situation I was happy to avoid at all costs.



However - and somewhat predictably in the grand scheme of things I suppose, my little orange munchkin, ever eager to please and apparently having other ideas, started to transmit a vague feeling from the rear wheel which felt suspiciously like the tire was going flat. But, being one of those folks who has literally hundreds of phantom flat tires during any given trip, it was with no great urgency that I maneuvered myself around on the machine in order to check out the potentially offending item. Shit! Lethargic indifference rapidly morphed into a mild dose of keenly focused panic as I observed the rear tire which was indeed losing air (only at the bottom though ) and although not completely running on the rim, was certainly intending to achieve that wholly undesirable status in fairly short order.



In what was - all things considered - a stroke of extremely good luck, as I prepared to pull over and address my problems in the unforgiving hostility of the desert environment, a gas station suddenly appeared a little further up the road and I thankfully limped my stricken steed into the relative security of its' forecourt.



Having dismounted and wandered around the bike, the realities of the situation began to sink in. A flat tire on this particular machine was definitely not something to treat as a foregone conclusion in the overall realm of maintenance simplicity. Indeed I had nervously been following a myriad of related threads on the Orange Crush bulletin board that related the utter futility with which many owners had attempted to replace a rear tube on the beast. Chief culprit in the challenges of this task is apparently a raised bead on the rear wheel which, while intended as a method to help refrain the rear tire from spinning on the rim (a scenario that has a habit of taking the tube along for the ride with the unfortunate consequence of ripping the stem off), is also responsible for requiring a near act of God to break the tire bead off the rim in the event of a flat.



Additionally my own dearth of useful tire changing experience wasn't particularly helping my confidence level either. I had, over the years, replaced a significant number of tires, both front and rear. Unfortunately though, with the exception of only two or three (at the most) dirt bike tires, my handiwork was usually practiced on the wheels of a bicycle, which, although theoretically requiring a similar approach, in reality bears absolutely no resemblance to the effort required on the more demanding rims of a motorized victim; for instance, I can't imagine many motorcycle wheels would allow you to merely roll the tires on by hand without any need whatsoever for a tire iron. To add insult to injury, what little motorcycle related tire experience I did have, without exception had been gained in the familiar confines of my garage. Looking on the bright side though, working in the field like this, I felt it may at least be possible to recruit one or two willing souls to help with the all important cursing, which, as anyone familiar with the procedure knows, is an integral part of any successful tube replacement.



Although not overly confident in my own abilities, I was however more than satisfied that the right arsenal of tools for the job had been selected. Forsaking my cute little snap together kit of plastic bicycle tire levers, I had packed a collection of industrial grade iron specimens, so menacingly utilitarian in their appearance that I felt it was inherently possible, with their assistance, to detach damn near any annular piece of recalcitrant rubber from whatever unwillingly obstinate carrier stood between me and my continued progress. And if nothing else, if things ultimately didn't go quite as planned, my mutant tire irons at least represented a set of satisfyingly weighty objects to frustratedly hurl across the forecourt in a fit of unsuccessful rage.



To the task itself then. Ingrained indelibly on my brain was a tried and trusted Orange Crush recommended procedure that - amongst other things - requires the would-be rear tube changer to balance the machine on the center stand (with the offending rear wheel already having been removed). The bead on the rear tire is subsequently encouraged to disengage from the rim by means of the side stand, under which at this stage it should be lying. Key to success with this method is a requirement that the operator tilt the machine in such a way that its' weight causes the side stand to act as a kind of pry bar as it attempts to depress the tire bead into the central well of the wheel rim. All sounds straight forward enough, eh? Fwiw the method is only applicable to the rear tire, as the machine's front rim has no such raised bead and therefore - since it is in comparison such a ridiculously straightforward process - if the owner isn't capable of completing that most trivial of tasks in his or her sleep, well, then maybe a car might be a more realistic form of transport.



Ultimately though, after preparing myself for battle royale and expecting the worst, the bead was actually quite easy to break. So for all you would be 950 rear tire changers who've attempted to employ the infamous sidestand bead breaking technique without success, in light of my own experience (of riding into to the forecourt with the tire a fairly deflated state), I have the following advice to share: if the sidestand trick doesn't work, er, simply remount the rear wheel (along with the flat tire) and ride around on it for a while. Works like a charm!

So with the potentially problematic part of the procedure thankfully completed, I set about removing the tube itself. First order of business of course involved locating the source of the puncture, which after a brief search readily revealed itself as an evil nail protruding defiantly in all its' glory from the central portion of the tread. While removing the offending item, the irony of getting a puncture in a day old tire with rubber nipples still visible on the newness of its' tread, versus the constant paranoia of riding around on a semi-slick widow maker with the cord showing through was certainly not lost on me and, perhaps even briefly provoked a wry smile as I placed the nail to one side.



Uh-oh!

With the nail having been successfully located, it was time to set about the mechanics of replacing the tube itself, which surprisingly (given my obvious level of apprehension), the soviet era tire irons and I managed to complete in an calmly methodical fashion, without any significant episodes of drama, wrench throwing, or fits of Olympic caliber profanity .

During the protracted transaction of the process, one general observation I made, that sadly on reflection was probably all too predictable, concerned the conceited disdain with which people in my immediate sample from the ranks of middle class America apparently treat an individual in obvious need of assistance. In complete contrast to the outer reaches of Northern Canada and Alaska - where folks appeared almost to fall over themselves, selflessly offering assistance to anyone exhibiting even the slightest hint of personal difficulty - in their multitudes and without a single collective inquiry as to my obvious plight, suburbia's finest examples of neatly dressed noveau riche ignorance paraded arrogantly by in a pathetic display of self absorbed superiority, as my obviously unworthy presence fumbled endlessly with the mechanics of the tube replacement. Eventually, of all people, a couple of Harley riders at least asked if I needed to use their cell phone(!), but apart from that - nada! Thanks a lot folks.



One small nail....perched on top of a much larger one

Presently and with the beneficial potential to at least dampen my disdainful resentment of anything within the same zip code as a Polo shirt, the mother of all storms rolled through the area, which from a distance looked worryingly as though it was shaping up into the makings of a tornado. Needless to say, I was extremely thankful to have the gas station's sheltering surroundings at my disposal and after gathering up the tools of my labors, scurried inside to escape the unwelcome clutches of the downpour. There was even enough time to grab a quick snack during the brief deluge, but soon enough the storm had passed and I re-emerged to complete the remainder of the task. Finally, with a sense of satisfaction the wheel was remounted, although with the tube requiring between 70-80psi to reseat the tire's bead on the rim, I was reminded once again of the good fortune that had resulted from happening upon this particular location (and its' high pressure line).



KTM provides a well thought out bracket from which to hang the chain when the rear wheel is removed - even more useful in the desert I'd imagine. The rear spindle and its' associated hardware is well executed too. They need to get that engineering team looking at the oil change procedure next

After clearing up the last of my tools and stowing them back on the bike, I zipped up my riding suit, pulled on the helmet and swung a leg over Precious as I eagerly anticipated the continuation of my journey. But naturally I suppose, my optimistic thumbing of her starter button was met with little more than a couple of lethargic revolutions of the otherwise inanimate motor, followed by that wretched clicking-buzzing sound familiar to many a 950 owner, which only served to indicate that in its' currently depleted state, the starting mechanism was agonizingly incapable of springing the motor into life, and that any immediate riding aspirations would need to be preempted by a session of spirited pushing. Fcuk! sh&t! bugger and damn! I swear, that fickle orange bitch requires so much attention, I'm surprised KTM doesn't ship it with high heels and a freakin' blond wig.



The workshop....with phone conveniently located to call a towtruck

Well, there was nothing else to it, I'd just have to try my damnedest to bump start the beast, which, as anyone who's ever tried to extract this particular miracle from a 950 knows, is something considerably less than a foregone conclusion. The terrain over which I'd make the attempt, at least had the benefit of a slight incline - actually a reflection of the access road gradient to a nearby interstate - so I optimistically hoped that this small yet significant feature, combined with every last drop of piss and vinegar I could muster, would prove sufficient to get the job done. With that in mind, I rolled the uncooperative contraption out onto the blacktop and gave it all I had - a blur of assholes and elbows as I frantically demonstrated my best 'Tom Cruise running in a movie' impersonation while I attempted valiantly to get my unwilling partner up to a suitable ignition velocity. Attaining what I hopefully considered to be an adequate speed, I leaped expectantly onto the rear of the saddle and simultaneously dropped the clutch, but rather than a crescendo of revs as the engine burst into glorious life, I was merely rewarded with nothing more satisfying than a couple of skips of the rear wheel before the motor's formidable compression skidded the whole plot to a depressing halt. 'YOU PIECE OF WORTHLESS EUROPEAN SHIT!' Sweating from the heat and still wearing my helmet (which unsurprisingly wasn't really helping matters in that regard) I bulldogged the two wheeled exercise in pointless humiliation up the incline, taking a short rest at the top as I gasped for breath and my heart pounded relentlessly, seemingly ready to explode. 'Right, downhill this time: you are mine, bitch'. More running, more pushing, more misfiring, some skidding and then....nothing; strike two. 'SON....OF.....A....BIIIIITTTTCH'




Frustratedly I kicked out the sidestand and stamped over to the edge of the road, where I removed my helmet and just stopped short of angrily throwing it into the bushes. I took my jacket off too and threw that on the floor next to the helmet. I really meant business now and marched menacingly back to my nemesis, taking a rejuvenating rest before concentrating every last ounce of energy I possessed into the next attempt. Pushing the bike for all I was worth, I furiously directed some carefully considered profanity towards my dis-agreeable traveling companion as I attempted to urge the beast into life. Leap - splutter - skid - stall. 'BASTAAARRRD!' I felt about as manically frustrated as a freshly martyred Islamic terrorist, standing expectantly in paradise with pants around ankles and a chronic case of impotence. Absolutely seething by now and muttering incoherently to myself, I immediately continued pushing up the incline, turned the pig around (this time without taking any kind of rest) and, in a fit of unrealistic rage, lamely ran it straight back down the hill, pathetically attempting - with an exhausted venom - to force my will onto this stubborn collection of inanimate ironmongery. Predictably and in reality without much of a fight from me, Precious was once again victorious.



Some evil looking weather started rolling in

Time for a break. I bent over double beside the devil's spawn, with hands on knees, hyperventilating as I struggled to maintain my composure (and possibly my sanity too). At this point in the proceedings, the heat was really starting to take its' toll, with the sweat literally pouring off me as I stood there panting uncontrollably. 'OK then, let's get totally rested, drag the bitch up to the top of the hill, take another break before giving it a really good go.' Sadly, it made no difference and shortly we both returned to the bottom of the hill with nothing but a few more pints of sweat to show for my efforts and, slowly but surely the tone of my confrontational rhetoric gradually became more desperate as my mood slipped into a predictably despondent state. By now I felt like I'd never get the thing running without some outside assistance, so it was with no little surprise then, that after a couple of progressively more feeble attempts, somehow my pitifully weakened efforts miraculously contrived to cajole my hitherto stubbornly reluctant muse into an unexpected crescendo of startling mechanical enthusiasm.


I almost dropped the thing right there, so shocked was I at its' sudden co-operation; but initial surprise was soon supplanted by a dogged determination to keep the beast alive as - with a manic cocktail of irritation and comic exaggeration - I repeatedly revved the mill excessively while I simultaneously proceeded to slide into the balance of my riding gear.



all buttoned back up and ready to go............or not

However, despite ultimately achieving success in this drawn out duel of man versus machine, my heart was just not in it anymore. The proposed destination for today's leg of the journey was Durango, CO, a location which for one reason or another I had attempted to visit on two previous occasions and failed both times. Forcing the issue under the current set of circumstances was, I felt just lining the bike and I up for some unknown but inevitably ugly failure that - given the choice - I'd just rather not deal with. The bike, if indeed the battery would consent to spin the motor, was by now making such a god-awful (and as yet undiagnosed) clatter upon start-up, that I was having serious doubts about just making it the short way home under our own steam. So with an access road to I-70 East conveniently sitting right at this very location, I reluctantly decided to cut my losses and head for home.

At least the Colorado portion of the interstate, being one of the most scenic stretches of highway I've ever traveled, made life a little more bearable as I proceeded to take the easy way out of this mess. Climbing in elevation as the route neared the Eisenhower Tunnel, the temperatures became significantly cooler and served as a perfect antidote to the heat of the desert. As the day progressed and my motivation didn't, I resolved as a minimum to end the day east of Denver, so that tomorrow's start would be a straight uninterrupted shot eastwards (oh joy!). And so it was later in the afternoon that I called ahead and made a reservation at a conveniently located hotel in Limon, which thankfully I found without any further drama a couple of hours later.

Douf

Douf screwed with this post 07-06-2009 at 05:13 AM
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:27 PM   #111
upweekis
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this bike is obviously Demon Possesed. If you can locate an Indian Shaman out there, maybe you can get the thing cast out! 8^)
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:29 PM   #112
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Your motorcycle needs an exorcism. Visit a priest right away.

As an aside...push starting a motorcycle is not on anyone's fun list of things to do. My last bike (a Suzuki C50 cruiser) had the starter button short out when I was 200 miles from home. In Florida. In the middle of July. Outside temp was 107 and 95% humidity. Hell on Earth.

Happily a couple of guys on BMW's saw my pitiful attempts at push starting that mechanical asshole and stopped to help. One of the guys was quite small and weighed only 110 lbs soaking wet. We stuck him on the bike and the other guy and I pushed. He nailed it on the 1st try whereas I had left only skid marks and quarts of sweat on the pavement. After getting it started they also refused my offer of lunch, beer or whatever for their help. You do meet the nicest people on BMW's.

I think I'd rather go through a divorce again than try and bump start a bike with more than 100cc of displacement.

Looking forward to the rest of the story.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:47 PM   #113
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Talking I'm in!

Border-crossing snafu sealed it... Reminded me of crossing @ North Portal, ND with my Dad in '02!

Ride on!
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:10 AM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upweekis
this bike is obviously Demon Possesed. If you can locate an Indian Shaman out there, maybe you can get the thing cast out! 8^)
You know, it's funny you should mention that: hoping to convert Precious to a state of transcendently obedient cooperation, I've previously enlisted the expert assistance of an Indian Shaman on two separate occasions. However in each case and after an epically protracted struggle of traditional mysticism versus state of the art contemporary undependability, the soundly defeated guru passed out from exhaustion. I think I might try getting her neutered next.....

Douf

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Old 06-05-2009, 02:23 PM   #115
Douf OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdown
Your motorcycle needs an exorcism. Visit a priest right away.

As an aside...push starting a motorcycle is not on anyone's fun list of things to do. My last bike (a Suzuki C50 cruiser) had the starter button short out when I was 200 miles from home. In Florida. In the middle of July. Outside temp was 107 and 95% humidity. Hell on Earth.

I think I'd rather go through a divorce again than try and bump start a bike with more than 100cc of displacement.
IMHO the more cylinders they've got, the easier they are to start (a combination - compared to a big single or twin - of less compression resistance per cyl and more sparks per revolution I guess), so although the C50 was a pain, you'd probably get the FJR lit without the same degree of hassle.
FWIW when I was a kid, my first bike was a Francis Barnett, which could only be bump started (the kick starter had either been removed or broken off) and although being only 200cc, it was quite an effort for a twelve year old to get going. I learned a lot of new words during that period.

Douf

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Old 06-06-2009, 05:54 AM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douf
You know, it's funny you should mention that: hoping to convert Precious to a state of transcendently obedient cooperation, I've previously enlisted the expert assistance of an Indian Shaman on two separate occasions. However in each case and after an epically protracted struggle of traditional mysticism versus state of the art contemporary undependability, the soundly defeated guru passed out from exhaustion. I think I might try getting her neutered next.....

Douf
Well, if there's no Demon, she probably wants to be bred.......
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:28 AM   #117
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nice.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:37 PM   #118
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Thumb Me too

You just got me into trouble.
I tried not to laugh so hard, that when the dam burst, Wife woke up.
Not happy.

Both your report, and your writing, is inspirational.

[TaSK]
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:05 AM   #119
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Your report is great entertainment!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:53 AM   #120
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man, this story is waking my inner iron butt. bravo
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