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Old 11-10-2014, 11:21 PM   #1
tlub OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Oddometer: 160
Last naked airhead out of the Minneapolis for Madison this year?

Well, I just got out of the Twin Cities before the snow. My son goes to U of MN, and has his R60/6 up there. He had been having some plug fouling issues (probably due to excessive choke use- this is his first vehicle with a manual choke and he is just learning the use of it). I also want to be able to do some minor work on it this winter, like replace the in-headlight fuses with out-of-headlight circuit breakers, and put in new bulbs all around (most date from the late 1980s- this was a resurrection bike). I also want to put on a new OEM-type Sargent seat, and get the seat he is using back on my wife's R90/6. Plus he parks it outside, under a cover, and 8-12 inches of snow was predicted for Sunday night. So there were lots of reasons to get out of Dodge, so to speak. We could have parked it in my sister's garage in St Paul, but doing the work there would have been miserable, as heating her garage with a torpedo heater would have been like trying to heat a lobster trap. Just too many air leaks.
The original plan was to have him dress warm, plug in the Gerbings jacket liner, put on a rainsuit over it all, and ride home at Thanksgiving. There is a long family tradition (well, me, anyway) of stupidly trying to ride home from college at Thanksgiving and nearly freezing to death, so this was just normal. So when we heard about the predicted 8-12 inches of snow, even my brain responded to reason, and my wife and I headed up there in the Accord. It was time for a visit anyway. Since he had an S fairing on the R60/6, I didn't take my Elefanten Boy tank bag, which works pretty well as a fairing. I did take my Vetter Hippo Hands, since they do work well after all these years. Otherwise, I had my rainsuit, long underwear, wool socks and tall boots, insulated snow pants (too cold for my leathers), and planned on the Gerbings under a long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece over that and under my leather jacket, and a rainsuit over it all. I had my Hein Gericke gauntlets.
Most of you, unless you rode in the 70s and 80s, will only recognize the Gerbings. That is the vintage of what I have, but with the Gerbings, it works OK. And I still fit the leathers I got in the mid 80s, if only just. So when we got there, I found out the bike "really wasn't running that well". IN fact, it was barely running on one side, and not on the other. I also found out he had taken off the S fairing, so the wind protection I was counting on was not there. It also had bar-end mirrors now that prevented using the Hippo Hands. So now I started to think of ways to borrow a van or truck and get it down to Madison WI. But I still wanted to get it running, to get it over to my sister's garage before the snow hit. So after some quick trouble shooting, it was clear the plugs on the left side were carbon fouled really, really badly. Maybe one of the right plugs was firing (it is dual plugged). So off to buy new plugs from the NAPA, and it fired up. In fact, it ran better, my son said, than it had since he last took it on the highway (instead of riding it a mile to his girlfriend's house). Amazing.
Well, the more I thought about loading this in a van in the snow, the less I liked it. Last year there was about 4000 feet of snow there (or so it seemed), and that was not the conditions under which I wanted to load a bike. So, I decided to still ride to Madison. I would leave ASAP, and my wife would follow in the Accord whenever she could. I would be ahead of her, and figured that the way I was dressed, I could stay outside a long time if I was stranded, and still be OK. It was about 37F (3 C) when I left, with the snow supposed to start in about 4 hours. There was rain across my route, but I hoped it would continue to move east, and be gone by the time I got there.
My brother-in -law fixed me lunch, while I suited up. I plugged in, and my first stop was to gas up. I then headed out of town, about 3:30 PM. My first planned stop was the Orange Moose at Black River Falls, but I was fully prepared to do a 180 and return if it was too cold.
I could feel the cold on my chest despite the Gerbings. I turned it up further. And further. My hands, without the Hippo Hands, were starting to feel cold. And I was only about 15 miles down the road, 250 to go. This did not seem good. The ride was already seeming like a chore, a task to be done. Not as some kind of fun challenge, which it should have been. I cursed my son's decision to remove the fairing. I kept thinking, what happened to the practical sense he used to have? why did he choose the 'style' (he likes the naked look) over whatever degree of practicality the S fairing offered? In Minnesota? With winter coming on? And not telling me so I could prepare? I kept turning up the Gerbings until it seemed really warm- but still not all the way. That seemed to work. My mood changed. Life was better. I would just deal with the fact it had no fairing. Maybe I would brag about it on ADVRider.

tlub screwed with this post 11-12-2014 at 08:05 PM
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:40 PM   #2
tlub OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Oddometer: 160
More heat is better

So once I got used to the idea that I needed to have the Gerbings hotter than I ever had before, things were decidedly better. And since I was heading to warmer climes (Only relative to the Twin Cities can Madison be considered warmer climes), I figured that even as night fell, the temperature would not drop, and likely would rise during the journey.
Well, that was in the future. Although my core felt toasty, my hands were not doing well. I then remembered that the Hein Gerickes had mitten rain covers, stored in a zipper on them. I stopped about 20 miles into Wisconsin, and pulled them on. I left the bike idling and the Gerbings on during this, and that short period really warmed me up. So one, despite the rain suit I was getting significant air infiltration, and two, if I needed to, I could always stop and warm up just sitting there. So now I knew I could make it, it just might take longer than I wanted. My hands were now warm, both from the mittens and the stop and the movement. So with a 5 minute stop, I was now warmed, and my hands were warm as well. This was good.
Now my main worry was deer. I had already seen about a half dozen blood patches from recent deer smacks, and now I started to see dead deer as well. On the bridge over the Chippewa River, there were two-there must have been no avoiding those. High guardrail, long bridge, just two deer in the headlights. I did not want that. I started following cars a bit more closely, both to see any deer in their headlamps, and hoping they would push them out of the way. But although I saw numerous dead deer, I fortunately had no encounters on the trip with live ones. Around the time I crossed the Chippewa River, I just turned the Gerbings up all the way. That would be my setting for the rest of the trip (and should have been from the start) Lesson learned- don't even start to get chilled. It takes more to reverse than to prevent it, and you might as well use all the power you have. At this stage, except for the 15 mph headwinds, the trip was fun. I was warm, including my hands, and the bike was running well. Really well. The R60 pistons are so small that there is almost no vibration. It's like a little turbine. Although it revs fast (about 5000 at the 75 mph I was doing) it feels great. So the miles to Black River Falls and the Orange Moose went quickly. I almost didn't feel like stopping, but had told my wife and son I would stop and let her know how things were going there, and needed to gas up.

tlub screwed with this post 11-12-2014 at 08:00 PM
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Old 11-11-2014, 12:05 AM   #3
tlub OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Oddometer: 160
Black River Falls to Madison

When I stopped for gas, I couldn't find neutral. Then I realized I could find it, but there was no light. Then I realized that the dim instrument lights I had been noticing might be related. I reached to the back of the instrument cluster, pushed the electrical connector further on (it was nearly off), and presto! The neutral light came on, and the instrument lights brightened up significantly. I gassed up ( 3.1 gals, 150 mies- not bad for 75 mph), and went inside to get something to eat and some coffee. As I started unzipping everything, I realized that my rainsuit had not been fastened at the bottom, nor was it zipped all the way up. So there was my cold air infiltration. According to my phone, the temp was now 41F, which is a LOT warmer than 37F. It really is, when riding a naked bike. After a burrito and coffee, I was set to go. My son had texted me and told me what a trooper I was, and this warmed me as well. Always good to hear that from your son. This time, I made sure of all my fastening, and tightened the drawstring of the rain jacket as well. My legs and feet, despite the warm cylinders just in front, were getting a bit chilled, but there was not a lot I could do about this.
As I headed out, the bike was running great. It just seemed to sing. It made me remember why I always thought those R60s were such sweet machines. For the rest of the trip, I was plenty warm, except for a slight chill in my knees. Now the journey was fun. Even the headwind had died down. My only concerns were deer and the rain that I was hoping would move out of my way. The rest of the trip was almost a non-event. Just another ride. I could see going further if I had to. I was warm, and if it rained, well I was wearing rain gear. So what? I had texted a friend to see if he was watching the Packers-Bears game, as I would meet him at the bar, which is on my way home (as it turned out, he was sick and never replied, and as I watched at home the Packers gave the Bears their worst first half in the Bear's entire history, against any team, ever. Go Pack Go. Especially against the Bears). The rain started about 10 miles from home, as I was just getting into the Madison area, but was only a gently rain which stopped before I got home.
I had to take a photo of the bike home in the 'stable'. Except for the missing fairing (which came home in the Accord, and is going back on once the electrical stuff is done), we have the matched set together again (His R60/6, my green R75/5, my wife's red R90/6)

tlub screwed with this post 11-12-2014 at 08:03 PM
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:58 AM   #4
Bud Tugly
Gnarly old curmudgeon
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Ishpeming, MI
Oddometer: 233
Epic ride! You, sir, have true grit and I salute you. The part of the UP of Michigan I'm from is due to get as much as 20" of snow from this storm.
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