Oct 112010

2010-10-11 Ashe and Ian ride to Agua Caliente Spring

Today, the day before Ian’s birth­day, he and I went for a very nice motor­cy­cle out­ing.

I rode over to he and Rebekka’s home this morn­ing at ten. The three of us had a fun chat while we got ready to ride off then it was over to Gibral­tar Road, up to East Camino Cielo, and east for sev­en miles until the pave­ment end­ed. We had been here last year when I was new with the Suzu­ki and very wet behind the ears so we only ven­tured down the unpaved road for a cou­ple of miles before turn­ing around.

Today was much more fun and adven­tur­ous with me hav­ing the Suzuk­i’s new tires along with many more miles under my belt(??). Today we road 11.4 miles down the dirt high­way, all the way to Agua Caliente Spring, a place I have not known about although Ian has been there. It was beau­ti­ful back coun­try scenery all the way in and back and the spring itself was fas­ci­nat­ing with all its enhance­ments so far into the back coun­try.

Hap­py birth­day Ian and thanks for the great day.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Oct 072010

A tru­ly amaz­ing evening of dance. This was Car­ol P’s sug­ges­tion and I am so grate­ful I got the call to go with. Click on the four dancers to be tak­en to the Philobo­lus site where many more beau­ti­ful images are to be had. There are also many YouTube videos to be seen.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm
Oct 072010

The cau­tion­ary tag on the label for the new tires sug­gest­ed that one should ride 100 miles care­ful­ly before start­ing to ride nor­mal­ly (uncar­e­ful­ly??). So, to get in some miles I decid­ed to ride up to Jala­ma Beach for a turkey burg­er lunch. While eat­ing lunch the idea came to return home by way of Refu­gio Beach, Refu­gio Road, and West Camino Cielo. In days of old I have rid­den West Camino Cielo sev­er­al times on my bicy­cle so I kind of knew what to expect but it would be new ter­ri­to­ry on the motor­cy­cle and cer­tain­ly a chal­lenge for me with the off-road part.

Here’s the view as I was eat­ing the deli­cious turkey burg­er at Jala­ma with a few locals mean­der­ing about hop­ing for a piece of the pie. The right image is an autum­nal shot I liked as I returned along Jala­ma Road.

Jalama Beach and along the Jalama Road

Up on West Camino Cielo now. The left image shows the nice 4 miles of sin­gle lane paved road pre­ced­ing the 10 miles sans pave­ment shown in the right image. After those 10 the road returns to pave­ment near the Gun Club.

Along West Camino Cielo

A panora­ma shot I took a lit­tle fur­ther up the road. Pret­ty day, no?

A nice panorama along West Camino Cielo

Alas, after I took the three images for the nice panora­ma I returned to the bike to notice the low fuel alert blink­ing at me. I was only 2.8 miles along the dirt sec­tion and had no idea how much there was to cov­er. Oh well, I decid­ed to push on rather than turn around (heck, I’d already seen that part). I had last looked at the gauge leav­ing Jala­ma and it seemed like lots was left to use and to go explor­ing with then 🙂

A nice panorama along West Camino Cielo

Twen­ty five min­utes lat­er I came to the most inter­est­ing part of the ride. I was mov­ing around a gen­tle right hand turn when Whoa Nel­lie! there’s water all across the road, con­tin­u­ing on around a slight left turn and up the road for about 35 yards. The water seemed too silty to see the road­way so I just head­ed in and tried to stay along the right side while hop­ing for no big rocks or dips under me.

About a quar­ter of the way through the water fea­ture I rode too high into the right side of the sub­merged road­way and spun the rear wheel to a stop. For­tu­nate­ly, I was able to hold the bike upright while stand­ing in four or five inch­es of water.

Once stopped and try­ing to fig­ure out what to do next I noticed that I could see the road­way through the water and that it was all smooth and not more than six or eight inch­es deep in the cen­ter, although quite slip­pery under foot and tire. It took me five or six starts and restarts before I got the bike mov­ing and under con­trol. I head­ed to the cen­ter of the road/pond for a ways then over to the left side as that was the first land­fall. You can see some of this here but the over­all length of the pond appears much reduced in this image than when one is stand­ing at the far end of it.

The Suzuki just after I was able to negotiate a large pond across the entire road

From the point I saw the low fuel alert I remained anx­ious about run­ning out as I was not cer­tain how long it had been with me when I saw it. In the end I got to the bot­tom of the pass and into the near­by gas sta­tion for a top­ping up of the tank. Run­ning the num­bers it seemed I still had about a quart left in the tank.

The skid plate I pur­chased and installed last year paid for itself today. At least four times I came down heav­i­ly on it and it was a com­fort to know it was not the Suzuk­i’s crankcase tak­ing such abuse.

Friend Steve rode motocross bikes in his younger days and was of a mind that my new TKC80s might per­form the same way at high­way speeds as his old knob­bies, i.e. be all bumpy and vibrat­ing. For­tu­nate­ly, the TKC80s only exhib­it a small bumpy feel­ing at very slow speeds and seem as smooth as the Suzu­ki orig­i­nals at any rea­son­able speed.

It was anoth­er 145 miles of fun, chal­lenge, and explo­ration in the local envi­rons.

 Posted by at 4:33 pm
Oct 012010

I am all signed up for an Aeros­tich Tours Mex­i­co motor­cy­cle trip in Jan­u­ary. Roger, one of the lead­er’s on the trip, com­ment­ed to me in an email this week: “you are cer­tain­ly set up well for this trip. I would only sug­gest as an addi­tion that you install more aggres­sive tires, even as far as the MKC80 Con­ti­nen­tal knob­bies that are used on BMW Adven­tures.”

So Wednes­day I called friend Ian’s much men­tioned Pre­ci­sion Motor­cy­cles in Gole­ta and ordered the Con­ti­nen­tals. Today’s task was to get the wheels off the Suzu­ki and out to Pre­ci­sion to have the new tires mount­ed, then home and replace the wheels on the bike. The time to the first shot, tak­en at 12:45 when the rear wheel was off, was about 50 min­utes. Then it was on to the front wheel. The first task was to get the front wheel off the ground. Grab­bing an eight foot 2x4 from friend & neigh­bor Jil­l’s yard, a con­crete block from my back­yard, and neigh­bor Greg as a push­er, I lever­aged the 2x4 under the bike and tilt­ed it up while Greg shoved the block under the bike. Low­er­ing the bike onto the block I was then set to remove the front wheel.

The Suzuki gets new tires

But what’s this? The front axle is tight­ened (and removed) with a 12mm allen. Bum­mer alert! Off to Sears to buy a 1/2″–12mm allen end­ed tool. No luck, but at lease they had a 12mm allen wrench that I am think­ing I’ll use to get the wheel off then get a 1/2″ — 12mm allen at Spe­cial­ty in Gole­ta while the wheels are being retired near by so I will be able to tight­en the axle to the spec­i­fied torque at reassem­bly. An hour after image one we now have image two, i.e. both wheels are off (you can also see the con­crete block sup­port­ing the front of the bike).

At around 2:20 I’ve just dropped the wheels at Pre­ci­sion and turned to find­ing a 1/2″ — 12mm sock­et giz­mo. Spe­cial­ty had all sizes but 12 and after a third strike at a third place I got the sug­ges­tion to call the local Snap-On guy. He was at Per­ry Lin­coln-Mer­cury and said he had the part so I drove there and end­ed up with a 3/8″ — 12mm allen tool for $32! Yikes!

After a very nice and serendip­i­tous lunch at Fres­co with old friend Bev King, Pre­ci­sion called to say all was ready so I drove out and grabbed the new­ly mount­ed Con­ti­nen­tals as well as my old tires and returned home (image #3 around 5:40). The front wheel went on pret­ty sim­ply. I walked next door and recruit­ed Jill to be the con­crete block remover as I again lever­aged the bike up with her 2x4 and low­ered it down onto the front wheel. Thanks to Jill and she returned home to resume her din­ner.

On to the back wheel. After much strug­gling with try­ing to fig­ure out how to put it all togeth­er with the chain I am final­ly at the point of think­ing I am done and am tight­en­ing the axle to its 72.5 ft-lbs of torque when I real­ize that the brake caliper does not sim­ply bolt on after the fact like the ones on the front wheel but is inte­grat­ed with the axle instal­la­tion. Back out comes the axle, fol­lowed by more frus­tra­tion and strug­gles attempt­ing to get it all cor­rect­ly assem­bled. I was about to give up for the night as I was feel­ing the need of anoth­er pair of hands to fin­ish the assem­bly and was rem­i­nisc­ing about days gone by when I had bud­dies to help and hang with me in such endeav­ors as this evenings when who reap­pears but Jill with an offer of assis­tance.

Too won­der­ful. We went at it togeth­er for about half an hour and then it real­ly was done; image four tak­en at 7:35.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm