Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Montana Attorney General, Tim Fox

Driving into town from my office today, I passed what appeared to be a shotgun laying on the shoulder. Got just a "glimpse" of it and then thought maybe it was a chunk of old tire or something. Had to turn back and check it out. A Mt. Highway Patrolman was just ahead of me and he did not see the item. I U-turned back and sure enough, there lay this:

Definitely a "useless modified weapon of ill repute." The section of road I was on was narrow and on a blind corner so I grabbed it up and continued into town.
I had an appointment I couldn't miss so took care of that, then called the local Police Department.
The weapon was a sawed off  9 mm or 45 cal. rifle.
The Police Officer I turned it over to said there had been a Home Invasion Robbery earlier in the day and the culprits get away route was on the same road I found the gun. The weapon was likely discarded as they ran from the pursuing Officers.

I made a Facebook Post showing the weapon I had found. An old classmate of mine happens to be the current Montana Attorney General and he "private messaged" me asking about the weapon. He had not seen the next Facebook "Post" revealing that I had already turned the gun over to Law Enforcement.

I am impressed that the Attorney General of our State pays attention to Social Media and involves himself at personal levels. His Folks / My Folks were good friends and we were raised with the same ideals of "Ethics & Honesty".  

My "Hat is Off" to our Great Montana Attorney General, Tim Fox!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

93* to 26* in one day.

On the road heading to Montana. We had 93* weather on Monday leaving AZ. Yesterday the temperatures quickly fell as we headed North with the low in the lower 20*'s. Encountered snow storms within 200 miles of Las Vegas. Attempted to make it to Wells, NV. but Mother Nature turned against us. Stopped just North of Ely NV. in a major blizzard....the snow came & went the remainder of the afternoon. We pulled off on a side road with a nice gravel pullout away from the main highway 93. We've "boon-docked" here in the past so I was watching for the turnout in the snow storm.
The two lane highway traffic was very heavy all day. We saw on idiot pass on a hill and the oncoming traffic had to run off the roads' edge to avoid a head -on collision, luckily he was paying attention. Another vehicle apparently attempted to pass in a sleet storm...hitting the windrow of heavy ice in the road, he shot off the pavement and into the ditch, ending up facing backwards in the sagebrush. Luckily he didn't roll or get tangled up with any other motorists.

We were happy to be parked as the weather turned for the worse. One other traveler was also parked in the same parking area.

The storm continued to rage until about sundown, then the sky lightened up and actually saw some sun breaks right before dark. Got pretty cold in the night, in the low 20's.

Today we'll depart when the ice melts off the car. We plan on traveling 300 - 400 miles today. Beautiful blue sky this morning.

Friday, March 18, 2016

GL1000 Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

A few years ago I recall seeing a pair of Gold Wing Auxiliary Saddle Tanks listed on a site for $100.00. Decided to see if I could find a pair so listed a "wanted" ad on a goldwing site. I had a couple replies. One guy had a New set but wanted $450.00 + shipping which I thought was way high.
Another bike shop owner contacted me and had a used pair for $250.00 which I thought was a good price....not a "steal" by any means but a reasonable price.

 They are aluminum, so I'll probably strip them down to bare finish and install them without painting. I think they'll look pretty good with their raw finish. will "polish" them lightly.

I had a single BMW "Luftmeister" tank a few years ago, but was missing the threaded cap. They had an odd thread and never did find a cap that would work. The old BMW tank had a few coats of paint, plus an "epoxy" type base paint....the epoxy base paint was a nightmare to remove. Hopefully the paint on these is not the same stuff. I think the "raw" appearance looks fine:

Fairly large tanks @ about 1 gallon each I was told. Not sure if I'll retain the emblems....we'll see how they look without.

Also found a "plumbing" schematic. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Eastern San Diego County Motorcycle Riding

I had planned a motorcycle ride over to visit friends in Oceanside CA. over the weekend but weather forecasts put a "damper" on my plan. 100% chance of rain for Oceanside on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Looking out my window Sat. morning, the bright sunshine was too much to take, a ride had to be accomplished! Even though the day was getting shorter I hit the road a bit after 11:00 AM. I had a possible route in mind and pretty much stuck to it.
(left click to enlarge photos)

I originally planned on riding my R75/5 BMW, but after checking weather forecasts of 40+ MPH winds, I decided to ride a slightly heavier bike, the GL1000 Gold Wing as it is quite a bit "friendlier" in high winds.
The first 80 miles going over were on the I-8 "slab" to make some time. Passing by El Centro CA. I saw that the annual Air Show was in progress. A group of five planes were performing acrobatics over the Air Station. A couple weeks ago I witnessed four of the Blue Angels practicing in the area:

Rising out of the desert north of Octotillo I exited the freeway onto "Old Highway 80". On the way up the grade I see "Radiator Water" barrels along the road.

The wind generators were spinning fast as the wind was howling here.

I got off the "super slab" ASAP and headed onto Old highway 80 which would take me to Highway 94.
At the top of the pass, an odd scene. "Wrights UFO Retrieval & Repair"

The view into the lower desert from the "Desert Tower" Parking lot.

The route follows along the U.S. / Mexico Border for much of the route. The border fence is an outstanding feature along the way. Looks like they missed a piece:

Old Rail Road Crossing:

 Getting onto "94" I spied a Taco Shop along the road at "Cameron Corners" so stopped for a quick bite to eat. The Burrito I ordered was the size of a small sandbag. Lunch for $4.00...not too bad...

Many miles of twisty roads ahead.

Heading West, the weather started looking a bit "shaky" in the distance....rain. I thought about avoiding the route for a few minutes but no way was I turning back....before I knew it, the clouds broke and clear sunshine prevailed.

Near the "Tecate" Border Crossing into Mexico, the traffic picked up immensely. Lot of cars coming / going. Law Enforcement vehicles seemed to be at every turn...Border Patrol, Ca. Highway Patrol, Sheriffs Vehicles and unmarked "black ops" looking vehicles. Also a lot of other motorcycle riders. I pulled over a few times for photos and to let "tailgaters" get ahead of me. The clouds above seemed to vanish in an instant.

Before I knew it I was at Jamul CA. Looking for "Lyons Valley Road". It was a great route, passing small farms, orchards, and vineyards. Was a slow, narrow route with minimal traffic. From the previous days rain, there was some debris in the corners from time to time which kept me on my toes.

I turned on the "Jacumba Highway" and headed north, passing under I-8 and towards Pine Valley for a gas stop.

From there, "Old Highway 80" takes you along the freeway and is a great road. Entering "Jacumba" I stopped for one last photo op. after spying this old "fire hearth"

This must have been a pretty beautiful Hotel in its' day.

An odd looking home directly on the Mexican Border.

I returned to the I-8 slab, and immediately got off on the Calexico / Mexicali Ca. Route 98 to avoid the Interstate for a bit longer. Finally back on the last leg / I-8  freeway at about sunset. The last hour of the ride was mostly dark. I hadn't ridden the Honda GL after sunset for a couple years and had forgotten how poor the lighting was. I adjusted the headlight a bit lower and switched on the "brights" for part of the ride home. Total riding time from home around 9 hours. Covered over 350 miles of some fantastic roads and scenery. I plan on returning next season on the BMW Airhead. We now are faced with returning to Montana and back to work for me. It has been a great Winter. Now I'm looking forward to some riding up North!...not so much looking forward to returning to work....

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Picking".....Parts & Pieces

I'm always watching for "buys" on EBay.....searching Flea Markets for old misc. treasures.....keeping my eyes peeled for things I can resell at a profit if I don't want / need them.
I had a lead on a set of N.O.S. (new old stock) Henry's Floor Boards from an acquaintance a couple years ago but passed on them. Decided to buy them last Fall...the guy still had them. I was thinking of using them on my /5 but decided against it. Already have a set on my sidecar rig. Decided they needed to go to a new owner so off they went on EBay. Received a very good price for them.

This morning my neighbor said he spied a pair of old Motorcycle Saddle Bags at the local "Good Will" Store down the street. Asking $9.99 each. I hurried over there hoping to find a set of old Wixom Bags, but not to be. Ended up being old 50's Harley Bags. But for the "under $20.00" price I couldn't pass them up.

They've been painted a few times and have some old repairs but are actually pretty "sound". Will be a good project for refurbishment for someone. Only one used, similar condition pair on EBay right now...asking price @ $344.00.

I held them up to my R75/5 to see what they look like. Actually looked pretty good but I would have to fabricate some proper mounts. A couple mounts were present but not all there. Surprised to see something like this at a Good Will Store...I guess you just never know what you might find.

As far as "function", the saddle bags are too small for touring use and the lids are the type that would fly off if the front latch came loose. There were probably hundreds of these scattered around the shoulders of US highways in the 50'
They'll eventually go on EBay.

I recently bought a lot of different vintage tools at Flea Markets around Yuma: Early Kawasaki "Meguro" tools, Toyota Tools and lots of Euro "DIN895" wrenches. Heyco, Hazet, Stubai, Dowidat are a few of the West German DIN Tool Manufacturers of the past / present. These Companies supplied most all European Automobile / Motorcycle Manufacturers with OEM Tools for their Tool Kits.
Funny that most Pawn Shops only hold higher prices on "Snap On"..."Craftsman" U.S made Tools when the value of the Western Euro Tools is also good. I now see a lot of "DIN knock-off" tools coming from China. The differences in quality is very apparent so no Chinese Tools are ever purchased.
I've cleaned out most every Pawn Shop in MT. buying these old wrenches. Typically pay from $.25 to $2.00 apiece for them. I sometimes offer single wrenches but usually will group up an assortment of "like Brand" tools and sell as a group on EBay.
                                       Toyota Tool Group, purchase price $3.00...selling price $34.00:
The Toyota Wrenches / Pliers are especially rare. I once bought a single large 21mm X 24mm Toyota Motors Wrench at a Flea Market for $1.00. I listed it on EBay and it sold for over $30.00. That sale got my attention to the collectible values of old tools. Another group of pristine old WW2 era Jeep "Williams" tools cost $5.00....sold for over $100.00 on EBay. 

So this tool acquisition thing has become a hobby that makes me some $$.$$ and fattens up my Pay Pal Account for needed BMW Parts. The "nickel & dime" tool sales don't sound like much but I've probably sold well over $1000.00 worth in recent years, with a 500% (or more) profit margin. The buyers market is a bit small so I usually will only list tools every few months and don't constantly try to sell.
 I try to keep a close watch on EBay for "new listings" as some bargains are often found there. Recently bought a nice alloy /5 fuel cap for $30.00, which is a good price. Typically sell for over $75.00. Found some very nice early /5 turn signals, with the side reflectors quite cheap. Some of these small parts I'm hanging onto for the present as the market value is constantly climbing higher. I saw a large /6 fuel tank on EBay this morning for $200.00. which is a very good price. Decided not to buy it and it sold minutes later. I try to be selective on purchases and let some go by if the timing for delivery is poor. 

I had a very large selection of parts on Craigslist earlier this winter:

Had all these parts listed for the ridiculously low price of $250.00 just to get them out of here. Had a few "bites" and people were offering me less. That being said I had a change of heart and pulled the ad. Having a spare complete BMW engine / transmissions / final drives sitting around is not a bad idea. I have other spare drive train parts also, these were the ones in less than perfect condition. 
I did give three BMW main frames away (one with  a Title) for free.  Did not have room to store them and no takers at $50.00 for all. Have a quite large selection of spares for future use if needed.

My "Holy Grail" of Searching / Picking is to find a "Hella Spotlight Mirror". These are very rare but I know there is one out there somewhere, waiting for me to find it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Shake, Rattle and Rock"....Death Valley Airheads 2016

Planned this little Death Valley trip all Winter and now it has come and gone.
We celebrated my Dads' 100th. Birthday in Montana and upon returning to AZ, planned on leaving immediately. I acquired a "cold" in MT. and was feeling very poorly when we returned to AZ. Decided to delay the Death Valley ride for an extra two days so I could "heal" a bit. Unfortunately the "cold" I acquired was not cooperative and here I am, still sickly after  10 days and our return home on Monday. Oh well.
Our friend / neighbor Dan decided to accompany us in the first legs of our ride to Death Valley. We enjoyed his company for the first 3 days.

Dan has created a "Tribute" WW2 motorcycle. Correct period attire also.
He has a cargo trailer attached for his gear. The little bike keeps up pretty good with our sidecar. Grades & headwinds are a challenge for both of us.

We headed towards the Glamis sand dunes area on our route to the Salton Sea.

Encountered pretty stiff cross winds and a lot of "blowing sand" across the road. At least no sand was collecting / drifting on the road as encountered in the past.

We arrived at Bashfords Mineral Spa early in the afternoon and set up camp. Ran into a few Airhead friends who were in the area. 

Great place to kick back and relax with a visit to their hot pools.

The following morning we continued to Mecca CA. then the "Wagon Box Road" up towards Joshua Tree Nat. Park. Wagon Box Road often has sand / debris on the pavement from storm run-off.

Welcome to "Joshua Tree".

Great scenery along the route.

We camped at the "White Tank" Campground....Darian received her Park Service "Golden Age Pass" when we entered the Park. Still had to pay for camping though.

Great campsite. We decided to "sleep under the stars" with no tent. Kinda cold but what a view of the sky during the night.

Great rock formations in the area. Spent a little time climbing around in the rocks.

Had to get a "birds eye view" of the campsite before we packed up. Dan headed back to Yuma so we parted company.

Passed through 29 Palms. Attempted to find a cook stove fuel canister but had no luck. Below is the Amboy Crater in the distance. Also were Marine Corps. Personnel in the distance stirring up a lot of dust.

We traveled to Kelso, across the Mohave Desert. Sections of the Kelso Road are in very poor condition and quite rough. We stopped in Baker CA. for fuel & supplies. After filling the cooler with ice / drinks I decided to buy a 6 pack of bottled beer. No room in the cooler so I carefully (I thought) positioned the bottles to survive the road to Tecopa. Unpacking at Tecopa I found a bottle had broken in the trailer....luckily the majority of the beer was soaked up in my fleece jacket....smelled pretty bad.....left the trailer open all night to air out the aroma.... Lesson learned?

We stopped at Tecopa Hot Springs and camped there for the night. The campsite was a field of  "Alkalai"  flats with some trees. Great hot springs though. I didn't get any photos of the campsite.
The following AM we rode to Shoshone CA. for breakfast at the only cafe in town. I "pushed" the sidecar quite hard in 4th. gear from Shoshone to Death Valley Junction as we were on a grade with a stiff head wind. When we stopped at the junction for a break, a terrible noise was emanating from the transmission when in neutral, with the clutch released. The sound was so bad I thought we were done for the trip right there. The transmission was also quite hot. I let the bike sit for 1/2 an hour or so, then we decided to continue to Death Valley, still 33 miles distant. I had real concerns that the transmission would fail in the 33 miles since the noise was so loud. The remaining miles were about 10 miles of a slight grade, then downhill for the final 23 miles. Amazingly, when we arrived at the Furnace Creek Rally site the noise was gone.

I visited with a couple of buddies about the symptoms and decided to drain the gear oil the following day to look for debris in the oil. Buddy "Desert Dave" happened to have a 1/2 quart of gear oil with him. I drained the oil the following AM and found a small amount of debris on the magnet. Mostly the normal "mud" but some finite metal debris....and a strange piece of tiny wire which had no place in the transmission. The "wire" was about 3/4" long with 2 curious 90* angles in it. The diameter was about the diameter of a "wire brush" wire...very small. Decided to refill transmission and gamble on riding it the 400 (or so) miles back to AZ. 
As a back up plan, I had AAA which could haul us to Las Vegas, then friend Dan was contacted, he had a trailer capable of hauling us back to Yuma if necessary. We did not ride the bike much while at the Rally. Rode it up to the store and everything seemed fine. 

Around 150 (or more) Riders attended the Rally. Was great to see a lot of familiar faces and also made some new friends too. 
The bike below was pretty cool....leg shield fashioned from salvaged BMW fenders....and a curious headlight nacelle fashioned from "I don't know".  

Lots of things going on with this bike. Personalized for sure!

There appeared to be small audio speakers in the leg shield bags.

Unique for sure.

We arrived on Thursday Afternoon, a day early, so got a pick of camp spots. 

Old /2.....Darian liked the White Wall Tires....I'll pass on the look myself.

A few sidecars in attendance.

Nice EML Rig.

Rally officially ended on Monday. We decided to leave on Sunday so the ride through Las Vegas would be under lighter traffic. I "took it easy" on the bike riding to Parumph NV, keeping the speeds at 50 mph - 65 mph. Encountered serious cross winds which were throwing up quite a dust storm in the distance. After 20 miles or so we had a pretty good tail wind, which stayed with us all the way to Las Vegas. 

We stopped in Parumph for lunch. The bike worked fine with no transmission noises. 

We arrived in Henderson NV at 2:00 and got a room at the Railroad Pass Casino / Hotel. Lucky we were there early as we got the last room at the hotel. We had a great dinner and played their machines for a couple of hours. We quit feeding their machines when we were ahead for the visit. Payed for our room / dinner and still left with $40.00 more than we arrived with. Can't beat that!
The following AM we headed to Yuma. Again I took it easy on the bike, avoiding higher RPM's but still running 55 - 65 MPH. Traffic was light all the way home. Arrived home with no transmission issues or noises. Likely the transmission was over heated, and the bearings are near the end of their service life. Not sure if I'll swap out the transmission yet this Winter. I have two spare 5 speeds and one spare 4 speed transmission. I think the 4 speed would be a good match, but I prefer the ratio varieties of the 5 speed. Plus all the transmissions I have came from derelict bikes, so I don't know what their internal conditions are. All "bench shift" through the gears, and had clean oil in them when drained, with no metal on the magnets. Hoping they are all usable...?