Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The motorcycle repair "Piddly Project List"

Luckily I've had most weekends off from work, but due to Family outings / commitments and short day rides I have not completed any little repair projects on my list.....likely they will all simmer until the Winter months.

The partial list for piddly stuff:
1)  - rebuild the Honda Gold Wing front brake calipers....easy job, just ordered the new rebuild kits.                      EDIT-- received brake caliper kits and rebuilt last weekend...yay
2)  - install the Gold Wing auxiliary fuel tanks.....need to perform some minor aluminum filling /paint removal          on both...then fabricate two small mounting brackets...plumb in the fuel lines.
3) -  replace the /5's header guards....bought 2 cheap on EBay for spares....found they are in much better             shape than the pair I have on now. Might need new clamps.
4) - address oil leak on sidecar rig....appears that the oil pan gasket is seeping...pretty bad when engine is            cold, heals up a bit after engine heats up. Has the "Brielle" static oil pan cooler spacer...maybe it is                warped?
5) - mount a volt meter on the Gold Wing...purchased a stock 1978 Honda GL volt meter. It will be                   mounted in the tank shelter where the stock fuel gauge sits. Volt meter is more crucial than the                       fuel gauge. Fuel gauge is finicky anyway....sometimes works....most times doesn't.
6) - developed a "chirping" noise down low on the engine of the Gold Wing...haven't properly diagnosed it            yet...I think one of  the idler roller bearings is getting tired.(?)

The list for "not so piddly" stuff:
1) - maybe change out rear swing arm on sidecar rig...current swing arm appears to be a bit tweaked.(?)
2) -  change out the sidecar transmission....had an evil noise during Death Valley trip last                       went away and has never reappeared. Some tiny metal flakes on magnet....chances are a bearing is                wearing out. Not sure if the spare transmissions I have are up for the task.
3) - might change out the /5 transmission too....2nd. to 3rd. gear has a bit of a "catch" when shifting.
       has been that way since I acquired the bike so is not a priority.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

NW Wyoming Scenic Mountain Routes for Motorcycles

I've been "itching" for a long day ride on the 1977 Gold Wing for a couple months, but the front brake calipers were sticking. I finally got off my rear and ordered a couple of caliper rebuild kits which arrived last week. Late Saturday I decided to tackle the rebuilds. Everything went without a hitch and in a couple of hours I had functioning front brakes. Had it put together just before dark in my outside "garage".
Prepared the bike late Saturday and hit the road at 7:20 AM Sunday AM without knowing where I was going. Decided to plan my route "on the fly"....
NW Wyoming, heading South, sounded good as the early sun wouldn't be in my eyes.

Stopped at the junction at Fort Rockvale MT. for my first major route decision of the day....Life is a Circus?

Wyoming Highway 14 beckoned me so off to Greybull Wyoming I went. Stopped in Greybull for a quick fuel up and a massive breakfast burrito.....the "gas station burrito" left a lot to be desired....even the hot sauce sucked. But it filled the void. Typically, "gas station burritos" suck...this one was no exception.

Some minor clouds and a LOT of smoke in the air all day. The old bike hit a steady 42 MPG all day long which gives me a total range of 200 miles with the 5 gallons. I have a pair of  one gallon saddle tanks, which replace the side covers. That will boost my range to 280 miles. I will prepare them this Winter and mount them. They are massive tanks and somewhat "angular" which will look a little strange on the bike.  Guess I don't really care what they look like but the maroon (purple?) paint needs to come off first....then a little aluminum fill repair.

Just before Shell Wyoming...looking up towards Shell Canyon.

Red sandstone lump....

Part way up Shell Canyon I stopped for some photos...the above and four photos below are at the same location....kinda gives a panorama of the awesome place....

I covered the next 30 odd miles quickly to Burgess Junction and stopped at Bear Lodge for a quick break. A few other MT. bikers were also there. I thought I recognized one of them, but couldn't place him....right after they pulled out I realized one of them was an old acquaintance that I hadn't seen for 30 years....just didn't recognize him right away....leaving there I was initially headed down the mountain to Dayton WY....but then something inside overtook me and I did a u-turn in the highway and headed back to WY Highway 14A....this mountain road parallels Highway 14 and comes out in Lovell WY.... Don't know why I turned around but I don't question such snap decisions....just meant to be. 

14A is a great mountain road...about 15 miles of variable 10% grades down the behind some older / slower riders and followed them a while as passing wasn't safe. One old fellow looked pretty shaky on his loud Harley....he "squared up" most of the curves / corners. Made me nervous watching him....when I finally was able to pass he disappeared quickly in the rear view mirror. 

Next way point was Powell Wyoming for fuel and refreshment. Decided to take a 19 mile back road I'd never traveled over to Belfry MT. But when I got to the next junction, my bike turned back South towards the Chief Joseph Highway....what the heck it was only 3:00 PM so I had plenty of time for Chief Joseph and then the Beartooth Highway. That stretch would be around 165 miles to the next gas station, within 35 miles of my 200 mile maximum limit. Since gas consumption was stable I knew I'd be fine. 

Top of  "Dead Indian Hill" looking into the Sunlight Basin. Great set of roads ahead...I've ridden it once this year already....time to go again!

Looking SW

Clark Canyon  / Sunlight Basin

Eerie view of a smokey Pilot & Index Peaks.

Stopped at Beartooth lake for 1 minute and a couple photos....temps dropped quickly and the riding jacket liner had to be zipped in. Probably only in the high 40's / low 50's going over the Beartooth Pass....I did not stop for any photos for the remainder of the ride.....focused on getting over the top and down the hill....Arrived in Red Lodge MT at 5:30 PM and took on 4.1 gallons of gas....surprised I didn't have to go on the reserve tank petcock setting....supposed to be a one gallon reserve.Must have been real close. I noticed a faint "bird" sound coming from the lower front of the engine. Figured one of the cam belt idler rollers was going....not much I could do but keep going. Ran 35 miles and stopped.....noise was gone.(?) Still completely quiet when I got home. I'll check them out closer this winter in AZ. as long as the noise doesn't reappear. The idlers were replaced less than 10k miles ago so I'm not too worried. 

A great ride and I covered 452 miles per my never missed a beat. 
I see the National Gold Wing Riders Association is having their National "Wing Ding" in Billings this week.  They say 11000 - 12000 riders are supposed to attend....that's a LOT of Gold Wings. Working 10 - 12 hours a day doesn't leave much weekday time but maybe I'll try to check it out if I can.  Most the later model Gold Wing riders seem to "look down their nose" at first generation Gold Wings like mine from my past experiences....But then I guess it doesn't have 150 pounds of chrome, 250 pounds of farings, and 50 pounds of

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Annual Beartooth Beemers Rally 2016

Decided to attend the 17th. annual Beertooth Beemers Rally this year. Took a Friday off work. I've only taken a couple of  Summer leisure days off in the 15 seasons I've worked for this company.
The weather forecast was looking very poor the previous week. A friend of mine dissuaded me from not attending due to foul weather. I committed to attend regardless of any bad weather. As things worked out the weather was fine....hit some light rain going over on Friday AM but that was the extent of the "storm". Folks at the rally Thursday night had to deal with a few good rain storms, but they were short lived.

                              ("Left Click" on images to enlarge)

The final aftermath of the clouds were burning off as I approached the campground. Photo is about 10 miles out, The campsite sits right at the base of the Beartooth Highway.

Clouds vanished and the days were clear. Down to near 30* Friday night but my gear is good and didn't suffer a bit.

Heard that about 120 riders attended. 

Lots of various bikes there. I liked the 1977 K1 - 750 Honda 4. 

Buddy Rex showed up with his newly setup R75/6 with "Pop Dreyer Racer" sidecar.

Cool "knock off" Dreyer Racer sidecar wheel hub.

He's using a 3 - point "ball & socket" mounting setup. Each attachment point has a built in lever....that allows him to disconnect the light sidecar in a couple of minutes and ride solo when he wants. 

Bob C.'s beautiful 1978 R100S. There were quite a few Airheads present....I counted 15 one time....more came and went.

Sidecar friend Paul S. from Colorado was there with four or five riding buddies...."The Inconsiderate Bastards".  I had a great time hanging with them for a while each afternoon.
 Haven't laughed so much for quite a while.  

Friend Paul S..... also rides a K-Bike sidecar (above). Paul lost a leg years back. He is a testament to toughness. A very intelligent fellow with great stories to tell. He amazed me with his intimate knowledge of so many different topics.

The rally is scheduled again for next year. The Lions Camp folks are great hosts and fed us well with good food and plenty of it. I will plan on attending again next year!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lonely Airhead at the Iron Horse Rodeo

Took a short ride last weekend over to the Red Lodge MT. area to meet up with a buddy of mine, Bob Clement. Bob owns "Bobs Motorwerks", a local, nationally known, Airhead BMW Specialist.
Bob has a wrecked BMW R100RT sitting in his shop which is looking for a new home. I'm thinking it might be a good parts bike for my parts stash. The bike has a bent frame / front end. I'm mainly interested in the drive train. I'm thinking having a spare 1000 cc engine / transmission for the side car rig might be a good idea.

I took a "round about" route over towards Red Lodge, going through Belfry MT / Bear Creek MT. Upon entering Belfry, I saw a couple dozen Harley riders in front of the local bar....then met another dozen or so on the road towards Bear Creek.

The clouds were hanging low over the Beartooth Mtns. off in the distance. Red Lodge is at the base of the mountains in the back ground.

Stopping in Bear Creek for a minute, many more riders were at the local watering hole.

                               Must have been the local hardware  / general store in the past.

                                              Stopped on the hill above Red Lodge

Entering town I quickly realized that a Bike Rally was going on....ended up the the annual "Iron Horse Rodeo" was this weekend. A few thousand more bikes in town than usual.

Bob had mentioned that he would be parked downtown....of course I didn't know that 2000 other bikes would be parked downtown

Quite an assortment of machines about. 99% of them were of the Harley variety. Maybe one out of 50 had something resembling a muffler attached.

Finally met Bob C. on his Gold Wing / sidecar rig going the other direction about 8 miles out of town....I turned around and tried to catch up with him, but to no avail. He turned on a side road and I lost sight of him.
I'll maybe try to get together with him later in the Summer if the wrecked bike is still available.

Decided to head home as the weather was looking dark. Decided to take a "long cut" home through Columbus MT. Saw this Memorial to a fallen couple along the road....coincidentally they lost their lives on July 16th, 2004....this happened to be July 16th, 2016.
I vaguely recall the occurrence. They owned / operated the Napa Auto Parts store in Columbus MT. If I remember correctly, they hit a deer on the road, resulting in the crash.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Big Horn Mountain Airhead Beemer - 478 mile day ride.

Since we decided not to do anything over the Holiday weekend, I planned a solo ride into the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming. Preparing the 1971 R75/5  was simple: top off the engine oil & check the tires.
I've been riding it without the small faux "S" fairing and prefer the "naked" look.
I decided to ride old high way 212 across the Crow Reservation to Dayton Wyoming. The Wyoming 14 is a great ride and I've been over it more times than I can count.....but only a few times on a bike.
               ("click" on images to enlarge)

Pulled over for a quick break near Hardin MT, the town I grew up in....sat many times in this pullout as a kid drinking boot legged beer and smoking  the "ditch weed" of those days.

                         Crossed the Little Horn River a few times before entering Wyoming.

Parkman Bar - Parkman Wyoming....back in the early 70's this was the closest place to buy Coors beer....not that Coors beer is good, but since you couldn't purchase Coors in Montana, everyone wanted it. One dude would collect $2.00 - $2.50 per six pack from numerous buyers.....haul ass to $1.25 per six pack, then return to Hardin and distribute his haul. This method bought his beer for free and lots of gas money, since gas was $.35 per gallon back then. A pretty good racket he had going. I refused to ever ride with the guy as he drove like a maniac....and totaled numerous cars in his younger years.

About 10 miles out you can see the "road cut" going up the Big Horn Mountains via WY. Highway 14

Another view after going up a few more miles.

Big pullout looking at "The Fallen City" it is named.

Looking up the mountain to the next pullout, I remember seeing guys with a pickup load of old tires. They would throw them over the cliff and watch them roll violently to the bottom....great fun back in the day.

Fallen City close up.

Looking back towards Dayton Wyoming.

Eventually the road leads to Burgess Junction where High way 14 & 14A split. My Cousins owned a cabin near Burgess Junction so we spent a lot of time up there when I was a kid. I decided to take WY. 14 to Shell WY. as it is a nice route. The photo above is looking down into Shell Canyon. The road follows the river down below. 

I stopped for a minute for a refreshment at this Cafe / Bar. Visited with some Manitoba Canadians for a bit. Told them to avoid picking up any stray Bison Calves in Yellowstone Park as they were heading there. Don't know if they appreciated my sarcastic humor much....

Next stop was in Greybull WY. for another refreshment. I was the only bike on the street when I parked. Came out 15 minutes later to a herd of Harleys surrounding me.


Rode the next leg to Lovell WY. and stopped for fuel. About 20 miles down the road I ran into a huge storm. No way could I  avoid it and decided to back track over the Big Horns Via WY 14A. I was only 70 miles from Billings.....the re-route would add another 160+ miles.

Wall of water 

Stopped at the top of  "Oh My God Hill" (as the truckers used to call it)....looking back on the route I just came up. I was just ahead of the storm and staying dry.

Back in Dayton Wyoming and a few miles towards Montana my weather luck ran out. Rode into a huge storm....lightening strikes very a bit wet and headed the 5 miles back to Dayton to sit the storm out. Storm was fast and furious and passed in 15 minutes or so.

storm passed...

Old grain elevator in Wyola Montana....I worked at a "sister" elevator in Hardin MT. when I was 15 years old...came up to this one once to work a long abandoned.

The old "Camp Custer" Motel in Crow Agency MT. A good buddies family owned / operated it back in the 70's - 80's. Also abandoned and in sad condition.

Pay Phone?....most youngsters don't even know what that was....

Last photo before riding the final 65 miles miles today: 478 miles in 12 hours. My back was pretty sore by the time I got home. Victim of the combination of the  "Euro Bars" and arthritis....I don't care....already looking forward to my next ride. The joy / exhilaration of riding overcomes most all pain...well almost anyway.