Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Time slips by so quickly...seems like I just performed a lot of the service tasks I'm doing now....I checked my informal maintenance log, which is partially stored in my mind (scary) and moved forward. Last night I pulled the big Heinrich fuel tank and removed the piece of crap spot light I had installed. I had run the wiring with the main loom so the Heinrich tank had to come off. While the tank was off I made some rubber pads to cushion the tank as it contacts the frame on each side. I had some heavy foam stuff installed for bumpers but it had compressed to nothingness. Heinrich tanks had a tiny little rubber pad glued to the tank contact areas but these were shot and in the wrong place.
I installed a set of Heinrich Tank reproduction knee pads I had aquired a few months ago. I ended up using an automotive weather strip adhesive. It works well but is miserable crap to work with. H-G Fuel Tanks made up the pads for me. I think he is the worlds' sole source for the pads.
I drained the final drive and inspected the oil from last weeks 700 mile run and found it to be pretty clean. Replaced the oil. Tonight I changed the oil & filter, adjusted the carbs a bit and tightened a few questionable bolts. This morning I ordered a special "Ed Korn" BMW /5 tool for wheel bearing grease injection. The cost of express mail to get it here tomorrow was nearly as much as the tool but decided it was necessary. It's been quite a while since a wheel bearing service. This tool does not stop the need for a proper wheel bearing service but I will be more at ease knowing some fresh grease has been introduced. So tomorrow night the wheels will come off. Early Saturday morning we will be on the road!

This photo was a few years back on the Beartooth Pass at Memorial Day. The bike is in its' old form. Ended up riding through slush and some drifted blowing snow.....cold & exciting. We'll be going over numerous Colorado passes next week which are over 10,000 feet elevation.
Most snow should be gone by now...we'll see. Back in the early 80's a buddy and I ran a Colorado road trip. As the photo shows I used to have hair....This was taken on Rabbit Ear Pass. At an overlook stop I remember visiting with a German couple on an old Airhead BMW. He had over 100k miles on the bike. I was impressed with the bike but stuck to my Asian bikes for quite a few more years. Hondas, Yamahas & Suzukis. Never could bring myself to buy a Kawasucki for some reason................

I wonder if anyone makes this on a sticker?.................

This is the Mongolian technique for spoke reinforcement. Pretty sweet.
I checked my spokes recently and snugged up the torque a bit. I visited with a side car dealer in the Northwest and he said that spoke checks were a necessity. He has installed side cars on over 500 motorcycles with spokes and has seen one failure.......due to someone not keeping track of spoke tightness ( a very heavy Harley with a very heavy sidecar). Typically, spoked wheels were not designed for the side loading involved with side cars but after talking with folks with years of experience under their belts I am more at ease with there use.

One Day / Bike At A Time......

I've been in contact with this fellow Montanan Gearhead who is stationed in a foreign country in the service of our country. He is a motorcycle fanatic and dreams daily of his future motorcycle projects. He has a few BMW's including some old vintage iron and hopes to set up a side car rig upon his return home. He is a great guy and I would like everyone to say a prayer for his daily safety and eventually his safe return.

I found this on the net a few years ago....I think it was a pre WW2 BMW Military design that more than likely hit a dead end. Pretty limited use for something like this. Right up there with the Kettenkrad. Maybe I could set one up like this for Montana winter riding.(?) I bet the steering geometry is something else or maybe you just have to go in a straight line all the time.(?).
I also found this on the net a while back.....By chance I think it belongs to my friend Rex M. in Miles City MT. He has a habit of not washing his bikes...this old /2 seems to wear his "patina." If I remember right it was described as a very rare "Pop Dreyer" side car....notice the cool racing fin on the back and the camo paint. I love the looks of this old guy. (Not you Rex...the bike!)
Ural lovers can drool for days over the prospect of wandering through this yard. "U-Bear" who is on a side car (Ural) traveling round the world for 10 years...currently in Russia I believe....saw this sight at a police impound yard. Seems the Russian Police have "detained" all these due to unsafe something or other. A lot of them have been sitting there for years. I wonder if they have police auctions over there.....Using one of those hydraulic trash compactors, a guy could fill a shipping container with a full load. Sorry Ural guys........I couldn't help myself.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oklahoma City....Colorado Road Trip Planning

We had a quick road trip (in the car, darn it!) to Tulsa OK. last weekend. Darians' Mom was there visiting so a fast 900 mile run was in order. We were pleasantly surprised to find that eastern OK. was a heavily wooded area. I expected to see more of the wide open Texas Panhandle type country. Our visit was nice, although short. Heading back Sunday we felt in necessary to visit the OK. City need for a narrative here...............

Looks like I'll possibly be getting a few extra days off next week. I'm already pouring over the maps to figure out a road trip "loose" agenda. We never travel with any real itinerary, but rather just go.... This will be the 2nd. time in 30 years that I've had any time off in the summer months. I'd planned on another New Mexico run over the 4th of July but with the extra few days off we'll likely explore some areas of Colorado which we have never seen. I painted out a rough route in yellow with red as an alternate route. We'll be in a camping mode most nights as weather permits. We have a friend who summers in Delores Co. so maybe we'll see if he's around........Would like to see Mesa Verde again too. Having 6-8 days will allow us to really slow down and take in some sights. I have a bit of bike maintenance to do in advance so hope to get things ready to leave for next Saturday. I picked up a pair of new 150 & 140 main jets for the Bing Carbs so should be ready for any elevation sickness issues. Need to do an engine oil/filter change and might change the gear lube on the newly installed 37:11 final drive. The oil in it when I received it looked pretty bad...I've run it 700 miles so any crud should be flushed out. I had some weepage from the drain plug (needs a new crush washer, which I don't have) so I'll give it a bit of Teflon Tape to seal the threads. I'm overdue for a wheel bearing service on the bike....I have never performed that task myself. The bearings are running cool but they are due for service. I think I can easily get one more trip out of them. (famous last words) Service to be done: Change oil & filter, change final drive gear lube, adjust valves? (I usually do that on the road in the morning before riding as it takes only a few minutes to do), check / change air filter, Remove the crappy spot light I installed. ; the light was the cause of my charging system must have an internal short. As soon as I removed the spot light fuse my charging system went back to normal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Breezy Afternoon in Texas.............

The area of Texas we are in is prone to some pretty nasty storms. most residents have storm shelters in their back yards and a lot of homes are constructed of brick. Late today we had quire an ugly looking thunderstorm heading our way. I went out to photograph the on-coming storm.
There were some big lightning hits fairly close so I didn't wander far. I could see the clouds moving fast and all of a sudden a ferocious blast of wind hit. I heard a terrible metal to metal sound but couldn't figure out what it was. I looked over towards my neighbors R.V. and saw that his portable shelter, which he uses as a motorcycle garage was in pieces. I ran into our motor home as the wind and noise were not normal. I thought for a moment that a tornado was about to nail us.

The storm blew very hard for a half hour or so with heavy rain and limited visibility. No hail this time. Luckily we had other R.V.'s acting as a wind break next to us. After the storm passed a co-worker called and said to walk over a few feet and look at the storage building right next to her R.V

WOW, this explained the strange metallic noises I was hearing. The pile in the fore ground is a huge tangled section of the buildings roof. Another 100' and it would have been in the R.V. Park.

A lot of busted up vehicles in there. Looks like we dodged another bullet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tucumcari to Texas......Day 3

Sunday morning came on clear and hot. Had 90 degrees by 9:00AM. We hit the local Tucumcari McDonalds for a (Ha) nutritious breakfast and a tank of fuel next door. I swapped the main jets back to the #160's before firing up. We're still at 4000 foot elevation but don't want to chance running the bike too lean. We watched the local weather and it appeared that the currant storms were to the north of us. With that in mind we figured a longer route to the south and then back up to Amarillo.
Leaving Tucumcari we were surprised to see some nice scenery for the first hour or so. A lot of red rock areas and the ever present red dirt. We could see some threatening clouds in the distance but nothing too serious.

Darian caught a glimpse of an old ornate brick arch ruin along the road. We saw a lot of old adobe buildings today. Couldn't get photos of everything. Following route 209 we headed for the Texas border.
Miles and miles of straight roads through farm and ranch lands. We saw a solitary Doe Mule Deer sitting in the ditch. She looked out of place and lonely. Dozens of old abandoned farm houses. We saw many old ruins over the weekend. Just can't stop to photo everything....I always tell Darian to try to catch the old stuff passing by. I picture a time back when someones dream home / farm was in operation. Quite a solitary existence out here now....much less 60 - 80 years ago.

We passed through Canyon Texas, where we had been a few weeks ago. Again had threatening skis and the clouds spit a few raindrops over a 50 mile stretch. Not enough to even make the road wet. We could see heavy rains off in the distance in a few areas. Our timing was great. Normally the wind issues are a crap shoot with a sidehack. Wind has a lot more impact on three wheels than on two . All weekend I either had a tail wind, or a right side wind. These directions are the preferable angles when on three wheels. I've been worn down on trips where we fight head winds and left side winds for days. Sometimes we're lucky, sometimes we're not. This trip we missed all bad weather and mother nature was on our side.

The main part I like about arriving home after a trip is that now I can start planning the next
A few random photos from the trip................
another farm / business ruin
Bikers in Taos N.M.
Old cemetary
old cemetary


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Taos, New Mexico Day 2, Long Day, Long Post.

Up nice and early Sat. A.M. Pulled the spark plugs and they were carbon fouled as I figured they would be. Cleaned them up and pulled the float bowels. Decided to install the 135 main jets. I'm running 160 main jets now so that is quite a jump down.....had my doubts.

On the road by 9:00AM and the bike was running fine. No power loss or "pinging" on the hills. Leaving Cimarron N.M. we headed west on Hiway 64. Wonderful canyons and views. Almost too much to take in. Great ride through miles and miles of canyon roads with little traffic.

This is Cimarron Canyon which had lots of different rock formations. The roads were all in great condition.

After leaving the canyon area we topped a small pass and this lake came into view. The road has been recently resurfaced and was as smooth as glass, just like the lake.

This town was called Eagle Nest, situated right on the lake. Here we had to decide on going directly towards Taos or making a northward loop and adding miles....easy decision , north and more miles....

Leaving Eagles Nest the road was a bit rough and then we climbed up a lot. Finally hit "bobcat Pass @ 9820 feet.
Over this pass we ran for a few miles and dropped down into "Red River" N. M. Looks like a ski town and tourist town. Lots of bikes running around.

Originally was a mining town , now turned tourist town.

We stopped for Breakfast here and took a little break. Prices were reasonable and the food good. We were the only ones in the place when we walked in.

A bike joint rents these little cruiser bikes. Looks like fun...until you have to go uphill....The main street is on quite a grade. They were moving pretty fast right down the middle of the street.

Just outside town we passed this huge mining operation. They were still in operation.

We made the big road loop and passed through Taos, N.M. Was surprised to see nothing much to note. The ski areas were some miles up a canyon and we never saw the turn. Most of the town is artist stores etc. We passed directly through and kept on going. Took a back road, Hiway 518 towards Las Vegas N.M.

518 ended up being a great route. Lots of scenic views, canyons and valleys.

No real large towns anywhere out here. A lot of real small run down towns with many run down abandoned buildings. We ran through Las Vegas N.M. long enough for me to get all turned around and lost. We came upon a cute little Pomeranian dog in a pink sweater that had just gotton run over by a car or something. Poor little pup. Darian got me aimed the right direction and we found the road towards Tucumcari N.M. which was our goal for the day.

Great ride towards the east.
Great looking G.S. road across the canyon.

Very steep grade going down.

I couldn't help myself, needed a front row view...Darian was yelling at me.

Dropping down we ended up on the typical flat area towards Tucumcari. The temperature reached 104 degrees for a while. Covered a lot of miles and a lot of country today...

Altitude Sickness, Taos New Mexico, Day I

Friday was a little bit shorter work day than usual. Since I just finished installing three new tires on the BMW / Sidecar we decided that we should get busy and begin wearing them out. The Texas Panhandle has some what limited exciting looking ride areas so looking West we see New Mexico. What the hell, only a couple hundred miles to some mountains. Let's go! Darian is a pro at getting ready at short notice, she was packed up and ready within an hour. I loaded the bike and checked things over. We decided to forgo camping this time so left all the camping gear behind. I rolled the bike back to leave and realize that the sidehack tire is way low. Bummer. Figured I must have pinched a tube when installing it last night. Pulled the hack wheel off, and found the valve core was not overly tight. The core looked kind of crooked so I swapped it out. Still had a tiny bit of leakage out of the stem. Damned inner tube stem has a bad sealing surface. Installed an o-ring sealed cap and all leaks ceased. Off we go.

Leaving our area we crossed the Sanford Dam which is where we are presently working.......I marked out the area of our job site.

The day was mostly clear and about 90 degrees. Northwest Texas is as flat as Northeast Texas.....................
Finally New Mexico....The mostly featureless Texas terrain gave up to some more interesting New Mexico terrain. The New Mexico sharp shooters are just like the MT. sharp shooters. Can't stand to see a road sign without bullet holes.

New Mexico Rest Area Warning Sign.......we watched but never saw any.

We headed Northwest towards Raton New Mexico. Some very nice country in this area. We decided our final goal would be Taos, New Mexico due to the fact we had never been there. The BMW started running real ratty as the afternoon wore on. Altitude sickness, I figured.
We worked our way over towards Cimarron New Mexico. It looked like a good end goal for the day. Raton has lots of motels but Cimarron looked like a sizable town on the map. We were climbing higher and higher and the bike was running badder and badder....We arrived at Cimarron around 6:30 Mt. Time. Ends up that there are only two motels in town and a big Boy Scout thing and wedding going on. I knew I should have brought the damn camping gear! No room at the inns. We sat around outside the motel discussing our next move for a little while.....either 40 miles back to Raton or keep going west. The Motel manager came out and offered us her daughters' (who was gone for the night) room. Darian went in and looked...dirty underwear, clothes all over, the room looked like a disaster area. We'll pass....I'd about had enough for one day....finally the motel girl came out and lo and behold they had a double reservation for one guy. We had a room after all. Good. There was a decent cafe next door. Unfortunately all the Boy Scouts were eating there too. I talked to one of the Scout Masters and was pleased to hear that Scouting is still popular. Scouting does add some ethics and discipline to kids...lots of kids these days are missing that. Seems like a lot of parents have never heard of morals, ethics, discipline, etc.
Gravel parking lot at the motel and a punk employee kept driving back and forth in his Mustang stirring up clouds of dust...... I dug into my on-board spare parts bin and found I had a pair of R75/5 135 main jets and a pair of smaller needle jets. Hopefully I can come up with a workable higher altitude jetting combination in the morning. We will be going up in altitude a lot more tomorrow! Great ride...Great day!

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.