Friday, August 15, 2014

Honda CX Road Trip

CX Honda's have always been a favorite of mine since I owned a GL650 SilverWing a few years back. They are known for their reliability and longetivity.

This afternoon, while working, three young guys rode into a parking area at Badlands National Park where I am working. I had a nice, but short visit with them.

 They were traveling across the country from North Carolina, heading West. Two of the young guys had passengers. They looked like they were having the time of their lives. All three had bought cheap CX 500's for their journey. Riding two-up with all their gear they were a bit "over taxed" but obviously the bikes were getting them across the country.
 I was real happy to see young folks traveling across our great country and seeing it from a "biker" prospective. This is the type of trip I always wanted to take but never took the time in my younger years. I had numerous opportunities but ......
So Cheers to you fine young people on a trip you will never forget! Happy Trails and enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mt. Rushmore Revisited

We rode the sidecar over to Rushmore a couple weeks ago. Decided to run the /5 for a few miles today. Went to get it ready and saw leaky old fuel lines. I'd replaced the "easy" ones last winter. Pulled the airbox cover and replaced the cross-over line and the ones to each carb. 

Haven't ridden this bike much since putting it together last Winter due to leaky fuel lines. Finally got off my duff replaced all the fuel lines this AM and took it for a 200+ mile jaunt. It never "missed a beat".
My old Honda "took a crap" on me yesterday at the end a 380 mile ride so the /5 will be the ride of choice for a while.

Out in the flats of SD. The exodus from Sturgis was well under way. 

Mr. Washington 

Some small storms in the area but nothing serious.

South Dakota 350 miles ....Dead Honda

Finally got in a decent ride today. Leaving Wall SD  I ran East to Kadoka, SD....misread my map and ended up 15 miles past my turn....back West 15 miles and headed South on Hiway 73. The Exodis of humanity leaving Sturgis and heading East was unbelievable. A solid line of vehicles as far as the eye could see,
I looped around South then West, eventually passing through Pine Ridge SD. A very depressing place.
Heading North towards Hot Springs the weather began to turn:

The Black Hills are in the back ground, shrouded by the thunderstorm. The road appeared to be heading directly into the storm. I took a few minute break and headed into the darkness.
A few miles down the road, it turned in a more Northeasterly direction which was just outside the worst of things. I hit light rain for 20 minutes or so but just missed the main storm:
 Glad I missed the wall of water. Looked like a real "gully washer".

I stopped at a Conoco Station at Hermosa SD and filled up. The bike had ran well up to that point, averaging at 43 mpg. Immediately after fueling up the bike started running ratty. I stopped in Rapid City and the engine did not want to idle. Headed down the freeway and the engine ran OK at higher RPM's but let the RPM's down, and it barely ran at all. Pulling into our RV Park, I had a hard time keeping it running for the last 100 yards. As soon as I let off the throttle it died and I rolled into my space. Rode 350 miles today.  Well at least it got me home and didn't die hundreds of miles from home.
I have not a clue as to what is going on with it. It has not run as good as it should for the past year, but nothing as bad as this. Likely a fuel delivery / carburetor issue or bad fuel (?)....don't know.
Appears that a multiple carb rebuild might be on my list for this Winter.....or sooner. I do have a good old school Honda GoldWing mechanic located in Billings. Maybe I'll get a quote from him for a carb rack rebuild. I imagine he will want way more than I am willing to spend. A complete rebuild kit from Radakk is about $150.00. The Honda will be "resting" for a while in any event.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Little Projects.....Big guns.....Bad lands

Many years ago I purchased my small open motorcycle trailer from my Brother. He had built the trailer back in 1967, then it sat unused for many years. Prior to my use, I sand blasted and painted the trailer before putting it to work. 20 some odd years later, my Wife had been complaining that she was tired of towing the "mobile eye sore" around the country behind her car. She was correct, my restoration had depleted to rust and missing paint. My Winter neighbor in Yuma was hounding me to help out with a project so the little trailer became our focus for a couple of days.....

("click" on images to enlarge)

Initially we were going to spray paint the frame, but opted to "brush" paint it to allow a much heavier application. The heavy plywood decking was still in real good shape, other than a few stains and weathering. I have a couple of .50 caliber ammo cans which mount to the trailer for storage. Of course they were painted too. 
The final product looked real good and my Wife was happy, no longer embarrassed to drag the thing around. The toughest thing was finding replacement wheel seals for the bearings. They were shot and the spindles were old Studebaker units. After many miles / phone calls I finally found a shop that had boxes full of NOS seals and he had dozens of them. I bought a couple spares for the next time.

We have been in the "Badlands" of South Dakota for the past couple of months, after spending a few months in New Mexico. 

 A few weeks ago I took a little ride on my old Goldwing while here in South Dakota. I happened across a little Military Museum at a small town and decided to tour the place. While looking at their Equipment Display the owner came along and stated that it was time to give his 105 mm Self Propelled Gun a bit of exercise. I thought the display was a "static" display but I was mistaken. He opened the overhead doors, fired the thing up and backed it out the door, telling me to mount up.He explained my escape route from the gunners position in case of a fire....then away we went!

 Overhead view of the turret mechanics.
Optical equipment from the gunners position. The interior had little comfort and was all steel.

View from a "vision slot" when in the gunners seat.

He cruised a few laps around the property and ran it up to 30 - 35 mph. Has a Rolls Royce Diesel engine and Allison Automatic Transmission. Originally of British decent, he found the tank in Australia, and imported it back to the US a few years ago. Quite the ride / experience! Not often one gets a chance for something like this.

 Working 80 - 90 odd hours a week hasn't left much time for riding recently but we've been able to have an odd day off here and there. I had to deliver pay checks to some workers across the Park on a Sunday so opted to take the sidecar over. The "Loop Road" is about 35 miles long.
 We've been performing various pavement maintenance on all the Badlands National Park roadways so I've driven back and forth across the Park dozens and dozens of times....some days well over 200 miles worth.
A very beautiful place. Thousands of motorcycles passing through due to the proximity of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Seems that everyone visiting the Black Hills also comes here.

 One Saturday, I completed my work by early afternoon so we decided to ride the Hack over to Hill City to a little Mexican Food Cafe we found a year or so back while working at Mt. Rushmore. Some guy in a red dress was admiring the sidecar.....
 He had friends.......They were on some sort of Charity Run, which required their "best dress"...literally.

 We timed our ride home just right, having a nice sunset before arriving at 'home".

 Last weekend we had another "free" day so decided to make a ride over to Pierre SD, the State Capitol. Hill leading down across the Missouri river into Pierre.
Actually a pretty boring ride for 120 miles each way....lots of grain fields and corn fields. Not much else. There were a lot of "Loud Pipes Save Lives" believers on the road, heading to Sturgis.

I did fire up the old /5 BMW a few weeks ago and took a short ride around town. When I assembled the bike I replaced the seriously bent rear turn signal mounting bracket with a new one that came with the bike. I didn't notice that it was 2" longer than the old one. Once I mounted the saddle bags I realized that the fit was not good.
The side reflectors were tight against the saddle bags. Being lazy, I just never got around to resizing the brackets. Late today I got caught up on work activities and decided to give the bike a little attention.
I thought I might be able to cut the 2" required with the bracket in place with a hack saw but immediately realized that this thought was a "no go". Ended up pulling the wiring out of the bracket, removing it and easily lopped off  2" from each side with a power cut-off grinder. Fit is much better now! almost looks like a planned event.

 The clearance from boot heels to mufflers is nil on a /5 with the stock "cigar" mufflers. I had these exhaust shields on the sidecar rig but boot heel clearance on that bike is good....the right side is shielded by the sub frame and the left side a way above the muffler. So I opted to remove them from the hack and install them on the /5.
I already have some melted boot heel remnants on the left muffler, but no more.
I've been watching eBay looking for another set of  muffler shields....a pair came up the other day but they are asking $ gotta be kidding me?

Looks like a week end off this week. I hope to give a couple of the bikes some extended exercise.
Would like to ride the /5.... but a "weeping" oil pan gasket is haunting me. The previous owner installed a silicon pan gasket which seeps oil. When I pulled the oil pan last winter, I carefully cleaned / washed the gasket as recommended prior to re-installation. Even though I carefully "snugged up" the oil pan bolts, the gasket still "squished" out on one side a little bit. Not a serious leak but will likely make a mess underneath on an extended ride. I have a paper gasket so maybe I'll do a quick change tomorrow AM. (?)

Traffic is nuts out there with the Sturgis Rally going on....maybe I'll ride over there and check it out. Went there in the 90's but haven't had any urge to return during the Rally....we'll see.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.