Friday, July 29, 2011

Motorcycle Maintenance and Motorcycle Philosophy...

... rendered more difficult by the early onset of Senility.

I ain't no mechanic... never wanted to be.. and in pure truthful honesty... still don't want to be... Busting greasy knuckles on frozen bolts in places the engineers did their best to make 'em inaccessible, while rolling around on the cold dirty concrete of a garage floor, just don't twist my throttle.

I'm more of a clean shirts, cold beer and hot women sort of rider. :)

But... I'm the first to admit it... Riding a high performance machine, into places where help is a long ways away, like the Alaskan Highway, without being awful familiar with the machine that's carryin' you... is probably Motorcycle Touring on the road to foolishness.

and... uh... as lazy as I've gotten in my old age, I've been living for a bit in that foolish world of payin' somebody else to do my Simple Maintenance. Bad, Bad, Biker Cowboy!

So... yesterday I decided to put my lazy ways aside and get back to doin' my own maintenance on the Raider, rather than paying someone else to do my dirty work.

Now that's an education. How can something with two wheels, be so much more Complicated then a big diesel... to change the freaking oil?!! :)

I collected the oil, filter and a couple of fresh sealer washers from Yamaha, and started to work, knowing that there's not one, but TWO, drain plugs on the 113 cid. mill that resides in a Raiders frame.

First, I used my son-in-laws motorcycle/atv jack and lifted the bike up. OK... that's good, except now, there's no place to put a drain pan, so drop the bike back down off the lift, and I'll just do the work with it sitting on the ground...

Uh... NOPE... the lift won't come down... jack it back up, hit the release again, it only comes down part way... with a mechanical thunk! replay a half dozen times... What the hell?

It wouldn't come down...

Well Brian...It's a damn jack! It's not the freakin' space shuttle... Took me ten minutes to find the "Mechanical" safety load lock gizmo, so I could get the Raider back off the lift...

I'm tellin' you... Senility is an awful thing!

So then, it's back under the bike with it sitting on the ground. I can juuuuuuust get a drain pan shoved under that low sittin' bike... after I loosened the drain bolts... all two of 'em, If I stand it up a lil' as I push the pan with my foot. And then juuuuust get my fingers on those bolts to remove 'em, and the oil drains out... right?

Nope,Wrong again!

Maybe a quart runs out... leaving 4+ still in the scooter. This machine takes more oil than my 450 HP Hot Rod 390 Ford V8 Took! almost 5 1/4 quarts!

So, I think; "Ah Ha! The filter ya dummy!" and pull that... another pint or so... and, the oil tank remains full...

Truth is, this is the first dry sump bike I've owned... if it was a horse? or a Cow?... or even a damn lawn mower... I've got it handled... but... A Motorcycle Mechanic, this buster Ain't! :) Puh-Thetic

I search for a while, crippled up Ol' buster crawlin' around the garage on his hands and knees, trying to keep his $%@#  Damn glasses on his nose so he can see ANYTHING... and not really being able to see under that low ridin' scooter. Felt around with my fingers and just didn't find anything that gave me that "Ha! There it is!" warm glow...

Finally surrendered my ego and called a dealer, who pointed me to the THIRD, drain plug... the one that drains the dry sump oil tank, and badda boom, it's drained.

Only now, I've only got Two, replacement sealing washers. The parts guy at the dealer was new, and didn't know the scoot had Three drains either, when I bought my supplies. :) Knowing that miserable Murphy is just waitin' for me to leave him an opening to cause trouble... I make a second run to the dealer for a third washer and back to the bike to put her back on the road...

... except that the back bolt of the two crank case drains I knew about, won't tighten down... can't get a wrench to fit in there to tighten it up... took a while to finally find a box end in my box that was thin enough to fit into the recess around that bolt head... but being stubborn as well as senile, I did finally get her done...

Yup... a mechanic, Motorcycle or otherwise... I ain't. But, at least I've put my "I hate gettin' greasy" ego aside and am givin' the bike the proper attention she deserves! :) as well as finding out that this Ol' dog can still learn a thing or two... like... just a lil' bit of humility! :)

This morning... trying to figure out how to get to the air box, to service the filter... and knowing it's under the fuel tank... I found a PDF of the service manual on the Raider forum. See! I'm learning! :)

What a job That is... for a guy who don't wanna Mechanic... to change the air filter! Sheesh... seems like I'll have most of the Motorcycle lyin' on the floor, before I can get to the filter! You have to remove the whole dang fuel tank... and 19 gazillion disconnects... to dig on in there...

I'm tellin' you... engineers have got to be sadistic suckers...

I'm gettin' greasy.. whether I like it or not... and I still have to write up the last couple days of our ride to Deadwood! ... and all while I'm still on the road, away from the rig, attending a wedding...

Sheesh! I'm ready to just climb back on the bike and split the wind!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cruising From Cody to Devils Tower

We got up to sunny skies after a deluge the night before... But Kerry had picked a good motel so our bikes were sitting under the overhead in front of the office when the skies opened up :)

How-some-ever... just to keep our egos in line... we took the wrong road out of Cody... Supposed to be heading for Powell, Lovell and the Medicine Wheel on top of the Bighorn Mountains on Alt. 14... we... found ourselves running thirty miles out on plain old Hwy. 14, toward Greybull... oops.

But that's not lost on a motorcycle... it's just Exploring!

And anyways... it's no big deal... you just take the Hwy. 32 cutoff back north and hit the right road at Lovell.

You climb up a steep grade that even a motorcycle notices :) and just after you top out is the Medicine Wheel... Only... this year, there was so much snow you still can't get to it... 'less you've got more ambition on foot than us guys. 

*Near the Medicine Wheel atop the Bighorns*
That snow bank you can see over Kerry's shoulder sits right across the mile and a half road you have to walk to get to the wheel. Forest service fella says you can walk on out... "But if anything happens to you crossing that drift... and you fall off the mountain... it ain't our fault!: ....

... yeah... so we decided we'd just put our behinds back on the bikes and roll the three miles back to the pavement :)

*going back down the Medicine Wheel access road*
... and then... you get to the east side of the Mountains where they drop off into Dayton... and Oh Baby... a sweet ride...

... So... I'd show you the whole deal... 'cept... some idiot was havin' so much fun chasing Daryl's Goldwing through those twisties on his Raider, dancin' back and forth from tight lefts, flipping straight into hard rights... that the guy with the camera trigger... forgot to pull it! :)

... so all I got, once I woke up and pushed the dang button, is the bottom third or so... where the corners had widened up a bit... but still a sweet ride!

***so...48+ hours... and the music is finally there... ***

When you get down, just as you come into Dayton, on the left side is a lil' bar and grill... which called to the three old guys rollin' past... so we wheeled in there for a bit of cool brew and some good conversation with another set of Bikers out of Idaho.

The day was stretching long, and we had miles to go... so it was back on the scooters, twist the throttles, and put it back in the wind, bound for Devils Tower...

... Straight into a hard, quartering, sidewind out of Gillette... that drained my kiester dry all the way to the tower...

We did manage to roll in, just 'fore dark and get our camp set... in a grassy meadow campground at the KOA...

A cold brew with some 'Biker Yarning' around the fire made a good end to a fine day.

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Riding toward the Black Hills through Montana and Wyoming...

... and it turned out a lot like that... a ride, to, the Black Hills. :) We took a 600 plus mile ride... and made it more like 900 :)

By the time we got done winding through Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming... we didn't leave much time to actually ride the Black Hills. :) bummer... now we'll have to go back... :)

We rolled through Helena and across Hwy 12 to drop down for a night in Big Timber.

*A hard night in Big Timber Montana*

When we got up the next morning we rolled the three bikes, a Goldwing, A Silverado and a Raider, east to Columbus where we turned south to Red Lodge and the Northern  approach to Bear Tooth pass.

*Approaching Bear Tooth Pass from Red Lodge*

If you ride anywhere near the NW corner of Wyoming or the SW part of Montana... You've got to ride the  Bear Tooth... it's a mountain you want to remember...

... and after the heat of the plains to the North and East... the top of the Mountain will reward you...

*The Montana side of the Bear Tooth Mountains*

*Top of the Bear Tooth*

*You've got to stop at the "Top of the World" ... don't you?"

We came down off the South side, heading for Cody... the road doesn't wind as tight on the Wyoming side...  but... it's still not lacking for views to remember...

*Coming down off Bear Tooth Pass into Wyoming*

We spent so much time riding this mountain... we chose to bunk in Cody that night, and head for the Bighorns, the next day...

... and so... I'll continue that... the next day :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Camped Below Devils Tower

We fought a nasty wind most of the afternoon to ride in to Devils Tower just before dark yesterday...

This morning, a clear blue sky and a pretty view at sun rise. Waiting on coffee and then we'll head for the border and put it in the wind in the Black Hills

Grab your Handles and Ride

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bad Boys in Columbus

Stopping in Columbus for Breakfast .... and ran into a razor tough guard Dog... :)

... as soon as we pack the groceries in we'll climb over Beartooth Pass and see where we end up!

Grab your handles and Ride!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Along the Road to the Black Hills

We took off this morning about 9AM. With none of the three of us caring for riding the Interstate we kept to the Secondaries from Seeley Lake through Helena to turn south and stop for the night in Big Timber.

A good prime rib sandwhich and a Rolling Rock Beer at the Timber Bar in Big Timber has me ready for bed. :)

I can't say that any part of Montana is un-attractive... but, for a biker, much of the eastern 2/3 or so of the state can get pretty monotonous.

After winding through some awful pretty country, once we got east of White Sulphur Springs, the road drops down and really straightens out... You start hitting some considerable stretches where you wish the road builders had just turned their equipment once in a while, if only to break up the no monotony :)

But that's OK... just south of here is a sweet road... for tomorrow.

In the morning we'll ride a short ways on I-90 to get east to Columbus where we'll cut south again for Red Lodge and Beartooth pass.

Today was a fine ride... and tomorrow will be another. It's good to be a biker.

Grab your Handles and Ride

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Trio ofOld Guys, on Fine Motorcycles, Heading for The Black Hills

The Raider is packed and ready. a couple chores to complete and I'll be ready to ride.

The other pair of Riders are linking up today in Idaho... Expect to link up with them tomorrow. Then it's put it in the wind and roll for Deadwood! :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gonna be Making a Motorcycle Touring Ride Through the Black Hills in a Couple Days... What Have You Been Up To?

We've been occupying the camp we're in, for two weeks and more... so today, the 4th of July we're gonna break camp and move up to somewhere NE of Missoula, likely around Seeley Lake.

My thinkin' is... all the long weekend folks will be packin' up and goin' home today... so... the camp we're intending to use... should be emptyin' out... Let's hope my calculatin' ain't faulty! :)

There's a lil' pressure on 'cause I'll be takin' off for an Old Guys Ride to the Black Hills... Wednesday or Thursday... as soon as I get word from the guys I'm meeting... when and where I'll be linkin' up with 'em! :)

... and since we've been in this Boondocking camp a touch over the maximum allowed :) we can't just stay here... Have to move!

... and, since I'll be gone for a week or so... I gotta set the rig for herself and the dogs to hang with some convenience... for the time I'll be in the wind...

In the mean time, while I'm off wandering around on my Raider... and hopefully finding a fine new Motorcycle road or two... have you got any of your own? or maybe a story about your favorite bike?... Maybe you'd like to share your own motorcycle philosophy?

For sure and for certain, there's other riders who want to hear your opinion, be it Bikes, Roads or the "Way" you live. You can share a picture and a story of that with other readers here...

But, for now... I've got to get back to work, gettin' ready to move this camp... and get my gear together for this coming ride...

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads