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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Contest and Sale

Mansoor is having a sale at Roadgear. Use code 'JULY4' to get 15% off everything. Offer ends on 5 July.


Kymco and Karen Stoffer NHRA Top Fuel Motorcycle Race Team are running a contest. These contests are usually not high in participation numbers. The other contest for the Indy Car Race is not deep in numbers either. You can see that one as you go to Kymco USA website as a popup.

http://kymcousa.com/NHRA/
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Monday, June 28, 2010

TransAlp Rally Report


The picture says it all: John is alive and well! However, he does not recommend the helicopter service as the best way to exit the Pine Barrens.

Saturday was very hot (96F) and muggy and there were endless tree falls across the trails from the tornado the previous week. The going was slow in the soft sand and then John decided to see if he could climb a tree with his Yamaha. The bike's bite was worse than the tree's bark and John was down for the count with a severed vein in his calf. The trails were so bad that the EMTs with a 4x4 and chain saws couldn't make it in. They called the Coast Guard who flew in and hovered while a basket was dropped. Then away to Atlantic City for stitches and a checkup.

Ed and Julie put out a fabulous spread Saturday night but the atmosphere was subdued while we all worried about John. Tracy called with good news that he was stable and in good spirits. That perked us up.

Sunday morning some of the guys went back into the Barrens to retrieve John's bike while the rest of us had a leisurely breakfast and decided to pack up for the trip home. The general concensus was that a fall ride would be a good idea. 

Not our best rally but it could have been a lot worse. Thanks to Milt for organizing it. I'll post details on the fall ride.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Newtonian Physics

Motorcycling is one of the greatest applications of Classical, or Newtonian, Physics. Yet if you asked the average rider about it I venture to say that a blank stare would be the most common reply. Too bad, because knowing the basics of how your bike interacts with the world around it would definitely make you a better rider.


When I was at UConn I took the Advanced Math course which was 4 semesters with the same group of students who went from basic calculus to complex theories in more than 3 dimensions. On day, at the beginning of class, another student were trying to decide why and how a motorcycle was able to turn. The teacher picked up the discussion and we spent the next 3 days modeling the ability of a motorcycle to turn mathematically. I'm not saying that every time I lean my bike over I calculate E-mc2 but I think that knowing how it works makes me more aware of what's going on where the rubber meets the road. A simple force/vector diagram will explain why applying power helps a bike in a corner.

I think most people avoid physics because they assume that it involves a lot of math. American schools are dismal at teaching math and science. They are more interested in assuring Bobby and Suzy that they feel good about themselves and "fit in" than actually challenging them with material that would help them succeed in life (and thus feel good about themselves). 
Greg London has written an excellent article on Classical Physics. It's very readable and easy to understand. He doesn't talk down to you but instead explains the subject with relevant examples from the real world. If you have ever shoot a game of pool or played air hockey you can understand the subject matter. It's only 54 pages long and I split it up over a few days while drinking my morning coffee. Small bites make it a fun subject.

When you squeeze the front brake lever a lot of things start to happen all at once. After reading Greg's article you'll know a lot more about them and be a better rider for it. And you'll be able to impress the members of the opposite sex at the next party.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ducati Test Rides Coming Up


The Ducati Revs New Jersey Event (August 16-17) at the beautiful New Jersey Motorsports park is the opportunity of the summer for track riders in the Northeastern USA.  This event is for riders on all brands of motorcycle and is loaded with extra features and bonuses that make it different from any track experience you have had before.  Space is limited, so check out the features below and be sure to sign up early at www.penguinracing.com or your local participating Ducati dealer (list of dealers to follow shortly).

Special Features

* AMA Superbike star Larry Pegram on hand with his full AMA tractor trailer
* Interviews and Q/A with world reknowned tuner Eraldo Ferracci
* Appearances by former World Superbike Champion Doug Polen
* Ducati Experience Semi truck available for test rides* Free prizes and giveaways each day, with a participant bike show on Monday
* Free lunch each day with the opportunity to converse with our celebrity attendees
* Top motorcycle vendors displaying the latest parts and accessories for sale
* World class photographer John Owens on hand with special photo package deals
* Optional video analysis with a take home DVD of your NJMP experience so you can share it with those at home

One Day Sign Up Available - Bonuses for two day participants!

Riders may sign up for either Monday or Tuesday if your schedule does not allow for attending on both days.  A bonus for all riders attending both days is that they will be entered in a special drawing for valuable prizes like autographed Ducati apparel and a free set of Dunlop tires!

Instruction with Champions!

Leading the classroom and track instruction will be a quartet of the top riders in the Northeast.  Penguin instruction features current NHMS lap record holder and AMA race winner Eric Wood, 15-time ASRA/CCS national champion Jeff Wood, multi-time CCS Champions and AMA Superbike riders Scott Greenwood and Mike Himmlesbach, plus nearly two dozen other top expert instructors.  Add in appearances from world caliber talent like Pegram, Polen and Feracci .... and you have an opportunity truly like no other.  You will both have a great time and come away a better rider.

To register visit HERE or visit your participating New England or Mid Atlantic Ducati dealer.

We hope to see you there!

Penguin Racing School, Inc.
www.penguinracing.com
Phone 978-297-1800

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Team Effort

 Went to see the new A-Team movie last night. I have to admit, it was everything I was hoping for. Rotten Tomatoes had this to say, "Consensus: For better and for worse, Joe Carnahan's big-screen version of The A-Team captures the superficial, noisy spirit of the TV series." Couldn't have said it any better myself.

I'm a movie guy, not a film guy. I go to theaters that sell Milk Duds and JuJuBe's, I run screaming if they are selling French pastilles in a metal tin. I'm not looking for a lot of depth, I'm looking for action, I'm looking for adventure, I'm looking for lots of fast cars and faster women!
The new A-Team movie has it all. Sure, there are a lot of incongruities and weird jumps in the story but who cares? Just about the time you're thinking of the absurdity of a tank flying through the air another zinger comes straight at you and gets your mind racing in high gear again. And, come on, Jessica Biel is not to hard to look at. But the main thing is that the A-Team is good, solid summer entertainment. Screw Avatar and all the phony message films that pander to political correctness (and expediency). I just want to have fun, and A-Team was the most fun at a movie I've had this year! Best of all, the ending is a setup for a sequel!

Since I've been trying to give equal time to women lately, let me tell you about a great girl caper movie I just saw via Netflix. St Trinian's is a movie about a girl's school about to go bankrupt. The girls turn to crime to save their school in a madcap series of misadventures that steals from so many other movies that you have to see it twice to get all the references. Crazy, laugh-a-minute with a plot that has so many zigs and zags that I doubt that the director ever really figured it out. Gemma Arterton who plays the princess in Prince of Persia is the "Head Girl". Non stop fun, absolutely no intellectual depth, enjoy the Milk Duds.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Used Tools

We all need tools and we also need to save money. Not every tool needs to be a Snap-On or Motion Pro tool. MikesXS has a very large selection of tools for Yamaha XS and for motorcycles in general. I've bought several of them and have always been pleased. My experience is that they are the same as Motion Pro without the MP label and at half the price. Please don't get me wrong, MP has a lot of great stuff, it's just that MikesXS often has exactly the same thing for a lot less money.


This right angle snap-ring tool is perfect for working on brake master cylinders and other hard to reach places. I've had mine for a few years and it's still going strong.


This fork oil level tool is exactly the same as the Motion Pro tool I bought for twice Mike's price.

Same for this clutch tool. If you don't have one of these you will wish you did one day. Very costly when you use the wrong tool for what this does. Ask me how I know.

This is the one I'm ordering today. I won't use it often but it will be the difference between an easy job and a lot of bad words and possible bent rod.

MikesXS Tools and Parts also has a lot of general purpose parts like the pinch rings around the fuel lines and proper electrical connectors. It's worth a few minutes to search around the site to find the odd part that you need.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Women on the loose

OK, women can race against men, and win. I can deal with that. Now the manly art of dual-sport adventure riding is being invaded.
The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles
First, there was Melissa and The Perfect Vehicle. Admittedly a great read and a wonderful introduction to motorcycles for anyone that was interested in starting with bikes.
Lois on the Loose: One Woman, One Motorcycle, 20,000 Miles Across the Americas
Then there was Lois and her trip from Alaska to South America. More guts than most men and certainly a lot better looking than most. I loved her way of dealing with the women and the "damaged" rear view mirror.

Now this just in from NYC. Emma goes wild!? Check out the blog of her trip.
From: emma fry <fry.emma@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 4:02 PM
Subject: Random bike stuff/sales
To: bikes@worksengineering.com


Hi,

I recently came across somebody whilst doing the touristy thing in
Manhattan that told me about the workshop and bar matchless so here I
am!! To make a really long story shorter, I am from the U.K and have
just come to the end of a long bike trip, I rode my motorbike from
Guatemala to New York, wicked trip but I'll be returning to Europe
soon. I am now looking to sell my bike and any serious offer would be
considered, the bike is a Honda 200cc CTX Bushlander, 2006, just under
10,000miles on the clock, good condition, its a duel purpose machine,
will take you around the city or up the side of a mountain and no, you
won't have seen them in the U.S, I don't think they ever got up here,
the nearest bike I would compare this to would be the Kawasaki KLR
250cc, very similar. I'm looking to be pointed in the right direction
on bike sales. I love the racing bike pictures on the website, I have
already forwarded the site to my friends back in the U.K!!

If you do have any information, it would be gratefully received and
pictures of the bike can be found on my blog
http://www.mytripjournal.com/motoita, there are loads of photos should
anybody be interested!!

Cheers

Emma
I think I need to re-read my copy of Jupiter's Travels and Mondo Enduro to re-assure myself that guys can still keep up with the women. What next? Will I have to start washing my sox when I camp out for the night instead of just riding through a river to get cleaned up?
Jupiters Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph Mondo Enduro: Around the World Adventure on Two Wheels 41 Countries in 405 Days

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. My dad has a perfectly restored, museum quality Indian stored away in some garage. He never rides it, or even goes to look at it. He is content to know that it's there. Seems a shame to me.

He tells me that he used to ride around with me sitting on the tank of the bobber he used to have. I don't remember it, too young at the time. When I wanted to get my first motorcycle he fought me all the way. The little Honda C110 that I finally got took me far and wide. I once rode it from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then up to Yosemite. About 800 miles in a week. My dad told me I was crazy. I wasn't crazy, just young.

He was a product of the Depression. He tried to teach me fear, fear of everything. Luckily it didn't work too well. I think the best thing a father could give his children is confidence in themselves. If you have that everything else is possible. Without it you are doomed to a life of shadows.

I'll call my dad today and wish him well. We are far from best friends but after all these years we've learned to co-exist. When I visited last month I looked at the C110 that is now my brother's and smiled. I had no urge to go back but it all had to start somewhere.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

160 - The Conclusion


Like Pogo, we can all be our own worst enemy. Thinking too much, or too little, can lead us astray.



Here's the picture from my second post on this problem. All the clues to the problem are right there for all to see. Although it's hard to see the primary breather tube (the stock one from the head), it and our new wowie-zowie breather both terminate into the spiffy spun aluminum catch can. What could be better?


Maybe a breather hole for the catch can to release the pressure?!?! In our efforts to make sure that no oil escaped we had sealed the hoses to the catch can. This created a sealed plenum that resulted in LESS (as in ZERO) breather capacity rather than more! 

The answer came to me when I woke in the middle of the night with one of those Ah-Ha moments. Even the best rings and valve guides allow a slight bit of pressure to pass. This is normally vented by the breather hose with little notice. But racers have much greater needs since they stress their mighty machines to much higher levels on the track. Don't they?

Maybe, maybe not. Certainly not so much in the Formula 160 class where everything must remain stock. In the case of our engine we had over-engineered a small problem into a large disaster, and thus became our own worst enemy. Had we stuck with the original cheesy water bottle that we were using we would have had no problem but since we had a race bike we went all out to make it the best it could possibly be. As usual, good intentions lead to horrible results.

The remedy was simple. A third hole to allow the pressure to escape. 30 seconds of drilling and it was all fixed. We took the bike out for 10 miles of high speed running and not a drop (or cop) was to be seen. Problem solved!

Thanks to everyone who helped with this. Several suggestions gave us insights into the bike and others gave us valuable links that I was unaware of. Now that it's over I can look back and think, "That was fun!"
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Ride To Work Day Next Monday


I took a day off from the 160 to clear my head and work on the Transalp in preparation for the TA Rally on the 25th. I'll be back to it later today in all it's aggrevating glory. In fact, I think I may have the answer, it came to me in a vision as I slept last night. However, I'll wait until I try it out before telling you what it is. Can you guess? If you study the pictures from the last few days it's in plain sight.

In the meantime don't forget that next Monday is Ride To Work Day. Show everyone that we're out there!

Here's the best Motorcycle Awareness video ever made!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

@#$% 160 - Part 3


Another day of frustration. You can see the gap between the wiring plug and and the case here. It's supposed to be a press fit that closes the holes for the wires when the cover is screwed down. Age and heat cycles have caused it to shrink and leave a gap.


Sealed with HondaBond 4 and two layers of Rescue Tape have filled the gap and sealed any path for oil to escape. If you don't know about Rescue Tape, read up on it here. It's the best friend a rider ever had on the road!


You can see the talcum powder liberally applied to trace out any leaks. A tiny bit is seeping at the bottom of the sprocket seal but not enough to cause alarm. Certainly not our problem.

We felt confident enough to take a test ride as the engine performed well on the work bench. After a mile down the road we did a reality check and everything looked good. We were all smiles. Then at about 2 miles the engine started to smoke prolifically. Following in the pickup I wondered if the wiring was on fire or a piston had holed. No words (at least no "good" words) could express my frustration as I rolled it up into the back of the truck for the trip home.


A stream of oil was dripping down the head and onto the exhaust pipes. What now!?!? Calm down, take a deep breath, look at the problem dispassionately. Tracing the oil flow back to the source led to the points cover. From there it was a short trip to the left cam seal under the advancer. By sealing the alternator cover I had forced the pressure to find another exit. This time by blowing out the cam seal. 

How much pressure is there and how big a breather does it need? This engine has new pistons and rings and should be very tight. The head has been completely reworked so I expect nothing past the valve guides to cause this. Something is wrong and I have yet to figure it out. More tomorrow after I look into it some more.

Again, thanks to everyone who has added comments to help solve this problem. They have been very helpful and much appreciated! Keep them coming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disappointing CB160 - Part 2

We cleaned up the engine parts and let them sit overnight to dry off. Today it goes back together for testing. We will run it on the bench without a sprocket so we can see where any leaks appear. The suggestion for the talcum powder is a good one for this kind of testing.

I solved the problem of  weird oil burping and oil level. I found that the 160 engine has TWO drain plugs and that I had undone only the rear one when we returned from the track. The burping was the air from the breather backing into the rear chamber through the oil in the main area.  I guess I was more tired after the ride home than I thought.

This is the secondary breather and catch can. After running it at the track there was zero oil in the catch can.

The shift shaft seal is going to be replaced because it was suspect but all the others looked dry. I don't think this is the cause of all the oil that was leaked but there is no reason to take any chances.

The rubber block that passes the alternator wires is also suspect. It will get a coat of HondaBond 4 before going back together including the holes where the wires pass through it.

Thanks for all the suggestions. All the help is appreciated. Check back tomorrow and I hope to have an answer.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Disappointing Day At The Track


Went to Loundon yesterday for the USCRA races. We had a Formula 160 bike (#305) that we were sure was ready to go. There had been a few problems with the bike but we were sure that we had eliminated each one.

Unfortunately this wasn't the case. There had been a persistent oil leak into the area of the front sprocket. We had first suspected a leaky oil seal and replaced them all. However that didn't solve the problem. We then suspected a pumping problem that was causing pressure in the crankcase to push oil out. The Honda 160 engine has a 360° crankshaft where the pistons rise and fall at the same time. This causes a high pressure when they descend and a low pressure when they rise. At sustained race speeds this can cause problems. To counter this we put in a second, larger breather that vented directly into the crankcase.

This seemed to work in our limited testing and we left for the track. The first practice laps revealed that the problem was not fixed. Oil covered the left rear of the bike, most dangerously, the left side of the rear tire. All the work and money for race entry seemed wasted. 

One of the other racers told us that it was common for the rubber seal that passed the alternator wires through the left cover to harden and shrink. This could allow the oil to pass through. While not a problem when riding on the street, sustained red line running down the front straight would push the oil past in large quantities. So off to Concord (the nearest town of size) in search of an auto parts store. $50 later I was armed with red and blue RTV, extra oil, and everything else I could think of needing.

Back at the track I tore off the left cover, wrapped the seal with rubber tape and then coated everything with Hi-Temp RTV. Hurrying, I got it all back together in time for the first call for our first race. We felt confident and the bike got a good start off the line. However, it was last around on the first lap and came into the pits on the third lap. The rear tire was again coated in oil. We were devastated! There was nothing to do except load it on the trailer and head home. It was a long, quiet trip.

At home it was very strange. I pulled the drain plug to let the oil drain overnight so I could look at the engine today. By now I'm wondering if the case is cracked or has a porous section. When the drain plug was removed instead of a rush of oil I only got a small, slow stream. Then there was a burp and some more oil came out. Sort of like when you hold a bottle of oil upside down and oil drains until it needs air, then it burps, and then more oil comes out. This was really strange! I blew into the breather tube and there was free space through the tube and out the drain hole. No reason for the air burping.

Now for strange part #2. Only about half a cup of oil came out. Could that much oil have been lost in 3 laps? The normal capacity is 1 liter and I had checked it just before the last race. Now I checked it again and it showed FULL with bright clean oil!!! With the drain plug out and the oil drained. And, yes, I wiped the dip stick before I inserted it to check. In fact, I checked it twice to make sure.

I am totally baffled! My plan is to pull the right (clutch) cover first to see what clues may be there. Then I'll pull the left (alternator cover) to look for the leak. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. I need all the help I can get on this one. I'll follow up with pictures and reports of progress in the next few days.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How to be a n00b!

The video says it all!



Of course, the cop, being a genius, immediately jumps out with gun drawn on a rider who is obviously in major hurt mode. But do I feel sorry for the rider? Not A Bit!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Post 200!

I'm still here and, from the reports Google sends me, there are now more than just a few of you out there. The factories aren't beating down my door to offer test rides or freebies but the fact that you send me notes with ideas and encouragement is enough to keep me going. Tell a friend about this blog if you think it's worthwhile.

I won't try to give away anything like I did for my 100th post. Instead I'll post Jackie Chan's top 10 favorite stunts and then head off to Rhinebeck for the AMCA meet.


Quite a few of you have offered suggestions on topics to post. Believe me, they are really appreciated. I mark them down on my white board for future research. If they haven't shown up here yet it isn't because I'm ignoring them. When it comes to topics to write about: Sometimes it's like a desert, sometimes it's like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. Thanks!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Girls - are they ruining racing?

In case you haven't heard, Elena Myers became the first woman to win an AMA Supersport class race.


She won AMA Supersport Race 1 at Infineon Raceway on her Suzuki GSX-R600. You can read her account of it all on p68 of the July issue of Roadracing World. Read an on-line biography here.

So my question is, Where can a guy go to be a Manly Man if a 16 year old girl can throw a whoop-ass beating on him at the track? Is nothing sacred?


Actually, this should come as no surprise. Women have been racing all along, and not in the Powder Puff races of days of old. One-on-one, Mano-a-Womano! In the USCRA woman are racing and winning at every race meet.



Want a woman that is really tough? How about Ashley Fiolek who is racing Moto-X with the boys on the Honda National MX Team!?

While all those so-called feminists are whining about equality and calling their lawyers at every imagined snub there are real women out showing the men the way around the track with no excuses and no apologies. I, for one, wouldn't trade them for all the skinny, pneumatic umbrella girls in the world!
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ride Report From Eddy

My friend Donald arrived early on Friday 5/14. Donald's brother Bart and Bart's son Daan arrived the day before the ride on Wednesday 5/19. I was going to ride my Africa Twin, Donald my Transalp and Bart and Daan were renting Triumph Tigers at Dubbelju on Bryant street in San Francisco.

For Saturday 5/15 I had Donald and me signed up for the Tank Museum
(http://www.mvtf.org/) in the hills above Portola Valley. Parking was a bit scary:
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0692s_Dangerous-Parking.jpg

On Sunday 5/16 we had diner with the core of TSMC:
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/00287s_TSCM-at-Diner.jpg

Monday and Tuesday I still needed to go into work. Wednesday 5/19 my vacation started. The last two Dutchmen arrived on SFO and we dropped them off at their hotel in San Francisco. The rest of the day was for trip preparations and packing.

I had a special Corbin seat made for the Africa Twin that was shaped after the model for the Transalp. I used to travel with the Transalp, laying a large duffel bag behind me on the passenger spot. I discovered on Wednesday that the seat on the Africa Twin is a lot shorter than on the Transalp and I could not fit my usual duffel bag. Luckily I had upgraded my camp gear to smaller and lighter stuff so with a smaller duffel from REI I was still able to fit my gear (and myself) in the saddle.

The original plan was to go north to Yellowstone and then south from there, into WY, CO and UT. However, weather forecasts for Yellowstone were horrible (snow storms) so we decided to ride our planned route
backwards and ride south first.

Thursday morning Donald and I saddled up:
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0696s_Ready-for-Take-Off.jpg
We first headed to San Francisco to meet Bart and Daan at the bike rental place.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0697s_Collecting-Rentals.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0698s_Collecting-rental-Tigers.jpg

Bart and Daan wanted to cross the Golden Gate so we headed north. Next we headed east, via Stockton we took hwy 4 until it crossed hwy 49. Then south on hwy 49. Donald wanted to go by the old Wild West town of Colombia so we deviated a little bit from hwy 49.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0702s_Parked-in-Columbia-CA.jpg
Going down hwy 49 we finally arrived in Mariposa and we camped just outside town.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0705s_Camping-near-Mariposa.jpg

Friday 5/21 we rode into Yosemite. Weather was still OK. The waterfalls were huge!!
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0708s_Raging-Merced-river.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0715s_At-El-Capitan.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0716s_Yosemite-Falls.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0721s_Classic-Yosemite-View.jpg
The Tioga pass was still closed so we exited on the south side of the park and headed for our next target: Sequoia NP. We arrived at the park at the end of the afternoon and it was already quite cold. With the
threat of bad weather we canceled our plan to camp in the park and moved back, down the hill to find lodging. We found a cute little motel that worked out just fine.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0730s_Lodging-near-Sequoia.jpg

Saturday morning we rode back up the hill and into the park again. It was freezing cold!! We were very happy we did not camp in the park with our 'summer' sleeping bags. The cold also prevented us from doing much sightseeing in the park but we had to take at least a small hike to some big trees.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0733s_Big-Tree.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0735s_Sequoia-NP.jpg
On our way through the park we ran into a few bears, just waking up from hibernation.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0735s_Sequoia-NP.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0742s_Bears-napping.jpg
My fingers were freezing and Donald was just grinning. Then I realized the Transalp has grip heaters and he had found the switch!! We hurried down the hill into warmer elevations, finding our way to hwy 178 to cross over the Sierra's by Lake Isabella. Early in the evening we arrived in Ridgecrest.

Sunday 5/23 we woke up and it rained in Ridgecrest. Very unusual! The locals were looking at the sky in amazement. We rode the first 50 miles or so in the rain, heading for Death Valley. Finally, arriving one valley before Death Valley, the rain stopped.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/00344s_Panamint-Valley.jpg
At the gas stop in Stovepipe Wells the thermometer barely reached above the 60's. Very unusual again....
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0748s_Harleys-in-Death-Valley.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0754s_AT-near-Death-Valley.jpg
We passed through Death Valley en headed for Las Vegas. First we needed to cross over a pass of only 5500 feet, through Pahrump. It SNOWED!!!!!
Again I froze my fingers off. I am definitely putting heated grips on the Africa Twin now. When we arrived in Las Vegas we rode the strip up and down, in the RAIN. What the @#$&% happened to global warming??
I have a new little camera and its sensor does good in low lightsituations. Pictures at night on the strip turned out nice.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0760s_Ceasars.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0762s_Vegas.jpg

Monday 5/24 north east into Utah. We checked out the Hoover Dam and lost a lot of time stuck in traffic. We made it to St George in Utah that night.

Tuesday 5/25, first through Zion and then down hwy 12.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0779s_AT-in-Zion.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0781s_Bikes-in-Zion.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0787s_Red-Canyon.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0796s_AT-in-Utah.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0798s_Donald-on-Hwy12.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0806s_Utah.jpg

We spent the night in Torrey and Wednesday 5/26 we continued down to Monument Valley.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0811s_AT-in-Utah.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0826s_Utah.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0828s_AT-at-Lake-Powel.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0832s_Lunch-on-the-edge.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0836s_Off-the-Cliff.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0840s_Posse-at-Monument-Valley.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0841s_Camping-in-Monument-Valley.jpg
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0844p_Monument-Valley.jpg
The restaurant in Goulding, in Monument Valley used to be very good but this time our diner was not the best so the next morning we decided to pack up and ride to Mexican Hat for breakfast.

Thursday 5/27 while heading north from Monument Valley it happened: "sputter, sputter, plop..." and my engine died. At the same time the GPS was complaining it lost external power and was running on the batteries.
So I knew right away it was electrical. When I measured the battery it had only 9.5V so indeed, empty.... It turned out that the regulator had died. Donald said that Honda regulators tend to be weak and he had
killed one in his VFR also. Then Daan said that often they don't break completely and can still charge a little bit. So I created a quick jumper cable from some wiring in my luggage and charged the Africa Twin battery a bit from the Transalp battery. I put maybe 20% charge in. The voltage was only 11.8V. Next the boyz pushed me for a jump start and the engine started! I took off with the lights turned off. About 60 miles later at a gas station I measured the battery again and it was 12.3V.

Daan was right, the regulator was still able to charge as long as the lights were off and the total load was very low. I was able to finish the trip riding mostly with the lights off. The bike ran as if nothing was wrong.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0853s_Utah.jpg
We made it to Fruita CO that night.

Friday 5/28 we headed north to go check out Dinosaur NP. That was a bit of a disappointment because they were renovating the main attraction. In the afternoon we headed back into Utah and had to deal with a severe
dust storm for most of the afternoon. It was very intense riding, trying not to get blown off the road and trying to stay clear of others being blown back & forth in their lane. We slept good that night!! (Price, UT)

In Utah we discovered that we were behind schedule and we would not make it all the way north to Yellowstone. It was still snowing up there so it was not a good idea to go further north anyway. So instead we crossed through Nevada with hwy 50, to cut our route short.

Saturday 5/29 we headed for Hwy 50, to cross into Nevada. First we needed to cross a few high passes and again my fingers froze....
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0880s_AT-with-a-view.jpg
That night we arrived in Ely NV where we spent the night.

Sunday 5/30 we crossed through Nevada with Hwy 50, the "Loneliest Highway" in America.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0880s_AT-with-a-view.jpg
We made it to Carson City NV and on monday 5/31 we arrived back home in Fremont CA.
http://www.vankeulen.tzo.com/TA/201005_Riding-Dutchmen/0908s_Final-Score.jpg
Total distance was 3084 miles.

Eddy

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Corvettes Return To Le Mans Grand Prix



Corvette will return to Le Mans this weekend after a gap of 37 years. The race, properly known as the 24 Heures du Mans, will feature a parade lap of 50 Corvettes representing race cars and historical models. The New York Times has the story here. Here's a great documentary of the first Corvettes at Le Mans in 1960. It's a half hour long so grab some popcorn or pizza.


Doubtful that Corvettes are up to the task? Read a comparison of high end sports cars here.

I have to admit that, having owned several British sports cars (Triumphs and an MGB) and a couple of Miatas, I have always wanted a 'Vette. It just seemed so much cooler than the tiny roadsters I could afford. A satirical article of long ago joked about various race track teams. The article is long gone but I can paraphrase:
While the rest of were trying to coax another meager half horsepower out of our pathetic little engines the Corvette crew was busy setting their valves with air driven impact wrenches. Our girl friends were known for wearing sensible shoes while theirs were in pants and tops that left us wondering how they could possible breathe although we were secure in the knowledge that none of them were in the least danger of drowning.

We started our cars with a noise like the mewing of a cat. When a Corvette started the ground shook and the skies parted. The roar was as if the voice of Almighty God had spoken to us and pronounced that "All was Good!"
If anyone remembers the article and has a copy I'd be deeply indebted.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rhinebeck AMCA Meeting This Weekend


This one snuck up on me. Thanks to Dave for reminding me.

The Antique Motorcycle Club of America is holding their national meet at Rhinebeck, NY this weekend  (11-13th). I've been to their Yankee Chapter meets and they are always a great time. Now that the early Japanese bikes are within the age limit there is more variety and scope to the displays and bikes. Not that I ever get tired of looking at old BMWs, Vincents, Indians, and, yes, even Harleys. It's a little known secret that HD used to build motorcycles, long ago before they switched to the cartoon business.


I'll be there on on the R100RS Saturday. Stop me and say Hi if you see me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Catalina Gran Prix Returns!?!?

The historic Catalina Grand Prix is going to return on a trial basis in December. Details are here.

This is Part 1 of a promo film made by Yamaha about their success in the 1958 Grand Prix.


Here is Part 2


As the Knee-Slider article said, this is a one-time permit. If the meat-heads show up and ruin it with juvenile behavior, it will will also be the last. It may be the only chance in our life times to get a chance to see this historic race. Think of it as the U.S. Isle of Man!

foo

Sunday, June 6, 2010

CT Tiddler Ride - 3 July

TIDDLER TOUR THREE

Doug, Dave and Amy Roper invite you to our third Tiddler Tour

To be held on Saturday July the 3rd

Same rules apply

Bikes are to be 350 cc and under

And 1970 or older
(Contrary to popular belief, David will not be chain whipping other entries….)

There will be a morning tour of either a 86 mile Long course or a 57 mile Short course, your choice. Starting at 10am sharp!

Stop at Subway Sandwich Shop and grab a sandwich (81.7 Mile East Long - 52.8 mile East Short) and meet back here for lunch. Drinks and Chips provided.

And an afternoon tour of 53 miles

Dinner back at the house
If you have fireworks – please, bring ‘em!

You are welcome to come early, and camp on our property – plenty of parking.
You can start setting up on Friday and stay on into Sunday.
Our neighbors have graciously offered their swimming pool – swim at your own risk - bring a towel.

Doug and Amy Roper
75 Parmelee Road
Haddam, CT 06438
860.345.8309

RSVP would be welcomed for food and beverage figuring.