Sunday, June 30, 2013

America's Main Street

Oh, I was looking forward to getting this shot. The Rainbow Arch Bridge.  There are some places where you have to look for the old 66, but this is one of the key icons.  The rest of the day was spent looking for other signs.
I would say that this Skyliner is a good sign.
Restored gas stations - check.  But more than the 'historic' 66 diners and museums, I have enjoyed being off the highway and in the local towns.  Take the minivan out of this small town shot and it could be from any era.
On the ride, I am almost to Texas.  1349 on the tripometer.  HOT ride today.  Pushing water.  Three bottles between each fillup.  I am picking up some Gatorade to keep the electrolytes up.  Had a great evening at the KOA ( near Foss?) visiting with the neighbors and am ready to turn in.  Good fortune will see me to Albuquerque tomorrow. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

More 66

Started the day with the repair work on the trailer.  That went well and has not caused any more problems. I went for breakfast in Pontiac while I waited for the Route 66 museum to open.  Pontiac is a very pretty town.
The museum is nice, but I have to admit I enjoyed the building more then the displays.  Two of the display rooms were former holding cells, complete with iron barred door.  Other rooms had doors 4" thick.
This post was supposed to have a nice picture of the Gateway arch.  I had the phone in the Ram mount ready to click when I saw it. Then I was going to stop there for some more pics.  Ma nature said No.  Phone back in the glove box as the rain starts to really come down.  I see the arch peeking over the trees before it disappears in the rain.  I got a decent view from the bridge but did there was still too much rain to get the phone out.
I did get to ride on some of the old Route 66.  Much of it runs along the super slab.  If you don't look left, you can pretend that you have traveled in time back to the heyday of America's Main Street.  Then the historic route turns away from the interstate and the illusion gets stronger.  I very much enjoyed that portion of the ride.  It hurt to turn back to the interstate, but I am meeting Marion in San Diego so I have to push on.  The tripometer says 943 and it needs to get to 2400 by July 3.
I'm at a KOA in Springfield Mo tonight, listening to the local fireworks.  2 new states  on my 'I rode there' patch.  More tomorrow!

Friday, June 28, 2013

First Day on the Road

I'm on my way!!!  Made just short of 500 miles today.  About what I was aiming for.  Pontiac Illinois is where I holed up.  There is a Route 66 museum here that I would like to see tomorrow.
Had to put the rain gear on twice but I knew I would be riding through the wet.  I wasn't expecting the hail though!  Flashers on and leaning in to the wind that was blowing faster sideways than I was going forward.  Thankfully brief, but I can still feel it on my arm.
I had to adjust my trailer brakes.  When I was setting them up, I went to full gain but the wheels never locked up.  After a few hundred miles, they apparently wore in and now have plenty of authority to lock up.  Easy to adjust.
Now the down side - the trailer brakes are misbehaving.  One wheel is grabbing.  At slow speed, I can feel the right wheel grab each revolution. Just to be sure that it is not a controller thing, I unplugged the brake plug.  It still grabs.  But not when I am backing up.  Tomorrow morning I will take the wheel and hub off and see if anything looks bent or distorted.  If need be, I'll pull the shoes off to keep it from grabbing.  I'll also pay attention to the bearings but I don't think they are bad.  No crunching noise.
Here's to hoping this is easy to resolve.  But that is for tomorrow.  Now a pillow is calling...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Ride is About to Start

Roller coaster rides - the click click click of climbing that first hill.  All the anticipation, all the fear.
That's where I am right now.  The packing is done. The alarm is set for early-o'clock. My mind is racing - did I remember everything?  Do I have all the plans set?  Is the bike going to remain reliable?
All the worried thoughts fighting for attention as I approach the top of the hill.
But tomorrow at noon, after a half day of work, I will go screaming over the top.  Whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Two Days

I am winding down some projects at work in preparation for my time away.  This is actually going better than I thought it would.  I have been actively managing expectations on the part of project managers and customers.  2 more days - I hope nothing hits the fan at least until after I leave!
Since I have the time, I have been evaluating what items I am bringing with me.  Do I take the good camera or just use the iPhone?  Originally, I had decided on the phone, but I have changed my mine and am bringing the good camera.  I have a mini tripod for it, and using the timer it makes for good self shots. (like I want on the Rainbow Bridge in Kansas)
Similar with other camping gear.  I am taking some out of the trailer.  The Coleman stove (and griddle and oven and pots and pans) is staying home.  If I were going on a camping trip, I would take it.  But most of the time I will be in campgrounds it will be a late arrival and early departure.  So being able to cook my own meals has a bit less value on this trip.  Less value than the cubic footage of the gear for this extended road trip.
These posts have been dry without any photos, so here is a shot of the bike and camper on the trial trip last fall.
Final preparation tonight.  Final packing tomorrow.  In to work on Friday and leave at noon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Five Days

All kinds of running around.  Life sure gets busy when you are planning 30 days on the road!
I got time to test the trailer brakes.  Adjusting took more effort than I had anticipated.  But I like how they behave.  I can just feel the trailer pulling when I stop.  No locking the wheels.  Slow speed turns with brakes are no problem (a worry, people have said trailer brakes on bikes pull you down trying to maneuver in parking lots)
I have my clothes selected and packed into several small bags (easier to fit in between the rest of the gear in the trailer)
I did a dry run on the packing of the trailer.  It is tight.  I had to be creative on how the pieces were placed.  I was considering leaving my camp stove (and the fuel, the griddle and the biscuit oven) to save a few cubic feet.  It would be a sacrifice, because I do enjoy breakfast made at the campsite.  A lot.  And in reality, I do not believe that the stove will see a ton of use.  If I get 10 breakfasts out of it in the 30 days, I will be surprised.  The planning for the 12 days that Marion will be with me in California only has one day in a campground.  The rest are hotels.  But if I can keep the stove, I will be happier.  For the moment, I am keeping it in.
As I was packing, I ran into a small technical issue - The trailer brakes occasionally blink.  I am not sure why.  Not at a regular interval, like might happen if the controller was reporting an error condition.  But random intervals.  The bike lights did not light.  Things that make you go 'hmmmmm'.  I'll check around the forums and see if this controller has this behavior.  But the brakes work, the lights work, and I am mostly set to go.  Marion and her mother are adjusting the helmet lining (it binds the top of my ears after a few hours on the road).  Reservations made for the legs that need them.  Loose plans for other legs.
Route 66 is calling.  37 hours of ride time to San Diego, according to Google.  Can't wait to pull out.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Seven Days and Counting

The California portion of the trip is firming up.  I still have one reservation to make, but it is at a campground with 50 openings, so I do not expect to be shut out today.  In reality, this portion of the trip is firmer than I had imagined.  Way back when this was just in the dreaming stages, I had pictures this as a loosely organized affair, stopping when I am tired and riding when I am not.  This will still be the case for the 1-up segments of the trip, but from San Diego to San Francisco, the lovely Marion will be with me.  She loves the idea of camping when we can, but much of the trip will be in large metro areas without campgrounds.  So hotels and reservations.  Not complaining.  It is still the west coast in all of its glory.  Just different than my original view.

Starting to seriously consider what to bring.  The space in the trailer is about 40% used by the popup tent.  I have a Coleman stove and stacking pots and pans. (I am a big fan of eggs and biscuits at campgrounds)  I need room for Marion’s airline bag, but we will be bringing some local microbrew for Karen, Marion's San Diego friend.  So the empty space for her bag will be used on the trip out.  My clothes (going light, and will launder when I get the chance), our two ukuleles (recent hobby addition/addiction)  Sleeping bag and blankets.  So far, I think this will all fit.

On the maintenance front, I have done most of what needs done.  Brake controller for the trailer wired.  Still need to test.  Aero wings installed.  Hoping that Marion's comfort is increased.  Cigarette lighter adapter installed (wow, super easy, cut a hole in the left pocket, plug it in and put the pocket back in).  I think that the forks are going to wait until after the trip.  As much as I would love to have everything in best working order, this one does not look like it will get done.  Only one fork is leaking, so even with complete failure, I still expect adequate dampening from the other fork.

Current to-do list:
Test trailer brakes
Pack clothes
Test pack the trailer
Then next Friday, I ride the bike to work with the trailer and come noon, I head west.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Small scare on the maintenance front.
I got a flat!  I periodically check the pressure and rather than the expected 38, I had 5.  Golly.
Brand new tire and it goes flat.
Well, no chance of riding it to work so I jump in the car and will have to wait til after work to look into it.
Get home, put it up on the center stand and inflate it up to 24psi.
Soapy water on the valve stem shows nothing, but there are bubbles from the core.  I loosen and re-seat.  I release air in bursts.
More soapy water and it is still leaking.
I ride it up to the shop to get try replacing the core.  I also wanted to familiarize myself with what a low pressure run flat tire felt like on the road.
I could not tell the difference.  Maybe 24psi was not low enough to make it feel squishy.
Anyway, a new valve core and no more bubbles.  So glad the tire did not need to come off.
Pressure has remained where it needs to be for 2 days, so I guess this snafu is resolved.
It did give me a chance to use the small pump I will be taking with me.  I cut the cigarette lighter end off and soldered on a lead for the battery tender plug.
Pop off the side cover and plug in the pump.  Easy!
Still to do:
Finish the trailer brakes control
Install the aero wings for the passenger comfort
Install the cigarette lighter for my cell charger.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

West coast planning in full swing

Cleveland, San Diego, Seattle, Cleveland.
Those are the major points defining the route, but it is all the in-between bits that I am most excited about.
I plan on following most of the Route 66 corridor on my way to San Diego.
My girlfriend Marion will fly out to San Diego and we will watch the July 4 fireworks there.
2 days in DisneyLand and then LA to see my brother Eric and his girlfriend Lulu for a few days.
A few days in San Francisco and Marion will fly home.
I ride solo up the coast to Seattle, and then home.
Maybe stop in Jackson Hole (I hear the scenery is good there)

Here is my tentative route (for now)
The only fixed points on this trip time wise are the airports to pick up and drop off Marion.  Yes, DisneyLand, but that immediately follows San Diego.  The rest of the trip is going to be loosely organized.  I have plenty of time off.  The bike is getting the final prep and maintenance.  We are just starting to set aside the items we want to bring with us.
The excitement is building!