Sunday, November 29, 2009

Swapped on a new front tire on the K1200S today

Finally. I’ve been trying to get to this all week and it was getting thinner than I liked. I bailed doing it over last weekend due to work and the exhaustion of a day closing at 4:30AM followed by another long day starting at 7AM.

I couldn’t find the energy to get to it Monday night after work either, so took it easy going to work the next 2 days. Truck’s in the shop getting an engine, and the Husky has a flat/toasted rear.

It went pretty well, took about an hour from start to finish as I puttered through the process. I didn’t want to dawdle, but I had to figure out how to use the Pit Bull stand, and how the front end came apart. I’ll need a tool for the axle nut next time. I used a bolt/nut combo this time, and while it worked, it was not optimal. :)

I need one of these:

The front wheel is pretty grungy, I’ll have to clean that up better next time.

I’m getting pretty good with the NoMar, but after my first marathon event changing a tire, I’m still incredibly wary. If my first change had gone like either of my last two, I’d be loving the machine. Let’s just say it didn’t go so well.

Got totally lucky, the front tire balanced nearly dead on with the old weights. Whee!
Swapped on a set of Diablo Supersports I got from CycleGear for $199 (vs $199 just for the rear Z6). I’m liking the rear, it seems to track better than the Z6 in the corners. Look to see how the front does tomorrow.

We’ll see how they do on wear. I’m expecting about 2/3 the miles I see with the Z6. Hope I’m right or low!
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Cleveland Forest’s Skyline Gate

From ADVRider, language cleaned up a tad.

I know a lot of people don't usually ride that far and that stupid gate used to confuse the heck out of me too.
Here are some bullet points:

• Skyline is not like the other gates
• It is maintained by Riverside County
• It is supposed to remain locked at all times
• A locked Skyline gate does not mean the trail is closed
• You can obtain a key for a $100 refundable deposit
• Often people will leave the gate unlocked
• Even when the gate is closed it is sometimes unlocked
• Sometimes someone with a key will be at the gate and let you through
• Sometimes you get to the gate, it's locked, nobody has a key and you have to turn back
• There are gates at both the top and bottom of the trail
• The top gate is only locked if the trail is closed
• Skyline gate is about 4 miles from the 91 and about the same from the 15
• Skyline gate to Hell's Kitchen via Main Divide is the longest stretch of dirt in that section of the forest at about 40 miles
• Skyline gate is very well barricaded and very difficult to go around
• In a pinch, the pedestrian gate is passable if you are resourceful
• If your bike looks like mine you could always lay it on the ground and drag it under the gate
• If you ride to Skyline gate from either direction and don't have a key, be prepared to turn around and find a different way.
Here are some bonuses brought to you by others
History of the gate by RandyM -
Telephone number for key info by boyfester -
How to obtain a key by Geoffster -
Some eye candy and potentially useful info by RAZR -

Borrego, S2, Jamul ride with Todd

This started out as a group ride, with about 5 folks expressing interest. Then it moved to a Sunday. Sunday is football day here in San Diego, and most people are otherwise engaged on a Sunday!
Since I’m not much of a football fan, blowing off a Sunday game, while blasphemy to many, is probably something I do every week. :)
We still had about 4 folks interested, including several new riders, so it was with eager anticipation that I parked my lawn chair at the front of my driveway and plunked myself down in the sun with a book to wait for everyone to show up around 8:30 on Sunday morning.
I had just picked up a SPOT the day before, and was looking forward to using it. I have many, many miles on bikes, but my family still worries. This helped them keep an eye on me and know that they could still be contacted if needed, far far from cell service. I’m still learning to use it, but it is kinda cool.

The weather was a bit cooler than I had expected, but I figured my mesh jacket with liner would be fine, after all we were going into the desert, where it’s typically much warmer than at my house.
284 miles of fun, fun, fun!
After a bit, I could hear a non-Harley bike running up the road, and I knew they’d arrived. Todd turned the corner and pulled up while I waited expectantly. Instead, I found out it was me and him.
Oh darn. Not!! Todd’s great to ride with. He doesn’t get in over his head, rides his own ride, isn’t shy about passing slowpokes, and doesn’t whine. He’s definitely one of the more enjoyable riding partners I’ve had. If we weren’t going to be taking some newer riders on this spectacular ride, and enjoying that aspect of it, we’d be enjoying other aspects of this ride. #8^)
My camera somehow corrupted several of the files. Badly enough Windows barfed on ‘em when trying to get details from the JPGs. “Chkdsk <drive> /f” later and more of the files were in good shape, then I still had to rename several to non-JPG extensions soe explorer wouldn’t crash. I still lost about 8-10 pictures and maybe 1 video. That’s a first ever event.
From my house, we hit Old Julian. It’s a great road. Ashley’s boyfriend lives right at the apex of the 180-degree curve – apparently a lot of motorcyclists come to ask to use their phone when they biff it there.
From there, we ran through Santa Ysabel, cut across Wynola (very technical, no guardrails) and down Banner Grade. Yes, Banner Grade is that curvy. On Wynola, I stopped to watch a baby deer and his mother cross the road in front of me, with little fear. It’s a sad state when deer aren’t afraid of humans or cars, and one that keeps me ultra-alert when riding.

Next, we hooked a left at San Felipe road (Scissor’s Crossing), some imagenice sweepers, then past the police training station on the left, and more nice sweepers until the turnoff for Ranchita.
San Felipe is a decent road in a motorhome, but it’s still a cool road with very nice sweepers on a bike. And it sure isn’t slab!

Next, we ran through Ranchita. I nearly ran out of gas there once, incorrectly surmising a town out thataway would have a gas station. Nope!image

From Ranchita, the road to Borrego Springs is spectacular. Great  views, great curves, great pavement. It’s far from medical help, so ride accordingly!!

Check out those forever views
See that dirt road snaking over the hills to the right of center? Guess what I want to ride next?P9240247
From the shadows, you can see it’s still early. :)
We filled up in Borrego (Cha-ching!!) since, while we had a map, plans change at a whim.
clip_image001We found the strangest things on the side of the road out of Borrego Springs, on this straightaway.
Here are only a few of them pictured. There are mammoths and others, but those were among the files that got corrupted. Someone put a lot of work into them. We didn’t stop to get closer as it was deep sand, and streetbikes and deep sand don’t mix well.
Not much further, and a coyote crossed my path. Hmm. The animals seem to want to meet me today. No bueno!
imageI’d always wondered where the Borrego Springs road off of 78 went (we go to Ocotillo Wells a lot with the motorhome and dirt toyz). Today, we came in on that road, so I got to find out!
Back to Scissor’s Crossing, then left onto Great Southern Overland Stage Coach Road (S2). imageI love this road, but have only ridden it N/NW, and never in the other direction. There is at least one hairy downhill decreasing radius curve in that direction and it’s woken me up more than once. I found it on this ride, but it was an awesome uphill increasing radius this time. Amazing how the character of a road can change going the other way. :)
By now, we decided the weather was as good as it was going to get. It was in the 50s and 60s (low of 42 during the day, cooler than at my house). Thank goodness for grip heaters!!
Here’s the last animal-crossing of the day. Todd had never seen one, and was understandably a little put off at first. It’s a big spider. I couldn’t get it to climb into my hand, so we scooted it off the road. They’re a little scrawnier in SoCal than in the Sonora Desert in S. AZ where I grew up.
Check out the side of the cool Pinzgauer. I didn’t realize they were air cooled until speaking with this owner.

image We stopped at Agua Caliente hot springs store for some sustenance. Like all successful hot springs I’ve visited, it had an airport with planes present.
We drove through the park. If I wanted some peace and quiet away from it all for a week or so, with the idea of having very little to do (excluding awesome offroading), I’d go there.
They even have a store!
My rear tire had seen better days. Chicken strips? Err, no. No, I don’t think so…
Compared to later in the day, it’s looking pretty good. I hadn’t planned on using the center so much? ;-)
Good thing I had a new one waiting at home!!!
While they’re both great-looking bikes, the K-R has an aura of significant badness. Especially when blacked out, which BMW missed the boat on bigtime. Fortunately, Todd knows how to make a bike look mean and blacked out all the components BMW designers missed out on (and repainted the plastic black too). P9240257
Refreshed and sustained by beef jerky, a bathroom break, and a drink, we rode on.
After this, we hit whoops in the roadway. Man, those were fun at speed.
Not too far down the road, you’ll pass a Border Patrol checkpoint, a fixture for the past 3 years. Don’t get me started on whether it’s a good use of our tax dollars or not.
After that, there’s a good open section. Somewhere along there, my bike threw up a rock which Todd’s visor caught. Ouch!
I do NOT understand folks who ride with an open face helmet or no face shield. More power to ‘em for riding at all, but I’ll take the protective gear, thankee!!
About 10 minutes after we stopped for lunch at a Subway off I-8, we had a LEO drive by and check out the bikes. He didn’t get out of his vehicle, nor did he hang around. Some LEOs ride and are very cool, others have some story in their past that makes ‘em non-fans. A big part of my family is in law enforcement, so I have a closer view than many. After that, we filled up again.
I had gotten my 18K service done earlier and they had updated the software. I was nervous about them doing that, especially since you can’t go backwards. While the behaviour I had raised was solved, 3 new problems had surfaced. My fears were confirmed. One of the three was that I was realizing some of the worst mpg ever since buying the bike new. I had seen 34mpg on the last stretch, pathetic! I was expecting maybe 37, 36 at the worst - but 34? My K-S usually pulls 1-3mpg better than Todd’s K-R (gearing, etc.), this time my MPG was lower than his.
More lost pictures, but this part of the ride was quite enjoyable. We’d gone from the desert to really nice rocky terrain with good greenery.
This train bridge was quite impressive, especially considering it had been around a while from the rust stains at its base.
From the air. The train tracks really do wend all over down there when viewed through Google Maps, probably due to the terrain, but also probably due to towns no longer there.
We took the detour to Tecate. Turns out it’s almost entirely on the Mexico side of the border
94 around there starts to get very enjoyable. We got held up by no less than 7 motorhomes. Only one took advantage of the slow-vehicle turnoff. Thanks man!! For the rest of ‘em, being a motorhome owner myself, as many cars as you had stacked up, ya’ll slayed me.
On the available first passing zone, I shifted down and put the ponies to work, getting around all of them in one pass. This would be an example of using the center of the rear tire more than I had expected! LOL
The cage in front of me was probably most unhappy. As I went by, he signaled, but didn’t pull out at all.
On this section, my bike managed to pull 42mpg, which is much more average for it. Real Jekyll and Hyde thing going here… Sometimes it’s right on the money, other times, it’s way low.
image We rode around the lake, then got lost. I need a GPS. By then we’d had quite a day, so we called it quits and took 125 north until we parted ways, him for his house, me for mine. No, we didn’t hit Jamul this time.
Looking at the map, I see we missed what appears to be some really good stretches (from lower left to Jamul, etc.). Next time!
I hadn’t had that much fun on a ride in a long time. The bike worked great, except for the mpg thing, the weather was a tad chilly, but the scenery was spectacular and the road less travelled was by far and above the best road to take.
Thanks for coming on the ride, Todd!!

A small step forward...

My goodness, all those EricDeslauriers and Deslauriers blogs with no content.
Back when the internet was created, maybe I should have copyrighted my name... :-)
More to come!