Friday, October 1, 2010

38 years of nothing... then twice in one day! note to self: pack some rubbers

I've had a few songs stuck in a loop in my head, and also on my GPS (my music machine on the road)
Journeyman by Iron Maiden
Ghost Rider by Rush

The first i guess is because of my own interpretation of it.  The second, well, you'd have to read the book  by Neil Peart to understand it.  Essentially a song written by a biker, so it's quite personal to me...

These trips take a toll on people.  On the body, on the mind, on the soul.  many hours in the saddle make you look deep down and you find things about yourself you didn't really know for sure, and probably don't really want to know.  If you need to understand this more, read the book by Neil Peart... it pretty much explains it all.

Anyhow, after a rough ride into Albuquerque, i woke up to a nice sunrise at 6:30...

I decided to go down and get breakfast at the hotel. I figured i might as well tie on the duffle bag now, so i won't have to do it later (which i did) and went back in for breakfast.
besides the continental, the had a waffle machine, cereal, and eggs.
I had cereal and eggs.  Fake Fruit loops (i can tell) and hard boiled eggs.  odd they had those.  oh well, i need the protein.

I went out to have a smoke and checked out the bike (every bker should do a walk around before jumping on) and i found this.

No air in the tire.  I checked for external punctures and found nothing.  It was one of two things.  ride it flat to a shop nearby and have them look at it, or get my hands dirty and see if i can pull the tube and asses the damage.  it's not like i can fuck it up more...
anyone who has a KLR should get a centerstand for this reason alone!! i didn't need to put the case under the bike, it was just in case it fell off the stand, which it didn't.  Other point to note, i did not need anything but the onboard tools that came on the bike.

I found the source of the problem:

There's a nasty gash on the INSIDE of the tube, which means only one thing.  When i got my tires changed in the Green Bay area, they pinched the tube.  Odd that i was able to ride ~1600 miles with a hole in the tube.  Guess the tire bead kept the air pressure in somewhat? who knows.

I patched it and seemed to hold the air well.  Time will tell.  seriously, it will.

There was a couple from Arkansas that asked if i needed help (about 4 people at the hotel asked while i was working on the bike) and we spoke for a while. It's good to know the world isn't flled with assholes.

After working on the bike, i realized i should have packed a few pairs of rubber mechanics gloves.  i was brutally dirty from the grease that is found on the front end of the bike (on the bead, axle, speedo hub, general grime on the tire)  oh well, soap and water work too, but if i were in the bush, those rubbers would be handy.

My quest today was for a friend.  She's a huge Val Kilmer fan and she knew he had a place in New Mexico.  Oddly enough, it was roughly a 90 min ride to his Ranch called Pecos River Ranch, southeast of Santa Fe which was roughly the direction i was going.  Slight detour to my non-existant plans. It sounded like a mini adventure, a quest to find and maybe take pictures of. It would be neat if Mr. Kilmer were there too. heh.

Leaving Route 66 behind (who knows if i'll see it again) i headed north in the direction of Santa Fe. There are a few passes high in the hills to get to Santa Fe and that means one thing.  Cross winds.  They were brutal again and to make things a little worse, i think my bike isn't jetted properly for this altitude, so i have no power whatsoever going up those passes.  I was starting too wonder if i was too rough on the little 650 thumper in the last few days.  by the time i got to Santa Fe, I realized i should get some gas.  A quick look at the GPS showed a starbucks... and it was still there! woot.  Pumpkin spice latte for one please.
Odd thing though, i couldn't smoke 25 feet from the building, new Santa Fe ordinance. arg.

I realized at this point, all the buildings looked the same

All flat roof adobe looking things.  This goes for houses too.  I rode through town on my quest to find the ranch and found very few houses were not this type.  All houses have flat roofs (no need for a peak if you don't get snow or rain) and very few had siding.  Makes sense to work with the elements instead of against them.

I took an alternate to I-25 to the ranch, which was a rather nice ride.  I saw a sign for Bobcat Crossing.  srsly?  Not a beast i'd like to tangle with.  I'd rather tangle with a bear.

smooth roads, nice scenery...

There are a lot of 'historic landmark' signs.   I stopped at a few and most i was not interested in.  This was the last one i stopped at.

shotgun blast, and various other bullet holes in the sign
I found the location of the ranch.  OK, i didn't, the GPS did the routing for me, but i pin pointed it on the map for it.  The gps brought me right to it though!

had to go through this one lane tunnel under I-25

and on the other side i found this:

OMFG i found it! too easy!

New mexico has some beautiful landscapes.  Any pictures i took do not do it justice.

Pecos River Ranch is that way!

onward i went until i came to this

Dammit.  Security gate.  They have to buzz you in, and from what i gathered on their website, everything is by appointment.  oh well, the quest is over.
Still stunning to look at the scenery i was emersed in.
The next item on my agenda is to see the '4 corners'.  This is where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona all meet.  Looking at the maps and gps, the course took me almost back to Albuquerque to hit US550. damn.

That little quest took me a little over 4 hours.  Waste of time? perhaps.  regrets? no.  it was still a nice ride (except for that damn wind that almost took me out a few times)

I stopped for gas again along us550 and had myself a snack.

A beef and potato burrito.  Never heard of it, so i meant i had to try it.  surprisingly good.  come to think of it i didn't eat the burnt peanuts yet.

US550 has some amazing views.  Too bad the camera doesn't pick it up like a human eye can.

hey, i know the pictures suck, but you try taking a picture with a rght handed camera with your left hand while not able to look where it's pointing.  you want to see New Mexico? go there!

I didn't expect it, but i crossed the Continental Divide.  Rain east of this sign will flow into the Atlantic, and rain west of the sign flows into the pacific.  I've done this test before with mixed results (last year's trip).  I tried again my little test, but it didn't work out. Seems i either didn't have enough urine, or the soil was too dry and soaked it all up. hah.

The scenery changed a little after the Divide.
Somewhere along this road i caught a huge gust of wind that nearly took me totally out of commision.
I got lucky.

and my daily self portrait.

I didn't take many pictures after that because it was boiling hot, i was tired, grumpy and sore in my neck/shoulders/back and legs from the constant crosswinds and also the front wheel was popping up and down all day.  not fun.
Let's just say i wasn't 'happy'

I decided to get a room and see if i could work out the kinks on the bike.
The motel owners were really friendly and they cut me a deal because i looked like hell.  The owner came out and saw i rode a Kawasaki and cut me an even better deal as he rides an older Kawi cruiser.  cool.  as he said, us bikers have to stick together.  He also told me to check out the Kawi dealer the next town over and he'd be able to help me.  best news i heard all day.

After a hellish day battling the roads the bike and my thoughts, I stayed in my room for a bit to escape the heat.  I decided to go tool around town(s) and see what they had to offer.  Impressive actually.  #1, a lot of services for such small towns, but then again, this is tourist country wth the 4 corners and the Aztec ruins.  There's a lot to do around here.
GPS came up with a hit on a Starbucks. Woot.  Got myself a coffee and jotted down a few pages of thoughts in my journal.  Why i do it, i'm not sure, but i assume it helps me think and also i think i'll forget whatever it was in a few hours time. hah.

it was getting dark so i decided to call it a night.  One last stop was to pick up some cigarettes.  I figured that while i was at the gas station, i might as well deflate the front tire and re-inflate it.
Bad news there.

after deflating it (which didn't seem like a lot of air, i tried to inflate it again and heard a whooshing sound near the stem.  I had tightened the valve stem, and i feared i ripped the stem on the inside.

Guess it's time to get that spare tube to use.
Bike back on the centerstand, I worked on getting the wheel off.  at least another 6 people asked if i needed help or had all the tools i needed, two of which I chatted with.  Both were impressed at the KLR, and both were impressed at the trip i was untertaking.

really?  i have no clue why people think this trip is a big deal.  It's just like a day road trip... except i have like 40 of them.

seriously folks, it's not impressive to ride across country.  People are nice and helpful everywhere i've been and the only real danger out here is myself.

one thing to note.  a hell of a lot of local hotties this way.

I took the tube out and noticed the stem was intact.  I then noticed this:

next to my thumb you can see the patch ruptured.
I put on a bigger patch.  I hope this one holds longer than the last one.  I think i should buy an extra tube because i fear the patches i bought were just not tough enough.  I should look into buying a better patch kit.

Odd that i've never changed a tire in my life, yet i had to do it twice in one day.  i'd rather be in Den's shoes though... he went 18 years, and did something twice that was more awesome than changing a tire.

rough day. hopefully it won't be too rough tomorrow morning after this

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