Monthly Archives: September 2009
The weather was nice today but Fall is in the air and sunny days in the 60-70s are (likely) going to be few and far between the rest of the year. So I adjusted my chain, loaded up and headed for MacDonald Pass, which is currently on fire. Other than emergency equipment, fire camps, helicopters and ‘no parking’ signs littered all the way up the pass, it was pretty anti-climactic, but that’s good because I think they have it under control.
I had two passes to go over, the aforementioned MacDonald Pass and Flesher Pass, between Lincoln and Helena. Both passes were very, and I mean very, cold. While I have my waterproof heavy gauntlets in the saddlebags, but like an idiot I didn’t wear my chaps or take any kind of a liner for my Fieldsheer jacket, least of all my Gerbing heated liner (okay, it wasn’t that cold). The other stupid move was leaving town at about 4pm. While most of the ride was merely chilly, leaving Lincoln at 6pm put most of Flesher Pass, both sides, in shadow. That was some cold assed shit. The final FNG move was not telling anyone where I was going. I did finally send Sherri a text from Lincoln so somebody knew. The recent story of a Washington man gone missing for a week or so because he ran off the road, landed in a ditch and his body eventually discovered by a maintenance crew, was fresh in my mind. I knew Sherri would call out the National Guard if I didn’t call her by 8pm.
But nothing major happened and it was a nice little 152 mile loop. It was mostly a pleasant trip. Bike ran fine. I’ve got 44 more miles until the 45,000 mark on the odometer. I’m glad I went rather than staying home and tearing it apart for the next set of mods. I’ve got all winter for that, but I think I’ll make sure I hit that 45k first.
Okay, so I had to go to work this morning for about 6 hours, but after that, I did this little ride nearby:
The bike ran great. The weather was great. Traffic was low. Mile for mile, at 74.4mi according to Google Maps, it’s one of the best little rides around. All 2-lane, about 30 miles of state highway and the rest rural. Some straights, some twisties, a lake, mountains, hell, even a dam crossing.
Due to a death in the family, I just completed an unplanned 2290mi round trip excursion to Riverside, CA, and back in a week. My average mileage for the entire trip was 18.76mpg, with a single-tank high of 19.78mpg. This was driving my little brick-shaped V8 truck with the AC on at 80mph most of the way. Given the type of engine and the poor aerodynamics I’m pretty pleased with the performance. Of course, passing and maintaining speed up hills is no problem. From 80 the truck rockets past 95 and beyond in a heartbeat (heh).
This trip was a quick and dirty affair. My grandmother died the morning of Thursday, September 10th. My dad called around 1-2pm. I left work at 3pm and was on the road at 4pm. That night I stopped at 11:30pm in Lehi, UT. I arrived in Riverside around 8pm PST on Friday the 11th. On the return trip, I left 6:30pm PST, Tuesday, September 15th. That night I stopped in St. George, UT, at 1:15am Wednesday the 16th. Later that day I pulled into my driveway at around 10:30pm.
The only real problem occurred on the way down. I stopped in Fillmore, UT, for gas only to hear a horrible noise coming from the engine. “Here we go,” I thought as I pulled into the gas station. Popping the hood the problem was immediately diagnosed. The air pump pulley was coming off. One bolt was missing, another was loose leaving only the third to hold the thing on. Having left in a hurry I brought no tools. I bought a cheap crescent wrench from the gas station store and tightened up the loose bolt, then headed into Fillmore to find a shop. Upon closer inspection the pulley was trashed and a replacement would be virtually impossible in that locale with any alacrity. Since the air pump is only used for emissions control, I decided to have it removed and I was on my way.
I still dig this truck. The vanity plate will be some variation on “money pit,” and appropriately so, but I like it. However, for long trips cruise control would be a welcome addition.
According to Dennis, the owner (edited for clarity), “2008 bike (carbs not EFI), the tank was damaged and replaced with a pre-2007 style tank, tires are Dunlop white walls, front fender is stock america with the bracket modified to clear the new larger front tire, the frame was cut where the rear fender struts were, the new rear fender is a heavily modified JJ (Jesse James?) fender, and is now mounted to the swing arm. Speaking of the swing arm it’s stretched 6″, the bike measures 96″ tire to tire, the rear tail light is a common bobber light, the seat pan was made to fit me and then sent to “Bitchin’Stitchin” in Denver to be padded and covered in leather. I relocated the battery under the seat and did away with the side covers, and added K&N air filters. The color idea came from my H3–it’s called “boulder gray.” The D&D pipes were on the bike when I bought it. They sound great but have some slight damage. I would like to replace them but they are expensive so they will have to wait. The America has always been a bike I liked but being 6’1″ with a 35″ inseam they just felt “too small” but now this is what I was wishing for.”
This was originally posted on BonnevilleAmerica.com, where I replied, “Out-friggin-standing. I love it. I’ve always loved the rear fender mounted on the swingarm look. Stretching it gives it all some “breathing room.” And it finally makes sense to have a sprung/tractor style seat. Another favorite thing? The painted headlight body, color matched to the tin. Very nice touch.”