…musings of one easily amused


Gas?! I won’t need no stinkin gas.

Wednesday morning.  Our last full day of riding.

…and all the bikes were running.

The day started with a quick rain shower, just enough to loosen up one layer of caked mud on the bikes.  A couple hours later the Sun had won the battle and burned off the majority of the cloud cover.

Today’s planned route was across Indian Ridge to Northfork and then to hit the connecting trail to Pinnacle Creek but by the time we got to Northfork I was worried the KDX’s would not have enough range.

This is part of the ride out-

I was already carrying all the tools.  The boys decided they were going to go “light” and not carry anything so the extra 2-cycle oil was sitting back in camp.  So, we headed back towards camp to top off the tanks and then spend the rest of the afternoon at Pocahontas.

The ride back up the mountain towards Ashland-

We took a quick break at camp, refueled and finished off the day riding as much of Pocahontas we could.


Previous installment – It Always Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

Next Installment – Departure

It Always Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

Tuesday morning broke with sunshine, the first we had really seen since arriving Sunday afternoon.  We gassed up and headed Southeast toward the Pocahontas trail system.  This system was like Indian Ridge where you have a central artery running through it, classified with an easy rating.  It’s basically a dirt road a full truck width wide.  Off this artery are the secondary trails with various ratings from easy to extremely difficult.  I had added strips of duct tape to my tank where I recorded connecting trail numbers and other cryptic notes and symbols to myself.  I didn’t want to be stopping constantly to refer to a map.  For the most part my notes system worked well.  One new note for today was a number 8 with the circle and slash.  We weren’t looking to do any hero sections today and all of the trails that started with the number 8 were rated “Most Difficult”.

We headed out from camp and eventually connected into trail 12 and then to 13.  Not having done any single track yet a trail marker advertised “181′.  I knew all the single track trail numbers were three digits so decided this was as good a time as any to give it  run.

I realized later that the single track trails are rated either “More Difficult” – numbers 100-150 and “Most Difficult” – numbers 151 – 199.

Lesson learned.  We got our hero section completed after all.

181 popped out onto a welcome wide dirt road, trail 10.  We followed it North, riding through the pines and across the slickest, slimiest substance I’ve ever encountered.  A battleship gray mud, that rests on hardpack only a couple inches down.  I’d liken it to axle grease on a steel plate.  When you ride over it you hear a popping sound as if you were riding over sheets of bubble wrap.  Slicker than whale snot.  This trail brought us right back to were we started our journey down the single track.  We took a vote, Austin said he’d do it again, he thought it was “kind of fun”.  Alex and I overruled him and so we opted for a bypass and headed for the town of Bramwell.

Trail 10 leads out of the woods to a paved town road that leads to Bramwell.  This is a road approved for ATVs and dirt bikes so you just ride it into town.  This may seem common place in West Virginia but in Connecticut this is just not done.  oh, the horror of those hooligans terrorizing our streets.  Imagine what such lawlessness would lead to?


We coasted into a little lunch business and the two ladies inside took our order.  About a half hour later we had our lunch. Yup, nobody is in much of a hurry here so I might as well get used to it.  I asked one of the locals if there was anyone around that worked on dirt bikes.  Yes, the KLX had developed a new issue.  Now it would only run for a few hundred yards at a time.  I could tell that the amount of fuel going into the bowl was just not right.  Either the jet was clogged or the float was stuck.  The locals had some suggestions but I could tell by their descriptions of the businesses they were not going to have a rebuild kit for a 10 year old KLX sitting on the shelf.

We finished lunch and headed back to the trailhead.  Right at the entrance the bike died.  I did my remove-the-drain-plug routine but still the bowl was just not filling quickly enough to keep the bike running.  I removed the inline filter we had installed the night before and decided we needed to get back to camp and tear it apart again.

It takes a very long time to get anywhere when you can only go 300 yards then have to wait 5 minutes for your carb to fill back up with gas.

Back at camp the tear down was swift and the diagnosis was just as quick.  It was obvious that the sealant I used around the base of the carb had not reacted very well with the gas and had swollen enough to make contact with the float.  The float couldn’t drop so the bike was starving for fuel.  The proof would be in the test ride.  Once the bike was back together we immediately headed back to Pocahontas.

Success!  the KLX was back.  As the clock passed the 6:00pm mark we headed back.  Along the way, while practicing his drifting, Austin sheared the valve stem from the tube on the rear tire.  He nursed it along a ways then I went to get the truck.

At least someone else was working on their bike instead of me for a change.

Previous installment – Success, then failure

Next installment – Gas?! I won’t need no stinkin gas.

Only once in your life

Bob Marley“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all.

A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
― Bob Marley


It IS a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Campout at Northwoodsbike!


First campfire of the season. :)


Road from Tuweep, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Philadelphia at Night

Morning at Arches NP, Utah

Early morning at Arches NP, Utah

I can’t feel my thumbs

By ’76 CJ5 standards, ‘Ol Badshape has great heat. The problem is it also has extremely efficient fresh air replacement in the cab. It’s virtually instantaneous. As soon as the heater creates a stream of toe warming 180 degree air it’s instantly replaced by the fresh air from outside. This morning, that fresh air was -1 degrees F.

I’m not complaining, no, not at all. If you are going to drive a rag-top Jeep in January…in the Northeast…you have no right to complain. Besides, complaining doesn’t keep you warm, and if you do it out loud, you’ll probably just fog up the windshield.

So here are my “Cold Weather Jeep Driving Tips” –

1) Take the other car, you know, the one with the less efficient fresh air replacement.

2) If #1 is not an option, dress like you do for the snowmobile. If you’re helmet has the dual layer shield that resists fogging, or better yet, it’s heated, you’re all set. In lieu of the helmet, a balaclava topped off with a stylish wool snowboarder’s hat works beautifully.

3) Whether you opt for the helmet or the striped boarders hat, breath through your nose. This keeps the angle of your condensed breath away from the windshield. It’s the same technique I use on the bike when riding it in cold weather.

4) Take the bike. What the hell, if the roads are dry, why not. With the grip heaters and electric clothing you’ll probably be warmer.

Thanks, but no thanks

No, I don’t want to participate in an online survey. I’m not interested in obtaining the smile I’ve never dreamed of. I don’t want an online degree nor do I want to be a member of a pretend “Who’s who”. I don’t want your Holiday Deal. I have all the ink toner I want. I don’t have a replacement hip so I’m not all that interested in the recall. I don’t want a VA home loan “working for me”. I like my fine lines, wrinkles and aging spots right where they are, thank you. I know I can’t buy an Ipad/Iphone/(insert your Icrap here) for $23.74. I also know that I can’t earn $50/hour “cruising the Internet” (although I have a few co-workers attempting to do just that). E-Cigarettes? No thanks.

The Wal-Mart/Best-Buy/(insert your BigBoxStore here) $50 gift card is bogus as are my lottery winnings, the billion bucks the sheik of a war-torn nation wants to give me and the Sun Bank password reset request. The Avandia settlements for heart attack victims does not pertain to me. I care not to increase my length or girth. I’m not interested in the Cartier watch replicas. I don’t wear much from Victoria’s Secret so you can keep the $1,000 holiday card (like that was going to pan out). I don’t want an unsecured loan.

…and to my “friends”, one more thing.

Thanks for the virus warning email with the mile of forwarded recipients. Had you spent 5 seconds to verify the content you would have realized it was bullshit, but I appreciate your concern and also for sending my email address to everyone in your address book.

Perhaps they would like some male enhancement information.


Street Racing

This drives the point home quite well.

Time to say goodbye to the Strom

I can no longer make it through the garage without getting a bar end in the rib cage.  The Strom must go.

Commercials at the movies

I hereby vow to never buy anything from companies that waste my time at the beginning of a movie.

All Thumbs

Instead of the “Japanese standard” single multi-function turn signal switch the BMW uses three separate switches. There is a button near each handgrip plus the “cancel” switch located just above the right turn signal button.  Why the Germans thought this was a good idea I’m not sure.  I can say that it is taking some time to retrain my brain to perform the new operations automatically, without having to pause momentarily and read imaginary flashcards.

Every motorcycle I’ve ever owned, at least the ones that actually came with turn signals, had the single switch on the left.  A one thumb operation.  Take the left thumb and push to the right – or – pull to the left – then push to cancel (with a minor variant of perhaps having to actually center the switch which was, admittedly,  a bit of a pain in the ass).  That system is so deeply ingrained into my neurons and muscle memory that the task is performed without the need of conscious thought.  So deep that I’d sometimes notice my left thumb  twitch ever so slightly against the steering wheel of the car when weather had forced me from two wheels to four.

Thankfully, the brain can be retrained.  I picked up the new (to me) R1200GS seven weeks ago this Friday.  Since that time I have logged a little more than 9,000 miles on it.  The good news is that only occationally am I blowing the horn when making a left turn.  Even better than that, I’ve started turning on the windshield wipers of the car when making a right turn.  That must mean my re-training is near completion.

There is nothing not to love about the chick on the little red scooter


Patriot Guard Riders Run


The rain has ended!

I’ve figured out how to shorten my commute

Perhaps it wasn’t an air leak after all

This is what i found after disassembling the fuel pump filter.


In search of a vacuum leak

My ongoing saga of hesitation continues. The latest chapter includes visually inspecting everything.


You might be a Jackass

You Might Be A JackassMy apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for the following.

If you are driving in the passing lane and the only other vehicle around you is visible in your rearview mirror, you might be a Jackass.

If you are one of those people that drives down the closed lane, passing all the people in the open lane, you might be a Jackass.

If you have one hand on the wheel and the other looking for the smiley key on your cell phone, you are DEFINITELY a Jackass.

If you drive a Honda Civic with a 12 inch spoiler, ground effects and megaphone exhaust, I’m sorry.  You really are a Jackass.

Finally! A warm day.

“The Loop” is one of those quick “around the block” type of rides I use often to test gear or to clear the head. Having a 50/50 paved/dirt road mix it also offers a nice 1 mile section of trail that seems to always have some mud filled ruts.

Today I was testing the new GoPro Wide video camera. It worked better than expected performing quick adjustments between shade and direct sunlight. The wide angle view seems to distort the speed a bit creating the illusion of going faster than I really was. Believe me, I’m not THAT fast on a 500+ pound bike through the woods.

Droid app test

Testing out the WordPress app for the Droid.

I’ll grab a pic from the sd card –

Throttle Body Sync on the Strom

The following videos show two different sync tools borrowed from Craig. I had originally synced the throttle bodies on the VStrom with a home-made “U-Tube” filled with transmission fluid. I wanted to try actual carb balancers to see if the homemade tool was indeed accurate.

Syncronizer with steel sliders in a tube

Old school mercury filled tubes

The old mercury filled tool has a longer scale so the extra distance the liquid travels provides better sensitivity than the tool with the steel sliders with a shorter range of travel. Both tools verified my home grown settings. With less than a half inch of difference between cylinders I’m good to go.