OTRA Day-4: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Today is day 4 of the ride.Β  Often on day 3 or day 4 of my long trips, I get challenged, either physically, mentally or emotionally.Β  My wife, who has ridden with me on almost all of my long distance rides, and I, have come to refer to days that are a bit trying of our patience as “day 3” of our ride.

Since I started out, my new Garmin Zumo 396 LMT has been flashing a number of annoying announcements. The most common has been an alert that it can’t provide fuel mileage estimates if the unit is not in the motorcycle cradle (but of course it is in the cradle) and every now and then, it flashes a message that it has detected that I removed it from the cradle and it will power off in 15 seconds, but, it’s still in the cradle.

After I stopped yesterday in Nobelville, IN, (a suburb of Indianapolis), I opened up the headlight shell to check the new wiring I installed to power the Zumo. I crimped the female spade connectors a bit to ensure they would be tight on the spade terminals, reseated the fuse, and went off to eat dinner and write my blog for the day.

I parked Gonzo in front of my room. Sometimes he wants to sleep with a night light on when he’s in a strange place.

Gonzo Sleeping With The Night Light On

Gonzo Sleeping With The Night Light On

This morning, I woke up about 6:20 am. I had set the alarm for 7:30 anticipating leaving by 8:30 am.Β  But, I was wide awake and at 7:00 I rolled out of bed, got dressed and went down to see how Gonzo was. He was fine, but shivering as he was covered in dew. I forgot how a typical summer morning in the mid-west starts with water all over your bike from the high humidity.

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

The good news is all the bug goo and guts come right off on the wash cloth without having to use the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the bug gunk.

As is my usual drill, I checked the tires and the oil. The tires needed a pound or two and the oil was fine. Then, I installed the Zumo in the cradle and … Nothing. Nada. Zip. I tried the ON/OFF button multiple times, but no happiness. Ok. I must have F’ed something up when I crimped the terminals yesterday. So, off with the headlight cover, remove the headlight and check my work. Well, everything is perfect. WTF? Okay, I can plug the Zumo into my laptop USB port to give it power, so let’s see what that does. So, I go back up to the 4th floor into my room and I plug it into the laptop. Repeat performance of plugging it into the power cradle on Gonzo … Zilch, Nada, Zip.

Okay, lets just get breakfast and think things over. By the end of breakfast, no new ideas occur. So, I pull out my iPhone, and figure I can use it for any navigation I need should I get confused. The route today is as simple as 1, 2, 3: (1) Find US-36 East of Nobleville and follow it to Ulrichville, OH; (2) Get on US-250 and follow it to Wheeling, WV; (3) get on I-70 East and get off at the Triadelphia exit where I know I can see the hotel.

So, I put Gonzo back together, get everything packed up and loaded on the bike, and now it’s almost 9:00 am. So much for getting an early start. Ah, yes, this must be “the third day”, even though it’s really the fourth. πŸ™‚

That said, thankfully it was 65 F this morning instead of being in the 80’s at 9:00 am as has been the case on the last three days. And, it stayed below 80 all day, except for the last couple hours when it got up to 82 F. I felt much less tired, sore and weary at the end of the day today. Heat and humidity really sucks a lot of energy out of you even when you stay hydrated.

Although I got turned around getting off I-69 one exit too soon, and then after getting back on and taking the correct exit for Pendleton, IN, again getting turned around by missing the clearly marked turn for I-36 E, I finally get my poop in group with the assistance of Google maps and my iPhone. But, putting the phone in the map pocket of my tank bag makes it almost impossible to see it. I need to find a cell phone mount so I can attach it to my RAM mount on the handlebar. Ok, keep my eyes open for a motorcycle shop as I wander my way through Ohio.

I see a Harley dealership and stop in. But, the cell phone mount they have doesn’t use a RAM ball, so no cigar.Β  Another 100 miles or so and I see a UJM shop, Mid-Ohio Power Sports in Mt. Vernon. They show the corporate logos for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. Bingo, they have a mount that will work. So, I now have iPhone GPS via Google maps. Except, every 15th or 20th bump and the screen decides to rotate 90 degrees due to the orientation sensor getting confused. Then, it gets over the trauma and rotates back to the proper orientation. I now am very practiced at figuring out turns even if the map is rotated 90 degrees to my direction of travel πŸ™‚

And, then Ohio DOT decides to cancel US-36. Yeap, “Road Closed”.

US-36 Is Closed :-(

US-36 Is Closed πŸ™

But, that turns out to be fortuitous. The detour onto a state road, OH-715, is a fantastic motorcycle road. But, this adds more time to my schedule. On the other hand, what else was I planning to do today, but ride Gonzo in Ohio πŸ™‚

I rejoin US-36 and proceed until I get to Ulrichsville, OH, where US-36 unceremoniously ends becoming US-250. And, as was the case in 2017 when I rode on US-250 down to Wheeling, WV, it’s a roller coaster ride with all the corners and sharp turns you would expect in the Colorado mountains. What a HOOT!!! πŸ™‚

I cross into West Virginia at the end of US-250 and pick up I-70 for a few miles until I get to my hotel in Triadelphia.

Entering West Virginia

Entering West Virginia

I get checked in, unpacked, take a shower and call Rochelle to tell her I’ve arrived. Then I hang up the laundry to dry.

Light Weight Packing Requires Making A Clothes Line Every Day :-)

Light Weight Packing Requires Making A Clothes Line Every Day πŸ™‚

BTW, did you know you can travel for weeks on end with only two shirts, two briefs, two pair of riding socks, two pair of pants and a credit card? I have acquired light weight, fast drying versions of these. I just wash out the pair I wore that day in the bath tub or shower and hang them up to dry. Usually they are dry by morning, even in high humidity climates like the east coast, but it’s nice to rotate through the pairs and pretend they are fresh out of the dyer. πŸ™‚

After I finish my traditional motorcycle touring, end-of-day Gin & Tonic, I decide to fix the Garmin Zumo the “old fashioned” way … I slam it face down on the top of the desk in my hotel room. I plug it into the USB port of my laptop, and bingo, IT’S ALIVE!!!!

WHAM, BAM, ZAZAM - So, Finally It Starts Working Again ..... GRRRRRR!!!

WHAM, BAM, SHAZAM – So, Finally It Starts Working Again ….. GRRRRRR!!!

Sometimes the old ways work best. πŸ™‚

I’ll give it a try tomorrow and see if all the gremlins have decided to go bother somebody else. If not, I can mount the iPhone and use it.

After I come back from dinner, I see Gonzo is making nice to a slinky, sexy Swedish blonde cousin who just parked beside him. For those who didn’t know, BMW bought Husqvarna in 2007 and then sold it in 2013. Maybe he won’t need a night light tonight after all?

Gonzo Making Nice to a Blonde Cousin, Born in Sweden, He Didn't Know He Had :-)

Gonzo Making Nice to a Blonde Cousin, Born in Sweden, He Didn’t Know He Had πŸ™‚

OTRA Day-3: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Gonzo and I left Hannibal a bit later this morning than I had planned. I had to wait to fill the gas tank in the morning. I usually fill up before stopping for the night, however, I wanted to adjust the front disk brake as I had installed new pads just before leaving. The front brake lever adjustment is done at the front master cylinder which is under the gas tank so I have to remove the gas tank and I wanted to do that with the tank close to empty.

After gassing up on the way out of Hannibal in the morning it was about two miles to the Mark Twain Memorial bridge over the Mississippi river where the state line of Illinois is about half way over the bridge. I stopped on the bridge in the break down lane to get a picture.

Half-way Across The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Half-way Across The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

As I got back to the bike, I could smell gasoline. Looking down at Gonzo’s left carburetor, I could see he was throwing up his morning gas station breakfast all over the bridge.

Gonzo Threw-up On Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Gonzo Threw-up On Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

I shut off both petcocks, pulled the left float bowl off and tapped up and down on the float to clear whatever was stuck in the float needle. I installed the bowl and turned the petcock back on, and no more fuel leaking, so Gonzo was feeling better. Then, for some reason, I happened to look just ahead of the front tire and low and behold, there was a 10 penny nail about a foot ahead of the tire and pretty much exactly where I would have ridden right over it. I picked it up and added it to all the other treasures on the bottom of the Mississippi river. Gonzo clearly wanted to make sure I didn’t get a flat, and all he could think of to get my attention was to throw up his breakfast in front of me :-). I gave him a “high three” because Gonzo only has three fingers, and we motored off into Illinois.

Giving Gonzo an "Up Top, High 3" :-)

Giving Gonzo an “Up Top, High 3” πŸ™‚

Right after I crossed the bridge, I exited onto Illinois 106 and wound my way through the country-side on shaded two lane roads that cut a tunnel through stands of still green trees; no signs of fall anywhere even though it’s mid-September. By this time, it was 9:15 am and already 83 F, so today is going to be another summer day ride through the humid mid-west.

I came to the Illinois river and, low and behold, it’s still a draw bridge.

A Draw Bridge Over the Illinois River

There aren’t many of these left. I prepared myself for the fun to come and when I got to the section that gets raised, sure enough it was surfaces in “smooth as a baby’s butt” polished steel with all the limited traction that offers. A loose grip on the handlebars and light acceleration is the recipe for success and although Gonzo squirmed around a bit as he looked for traction, we got over that section without much drama. These can be a lot more exciting when it’s raining and there is cross-wind blowing, DAMHIK πŸ™‚

I leisurely rode through a number of small towns and found one in particular had put American flags on every light pole. This scene captures the heart of middle America where people remember to be grateful for the privilege to live in this country despite the mistakes we have made and will continue to make in the future.

Small Town America Street-scape

It’s now in the upper 80’s and as I ride through the middle of a mid-west canyon carved between corn fields by US-36, I come to the Indiana border and loose an hour as I enter the Eastern time zone.

The altitude is about 650 feet, so Gonzo and I are now about 5,000 feet down hill from our home in Colorado. I can see and feel the difference as the sky is more grey-white than blue due to the humidity and 5,000 feet of additional atmosphere on top of us. I always feel like I’m getting too much air when I get down this low, and so does Gonzo as his idle is about 200 RPM too high. I’ll fix that tomorrow morning when I check the oil and the tires before we head out.

I see a couple signs with Ernie Pyle’s name including on a sign for a roadside park.Β It made me wonder if he was born nearby in Indiana. It turns out he was born in Dana, Indiana, just a bit North of US-36. I knew he also lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1940, as the first branch library in Albuquerque is named after him. I passed it often when I lived in Albuquerque, and stopped in to look at the exhibits.

Who was Ernie Pyle you might ask?Β  The Albuquerque library has a good biography about him.

One observation about this trip that I want to share is that Dollar Store is now America’s small town retailer. I have seen them in towns as small as 500 population. They seem to have a successful formula of opening modest sized general stores in all the small to mid-size American towns. Wal-mart on the other hand, which started as a small general store in Bentonville, Arkansas, is nowhere to be found in the smaller towns.

Small Town America's Store

Gonzo has been making friends along the way. On the first day, when we were getting gas, an older fellow on a Harley came over to find out what kind of bike I had. He thought it was a distinctive machine and waited for me to start it because “I want to hear what it sounds like.” And the other day in the hotel parking lot, a fellow came over to look at Gonzo and to reminisce about his Yamaha that he sold several years ago. He was curious about the air tubes from the air box and wondered if they got in the way of my legs. I told him they don’t, but they do look as if they would bump into your shins.

Tomorrow we I end the day at the border of West Virginia and Pennsylvania just outside Wheeling, West Virginia in a town with an unusual name, Tridelphia. So far, Gonzo is running well and we both are looking forward to wandering our way across the rest of Indiana and Ohio on US-36 and various state highways until we come to the end of US-36 in Uhrichsville, Ohio.

OTRA Day-2: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Today is a shorter day, which is a good thing as yesterday was a bit long due to the time spent visiting the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum.Β  I stayed at the Super 8 in Belleville KS, which was pretty deserted. Nonetheless, a number of guests thought it was acceptable to turn up the volume on their truck radio in the parking lot at 12:30 am and stage a parking lot dance while singing along with the tunes.Β  What ever happened to being considerate and aware of your surroundings?Β  Any how, I have ear plugs for just such idiots.

On Sunday morning, I started for Hannibal, MO about 9:00 am. But before I left I got to use the wash cloth I packed to wipe the water off the seat.Β  Yes, I’m officially in the mid-west where a dry day is 60% humidity. πŸ™‚

[BTW, I pack a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a wash cloth. I spray the windscreen and fairing with the peroxide and in 60 seconds or so, all the bug guts and goo dissolve and are easy to wipe right off. It doesn’t affect the paint or the plastic, so this is now in my “On The Road Again (OTRA)” kit.]

US-36 becomes the “Pony Express Highway” in the Eastern part of Kansas. In Marysville, there is a pony express stable, but being Sunday, it was closed. I got a picture of my “express horse”, Gonzo, in front.

A Pony Express Station From 1860 in Marysville, KS

A Pony Express Station From 1860 in Marysville, KS

I crossed over the border into Missouri. By this point, US-36 becomes a 4-lane divided highway with county roads cutting across it via the median.

Crossing Into Missouri at St. Joseph

Crossing Into Missouri at St. Joseph

Along the way, I rode through a large wind turbine farm among the Missouri corn fields. This reminds me of the eastern Colorado farmers who first let oil wells sprout among the corn and wheat in their fields and now are planting large numbers of wind turbines.

Wind Turbines Let Missouri Farms Harvest Wind & Corn

Wind Turbines Let Missouri Farms Harvest Wind & Corn

Then, I unexpectedly came upon the hometown of the great WW1 General, John “Black Jack” Pershing in Laclede, MO.Β  I was vaguely familiar with some of his story as I lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a young boy, not far from Columbus, New Mexico. Poncho Villa raided Columbus in 1916 shortly after New Mexico became a state in 1912. I believe this is the only foreign invasion of the United States. Pershing, who was based at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, went after him chasing him in Mexico (and it turns out Patton, who was a Lt. under Pershing, participated too) , but were not able to find him. So, now I know where he was born.

John "Black Jack" Pershing Home Town in Laclede, MO

John “Black Jack” Pershing Home Town in Laclede, MO

The next surprise was seeing the Missouri highway department harvesting hay in the median of US-36. Now that’s a cool idea IMHO.Β  Why waste that land when you can harvest feed for horses and cattle.

US-36 Median Grass Is Harvested by The Highway Department for Hay

US-36 Median Grass Is Harvested by The Highway Department for Hay

Hannibal, Missouri-Home of Mark Twain

I got to Hannibal about 3:00 pm and it was about 92 F, so I’m still riding in summer weather. I again stayed at the Dubach Inn and ended up in the same room I stayed in in 2017.

When I stayed here on the 2017 ride, I spent a lot of time visiting the Mark Twain Museum and wrote about that in my blog about that trip. This time, I decided to hike around town and see some of the sights I missed last time.

Gonzo Resting In Front of the Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Gonzo Resting In Front of the Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

After getting a shower and having my traditional end-of-ride libation (Gin & Tonic) I headed out to explore. I found out that 2019 is the bi-centennial of the founding of Hannibal in 1818. Another unexpected discovery.

2019 is 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Hannibal, MO

2019 is 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Hannibal, MO

Hannibal also added pennants on the lampposts commemorating citizens who served in the military. I saw the same thing when I visited Omaha Beach in France where Allied soldiers were commemorated.

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

I found a lighthouse that is dedicated to Mark Twain and climbed up to it. I needed another shower after that. πŸ™‚

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

On my way back from walking along the bluff above the Mississippi river, I saw something along the side of the path. It was just my good luck to come along when I did I guess.

Hmm ... What's That?

Hmm … What’s That?

I guess this shows money really does grow on trees. πŸ™‚

My Reward For Climbing Mark Twain Lighthouse Hill :-)

My Reward For Climbing Mark Twain Lighthouse Hill πŸ™‚

And I came across this fellow. Some days are like that, but not this one for me. πŸ™‚

Some Days, You Feel Like This

Some Days, You Feel Like This

At the bottom of the stairway to the lighthouse I stumbled upon two plaques commemorating the building of the first Mark Twain memorial bridge in 1935 and the replacement of it by the current one in 2000.

Original Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Original Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Replacement Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Replacement Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

The Replacement Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

The Replacement Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Downtown Hannibal From Lighthouse Hill

Downtown Hannibal From Lighthouse Hill

Another block or two brought me to the Mark Twain Brewing Company. I stopped in and sampled a couple of their excellent beers and had my supper.

Mark Twain Brewing Company-Good Beer and Food

Mark Twain Brewing Company-Good Beer and Food

Tomorrow I cross the Mississippi and cross Illinois on my way to the east side of Indianapolis.

Here is a slide show of today’s ride pictures.

OTRA Day1: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

I left on Saturday morning joined by two friends, Chris and John, who decided to ride along to the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum in St. Francis, Kansas. I noticed a sign for it when I took US-36 to the 2017 R100RS 40th Anniversary Rally, but didn’t feel like I had the time to stop.Β  The museum is about 200 miles from metropolitan Denver, so it’s about the half-way mark for today’s route which ends in Belleville, KS.

As last time, US-36 is a lightly traveled road in excellent condition with almost no 18-wheelers. The traffic this time was about twice as much as the 2017 trip because I left on Sunday that time and most of Kansas stays home on Sunday. But it was light traffic nonetheless and made for a relaxing ride.

Kansas Border

Kansas Border

Kansas Border-Brook & John

Kansas Border-Brook & John

Kansas Border-Chris & Brook

Kansas Border-Chris & Brook

St Francis Motorcycle Museum

What an enjoyable collection of turn of the 20th century American motorcycles from the numerous manufacturers in business before WWI and the later Great Depression. As is the case with the computer revolution of the middle part of the 20th century, which had a large number of computer hardware companies, the American motorcycle industry consolidated over the next 50 years into a handful of companies. The collection was a delight and even included two BMW’s, an R60S and an R27.

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum Decal

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum Decal

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum-1966 R69S

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum-1968 BMW R69S

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum-1968 BMW R69S

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum-1968 BMW R69S

St. Francis Motorcycle Museum

Geographic Center of the US

After I left John and Chris in Bird City where they turned off to visit a good friend of John’s before heading back home, I continued for another 200 miles to Belleville KS. Not too far from there is the geographic center of the US. Although I didn’t exactly go to the exact spot, I did take some pictures of the memorial to it on US-36.

Geographic Center of The USA

Geographic Center of The USA

Days Slide Show

Here is a slide show of the days pictures, mostly of the fabulous motorcycles on exhibit in the museum.

Ride to 40th RS Anniversary Rally-Mark Twain, The Airhead Pony Express and Hans Muth

If you missed my adventure on the first day of my ride to the rally, here is a link:

Ride to 40th RS Anniversary Rally-1977 RS Break In Is Complete

Here are links to two set’s of pictures, the first are the ones I took on the trip and at the rally, and the second are by, Andy Muller, a photographer, who is the proud owner of the 40th RS sold in the US so of course he brought it to the 40th RS anniversary rally. What a nice bit of serendipity.

Andy Muller's 1977 RS, #40

Andy Muller’s 1977 RS, #40

Getting There, Days 2 – 5

My route to the rally follows US 36 which passes through Hannibal, MO.

On the Way to the Rally

On the Way to the Rally

Hannibal Waterfront

Hannibal Waterfront

Mississippi River, Hannibal MO

Mississippi River, Hannibal MO

Mark Twain Statue at Hannibal Waterfront

Mark Twain Statue at Hannibal Waterfront

I planned a shorter ride the day I arrived in Hannibal so I could spend some time visiting the Mark Twain museum. Β I stayed at a B&B in a 19th century home, the Dubach Inn. My suite was on the second floor with it’s own staircase and balcony where I enjoyed a Gin and Tonic at the end of the day.

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

The city turned the block where Twain grew up into a museum that includes his home, his father’s justice of the peace office, Becky Thacher’s house, and the home that was occasionally used by the street urchin he crafted Huckleberry Finn from. I really enjoyed the exhibits and learned a lot more about Twain’s life and the impact of it on his personality and ultimately how it became the source for many of the books that made him famous.

One of the Buildings At The Mark Twain Museum

Reconstruction of Huck Finn House at Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Mark Twain Museum

Along US 36 I saw a number of signs about the pony express and the stops and routes they used. A rider would take the mail and ride a set distance each day and then hand the mail pouch to another rider who continued with the mail. The first rider then took mail from a rider coming the other direction and returned with it to where he started. This shuttling operation moved the mail from St Louis to California. Little did I know at the time that the Airhead Pony Express would be enlisted to deliver Gonzo and I on the last leg of the trip to the rally.

The next day I stop at a hotel in a suburb of Indianapolis, IN. At the start of the day I enjoyed riding on two lane roads although I was riding in a light rain and some fog for awhile. I took some state and county roads to avoid the heavy traffic I recall from a previous ride to the east coast on I-70 through Indianapolis. Alas, I poked along through Indianapolis suburban sprawl, construction zones for the last hour. It was a long day.

On the Way to the Rally

On the Way to the Rally

On the Way to the Rally

On the Way to the Rally

After I got to the hotel, I thought I heard noise from the transmission. I had replaced the bearings and seals, my first time doing this work, so I was worried I had failed to do the work correctly. But when I got up the next morning under a dull gray sky with light rain and drizzle and started the bike the transmission seemed to be quiet. I chalked up the noise I thought I heard to my paranoia and being hyper-sensitive to the new sounds from an unfamiliar bike and transmission.

I headed out in the drizzle and mist on my way to West Virginia near the Pennsylvania boarder to my next hotel. At my first gas stop late in the morning, I could hear the transmission noise again. It was louder and clearly something was not right. I still had another 200 miles to my hotel and no hope of finding any airhead transmission experts in this part of the country. At the end of the day I would still be about 350 miles from the rally location in Pennsylvania.

On the Way to the Rally

On the Way to the Rally

40th R100RS Anniversary Rally

40th R100RS Anniversary Rally

Diagnosing the Problem

Tom Cutter, one of the best airhead mechanics and an expert transmission builder, was coming to the rally and he lives pretty close by. When I got to my hotel in Triadelphia WV I called him and described what I was hearing. I told him I planned to bring the bike to him and leave it and I would figure out how to get back home. He told me not to worry. He would start work on the bike on Sunday right after the rally and would get me back on the road as soon as possible. The huge weight of worry and dread that had been weighing on me all day suddenly vanished.

He had me do a number of tests including draining the transmission at an auto parts store to see what came out. When I got there and bought some gear lube and a drain pain, it was raining lightly and the light was fading as I started to drain the gear box in the parking lot.

Draining Transmission Oil at an Auto Zone in Triadelphia West Virginia

Draining Transmission Oil at an Auto Zone in Triadelphia West Virginia

When I removed the drain plug, I found a circlip stuck to it. It secures the plastic roller that rides on the shift cam to a pin on the shifter arm. That can’t be good. I used my cell phone to send a picture to Tom. His advice was to not ride the bike any more if at all possible. I was tired, a bit wet and dejected as I rode Gonzo five miles back to the hotel in the dark to get something to eat.

Cir-clip from Shift Quadrant Roller Found on Drain Plug :-(

Circlip from Shift Quadrant Roller – Shouldn’t Be In The Transmission πŸ™

The Airhead Pony Express

After dinner I decided to post a note to the newsgroup used by rally members for communication to see if anyone might be in the area with a trailer that could take Gonzo and I to the rally hotel in Pennsylvania and then went to bed for a night of fitful sleep as I reviewed scenarios of how to get to the rally and all the changes I had to make to my return hotel reservations since I was going to be delayed. On top of that, my credit card had been fraudulently used on the internet and the card company had cancelled it. Ah, it never rains but it pours πŸ™‚

The next morning, I saw a note from Duane Wilding who lives near Annapolis, MD. He offered to load his bike on his trailer instead of riding to the rally and it had room for mine. The detour would double the time for him to get to to rally changing a 5 hour day of riding to more like 10 or 11 hours of towing. I didn’t see any other offers so I called him and asked him to come pick me up. It would take him an hour and a half to get the trailer hooked up and and I agreed to call him if in the mean time I heard from someone closer who was able to help.

I started to call my hotels to put my rooms on hold, called my wife to let her know what was happening and as I scrolled through other email, I suddenly saw a reply posted by Scott Mercer right after I sent my note. I had missed it when I first looked at my Email. His note said he was an hour and a half away and had a truck with his bike in it and there was room to add mine. I connected with him, confirmed he was still able to come by and pick up Gonzo and told him I’d call him back as I had to cancel my ride from Duane who was going well out of his way to help.

When I called Duane back and told him to stand down, I reached him just before he was about to start driving my way. And then I got two more calls, one from Scott’s friend, Tom Gaiser, who was bringing his R90S in his pick up truck and said he would come by in case we needed help getting Gonzo in Scott’s truck. When I hung up I got a call from Keven O’Neil who was bringing his bike on a trailer following my route from Indianapolis. He too said he would stop to help and in case my bike didn’t fit in Scott’s truck, there was room on his trailer. I had gone from famine to feast. I was overwhelmed by the generosity and support from these Airheads. What a great bunch they are.

Airhead Pony Express Arrives

Airhead Pony Express Arrives-Kevin O’Neil’s RS On His Trailer

Mike Mercer's Trailer with Tom Gaiser Supervising

Scott Mercer’s Trailer with Tom Gaiser Supervising

Gonzo in Mike Mercer's Trailer Next to His Mint 1978 Motosport

Gonzo in Mike Mercer’s Trailer Next to His Mint 1978 Motosport

Five hours later we turned off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and stopped next to an appliance that was as ubiquitous as cell phones are today when the RS was brand new. I couldn’t resist; I went over, picked up the handset and it had a dial tone. That pay phone still works for it’s intended purpose, just as my 1977 RS does. How unexpected, and fitting to find this relic on my journey to a 40th R100RS anniversary rally.

Working Pay Phone at Our Exit on Pennsylvania Turnpike

Working Pay Phone at Our Exit on Pennsylvania Turnpike

We pulled into the Holiday Inn parking lot, unloaded Gonzo and parked him in the growing group of RS bikes in the parking lot. Then Scott and Tom drove to their hotel 20 minutes away.

The Rally at Todd Trumbore’s Home

The next morning, Friday, I got a ride to the rally at Todd Trumbore’s home where the rally was held from Mike Cecchini who brought his bike on a trailer.

Todd Trumbore Host for 40th R100RS Anniversary Rally

Todd Trumbore Host for 40th R100RS Anniversary Rally

I spent the day in awe of the variety of bikes parked outside Todd’s “Bavarian Bike Barn” including a Munch Mammoth, an ISDT race bik, a replica of the Udo Gietl prepared R90S that won Daytona in 1976 and the first AMA Super Bike championship, A Mondial and of course, multiple examples of well cared for RS bikes and more first year bikes than I’ve ever seen in one place a one time.

40th RS Anniversary Rally

Munch Mammoth

Munch Mammoth

Here is a short video of starting the Mammoth and the sound it makes.

40th RS Anniversary Rally

Some of the 40th RS Anniversary Rally Attendees and Their Bikes

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

ISDT Race Bike Restoration

Udo Gietl Prepared 1976 RS Race Bike Replica

Udo Gietl Prepared 1976 RS Race Bike Replica

Udo Gietl Prepared 1976 RS Race Bike Replica

Udo Gietl Prepared 1976 RS Race Bike Replica

Todd Trumbore's Restored Mondial - Gorgeous

Todd Trumbore’s Restored Mondial – Gorgeous

Todd Trumbore's Restored Mondial - Gorgeous

Todd Trumbore’s Restored Mondial – Gorgeous

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S - Interesting Spark Plug Wire :-)

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S – Interesting Spark Plug Wire πŸ™‚

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

300,000+ Mile Custom R90S

There were talks by Hans Muth, Udo Gietl, and Tom Cutter, and numerous conversations with fellow airhead RS owners about their bikes. Hans graciously designed the logo on the far right and Todd did the other two. I have all three stickers from the rally and will find a suitable place of honor for them in my work shop.

40th RS Anniversary Rally Logo's Designed by Hans Muth

40th RS Anniversary Rally Logo’s Designed by Hans Muth

Hans Muth

Hans Muth

Udo Gietl

Udo Gietl

Tom Cutter

Tom Cutter

On Saturday, Mike put Gonzo in his trailer and as the next airhead pony express rider, faithfully delivered us to Todd Trumbore’s. We unloaded Gonzo and I rode him up Todd’s driveway so I could say with a straight face that I rode him to the rally. πŸ™‚

Gonzo Getting Tied Down in Mike Cecchini's Trailer

Gonzo Getting Tied Down in Mike Cecchini’s Trailer

My 1977 RS - "Gonzo" - Parked Among His Fellow 1977 R100RS Bikes

My 1977 RS – “Gonzo” – Parked Among His Fellow 1977 R100RS Bikes

Mike Cecchini's R90S Fitted in RS Body Work - Beautiful !!!

Mike Cecchini’s R90S Fitted in RS Body Work – Beautiful !!!

Meeting Hans Muth and Getting Gonzo an Autograph

It took a year of work rebuilding the bike and several adventures along the way while riding him to Pennsylvania, but I met Hans Muth, shook his hand and got his autograph on Gonzo’s factory inspection sticker. An amazing end to a year of work and adventure riding to the rally.

Shaking Hands with Hans Muth Next To My 1977 R100RS

Shaking Hands with Hans Muth Next To My 1977 R100RS

Hans A. Muth Signature on My 1977 R100RS Factory Inspection Sticker

Hans A. Muth Signature on My 1977 R100RS Factory Inspection Sticker

Fixing Gonzo’s Transmission

Saturday evening, Tom Cutter and I loaded Gonzo on his trailer and I rode Tom’s “Fake S” R100/7 to his house that is about an hour away. What a treat, to say the least. πŸ™‚

Gonzo Loaded in Tom Cutter's Trailer Next to His R Nine T

Gonzo Loaded in Tom Cutter’s Trailer Next to His R Nine T

Tom Cutter's "Fake S"

Tom Cutter’s “Fake S” That He Let Me Ride – What a Hoot and Very Kind of Him

On Sunday, he pulled the transmission out, disassembled it, cleaned and inspected it, replace the circlip and roller, and reassembled it. He found no other damage to the transmission. After careful measurement of my circlip and a new one, it seems the new one I installed is not the correct size. I failed to catch that when I installed it since this was the first time I had opened a transmission so I had no experience with the parts. That said, in the future, I can compare the new parts to the old to reduce this kind of mistake in the future.

My Circlip (Left), Correct New One (Right)

My Circlip (Left), Correct New One (Right)

the circlip was a bit too large compared to the new one he installed. Either it was a defective part, or I damaged it when I installed it. On Monday morning, we installed Gonzo’s transmission and Tom took care of a couple other assembly mistakes I made. By 2:00 pm Monday, I was back on the road heading home.

Going Back Home

I rode on US 50 most of the way until Topeka Kansas where I got on I-70. I went through Athens, Ohio on Tuesday and stopped to meet Kent Holt of Holt BMW who provided the paint and a great deal of advice when I tried my hand at painting. He took me on a tour of his facility and he spent almost two hours talking with me. What a treat/.

 

Marvin Greeted Me at Holt BMW with Coffee :-)

Marvin Greeted Me at Holt BMW with Coffee πŸ™‚

Kent Holt in his Work Shop

Kent Holt in his Work Shop

Kent Holt's Ride with Custom Paint Work

Kent Holt’s Ride with Custom Paint Work

I stopped in Jefferson City, MO to stay at a B&B housed in a civil war ear home built on a high bluff over looking the Missouri River and had dinner at an Irish pub around that corner, Paddy Malone’s, that is one of the oldest continuously operating pubs in the mid-west. There is a flag from every county in Ireland on the ceilings and walls. A great place to relax.

Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Gonzo Resting at the Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Gonzo Resting at the Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Missouri River From Patio of Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Missouri River From Patio of Cliff Manor B&B Jefferson City MO

Beer Board at Paddy Malone's Pub in Jefferson City MO

Beer Board at Paddy Malone’s Pub in Jefferson City MO

Jefferson City MO Irish Pub with County Flags

Jefferson City MO Irish Pub with County Flags

The next day I rode to Hays, Kansas. In the afternoon, I had 30 MPH cross winds for several hours and at one point, the bike thermometer showed 102 F. The air conditioned lobby of the hotel was very refreshing πŸ™‚

I arrived home on Friday about noon after riding over 3,300 miles in the past 11 days, meeting great people who love BMW bikes and especially the RS and attending a fabulous rally celebrating the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the R100RS.

Starting Mileage

Starting Mileage

Ending Mileage - Over 3,300 Miles

Ending Mileage – Over 3,300 Miles

To all the airheads at the rally who directly helped me get there or took a moment to talk with me and provide words of encouragement that lifted my spirits, thank you from the bottom of my heart. RS riders in particular, and Airheads in general, are some of the nicest folks you could ever want to spend a weekend with.