My system administrator made a major update to the software that supports “Brook’s Airhead Garage” yesterday evening. We don’t expect any problems, but if you notice something amiss, or experience unexpected behavior, please leave a comment for me and I’ll have the administrator look into it.
It’s Thursday, Day 6, and I’m at the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville, PA where I’m staying for the rally. Things get started this evening with a fireside meet-and-greet and continues Friday and Saturday. I plan on leaving Sunday for the ride back home.
The weather for the past three days has been perfect for riding; upper 50’s in the morning and barely 80 by late afternoon, low humidity and that rare delight of the East coast, robins’ egg blue skies. It looks like the rally will have perfect weather.
Yesterday was day 5 of the ride. The previous night, after I slapped the Zumo “up side the head” and it started to work again, I plugged it into the laptop to charge it’s battery. When I disconnected it and turned it off, once again, it took a dirt nap and refused to power back on. Oh well, now that I found the option to keep the iPhone in portrait mode and prevent it from rotating the screen, it’s been working reliably. But, being paranoid at times, I wrote down some directions in case the iPhone goes on strike and I need to figure out where I’m going for the day’s ride.
A Cool Morning and a Dead Garmin Zumo-Oh Well Steve Jobs to the Rescue 🙂
I wasn’t looking forward to Wednesday’s ride as it’s on I-70 and then I-76, aka, The Pennsylvania Turnpike. Exits are few and far between, but there are gas stations in the rest plaza’s, all Sunoco stations. I wonder how much it cost Sunoco to get that monopoly?
Pennsylvania Turnpike Rest Stop
And, it’s a toll road. It cost me over $40.00 to ride 200 miles or so. That was a bit of a shock. The good news is I’m not using it on the return ride as I’m going to go more southerly and pick up US-50.
I got off the turnpike for awhile to take advantage of an interesting coincidence: Denver, Reamstown, Honey Brook and Stevens are all within a few miles of each other. Since I live in metropolitan Denver, my last name is Reams and my first name is Brook–and I’m such a sweet guy (Quiet Rochelle!!) :-)–and my daughter-in-law is a Stephens (well that spelling is close enough), I wanted to visit them all. It broke up the unpleasant, multi-hundred mile drone of riding the Pennsylvania super-slab with the unrelaxed, constant attention I had to pay to the herds of lumbering 18 wheelers.
Reamstown and Denver Are Close Together
Reamstown Fire Department
Reamstown Fire Department
Gonzo and I Just Missed The Reamstown Days Celebration
Welcome To Denver, My Home Town Back East 🙂
Welcome to Honey Brook, Brook
Stevens Road in Stevens, PA
I stopped by to meet Randy Long, of Long’s Mechanical Services, who just finished rebuilding the heads for my 1983 RS/RT project. This is the fourth set of airhead heads he has rebuilt for me. When he called to tell me he was shipping the heads back to me a few weeks ago, I let him know I was heading to the rally. He graciously extended an invitation to come by and meet him.
This is an indication of the number of heads he rebuilds: quite a collection of old valve seats from BMW, Harley, Triumph and all the UJM brands.
Have a Few Old Valve Seats
I took the back roads to his house and along the way, I spied a horse drawn wagon reminding me I’m in Amish country. And, what a delight to get back on a windy, two-lane road on a sunny 75 degree day with clear blue skies. This ride rejuvenated me from the sour mood my long slog along the Pennsylvania Turnpike had induced. 🙂
I’m In Amish Country
Now, That’s What I’m Talk’en About-A Nice Road and A Great Day For A Motorcycle Ride 🙂
After I left Randy’s shop, I swung by to say see Tom Cutter, proprietor of Rubber Chicken Racing Garage, who is going to the rally and will be speaking. He invited me to drop by, spend the night, get some laundry washed, and then we could ride together to the rally on Thursday afternoon. And of course, Tom has a GS. So Gonzo had the opportunity to get to know the kind of airhead bikes he will be surrounded by this weekend. 🙂
Gonzo Getting To Know His New R100GS Friend
Tom and I took the leisurely route through the back roads for an hour and then we parted company as he is staying at the VIP hotel, and I’m in “other hotel”. When I got to the Holiday Inn, I parked Gonzo next to another R100GS, but this time so they could talk to each other 🙂
Today is day 4 of the ride. Often on day 3 or day 4 of my long trips, I get challenged, either physically, mentally or emotionally. 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
This morning, I woke up about 6:20 am. I had set the alarm for 7:30 anticipating leaving by 8:30 am. 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?
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. 🙂
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. 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 🙂
And, then Ohio DOT decides to cancel US-36. Yeap, “Road Closed”.
US-36 Is Closed 🙁
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 🙂
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!!! 🙂
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
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 🙂
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. 🙂
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, SHAZAM – So, Finally It Starts Working Again ….. GRRRRRR!!!
Sometimes the old ways work best. 🙂
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 🙂
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. 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. What ever happened to being considerate and aware of your surroundings? 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. Yes, I’m officially in the mid-west where a dry day is 60% humidity. 🙂
[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
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
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
Then, I unexpectedly came upon the hometown of the great WW1 General, John “Black Jack” Pershing in Laclede, MO. 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
The next surprise was seeing the Missouri highway department harvesting hay in the median of US-36. Now that’s a cool idea IMHO. 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
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.
Gonzo Resting In Front of the 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
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
I found a lighthouse that is dedicated to Mark Twain and climbed up to it. I needed another shower after that. 🙂
Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse
Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse
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?
I guess this shows money really does grow on trees. 🙂
My Reward For Climbing Mark Twain Lighthouse Hill 🙂
And I came across this fellow. Some days are like that, but not this one for me. 🙂
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
Replacement Mark Twain Bridge Plaque
The Replacement Mark Twain Memorial Bridge
Mississippi River View 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
Tomorrow I cross the Mississippi and cross Illinois on my way to the east side of Indianapolis.
When BMW introduced the Nikasil cylinders in the US in the 1981 model year, they came with the 8.2:1 low compression pistons to help meet EPA requirements. So, my 1983 R100RS has low compression pistons. But, in Europe, BMW provided 9.5:1 pistons and rings for use in the Nikasil cylinders and they are still available.
The higher compression makes a useful difference in torque and horsepower:
The 8.2:1 compression pistons produce 53-Ft-Lb and the 9.5:1 compression produces 56 Ft-Lb and, or about +5% for the higher compression.
The 8.2:1 compression pistons produce 66 Hp and the 9.5:1 compression produces 70 Hp and or about +6% for the higher compression.
I intend to use this bike for two up touring and it has over 80,000 miles on it. So I am going to install 9.5:1 pistons sized for the “B” sized cylinders I have (part# 11 25 1 337 175) to get a useful boost in torque and horsepower.
New 9.5:1 “B” Size Piston Kit For “B” Size Cylinder
New Piston Kit Contents-“B” Size, 9.5:1 Piston (93.97 mm)
For the best fit and an oil tight motor, the recommendation from Tom Cutter at Rubber Chicken Racing Garage is to replate the Nikasil inside the cylinders and then hone it to get the proper clearance that matches the actual pistons. There is some variability in the pistons and this approach mates the cylinder dimensions to the piston dimensions for a tight seal.
Here is the link to the write-up of the procedure.