Thursday, July 24, 2008

Radical & Yellow

This has got to be the cleanest hack around. Definately a lot of dough invested. Probably sees little highway touring as it is sooooo clean.
Has a single side front suspension set up.
A lot of tire on the ground.
Wild front end assembly.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Airhead Central" at the MOA National

Made it to Billings on Friday night after the rain, hail, "stupid move" and UFO encounter. I figured that after the tough 1/2 day rain ride the rest would be easy, and I was right. Spent a nice evening with my wife, daughters and Grandson and headed out for Gillette after a 1 hour Wal Mart debacle. I possess two nice digital cameras and of course left both of them at home in my haste to hit the road. Bought a cheap digital at Wal Mart Friday night and found it didn't work at all so went back Sat. AM and bought another more expensive one. Looked at a dozen different ones and finally found one that will serve its' purpose. (barely) Made great time going to Gillette and had tail winds all the way. Winds are a big deal when piloting a sidecar. They are usually working against me it seems but this day they were on my side. Upon arriving at the BMW Rally I spent 10 minutes looking for a registration tent and after being given directions from 3 different volunteers (never found it) I gave up and found the "Airhead Central" tent. Fitted with couches , chairs and goodies purchased at goodwill it was home away from home. (The purchased furniture is then donated back to Goodwill after the rally)
The first face I see is my buddy "Boz" from southern California. He is a retired Navy Seal and a great fellow. He was running the Airhead store for a while as a volunteer. Also had a cooler full of cold beer close at hand. He has gotten engaged and will be married on Aug. 15th. (our anniversary). Congratulations Boz!
There were many side hack rigs present at the rally. More than I have ever seen in one place. This one is an extreme "K" Bike with some sort of radical sidecar. I will post a few more great photos later of this wild rig. Probably 30-40 thousand invested in this guy. Lots more photos of hacks to post later. Good night for now.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

HAIL the big tough macho Harley guy

Left Dillon around 1:00 pm on Friday afternoon headed for the International BMW Motorcycle Owners Association Rally in Gillette Wyoming. 500 miles each way. Skies were cloudy and immediatly hit thunderstorms after about 30 miles. Ran right into a nice cloud burst about 15 miles out of Whitehall. I could see sun shine all around me and these damn storms sat over my head and followed me all the way to Billings. At one point I was in fairly heavy traffic, the sky had opened up and the rain was literally pouring down. My visibility was poor as I had a "half" helmet on. (my full face helmet was in the saddle bag of course) I had my left hand kind of blocking the right side of my face as the rain was hitting me hard. All of a sudden something hit me in the midsection at belt level on the right front. Now at this point I was somewhat preoccupied with ; a) staying on the road in while driving through standing water b) attempting to watch all the other on coming traffic c) cussing myself out for not wearing the full helmet which was in the saddlebag d) wondering why my rain gear was next to the helmet and not covering my soaked ass. I vainly glanced to see what part of the motorcycle had fallen off and hit me. Not much time to be doing that, as I was kind of busy staying alive. Finally I passed out of the downpour and assessed the bike. Hmmmm nothing to be seen, no parts gone, what the hell. I stopped at a gas station in Whitehall for a minute or so and looked the bike over. Saw nothing out of the ordinary. Whatever clobbered me felt like someone swinging a pillow and whacking me in the gut. I still don't have a clue what it was. Bird? Plane? Superman? A pillow? Who knows. One of the mysteries of life I guess.

. (they weren't that big but sure felt like it)
Rained off and on all the way to Bozeman. I called Darian (who was 45 minutes ahead of me in her car) and she had only a couple of drops hit her windshield so far. I fueled in Bozeman and being ever the optimist left my full coverage helmet in the saddle bag (next to the rain gear). Approaching the canyon before Bozeman Pass I could see a nasty looking wall off white heading towards me. Again as the optimist I figured I would beat the storm through the canyon. At about the time a big ass Harley chopper passed me with a rough tough looking guy driving. His "gear" consisted of a rag on his head, sun glasses and a tank top. His passenger was a young looking gal dressed the same except she had shorts on. They looked like every Harley guys dream....macho, cute bitch on the back, stretched chopper, wow was I impressed. (NOT). About the time he was 100' feet ahead of me the sky cracked open and a wall of water fell, It sucked! Seconds later here comes the hail. ( that sucked even more) Here I am again covering the right side of my face. ( with my left hand, right hand stuck on the throttle) I had the sensation of someone spraying me in the face with a fully automatic pellet gun. The "macho Harley guy" slowed and as I passed him he looked like a whipped pup. I was hurting and I had full gear on (except of course the damn helmet)The poor gal on the back was trying to make herself as small a target as possible. As I left the bruised pair behind me I just started laughing, Man OH Man, the price to pay for "looking cool". As I passed out of the main part of the storm something felt real cold. I looked down and my pants had kind of a well in my lap and it was completely full of marble sized hail stones, and I was probably doing 50 MPH. After the worst I laughed at the heavens and proclaimed" is that the best you can do?" Evidently not cause no sooner than I said that the sky split open again and away we go again. This time the rain was harder, but the hail passed this time. Blinded again I missed the first exit I came to and like an idiot tried to pull off a construction crossover and a semi truck damn near ran over me from behind. The traffic barrels were too close together so I dropped into the median at about 15 MPH, bounced through a small mound of sloppy wet gravel, through some holes and up onto the dead traffic lane. The truck driver was not too impressed with my dumb move and blared his air horn adding more insult to injury. Very stupid, spur of the moment decision on my part and it could have been my last. That driver is still probably telling his buddies about the dumb -ass , cross country side car idiot he encountered. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.....split second lapse of good judgement (on my part) that gets people killed on the highway every day.
BMW view of Sheridan McDonald's drive up window. Maybe I should quit riding and get a safe job there? Let's see........scalding hot poisening......botchulism......french fry fumes......obesity........mad gunmen ...... Naw, forget it............riding is definitely safer.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

One mans junk, another mans treasure....

I found this old monstrous fuel tank on a BMW which could have been free for the taking. I decided to pay the $100.00 asking price for the entire motorcycle as the 10 gallon fuel tank was a rare item. It definitely didn't look like any kind of treasure to most folks. Ugly, scratched and bulbous. Missing the knee pads, top cover, cap and sat open to the weather for a couple nice Montana Winters.
Took some doing and a few bucks, but I scared up a new old stock 35 year old original gas cap. Found a well used tool box cover for $50.00. A new custom hand built cover was $450.00. Pretty easy decision there. A couple of new stick-on BMW roundels, a $150.00 paint job and here we are.
Now that is more like it. It is still bulbous and ugly to most but I find it beautiful. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder they say. Besides the fact that the tank is worth around $1200.00 or more as it sits now. I rummaged through a bunch of extra unused long sitting BMW parts I have laying around and listed them on E-Bay last night. Already up to $59.99 for 4 of the 5 items and still have 6 days to go. See , now my junk will be someone else's treasure. Round and round it goes. I love the recycle theory of old motorcycle parts. Junk can always become cash with a little effort. With E-bay, my cash has become junk in a few instances. I have over paid for a few things and then when received they were still someone else's (my) junk. No treasure to be found sometimes. Oh well , now I will pass them on to someone else. Round it goes again. Gotta love it.
I will depart on a 1000 mile weekend trip tomorrow after work. The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America is holding their International Rally in Gillette Wyo. (of all places) this week so will do a Banzaii run over there this weekend. Darian has bowed out and we will meet in Billings tomorrow night to see both our daughters and grandkids. Darian will stay over and I will continue on to the rally on Sat. morning. A long way to go for one night but what the hell. If I don't go I will regret it. Sunday will be a 500 mile one day ride to Dillon. Should be a nice but somewhat long day. I will hope to see some old Airhead friends at the rally and will take some photos. Have a nice day.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

More Jellystone photos

This is the spot where my tail light assembly fell off. The Earth Quake slide area can be see in the distant back ground. I always travel with a selection of spare parts with traveled with us before the side car was installed. Old BMW parts are not readily available so I save alot of old/new parts for back up use. Parts I carry: extra carburetor diaphragms, float assemblies, needle valves, spark plugs, slightly used ignition points (which can still get you out of a bind) extra ignition condenser, nuts and bolts, two extra (used ) clutch cables, cable end thimbles, ( when a clutch cable breaks, often the little thimble falls out and is gone for ever, these are hard to come by!), assorted zip ties, tie wire, electrical wire and connectors and many other odds and ends.
"Urban Camping". Definitely not for every one but suited us just fine for the weekend. Darian has the camp set up thing down to an art after all the years of practice. Even brought her little DVD player so we had a movie each night! Lots of places to eat, entertainment, fire works display, some nice biker neighbors. One guy was pulling a home made M.C. trailer made from a pick up tool box. The thing had a 4-5 foot tongue, was narrow and had a high center of gravity. was pretty darn precarious looking to me. He has pulled it all over the west so I guess it worked better than it looked. Another Guy and Gal next to us appeared to be well experienced Harley Riders by the looks of their garb. Their riding vests were covered with a wealth of various patches, pins, buttons, etc. Came to find out he bought his first Harley last Fall. They must have spent the entire Winter working on their vests. The "Harley Marketing Blitz" has created a new generation of pseudo bikers. The dealers focus more on "custom" parts and other junk, than on the bikes. The Harley thing is just a way of showing how "cool" you are. Kind of a joke in my opinion. When the biker neighbor rode off he had gear stacked up at least two feet higher than his passengers head. What a sight. He must have had a dozen bungee cords entwining the whole affair. But their vests sure looked good. Oh well more power to them. Each to their own. I'll just stick to my old Airhead and stay out of the Hog Wild feeding frenzy.
Darian in her typical position over the week end. Here along the Madison River, book in hand. We saw a lot of Bison and Elk in this area. Damn near hit a mid sized Badger which dashed out right in front of us, but a touch of the brakes and he made it o.k. I managed to exterminate quite a few bugs over the course of the trip. I firmly theorize that the accumulation of bug guts on my leather jacket lengthens the life of the leather, kind of like a conditioner. Darian continually threatens to throw the old rag away. Hell, it's just starting to have a nice patina after 20 years. In an emergency survival situation one could scrape it off, add water and have a very nice stew.
Bummer, on the way home after three great days of riding. Hebgen Lake in the rear. The old quake area was a nice ride. Overcast, a little cool and perfect riding conditions. The old beemer and its' big tank made it from West to Dillon without going into the reserve tanks. Where to go next? hmmmm, will have to think and plan for the next ride. would like to hit the MOA National in Wyoming but won't have any extra time off. Quite a ride for a two day weekend. We'll see.
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Sunday, July 6, 2008


We had been planning a three day Yellowstone trip with the sidehack for the last couple of months. We loaded up Friday morning and were on the road by 9:30am. I have the majority of our camping gear packed up full time so it's a matter of just loading the bike and packing clothes. We ran over to Twin Bridges and then through Virginia City to Ennis. We just missed the Ennis Parade which effectively closes down the highway for about two hours. I am a patriotic guy but didn't really want to be forced to watch the parade. Luckily we passed through town minutes before it began. Between Ennis and Hebgan Lake we encountered head winds of aroud thirty to forty miles per hour. The BMw struggled to keep up speed on the hills and could only make 50-55 mph on the hills. As we reached the Madison River the terrain was such that the wind lessened up. As we rounded Hebgan Lake I decided to pull over for a break and as I pulled over I saw my side car tail light fall off. I had fashoned a bracket out of some old chromed steel I had and figured that the thing would break at the bend due to vibration. Sure enough I was correct. (as pictured above). The light was dangling by the wire loom and didn't quite reach the pavement. I had the foresight to use a like piece of steel on the back side of the fender for a stiffener. I forgot about the other piece until I removed the broken bracket and then remembered that I had a spare piece. Fifteen minutes later we were back in business. We set up a tent at a campground in West Yellowstone which was like camping in a city park due to loud kids, other motorcycles and every sound known to man. We did have a great fireworks display on Friday night. We didn't mind the "Urban" camping as that gave us plenty of options in the food department in West Yellowstone.
We hit the road Saturday AM and ran into Yellowstone and over to the Canyon area first. The North Rim Drive road was closed so we headed on over towards the Lake area. Had a great time riding as the traffic wasn't too bad and the speeds were moderate. The posted limit in the park is 45mph. Most cars were running 60-65. We took a lot of the little side roads which branch off tho different attractions along the highway. We parked near the Lake Hospital for a break early in the afternoon. (Above) I visited the Lake Hospital Emergency Room about 38 years ago to the week. I was fishing near Cooke City when I fell off a log (which was part of a trail) and fell head first. I hit my right arm on some rocks and managed to break it in two places. The ride from Cooke City to the hospital was one of the longest rides of my life as every bump in the road nearly put me through the roof. A very painful memory.
We stopped again near West Thumb and visited with some other BMW riders. two from Utah and one from Louisiana. This K-Bike sported a "P-51 Flying Tiger" Motif. We headed over towards Old Faithful and witnessed the eruption from a couple miles out through the trees. We always miss the event by a few minutes and never want to hang around and wait to see it later. Oh well, it still looks like it did the last time we saw it. We got back to camp in time for a couple hour nap and then to a nice dinner at a nice place. Over priced but great food and service.

We awoke to overcast skies this am but had a great ride back to Dillon. Above is a shot of yours truly next to Hebgen Lake this morning. Today brought little or no wind. The bike was running excellant and made it all the way home without going into the reserve tanks. Darian sightseed and read the entire weekend and was a great co-pilot. It's nice to ask for a drink (of whatever) when under way and have it handed over without stopping. All in all a nice ride and would have liked to go on for another couple of days. We will plan some trips for the winter when we can take a bit more time.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Official "Dog" Pound Member

Finally got to meet Rex Mongold the "BMW DOG" two weeks ago at Bob Clements place. My ride is now sporting the "Dog" tag. Thanks Rex, I am now an official member of "The Dog" kennel club.
Received my $50.00 Heinrich tank cover in the mail today. A pretty rustic cover as it was oxidized to the max. A few applications of "Mothers" aluminum polish and there was shiny metal living under all the oxidation. The cover has a key lock but no key. By chance the lock can be turned with any thin screw driver or such. The lock works well and it is a proper fit for the tanks locking brackets.
The cover has a bunch of dings in it. I tapped a few out carefully with a ball peen hammer. Overall the cover is good enough, considering that a new reproduction cover would cost well over $400.00. I can live with a few flaws, after all everything in life has flaws. I gave up trying for perfection with mechanical monsters years ago as perfection is a short term unobtainable thing anyway. Who cares.
I wanted to avoid the cover touching the new paint on the tank so I slit a piece of rubber tubing and worked it over the flange rim which sticks up around the tank opening. This effectively keeps the cover from coming in direct contact with the tank. It took a bit of time to adjust the tanks lock brackets but finally got the cover to sit tight and secure on the tank.
The upholstery is in pretty poor shape as it is sun rotted. No tears but the stitching is failing and is not long for this world. No upholstery people around Dillon so will get to it at a later date. Will do the Hack seat, etc. with black and probably will redo the /5 solo seats in black also. No hurry on that. I can get the work done in Arizona or Mexico a whole lot cheaper anyway. We are looking forward to a leisurely ride through Yellowstone Park this weekend. Will pack up the camping gear and rough it for the weekend. We rode through Yellowstone a few years ago on the 4th off July and found it no more crowded than normal. People probably think they;ll wait until after the 4th when the crowds are less. If everyone thinks that way...wa la... no crowds on the 4th. Don't really care if the place is crowded anyway. Just looking forward to a nice slow cruise through the Park. Gas prices are probably keeping a few tourists home. We've ridden through Yellowstone hundreds of times and never get tired of it. It is a wonderful place.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.