Monday, January 24, 2011

Agua Caliente / Palm Springs Via BMW sidehack

Time for another sidecar trip...we decided to do a "Hot Springs" Tour beginning with Agua Caliente in the Anza Borrego State Park. We returned from a business trip Thursday night so packed up early Friday morning and hit the road. I had received a "Heel Shifter" for the R100S transmission so I installed that prior to leaving. The heel shifter simplifies shifting a lot and I had been looking for one for a couple of years. Finally found one on EBay.
Loaded and ready....

We decided to run the interstate all the way to the Park so made pretty good time. Stopped in El Centro CA. for lunch. Upon leaving the restaurant I see a small oil pool on the parking lot. Damned shifter seal is now leaking after installing the "new" shifter. We found an auto parts store and picked up a quart of gear lube in case the transmission gets too low.

Got to Agua Caliente county Park and set up our new "condo" tent. After New Years I decided I wanted a little more room. Our new sleeping pads are pretty large and our Eureka Tent just is too crowded for both of us plus all our gear. The new tent is great and we can stand up in the center section. Plenty of room for both of us, our gear and chairs too!
The tent is a cheapo Chinese tent but for the price, we like it. Don't think it would fair too well in a downpour but we try to avoid camping in the rain anyway. We had a few drinks and took a nice long soak in the Hot Springs.
At about 9:00 PM a group of Boy Scouts came into the campground, right across from us and made a hell of a racket until all hours. The Park Ranger finally shut them up by 11:00 PM.
We really like the new tent!
We arose by 7:00 AM for coffee. Tore the site down and were on the road by 9:00 AM. Decided to head over the mountains to the Palm Springs area. About 30 minutes out we met a pair of Jeeps going the opposite direction. One of the Jeeps kicked up a small rock and it hit me in the face, breaking my glasses. The rock somehow missed my windshield, my partially closed face shield and got me.

The old stage route passes through the valley.
Perfectly beautiful day for a sidecar trip!

Historical Marker for the old stage route:

My broken glasses....I looked them over and decided to continue wearing them...did not see any loose glass. A big mistake as about 1/2 hour later something went into my left eye. A small particle of glass? I don't know but it make the rest of the trip a bit miserable for me with something in my eye.

The Shelter Valley Area was nice and green.

Stopped for a minute...couldn't find any gas as the power company was doing some sort of maintenance and all the small towns were without power...therefore no gas available...Tank was running a little low but we were just fine. The bike gets around 25 mpg with the sidecar so range is limited to around 175-200 miles.

Fantastic views and roads. Quite a bit of weekend traffic though.

Stopped for a lunch break and this Ferrari pulled in...pretty nice!

up over the mountains to Desert Hot Springs. Windy road and a lot of traffic.

Desert is always beautiful. Neat rock formations.

Stopped at a vista point on top of the mountain...a little snow in the back ground. Darian tried to call a friend of ours in Palm Springs but had no luck hooking up.

Bike was still oozing some gear lube from the transmission but not enough to be concerned.

With the condition of something in my eye my excitement about camping another night kind of waned...we were heading to Bashfords Hot Springs on the east side of the Salton Sea. I was pretty miserable trying to drive with one eye bothering me.
The trip home was only a 150 miles so I decided to forgo another night of camping and head home.
Date Grove on the west side of the Salton Sea.

The great Salton Sea:

We raced the sun back to Yuma...arriving home before dark.

A beautiful sunset to complete the day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Niche Cycle Supply BMW R75/5 Cigar mufflers ...New Condo

Purchased a pair of BMW R75/5 Cigar Style mufflers from Niche Cycle Supply and mounted them last week. They are a near perfect replica of the stock Zeuna mufflers. They appear to be a slightly smaller outside diameter on the main body than the Zeuna's. The sound is a bit louder than the Zeuna mufflers.

Similar stainless steel mufflers are pushing over $500.00 a pair so I think these are a good alternative to the wallet busting Staintune mufflers. They are made by Emgo, which markets a lot of lower end motorcycle aftermarket items. For the price of $148.00 I think they are a pretty good value. We'll see how long before they start rusting. I don't frequent wet environments very often so I think they'll last quite a while for my use.

After attending our last camping rally we decided we wanted to buy a larger tent. The Therma Rest Neo-air sleeping pads I bought take up much more room than our old pads. We decided to go the "cheap" route so I ordered a Cheepo Chinese made 6- man tent. We set it up upon arrival today and it looks like it will work for what we need. Probably not very good for high wind conditions or pouring rain but hopefully it will suffice. We set it up during a pretty good wind and it stayed put just fine. I'll definitely replace the useless wire stakes with some real ones.

Tent is a pretty odd shape...kind of a star shape. The small extensions each have doorways so there are 3 entrances if you want to use them. Has 2 window/doors and 2 large rear windows, plus the main door. All openings are screened. Pretty light fabric and I have my doubts about heavy rain not entering. Center height is around 6' so it's high enough to stand in the main area.
My experience with these types of cheap tents hasn't been very good but if we can get a few seasons out of it I'll be happy. I was considering a 6 man Eureka! dome tent but the reviews I read were pretty poor. We'll use this one up while I investigate a higher quality tent for the future.

I removed the Zeuna stock BMW/6 mufflers and replaced them with the stock Zeuna /5 Cigar mufflers I removed from the /5. They are very quiet. They have some minor rust underneath, a few dings but still have a lot of miles left on them. I had to reverse the Bates Saddle Bag mounts as the /5 Zeuna mufflers are a little shorter than the /6 mufflers. I'll keep the /6 stock mufflers for backups.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Airhead Beemers Club Last Chance Rondezvous 2010

I believe this years camp out in the desert was the 15th. year it has been held. We missed the first year and last year but have attended every other year. The Rally is held every New Year at San Diego's County Park at Agua Caliente Springs. Indoor/ outdoor hot spring pools are in the park.

We planned on heading out by noon Friday but a battery issue gave us a late start. I recently charged the sidecar battery but it suddenly konked out on the sidecar rig so had to swap it out with a battery from my other bike.

The County has upgraded areas of the park since the last time we were here in 2008. A new pavilion , fire pit and seat walls have been added in the group area.

This years gathering was not for the faint of heart as the night time temperatures were down to 28 degrees with highs in the lower 50's. Luckily the days were sunny and an abundance of firewood was brought in. Our hosts, Kelly Pixton and Kevin Kempton (with help from all the Kempton Family and others) kept us all well fed throughout the weekend with more food than anyone could eat.
Darian seated with our friends Murray & Denise. Murray is a Wyoming native. Growing up a couple hundred miles from my old stomping grounds.

Nice view of the new pavilion, fire pit and mountains. I attended the annual Moonlight Trail Hike which is a night time 2+ mile hike around the mountain in the back ground. 13 of us braved the cold & darkness to do the night time hike on Friday night. Others prefer to do it in the day light when it is a bit safer. No guts no glory?

Our humble camping site. A number of the attendees drive hundreds of miles here so some decided to arrive in 4 wheeled machines rather than 2 wheeled machines. We elected to drive over with the side car rig. Warm camping gear was a must. We kept nice and warm despite the 20 degree temperatures. The sidecar allows us to bring a lot of gear. (whether we needed it or not)

This KTM astounded me with it's wonderful starting / electrical system. The owner must have cranked on it for 45 minutes before he finally gave up trying to get it started. The battery still seemed to have a lot of juice.

This custom modified Uni-Go trailer was great. Aircraft quality construction and made a great table too. I watched the build on a Blog and saw it in person for the first time. This bike had a lot of great / trick modifications done to it. The trailer had a heavy duty damper to keep things in check. much more functional than a stock Uni-Go Trailer.
A stock Uni-Go trailer.....

This stock 1973 long wheel base R75/5 showed up. That is how my other bike started life.

A shot just as the sun dropped behind the mountains at 4:00 pm or so...this years camp out was a great success. Got to see quite a few old friends and made some new friends too. People came and went throughout the weekend. Some came in Thursday and left before we arrived late Friday. Appeared to be around 50 people in attendance this year. Some years have brought in 80 - 100 people. I'm sure the cold weather definitely kept some folks closer to home.
We're already looking forward to next year! Hopefully it will be a little warmer. We had one or two years with a bit of rain, a couple of years with a lot of wind and this year was probably the coldest in my memory. Thankfully we had no wind to speak of this year. That would have really been cold.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.