Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Fixed Chain Rambling

So I have my motorcycle back.

Today was inservice at LBCC so except for some stuff in the morning, the afternoon was mine.

I started out my day by attending a group meeting with my immediate co-workers about an action packed topic - Loss Prevention. On the way there I rather grumpily reflected on how nice a morning it was and it would be super if I rode a motorcycle.

I then attended an assembly of all my co-workers for longevity awards. Yay.

It was on my way to lunch (free with my immediate co-workers) that I got the call I was waiting for.

My motorcycle was ready.


I had been thinking the night before that perhaps my motorcycle would not be ready for Monday. I have signed up (and paid for) Advanced Rider Training, and my class was on Monday.

This was unfortunate because my motorcycle was broken. I was really, really, really stressed the day I dropped it off. The shop was scheduling three weeks out, and that would mean that I would miss my class. Fortunately, the shop agreed to look at it and see if the chain was a quick fix.

But I had forgotten my keys when dropping off my motorcycle.

The next day, they said that they didn't have any master links in stock and would have to order one. It never occurred to me that the ordering of the part would put me past my scheduled training date, and I was reluctant to call the shop since they had graciously squeezed me in.

So I was rather happy when they called and said that my motorcycle was ready.

They even washed it.


This is what a chain looks like:

Now I was faced with the prospect of getting over to Corvallis to pick it up. Everyone I know was busy.

Fortunately my sister offered to take me over. While she was there she oogled the scooters. She totally needs a scooter.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Bag of Luck

"You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck."
I think that I have been using my bag of luck lately, and it's all due to my own stupidity.

I have been stressed lately. Lots of stuff piling up on my desk at work and a report that I am working on is overdue.

I should have known that I was overstressed when I was convinced that my dogs food storage bin was empty (even now I am convinced that it was empty), so I bought some more food and found that it was about 1/3 full. Don't know where the food came from, but obviously, I bought some food for him after the last time I fed him. (I put lots of food in an 'endless feeder', so I only feed him about once a week.)

That incident has been on my mind, and I have been considering taking more time off of work, but haven't progressed beyond that.

On the way to church this morning, I was passing the high school track and this rather unpleasant sound comes from my motorcycle and it loses power.

I verify that it's in gear and still no joy.

So I coast to the side of the road and took stock of my situation.

It was a quick check. I was stuck with a motorcycle that had a broken transmission. So, I called my dad.

"Check to see if it's in gear." Yeah, I did that already. I told him that it was in first gear and still rolled freely.

"Check to see if you have a chain." Of course I had a chain. What kind of question was that? But I dutifully checked to see if I had a chain.

My chain was missing.

So my transmission was not broken, but my chain was.

I pulled up to the next crossroad and waited for my dad.

This is what a Rebel looks like with no chain:

See, the chain is right here:

We got a trailer and brought my motorcycle home.

It's now sitting in my garage with no chain, and I have only myself to blame.

I read a book written by a pilot who flew helicopters in Vietnam. He was talking about the preflight checklist and accidents. He had gotten into an accident and said the inquiry usually determined that the cause of accidents was "failure to properly preflight the aircraft".

That would sort of be me.

If I had lubed and checked my chain regularly, I would be sitting in church right now instead of at my computer with a broken motorcycle.

I had just spent 86 miles running around the countryside with a dead cell phone and my motorcycle breaks 2 miles away from home in town.


My bag of luck is emptying.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

So the weather today was rather nice.

I slept in this morning and watched some TV before setting out to change my oil.

Changing the oil turned out to me more of a task than I had thought. It turns out that when I had it in the shop last, they tightened up the nut a bit tight.

I burned my arm twice before I got the nut loose.

But I did get it loose, and I did get it tightened again.

I also put fresh oil in it.

It was when I went to start it up that I realized that I had left the key on for about an hour and a half and now I had a dead battery.

I hooked the battery up to the Battery Tender and took the liner out of my jacket while I waited. While I waited, I wondered if I would get too cold during my ride.

An hour later, I had the battery charged enough to start and then I discovered that I couldn't keep it started. It kept dying.

I decided that it would wear off and put my gear on and started out. Apparently I thought that the problem would just "go away".

It kept dying.

Dejectedly, I turned into a parking lot and reflected on the fact that my cell phone was dead and that my motorcycle was not working because the problem did not "go away".

Then it hit me.

Someday, I will truly, honestly and deeply remember the purpose of the petcock before I decided that my motorcycle is broken.

After turning the fuel to reserve I went merrily on my way to the gas station.

20 min later, I finally got my gas.

There was only three cars there when I pulled in and it was while before I even saw anyone.

Just after I saw the guy, a pickup pulled in behind me.

Finally the guy comes and says that there is only one of him.

I think that the problem is not that there is one of him, but that the 'one' employee is mismanaging his time.

So he punches some buttons and hands me the nozzle and then goes to help the guy in the truck behind me.

Now that I finally have service, I have no gas pumping into my empty gas tank.

I point this out to the attendant and he leaves the guy (they were just talking anyway, gas can pump itself) and pushes some more buttons and gas finally comes out.

When my tank was full, I put my gascap back on, and waited.

And waited.

And waited while the guy behind me left.

I waited some more.

Then the attendant finally came up and asked if I wanted a receipt. (I refrain from stating a rather sarcastic "No, I just thought I would hang out at your gas station for a while because it's a happening place").

Finally I get to actually go.

Half the day is now past, but I can finally go somewhere.

I decided to wander out past Crabtree and then through Lyons.

It was a nice ride and I lost count of how many motorcycles that I passed.

There is a nice store in Lyons that I stopped at to get some water.

After Lyons I went to Salem. The pace was a bit faster, but the road was still not well traveled so I wasn't forced to go faster than I wanted.

In Salem, I passed the State Penn and stopped at the downtown mall for some Cinnamon Rolls.

I was waiting for a stoplight and I reflected on how hot I was, and remembered that earlier I was actually concerned that I would be too cold.

On the way back from Salem, I went up Commercial, took the Sunnyside Exit and then turned on Enchanted Way. I turned left at the end of that road and went through Jefferson to Scravel Hill road. Scravel Hill took me straight on to Hwy 20 and I took it all the way home.

All said and done, I spent about 86 miles of fun. Here is a link to my ride.

But the guy at the gas station still makes me mad.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bear-ly Cold Weather

So winter's grasp on the weather is slowly fading and I have been sorely tempted to take out the liner in my jacket. I have resisted because I took it out last year to early and spent a lot of time getting too cold on my motorcycle.

There have been times, however, that I have been hot.

So I unzipped the vents in my arms. It seemed wrong somehow, since the liner was still in my jacket, but it sure made it a bit cooler.

And then a couple of days later it rained and I couldn't figure out how come my arms were wet.

Oh. Yeah. The vents.

So now they are zipped up.

I went on a ride the other day. It was a little jaunt around Albany. I love these farming roads!

So I started out at the College and then went over to Seven Mile Lane and turned off on Frye Road.

Before I turned off on Frye Road I stopped at a "pasture entrance ramp" and fastened down my saddlebags. The small part of me that wants to just not worry about everything wants to leave them unfastened. But they flap around too much.

Shortly after turning off on Frye Road, I saw a bear in the road. Not a real breathing bear, but a stuffed bear. It was gringy with road grime, but was still a new bear.

I was reluctant to fasten Mr Bear to the back of my motorcycle and gave him a short ride to the next driveway and left him propped against a fence post.

After Mr Bear, I turned left on Grand Prairie and followed it to Spicer Drive. I followed Spicer drive for a while and another motorcyclist came up rather fast and passed me after giving me a jaunty wave.

If you want to know, Spicer Drive turns into Tennessee School Drive at Highway 20.

Further more, if you follow it around, it does this little loop thing and ends back up on Highway 20.

It was while I was on the little loop thing, that I was suddenly overcome with the desire to change my oil.

I don't know what the deal was, but for some reason, I was overcome with a deep, resolute and unyeilding need to change my oil.

I was convinced that my oil was old and not protecting my engine and that it was going to leave a trail of parts behind my motorcycle. That's not a fun prospect. My sister knows from personal experience.

So I wandered on home, fully aware that I would not actually be able to change my oil because the engine would have to cool, and it was going to rain. Don't ask me why I didn't just change my oil in the garage. Heaven forbid that I should use the garage for what it was designed for.

So here is a map of my travels that day:

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