Blog Archive

Sep 8, 2010

HHMC 2010. DAY 1 of 10

So, I've got the bike part sorted out. My only concern is that it's got just over 4,000 miles on it, but it's a 2004. That's kind of a good thing, but it's got me worried too. Rubber likes to crack and rot in Arizona. The first issue was the tires. They had a ton of tread, but they had some dry rot. When I looked at the code and they said 3103 I knew they had to be replaced. That means they were manufactured in the 31st week of 2003. More over these Triumphs use tubes so there is no way I was trusting a 7 year old tube at 80mph plus. I picked up some new Avon Roadriders and some heavy duty tubes and had them mounted and balanced for me.
The rubber boots from the airbox to the carb were cracking and going so I just dumped the airbox and used it as a tool storage area. I replaced it with some old school pod uni filters. I had to rejet then so I went up 10 points on the main jet, shimmed the needle and went up 2 on the pilot jet. I changed the oil, topped off the brake fluid and she was ready to roll. If none of the above makes sense don't worry about it. Basically, the bike was finally ready and more importantly I now had some trust in the bike which makes all the difference between having 3000 nervous miles and 3000 miles of grins.
So here is the map of the whole trip. No cheating and looking ahead.

View HHMC Run 2010 in a larger map

So here is what I left Phoenix showing:
4973 Miles. I bought it with 4300 two weeks before the trip and rode it incessantly to try and find any bugs if there were any before the trip.

So it was Friday in Phoenix, AZ. The first day of the trip. Well, kinda. I had to work a half day because in my particular genius I thought riding 580 miles shouldn't take, but more than half a day. (I actually planned to stop half way and catch the group the next morning... "planned")
In Phoenix, in the summer, it's about 110 degrees. My mind was on the heat, but I woke up to rain. RAIN! We hadn't seen any in so many months I couldn't remember. Oh, well. I was so determined to get on the road that hail or snow or rain was not going to stop me. I drove the 4runner to work and almost RAN out the door at noon. It was honestly hard not to run out the door. As I drove home the ground was still wet and clouds were looming.
I sprinted up stairs and changed as fast as I could. My gleaming and freshly loaded Trump was sitting in the garage waiting for me. As I opened the garage I expected to see coulds, but the sun had broken through. More dark reminders of what was coming were just above me though. I decided that even if I only made it a block before having to stop at a gas station I was going to hit the road, PERIOD.
I got to the freeway, headed into downtown and I was actually riding towards the storm. Man, was I nervous! It was so counterintuitive to be rushing into a storm on a bike loaded down with all of my postions for the next 10 days!!
That being said in minutes I had made the turn west and was running away from the storm. I felt like the 75MPH AZ speed limit which means that everyone goes 85 was enough to outrun all but the craziest storm so I started to settle down.

Just on the outside of town I stopped in Litchfield Park to top off the tank. The next actual town with gas was Quartzite and Blythe almost 150 miles away so I wanted to make it all the way without feeling nervous about running out of fuel. Once the bike was filled to the brim I put on my helmet and gloves and saddled up. Click... click... No starter noise... No turning over. Nothing. Total dead system. Batteries don't die like this so I new there was a short of some type.
I took this picture just before it went click click.
Then it hit me, my panic was replaced with a bit of hope. A week before I washed the bike, with water. Now I assumed that a bike built by people who live in the wettest place ever could make a bike that handles water, but NO every other Trump owner assured me that only idiots wash their brit bikes with water. They hate it! Thankfully a better mechanic friend of mine was over and helped me trouble shoot it and find the blown fuse. I was HOPING that it would be the same fuse... After getting the side cover off I found it was the same fuse... Somehow a week in the AZ dry heat had not fixed the water issue so who knows what the problem was. I used my spare fuse and BAM it blew... I tryed the only other spare fuse after making sure the key was out and the power "should" be off. BAM... blew the second spare fuse... Now I was pissed.
I went into the gas station and asked if they had fuses. After a blank stare as to what a fuse was (I also took this as a sign that modern people are... helpless when it comes to fixing their own things)I started hunting around. SURE ENOUGH, they had one dusty little package of fuses that looked like it had been there for years.
I went back out the bike and tried one. BAM. Blew it out too. So I doubled the amps which is generally a bad idea, but I wanted to get moving! Hmmm. It didn't blow right off, but it seemed to blow once I turned the key and initiated power to the system. SO, I realized there are several safeties that the government requires on bikes in America because were generally not so smart. I decided to try to bypass all of these safeties in case one of them was blowing the fuse. I put another oversize fuse in, put on the side cover and suited up. I put the kickstand up (one safety sensor there), I made sure it was in neutral instead of just pulling in the clutch (another sensor there) I made sure the headlight was on low and not high beam in case that was triggering something and then I prayed for just a second the british motorcycle gods. (I assume these are related to whomever Land Rover owners pray to each time they turn the key)
Vroom! Success. I was on the highway turning miles so fast I must have been a blur. I was just so happy that it started. At the next gas station in Blythe along the Colorado River and the California border I bought more fuses and sure enough I blew one when I tried to start it normally. Here is where I replaced fuses in Blythe. Truly a lovely town this time of year at 113 degrees....
Luxury accommodations.

SO, I did all of the same silly measures as last time and the gods were happy. I was back on the road out of Blythe and headed to Needles! Instead of heading down the super slab that is the I-10 I needed a break so I followed the Colorado up to the I-40 in Needles.
Actually a pretty drive with the river on one side and the mountains on the other... Pretty except for the temps, but I'm used to it.

I'm a sucker for old structures and I saw this one so I stopped for a sec and checked it out.
I don't know what it means, but I liked it.
Okay, time to head out.

I stopped every 100 or so miles to get some gas and chug a bottle of water. I'd eat a cliff bar every other stop or so just to keep having energy. I made it through Barstow and over to the 395. I did see this semi on fire. An odd and ominous site.

I did enjoy a great sunset though. Something about it made me feel great. It may have been the 15-20 degree drop in the heat too. Now instead of stopping for the night I felt so good I figured I'd go ahead and finish the ride. Why not!

I got stopped at every gas station as an old timer told me all about his old Triumph. I actually enjoy it, but I think that if Triumph really sold a 1968 Bonneville for every guy that claimed he had one they'd have never gone out of business!
I picked up my messages in the little town of Inyokern. Just next to Ridgecrest where the tragic desert racing accident killed so many spectators a few weeks ago.
There was a message from my brother saying that he was just about the same distance as I was from the turn off leading up to the Sierra Nevadas and our campsite meeting spot. He left it about 20 minutes before I checked so he had a head start. I decided I was going to catch him going up the hill.
As I rode up the hill it hit me that I was really truly on the road for 10 days. Phew. That felt good.

I rode up to the campsite without ever seeing the guys. I had no idea if I really even was at the right campsite so I decided to go back down the road a bit to look and see if I had missed it. After no sign of them I pulled over to see if I had cell service. No sooner did I pull off my helmet than I heard the rumbling of bikes. It wasn't them. Some old timers on big land barge giant cruiser bikes.
It wasn't until I got my gloves off and my jacket unzipped that a bunch of bikes buzzed past me in the night. I could tell it was them right away. I caught up and we all road into camp together. Woohoo! I was done for the day. 558 plus miles later.
When we rode into camp I noticed that Steve sat back at the first campsite. I guess he really liked it until I walked over and noticed something on the ground... His drive belt. Harleys use a belt instead of a chain... because it's so much more reliable and maintenance free... Well his ten year old belt had rotted and split, right at camp. At least it had the decency to break when the day was done. That's a polite motorcycle.

We had a fire, drank good Tequila and talked a lot of bs.


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