Why Nova Scotia?

Why not Nova Scotia might be the better question. It's one of those exotic sounding places that I've never been to and that's reason enough for me. I plan on leaving around the 8th of May and spending several weeks on the ride. Along the way I'll be camping out, visiting unsuspecting friends , and maybe getting to ride along with them for awhile. Let me know if you're up to either!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9 - Whoa… That place looks familiar!

Today started off just great, the bike was right where I left it last night and the freebie continental breakfast was tasty. Well, as tasty as Grape Nuts Flakes and mini-doughnuts can be anyway. All the stuff that I’d removed to the motel room went back in place and after checking out I headed off eastwards with Winnemucca, NV as my destination.

Then it happened. Or it nearly happened, which I took as a clear warning of things to come if I didn’t take some corrective actions. One of my regular routines while on the road is to ride about 20 miles each morning and then stop to lube the chain. Riding that distance ensures the chain will be warmed up which allows the oil to penetrate better. This morning I found a nice blacktop strip alongside the road that is used for installing tire chains when it’s snowing.

It was a perfect spot to lube the chain but when I stopped I could tell the small slope of the strip was just enough to make the bike stand nearly straight up which is not a good thing as it might easily tip over. It then occurred to me I could face the bike in the opposite direction and the slope would have negligible effect. With that in mind I wobbled it around to the desired position and began the oiling routine. If you’ve never oiled a bike chain here’s how it works: You spray the small area that’s exposed directly between the rear wheel and engine/frame area. This equates to around 8-10 inches and when you’ve done that part you move the bike forward so that the next section is available. You continue to do this until the entire chain has rotated around once and it’s finished. Moving the bike is the tricky part, especially if it’s fully loaded and a bit top heavy. The amount of space this requires is around 30 feet or so which is why you need to be on an unobstructed flat surface.

After spraying the initial area I began to move the bike the usual 3 feet forward but as I did so the kickstand caught on the blacktop and retracted. This left me slightly bent over with the monstrous bike trying desperately to climb onto my lap. Not a good thing. It was bloody awful, I’d managed to catch it but I was suddenly in a Mexican standoff with gravity playing opposite sides. Somewhere in the farthest corner of my mind I was thinking I couldn’t let the damn thing topple over. There was no way in the world I’d ever get it back upright by myself not to mention the damage it would do to the pannier. Adrenaline is a marvelous thing; it empowers us to perform physical feats that are well beyond our normal abilities. This must have been one of those times as I grunted the beast back upright and managed to get the kickstand back down.

Once it was stable and I’d worked my way through a screaming fit of profanity I realized it was time for a major rethink. One thing that was obvious, the bike was simply overloaded and being so made it both unmanageable and dangerous. Since I couldn’t do anything about it standing beside the road I turned it around and headed home. I figured I’d have several options to choose from such as lighten the load by giving up the notion of camping while on the trip, or if that wouldn’t do I could switch over to the Aprilia with the sidecar. It’s very hard to tip a sidecar over and you can haul an amazing amount of gear in one. Or, and this is right up there, I could motel it the entire trip which means I could take either the Ninja or maybe even the Ducati and leave all that wonderful camping stuff home.

Jerry Smith said it right the other day: “Old traveler's wisdom: take half the clothes you think you need, and twice the money, and remember there are few problems you'll encounter on the road that can't be solved by rubbing a VISA card and a Wal-Mart together.”

Right now it’s toddy time; my butt hurts, my knees hurt from rubbing on those damn tank panniers, (they're going away) and my back hurts from that stupid ordeal against Mother Nature and Mr. Gravity. I’m posting pics from the trip home, one more thrilling ride on highway 66 after which my new Zumo GPS attempted to run me home via BLM-38 to Gold Beach and then north. The problem with that master plan is that road is closed until June 1st. Shut. Nada.
Thanks a lot Garmin…

Tomorrow is another day.

1 comment:

  1. Belated Author's Note: It's mid August as I write this so I doubt anyone will ever read it. Just in case someone does here's a bit of long overdue advice: When oiling the bike's chain roll the bike back, not forward each time and you won't run the risk of having the side stand retract as I did. Had I done so I doubt the near mishap I experienced would have ever occurred. Once I managed a clean restart for the third time on this venture I adapted the rearward rolling method and never again had a problem.