Thursday, March 26, 2009

Springtime in Oklahoma

It was my first day off this week and after getting up and tearing into the shower (leaky stem on shower knob), we took little dog to the dog park. I had made the comment before leaving that it looked like we might have something (storm) moving in on us before too long.

After stopping by Home Depot, we headed off to the dog park. Little dog loves to ride and bark at trucks we are meeting so she had a big time on the way to the park. As we pull up to the entrance of the park, she starts whining and can't contain her emotion. She may have a small brain but she remembers the good stuff. As we were walking around with her in the park, we noticed that the sky was getting much darker and soon we could see lightning. As the wind picked up it began cooling down ... and getting much darker with streak lightning coming all the way down to the ground. After 40 minutes, we decided it was time to go, so we packed up little dog in the back seat of the truck and headed back home.

By the time we arrived back at the house, it was dark, really dark with wind gusting up to 35 mph and lots of lightning and thunder. Little dog was fine at the dog park and in the truck but once we got home she was a nervous wreck. She was stuck to my heels, wherever I went she was under my feet cowering. The storm passed quickly, 25 minutes and you could no longer hear thunder, the wind died down and it was just lightly raining. Little dog was feeling better now. Aahhh, springtime in Oklahoma.

Picture above was taken at 4:10 pm, not quite pitch black but close.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post From My Buddy Mike

Hey. what's been going on? Remomber this weekend is White Rock Enduro. I thought about riding the event and I mentioned it to Travis (Mike's son), which was my first mistake. He said we should go for a warmup ride, so last weekend we went to Mill Creek and hit the trails. He wanted to ride with some of his friends so we looked them up when we got there. They are all about his age, 25. That was my second mistake. We took off at a good clip and they were riding my type of trail, single track. They would wait at each intersection in the trail, I would pull  up with my tounge dragging and they would smile, snick it into gear and leave about the speed of sound. We finally made it to Four Corners and I was toast but I wasn't going to let these kids know that, so they pointed at a trail and said those famous words that you always love to hear. You go first. So I did. That was my third mistake. I thought I was really moving, hoping that they would be able to keep up. Then it happened. I made one little bobble and they all got around me. Not that they aren't nice, polite kids. They all said excuse me as they were running over me and using me for traction. Travis was riding an ill running 125 Honda so he was having trouble getting up the hill. That is, the hill that I'm sprawled out on, and I had the best line up the hill too. He made three tries at the hill and the bike finally got so hot that the radiator cap poped off. By then he'd had enough pushing the little bike up hills and was ready for some different action so we rode back down the mountain and rode easier trails back to the truck.

He was cussing the junker on the trail but by the time we got back to the truck he was already trying to figure out how to get a 160 kit and hopping it up. I don't know where he gets these ideas. probably his mother. I think the enduro will have some pretty good trail, at least what I got to see close up. If you guys are off that weekend you should come on up.

Talk to you later. Ride safe.          
your friend Mike.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'll Take Mine Well Done

It all started out one Saturday afternoon in 1987. Mike and I were headed to the woods to camp out and ride all weekend. We found a good spot to camp on Mill Creek right at the entrance to one of our favorite trails. We unloaded the bikes, gathered some fire wood, set the tent up and had something to eat quickly so we could go for a short night ride.

Night rides are crazy. Yes our race bikes do have lights on them, but they are not to see with, you could see better if you taped a $2 Wal Mart flashlight to your handlebars. We weren't going out for a leisurely ride at night, we would ride as hard as we could and push each others riding ability through the woods. The bad thing about night riding is when you crash, most times the engine stops running and you have no light to see. Let me go into detail ... at night miles from the city lights, in dense wooded areas, you cannot see your hand in front of your face. There is something deeply disturbing about a grown man crawling around on his hands and knees trying to locate a full sized dirt bike that has just slammed him into the ground.

We survived the night ride without any incidents and arrived safely back at camp. You can't have a camping trip without a camp fire so we were getting the wood prepared in the fire ring. It had rained earlier in the week so the wood was damp. What better way to start a fire with damp wood than to use premix (gas and 2 stroke racing oil), right? As I am dousing the damp firewood with the mixture, Mike strikes a match and drops on the wood ... the wood I am still pouring premix on. After a big whoosh, I realize my arm is on fire! My best friend has turned me into a partial human fireball! After several damns, my smoking and singed haired limb is safely extinguished. We did what any semi-normal buddies would do at a time like this, laughed our butts off about it.

We rode the next day til noon, then headed out to another area that our riding club was hosting a race at the next weekend. They were setting the start up funneling the racers through several turns back and forth to stagger the riders out some so they wouldn't all hit the woods at the same time. They asked Mike and I to test it out to see if everything was going to work and to get an idea of how long it would take to get to the woods. No problem, we pull our bikes out of the truck, put our gear on and line up next to each other on the start line. Mike Richmond started us and we hit the first turn side by side. We rode into the next turn wide open neither of us shutting down or giving an inch. Man, this is BIG TIME FUN now, we make it through the next two turns handlebar to handlebar and I just slightly inch out in front going into the next turn. Mike comes up on the outside of me in the turn and our tires made contact. Mikes bike slams him to the ground, and I, still unaware, have the throttle pinned running through the rest of the banners to the woods. I stop and look around for Mike. No Mike, hey, why is everyone going over to the middle of the starting area?

OH, I see now. I ride backwards back to check on Mike and by now he is sitting up, a bit groggy though. We started laughing once he got to his feet and I told him it was payback for setting me on fire the night before. After showing the guys my singed arm, they all decided we were crazy. After about 20 minutes Mike and I were lined back up on the start line for another run. We tried to get some others to run the start section with us again ... not one person would line up with us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What A Moron!!

We all do stupid stuff from time to time, but it seems like I do more than most average people. Case in point, I purchased my KTM 525 in November 08, Randall and I went out for a ride the next weekend. We had a good ride and I adapted to the bike quickly. We rode all day and pulled back up to the truck with 94 miles in for the day.

On my way home I stopped at the car wash and cleaned my bike up. When I arrived back home I started it up and rode it around the house to displace any water that might have gotten into the pipe. I pulled it into the garage and it was running beautifully. I put it up onto the stand and went inside the house to clean up.

Some friends came over later and I took Nick (who also rides dirt bikes) out to the garage to show him my new 525. I started it and as it was sitting on the lift stand idling, after all of 20 seconds, it started sputtering. I was alarmed but had company so I didn't have time to mess with it now.

I got up the next morning and attacked the problem immediately. First thing I checked was the gas. I pulled the gas cap off and moved the bikes side to side. Gas sloshed up out of the tank onto my forehead. OK, thats not the problem. I started the bike and it was once again running very roughly. I started in adjusting the idle screw on the carb. No difference. I made more carb adjustments but nothing helped. It died and I couldn't get it started again. OK, I know 4 strokes don't foul spark plugs, but I'm going to stick a new plug in it just to make sure. First you have to take the tank off to get to the plug. To get the tank off, you first have to take the seat off, so 15 minutes later I am to the spark plug. The plug tip looks good but I stick a new one in anyway (a 2 stroke thing) and check the plug cap to make sure it is getting spark to the plug. Everything checks out so I put the tank and seat back on. It still won't start.

I make a quick call to the shop I bought the bike from they said to bring it up, that one of the mechanics would look at it that afternoon. I drove the 70 miles to the shop and Travis, the mechanic, got on my bike, tinkered with the carb a bit and started the bike up! It was running great. What the ... a quick glance and I notice he had turned the fuel petcock to the reserve position before starting it while tinkering with the idle screw on the carb. Yes, SIMPLY PUT, IT WAS OUT OF GAS! What a moron. I am used to my other bike I have running 110 miles on a tank of gas and the 525 should get the same to better mileage. My other bike has a 2.7 gallon tank with a small reserve, but what I didn't realize is my new 525 has a 2.2 gallon tank with a huge reserve on it (I thought it was a 2.5 gal tank - my bad). If I had just flipped it over to reserve, everything would have been fine.

Oh well, at least nothing was wrong with the bike, just the operator. I have ridden bikes for 40 years and I really couldn't believe I couldn't adjust the carb on it. Oh well, like my dad always taught me, "You gotta be able to laugh at yourself, if you can't the world will do it for you."