Ft Worth to Big Bend Nat’l Park and beyond, the ride begins. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> I could pack light since I’ll only be gone a few days. I am trying out my Gerbing jacket and taking along my laptop. I’m bundled up like Ralphies’ little brother in A Christmas Story. (Y’all watched that 5 times last week, right)? <o></o> Next I plug myself into all the electrics. 12V, 263Ma, 18,395 watt accessories. I wonder if there is enough juice for the headlight. I wonder if it will be as luminescent as a ’68 VW bug. I start the bike and turn everything on. Seems the headlight is working and so is everything else. Umm, it’s getting warm already, sweet! <o></o> It’s a beautiful day, albeit chilly as I roll out of town. I’m feeling like a piece of “Wonder Bread” in a toaster stuck on ‘Dark”. Doh! It’s getting hot, my arms are overheating. This toaster must be a garage sale special, a leftover house warming gift from the trailer park days no doubt. Where is that thermostat, oh, there it is, ahh much better. <o></o> I settle into the ride. It is clear and cool. The wind is a bit blustery. What a great day to ride on the last day of the year. I wonder how I survived before without this electric jacket, so cozy. <o></o> My first fuel stop is <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Brownwood</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">TX</st1:State></st1lace>. I find an inviting gas station, with indoor plumbing and everything. I pull up to the pump and shut off the bike. I am about to step off the bike and see I’m still plugged in so I turn off the thermostat and unplug so I can get the tank bag off. I should have turned off the thermostat before the bike, new routine, not so new rider. Doh! <o></o> I gas up and turn on the key to reset the trip ODO. Here is where things go awry. The ODO isn’t reading normally. I try to reset and it’s locked up. Hmm, that is weird. I try to start the bike and nothing, just some click, click, click, click, click noises. Shite! <o></o> I try a few more times and an Old Harley dude comes over and says if it were a Harley he’d have 'er up and runnin’ in no time. Jap bike, no way. Then he asked me if it has a kick starter. His Harley must be Old too. <o></o> I take the tail bag off to get to my tools. Next I pop the seat off and stare at the battery a while. Looks likes a battery alright. I try to start it again and can tell that the noise is coming from this cute little clear box next to the battery. I wonder what that is. I guess it’s a starter solenoid. <o></o> I realize that although these many layers of gear kept me warm this morning, they are overheating me now. This was going to be a quick stop. I look like I walked into a Hornet’s nest as I strip off the layers. Gear is flying everywhere. Dang, I didn’t think I would be getting too hot today. <o></o> Ok why won't it start? What have I done recently? What changes have I made that could cause a problem? Hmm, just the jacket addition. I’ll disconnect the plug at the battery and try it again. Nope, still click, click, clicking. I unplug the solenoid thingy and plug it back in, still no change. <o></o> I wonder if I can bump start it. I’ll get dressed first so I’m ready to roll if it starts. Then I’ll go find a place to eat and see what my options are. I get all bundled up again and work up a sweat as I push the bike through this 'Oh so flat parking lot. Too bad there isn’t a hill nearby. Luckily though, it starts right up. Whew! <o></o> I rev it up a bit and see no change in the brightness of the headlight, so chances are the charging system is working ok. I don’t know how long I could run on just battery. Not long enough to get home I’m sure. But, since the light seems to be working normally, maybe the charging system is too. <o></o> <o></o> Next I find a Mc D’s and shut down. I’ll ponder my fate here while munching on a Mc Yummy. .I fling my gear off again and go inside. I order a Mc Something Or Other and my head clears. Maybe I can continue along my way to <st1lace w:st="on">Big Bend</st1lace>. Bump starting isn’t too bad if I get a bit of a hill to help me. I order a Mc Hot Apple Pie and my head clears even more. I am meeting friends at Big Bend and hate to bring a maintenance gremlin with me. Who knows for sure why the solenoid failed? I think I’ll be lucky to make it back home before dark. <o></o> I talk to a Mc D associate (the guy who makes the Hot Apple Pies) who tells me there is a Yamaha shop just down the street. Excellent! <o></o> I get half heartedly dressed, push start my pride and joy again, (how undignified) and go find the Yamaha shop. As I cruise up to the shop I see it is closed. Whaaaat? If I can work over Christmas, the least they can do is open up for me today and take a solenoid off one of those shiny new bikes on the showroom floor. Pffffft! With the shop closed and no option to actaully fix the bike today, I decide to turn back. Only 150 miles, that's good. <o></o> This time I find a slope to park on, shut down and get dressed in earnest for the ride back to Ft Worth. <o></o> I guess I’ll go home with my tail between my legs and try to get this diagnosed and fixed so I can salvage a little ride later in the week. I’m assuming so far that my leaving the jacket on after shutting the engine off might have overloaded something and fried the solenoid. Gerbing instructions say not to have the jacket on with the bike off. I just hope it makes it home and doesn’t have anything else going on that will interfere with me arriving safe and sound in the daytime in Ft Worth. During the morning ride to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Brownwood</st1lace></st1:City> I had stayed pretty comfy. My hands were a tiny bit affected, but not bad. The rest of me seemed to stay warm enough from the heat the jacket provided. The ride back though was much colder. I had disconnected the electrics to keep the load down on the battery, just in case. The sun was still high and the temp was within a couple of degrees of the trip in the morning. I wonder again, how I survived before this jacket. Brrrr, what a cold ride back. Bundled up as I was I could still manage to move my arms enough to wave. Actually I am giving an official "salute" hard to see in the shadow, but rest assured it is a snappy salute indeed. <o></o> Great news, I made it home. All ready to dig into the little electrical project. Although I didn’t make it to <st1lace w:st="on">Big Bend</st1lace>, I did make it home and more importantly didn’t get stranded somewhere in between. I great way to send out the year if you ask me. So long 2007!