A ride started and ended through adversity

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ritten, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I consider my luck over the years on a motorcycle to be better than average. No really bad spills, never left stranded, and with all the miles I've ridden, I've not had all that much minor bike trouble either. A year ago a good friend of mine from Missouri sent me a wedding invitation....he was finally taking the plunge. "AHHH HAA" what a great opportunity for a bike trip. Living in Houma, Louisiana makes for a decent ride to get to see anything relatively scenic, so when I get the chance to get out of state, I make sure it's not wasted. I would plan on going up to MO, then head west to Colorado, spend a night with some more friends in Canon City, and then head north to Yosemite and then Glacier National Park.

    That plan would change from a bike trip, to taking the car, to flying so that I could bring a girlfriend with me, but due to a break up a few weeks before leaving, the bike was packed and the decision made. Now my first obstacle came due to my job. I work in the oilfield offshore, and was planning my vacation for this trip. I was supposed to fly in on Wednesday morning, but the company man wouldn't let me go due to logistics with crew change. Damn it....delayed a few hours. Then I'm informed that there won't be a "clean up" flight that evening and I'll have to take the first chopper in the following morning. Damn it.....delayed a day, but at least I can still make it for midday on Friday. Thursday morning I wake up and am told that I can't go in on the first flight and am on the manifest for the 1pm chopper. Shit....my mind starts thinking that I MIGHT be able to get the bike ready and packed and drive through the night. Over the lunch, in the galley, I'm told that the chopper has broken down and will be a few hours before it gets to the rig. Now I'm so pissed, I'm numb. Well, the chopper gets to the rig and I am home bound. I pull into my driveway at 6pm on Thursday and hope to be in Sedalia (1000 miles away) within 24 hours.....no sleep in 12 hours and bike isn't packed....
    #1
  2. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    It takes me a solid 5 hours to get everything ready to go and I'm satisfied that I have everything on my list and it's secure. I take a picture of the beginning odom. and head off to bed to try to get a nap. I'll set the alarm for 3am.
    [​IMG]

    Laying in bed I turn over and look at the clock....2:15am and I haven't slept a wink. I'm either too stressed, or too ready to go, so I decide to put on my gear and head out. Driving through raceland I have a quarter tank and opt to stop ahead in Paradis for gas, but when I get there I find that ALL of the stations are shut down due to Katrina. DAMN...back track 13 miles fill up and get going. Delayed another hour.

    The ride is going smooth and daylight is a welcome sign as I'm running up I-55. I should make it to Chris' mid-evening easy. My Ipod battery runs out so I unplug the Autocom system at a gas stop and put in earplugs. This was a big mistake cause about an hour later, and 100 miles north of Memphis, TN I drift off to sleep three times, soothed by the gentle hum of the road and going on no sleep in 30 hours. "Ted, get your head out of your ass and pull over." I tell myself. So, at the next reststop I pull the bike next to a tree, spread out my jacket and take a nap. Best 45min. of sleep I've ever gotten.
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I awake, MUCH more refreshed and look at my watch. 2:00pm and I'm back on the road. About 15 miles out I notice that my fuel milage is really bad on this tank and shrug it off to running around 80mph. But 5 miles later I've dropped another gallon and this is really starting to worry me. By the time I realize that I've just used up half a tank of gas in 25 miles I aim for the nearest exit with a gas station and pull in.

    Sure enough, I hop off the bike and there's a steady stream of gas from the left side of the bike.....Crap. I unload the bike, take off the seat and lift the tank to find that the dreaded PLASTIC quick disconnect that Aprilia thought was a good idea to fit to the fuel line has cracked and as soon as I touch it, it comes completely apart, pouring gas all down the bike!!!
    [​IMG]

    I manage to drain what's left from the tank into a few plastic containers out of the trash, and start to brainstorm repair tactics. I've got hoseclamps, but what can I use for fuel line? I end up cutting the rainwater drain hose from the right side of the tank, and making up a make-shift splice with that, an ink pen casing, and a 1/4" drive 5.5mm socket. Once it's all together I'm pretty pleased with my rig and it works great.

    [​IMG]

    Now I'm delayed another 2.5 hours but at least I'm back up and running. I speed off bound for Sedalia.
    #3
  4. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I make it to my buddies house just at the end of dinner and am relieved to be there. 36 hours with no sleep but by this time I'm on my second wind and wide awake. Dinner was great, and the promise of a warm bed sounded wonderful. Driving the bike to his Uncle's house where I was staying I notice that the clutch pull wasn't disengaging normal, but I figured I'd look at it in a few days while rigging up a permanent fix for the fuel line, before heading to Colorado.

    The next morning was spent getting ready for the wedding and catching up with friends. I got to check out the plane his uncle built by hand and even caught a fly over later on in the afternoon.

    [​IMG]

    The wedding was wonderful and I wish the happy couple the best!

    [​IMG]

    But at last, I am ready to go. The uncle was able to help me with picking up parts, fuel line, and fittings so that I could run a proper fuel feed from the tank. The clutch I was able to adjust enough to my satisfaction, so with everything packed up I'm headed off to start my next two weeks in the Rockies.

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. FRANKtheMACHINE

    FRANKtheMACHINE Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    235
    Location:
    near the Green Monsta
    not a bad start, sounds like the pics will start flowing when you get to the rockies, no, really the wedding shot was great :D

    nice work on the fuel line!
    #5
  6. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I stayed the night in Topeka, KS and ride the rest of the way into Canon City, CO the following day. Just before getting to Colorado Springs, I pull into a station and set my glasses on the back of the bike. They slide off as I put the bike on the center stand and while bringing my hand around to catch them, I broke them in half......FU(((K!! I do refrain from asking what else can go wrong though.

    [​IMG]

    I'm now glad that I brought two pair of contacts as back up, but I hate to wear them on the bike due to my eyes getting dried out so bad. Ohhh well, they'll have to do.

    I make it into Canon City to find my friends are gone for dinner back in the springs. Perhaps I should have called to let them know the exact day I would arrive, but it's not that big of a deal. They own a campground there and I was planning to set up the tent anyway. I unpack and enjoy the clean air and scenery on my first stress free evening in a long while.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What a scene to ride to....sunset.
    [​IMG]

    The next morning I awake and the temp. is perfect. Mid-50's and dry as can be. The low humidity is what really impresses someone from the bayou country. For a few minutes you can watch the sunrise cascade down the peaks all around and is better than coffee. I unwrap a breakfast bar, a granola bar, and sit down with a bottle of water to enjoy it.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    Danny and Gwen showed up the next morning and I got to visit with them for a few hours. They had their halloween festival comming up the next weekend and were busy getting ready for that. Once lunch time passed, I decided that I would visit the Great Sand Dunes that afternoon on my way to Durango for the night. East on Hwy 50...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I just love riding in Colorado...

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I decided that since I would be going over some of the highest passes, that I would get a picture at the top of each of them. I took another of myself for those interested as to what I look like...

    [​IMG]

    At the top of Poncha Pass.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere along the way south on 17 my eyes started to get REALLY dry and sure enough, a contact popped out. I pulled over on the side of the road, killed the engine, and got it back in. Once everything was done and the burning in my eyes had subsided (dirty hands), I turned on the bike and hit the starter. CLICK....CLICK....click.....click DAMN!!!!!!! "NOT NOW....NOT HERE." click.....click....click. I shut off the key and wondered how in the world. The bike was only off for MAYBE 45 seconds. I then realized that the road in front of me was DEAD straight with nothing to roll down to bump start it.

    [​IMG]

    I tried to paddle it but it just wasn't fast enough, and even with it in third gear, couldn't turn it over. I finally rolled enough to see a dirt road going off to the right that had a pretty good drop down from the highway and after a few tries, the engine rumbled to life. THANK GOD. I sped off vowing never to use a kill switch again and chanting the phrase "charge baby, charge"!!!

    For a while before I got there, I could see the sand dunes against the mountain range. Such an awesome phenomenon it is, and I was glad to finally get to see it.

    [​IMG]

    The other side of the road...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, I'm approaching Hooper, which is dead even with the dunes but I don't see a sign to turn off. I think it may be on the west side of town so I ride down a few streets till I come across a dirt road that goes due west. Hell, I could use the practice!!!

    [​IMG]

    After 4 miles of riding on loose gravel and, in some areas, loose dry sand, I hit this...

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    Ohhh well, I think, "It's getting late, and if I want to make it to Durango before dark I better get going." Of course, a few miles south of town I see the sign, so off I go.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That tiny speck in the cradle on top of the dunes is a person. The picture is taken from the dry riverbed. When the water is running it keeps the dunes from spreading by hauling off the excess sand blown there from the valley.

    I am satisfied that I got enough pictures of the place and hike back to the bike. Walking back up through the parking lot I notice a cottontail checking out the Italian beauty parked in front of his front door. He hops off and after firing up the bike with no problems....so do I. Back into the mountains...

    [​IMG]

    A few last pictures of the high desert along the way...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Approaching Del Norte, there are signs along the road saying that Wolf Creek Pass will be closed after 7pm. I check my watch....6:10. I open up the twin and let her growl. I'm determined to make it even though the sign is also advising 45min. waits in traffic.

    I start my climb up the pass and pull in right behind traffic to find that I'm pretty close to the front. People are out walking around so it probably won't be too long. 6:40pm and I'm sure they'll let us through. I turn off the bike, pull of my helmet and stretch my legs a bit too.

    [​IMG]

    The bus in front of me is from Louisiana too and the fellow and I strike up a conversation with some others in line. Katrina, gas prices, and the weather are the topics of the minute and pass the time well. They start letting people though and I gear up. I turn on the key, hit the starter and........NOTHING. Not even a click. SHIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!! The bike is pointing up hill, so I do a reverse 3 point turn and start coasting down the pass. At 30mph I turn on the key, put her in 3rd, and let out the clutch. The engine whines and compresses me to a stop. I can't believe this. I try it again twice with the same results. Eventually I pass the end of traffic a few hundred yards back and come upon the sign crew at the base of the pass. The young boy flagging traffic is gracious enough to let me try and jump the bike off of his battery and I'm glad to have my battery tender along. It doesn't work. Even piggy back the battery is drawing too much to start the bike. He informs me that his parents manage the cabins a mile down the road. I thank him for his kindness and start to push the bike down a VERY slight incline....not enough to keep it rolling.

    I arrived at the Texaco station and found that the cabins were $35 a night. Finally, a break! I love the off season. I pick up a sandwich out the freezer, some water, and the lady even offers me an extention cord to plug in the bike. I decide to just remove the battery and charge it inside, but thank her and make a mental note to mention how nice these folks are in my ride report. The cabin is no Ritz, but it's comfy and functional. I plug in the tender and say a little prayer that the light is green in the morninig. A shower, and two ear plugs had me sleeping like a baby in no time.

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,143
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    Nice job and sweet looking bike.

    I have to say though that fuel leaks and battery/killswitch issues dont sound too good on what is clearly a new ride. I wouldnt wanna risk that baby on a long haul across Mehico... :eek1
    #10
  11. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    The next morning the battery is charged and the temperature is just like I like it.......LOW. 43 degrees and I decide that since I'll be going over the high passes today I better dress warm. Colorado fall morning...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I put the battery back in the bike and with a HUGE sigh of relief the bike fires right up. I'm leary though about going on with the trip though, and decide to have the bike looked at first chance I get. I gather my things and load up, head over the pass and forget to take a picture up top. Ohh well, there will be more...

    [​IMG]

    I arrive in Durango on fumes, but carrying an extra 2 gallon can on the back gives me the confidence to push my fuel tank to it's limits and see where they are. I stop off and fill up. Back on the bike, turn the key....hit the starter.....NOTHING. Ok, now I'm pissed, the battery was fully charged only a few hours ago. (Lesson learned....small multitester needed) Now, I'm thinking that the battery is shot and not holding so a few calls around and I locate a Honda shop close by. I plug the bike into an outlet on the side of the station and pull out a breakfast bar as lunch while waiting...

    [​IMG]

    I now have time to wonder if it's the charging system on the bike that's not working properly. I get the battery with enough juice to start the bike and head off....the idle has now jumped up to 3000rpm.....*SIGH*. SAGEM system for sale!!!

    The Honda guys are extremely helpfull and putting a tester on the battery, sure enough, it's low and weak. I purchase a new closed cell and install it, the bike fires right up, but the multitester shows it draining as the bike is running!!!!!! DAMN!!!! I turn off the bright lights, and it barely starts charging....even at the 3000rpm idle. So then we decide to pull the fuse for the lights since I'm told you don't need to run with them during the day in CO. I now get a full charge to the battery and everything looks fine.

    This is the point that I decide to end the trip. 1400 miles from home and I don't want to get any further than this before everything goes out. With my luck....no chances are being taken. I stay at the shop and they charge up my original battery for me, for a few hours while I start thinking about a BMW R1200GS. At least there's a bigger dealer network!!

    That afternoon I start south into New Mexico with no headlight. I've got two full batteries and I'm determined to get home. I stop every now and then to get some pictures of the beautiful scenery with my mind made up that I will NOT have nothing to show for this trip...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On into NM, south to Albuquerque.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    Actually, the bike isn't THAT new. I bought it new in 2003 as an 02 model. She's been perfect on many trips including one up to Utah when she was new, and another last year on into New Brunswick. All riden the whole way from here in Houma.
    #12
  13. ramon

    ramon weezin' the juice!

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,218
    Location:
    California
    Nice pics, but what's the story with the bike?
    #13
  14. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I get to Albuquerque, NM and locate a room for the night. Motel 6's are wonderful when traveling along the superslab and aren't much more expensive than a campground. I really want to watch the weather and I find that my luck isn't getting any better.

    [​IMG]

    It's Wednesday night and I could easily be home for early Friday morning, but that would put me going through Dallas/Ft. Worth during a Houston evacuation. HHHHEELLLLLL NO!! Soooo, I call up Danny and Gwen in Canon City, CO. Gwen tells me that I had better head up there NOW and nearly being a second mother to me, I politely said, "Yes mam"!

    280 miles sounds alot better than 1280 miles, and the next morning I head back north into Colorado.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The weekend is a blast and I help Danny out around the campground with the physical side of preping for the winter. I ended up meeting some GREAT people there and even got to participate in their haunted hayride. Their daughter, Dana, and I grew up together and it was nice to see her again. She's getting married down here in La next month and it's something to see your childhood friends all grown up.

    Rita passes over Lake Charles, La and I was a bit worried since Houma was on the east side of the storm, but my parents assured me they were able to close the shutters on my house easily, and they called me back after the storm to report I had NO damage. WHEWWW...

    I decided to leave Canon City on monday morning and start the two day ride home. No headlight still, until dark and then I rode with only dims. Staying the night in Dallas wasn't bad, but I left at 5am to avoid rush hour traffic. No problems....finally!
    #14
  15. Ritten

    Ritten Swamp thing

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    I pull into Lafayette and called a buddy to come meet me so that I could drop off my bike at the Aprilia dealer along with the long list of things to check. It needed a valve check anyway.

    NOW, all this time, my company car is at the heliport there in Lafayette, so I was going to drop off my gear and bags at the car, ride it to the dealer, have my buddy bring me back to the car, and drive it home. The car faired the storm with no damage so I was thankful for that. I offloaded my stuff and rolling out the parking field I failed to see the WHITE rope that was sectioning off the field into lanes.

    The rope caught me across the neck and my left hand instantly came up to grab it. I layed back against the bike and let the bike go from beneath me. 10 mph isn't much, but it's fast enough to jerk you hard!! I hit the ground flat on my back and the bike went about 15 feet before it fell over. The helicopter company brought me to the doctor, and after a dozen or so x-rays I was relieved that nothing was broken or torn, but I do have a good bit of rope burn on my neck, and a pretty sore shoulder. My buddy could only laugh once he found out I was ok and smiling, but it could have been alot worse! The bike is rashed up on the left side a bit, and the turn signal broke off. At least it'll have plenty of time at the shop to get it all taken care of. And I'll get new bodywork out of it.

    As soon as I got back to the field, a few hours later, I just had to get one last picture of the maintenance guys putting up flags that should have been there to start with.
    [​IMG]


    A hell of an end, to one HELL of a trip. I'll be sure and post up what the deal is with the charging system on the bike once the mechanic can figure it out. The idle came back down to normal sometime during the way home from Dallas, but since there's no idle adjustment, there's no way to tell what the cause is. Anyone looking to buy a used Futura???
    #15
  16. Oly

    Oly Deadlines whooshing by

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,099
    Location:
    Underground Gardens
    What a ride, great story too. Way to hang in there despite the setbacks.
    Nice pics. I like your little friend on the table back at the cabin shot.
    #16
  17. GSPeP

    GSPeP Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,959
    Location:
    near Antwerp, Belgium
    Great report :thumb
    #17
  18. bacon

    bacon KZ5TLP

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Hey Ted,

    Great report.
    Now I dont feel so bad that I had to work and could not make the trip with you.
    That GS is starting to look real good about now.
    You will be on one soon I bet.
    Latter
    Tim
    #18
  19. Two Dot

    Two Dot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    So Cal (winter) Montana (summer) NC (spring&fall)
    Great report, love the early fuel line fix with the bic pen and 1/4 inch drive socket! Way to keep your attitude good and enjoy the ride...
    #19
  20. Bayou Boy

    Bayou Boy Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,686
    Location:
    Houma, LA
    Ted,
    PM me. I live in Houma too. I knew there had to be another ADVrider around here.
    #20