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Jen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by redwagonrider, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. redwagonrider

    redwagonrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    On route to South America
    Hello!

    My girlfriend, Jennifer, and I are currently en route to Tierra del Fuego from Seattle, by way of New Orleans. We're currently writing a blog and working on mirroring it here at advrider. Check us out at: http://jenandtheartofmotorcyclemaintenance.blogspot.com/

    Here is her first post (until the admins take the restriction off of new registrations) and I'll keep adding more as I get through adding photos and what not:

    ----------------

    So Ben and I are finally getting our act together and starting to write a blog about our motorcycle journey. We have a lot of anecdotes to relate already--it doesn't seem worth it to record what you're doing until at least a baker's dozen worth of folks tell you that you should be writing down your experiences (and taking notes for your 'expose-all memoir' to appear at a later date).

    Right now we're in Galveston, and we've been working a lot of miscellaneous jobs to make a bit of cash before we hit the road again. We're for all intents and purposes broke, but with pretty fabulous credit for youngins' (22 and 26, respectively). So like all good Americans, we hold true to the founding tenets of the American dream and spirit: We believe we live in the land of the brave (which explains why we're foolhardy enough to try to make it down to Tierra del Fuego, the southern most tip of South America) and we live in the home of the free (credit).

    For those interested, we're riding a 1976 Yamaha XS500. To me, what that means is that it is very small, brown, and old. We stick out like a sore thumb at the Galveston Motorcycle Rally, where we've been working for the past two days at a food booth. We are the oldest bike I have seen thus far, and I think the only Yamaha (although I've seen the guys with the Yamaha leathers on, so presumably they are not flaunting Yamaha gear in a sea of Harley aficionados just because they want to get the shit beaten out of them. I presume this is what motorcyclists do in their spare time, because that is what the television has taught me.)

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_BhtcVqqvLdtYZY6ZuoQbw?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWllSHZtusI/AAAAAAAAAf4/2i4bQVb0ExE/s800/CT%20to%20Humble%2C%20TX%20022.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20090110CTToHumbleTX?feat=embedwebsite">2009-01-10 CT to Humble, TX</a></td></tr></table>

    What is really great about having our cute, sweetheart of a vintage motorcycle (her name is unofficially Bonnie), is that we meet a lot of really great people in really odd ways. Folks love to see us riding a 1976 motorcycle because most of the old guys and gals remember riding them and loving them. And as for the young guys and gals, well, they think we're crazy! for riding such a old beast. We meet a lot of good people who wish us well and we tend to have a lot of good karmic interference. This will probably be a major theme of our trip, as everything tends to land into place in really great ways. Without wanting to jinx it--while setting up a thematic element for this blog--the universe conspires to help us. And by universe, I mean lots of really good folks.

    Ok. That is the end of the first entry. The rest of it will be easier than this. And hopefully we will catch up with all our reminiscences from our starting point in Seattle/Southern Oregon, down to New Orleans and out to Galveston. We've already been on the road since August. What a long, strange trip this will probably end up being. Maybe.
    #1
  2. OleGrumpy

    OleGrumpy TFM/ODS/HDS Proficient Orange Man Bad Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    27,862
    Location:
    Mountains of Virginia
    Tells us your travels!

    I would not start out for the southern most tip of south america on a 1976 what ever! Talk about Adventure Riders!!
    #2
  3. yrfuneralmytrial

    yrfuneralmytrial Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    One post & one pic...I'm in! Good luck and keep it coming.
    #3
  4. gasandasphalt

    gasandasphalt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    S/W New Mexico
    TOOOOOO Much weight on that front wheel,,, you will end your trip pronto!!! IMHO
    #4
  5. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,085
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Those front fender panniers look good, but wont they hamper maneuvering.
    Other wise, thats a catch name for a ride. :clap
    #5
  6. flatmo

    flatmo Americano

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    581
    Location:
    Miami/Honduras
    I'm in!! Good luck on the trip.
    #6
  7. 10guy

    10guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    274
    I love old bikes, almost like I remember them from when they weren't so old:evil

    Hope it all works out for you, I'll be keeping up on your adventures.
    #7
  8. Dread

    Dread Putt-Putt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    629
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    . . . in . . .
    #8
  9. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    885
    Location:
    Ange-Gardien, QC-Canada
    Wow!

    :lurk
    #9
  10. redwagonrider

    redwagonrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    On route to South America

    I have considered the idea that we are carrying to much weight on the front. I would like to lose weight all over the bike, including off myself. We have tested many setups with the front panniers throughout the ride from Seattle to the gulf coast, and we have asked everyone on the way what their opinions are on running front bags. Some people have never seen it, and have no idea why I would try it. Others have seen people riding with ammo cans mounted to the fronts of their bikes. The idea comes from my time bicycle touring. Front panniers would help to even the weight out between the wheels so you would have better control of the bike. I find that if I don't have enough weight on the front of the bike the front end is really squirrly.

    The suspension is holding up extremely well. I have redone both the front and the rear with Progressive Suspension. In the front I am running 15W oil, and in the rear the springs are 105/135 lbs. at 13 inches long.

    We also have added additional weight to the front end in the form of dual disc brakes. The nice part about the XS models is that a lot of the parts from different years, and engine sizes are interchangeable. It is almost like this bikes frame is the same as the frame for the xs1100. So I installed the brakes from the xs1100.

    We have also been running the same front tire for the entire ride. It is almost run through. I am no expert on tire wear, but i do plan on changing it soon. But so far 6,000+ miles two up with the front panniers and it is doing fine. I will post the model soon. I have changed the rear tire. When we started this trip I installed Spitfire S-11 tires for $110 mounted to the rim with a new tube even though we can run tubeless on the alloy rims. Once we arrived in New Orleans the tire was starting to tear on the treads. It had god tread life, but was weakening all over. I changed it up for a Dunlop Elite k491 series 2 manufactured in 2005. I got this tire on Ebay for $60 shipped. I couldn't figure out how to install it myself so 30 bucks later the folks at Motorcycle Superstores in Baton Rogue had it on for me. With free balancing on both the front and rear.

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WLuwKukgaBQx-0Ps0fuKdg?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWlkZ1JqJJI/AAAAAAAAAZE/ElDolLfnkyc/s800/moto%20trip%20galveston%20%20and%20CT%20011.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20090101MotoTripGalvestonAndCT?feat=embedwebsite">2009-01-01 moto trip galveston and CT</a></td></tr></table>

    A typical Saturday afternoon!!! Thanks
    for joining us.

    Benjamin
    #10
  11. redwagonrider

    redwagonrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    On route to South America
    Chandeerjet, The maneuvering is slightly hampered at slow speeds, and I have spent a lot of time getting a slight front end wobble out. This setup, especially with our weight is not perfect for dirt roads, but if we take our time on them, it works our good so far.
    #11
  12. EvilClown

    EvilClown Standing by to standby for a possible disregard Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    19,605
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Uncanoonucs...
    In!

    :lurk

    Bonus points for the packing job!:thumb
    #12
  13. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,176
    Location:
    Not atop the Bakken for much longer
    :clap I love it!


    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,672
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    I like your pannier set-up...and woah...that is one pillow of seat! No airhawk required.

    I load up the back on my KTM and it's not ideal either. It wobbles all over the place at slow speeds and is plenty sketchy in the dirt. I would think putting part of the load up front would be a good thing, particularly with the heavier springs.

    It seems you might be better off running some sort of dual sport tires when you get to the more primitive roads. Good luck and keep the posts coming.
    #14
  15. redwagonrider

    redwagonrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    On route to South America
    I am considering a dual sport tire for the front right now. I got the Dunlop because it was so cheap, and because we had just eaten through our last rear tire so quickly (relatively). What are the going opinions for great tread ware and longevity plus traction in a dual sport without breaking the bank?:amazon

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/PxEISz4tbQHwrgc48FUJBA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SUWwZjstK-I/AAAAAAAAACE/uaqwioCvILQ/s800/001.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>

    In Baton Rogue getting the new tire installed.
    #15
  16. aces anugal

    aces anugal Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    This is gonna be good! Good luck, and be carefull kids!:lurk
    #16
  17. redwagonrider

    redwagonrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    On route to South America
    Well motorcycling is about timing. That is for sure! For the most part timing isn't an issue on our ride. If we get caught up in the wet season, we will stop, find work, or study. The wonderful part of websites like Advrider is mirrored through thousands of wonderful sites where we have been able to connect with hundreds of people. Right now we are in Galveston as stated in Jen's beginning entry. We are here for work. We were advised to come here and find work by a friend that we had just met. Our travels manifest in that way. If someone tells us to go somewhere we consider it and if that seems to be a good next place that is where we go.

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/540ee8quhK7_iGRzDIeGpQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWllUrLycpI/AAAAAAAAAgI/YrYnW7L7790/s800/CT%20to%20Humble%2C%20TX%20024.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20090110CTToHumbleTX?feat=embedwebsite">2009-01-10 CT to Humble, TX</a></td></tr></table>


    So right now we are staying with our wonderful new friend John Ray in Galveston. We met John and his girlfriend Katie pictured above on the fully loaded bike through couchsurfing.com This is a link to my profile. This website just like advrider gives us an advantage in every place we go. Everywhere there are people interested in what you are doing, and who want to help you out. Couchsurfing connects travelers to other travelers who will put you up for a night, or two months. You decide. The idea is that they have traveled before and have received the kindness of strangers, who are probably now great friends, and want to pass it along. Pay-it-forward!! Is how the saying goes.

    I digress we are here to do work here are some pictures of work being done, or done. This is the room we painted and decorated at our friend Jets house. We have been working for $10 an hour.

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/StyAEBYBY8i_RKeT4hiNSw?authkey=52EEC5lCHHc&feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SU2vndf9yCI/AAAAAAAAANQ/ZydzUuamZFc/s800/060.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/JenAndTheArtOfMotorcycleMaintenance?authkey=52EEC5lCHHc&feat=embedwebsite">Jen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance</a></td></tr></table>

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/rw7ZdDJbitvgn3fSxfvmQg?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWLg2o67BaI/AAAAAAAAAUA/ryfPrhjpdRE/s400/056.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/frjg2p292ehKn9IYSL4G9Q?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWLg4kc5yqI/AAAAAAAAAUQ/VwFGeBTTyt8/s400/058.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>


    Here we are flipping Philly Cheese Steaks at the Lone Star Rally for the Flamingo Grill.

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Uyv0XMVEGeKpZdcWp_SCpA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWLg-qkbEsI/AAAAAAAAAVI/j2g6OELXTmk/s400/065.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>
    Jen

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zZHQBssmwgnEkXbKXx4XZw?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWLg_aiz22I/AAAAAAAAAVQ/tFEfqvYLbQI/s400/066.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_RPn4-fRubqqKC0czT5SEQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/_g6SAN1rj-OU/SWLhAyAs3sI/AAAAAAAAAVg/kwJwP2-FnHg/s400/068.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jenandtheart/20081214?feat=embedwebsite">2008-12-14</a></td></tr></table>

    Me with a Philly Cheese steak on my head and plenty of bourbon in my belly.

    So onto the point of this post.

    I am having trouble with my timing. While in New Orleans I changed some screws that were holding my points and the timing plate. I got is ever so slightly out of timing, and we have been having a devil of a time starting the bike ever since. Tomorrow after work We are taking the bike to a friend of Advrider Princess Jamaica. Hopefully we can get our timing, our life, our weather back on track.

    Benjamin:rilla
    #17
  18. 10guy

    10guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    274
    For future reference make sure you mark anything and everything you take apart so it can go back the same way. It also helps to take a few digital pics that can either be archived or deleted when you are finished.

    Weight on the front end it hard to get when touring two up, your idea is good (I know it works on bicycles) just make sure it can't get into the brakes or wheel.
    #18
  19. BluegrassPicker

    BluegrassPicker Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    545
    Location:
    Rochester, MN
    Best of luck on your ride! It looks like a blast.

    I have considerable long distance experience and I would reconsider the pack on the front end.

    I would do without or move it to the rear.
    #19
  20. weave

    weave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    709
    Location:
    In the Bush. LA.
    nice to see you guys are savoring thee journey....play while you can.
    the pics in front of the bike shop are awesome!
    #20