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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Turkeycreek, Jun 16, 2020.
Had a couple visitors today in Douglas, AZ.
They are almost home. Just a couple hours south.
What's that lashed to the step on the chair?
Tune in tomorrow eve and all will be revealed.
(Good lord willing and the Rio Bacanuchi don't rise.)
Ooh, ooh, I know, I know......
Well, that’s pretty clearly a battery. So...either you needed ballast or you’re now running a total loss system...
We left Fairplay and South Park. (Quick note, my daughter went to jr. high with Trey Parker.) Up over 10,001 ft Kenosha pass. This was home territory. Or used to be. Through Bailey and into Conifer, my home for over 28 years. So many changes, so many people. After some sunshine it was cold and misty again so we stopped and ate.
Finally, we rode down Turkey Creek Canyon, through the Dakota Hogback and to the flat lands Denver. (Turkey Creek, hmm, cool name. I think we had a tour company once with that name.) I took it slow through the turns, not like I used to with my old rig because Lynn would have been quite unhappy with me. And we were in no hurry
The changes on what was my daily commute for years were stunning. Thankfully, there was not much traffic due to the virus and we navigated to Aurora and our hotel. Lots of changes in 13 years.
Our reason to visit Denver was to see family members. It was difficult and only a little bit successful. I talked to my 95 year old aunt on the phone. She said all we could do was wave to her from the parking lot of her assisted living residence and advised that we do a video call when we get home instead.
Lynn and I saw her daughter and grand daughter for dinner along with my son. No hugging, no kisses. It was better to be close than not. But we were unsatisfied as one might imagine. We did have a nice talk and caught up. Two nights in Denver, saw the kids both nights. The seven year old understood why no hugs. She did get in the chair for a cool kid photo.
My son's husky got in the car for a moment but not long enough for a photo.
It was time to head home. We wanted to avoid the insane traffic on I25 south of Denver so we headed back up US 285 and through South Park then Poncha Pass and the flat straight run between the Sangre de Christo range to the east and the Sawatch range to the west. Our overnight was scheduled for Alamosa. After a night there, we planed to take 285 and a portion of I25 through New Mexico, head to Douglas, AZ then cross into Sonora and home. We reckoned we were 3 nights from home. We reckoned wrong.
Back up into the foothills through Turkey Creek Canyon, through South park retracting our steps from two days previous. We continued on US 285 over Poncha Pass towards Alamosa, CO. We decided it was too hot to make the side trip to the nearby Great Sand Dunes. Alamosa is a nice town, a lot of railroad history and home to Adams State College.
We left our hotel in Alamosa early Saturday after a near record fast packing job. It was cool at 57 at 7000 ft.
I thought about taking a short detour to Manassa, CO, home of the Mannasa Mauler, boxer Jack Dempsey. There is a statue of Jack in the front yard of his small boyhood home, I have a photo from a tour we led years ago but I can't find it. From the web
It was a good thing we didn't go looking for it.
I stopped once and turned off the bike so Lynn could remove a layer as things warmed up. The bike started no problem.
We got a total of 30 miles from the Alamosa hotel to Antonito and I stopped to take photos of the Cumbres and Toltec train.
Back on the bike, I hit the starter and the battery was dead. (If you don't have a solid state jumpstart box on your bike and in your cars, get one. They work.) With the bike now running, I checked the voltage, a little over 10 volts. Reving the motor had no effect. It was clear that the charging system was not working. I did not know if we could make it very far on just the small charge in the battery from the jumpstart box.
We went back into Antonito to the super market and talked to a local cop. He sent us 14 miles back the way we came as there is nothing in town.
in La Jara, I went into the first parts store (maybe the only parts store) and pulled up my bandanna in compliance with the state of Colorado orders and because it's the right thing to do. The naked faced lads behind the counter said I didn't need a mask in their store. I said I had been traveling all over and probably had been in contact with infected people. And, come to think of it, I really wasn't feeling all that well myself. They backed way up. Ha!
They had no advice except go back to Alamosa, 20 miles up the road and check with the Yamaha shop. That shop would be closing at 3.
I walked out and Lynn was talking to a guy who was driving a big flat bed tow truck.
He said he had been stuck on the road before and had been helped by strangers. His shop, Louis Auto Sales and Louis Auto Paint and Body in La Jara, Colorado, was just 3 blocks away. He said he would not charge us for his help so we winched the bike onto the truck. (Turns out he had just rebuilt the truck.) At the shop at his used car lot we rolled the bike off and did a quick charge on the battery. He recommended a few shops in Alamosa that might help. Then he showed us the 1500 Goldwing trike he built. Gorgeous.
We thanked him profusely and rode back to Alamosa, checked back into the hotel and I went to the bike shop. They tested the system confirmed my suspicions that the stator was bad.
Buy a car battery
Buy a battery charger
Strap the new battery to the car
Wire the big battery to run the bike
Switch to the bike batt when needed
Pull both batteries and charge over night
Start the next day with 2 charged batteries
Plus, many parts stores will charge a battery in about an hour if things looked desperate.
I ordered a new stator and gasket from Ricks Moto Electrics for delivery to the Bisbee Bug in Bisbee - It was the weekend so we had no way to know when it would be delivered. One more complication. (The stator was replaced about 24-25000 miles ago.)
I went to Walmart and bought a battery and a battery charger. I picked up some 10 ga wire, some connectors and big zip ties. I had a pair of ratchet straps on the bike.
You saw the photo Noshoes posted, here is another (the dry run before I ran the wires)
We decided that traveling on a Sunday while running on just the car battery was a bad idea as many places might not be open if we needed help so we stayed in the hotel. We watched old westerns and a Star Trek movie on the tee vee and ordered take out.
Looking forward to seeing how you ran those wires.
Looks like it turned out to be an adventure trip!
Finally, this trip is starting to get good!
The wiring is simple. I pulled out the MC battery and disconnected all the extra connections for the SAE, USB and other external plugs. I crimped on some connectors to the new 10 ga wires and used the MC battery terminal bolts to hook them to the hot and neutral leads on the bike. I had lots of room because the MC battery rode in the car wrapped in cardboard charged and ready if needed.
I ran the wires under the bike's side panel so the seat would not cut them. Then under the tub to the big battery.
I used hose clamps to attach the wire to the battery posts because the regular lead type connectors didn't look like they would work with the smaller wires. And they are cheap and easy to deal with for a temporary fix.
A little Gorilla tape made it nice and neat but that got ragged with so many on-off cycles.
Man, the bike is dirty.
I really like the hose clamp mod.
I mapped out parts stores on our route for either a recharge, adding a second car battery or both. Early Monday we left for Bernalillo, NM. It was a short 190 mile ride and would show us how the battery would hold up. We stopped in Española for lunch and to check the battery. The charge was near full so we decided no second car battery. We ate lunch at the outdoor patio of this place after a chat with a local mask wearing police officer about the rig.
We like the name Los Arcos and the food was very good New Mexico style chili.
We had been in contact with good friend and inmate Chiliejack in Albuquerque who was checking in to make sure we were good.
We pulled into the hotel in Bernalillo and I checked the voltage on the battery. It was still at 12.6 Volts. I was pretty amazed. The LED bulbs we put in probably helped as much as anything. A quick disconnect and I brought it in and charged it up.
Chilejack and his wife joined us on the patio of a favorite restaurant of theirs just a block from the hotel. We had real plates and real silverware.
We crossed the Rio Grande at Hatch, NM. on the way to our overnight in Deming, NM.
This was the biggest test at just over 250 miles. Again, no issues with the battery. Charged it up for the morning run to Bisbee. We felt pretty confident at this point that we would be OK.
Once again, it felt good to be in familiar territory as we headed to Douglas, AZ. I love the ride down US 80.
We called Noshoes to meet us for a socially distanced outdoor lunch. He danced a jig to demonstrate his new knees for us. We were so dazzled by his fancy footwork we forgot to take a photo.
We rolled on into Bisbee as it started to rain lightly. We checked into the Jonquil Motel, now owned by Moto film maker Sterling Noren and his partner Eva Rupert.
Eva said Sterling was out filming in Montana. Master mechanic and proprietor Tim Hall of the Bisbee Bug (conveniently right across the street) was confident that we would be OK to make it home in the morning based on what we had seen so far. The new stator would not be arriving until Friday and Tim had a long weekend ride planned.
Another take out meal in the patio of the Jonquil with Tim and wife Joy, and Eva. Vietnamese this time.
Thursday morning in a light drizzle I strapped down the charged up battery and we headed south to the border. We crossed into Naco, Sonora and were checked by the Aduana (Mexican customs) guys. We told them we lived in Sonora and they looked at our Sonora plate. They asked for the registration and my Sonora DL. They had me unzip one bag, but they just peeked in without touching stuff and said OK.
There was a Covid check point a bit farther south in town, but we were waved through. We were waved through a second checkpoint near Cananea.
Mex Hwy 2 had little traffic. Mostly trucks. The pavement is getting bad and we had to take it easy.
Once on Sonora Hwy 89 we took it slow. Familiar curves felt less so with the chair attached. Plus there were rocks and mud on the roads from recent rains. There was almost no traffic, less than usual as we rolled south. And slow felt right for this final leg. We watched the dark clouds and rain curtains and tried to guess when/where we might get rained on. We rode on wet pavement, caught a few drops here and there but never had any real rain. The water crossings were all low as was the Rio Sonora at Bacoachi.
Sixty miles to go.
We came over the high point and looked down into Arizpe. The valley was green and the river was flowing.
It looked like rain on both sides of the valley but nothing in our path.
We reached the Rio Bacanuchi, the slime-laden nemesis of so many riders. The water was low as we splashed across.
Just 25 miles more.
The Banamichi bridge came into view and we rolled through town. We turned onto Av. Cuauhtemoc and up to our garage door. I left the bike running, dismounted and punched in the door code. Back on the bike, I stalled it trying to pull it forward. I hit the starter button and it was dead.
We were home.
Awesome stuff @Turkeycreek
Thanks for taking us along
Home in the new MC garage
Some final thoughts
Thanks to all who followed along, encouraged us, offered to meet for a cup of coffee, a meal and even a place to stay. It really helped knowing that were never without friends or support.
For me, motorcycling is not about the iron but about people and places and the relationships we forge. Travelling during the pandemic prevented much of that but the online community here helped make up for it.
I’m very happy to have a sidecar again (also happy to have a two wheel moto .) Since Lynn gave up her bike (mine now) and since she does not like riding pillion we can once again travel together by bike.
We still plan to ride to Alaska next year so I’ll be on the sidecar forums more as I look for ideas to make the rig even better.
If I did the math properly, we rode just about 4,300 miles in the 35 days we were on the road. That seems like a lot until you divide it out. It comes out to 123 miles a day. We had many short days and many days of just staying still.
Would I do this again? Absolutely. But not during a world-wide pandemic. Aside from the issues of contracting the virus, or worse from my perspective, passing it on to others was the number of places that were closed with restaurants only doing take out and such. Of the attractions that were open, many were crowded with people trying to just get out of the house. And I’ll be happy to never eat another meal in a motel room from a styrofoam clamshell with a plastic fork again.
I hope we can pull off the November Banámichi Meet-up and I hope to see you all here in Sonora, if not this year then next.
I'll be painting the car silver. Not sure which art work though.
We narrowed it down to
- P-40 Warhawk shark mouth (Tiger Shark)
- Flying Tigers Flying Tiger
Stay healthy, stay safe.
Tom and Lynn
On our big sidecar trip we did the math at the end of the first year. I’d have to dig the notes out of storage (or dig the post out of our trip report here) to get the exact decimal, but I do remember we averaged 100.xx miles per day (and almost exactly $1 per mile!), so you were a lot “faster” than us
For paint jobs, I kinda like this Tiger. It's even silver!
[stolen still pic from the movie "Sit Stay Ride"]
That was an option but hey, it's been done already
I'm leaning towards the tigers with wings. Will be a hit here in Mexico