Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 2 - Fortuna or Bust. We busted.

The Gilchrist Inn - a hidden gem in Oregon!

Day two started out wonderfully, after a great night of meal, drink, banter and fun at the pub near the Gilchrist Inn. We again went back to the pub/diner and had a fantastic breakfast at the buffet. Actually very good food! Everything from fresh cooked meats & eggs to a very fresh, very nice fruit bar. $7.95, all you can eat, served up by our waitress, cook and chief bottle washer.

Goddess of the Breakfast Buffet

We've met some seriously friendly folks on this trip so far. The woman who owns the Inn, her boyfriend and another couple they know chatted us up for a good hour before we got on the road in the morning. Everyone's been great.

The owner of the Gilchrist Inn, Marlena talking with Wayne as he loads up his bike

We got under way and killed almost a whole tank of gas before the first rest stop. A brief roadside rest while we got some water in us and took some pictures.

This snow-baned brook ran along the road. Great little place to take a rest and recharge for a few minutes. The air was warm, but the snow showed no signs of hurrying up to melt.

Keith waving to the camera while checking cell phone

The sandy cliff was literally eroding away while we sat there. There was a constant sound of sand falling and little wisps of dust all over the cliff.

Beautiful as it was, we didn't stay long. The 50-foot-tall trees 50 feet up on the cliff were rather imposing. Erosion + big trees... do the math. If a tree falls in the forest and kills six motorcyclists, will anyone who hears it care at all? I don't wanna be there to find out. Back on the road!

We eventually made our way to Crater Lake to look around, have some lunch, take some pictures and just unwind a little. We spent about an hour and a half just relaxing, talking, being tourists.

These "Harley Guys" thought that we were the tough ones - riding all the way from Delaware and all. We let them think that for a while until they asked how far we'd ridden in the last couple of days. Then we 'fessed up that we'd only ridden from Portland but in two weeks we WOULD be as tough as they thought we were. Everyone had a good laugh. Nice guys!

The park ranger in training was happy to take our pictures and chat about the lake, all the while happily joining in on some of the fun, ragging on each other.

The lake itself is just amazing.

The snow still had a lot of the grounds at the tourist center closed down and made actually getting inside the center quite a chore too.

Keith posing to show how tall the snow was - and this was after months of packing down and recently melting some.

Wayne decided to pelt everyone with snow balls. Who has snowball fights in 75-degree weather???

Adrian attempts to climb and surprise the elusive, rare Danger sign before it flies off.

"Wait... it's just a stupid sign. Never mind."

"Hold on... what's this cover on here do?"

California, here I come.

YAY! We made it! "Goin' back to Kali..."


... in da hiz-houze!

Neener, neener, neener... we're roasting in 100-degree temps and you're not. naa naa naa naaaaaaa!

And then... catastrophe strikes. We're riding up the road and I just enter the Collier Tunnel when my bike dies. Just ups and dies. After fiddling with it a few minutes, Keith and Adrian and Brian help me push it a few hundred yards - UPHILL - out of the tunnel. Hey! I used-to-was a mechanic. I can at least find out WHAT died even if I can't fix it on the side of the road, right?

I run thru' a basic set of diagnostics.

Battery good? Check.
Fuel level good? Check.
Kill switch not bumped? Check.
Spark? Check.
Fuel? The pump runs. Check.
Cranks? Check.
Starts? FAIL!

Finally after futzing with it for a good 1/2 hour, I decide to try out my nifty keen AMA towing package. Waaaah, waahh! No cell service. I fire up the non-emergency HELP on SPOT, then hand my cell phone, AMA card to Brian and ask him to ride ahead to where he's got cell service and call it in for me, while I put the bike back together and wait for a tow.

On a Saturday evening.

And it's 100 degrees.

Yeah, this sucks.

Brian comes back and lets me know he made the call, called my home to let everyone know things are OK (SPOT service sends a "we need help" message via SMS & EMail). He also says that he called Wayne and Bob, who had ridden ahead earlier, and they were coming back.

In the mean time, Curious George, being the curious little bloke he is, tried starting the bike and checking out the engine. Finally he gave up too.

"c'mon... let's fire this bitch up and get on the road!"

"No, I don't know what's wrong and I don't wanna talk about it!"

"Well, here's your problem right here... the engine isn't running!"

Wayne and Bob arrive to help stare at the bike, point and laugh.

Wayne ended up having some good ideas. Fresh perspective is always good. I was happy to do the basics, then call for help. Again, the bike is relatively new and under warranty. Our putzing around might break something, or leave something in a state where warranty would be questioned. But Wayne convinced me to check a few more things and look deeper. So, we tried bleeding some fuel out of the tank to put directly into the cylinders to make sure the engine would at least fire up. I don't mind admitting we'd been running it kind of hard and it's not crazy to think we over-heated something or something along those lines. But alas... we got no fuel bled out of the line. But.. but... but..... we heard the pump run and we heard the fluid sounds.

We conferred and I agreed to pull the tank so we could unscrew the output fitting and see what's up. Well, whattya know... the host came right out of the tank and wasn't connected to the pump. Let's go over the design here... the tank is a big empty shell and it holds gas. The fuel pump - necessary on a fuel-injected system - resides IN the tank because pumps just work better when they're pushing liquid rather than pulling it. Putting it closest to the source - inside the tank in this case - makes the most sense. The float, pump and output line all come together in this massively over-complicated plenum connection thing inside the tank and sure enough... the clip that holds the output hose is there, not broken, it just came un-done.

We take a moment to make sure everything is present, then we put it all back together again, ensuring the clips are firmly seated in place, and put the tank back on.

SUCCESS! It lives!

I ask Brian to again call the AMA towing guys and cancel the call, then call the house to say A-OK so no one worries.

Here's the thing... this isn't even a Harley problem. When I crashed the bike back in January, one of the pieces replaced was the tank. The tank comes from Harley parts as just the shell. You put the pump and float assembly in the new tank after removing it from the old tank. The freaking mechanic at the dealer just rushed the job! This makes FOUR things I've had to fix after they put the bike back together.

A strongly-worded letter and a promise of NO MORE MONEY FROM ME is definitely in their future. Ridiculous.

But... at the end of the day, it's back together, we're back on the road and everyone is safe and happy.

Much thanks to the guys for sticking it out with me and helping to resolve this problem that should never have been. Thanks guys!

We pulled in to Crescent City later than planned. In fact, we had planned to ride all the way to Fortuna, CA, but it just didn't work out that way. Thank you Mr. Harley Dealer Mechanic.


Route for day 2


robustyoungsoul said...

Hey at least the bike is running again. Good show!

Angelus said...

Hey wheres the rest of the days ya slacker????

Glad it was an easy fix...

Glad to see things are going relatively well Skippy make it home safely. We'll have to come up with a tripod and remote shutter for your camera for next trip. Already into R&D for ya! You want that with line-of sight\helmet tracking?

Tony (Xodus) said...

Damn Harley's...