Mammoth '09

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Planned days2-3

Total miles: 721 miles
Estimated travel: 11:47 hours

[ Saturday - August 15, 2009 ]

It's been a culmination of the last couple of months gathering all of the necessary materials and tools for this year's Mammoth trip.  Both Nu and I have been reevaluating our bike's configurations to determine what is needed for this trip.  One of the first key items for this year are a set of off road tires for both bikes.  It was a tough choice between Metzeler and Continental.  The Metzeler Sahara 3 are cool, but the tire sizes are not exactly right for the 650GS and 8GS.  As a result we settled for the Conti TKC80.

This day started at 8:30am with the rear wheel taken off to transition from the Micheline Anakee to the Conti TKC80.  The first step is easy.  Remove the valve core to deflate the tire.  Next comes the bead breaking.  Instead of heading over to the Captain's house to do the tire change, I've opted to use the BeadBrakr so I wouldn't be caught dumb founded in the field.  It's a hard choice but a good one.  It never hurts to practice first to know what to do at a later time.  Even Helge Pederson recommended practicing in the comfort of your home, in his GlobeRiders' BMW F800GS Adventure Touring Instructional DVD, before heading out an adventure and not learning on the spot.  I spent a good 15-20 minutes reviewing the BeadBrakr instructions before starting the bead breaking process.  Once I figured it out, it was a snap.  Unlike the Nomar tire changer, the bead doesn't break the bead immediately.  Instead, it takes a couple of push with the BeakBrakr in multiple locations before the bead is finally broken.  By this time, Nu arrives to help with the tire changing process.  His 650 will need the tire change also.

All is going extremely well.  That is until we encounter my front tire.  The bead breaks relative quickly, the old tire comes off easily, the new tire goes on easily, the tube goes in easily, and the new tire is popped in easily.  Woaw!  Wait a minute, didn't I forget something.  Oh cr*p!  I forgot a step.  I'm suppose to inflate and deflate the tube before putting the tire on completely.  As I look at the edge, the tube is sitting between the tire and the rim.  It's not suppose to look like that!  Not good.  Not good.  I remove the tube from the wheel and inflate it.  It's punctured.  Oh what a pain.  All this because we forgot one simple step. @*#$%&!  I inflate the tube and immediately find two punctured.  I patched it and put the tube back in.  I inflate the tube to prevent it from being pinched again and set the tire.  I inflate the tire and it goes nowhere.  Oh man, the tube still has a hole in it.  I should have chucked the tube and put in the new tube.  But stupid me, I just keep patching the tube.  In the end we pulled the tube out at least 4 times and patched the tube.  There were at least a total of 9 holes.  For the last step, I dunked the tube in water and didn't see any bubbles.  Finally!  I got it.  I stuffed the tube back into the tire and closed it up.  I inflated the tire and it appears to hold.  At long last.  Now we can move on to Nu's bike.

We pull the 650GS rear tire and begin the treatment process.  It goes really smooth and we end up with a finished wheel, balanced and all, in about 1 hour.  Most of the time was spent cleaning the inside of the hub where the sprocket assembly and the hub meets.  We put everything back in and start the process for the front tire.  This is where more fun is to be had.  One side of the front tire comes off with a little coercion.  Not really easy, but not too hard at the same time.  We take the tube out and begin the tire removal.  We follow the same procedure we did with all the tires, but the Metzeler front doesn't seem to budge.  It goes from inches to 1/2", to 1/4", to not wanting to be remove from the rim.  We practically drown the tire in soap water and still the tire sits there.  Thinking it's temperature related, I even brorrowed my wife's hair dryer.  It's helps a bit but it's still a pain in the arshe.  Using our minds and a lot of brawn, we finally get the font tire off.  Just imagine two monkeys jumping up and down on a wheel and you have a perfect picture of what we look like when we were trying to pull the front tire off.  Thank god the 19" TKC80 slipped on to rim without problems.  Upon closet inspection, it's not something we did wrong.  Instead the Metzeler Tourance front tire is built with a wider bead lip that your normal tire.  As a result, the tire made more contact with the inside of the rim and made for a difficult removal.

Now that everything is done, we check pressure on all tires and clean up for the day.  In all we've spent a good 8 hours putting on 4 tires.  If you count all the time I had to pull my front tire, I think we pulled 10+ tires.  Not the ideal way to learn, but we learned the process nonetheless.

[ Sunday - August 16, 2009 ]

Suspecting that my front tube patch work is not as good as it could be, I went ahead and checked tire pressure this morning.  3.5 PSI.  Say what!  This can't be right.  I must have not put the tire pressure gauge in correctly.  Second try.  3.5 PSI.  Oh *$#(%^&!  It's flat again.  Insult to injury.  That fat lady is singing.  It's time to put the new inner tube in.  So I whip out my Metzeler 90/90-21 tube and start the front tire removal process.  I loosened the front axle, the axle lock screws, removed one break caliper, and jacked up the bike.  The wheel comes rolling out without a problem.  Bla bla bla, old tube out, new tube in.  Tire set, the air is pumped in, and now I'm re-balancing the wheel.  This time around it appears that I'm spending more time clean up and placing new double sided tape the old weights than doing the balancing.  Next think I know I'm putting the fixed wheel back on the bike and everything is tightened down.  45 minutes.  Not bad.  That's includes re-balancing the wheel.  I guess I have the procedure down.  Now it's just a matter of taking the bike out for a test ride to make sure everything is OK.

[ Monday - August 17, 2009 ]

It wasn't my intension to shock people, but it appears the TKC80s are doing a good job of intimidating folks.  A couple of people at work were in awe of the size of the knobs and the pattern on the tires.  It definitely makes the bike appear a lot more aggressive.  As for the ride, the TKC80s rides really well for knobby tires.  There is a bit more vibration, but at high speeds the tire is fine.  Freeway speeds?  Top speed is about 70MPH.  However, the tires are really more comfortable between 60-65MPH max speed.  Going much faster makes the ride a bit uncomfortable.  Below 15 MPH, the knobs remind you that they're ever present.  BTW, I'm still sore from all those tire changes.

[ Thursday - August 20, 2009]

The oil and oil filter has been changed.  I had to run off to Pep Boys to find a 24mm socket for the sump nut.  What worse?  The repair manual didn't even mention what side socket it is.  I had to revert to watching the GlobeRiders' BMW F800GS Adventure Touring Instructional DVD to find out.  Once the 24mm socket is in hand, it's a no brainer to change oil.

It's almost midnight and I'm still not finished.  I think this is a tradition now.  The introduction of the Ortlieb bag has me confused as to what to put into it.  The bag is so big that I want to squeeze all kind of things into it.  I try the Ortlieb with tent and air mattress inside, I try with all three inside (e.g. tent, mattress, and sleeping bag), and so on and so forth.  It's not working.  In the end I decided it's best to put the tent and mattress outside on top of the panniers.  All this juggling sure does consume a lot of time.  Next I have to decide how to mount the Ortlieb on the bike.  Should the bag go between me and the gas can, or should the bag go behind the gas can?  Oh the wonders of figuring out a new configuration.  What a pain.  In the end I managed a configuration and stick to it.  This is it.  Time to go check on the rechargeable batteries.  1:30am.  Sheesh!  It's already that late?  Time to finish up fast and get as much sleep as possible.

Day 1 - Marathon riding
Day 2 - Gasoline and Pumice (Respect the Pumice!  Respect it!)
Day 3 - All that is needed to get back home.

Written on: August 16, 2009
Last modified: August 23, 2009