Old roads are now new roads - Day 3

Day 3 [September 25, 2006]

Today promises to be an easy day (yeah right).  We all elected to take the freeway all the way back to LA as of last night's dinner decision.  That's the fastest and easiest way to go.  Plus Eugene has to take his wife to the doctors tonight.  A doctor's appointment at 8:00pm.  Interesting and weird.  What can you say, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Before we did anything, I had to help out my folks with a situation with Direct TV and their cable service.  Apparently my mom had entertained the idea of hooking up Direct TV, with some special ethnic channels, and replace her existing cable TV.  Unfortunately, it wasn't what she had hoped for, and turned out to be much pricier.  The provider plan was so basic that she didn't get the stations she had hope for.  Long story short, I had to cancel the Direct TV, reinstate cable TV, and removed the satellite dishes protruding from their roof top.  The first two parts just too time and is accomplished.  The remaining part was a pain in the arshe.  I had to uninstall the satellite dishes in preparation for the return of the dishes to Direct TV.  This mean unbolting it from the roof.  Pop this, unscrew that, about 45 minutes later both satellite dish are down.  However, the guys that installed the dish had cut the cable connection in favor of the Direct TV connection.  It's like they don't want you to use anything other than Direct TV.  That's not very nice.  As Minh so bluntly put it, "Once you go Direct TV, you can never go back!"  Good news is the cable company will come out the next day to reinstate the cable connection.  A small price to pay for the care and loving of my parents as I mooch off of them for two days.  What can I say, they're my parent and they needed help.

By about mid day we're all packed up, suited up, and ready to go.  Minh and I had started our bikes and are ready to go.  Eugene started his bike, then started his bike, and kept on starting his bike.  Not only that he kept on revving his engine.  What the heck is going on?  I got off of my bike, went to Eugene to see what was going on.  He told me the engine is not staying on when idling.  I then had a go at it myself.  No difference.  I did notice a hissing sound coming from the bike.  I then shut off my bike's engine and signaled Minh to do the same.  Now both Minh I are looking and listening to Eugene's bike to figure out what is wrong.  Eugene started it, revved it a little and then it dies.  What the hell?  The F650GS is suppose to be bullet proof.  However, both Minh and I came to the conclusion that maybe there is something wrong with the vacuum line.  Eugene then told me that he has had this problem before but it eventually went away.  However, for this day, we're not going to have any such luck.  We then backed Eugene's bike into the garage to have a better look out from the hot sun.  We took the side panels and the center panel off of the F650GS's false tank.  Yup, we can definitely hear the hissing sound a lot better.  Minh and I are still suspecting it's the vacuum hose but we can find where the hose is at.  Then again it could be something else that is causing the problem.  The next thing we did was to remove the air intake and air filter to see if there is an excessive amount of oil that might have leaked over into the air box.  Perhaps the fuel injector is clogged with motor oil from the bike being dropped several days before, but the bike had been running fine until today.  There is definite oil in the air box so we cleaned that out.  We started the bike again but the results are still the same.  That's not it.  We also notice a small hole in the exhaust pipe that is leaking, but that should not effect the bike in this way.  We tried everything including disconnecting the computer to reset the bike.  Perhaps the computer is sensing something in a wrong manner.  Nope, that's not it either.  What we didn't know was that you had to leave the computer unplugged for 15 minutes to reset it.

Playing around with the throttle I managed to keep the bike running when the engine idles at 2K RPM.  Minh then asked if there is a idle adjustment knob on the 650 like the ones on Japanese sport bikes.  Nope, not on the Beemers.  Then I finally remembered.  The F650GS is not unlike a mountain bike.  The throttle cable has an adjustment screw, like a mountain bike's break adjustment screw, that you can use to force the idle to whatever setting you want.  This is the same an idle adjustment knob.  I turn the screw several times and manage to put the bike at 2K RPM.  This is the best we can do for now since all the BMW dealers are closed on Mondays.  At least Eugene can make it all the way back and take his bike in for repairs.  By now the clock has reached 3:30pm.  We're way late.  Eugene called his wife and informed her that he can't make it tonight to driver her to the doctor.  She's going to have to reschedule the appointment.  I was concerned but also noted that the 650 ran just fine at higher RPMs.  Eugene acknowledge that there is not much we can do but at least he can still ride it back in this condition.  He'll take it to the dealer tomorrow.  In the meantime he will adjust his idle setting to prevent the bike from dying.

Somewhere in between trying to get Eugene's bike working, Eugene and Minh were soaking their cool vest in ice water to battle the hot temperature.  The last time Minh check the temperature it was up to 96F.  Yup, it's hot.  I decided to use my cool vest also.  I initially thought the ice water business was too much but then gave in to Minh and Eugene's ooh and aah as they put on the cool vest from the ice water.  Not wanting to miss out on the action I dunked my cool vest in the same ice water.  What did I think when I put it on?  Nice!  However, since it took us so long to get Eugene's bike going, Minh and my cool vest has already lost the majority of the cooling properties (e.g. it's drying out).  We wanted to do the cold water thing again but the last batch used up all of the ice from my parent's fridge.  Oh well, we just have to resort to the simple wet it and let evaporation do its job.

Next thing you know my mom is back from work and "WOW!" came out of her mouth since we're still here.  We should have been gone already.  I told her about the situation with Eugene's bike, but now we're ready to head home.  We said our farewells and once again we saddled up.  A couple of waves from our hands and we're off towards the 99 freeway.  We stopped at the Chevron next to the freeway to gas up for the trip home.  Onto the 99 freeway we go.

Nothing much to say about the freeway other than it's fast.  However, right before we get into Kingsburg there is road construction to expand the freeway.  It will be nice when they're done but for now their activities is forcing traffic to be in two lanes instead of three.  This blows.  At several points the 99 is a parking lot.  We inching forward until we pass Kingsburg.  From there the freeway sped up and slow down.  When we got pass Visalia things got a little better.  After Tulare, things really opened up.  From here we're doing a steady 70-75MPH.  Not too bad.  Just before we reach Bakersfield Minh signaled that he need to relieve himself.  I acknowledged and took the first available exit with a gas station.  We pulled into a Pilot about 15 miles before Bakersfield.  Once again, we pulled into a Jack In The Box.  I don't know how we landed in this Jack's place again but we did.  We decided we might as well eat something before heading off again.  We ad hoc a dinning table using my right pannier and feasted on chicken sandwiches.  They're actually quite good.

Yes, ad hoc table.  It works quite well.

Oh yes, the orange glow of the sun setting.

As we were standing there chewing away at our food, we all agreed that the last 100 miles was a breeze compared to the last two days.  Freeway riding is a piece of cake.   At this point Minh and my cool vest are almost completely dry.  However, I have a trick up my sleeve.  I always have water and a ziploc bag handy for such an occasion.  I took off my cool vest placed it into the ziploc bag and poured some water into it.  It soaked up the water like a thirsty camel.  I also charged Minh cool vest and we're good to go.  Eugene didn't need to do anything as his cool vest has a lot of surface area and has not dried out yet.  Once again we suited up and headed out.  We all wanted to get home by 7:00pm.  It is almost 5:00pm when we left Jack's place.  Our next and last stop will be at the Grapevines to fuel up.

Zip zip zip.  Bakersfield appeared and disappeared.  We are now on the stretch of freeway where the 99 ends and runs into the I5.  If there are any hills, we don't notice them.  We pulled off at the very last exit for gas on the I5 before the big climb.  We fuel up at the Shell and head off again towards home.  I had never ridden the I5 on the R12GS so I was curious as to how it would do on this steep section of freeway.  I'm glad to report the steep grade wasn't visible to me.  I cranked the throttle and the bike lurches forward eagerly.  Yup, babe has power.  Even Eugene's 650GS was doing well.  He was pretty much right on my tail the entire way.  It was a please chewing that mountain and dusting all the cars.  Gorman, Magic Mountain, Valencia all zipped by.  When we reached the split for the I5 and the 210, Eugene kept on going on the I5 while Minh and I took the 210 East.  As I keep heading in the home direction, I'm reminded, from the traffic around me, once more how crazy people are in LA.  They don't believe in speed limits and drive balls out until they crash and burn or get ticketed by the cops.  Also, people with SUV have major egos.  They can't stand getting passed by a GS when in reality they have no chance of winning against a R12GS.  What are they thinking?

Anyway, when we reach Monrovia I dropped off and Minh kept going until he reaches Covina.  The trip is over.  We're all home safe and had a tremendous time riding the three days.  Suffice to say there are more trips planned.  Minh wants to go to B.C. next year but unfortunately I can't make it until a later time.  In the meanwhile we'll have to do short 3-4 day trips to satisfy our wanderlust.  As for Eugene, it turns out it was the vacuum hose that had a problem.  The Ventura BMW dealer re-clamped the vacuum hose and sent Eugene on his way (e.g. 1 1/2 week later).  The cool deal was it was a warranty item so Eugene didn't get charged for anything.  Just a bit of time away from his babe.

We finished the third day's ride (230 miles) in 3 1/2 hours.  Not bad at all.  Basically it is the same amount of time taken by automobiles.

For you people that have stuck through this entire write up, a big "Cheers!" to you as you finally made it to the end.  BTW, the next article will be about the Edwards Air Force Base open house for '06.

Until then, Thanks for reading.  If you ride, be safe out there.

Written on: October 23, 2006
Last modified: October 24, 2006