For all of those who were waiting on the edge of their seats..........
Why, you may ask, are you not currently touring? Plague of locusts? No. Vicious wolverines surrounding your motorcycle? No. Beehive in your helmet? No (although it would be a good look for me). Got your tallywhacker caught in the chain, had to chew it off, and are currently suffering ennui from bloodloss? No. Monsoon season in Calcutta? No.
I am still in Baltimore because of a phenomenon called valve tap. I will be in Baltimore for a big chunk of tomorrow fixing this problem.
Why, you may ask, did you go to Jersey first instead of straight to Seattle
I wanted to test my gear to insure that it would make the trip. The bags worked out amazingly well. The tent endured quite well also (despite a couple of technical glitches that have simple remedies). The bike is not doing what she is supposed to. Lacking a broad frame of reference on motorcycles, and with the knowledge that 400cc's is a small engine, I figured that having difficulty maintaining 60 mph in fourth gear might be normal. Having discussed this with a couple of local technical experts, I discovered that I was wrong. Apparently, I made the Jersey journey with onl 1 operational piston. That means that I was getting half the horsepower tha I should. It is a tribute to the capability of this bike that it made a 320 mile trek on one cylinder. It is a tribute to my lack of knowledge on the subject that I didn't notice. How I fixed this problem and discovered that I have a valve tap is complicated, and if you really care, there is an explanation at (*1).
Okay, so that's why you went to Jersey first. But why Jersey?
A myriad of reasons. Foremost among them, it afforded me the opportunity to say goodbye to both my godfather (Essex, MD), and my godmother (Cape May, NJ) in the same week. I also get to say that I went from the Atlantic to the Pacific on a motorcycle. Jersey is also, relative to the rest of the journey, not substantially distant from Baltimore. If something cataclysmic occurred, I could still have some company in the hospital, or maybe eve get a nifty helicopter ride. YAY!!
Yeah, but Jersey?
It's actually got some really amazing beaches. Horseshoe crabs spawn there, so if you can ignore the smell of rotting horseshoe crab, it's cool to see a whole bunch of prehistoric creatures doing what they do best: make more prehistoric creatures. That smell is really easy to ignore if you have ever been around my feet for an extended period of time. The breakers were really big the day we went to the beach. There were windsurfers, sea kayak surf ers, and some guy with a monstrous kite and a skateboard sized surfboard doing some really neat tricks. I think I have discovered my futuresport. It's called kite surfing, and if you threw a couple of polo hammers and a rugby ball in the mix, you'd have sport that makes hurling look like curling. Add a couple of great white sharks in the mix and a few of buckets of chum, and you'd have your average Saturday night at the restaurant "Savages" (*2).
Any other issues?
Why yes, as a matter of fact, the new battery that I got for my computer will not charge. The company is sending another one 2nd day air UPS. What has 2 thumbs and is not pleased? This guy! It should be here on Wednesday, and barring a miracle, I will be leaving on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. That bus idea is looking better every freakin' day! At this rate I'll be gone by August! DAMMIT!!!!!!!!! I might be able to rig something from my motorcycle battery to charge it... hmmmmmmm. I might bring in the professionals for this one.
Aside from the big one at the top, I now (in theory) have a blog location. For anyone who would rather go there than recieve this email directly, please inform me and I will take you off the list. If any of your friends want to be on this list, please inform me and I will add them to it. If anyone knows Pat Dorsey or Amber Dolon, please get their strong and athletic butts to email me so I can include them on these journals.
The website where these are being posted is:
Contest: Gonna name the bike. "Bitch" doesn't work, and "Sarah" might doom the trip entirely (sorry kid!). Send me your ideas. The bike is definitively female!
(*1) Under the watchful eye of the best troubleshooter I know, I did a plug wire removal test to discover which cylinder was inoperational. Right one worked, left one didn't. I swapped the jets from the right carb to the left. I thought that it was a fuel delivery problem. I was right. The left cylinder is now working, and clicking every time the spark fires. With any luck, I have not bent the valves. They need careful adjustments with feeler gauges and stuff.
(*2) For more info about the about the restaurant concept of "Savages", Please email Peter Oh, Nate Douchebag, or Lil Janx