Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I had ignored a suggestiOn n Lexington to tighten my engine mount bolts an operation that would be a hassle since I had to move around the rats nest of wiring this bike seems to need but on a long downhill in Kentucky I had to stop and tighten them. The vibrations had gotten serious and I sheared an exhaust bolt. What had been a decently quite bike dominated mostly by engine noise now sounded like a nightmare of every scooter that used to awaken me in college winding up the hill outside my apartment at 4 am. The fact that it could have been avoided makes it even worse. I had taken to standing on the exhaust pipe to stretch my legs. Something I can no longer do. It also seems to have robbed some power although the ride was an almost constant climb to christiansburg. The roads that followed the crooked road were terrible easily the worst of the trip but road crews were out in full force repairing places were the shoulder had clearly been undermined and slid off the hillside. The route quickly joined little one one roads through rural cattle farms. The nicest thin I've noticed is eastern Kentucky and Virginia have prominent signage forthe bikecentenial trail and warnings for drivers to share the road with bikers. Drive was pretty and gave no idea that a hurricane had past just east of here the day before. I feel bad I ve steadily taken less pictures. In some part the scenery had been monotonous in the middle of the country. Here another problem cropped up. Familiarity wih Appalachia and a haziness to the sky I didn't get out west where I could easily grab crisp panoramas with my camera phone. The weather was perfect as it's been almost the whole trip but the cold from yesterday continued I had to layer on almost as many clothesi reached christiansburg the end of this section of my map and got a hotel and warm kea to ready myself for a 300 mile slog home tomorrow.

Coal Country to the Virginia state line.

Leaving out of berea took me through a few more hours of horse country. But I was into the Appalachian coal country of my roots by the time I reached hazard Kentucky. And got to change out my old rear tire for a new knobby Kenda I d bought in Lexington. It had been 70 degrees all day a little cold traveling at 35 with the mesh jacket that I ve been riding in. After hazard I traveled on some steep roads with even steeper drop offs and corners pot holed by coal trucks. The Kenda definitely will be more resistant to flats than the street tire that was worn to the belts but it's extra tread caused it to bottom out on the fender more often in the bumps and the harder compound had me locking the rear brake up more often. Even the coal trucks through this section seemed alright with a slow biker and there were some nice towns with artisan and craft juried galleries highlighting Appalachian art. After dark I sough shelter in a diner to wait out the shift change at a local mine which had unleashed a torrent of pickup trucks. I d been passing beside and over trout streams and past fish hatcheries all day which had me in the mind for a good mountain trought. I had to settle for catfish wig a side of halfrunner beans and a cornbread stuffing that turned out to be just cornbread. It was a good meal my first in ten hours. Upon leaving I piled on every stitch of clothing I owned it was down in the fifties. 4 more hours of pressing my luck in the curves I reached the Kentucky Virginia state line. And the breaks interstate park. A nice campground with some amazing natural features and a pavilion that as part of the crooked road music trail holds concerts nearly every night. I bedded down next to a little fie and woke at four shivering to add more wood. A lady the next morning told me it had been in the forties overnight.

Berea after a lecture about using the right kind of oil

I woke up In bowling green and rode the moped through bowling green past the old district along the river. At the hertz I picked up an suv which may have been the tiniest suv I ve ever seen a Nissan rogue. The only thing it had in common with SUVs I m used to was gas mileage an abysmal 19 mpg. The moped with my toolbox luggage on back just barely fit. I made the 90 mile trip to Louisville only to find that the dealership tomos lists on there site is in the process of winding down. He said he couldnt afford to keep a mechanic on payroll. I was on the brink of giving up. And driving the rest of the way home even as Irene was making landfall just south of home. I found a moped repair shop number in Lexington Kentucky Fayette moped and lawnmower repair. The owner answered and because of the time change he was getting ready to close up for the weekend. I explained my situation and he told me to come on he d give me some parts frOm a wrecked bike he had. When I got there the shop was full of old mopeds and new twist and go scooters. Like Myron's mopeds he'd been in the same space for 30 years. Catching the tail end of the fist moped boom. He didn't have any tomos in stock but he scavenged some parts and between a used clutch and part of the gear cluster he got me back on the road. The gear clusters Had galled on the shafts and cold welded themselves together. One of the countershafts felt like a fancy candle holder it was full of divots. When I reassembled the case the day before a gear had been modalities and the teeth had eaten off and the oil in the transmission was full of metal shavings. When the owner saw this he decided he had better do the work himself. I can't say enough good things about the fact that h gave up his Saturday to help me. The transmission is way louder now it vibrates badly it is even more reluctant to shift in second and only stays in first up to 7 mph since it now has the original transmission spring in it. All that being said I m back on the road.
Lexington is a nice city it reminds me of richmond i think it is just starting to see the urban revitalization that richmond recieved over the last two decades Leaving the rental car at the airport i headed south to berea to pjck the bikecentenial trail back up it was apparently an hour and a half ride but I lost my navigation when cellphone coverage dropped off and my paper map lacked the detail needed to find my way. The first part of the journey was on a busy fourlane which was going through major renovation so it was down to two lanes at most points with an 18 inch dropped the shoulders scary on a Saturday night around 10 o'clock. I picked up some backeoads and quickly realized they don't use street signs out here. I spent the next three hours driving through the landscape of winters bones I got chased for a mile by a boa kept which might have been some hellhound from the crossroads. That was one fast dog. I road up some hills which dropped my speed to the point where I had to pedal. All in all it was fun but I ran a whole tank of gas out going the wrong way and around in circles. I didn't get to berea till after two. I almost over slept my checkout the next morning. I left berea after enjoying the Kentucky folk art center and a good plate of tomatoe pie.

Friday, August 26, 2011


After bashing my luggage this morning I got lost a couple times and decided since I was already pushing into the day I would head down to mammoth cave national park take in the sites and maybe camp again heading to Berra tomorrow. But on a steep down hill grade in the park I came to a ferry crossing the green river which reminded me of that song paradise. When I shut the bike off it seized. I figured it was the engine but as I pushed the bike off the ferry it came on with a handful of throttle it drug me Along till I figured out what was happening. After rearing down the transmission as far as I could with tools at hand and consultation with Shaun at myrons moped we decided the first gear freewheel bearing that allows the transmission to shift into second had locked up. I had had problems with the pedals not engaging when the bike was new and a stutter sometimes wen pulling from a stop when the bike was new but these had moderated. Somewhere in Kansas I thought that the transmissiom noise and cibrations had increased but I chalked that up to nerves. But after topping the tranmission up in Missouri the whine from the transmission had increased. I messed that up when I added sae30 oil to 10w30. After a hundred more miles I had stopped in st Louis and emptied the old oil and replaced it with type f transmission fluid. This quoted the transmission and really improved the shifts but type fis deffinately thinner than 10 w 30 and maybe having broke the bearings in with heavyweight oil the lightweight oil could have left too much play in the bearings. It's anyone's guess if it was the oil a manufacturers defect or the ten to twelve hour days bashing along in second gear causing the first gear bearing to constantly freewheel that killed it. Anyway you slice it I was stranded in mammoth park after the last tour. With a bike that was good for 12 mph tops. My support crew helped get me a rental car in bowling green and found the number for the tomos dealer in Louisville ky. So headed the 26 miles down there. A funny thing about the way the transmission seized is that second gear was constantly trying to engage. This resulted in enormous heat in the transmission and completely burning through the the clutch ling on the second gear. The smell of burnt cork made me sad for the first two or three miles but they were nothing in comparison to the gut wrenching sound of metal on metal after the lining wore away. I can just imagine the metal shavings working their way into ecry bearing in the transmission. Worse still is the heat undoubtedly ruined second gears clutch drum. The clutches had looked fine after the first few minutes of problems and the preceding 3000 + miles but the half mile drive had already blues the clutch drum and I can only imagine what it looks like now 30 miles later. I missed a mammoth cave tour but ate a half of a fried chicken and had a few conversations in the parking lot of mammoth cave hotel. A bunch of bikers who had trailered in their bikes talked about there old bikes and trips none knew what to make of my trip. But all offered help and condolences. The fates willing I can get the part I need in Louisville and be back aboard by tomorrow evening. I used to think that things like this that foiled my established plans would herald some great life event or change but. The more I grow the less I believe that The only way to change your life is to make changes not go searching for random happenstance.

Into the heart of bluegrass country

Illinois flew by on tiny little back roads I got lost a couple times. But all in all a nice area reminded me me of Appalachia even though it's the little ozarks the only east west mountain range in the east. At cave in the rock a nice little town i crossed the ohio on a ferry. Other than a flat tire leaving a gas station around 10 o'clock Kentucky Was a lot like Sothern illinos. I spent the night at rough river state park. Probably the nicest state lark I've been to they have a couple golf courses there as well as fishing and boating. This morning I found out how slick Kentucky bluegrass is pulling off on the shoulder to read my map the bike plum slid out from under me. To make up for the shock I decided a full breakfast was in order at the next diner I had the best fried potatoes of the trip done proper in a cast iron skillet in bacon grease. I may stop by mammoth cave later today on my way to berea Kentucky

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New post

800+ miles to home. 350 to berea Kentucky. Before I got deep into the Missouri ozarks the day before yesterday I had a couple traditional cornhusk wrapped tamales at a roadside stand with some great salsa. 
In a town that was part of a forty mile detour from my mapped route due to bridge damage sustained in this years flooding. The ozarks are crazy kind of like the weave of a cloth I would go up at a 7-9 % grade for an 1/8 or 1/4 mile and then back down for the same distance then repeat. At the bottom of most descents was a sign reading impassible when flooded and a depth gauge marked on the sides of bridges. Luckily the water was down. I  chased a thunderstorm for a couple hours around and after dark finally catching it at the ozark national riverways park I spent the night at. It was a hot and muddy night but I found some fire wood anyway and had a fire and cooked dinner. The dinner roused the parks native in habitants a pack of 5 raccoons and I had a battle royale to keep them from my food while cooking if I turned my back they would be on the picnic table in a flash.  

In the morning I walked to the river branch by my camp site waded out into the current and sat in the water in a pool of sun for a couple hours. It was a good experience and much more comfortable than the moped seat has become. I broke camp and headed toward Jonson shut ins state park over more of these short hills and rice crossings the park is a mustsee one of the last southern glacier glades and a nice campground and visitors center built with stimulus funds. 
After finally hitting flatlands again at an old mining town I decided to head off route angling north to st Louis. To stay with a friend from college. What should have been a two hour ride stretched to four and a half repairing two flats from driving on the shoulder of a busy fourlane. St Louis wAs good had a nice bed an a home cooked meal. The next day Seth and I ride around and looked at urban decay. Exploring a turn if the century burned out apartment complex. My professors always said that a building was at it's best with it's bones laid bare and this one was no different. In the way back I got some st Louis style ribs and stopped by Burroughs grave. The monument to a man who did everything in his power to disappoint and abandon his family and responsibilities only to be brought home in death trapped with them for eternity. That reads as poorly as I sounded in my head. I changed out the transmission fluid before I left replacing 10w30 that I had mistakingly topped off with hd30 the day before. The tranny had sounded like it was dying when I pulled into st Louis. I used type f transmission fluid this time and was pleasantly surprised that the bucking I had noticed pulling away in first gear was gone the shift to second no longer required me letting off the throttle. A huge improvement. My new worry is a rear tire showing excessive wear and maybe a wheel bearing that is beginning to protest. After experiencing a high speed blow out the night before I figure that I can deal with those when they completely Fail.

I crossed the Mississippi and heade I to Illinois and ended up at devils kitchen lake campground after eating some egg battered chile relleños  in a college town just north of there. I awoke to find I'd camped on an isthmus and had lake on bithsides of me. A cool breeze helped to fight what had been 101 degree heat the day before. Kentucky here I come
Brett Price

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hutchinson ks to Pittsburg ks

Flat and hot. The rude into Hutchinson home of the state fair and a large collection of space memorabilia was interesting. It smelled like the family lands up in west Virginia leaking natural gas wells and fresh cut grass. Although I couldn't see it I was traveling through low marsh lands past oil dericks. I got into hurchnson after midnight. Left early and rode along flat lands all day. The most interesting thing was trying to follow the directions for the transamerica bikecentenial route. This was my first day with actual turns. I had had a sneaking suspicion since California but Kansas has confirmed that everytown with a population higher than 900 people has a sonic in it. These are often right next to the husks of local dairy bars. I m a little offended that west point lacks one since it has a population close to 3 thousand.
I very nearly made it out of Kansas lastnight but stayed instead in pittsburg ks 30 miles from Joplin mo. This was a nice college town with a tuen if the century cinema showing new releases and a few 1920 s hotels one had an old cafe in it where I had a beef brisket breakfast with homemade applesauce. My reason for staying in Pittsburg was a need to find a motorcycle shop who could take a link out of my chain. With that done I also topped if my transmission finding a missing bolt in the case. I'll need to replace that before long although there are no leaks in the seal near it. My oil injection pump is also weeping oil. I m not sure why but at the same time it doesn't concern me. On ward towards st Louis.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mountain goats and other animals

Yesterday leaving salidas in the canyons I saw 6 mountain goats grazing at the roadside. I stopped to watch and photograph them and once they noticed me I felt kind of exposed. Where I had been passing chipmunk, prarie dog, and squirrels leaving Colorado these were replaced by rabbit and doves along the roadside shouldEr. The flat lands of Colorado grass land gave over to the flatlands of Kansas. The only difference was an increase in the awareness of the bikecentenial route with rest stops and camping areas. However upon crossing the line the number of feed lots I passed was amazing they assaulted my nose fiercely often for miles. In ness city I passed the offices of feedlot magazine. I kid you not.
I passed four cyclist going the other direction. They seemed in good spirits.
The bikes been running well although the chain has stretched past where the adjusters can keep it tight. I need to find a shop that can remove a link on Monday. I stopped at a roadside beer joint which my map indicated as the last restaurant for three hours. And got the $8 dollar 16 oz t bone a heck of a steak dinner for the price. But I had to pass on the mountain oysters they also had on the menu. Maybe next time.

Salida to eads

Out of Salida to canon city I rode through the royal gorge area with public and private campgrounds every 2 miles. Tons of people were out using the river. Salida was having a custom car show and motorcycle rally this weekend and I passed a large number of both. In canon city I picked up the bikecentenial trail. After passing through pueblo the land flattened and the road ran straight. For hours I wouldn't see a car or cross road but I watched a storm off in the distance at eads I stopped and hot a hotel as the rain began. My map had said no services for 58 miles pad eades so it seemed like a good idea. I had topped off my oil tank in cañon city somewhere along the way the cap came off I ended up coating a couple of items in two stroke oil I spent two hours trying too clean things up last night I don't think I did much excePt coat my arms and hands in the stuff. I won't leave that cap loose again. It's 412 miles to where I want to stop tonight I hoPe I can make it even though my longest day has been 312 miles

Friday, August 19, 2011

Earthship world headquarters to Salida CO

I grabbed breakfast at Doc Martins restaurant in Taos. For 6 $ I ordered an eggs Benedict of sweet potato biscuits poached eggs chorizo and covered in a green chili sauce. The restaurant was almost as impressive as the meal the structure dated to the late 1800s built in the adobe style with hundred some yEar old timbers throughout.

I then headed to the earthship world headquarters to tour a few earthships and discuss interning for a build out or two this winter. The whole experience was great sustainable design built with recycled materials. I got to see the remains of the architects original homestead from the 1970s. I returned to my crash site and found the remand of my mirror glass. At tres piedras I turned on 285 and into an arrow straight drive into a 25 mph headwind. I crossed the border into Colorado and contemplated stopping for the night it was 640. 86 more miles would put me into the Rockies I had just begun to see. I decided to push on. 15 minutes later I arrived at the end of civilization and entered the great sand dune within a volcanic valley between to mountain ranges. I traveled here on about a three percent grade arrow straight against a strong headwind and ran out of gas sometime after dark 22 miles from the next gas station halfway up a steep mountain pass. I had neglected to fill my spare tank and couldn't fill the tank past the 15 mile reserve mark. Luckily once I mounted the summit I could coast the 9 miles into the valley at the otherside. I put a full gallon in the tank there and spent the night in Salida. After attaining an elevation of 9000+ feet. In the morning I did laundry at a laundromat and got to watch 2 fauns bounding around the parking lot I hadn't seen deer that tame in a while. I ate lunch at a tamale stand voted best green chile in Colorado two years running.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Farmington to Carlton National Park a wreck and then Taos

Left Farmington around noon after picking up a quart of two stroke oil and some pj1 chain lube. I had spent the morning looking for something to pad the seat with no luck. I forgot to get breakfast so I figured I'd get lunch on the road. I headed out Of town over the animas river. Into a land of oil and gas wells through low mountain desert.
This whole section was full of prarie dogs ground squirels chipmunks and mice. I watched as they spooked on the side if the road as I passed. Something i no doubt would have missed at higher speeds.
I pulled into a small valley with a gas station the first I d seen in three hours. There was no food store in town so I bought a piece of beef jerky. There was a food cart in town but the owner was asleep and I decided not to wake him. Here i talked to a few people who help keep kids off the streets by teaching them how to repair and ride little pit bikes. I always thought that giving kids the opportunity to have fun learning a skill can make a positive change apparently others do too.
I only had 80 miles to Taos. Then I hit a green mountain. First off there was roadwork for 20 miles with traffic stopped for almost an hour. Which gave ms time to talk to some of the others waiting. Then the path steepened i spent the next three hours climbing switch backs in 1st gear at 10mph. Atleast the scenery was epic. A rain storm caught me halfway up but at the top I found a lakeside national park campground and clear skies i decided to stop and ride into Taos in the morning. At that altitude the temps were inthe low 40s. After a cup of rice I went to sleep. Overnight the clouds must have raised and a small rainhad fallen. In the morning I was packed to ride the 59 miles to taos at 7 only to realize I had a flat rear tire. I installed my repaired tube from the day before and it went flat before i arrived on the road. After replacing that tube I set off. It was a downhill ride past ranches. Into tres piedras a new ghost town with shuttered gas stations and convenience stores.
I had come to Taos to sees an architect I admire and his earthship homes. A few miles outside trespiedras I saw a subdivision of these homes he has started. I was so engrossed by the site that I rode off the road into a sand dune. The bike seemed fine and my luggage was fine if dusty. Needless to say I did this directly in front of his office I rode on a few miles meaning to find a place to death and shower before returning to talk. Within five miles I realized I had bent the swingarm on the bike in the crash. The tire was now fouling the frame and the chain would not stat tight. So I spent 4 hours disassemblng everything from the engine back at a turnout next to the rio grande canyon. I now know more about how the bike is put together. I found I could bend the swingarm back into allignment. This troubles me as much as the fact it bent in the first place.
With the bike As good a s new I rode into Taos and ate a hamburger my first real meal in 36 hours. Taos has a vast number of pueblo style homes after unloading the bike inrode around town and out into the suburbs after sunset i bought some camping food at a convenience store and went to sleep. a long day for only making 59'miles

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Product reviews

I bought a cheap full face helmet made by vega. This has been a great investment it's quite light has decent vents and the face shield has held up well although I look like a dork riding a moped with a full on motorcycle helmet. A bug in the eye would be way worse than that.

I had a pair of Joe rocket textile gloves which I lost yesterday and good riddance they were a huge disappointment. The faux suede of the fingers had rubbed through on 7 of 10 fingers by day 4. I had not abused these gloves and it makes me doubt they would offer much protection in the event of a crash. That said the palms were reinforced with a mesh so maybe that would have helped. Riding without gloves yesterday was fine.

I also bought a mesh jacket with padded back and elbow support. This jacket has been great it fits well and kept me cool in the dessert. I couldn t feel any heat difference with or without it on. The jacket is made by agvsport.

I have been listening to music on a scandisk Sansa fuse. I hate the interface but can't fault the player itself. Adam who I stayed with in San Diego works for Nixon in their headphone department. He has let me sample their earbuds and the fit and sound of these have been impressive. They are by far the best headphones I ve used.

My iPhone has definitely paid for itself being a computer gps and camera all inone. The yelp app has helped me find good restaurants in every town I ve been to. Photobucket has let me upload my photos of the trip to the Internet. I ll try to ntrgrate photos at a later date to this blog.

Flat tire and the Navajo nation

I rode 320 miles from the grand canyon to Farmington new mexico. 300 of that was through th navajo nation The bike now has 1067 miles it is exactly 200 miles to Taos my next stop. Leaving the grand canyon I saw many impressive landforms. I stopped at a tourist trap called dinosaur footprints. Which was actually pretty impressive. The lady apologized for the mud it had rained there for the first time in three months the night before. I spent the next 6 hours reminded by that fact by the mudslides that inhabited my breakdown lane path. The Arizona section of route 160 was wide and well maintained and the scenery Was nice with interesting colors and many mesa. But the monotony of 150 miles of arrow straight road with only one gas station and no habitations to speak of made for a grating drive I think my top speeds are around 28 mph on the flats I envied the people passing me at 70 to 80. The new Mexico sections of the road see a change in topography a more foothills like approach. Unfortunately the road became poorly maintained with the runoff strip I was riding on gouged by fissures and inhabited by knee high bushes these caused me few problems though as they lacked mass. After nearly 6 hours without a picture I began to stop again and take some as the light changed to sunset. It was somewhere through here that I launched my self off a sand Burm on the runoff strip trying to avoid a car. I landed in deep sand upright and unharmed six feet from the road. First time I had done that At dusk I pulled off to take a picture of sunset and a gothic cathedral like rock I had been sighting but never reaching for a few hours. When I went to pull onto the road i realized my rear tire was flat. My first flat in 1030 miles I had to change the tire in the dark. A lady from a nearby farm offered help but I declined I finished the tire change around 10 30 and road the last 5 miles into sliprock and ate my first meal of the day at a mcdonalds.
It was another forty miles to Farmington where i was going to get a hotel on a four lane. I set off nEarly launching the bike off a pothole in the first half mile. Almost immediately the bike lost power and wouldn't struggle out of first gear. I stopped and topped off my oil tank fearing I'd run the oil injection dry. No after another mile I was still troubled by low speeds I stopped again and realized I had put my brake line n a bind and that the bump had locked my rear brake. I quickly sorted this and hope the heat didn't hurt my wheel bearings. I arrived in Farmington minutes before midnight with 1067 on the odometer .

Kingman to grand canyon

Left early from kingman. I had finally figured out how to encourage the transmission to shift from first to second. If I let off the throttle at the shift point it would ease into second gear. The route 66 To Zeligman was fine and empty on Sunday morning. I ate at the roadkill 66 cafe had a good chorizo and egg platter. Outside seligman I found some metal sculptures of animals I liked but couldn't figure out bow to get them on the moped. From here to Williams I spent a lOt of time on the highway breakdown strip since route 66 is broken by missing sections I could see the old road bed but barriers and pastures had reclaimed it. The scenery was fine but in comparison to the drive through oatman it didn't matter that most of my time was spent avoiding objects on the road. Williams was nice I bought some food for dinner at a grocery and had a long conversation with a guy on an old BMW r90. He talked about his rides across country and told me to watch for the monsoon rain. He had just ridden through hail on the other side of the mountain. I bought a rain jacket. I had sent mine home by fedex from sandiego.
The forty mile drive to the canyon was spent in rain. At that elevation the air was cold. The bulk of the lightening stayed behind me after the first hour I stopped for a cup of coffee and watched the storms. A number of distinct cells were visible all around. It's amazing how far you can see out here without any trees.

Even though I could have ridden for two or three more hours I decided to camp at the grand canyon village lathers campground I set up camp in the rain. But after that was done the evening cleared to blue skies. I went out to buy fire wood loading the moped with 7 logs quite the sight. I then walked along the canyon Anne took pictures of the sunset catching a rainbow over the canyon in the process. The canyon is hard to comprehend and harder to capture in pictures. That night temps were in the high forties but I decided to sleep just in my sleeping bag and bivysack. The sky was so clear and the full moon lit up everything i was glad I had stopped when I did. It had been a 200 mile ride from kingman.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blythe to kingman

Dropped the bowl off tue carburetor this morning a couple of shavings in there but very little. I re adjusted the chain and set off. Drove out of blithe on 95. Another desert drive along the Colorado river. Ran throuh some rain the first of the trip. Drove through needles to bullhead city az. Where I picked up a connector to rt 66. While in town I ate a plate of hueVos rancheros made with carnitas a good breakfast at 3 in afternoon.

I had hoPed to make 275 miles today but I only made 200. Stopped for the night in kingman az. Picked up some BBQ at a place I had eaten here before a solid sandwich but not nearly as good as the night before. I drove on out of town on rt 66 and took some pictures of sunset. This is the real reason I made so few miles the scenery today was epic I took tons of picture breaks. The drive out of oatman on 66 was epic. I bombed the 15 to 20 mph switchbacks deffinately maxed out the bikes performance with a full load.

I unloaded my moped and cruised around kingman where they were having a bunch of classic car cruises. The bike has 579 miles on it. The only problem with the bike is the seat got hard about 2 hours into the ride. I hope that doesn't happen tomorrow.

Temecula to Blythe via the desert or I run out of gas in the desert and have to pedal

Temecula I gas up the tank and grab a bag of trail mix. Retracing the route I did in the dark two days ago in the dark. Pretty drive through ranch and vineyard country. Cars were good i didn't have many problems hugging the edge of the road. Instead of heading back to Julian I took a sr 2 past two ancient ranches coming out 7 miles down the mountain from Julian where I had intended to gas up not even thinking I set of down into the Azeri borrego desert blasting through some great canyons the bike handled great even with the full travel road. 30 miles into the dessert I had to switch to reserve. Bad news the reserve is good for 15 miles I had 60 miles to the next station. I checked my spare gas can it wasn't full just a splash in it. Poor planning that. About two miles down the road I came across an offroad vehicle park and bought a can of octane boost which I guessed would stretch my gas a ways.
The rest of the trip through the dessert was uneventful I ran at half throttle to save gas. I saw a couple crazy lizards running across the road at highspeed. I turned onto a four lane and ran along the median past ranches and alfalfa farms towards and past the salton sea. I pulled into warrington and saw the sign for the first station i d past in 70 miles. Then inran out of gas and had to pedal the mile to the station. Lucky really. I bought a gallon of gas for the bike a gallon spare and a gallon of water and a couple cookies. Headed out into the imperial dunes desert area for Blythe passing into this area I rode next to a blue Herron flying Low along a canal keeping pace with me at eye level. This crossing was a hundred mile slog. I left Brawley at 4:30 and reached blithe at 8. The desert was pretty and hot I saw the mesquite mine pit and a couple boarded up gas stations. I really enjoyed the last few miles into town past some great farms and the Colorado river at dusk.

The bike ran great and I got the best food of the trip at a BBQ place Rebel BBQ in blithe they had a BBQ ham sandwich witha hot jalepeno potato salad. Wow best BBQ ever. I m going to try to make it to the grand canyon or Seligman in AZ tomorrow on route 66 from needles ca.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Temecula to Myron's Mopeds to Temecula

Loaded the moped into a truck to make the trip to Myron's Moped. Within 5 minutes at the shop Shaun had diagnosed the poor running problem fixed it and showed me how to fix the problem if I was out on the road without any tools. It ended up being some machining debris leftover from finishing out the gas tank or carbuerator had clogged the highspeed jet in the carburetor. When we took off the float bowl it looked like someone was panning for gold.

Shaun says this is normal one good reason to buy a new tomos through a dealer who knows them well. I could use a strand from the brake line to clean the jet next time. We then tore down the engine and transmission tightening all the studs properly. One head stud was loose one exhaust stud and both intake bolts were loose. These last bolts are almost impossible to tighten with the cylinder installed. A new NGK plug was added to replace the oem plug. The piston clips were replaced with tailess piston clips. A weak spot that Shaun found in his high speed a55 engine was the tail clips would break causing piston damage. This modification was done in anticipation of some highspeed downhill grades in the Rockies.

The transmission was cleaned out the oil was free of metal shavings but had some grit from the casting process. The clutch drum was switched out for one that was highspeed balanced to reduce vibrations. This was immediately noticeable in the mirrors and pegs. The highspeed clutch spring was replaced with a high speed green spring raising the shift point into second gear. This could help in the hills. What it does do is cause the engine to run off the pipe before second gear to engage. I actually preferred the original shift points but once second gear hits it pulls better since it is in the middle of the power band in second. New oil was added and Shaun spent another few hours talking me through spare parts and repairs. Although neither of us foresee many problems now that the bike has been well sorted. I rode a few minutes last night and the bike felt good.

I can't say enough good things about Myron s Mopeds. The people I met at the shop had some great stories and a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate the time they spent talking me through this trip Shaun gave a lot of his own time to this bike and new his products backwards and forwards.

Tomorrow temecula to Blythe

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shakedown cruise day 0

Loaded up the bike in Oceanside California after almost a week at friends. The moped was bought new at Myron's Mopeds in Fullerton. Shaun there has been preparing the bike for the trip. Myron's Mopeds is definitely the most knowledgable moped dealer in southern California. Two trips there had it modified for the trip. Shaun told me to drive the bike for a thousand miles before I set out to shake out any problems. Then we would tear down the transmission and add a higher shift point spring to the first gear clutch and balance the shift drums for a smoother ride.

So I set out with 23 miles on the bike for a 4000 ft hill climb to Julian california and from there to temecula California a trip of around a 130 miles.

Good day saw some amazing things including a tarantula on the road and a jack rabbit running into my bike. I managed to climb 2000 feet in 30 miles past herb plantations, nurseries, orange and apple groves. In the next 40 I reached 4100 at Julian passing 5 indian reserves turned around and headed north to telemuca.  The bike started running rough about 30 miles into a 60 mile trip I went down as far as 2200 feet and climbed back to 3900 about dusk the bike wouldn't pull past 15 mph and I hadn't seen anything for a Couple miles.  Sometime after dark I passed a little depot that said navy extreme climate survival training camp the last thing I saw until the outskirts of telemeca about 2 hours later. It was stressful and cold but the great vault of cloudless sky the stars and moon made up for it.

Brett Price

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

and it begins ...

the trip: Oceanside, CA to West Point, VA

the distance: 2,694 miles 

the transportation: this bike 

the trip starts today. check back soon for updates, pictures, and what promises to be some interesting stories.