typing down yesterday

December 19, 2007 at 3:22 pm 7 comments

Image Credit: MSN

I’m ready to go around the world. The following post is a story about my ride home last night, and it contains a lot of motorcycle talk.

Maybe you’ll find it interesting? The story, plus more is after the jump.

Yesterday it started raining hard in the afternoon and into the evening. By the time I was done at work around 5:30, the streets were flooding in typical Los Angeles fashion, and the rain was still coming down hard with no sign of it letting up.I decided that I shouldn’t delay the misery any longer, and went down and started up my motorcycle. I warmed it up really well, and I took off in the rain. I was instantly soaked, not so much from the rain coming down at me, but from the rain coming up from the road and off cars. I had a rain jacket on but that did little to prevent my pants and shoes from being twice as heavy with rain.

Everything was going well when my engine started misfiring. When I came to a stop sign and pulled my clutch in, the engine completely died. I chalked it up to it still being cold, and started it up and went to the next stop where it did the same thing. This time it wouldn’t start back up and consistently fire. I coasted it into a covered gas station where I got off my bike and assessed the situation.

I started by going logically through the problem. It wasn’t firing consistently on the twin engines. It was raining pretty hard, so I made sure my gas tank seal (which I had recently replaced) was intact and water wasn’t getting into my tank. It wasn’t. I checked my valve covers and my inline fuel filters and everything looked intact. I dried everything off the best I could and tried to start it up. The electric ignition wasn’t turning it over hard enough so I kick her over and she started up fine, but ran rough. Then I noticed my right plug wire was arcing on my valve cover. A blue spark was jumping in perfect time from the insulated wire to the metal casing.

I turned the bike off and examined the plug wire. The wire had broken where the spark plug connected and rain had gotten in there and it was essentially shorting out my right engine. I dried everything off best I could, went about bought some duct tape (in lieu of electrician’s tape, which they didn’t have) and taped everything up well to insulate it. I kicked it over and success! It sounded great and I double checked everything else and drove off.

It was wet and dark going down the PCH, but I rode carefully and kept my eyes open for puddles and flooded road. My bike ran well until I got into Marina Del Ray, when she started to cough again. I was feathering the throttle at the stop light when something had hit my foot. I looked down and part of my exhaust trim had come loose and was hanging by one bolt off the side of my bike, resting on my foot peg. I cursed my negligence as I forgot to check this the night before when I had noted it had been colder lately – which tends to loosen bolts. I held it on the best I could with my foot as the light turned green, and went about another mile until my bike died again.

This time there was no covered gas station. I pushed it up on a sidewalk underneath a dim streetlight and checked everything. What was happening to my right engine was now happening to my left. Drying everything off under cover was no problem, but drying things off in the driving rain with barely any dry clothing left to use was near impossible. I was kneeling next to my bike and tried to think about how ridiculous I must look to passersby, warm in their cars.

I finally wrapped things up enough to my satisfaction, and tried to start my bike. Once again, my electric start was too weak because of all the juice I was using, so I went to kick it over. I should also mention that at this point I am indistinguishable from someone who decided to drink all the whiskey at a party and jump in the pool with their clothes on. My shoes were not only soaked, they were holding water. The rubber toe of Converse do an exceptional job at keeping liquid in. I’ll remember this if I ever get find myself in a situation where I need to drink from a shoe.

So I get on my bike and put my cold, wet foot on the cold, slick kickstart and start kicking. One kick: nothing. Second kick: nothing. Third kick: CRACK. My foot had slipped off and my shin had firmly placed itself on the foot peg. I was certain I had broken my shin.

I’m sad to say, this is where I lost it.

Any delight that someone in an adjacent apartment or a passing car was getting by watching my miserable situation was probably increased ten-fold as they watched me clutch my shin and yell every obscenity I could remember (I remembered a lot).

I calmed down, finally kicked the bike over with my other foot, and limped my bike home. Nothing was more satisfying that pulling into my garage and not feeling the water coming at me from all sides. I took my helmet off, dried off my bike, went inside and changed into dry clothes and had a well deserved beer.

It was a challenge to be sure – but it was fun. I’m proud that I diagnosed the problem, and with a minimal amount of tools I fixed my bike enough to keep going. And it also let me let me know a few potential weak links for any long distance trips on my bike. For instance, I need to get heavy duty, waterproof plug cables.

Afterward I went and watched I Am Legend with Jaxon, to which I give an “ehhhhhh.” Then I received the best thing ever from the best girl ever: the soundtrack to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I’m listening to “In Time” by Robbie Rob right now. Whoever Robbie Rob is, he sort of sounds like Peter Gabriel. I really think “In Time” is a good song.Overall, yesterday was pretty amazing.

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Entry filed under: 2 Wheel Luv, Aww crap!, General Blabbing, Los Angeles, Road Trips.

Sportos on my doorstep lion heads

7 Comments

  • 1. beans  |  December 19, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    such imagery.

  • 2. dave  |  December 19, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Way to persevere, man. I would have just decided that the motorcycle was broken and left it on the side of the rode. Problem solved! Then the city would eventually tow it, and instead of a motorcycle I’d have a parking ticket and a tow bill. I know this because I’ve done it… twice. Now I just walk. It’s a lot cheaper in the long run. Don’t you love how the rain seems to make any annoying situation about ten times more annoying? When you talked to me yesterday I was building that fence for my friend. It was raining and I was getting soaked by water pouring down from the garage roof. After I got off the phone with you, I had to hike around to the back side to put some slats on (I was building a “Good Neighbor Fence”). The back side was on the edge of a really steep, really muddy hill that was quickly becoming a fucking mudslide. I kept slipping, and falling to my knees while trying to attach the boards. At one point I was holding a board in place with one hand while attempting to drive in a screw with the other, when I slipped for about the twentieth time and fell right on my face. As I was cussing and dragging myself to my feet, the board, which was not yet secured, fell off the fence and onto my head, knocking me back down on my face. As I was sliding down the hill (on my face) all I could do was laugh. It was either that or break something. Shit like this… you can’t even make it up.

  • 3. Robert  |  December 19, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Is it possible I can hire a government hacker that has access to top secret spy satellites that happened to be over you at this specific time, so I can watch this comedy of errors?

    I won’t laugh, I promise.

  • 4. Charley  |  December 19, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Dave, Pip–two stories for the price of one!

  • 5. Charley  |  December 19, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Oh, also:

    >Shit like this… you can’t even make it up

    Unless you’re the visionary behind the Ernest films.

  • 6. Kiala  |  December 20, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Oh PLEASE don’t get Dave started on the Ernest movies.

    I’m BEGGING YOU.

    I had to take the Burnside bus and some crazy man lady eating a muffin yelled at me because my bag was taking up the seat next to me. She spit muffin all over me.

    Anyway, it was raining.

    3 stories!

  • 7. Dave  |  December 20, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    That story reminds me of “Earnest Rides the Bus”, a not too well known addition to the Earnest canon. It’s a think piece, really. The # 15 bus is where all the action happens. Whenever I ride the 15 to work I see or hear at least one horrible thing and one beautiful thing. The last time I was on my way to work, a grizzled old man got on board. He had a scraggly white beard and a cane for his badly gimped leg. He must have been pushing 70. Anyway, at one point I came out of my daydream just in time to hear him say to the woman next to him “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind being a life guard for a while.” Awesome. Or then there was the old lady who had somehow acquired some Chex cereal / Live Free or Die Hard promotional product display. After she tore off the bottom half that held the cereal, she was left with a life size bust of Bruce Willis, looking all war torn and salty. As she was disembarking at her stop, she mounted Bruce on top of her little grocery cart, pulled a plastic bag over him to protect him from the elements, and off they went together, into the night.


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