Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Saturday in the Country

Saturday morning arrived with cool temperatures and bright sunshine.  The original plan was to be at Nancy's place around 9:30, so I called about 8:00 to be sure she was ready.  Her place is Southwest of Sierra Vista and while she sent great directions, they are only useful if I had taken them with me.

I placed a second phone call when it was apparent I was lost and thought I was straightened out.  Getting lost a second time resulted a third phone call and finally when I turned the corner Nancy was standing there waiting. It would have so much easier if I would have remembered to take the directions. First came the tour of the outside acre of her property and all the hard work of planting and installing fence and irrigation systems.  Then it was to the inside and the tour of her beautiful home that had also received a lot of TLC after its purchase.

After a cup of coffee and catching up for a while it was time to go explore the reason she loves this area so much. Our first stop was into Ramsey Canyon.  The trail head was about two miles from her place and changed from desert landscaping into tall trees and a hiking trail that rose up to 9,800 feet in elevation.

Bridge to begin the hike just outside the Visitors Center

I wasn't aware that the elevation here was about the same as Flagstaff, but as we started walking Nancy told me if I needed to rest to just stop. Well, it was hard to breath with the allergies plugging me up, not to mention to the lack of exercise on my part, but I kept plugging along.  Being in the shaded areas was pleasant as it was heating up.  

This rustic log cabin is along side the trail

View of the mountain top

It was an enjoyable walk/hike and the scenery was beautiful. Not anything like I could have imagined.  We drove, in a cage, to a couple of other areas that Nancy hikes and then headed over to Carr Canyon.

We took a walk down to the location of the original Carr House which is now in ruins.  It was interesting to speculate about the construction methods used based on what was left of the house. It showed signs of being updated as the walls had been chiseled out and notched for electrical outlets. It also appeared that galvanized pipes were used, but couldn't really tell if it was for water or support. We stopped in the Visitors Center on the way back up and took a look around.

This tree is just off the front porch of the old house

A reminder that we are on the US/Mexico Border. Tracking devise used to locate Border Crossers.  However with the terrain around here I can't imagine they have many.

Next we headed into Sierra Vista and stopped at La Casita Restaurant & Cantina for lunch. The food here was very good. We returned to Nancy's and sat on the porch talking until Happy Hour time and shared a bottle of wine.  We continued to talk for another couple of hours until moving inside until bed time.

Sunday morning arrived to cool, almost cold weather. After breakfast it was time to don jacket and gloves and head to the barn. It finally warmed enough at Picacho Peak to remove the gloves and jacket when I got gas. The ride home was mostly uneventful and it was good to get much needed windshield time in.  Arrived at home after 3.5 hours and went to collect Dexter.

The doggy sitter told me they would like to keep Dexter because he was such a lover. I respectfully declined their offer and he must have had a great time with the other dogs because he slept all day on Sunday and Monday turned into the same.

Monday, May 19, 2014


The conspiracy of life may have been broken.  Retirement has been almost exactly a year ago and there has been no real riding.  At least no road trip to speak of.  Partly because of updating Petunia to an 98 inch beast, partly because of family issues, partly because of not feeling like riding.

But, even with an issue with installing a new clutch on Mother's Day that didn't go well, the motorcycle gods smiled on me and I got away over the weekend.

My concern about the new new clutch arriving was unfounded as it arrived on Wednesday, three days after ordering it.  Petunia was resting in the garage, apart, waiting to be put back together and in 30 minutes was ready to roll.

A dear friend moved to Hereford, Arizona and invited me down to see her new place. The plan was to leave Saturday, early, and be down there around 9:30, but I was so ready to ride I left Friday about 11:00.  I chose to run the back roads to Tucson.

Leaving out US 60 Superstition Mountains

Enjoying the ride

Petunias new cockpit

After making my way to Tucson on the back highways through Florence, the home of the Arizona State Prison,  I had no choice, but to ride I10 for about thirty-five miles to Arizona 83 which is a scenic highway that takes you to the Elgin region and wine country.  I have visited several of these wineries in the past and found that they produce some very good wines. Granted they are no way near the stature of California Wineries, but very good.

Highway 83

This is wine country? The drought is taking a toll. On the ride through this area I only saw one stand of grapes that were being watered and were green.

I made it to Sierra Vista about 5:00 and since I wasn't expected until Saturday morning I checked into a motel for the evening.  I stretched a 3.5 hour ride into a 6 hour one by taking the long, leisurely way.  It has been so long since I rode any distance that the last few mile were uncomfortable. I am so far out of riding shape that this short 300 mile ride kicked my rear and I slept like a log.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Routine Maintenance Isn't Always Routine

I bought a new clutch pack about a year ago and because the old one was slipping now was a good time to put it in.  So, Mother's Day Sunday instead of just sitting around I went to work.  I was surprised when the job only took two hours, but when test riding Petunia the new clutch slips worse than the old one.  It was supposed to be a heavy duty clutch, but at 30 MPH and opening the throttle wide open the RPMs went to 4,000 and the bike barely moved.

So, I jumped on the web and ordered a Barnett Kevlar Extra Clutch Plate kit.  It is supposed to be here as early as Tuesday - Thursday and I will try again.

A few weeks ago I had checked my primary chain adjusting shoe and found it showed considerable wear.  I say considerable wear because I changed it only about 10,000 miles ago.  The original one was at least twice as thick as the one the Harley dealer sold me and claimed Harley changed to the new thinner ones because they were better.

Instead of getting another 'new and improved' one from Harley I picked up a York Automatic Primary Chain Adjuster #18-0581.  The shoe rides on a double spring which allows it to move as needed and is closer to the thickness on the old original shoe.  Hopefully it won't wear as quickly as the one I took off. 

Because the new new clutch is supposed to be here Tuesday - Thursday I will take Petunia apart Tuesday morning just to be ready.  This possible delay is most troubling because I have a weekend ride scheduled that I don't want to miss.

UPDATE; The new new clutch arrived Wednesday afternoon at 1:30. Petunia was on the road at 2:15 and seems to be running as she should. Will take her out Thursday morning for more of a test, but it looks favorable for a Road Trip this weekend!