Monday, December 21, 2015

On And Off The Road Again

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and to all a good ride.

Back on the road again after repairing a broken strut on the side car and then breaking it again.
The lower front strut on the sidecar was broken during my coast to coast ride in October.
It was repaired in time for the Houston trip in November, but was re-broken in December.
Thanks to Ilidio and his friend Bill who brought his special welder to the house and repaired the strut with what appears to be an unbreakable fix. The strut looks great and should be ready to last through another 30,000 miles.
The Houston visit with Daughter Joni and family and with Brother-in-law Stan Smith was great and the ride home uneventful, just a nice thousand mile ride.
Returning to daughter Diana & Ilidio's house in Lake Mary I began planning for my first attempt at a BBG, the coveted Bun Burner Gold 1500 miles in 24 hours ride.
The plans were made.
Lake Mary to Jacksonville, Florida and then a straight shot to Lafayette, Louisiana on I-10 and back.
I began the ride at 11AM and expected to be back by 11AM the following day with BBG complete.
300 miles into the ride my speedometer stopped working, along with the odometer and all other instruments.
The Iron Butt Association always emphasizes that when a ride threatening problem arises you should pull off the highway, get a motel and a good nights sleep and try the ride again at a later date.
That's what I did.
Pulled off the highway, checked into a Super 8 with a Denny's Restaurant next door and got a good nights sleep before making my way back to St. Mary in daylight hours with out instruments.
Ilidio wasted no time in finding the problem, a frayed wire that blew the key fuses.
The following weekend a ride with the Motorcycle Ministry of Northland Church went well until I hit a bump and watched in disbelief as the repaired strut cracked again causing the bike and the sidecar to lean towards each other in a precarious manner.

 It began as a trip to Fort Christmas to drop off toys for the community Christmas toy give away. The road into Fort Christmas had a two mile long line of cars waiting to get in. We turned back and headed for Grills Restaurant at Cape Canaveral for lunch. The lunch at this famous seafood restaurant was great and we watched a couple of cruise ships that were docked and loading guests for the next cruise.
The deep sea fishing company next to the restaurant had several places for those who were successful in their fishing to clean their fish. We all wondered about the strange sign above each carcass disposal hole which read Please Poke Eyes before disposing of carcass. I had never seen that sign before. Strange indeed.
I made it home and that's when Ilidio called in his friend Bill with his special welder and they repaired it for good.
The Sunday before Christmas dawned sunny and bright, and looked like a perfect day for a ride.

I headed out on State Highway 46 and ended up in Titusville, famous for being the prime spot for viewing NASA launches from.
I found the Space Park where they have pictures of all of the Astronauts mounted on small marble columns, along with the astronauts hand prints in the concrete base of the column. .
Took a while but I found Deke Slayton's column.
My son Roger will remember him as the astronaut who carried his banjo across a muddy road to the stage where we sang for the Sunday morning church service at the 1974 National High School Rodeo Finals in Tomah, WI. 
Deke Slayton was the main speaker and High School Rodeo contestants and their families heard an inspiring message from the astronaut whose home town of Sparta,WI was only a few miles west of the fairgrounds where he was speaking.
Roger's sisters Linda, Diana, Janis and Joni remember the astronaut helping them over the fence which surrounded the stage.
Deke was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and a humble, gracious gentleman.
Although a heart murmur kept him from flying in the Mercury Space Capsule, he later reached his dream of going into space with the Apollo/Soyuz program.   

Nice memories while visiting this beautiful park and memorial.
Now Christmas week is here and no rides are planned until we have a chance to redo the set up on the sidecar.
After welding the strut for the second time, the machine has developed a front wheel wobble both at low and high speeds. Ilidio has a plan to do the set up over and get the machines lined up correctly. Both he and I are learning a lot about proper set up and the dynamic response we get from having the sidecar slightly out of sync with the motorcycle.
There are lots of helpful reports on the Internet so we should enter the new year with a good set up and be ready for the trip from Florida to California to Montana as spring warms the north lands and the mountains of Montana beckon an itinerant biker home from the sunny south.

This has been a great riding year with over 30,000 miles of great travel across the nation.
There have been four Iron Butt Association Saddle Sore 1000 mile rides, one of which awaits certification.

Special thanks to Sidecar Bill Ryder for his work on my machine, Michael Kneebone IBA President and Shareef AsSadiq for guiding me through the 50cc Quest, cross country ride from the Pacific beach at San Diego, California to the Atlantic beach in Jacksonville, Florida, allowing me to become the oldest IBA rider to make this fifty hour ride. 
And end-of-year thanks to all of my family, Grace and many friends who have supported me through a year of great rides. 
May your rides be long and the new year full of blessings for each of you.
 Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America
 Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist