Then There Were Three

I am now storing another motorcycle at my house! My NYC friend’s ST2 is in now keeping the two Monsters company. Well for a few days before I finally get it down to the shop to figure out what is going on with the battery issue.

You can barely see my Wife's bike in the back, but all three fit in there pretty easily.

You can barely see my Wife’s bike in the back, but all three fit in there pretty easily.

I got all three of them in there, and it is working pretty great so far. I don’t even need the motorcycle dolly and I still have way to many boxes and crap in there that won’t be in a few months. The garage is still pretty low on the priority list… but someday it will be finished!

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The Road to Laguna Seca: The Long Cut

Nothing worth while is easy, and as a motorcyclist I understand that to mean never go the fastest route, always go the long way around. We this in mind I planned our ride down to Laguna Seca for the WSBK races. When I was done we rode about 300 miles more than we needed to and it was pretty magnificent.

Luckily the drama with the battery on my friends ST2 did not ruin the riding, it did make getting home from the race a bit more stressful, but by that time most of the riding was done.

So our Route was basically the reverse ride of my Plan B ride from the spring. I wanted to try to ride some roads we had not done before, but with my house being still a construction zone I did not have the time to find my butler maps and I figured I would stick with what I knew would be good solid roads.

The first day was a great day for riding, and while I am still not a fan of Coalinga Rd. it wasn’t as bad the second time around. We stopped in Coalinga for lunch and took a break from the heat which out there was in the high 90’s. Luckily it wasn’t too bad when moving and the stretch of 198 from Coalinga to Peach Tree Rd. is really good at keeping a good place going.

Peach Tree Rd. itself isn’t too great, really the only point of interest along Peach Tree Rd is where my friend crashed a few years ago. However, it leads on to greatness. My friend really enjoyed Indian Valley Rd. it is a fun wandering along the edges of the hills through the valley. The only danger we faced were the fear of running over a chipmunk, who were all heading home across the road, we had a couple of near misses and saw about a dozen in all run across the road in front of us.

Paso Robles was a great spot to take a break for the night. We had some good wine while we waited for the battery to charge up, and the more great wine with dinner with a nice dinner. I was not expecting it to have such a nice little down town area, but I guess people need to retire to somewhere.

The next day we made a realively straight ride to the track, with only small detours to ride Santa Rosa Creek Road and Hwy One up the Coast instead of the faster but much more borring run up 101.

Santa Rosa Creek Rd. was a gem the last time I road it in the spring and still is amazing even in mid summer in a drought. Lovely twisty road but one that encourages a slower pace and just enjoying the day.

When planning the trip I was worried about Hwy 1 up the coast, I was mentally prepared for several hours of being stuck behind motorhomes and tourists who have never need a road curve before. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a glorious ride, only occasionally interrupted by people driving 15 mph below the posted limit, and most of those were easy enough to get around in the few legal passing areas.

The sights along Hwy 1 almost always make up for the slow drivers, but I was glad we had a good run of it.

Highway 1

Camping at Fox Hill was fun as always and the only excitement was the battery issues and the fact that Chaz Davies dominated on the Ducati so over all a great weekend. The real lessons learned was that motorcycles are awesome and that we  need to do this more often so my friend says up to date with his “moto skillz”.

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The Thorn in Our Side: Battery Issues with the Ducati ST2

I’ve been struggling with how to write about the trip. I decided that I would start with the races before talking about the travel to and from and the mundane of where we stayed and what we ate. I posted about the races earlier this week so now on to the fun bits… almost.

I started writing and I realized that there was one other major bit that I needed to write about before getting into the roads and views, and that is the battery issues we had with my friends Ducati ST2. I had to make a separate post since it takes a bit to explain the whole thing.

You’ll notice I don’t get into all the technical details of what we think was going wrong. The bike goes into the shop on Saturday so we will soon know what the root of the problem is. Until then it seems to be a waste of time to list all the things that could be wrong as we slowly discovered the problem. The one thing we do know now is the symptoms pretty well. Basically after several hours away from a battery charger the bike’s battery is drained and it won’t start, it took a while to figure this out though as you will see.

This first reared it’s ugly head pretty close to middle of nowhere, in fact very close to where this very same friend was nearly killed by a vulture, the junction of 198 and 25. Maybe this area is cursed for him? I have no idea, but I stopped to take some pictures (something I’m bad at when I’m riding with other people) and after this picture:

This looks like it should be a WTF is wrong with my bike picture... it isn't. It is a look at us on motorcycles and motorcycles are awesome picture!

This looks like it should be a WTF is wrong with my bike picture… it isn’t. It is a look at us on motorcycles and motorcycles are awesome picture!

…His battery did not have enough power to start the bike.

I’m possibly the worlds worst push starter… with my bad leg and all, but Luckily it was fairly level or down hill in our favor so after 3 tries we managed to get it started. We were a little worried that we would have another problem but we continued on as planned and made it to Paso Robles fine.

However, after checking into the hotel his bike wouldn’t start again. So we rolled it to a parking spot and talked it through. We decided to try and get a new battery for it, and since we’ve had this problem before we quickly called a local motorcycle store and found out that yes they had batteries, but no they weren’t ready and charged and they closed in 30 minutes. My friend rushed over and bought the battery and a charger and came back to find out that they forgot the acid to activate the battery. They were of course closed, but just as we were trying to figure out what to do the shop called and said she realized what she had done and recommended that any auto parts store might have the acid. So I called one and we found that they do carry battery acid, so we walked and got some. Then we filled the battery which was a bit of a mad scientist moment…

Nothing says Mad Scientist more to me than big black gloves.

Nothing says Mad Scientist more to me than big black gloves.

While we waited for the acid to settle we had a glass of wine, then we topped off the battery, closed it up, put it on the charger and went to dinner.

We had a great meal.

The next morning we put the new battery in, and the bike started fine. Kept starting fine all the way to the track and it even started when we headed out to dinner that late afternoon.

After dinner… well then it didn’t want to start. Luckily we had parked in a parking lot with a decent hill and had more friends with us so all we had to do is push the bike up the hill and roll it down to get it started. Well, we “only” had to do this about 10 times (my friend the owner insists this is an exaggeration, I of course only write the truth). We were so grateful that the bike started since we were really running short of good alternative plans by this time. We rode back to Laguna Seca with the half baked idea to try and find an outlet to charge the battery so we could get home the next day.

The one problem with Camping on Fox Hill at Laguna Seca is the total lack of any sort of modern comforts. It has no water, or electricity so we had to wander a bit to find an outlet. After removing the battery in the dark, we used an outlet in one of the bathrooms for an hour or so as we stared at the empty dark track and shared a bottle of wine, but acording to the charger did not get the battery past 25% charged. Not enough to be comfortable with. We had no choice but to rely on the mercy of others the next morning.

Luckily this being a race track sympathy was not hard to find. Sunday morning we were helped by the lovely people in the ticket office at the bottom of Fox Hill, and they allowed us to leave the battery on the charger for the day (well the half day).

When we picked up the battery in the early afternoon we were really worried, since it was still only showing 25% charged. With no other options though we put the battery in and crossed our fingers. The bike started again! Deciding not to push our luck, my friend left immediately before the second race started. I stayed for the race then left to follow him home. Luckily everyone got home safe, though the bike wouldn’t start after parking it on the street in front of my house.

I’m taking it in tomorrow hopefully to the shop, I’ll keep you posted on what the real problem is.

 

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WSBK Laguna Seca 2015

I really enjoy motorcycle racing so going to the races at Laguna Seca almost every year since I started riding has been a tradition for me. I’ve always had a good time and we’ve definitely established some traditions along the way.

This year was a little different since I took Friday off so I could so some motorcycle riding with my friend from New York. I’ll write about those adventures and publish them later this week, I wanted to talk about the races and our time at Laguna Seca in this post.

I’ve not been to many Tracks, but Laguna Seca is my favorite out of the three that I have been to. It is a great place to watch a motorcycle race, the atmosphere is fantastic. The MotoGP races were all ways better attended, but there are always lots of people on motorcycles and despite the lack of fans this year there was some great racing. Though I might be slightly biased in this opinion.

(spoilers)

LagunaSecaSuperPole

We headed to our usual spot on the hill on Saturday to watch super pole, which was fun and made even better since My current favorite Chaz Davies got pole position. I was excited to see him get his first ever WSBK pole.

The next day I woke to rain and spent the early morning worrying about the waterproofness of my tent and what the rain would do to Chaz’s chances of wining the races. Luckily for me the track was nearly completely dry by the time race one started and I was treated to a dominating preformance by the Ducati Rider.

Due to the adventures to be told at a later time I watched the second race from the side of my bike ready to head out as soon as the race was over. The race was a little tense at the begining since rain started to fall just as it started. Luckily Chaz and the Panigale were unstoppable this weekend and he took the double win!

It’s been too long since Ducati won both races at a track and I was thrilled to see it happen in person.

I had some tother great experiences at the track last weekend, including a great lunch with another friend of mine who was working with the Yamaha team for the weekend. Luckily I felt I could wish them luck since they are not racing in WSBK this year =)

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Some Photos From the Weekend So Far

It is raining which means leaving the tent right now is not on my list of things I want to do. So I thought I would try posting some pictures of the trip so far from my phone. 

   
    
 

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The Long Way to Laguna Seca

So very typical of a motorcyclist I’ve got a 450 mile 11 hour route planned to somewhere you could get to in 112 miles and less than 2 hours.

Since I’ve had no luck embeding maps we’ll try this link, as well as listing the highlights

https://goo.gl/maps/zJnK5

Basically it is most of my Plan B ride from this Spring.

We are taking Hwy 25 south to Coalinga Rd. To Coalinga, then 198 to Peach Tree Rd. to Indian Valley Rd. to 101 to Paso Robles.
The next morning we will head west on 46 to Santa Rosa Creek Rd. to Hwy 1 North to the Laguna Seca Raceway.

It should be a great ride.

The rising sun was behind me thankfully, but it was beautiful.

The rising sun was behind me thankfully, but it was beautiful.

 

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A Good Birthday

Every year, since I started riding, I started taking my birthday off from work to ride motorcycles. I did this again, though not nearly as adventurous as some other years it was just a bit more mellow ride taking the long way home. It is a good way to reflect on the passing of time and getting older. I just like to have some time to myself and the motorcycle.

I had a nice ride along skyline even though it was a bit chilly and foggy… that’s July for you in NorCal.

Heavy overcast and fog... must be summer.

Heavy overcast and fog… must be summer.

I did also manage to make it to Scuderia West in SF and get some new gortex gloves. Mine have been on their last legs for quite some time so I was happy to pick up a pair new Revit Roadstar Gloves. I’ll write more about what I think about them once I put some decent miles (about 1000) on them.

New Gloves

The best thing I got though was from the lovely wife. I got the perfect sign for the Garage.

Going to have to find a good spot for this in the Garage.

Going to have to find a good spot for this in the Garage.

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