It's been a cool, wet, and not very motorcycle compatible several weeks since my last blog. I've been grumpy, the weather has been cold and rainy (and too often, snowy) and I haven't ridden or been outside nearly as much as I like.
Even with the lousy weather and (obviously) unreasonable demands on my time I've put on nearly a thousand miles since that first cold ride back in February when the snow melted for a couple of days and I snuck in a local ride.
To help cheer myself up I decided that it was time to buy a new helmet - a 3/4 model Nolan - which I'm very happy with - having put about 150 miles on the road with it. The visor flips up, and it has a built in sun visor, so I don't have to carry sun glasses for those rare days when the sun shines in Michigan (I warned you that I was grumpy!) I will continue to use my full face / modular style Nolan, and I have a short half-helmet that I use rarely for things like military parades / Memorial Day parades, etc. I think my new Nolan is going to quickly become my favorite and most-used helmet. It's lighter and more comfortable than my old modular full face helmet.
Had a cold ride last week as part of a Patriot Guard Riders mission at the Great Lakes National Cemetery, near Flint, MI. (Surprise, surprise - it was several degrees cooler, much windier, and much cloudier, than the forecasters were predicting even that very morning. I have no faith in our ability to forecast weather.) It was a somber event for a young Marine - these missions are always sad and seeing the parents, and in this case a new & very young wife, in their grief is sometimes almost more than I can handle. But the families are so proud and appreciative of the PGR members being present as a line of flag bearers, for the motorcycle escorts when we do them, and for just showing that we and other people care about their young soldier and his / her service to our country, helps them with their grief. I will continue to do this as long as there is a need and I am able.
I had an unusual problem today that I was able to resolve but only after it caused me to cancel a ride to Grand Rapids and a meeting there. The oil "idiot" light started flickering on the bike - never a good thing! I pulled over on I-96 to check for immediate and obvious things, like a broken oil line, ruptured gasket, etc. Everything looked perfect, and I had just checked the oil level yesterday so I knew it was fine. It was a very intermittent and rapid flickering, not a steady light. There were no obvious sounds coming from the engine - the kind of knocks or metallic tapping sounds that typically are associated with a lack or loss of oil to the moving engine parts.
I just didn't think it was a legitimate problem - I was thinking perhaps a faulty sensor. I took a big chance and rode slowly back home. On the way I was thinking about how inconvenient this all was and about how much it was going to cost me to get it looked at and repaired. A bill well into the hundreds of dollars seemed likely.
After checking everything closely, I found that the wire coming off the sensor had touched the muffler and had melted the hard plastic guard around the electrical wire, and had melted down to the metal wire itself. Every time the bare wire touched the muffler, it caused a flicker in the light. A quick repair, followed by a half-hour ride, showed that the problem had been found and corrected! It was a very satisfying feeling, especially since I have several motorcycle events coming up in the next two weeks and just a few hours ago had been cussing my bad luck for such bad timing.
It's always best to check for minor obvious problems before calling in the pro's.
May 21st I will be at Vehicle City Harley-Davidson in Flint as part of their big Kick Start Summer event, selling & signing books. The next day, Sunday May 22, I'll be part of a Blessing of the Bikes ceremony in East Lansing, at All Saints Episcopal Church.
I had the special joy of helping a friend when he bought a bike - his first in many years - following marriage and raising of a splendid family. We loaded it on my trailer and hauled it back from near Fort Wayne, IN. It's been great sharing in his excitement and helping as I could in pre-purchase discussions, and am looking forward to taking some rides together in the coming days and weeks.
I think spring has finally arrived. Though we had a frost this morning - it's in the 60's today and is supposed to be 60 or more for the next week or more.
Riding weather is here. That means it's time to get outside and bask in the sunshine and warmth. Go for a walk, bicycle ride, motorcycle ride, or whatever. Just get out and enjoy life renewed!!