Paul and Voni Glaves'
"40 in 7"
May 16-23, 2005
|You've all seen the somewhat
crude bumper sticker,
"Sit Down, Shut up, Hang On."
When Voni gets an idea and starts to run with it, well…, then.., who am I to argue?
Actually, when Voni suggested a 48 State plus Hyder, Alaska ride to arrive at Hyderseek on May 26 I agreed it was a good idea so we both put our heads to planning the ride. We planned to attend the Iron Butt Association National Meet in Omaha on May 14 where Voni was on a Women Iron Butt Riders panel so we structured a ride plan around that fact. May 14 was our 39th wedding anniversary, so dinner with 300 or so friends was a great way to celebrate.
Street Atlas USA and Mapsource software to run
routes 100 different ways. We wound up with a plan to
Baker, Montana at 4:00 p.m. MDT on Monday, May 16. East, south,
west, and north would hit all 48 contiguous states and get us to
Alaska. We had broken the 240 hours (10 days) into eleven riding
segments. This plan had a half day at the start, but would have
us riding the last 431 miles from Prince George to Hyder fresh in the
first half of the last day. Daylight in moose and bear country is
a good thing. Organizing sleep time and minimizing riding in the
dark worked better too. So on Sunday morning after the IBA Meet
we headed from Omaha to Baker, Montana.
|I disconnected the ground lead and went to pull the battery. It was too hot to grab without my gloves. When I got it out and tested it, my volt meter read 4.69 volts instead of 12 to 13 like it should. I checked the circuits at the fuse box, and everything showed to be shorted to ground. Everything! There seemed to be a problem with the wiring harness - how bad or not bad I didn't know yet. Exactly why the battery didn’t blow up or melt down, or the bike catch on fire I wasn't sure.|
|My plan was to haul the bike to a motel in Kadoka, South Dakota. The road service's plan was to haul the bike to a Honda/Harley Davidson dealership in Pierre. It was Sunday! I figured if the wiring could be repaired I could find the problem and fix it as fast as a non-BMW dealership which wasn't even going to be open until Tuesday anyway. If it couldn't be fixed then I'd just go get my truck and haul it home. Joel understood, and offered to haul me to his place in Murdo where I could work on the bike. Kadoka was 42 miles closer to Baker. Murdo was 42 miles closer to home. Tossup! Off to Murdo we went - Voni riding in the truck with Joel and me riding my K75, following behind. Somewhere between nowhere and Murdo, Voni convinced Joel that dropping us with the bike at a motel would be just fine. The truth is I would hate “help” when trying to deal with a wiring harness problem and she knew it, even though I really did appreciate his offer.|
As much as I didn’t want to, I didn’t have much choice so I pulled the Motronic, the ABS unit and battery tray. There clearly was melted insulation on one of the main hot leads from the battery. There are two of them. I traced this lead till it went straight down and out of sight. Resuming at the bottom end I discovered this was the big lead straight from the battery to the starter solenoid hot lug. It was completely shorted to ground somewhere – no question. I disconnected it at the starter and it went open – no short any more. I figured the starter was shorted internally but just how I couldn’t figure out.
noticed burn marks
right where the connector makes a 90 degree bend over the back edge of
the solenoid can. It looked like weld splatter. That is
where it had rubbed and grounded. With the battery lead still
disconnected, I tested the starter motor with jumper cables run from
the K75 and it worked fine. So I carefully isolated the lead to
the starter and wrapped all of it I could reach with the better part of
a roll of electrical tape for good measure. The other hot lead
into the main harness, and all those little wires in that harness were
just fine. I went to bed!
|After riding about 350 miles we arrived at Baker, 45 minutes before our originally planned start time on Monday. I knew the weather was favorable for starting Monday and looked like it was going to be a big aggravation if we waited till Tuesday. We looked at each other, smiled, and agreed “Let’s do it!” We grabbed a quick meal of buffalo burgers at the local drive in and got two enthusiastic long time Baker residents to verify our starting data. Voni called the motels back to restore our original reservations. By now the motel folks were good friends.|
|On to Pennsylvania, New York and finally Vermont. The last hour or so was in the dark, riding mostly rolling mountain roads. We got off the interstate-tollway system at Troy, New York and took the back roads to Bennington, Vermont. It seemed like we spent an awful lot of time just getting through Troy, but the mental stimulation of new surroundings and unclear direction signs kept us sharp. I know there must have been a better, quicker way, but that had a lot higher probability of us getting off track, lost or delayed. I just kept following the Highway 7 signs. Voni called ahead to the motel because when she made the reservations the lady said they usually closed the office at 11:00 unless they were waiting for somebody. They only had to wait a few minutes and greeted us warmly. This was the day I figured out I hated toll booth stops. The next day was the day I discovered I really, really hate toll stops.|
|This is a horrible part of the world to try to get through at a decent pace. I've ridden better roads in third-world countries. We had passed through the environs of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and finally, Baltimore in the rain. We passed through Newark with “projects” on both sides of the road. We did an hour long paddle-foot in construction at Hartford, Connecticut. A guy in a car next to us rolled down his window just to warn us that it usually went on for about 3 more miles. Now if this happens all the time, and the drivers know it is going to happen, and they even know how many miles the backup will be – why are they still driving there? There must be other routes the locals know and could use!|
|I saw a truckstop on the right so took the exit and pulled in. We went inside while I pondered the situation and wiped a few things dry. I concluded I might have a regulator problem, a loose connection, bad brushes, dirty slip rings, or something unusually wet. It was still raining. I went out and poked and prodded looking for loose connections. I concluded that whatever the problem was, it was inside the alternator. Voni started looking at the BMW MOA Anonymous Book and I started figuring where the nearest BMW dealerships were. Given our schedule it looked like we might be finished. On a whim I decided to spray the brush/slip ring area of the alternator with some WD-40. I started the engine and aimed the little red tube through a slot in the alternator housing and gave it a shot. I revved the engine and the warning light went out. The volt meter said that the voltage was back up to normal. Wow! When I walked back into the building Voni could tell from the grin on my face that the news was better than bad, at least. Several of the store patrons were also relieved to see our dream ride back on track. A truck driver said he’d always wondered where BMW riders were headed. Now he knew they might very well be doing a 48+ ride. He liked that idea.|
brushes had plenty of length and
didn’t seem to be sticking in the brush holder. The contacts
between the regulator and the alternator seemed clean. But I
decided to clean everything up anyway. I had stopped the day
before and bought a can of electric motor cleaner. I used a
fingernail emery board (thanks, Voni) and a pen knife to clean the slip
rings down to clean copper. I made sure the friction
contacts where the regulator fit the alternator were clean and
As I was about to put it back together, as an afterthought I scraped a little at the contact end of one of the brushes. I discovered I was scraping a stiff goo about the consistency of old fashioned non-hardening Permatex gasket cement. It took only moments to scrape all of this goo off the ends of both brushes. Then I cleaned everything up with the electric motor cleaner, let it dry and put it back together. I put the alternator back in the bike and it worked perfectly. In fact, judging from the voltage readings I was getting on my volt meter it was working better than it had in several years. We were entertained by a group of kids in the parking lot waiting for their coaches to take them to some tournament. They were almost as glad as we were to hear the mechanic had turned this trip around once more. This whole process delayed our start about an hour and a half, but it was worth the time it took. Once more, we were good to go!
|We met Lynne Slater who rides the scooter and her husband Blake riding a Yamaha FJR 1300, from London, Arkansas. She mentioned we looked like we were on a long ride, and Voni explained enthusiastically what we were doing. Lynne said she was on the LDRiders list and had just done a Saddlesore 1000 – with her dog if I understood correctly. We chatted about long distance riding for a few minutes and headed off. They peeled off at the London exit, 7 miles or so down the road and we went on to Clarksville. Again, it was fun to share our plans with the motel staff. Everyone along the way was so encouraging, caught up in our enthusiasm. 826 miles. Good day!|
mini-van and my BMW motorcycle
collided. The point of contact on my bike was the side of the
front wheel, and then when the bike fell
over, the van ran over the front end, more or less removing it from the
the bike. Sort of a novel kind of edge trap. Stuff off of
and out of my bike scattered all over the road and the shoulder.
I simply fell to the right off the side of the bike – hard. The
car whooshed past me. I bounced a couple of times, did a shoulder
roll, got up, looked at
the bike, and actually said out loud, “I
don’t think I can fix it this
venerable K75 is toast - 369,647 miles showing on the
odometer. I was unhurt except for one broken rib. I first
landed on my
right side, arms approximately in handlebar position. The break
rib lines up perfectly with my bony elbow. It hurt like hell but
only when I coughed or laughed. I did take an ambulance ride,
up, joking with the EMT, no lights or siren or fanfare. A
half dozen X-rays, lots of poking and prodding, and one pain pill later
I walked out of the hospital emergency room to a rental car which Voni
had them deliver to us. The Aerostich Roadcrafter, boots, gloves,
and helmet all held up
perfectly. All the gear - all the time folks. No kidding
Tough day! Exactly 120 miles, not counting the 7 or so in the ambulance. As usual, Voni rode more miles than I did, riding to the hospital, and eventually to Santa Fe, but those aren’t part of the trip mileage. So, 5,678 miles through 40 states in six and a fraction days was the final tally.
stashed Voni's RS at Ira Agins’ in Santa Fe and brought a rental car
home with all the stuff from the bikes in the trunk and me pouting on
the passenger side. We hauled most of the odds and ends inside
the Tourpack trunk off the K75. It had just been sitting there on
the road so when they started cleaning up the mess they put stuff in
the trunk and had it waiting for us to pick up at the tow lot.
Checking things out later, my laptop, camera, GPS III+, V1, tools,
spare keys, and virtually everything else was accounted for and
worked! I don't know what happened to the GPS V, but ordered a
Streetpilot III to replace it.
|SKIP TO SATURDAY, MAY 28: One
beautiful 80 degree day in Lawrence,
Kansas. So, in keeping with the “climb back on the
horse” or “pet
the dog that bit you” philosophies – I went for a ride on my
R1150R. Not a long ride – but 14 miles into and around Lawrence
and back just to see how it felt. It felt good! Real good,
even if my rib did hurt a bit.
This bike is shaping up nicely. It has Jesse bags and top case. It now has auxiliary lights installed. For a look at the lighting setup, Click Here.