August 30th, 2010

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Motorcycle Trip: Day 7, Take 2

After the front tire was replaced I got 90 miles down the road and the clutch went out. I couldn't disengage the clutch to shift gears. I was able to get it to an exit and stopped at a gas station.

I called andrewshead and got some basics from him, then went over to the Burger King next door and sat while looking up motorcycle places in town. The only place that had "24 hour roadside assistance" shut me down very quickly, once they finally answered, as "It's Sunday, we're not open". Whatever. Basically I was stuck just north of Knoxville, TN on my own.

The attendant at the gas station showed me how to work with the clutch adjustment on the handle bar, which got me some clutch control back. He also looked at the oil level (I was suspecting the oil went out) and he said it looked like it was empty. I ended up buying a couple of quarts of oil and we added them to the bike before he said it looked of reasonable level.

I ended up staying the night a hotel behind the gas station, then in the morning calling around. One place that was open wouldn't have been able to look at it any time this week, and another wasn't open on Monday (most aren't open on Sunday or Monday, I was told). I found one that was open, although he doesn't normally service complete strangers simply because he's so far out in the country side.

The clutch was a simple adjustment nut gotten loose which was tightened. He also got heat readings off the engine which said it was running hot, so he cooled it down while he was working on it, cleaned a bunch of grease off the engine, and we even discovered it had way too much oil on it. He drained about a quart of oil out of it before it was down to 'F' (full) level. He changed the idle timing way down and recommended turning the engine off if I get stuck in traffic.

I continued on to Greenville, SC today and got here several hours ago. We went out to get food (and pastry!) at Panera Bread. I'm just glad this trip is almost over now. The handling on the bike changed drastically a little ways out of Knoxville (I think it was after Knoxville that it changed, or I could be wrong). It feels more difficult to tilt for turns and more difficult to gain or keep speed. I'm not sure if that's just perceived or actual at this point.

Tomorrow will be my Day 8 (really 9, but whatever) to Atlanta.