31 July 2005

Climb to Kaiser - July 31, 2005

There's not much to report about the SAG activities this year.  At least, my SAG activities.  This was the only picture taken of me, or any of the other SAG vehicles this year.  I didn't take any, but it wasn't for the lack of trying.  I DID have a camera with me.

The day started well, with no problems to speak of.  The ride began at 5:30am at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District building in Old Town Clovis.  I chased the group on my 1993 BMW R100GS.

By 7:30am, I was working the group up Watts Valley Road and toward the first rest stop at the summit known as Wildcat.  A few hundred yards below the summit there was an audible "click" in the Beemer's transmission and I was immediately unable to shift. It came out of gear, but wouldn't grab a gear - any of them - to go forward.  The motor ran fine, but with nothing seeming to connect the motor to the rear wheel, the GS was effectively dead.  I turned around and coasted down Watts Valley Road nearly a mile and a half to the intersection with Pittman Hill Road (Map Link).

When I got to the intersection, there was a husband & wife team on a tandem who needed some SAG support.  They were already having a bad day and had decided to abandon the ride.  I called in another SAG to transport the her back to the start so she could get their truck.  Meanwhile, I was contemplating my situation.  As I waited with the husband for his wife to return, he explained that he had a truck.  A big one.  Big enough that my motorcycle might fit.  When his wife showed up in their Ford F250 long-bed, 1-ton, I knew they had room for their tandem AND my motorcycle.  He also had enough tie downs to properly lash my GS to the truck bed.

The trick was getting the GS into the truck.  It was tall.  We didn't have a ramp.  The GS is 475 pounds of Big Pig.

We looked around and on one side of the road, the natural grade was fairly level, while the pavement descended toward the intersection.  I pushed my GS back up the hill about 150 feet to a point where the road bed met the natural grade, then pushed it up onto the dirt.  I walked it along the grade, between a drop off to the road and a barbed wire fence.  Not much room, but enough.

Meanwhile, the husband dropped the tailgate of his truck and backed it up so the tail gate hit the natural grade of the dirt adjacent to the fence.  It took some doing, but we were able to roll the GS right in the truck.  After that, they drove me all the way home, some 20+ miles away.  They dropped me off and headed home.  For their trouble, I sent them both volunteer shirts for SAGging the SAG.

I jumped in my truck, and after a few hours, was able to get back on the course, helping the riders.  I forgot my camera in the transfer from bike to truck though.

As for the GS, it ended up being the return spring on the toe shifter.  A $14 part.  However, it's located inside the transmission housing.  Labor was $1200 for the install.  Ouch.

Early in the morning, between 5:00-5:15am.  If I'd have known what lay ahead for me, I probably would have stayed home.