quasi random (kaolinfire) wrote,
quasi random
kaolinfire

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and another one bites the dust (the saga of Gerald)

Well, I've got a fair bit to say about my motorcycle. It was a beauty. I may even be able to ressurect it again, but that may be out of my interest+means. If repairs are anything close to bluebook, I doubt I'll have the interest.

So. I don't think I've mentioned my bike at all. I'll begin at the beginning, ish. Last april? may? june? (2000) or so, my car died (after about three months, ah well).

I prefer motorcycles, and started hunting for a new one. Found one on craig's list that sounded beautiful (it's a spiced up '79 Yamaha XS 1100)for $600. It wasn't running "due to battery problems". I uhauled it home, charged it up, and couldn't get it anywhere.

Cycle Tow agreed to work on it. Yay. (they've since refused to have anything to do with it) They gave it new carbs, replaced the switch for the headlight, and put the spark plugs on risers due to oil problems. whatever. It drove. YAY! (another $600 or so).

Then burning man rolled around, and it still wasn't running too well. I realized the spark plugs were misfiring like crazy, and took it in to a shop in the city for a "tune up" and some new tires. Wound up getting new carbs (well, used as the previous ones were, though less so) and new tires (actually new! whoohoo!). They didn't understand the spark plug risers (and neither did I) so they didn't do anything about them. (yet *another* $600 or so)

Then I drove to burningman. And back. (actually, I drove to yosemite for a wedding, ran out of oil on the way to burningman from there, managed to get oil, made it to burningman, ...) On the way back, it was having SERIOUS troubles. I limped it home, replacing spark plugs several times. (and getting a speeding ticket... okay, so I limp a bike differently than some people...)

When I get back from burningman, I play around a bit and realize that at this point the spark plug risers are what are blowing up my innocent little spark plugs. Bike starts running something approximating smoothly.

Oh. Regarding oil... the oil pan bolt is stripped to all hell, and so is the oil filter casing cover bolt. So I've not yet been able to *change* the oil... it's just been leaking enough that I can add a quart every month or so.


Eventually, with my dad's help, I get the oil pan bolt out. And we drain the oil, clean the bike, replace the oil line hoses, reclamp them (aftermarket cooling system, looks practically homegrown). The bike is in a world of happy for having its oil changed thoroughly.

I change the oil three times in the next month, cleaning out the oil filter by proxy, ish. I still can't get to the oil filter. I've tried all sorts of torture on the bolt.

I add some "carb cleaner fuel additive", and get SO much power back I need to reset the idle speed. THAT makes the bike run amazingly -- it still coughs (but doesn't sputter, now) at low rpms (coming off a stop after going fast for a while), but really, it's doing amazingly. My confidence is up.

A friend recommends a new air filter (a K&N air filter, $60 or so) to improve that lowend performance. I order one (they exist, much to the Berkeley Honda/Yamaha shop's surprise), and ... set to work on my oil filter bolt.

I buy a set of EZ-outs, and... apply them. And I drill into the bolt to provide a start, and find to my horror that the bolt is hollow. The bike loses all its oil. That day I get a call telling me the air filter has arrived.

A couple weeks later I look in the book, see exactly how complicated that "bolt" is, show it to a friend, and together we notice that the filter cover it's holding on isn't itself threaded in any shape form or fashion. And with the bolt potentially welded to the casing... we can use the casing to take the bolt off.

And we do! Whoohoo! (well, I need to take the exhaust off, too, and to do that another $50 for tools... and while it's off I spraypaint it silver. Yum!)

So I order a new part ($20 for a bolt! a very complicate bolt...), it comes in within a couple of days. It doesn't fit. I make it fit with my handy-dandy dremel, and it fits perfectly.

My bike is running again! It's amazing! I pick up the air filter, install it, and ... there is power in the low end. I can come off a stopsign like nobody's business.

Well, I'm not an expert at racing bikes, and it IS still a '79, but it is beautiful.

So I ride it up to my parents'. On the way up, an oil line explodes on my left leg. Lovely. No permanent damage (which surprised the hell out of me, that stuff HURT, as in not QUITE boiling oil!), I'm able to reattach the hose. Make it up to my parents'. Make it back.

So then...

I'm riding down Ashby in Berkeley. I'm in the right lane (which is apparently technically off limits because parking is technically allowed in that lane outside of 8-10am -- it's 10:15am). There's a Nissan Pathfinder in the "main" lane. They decide to turn right onto a street. They signal with about 20 feet's notice. I slam on my brakes. They turn through my path and I hit them still going about 20mph. They roll over and slide down the lower left of my back. Ouch.

I roll onto my back from my side and lay there a bit, trying to decide whether I can get up. A crowd arrives. They tell me not to get up. I try to get up. They try to help me up and I keep them at bay. I get up. I stumble around. My vision starts to black and I ask someone for water. I get water and sit down against a wall. The water (and sitting) help.

Paramedics arrive, check my blood pressure (119 over, if I remember right), ask me questions, verify I don't have any bones sticking out of me, recommend I go to the hospital, but admit they can't force me to go.

Cop arrives, gets our statements, gives me a ticket for doing 35 in a 25, ... I try to get my bike towed to hayward salvage, but it doesn't come together. I walk home.

I call a friend to ask him to mother me some, but he doesn't answer. I take a bath. I scream when I get in the water. I relax in the water. The friend calls me back, and he comes over. He mothers me some and then has to go to work. I take a short nap.

I wake up, wipe the drool from my hands, go back to sleep. I wake up as another friend shows up at my door. He mothers me some, too, and tries to convince me to go to the hospital.

A couple hours later my girlfriend shows up from work, and takes things pretty well. But between the two of them, I go down to the ER. My first time in a real hospital since I was 8 or so, I think. Something like that. Definitely my first time ever in the ER.

In any case, the bike is pretty amazingly damaged (front end twisted to allgetout, left crash guard bent THROUGH the gearbox...). I'm pretty allright. Scrapes up adn down my left side and a major bruise/scrape from the tire up on my back. And my right wrist is bugging me, but xrays say it's not broken. I aim to recover well enough to go camping this weekend. Light camping. :)
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