Practice makes perfect

Not the end of the week or weekend I’d planned.

Richard (aka Kaw4Life aka Moo-Moo) is a federal employee so with the impasse in DC he was furloughed last week and spent the week taking glorious rides to NH, the White Mountains and Mount Washington.  All week he taunted me by texting me incredible photographs from his rides.  He is an exceptionally talented photographer.  Seems most of the folks I am riding with these days are.!i=2808737611&k=Kk9JQQg

Friday night he came over at 6 and we were going to ride and then head up to The Old Goat and listen to Margot and Earle play some music.  I pushed Margarita out of the garage and hopped on.  Only she wouldn’t start!  OMG – dead battery.  Pushed her back into the garage and took the seat off and hooked up the trickle charger.  Although she’s got a battery tender cable my charger only has a Molex connector and her tender cable is a SAE one.  So I had to use the clamps to connect directly to the terminals.

Thank goodness for Multiple Bike Syndrome and the Honda.  I got on and within a few miles realized I was not feeling the love, so we turned around and headed home.  Instead of riding I made us dinner.

Sauteed some onions, red peppers, eggplant and mushrooms.  Added some jarred sauce and made polenta.  Bam!  Dinner served, eaten and cleaned up and we headed up to Richmond for some music.

By the time we got back to the house the light on the charger was green and Margarita started right up.  This didn’t make Richard happy – so it didn’t make me happy.  He explained that had it taken 6-8 hours to get the charge back up it would have been better and that I should probably get a buy a new battery.  One that has decent CCA (cold cranking amps) .  Two reasons for this – easier starting in cold weather AND the Tiger needs quite a bit of juice to start.

Saturday a.m. came and I started her up and headed into Topsham to order a battery.  As I pulled into the shop and put down the side stand I noticed a “drip” on the kick stand.  Then a drop landed on the pavement.  I got off, took off my gloves and as I bent down to see what the drop was I was overcome with gas fumes.  No doubt I had a gas leak.

The counter guy came out and I pulled the seat off (remember the first few times I really struggled for 15 minutes a piece to get the seat back on) and he thought the leak – really more like a seep – was coming from the threads on the new fittings.  I texted Bill who is still out in CA.  He got right back to me.  “No, don’t put Teflon on the connectors.”  Apparently Teflon and petroleum are not a good combination.

I continued on my mission for the day which was to attend kite making and flying/paragliding (power paragliding) demo, lunch and a screening of the movie with my friend Racer and Claudia.  Claudia is the local Rotary President and was helping with the event by hosting Godfrey Masauli, Benjamin Jordan and Erica Dobie at their home all week.

Amazing story and film about Ben – Canadian paraglider who ends up in Malawi in East Africa and mets Godfrey, a young man who dreams of flying.  Godfrey learns paragliding from Ben and starts the School Of Dreams to help Malawi kids stay in school and pursue their dreams because “Ndizotheka” – it is possible.

Godfrey Masauli aboard Margarita

Godfrey Masauli aboard Margarita

Claudia had explained to Godfrey who I was and what I was up to and shared this blog with him.  In East Africa they  have a lot of motorcycles, but really small ones and he was very excited to get a ride on a big one.  I had to explain to him that I don’t give rides, but encouraged him to sit on Margarita and start her up.  He did – and immediately was wearing an ear-to-ear HUGE smile as you can see.  Ben hopped on to and revved her up.  Ben got off and I climbed off to ride away.  Bike wouldn’t start again. UGH – “Well at least I’m not a pro at getting the seat back on.” I thought.  But then I realized that Ben had used the kill switch.  I turned it on and she started right up and I was ready to ride away, gas leak and all.

With Bill still 3,000 miles away for work I opted for Richard as he was only 5 miles away and home was 15 miles away.  I called, he said, “Sure, come on over.” I showed up in his garage for his help with the gas seepage.  Note to self:  Next time bike needs to be in Rich’s garage wash it first. His garage is impeccably clean, neat, well-organized and what I aspire mine to be… someday.

Margarita in Rich's garage

Margarita in Rich’s garage

Rich, being an engineer, started by blowing about 20 lbs of air onto the fittings.  I reached Bill by phone and he and Rich talked for a few minutes.  Decided the gas wasn’t seeping from the threads, but instead from the quick connectors.  “And this is a good thing?” I asked.  Rich pulled them off and asked if the o-rings were replaced when Bill put in the new metal fuel connectors.  Nope – package from VT from previous owner only had the fittings, no new o-rings.  So Rich says, “I have an o-ring kit, let me check to see if I have one.”

Rich's o-ring kit

Rich’s o-ring kit

WOW that’s the same kit they have when you walk into VIP and ask if they have o-rings.  How do I know this?  Because after examining the o-ring it was determined

oops-a-daisy, while pulling the tank off the bottom fuel connector broke and the replacement is on order, but won't be in until Friday.  Darn good thing there's a spare bike in the garage.

oops-a-daisy, while pulling the tank off the bottom platstic fuel connector broke and the replacement is on order, but won’t be in until Friday. Darn good thing there’s a spare bike in the garage.

that there might be some degree of dry-rot and new ones would be needed.  By this time it’s 4:30 on Saturday.  The Topsham NAPA closed at 4.

We hop into Rich’s truck.  And I do mean hop has he’s got goodness knows how high a lift-kit on it … but it’s a big hop up into the truck and I’m 5’9″.  Anyway – off we run – Hancock Lumber is closed, VIP/ O’Reilley doesn’t have any metric and we know we need an 8mm.  Advanced Auto Parts has 1 (we need two, one for each of the new fittings).

new metal connectors

new metal connectors

So we put the new 8mm on the bottom seeping quick connect and put the bike all back together.  By now it takes me only 30 seconds to get the seat back on.  I ride home.  Extremely sad that I’ve not gotten a decent ride in three weeks and that I’ve missed Ann & Fred’s cider pressing party and all my wild apple tree fruit will be deer food and none of it turned into cider this year.  Additionally I’ve missed the pot luck following the  pressing party.

Sunday is a day of packing up the hard cases to make sure everything’s going to fit and pushing aside fears that the bike isn’t going to be mechanically sound by next Saturday so I can ride to Nova Scotia and see how it all feels.  The bike, me, riding 500 miles a day and camping with the bike fully loaded, riding a few days with Rich.

I put my fears away and drive my VW out to pick up the dry bag, point-n-shoot camera and two cell phone bags from Gregg’s house.  The Tiger’s not fit to ride and he’s already out in WI.

Gregg's max speed on the way to WI

note Gregg’s max speed on the way to WI

I stop in for my last visit with my folks before they head south to FL on October 29th.  I fight back tears as I pull out of their driveway.  Dad’s 89 and Mom is about to turn 86.  I worry it may be the last time I see one or both of them.  I’ve felt this way each October as I say good bye to them for the winter for the past six or seven years.  I don’t like it.

I am driving home when Jo calls, invites me over to their house for dinner.  I stop at the store and pick up a pecan pie.  Dinner with Brent & Jo always helps. Ivy, Kurt and Lila are up – dinner is potato and leek soup with bread and pecan pie and coffee ice cream for desserrt.  Kyle – you don’t know what you missed.

Monday morning I set about the task of trying to find someone locally who has the Triumph T1240181 part number in stock.  The Augusta parts guy doesn’t have any – but will have an order going out mid-week and should have them next week sometime for me.  I can’t wait that long.  Margarita can’t wait that long.  The Falmouth shop is closed on Mondays as are the three other Triumph dealers I try in Northern New England.  Armed with the Triumph part # I Google it and  find a specs page:

Fuel Fitting O-Rings
Buna-N O-Rings – #9452K19 McMaster-Carr
AS568A Dash Number: 011
Type: O-Ring
O-Ring Type: Standard
Width: 1/16″
Actual Width: .070″
Inside Diameter: 5/16″
Actual Inside Diameter: .301″
Outside Diameter: 7/16″
Actual Outside Diameter: .441″
Material: Buna-N
Durometer: Hard
Durometer Shore: Shore A: 70
Temperature Range: -35 to +250F
Color: Black

Viton O-Rings – #9464K16 McMaster-Carr
AS568A Dash Number: 011
Typ:e O-Ring
System of Measurement: Inch
Width: 1/16″
Inside Diameter: 5/16″
Outside Diameter: 7/16″
Material: Viton
Durometer: Hard
Durometer Shore: Shore A: 75
Temperature Range: -15 to +400F
Color: Black

Those of you who know me know what I do next.  I Google McMaster-Carr.  I see they have a 609 NJ area code.  I call them and I ask for that part number.

Sales guy: “How many do you want?”

Me: “Two.”

Sales guy: “Two packages?”

Me: “I don’t know – how many in a package and how much?”

Sales guy: “A hundred in a package and they’re $2.11 each.”

Me: “$2.11 for 100 of them? But I only need two.”

Sales guy: “Well then I guess you’ll have 98 spares.”

Wow!  $2.11 for 100 plus $4 shipping and handling and I’ll have them tomorrow at work.  Versus $4.39 each from Triumph plus 5% sales tax.  Now I’ll have enough for new o-rings with each refueling stop.  I sure as heck hope that the right o-ring will completely halt the gas seepage.  Not sure what I’ll do if it doesn’t.

LESSON #7: I may not be getting many miles on, but I sure am getting much more comfortable tearing her apart and putting her back together again!


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