Travelogue Chapter Two

Thursday, May 23

It's a little past 8:00 pm and I am sitting in my (borrowed) tent at the fairgrounds in Auburn, California. The event that I had been planning on attending for several months now has finally arrived. I am at the Northern California BMW Rider's Club 49'er Rally. It hasn't officially started yet, that doesn't happen until tomorrow, but you'd never know it by the number of people and bikes already here. We arrived early because Mike has volunteered us to help set up and run the beer garden (or Bier Garten in the vernacular of the honored motorcycle).

The last time I wrote I had finally arrived at Mike house with a hint of problems with the motorcycle. It seems when the motorcycle shop in Hawaii put the bike in the crate, they used "destructive removal techniques" to remove the mirrors. They felt it was necessary to split the mirror case apart along the seam that was heat welded when all that was needed was to "POP" it off with the heal of your hand or a soft rubber mallet. As it turns out, each of those mirrors cost $170!!! I went to the auto parts store today and bought some adhesive that I hope will hold it in place. The damage isn't at all to any functional part, it's just cosmetic. The mirrors themselves are not going to fall off, but it looks like hell without those pieces on there. Several other problems also showed up during the servicing, not of them very critical by them selves, but as a whole the bike had a rather rough time on Guam. The rear brakes are wore down pretty far and they didn't have any pads in stock to replace them. The front cover on the engine case has a small oil leak. It has to be quite small because it never dripped anything on the concrete floor of the garage in Guam. The tyres need to replaced pretty soon as well. They were finally able to get the valve cover gasket to stop leaking. The design of the gasket is such that if you do not put it together EXACTLY PERFECT, it will leak. The guy that did it originally tried again and it started leaking after about five minutes. About that time one of the more experienced mechanics took over and did it for the third time. This time it held. Not a drop in the 110 miles (at 70-80 mph) it took us to get here today. Here's the pisser of the whole thing... They needed to remove the valve cover so they could check the valves for clearance tolerances and when they did, there was no need to do any adjustments! Everything was still in specs... Oh well, at least now I can be sure they are okay.

So after all that Mike and I finally arrive back at his house where Linda had cooked up a WONDERFUL dinner and we chowed down. By this time I had been going for 36 hours and was *just* about ready to call it a night, but Mike and I "had" to try out the new motorcycle game we had over the network... Eventually we finished and turned in around 0200... Morning came quickly and we farted around the house for a while. I gathered up all the stuff I had mailed to him and carried on the airplane with me, sorting into piles that I'll need this weekend and piles that I won't. I'm really not sure just yet how I am going to get everything on the bike when it comes time to leave. Much of the stuff I have with me came along in the pickup truck this far. It's a good thing I've had practice packing because I have everything with me that I thought I might need for the next four months. Pretty soon it was time to leave and we were off... We arrived at the fairgrounds shortly after 1600.

I have been to two other 49'er rallies in the past. It seems like it's been forever ago. The first was in 1993. I was riding a 1976 Honda Gold Wing at the time. It was first rally I ever attended. You would think that when you show up at an event that is centered around a specific brand of motorcycle and you are not riding that brand, you would be made to feel uncomfortable. That might be true in some instances, but this is not the case with BMW riders in general and the folks of NorCal in particular. Originally I was a little bit apprehensive, not know what to really expect. That apprehension vanished the minute we rode up to the gate. I was never made to feel more welcome anywhere in my life. They did not care WHAT I rode, only THAT I rode. The treatment I received at that rally and subsequent BMW gatherings that I attended was the one of the major factors that made me decide to buy a BMW motorcycle when I could finally afford it. I have never regretted that decision... but I digress...

We spent the evening handing out beer and catching up with people I haven't seen in about eight years.

Wow... I just ran out of steam. I could have sworn I had a whole lot more to talk about but I cannot remember what it was... Oh well, it's getting late and I need to crawl into the sleeping bag and nod off... I likely will not be able to send this message until I get to San Diego so if I think of what it was I wanted to say I'll come back in here and edit all this stuff out and you'll never know the difference...

On to next chapter