Sunday, August 26

Michigan trip--not happening!

I am trying to look on the bright side, but it's difficult. I had made plans to visit and ride with my cousin, Norman, who lives in MI. He owns two motorcycles and I was looking forward to introducing Queenie, meeting his rides, and riding with him. I needed this outing.


Much of last week we've had tornado warnings and torrential-like rains here, which have restricted my riding. Friday night rain continued to Saturday morning, but cleared by the early afternoon. At 1:30, I geared up, hopped on Queenie and headed out. Had a nice ride--just under 100 miles by the end of the day. Temps in the upper 70s, lower 80s--ideal riding conditions. Stayed out late, visiting relatives and just enjoying myself. I left the last house around 9pm. The temperature had dropped only a tad and a cool breeze, a full moon and a dark, clear sky made for a magical night ride home.


At some point, I noticed that the right turn signal didn't flash when I wanted it to. Then I tried the left. It flashed. Later, however, I used the left again and it didn't flash either. Hmmm... Tried it again, it flashed, but continued to work inconsistently the entire way home.


When I arrived home 90 minutes later, I repeatedly tested the signals. The left flashed intermittently; the right, not at all. I admit to being woefully ignorant when it comes to wrenching my bike. I'm learning some basics but still feel lost without detailed instructions. I must read up on everything and follow the directions to a tee. Bulb replacement, I figured, is a simple fix. That both signals were not consistently working made me think something more complex was transpiring. Why would both signals act up at the same time?


Well, if nothing else, I figured I could change the bulbs and see if that solved the problem. I have a rather elaborate Priority Lights set up that was disengaged before the Lake Superior trip because it was misbehaving. Since returning, I haven't had the replacement Priority Lights installed yet. So, changing bulbs on a stock set up would be a breeze, I thought.


Still, I read the "how-to" in the Clymer and Suzuki manuals. Great bedtime reading. Up this morning at 4am to change the bulbs. Things progress according to the book. Then, I open my rear compartment, where I keep all extra bulbs. I'm a nut about that. But...no bulbs. THEY ARE NOT THERE! Stunned!


I remove the Cruz-Tools kit, the tire plugger kit--no bulbs. I'm guessing that when Queenie was in to resolve the Priority Lights problem, stuff in the rear compartment was removed for easier access to the main fuse. Somehow the bulbs never made it back inside the compartment.


My heart sank. I had so hoped of going to Michigan, traveling along some off the same roads I covered last summer on the Lake Michigan Circle tour. I have Monday off...no time constraints for getting back.


While I had things pulled out, I fiddled with the exposed bulb on the left turn signal. It flashed. Tried it again. Nothing. The right never flashed. I lifted the tangle of wires in the rear compartment and tried the left turn signal again. It consistently flashed this time. Still no activity from the right. I placed the wires back inside the compartment and sometimes a flash, sometimes not from the left signal. Oh, well...looks like I won't be going anywhere. I stand in the garage feeling helpless and with no one around to whine to, I reassemble the light and leave.


My shop won't open again until Tuesday. I know of another shop that will be open on Sunday, but I'd need to take a bus or "the el" there since I no longer keep my car in the city. I don't even know if changing the bulbs will fix the problem. Do I want to race around chasing down bulbs if the issue is something else? Yeah, I'm willing to take that risk but it's not an efficient use of my time.


So, the only wheels I'll be riding today are my inline skates. I'll go along the lakefront and try to enjoy this heavenly weather. But I know that when I see a motorcycle on the street--and today there are bound to me tons--I give myself whiplash trying to track the bike. I'll probably whine a little too; hopefully, I can be mature about it all and know that "this too shall pass." It's not like I don't have a billion things to do that have been terribly neglected lately.


Still, I'm a little bummed!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You couldn't just use your hand signals for one trip?

What's up with that?

Sojourner rides said...

"What's up with that?" Riding is about risk management. No trip is worth riding when I know that my bike is not in perfect working condition. The problem could be more than a bulb issue, it could foreshadow an electrical problem. That would be a bad rider risk to take. Moreover, I ride with two hands. Taking one off at 65 mph to signal a lane change or even at slow speeds to let those around me know that up ahead I want to turn, adds unnecessary additinal risks to a ride that I think is unwise. It only takes one trip to make a bad rider decision and have that end up being your last trip.

vinny said...

it was a wise thing to do. On a trip to bardstown,KY, one of my tail turn lights went out. Luckily my girlfriend was riding behind me and could signal for me when I indicated a lane change. But I was quite uncomfortable knowing that i have a non functioning turn signal.

Anonymous said...

What if the person behind you is careless and keeps speeding, and your hand gets taken off...?? I think it's probably a good thing you didn't go!

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anita said...

Great insights. I loved to read your article. You must be putting a lot of time into your blog!
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