The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 07 - Bumble Bee - Long Overdue Maintenance

After returning from the run down to Tombstone it was time to pay serious attention to some very loud mechanical noises emanating from the BB's engine. I called my bud Jerry Smith to listen and he correctly identified that it was time to adjust the valve clearances, something I'd never done but he was willing to oversee*. 

*Jerry's idea of overseeing is kind of laughable as he apparently can't stand to watch rank amateurs like myself screwing things up and always steps in to do whatever needs doing before the said amateur causes irreversible harm.

Removing the left side valve cover we discovered an ominous accumulation of loose needle bearings lying in a cavity below the rocker arm; not exactly where they're supposed to be. That called for an immediate halt to the valve adjustment job until we could outsource whatever parts we'd need to repair the damage. After surfing the issue on line it was obvious there would likely be more issues to deal with, way more in fact than what either of us wanted to tackle within the limited resources of my shop.

Dark times have fallen upon us.....

The next obvious step was to arrange a trip to Hansen's BMW dealership in Medford located a few hours south of Bandon. Their dealership has been around for years and after initial telephone discussions it was decided I would trailer the bike to their shop sans the sidecar and panniers.

They handle all my favorite toys!
Removing the panniers was dead simple, just unlock and set them aside. The sidecar was a bit trickier but not a big deal and with the use of a couple of jacks I was able to handle it alone.

The Ural hack would remain perched on two jacks while the BB was being repaired
This was the first time I'd seen the BB without a sidecar. Cute. Sexy red spring.
I love my trailer. Luvit luvit luvit! Needs a bit of paint though.
When Hansen's was ready an appointment was made, we loaded the Bumble Bee onto the bike trailer and I set off. The trip down was uneventful; the Garmin lady guided me to their repair shop where I left the bike in their care.

A couple of days later they called with their initial estimate and I gave them the go-ahead. It would take two or three weeks to complete the work and as such things normally go they discovered a couple of other hidden issues that needed attention. Nothing was critical but my wishes were simple: Fix whatever needs fixing so that the bike would be reliable and ready for long distance touring wherever I decide to go next. Roadside repairs are not my deal ever never.

Sooner than I expected I got the call the BB was ready so off I went, this time accompanied by Riley. He's really good company although the truck now smells like a kennel.

Sssst! Hey! Lemme outta here!
Craig gave me a detailed explanation of everything that was done and what I could expect in the future. Dragging a sidecar around puts a lot of extra strain on the bike - any bike - so they made sure all the affected components were inspected and if they were close to needing replacement they were done.

Craig Hansen
Craig's happy parts guy. Shoot, I forgot his name. Sorry
Loaded up, ready to head home
Hansen's was an easy shop to deal with, I never got the feeling of being rushed, always felt like I had the attention of whoever I was dealing with. Craig Hansen - the owner - was particularly attentive and I could tell he really cares about his customers. I'll be back.

The day after returning I called Jerry to ask for help unloading the bike and re-installing the sidecar. He generously agreed and after meeting for coffee in Bandon we headed out to my place for the big event. 

Upon arrival Jerry was greeted by Toby, our Aussie Shepard who doesn't seem to trust anyone that doesn't live here. Jerry's been here dozens of times and Toby takes forever to warm up to him. Who knows why, maybe someone in his past resembling Jerry mistreated him but beings he's an adopted dog we'll never find out. Good thing Jerry's a patient guy who loves dogs. At least Riley is friendly. 

So we tackled hooking the hack back up to the Bumble Bee which was a fairly straight forward job. It required a bit of coaxing and fumbling around to get everything lined up but once done all was well again. We made a couple of short passes up and down the driveway and declared it fixed.

Welcome home BB, you're looking good and sounding a lot better!
And lest I forget, Craig laid an armful of swag on me including a great T-shirt designed by his son plus hefty bottles of brew, each bearing his name from his bud's brewery in Corvallis. Thanks Craig! And thanks to all the crew at Hansen's BMW in Medford, OR!
Later today I'll try to get out for a ride and see how everything works, then report back. Of course it looks like rain at the moment...this is after all Oregon, eh?


Nov 10 - Post Repairs Ride Update

We finally got a break in the weather and I was able to take the beastie out for a ride. It wasn't far, just a bit under a hundred miles but all seems well. Riding a sidecar is always a hoot, especially one as cool as a vintage BMW airhead like this one. After an initial re-familiarization period of twenty miles or so the BB and I settled down into a comfortable routine of mixed familiarity. It was good to be back, can't wait to head out on another journey with this rig.