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Fall In Line @ Blip Roasters

My friend Brian and I decided to start The Grand Coddiwomple today over a cup of coffee at Blip Roasters. We talked about all our planning and maps and energy we put into preparing but damned near forgot to capture our first Fall In Line picture opportunity! Brian’s quick thinking netted us our first 50 points each! The red motorcycle with the #678 flag is mine.

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Fall In Line @ Blip Roasters
Calep W. Howard – #678 – Fall In Line
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Grand Coddiwomple

Starting the Grand Coddiwomple

Today I started The Grand Coddiwomple with my friend Brian. The Grand Coddiwomple is sponsored by the BMWMOA and is probably best described as a scavenger hunt conducted on motorcycles. The Grand Coddiwomple is based on two ideas related to the upcoming MOA rally. The rally slogan – Saddle Up And Ride – and the Rally location – Great Falls, Montana. The first challenge is to spell out “Saddle Up And Ride” by taking pictures of place names that begin with each letter in the rally slogan. The second collection of challenges are variations on the theme “Falls”. The one we’re planning on participating in include:

  • Eggselent Falls – related to Humpty Dumpty statues to big to carry on a motorcycle
  • Fall In Line – pictures of our motorcycles and others in a line of 5 or more
  • Place Names Containg “Falls” – you know, like Great Falls!
  • Military Falls – specific place names as well as any markers related to military activity including military cemetaries or grave

Some of the challenges are limited and others aren’t but all challenges are designed to award the participant points based on taking photos that include the Coddiwomple flag and your motorcycle. In situations where you can’t physically get your motorcycle near the thing the photo must contain the Coddiwomple flag and the rider’s face. 300 points are required to complete the challenge. Today we took 13 photos related to Military Falls and captured five of the letters required to spell out”Saddle Up And Ride”. We’ve already collected 650 points based on today’s work! Don’t worry – we’re not stopping! We intend to spell out “Saddle Up And Ride” and keep collecting as many additional photos as we can between now and when the event completed on October 31, 2021. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Oil Spill

Oil Cooler Failure

At the conclusion of this year’s Airtoberfest Otus’ oil cooler failed. Fortunately the failure was very noisy and I was able to shut him down before all the oil sprayed out. Unfortunately I was 125 miles away from home and no way to repair or bypass the oil cooler on the spot. The get home solution was AAA. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere AAA Premier RV service has been a lifesaver more than once and they came to the rescue yet again! The only constraint was that I was not allowed to ride in the cab of the tow truck due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately a friend was willing to drive me home so all was well and I was home not much later than I would have been had the oil cooler cooperated.

I added the oil cooler at a point in time where I was all about accessorizing Otus. I stumbled upon the oil cooler, thought it would make sense to cool the oil even more and add a little capacity to the oil system. Now that it stranded me I decided to remove it and put Otus’ oil system back to stock. Unfortunately this meant I needed to order a part as the addition of the oil cooler required the replacement of the stock oil filter tube with a much longer tube. This longer oil filter tube prevents the stock oil filter cover from fitting so I once again turned to my friends at Bob’s BMW for the part I needed to get Otus back on the road.

I spent some time reviewing the microfische and decided the part I needed was labeled “pipe” and cost $8.68. Unfortunately I wasn’t 100% certain I had found the correct part due to the vague description so I called Bob’s. They double-checked for me, confirmed it was the correct part, and I added it to my shopping cart. I also bought another oil change kit as I like to have one on-hand for the next oil change. I removed the long pipe, installed the short pipe, buttoned everything up, and Otus started right up with no leaks! While having the oil cooler might have helped in some situations not having it repaired and reinstalled makes Otus less complex and, dare I say – simple by choice.

bookshelf updated

I discovered that there are a few new formats for some of the books on the bookshelf so I added those. I also added a couple of new books that came up in recent discussions. Enjoy!

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Twin Sons of Different Mothers

Sidecars in the Flint Hills

OK, I know - I don't have a sidecar but I'm fascinated by them so I tagged along with a fellow Airhead and sidecar owner to Joyce Canfield's Sidecars in the Flint Hills rally this past weekend. I've been thinking about putting a sidecar on my project bike (a 1983 R100 RT) or possibly Strix. To help with my decision I attended this rally to learn more, see more sidecars up close and personal, and see what this sidecar thing is really all about. Otus did his usual fantastic job getting me there and back again. What a great machine!

I got to see somewhere around 20 different sidecar rigs from the very traditional Ural, a few Goldwing-equipped sidecars, a couple of cruiser-based rigs, and a really fun "Frankenbike" sporting a Velorex sidear. Not only were the machines cool to look at, the people were great ambassadors for their sidecar passion. I couldn't have asked for a better indoctrination to the sidecar lifestyle. There was good food, good conversation, and a genuine willingness to answer any questions I had.

If a picture's worth 1,000 words here's a whole bunch of thousands.

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Balancing Otus’ Carburetors

The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, but Otus’ carburetors needed balancing before taking a ride. Last year I bought a TWINMAX Carburetor Balancer, but ran out of riding season before using it. Now that Winter is giving way to Spring, and it was finally dry on a non-work day, the time for balancing the carburetors seemed right.

There are so many explanations of how to balance carbs with or without a balancing tool I really don’t have a lot to add to the discussion. That said, the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the tool you’re going to use, so read the instructions! I also recommend that the process be performed after the machine is warmed up and has been put through its paces. Oh, and you should also wear gloves because the exhaust gets hot!

So, warm up the motorcycle, read the manual, and wear your gloves! With the carburetors balanced Otus was a happy Airhead. He ran great and that made me happy too!

navigation change

I’ve fallen out of love with the text link to the Home page so I’ve removed it. When you’re on the Home page the link is redundant. When you’re on an interior page the text link is differently redundant – the logo in the upper left-hand corner of the header is also a link to the Home page.

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Hella Lights on the GS

Hella Lights for the GS

See Me!

You can go a couple of ways with "hella." You could go the way the young people use the word or you could simply accept this as the brand name. I think I'm going to ride the fence on this one and say that the Hella lights on the GS are hella cool and hella bright. And to be clear, these lights aren't just for me to see better but also for me to be seen better. The number of people turning left in front of me has gone down since adding these lights to Otus so the GS needed a set as well. I attempted to install these lights as I did on Otus but there are a few significant differences - I don't have crash bars on the GS and the wiring is quite a bit different. I was, however, able to put together a gadget bar much like the one on Otus, but with one difference.

Here's how this went down. The GS has a bar under the headlight that is threaded on the ends. Amazingly enough the bolts for the Hella light mounts were threaded the same as that bar. Good planning by the BMW Engineers? Good planning by the Hella Engineers? Blind shit-house luck? Hard to say but mounting the lights was a snap. Next was the wiring. I'd done this before on Otus so the installation of the relay and wiring was similarly easy. The instructions provided with the kit are OK but I'm not an electrical engineer so they could have been a bit more explicit. Having installed this kit before on another bike made this a straight-forward process.

The only challenge with this installation was coming up with power behind the ignition. Fortunately there are two fuses inline and the local auto parts store had spare fuses in stock! This part of the installation was different, and honestly I'm still not sure why. I'm sure someone out there will read this and know why right off the bat but again, I'm not an electrical engineer so I'm figuring this out as I go.

The relay in the kit comes with a wiring loom and simple instructions - connect the red lead to the battery and the ground goes to the frame (and there are plenty of places on the frame where the paint is scratched off so the frame ground is solid). Send power to the lights and ground the lights to the frame also (same comment on this frame ground as well). The tricky part here turned out to be the power and ground behind the ignition. I grabbed power from the marker light in the headlight bucket and ran that ground to frame also (just like I did on Otus) but when I turned on the bike the light fuse popped. I then moved the ground to the ground tab on the marker light, replaced the fuse, and there was light. The lesson for me is that, on the GS anyway, grounding the switch to the frame is a no-no.

I now have some spare fuses in my tool kit and really, really bright lights! I've started a mental count of left-turners that don't turn left in front of me. The current count is 3.

Pictures or it Didn't Happen

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Rally Ready!

Ready To Pack!

Rally time is here and Otus is Rally Ready. In spite of everything we've been through together this old bike remains in amazingly good shape. All the fluids are great so all I really did was do some cleaning. Shelter is packed, sleep gear is packed, battery-powered gear has been checked, and the rest of the "unstructured" gear has been packed up as well. All that's left are clothes and a few odds & ends.

Givi - Not Luftmeister

As you read in a previous post, my attempt to put a Luftmeister case on Otus didn't work out so well. Because I had a Givi mounting plate on one of Otus' luggage frames I decided to order up a Givi Top Case. This is my second Givi top case - the first one was included in the sale of my R1150R - so I know their gear is good. My last case was the biggest they offered and looked great on the R1150R but no so much on Otus. This time I opted for their 47 liter case and, as you can see in the picture, it looks OK on the back of Otus. Also being a bit smaller than the last one perhaps I'll be more thoughtful about what I take...?

I look forward to seeing you all at the MOA Rally in Lebanon, TN. I'll be camping with my Airhead friends so wander over to Airhead Central and say "Hi!"

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