Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ozark mountain Scramble.......Its A Wrap! Part 2

Day 2 continued

When we arrived at the gas station at the base of the mountain road we fueled the bikes and broke out the tool kits to disassemble the Honda Thumper. Off came the tank and seat and the naked bike was sitting waiting to get prodded and probed.  Removal of the valve covers uncovered some good news as the valve springs and valve stems were not broken or bent so we surmised the cam chain jumped time.  All of this was too large of a project to repair on the spot so Mike summoned the help of a guy that was looking on to see what was going on and the two of them loaded the bike into his pick up and headed the 30 or so miles to the town and hotel that we all were stopping at for the night.  We figured this would be the evening’s entertainment repairing the bike and breaking balls over a few cold ones.  Once settled in back at the hotel the motor came out of the bike and it was broken down to reveal the timing chain had jumped a few teeth and threw the cam timing off.  This is the reason the bike would not run. But what to do in a small town with no Honda dealer or service parts to be had. Improvisation was the name of the game this night. What happened is the cam chain slack tensioner had reached the end of its travel and the cam chain was allowed to run loose so it was able to jump time.  We made a quick decision to move the cam tensioner to gain some travel back.  This sounds simpler than it actually was until a speedy trip to the local home improvement store yielded a cordless drill and the required tooling to move the hole in the engine case.  After some playing around and diligence the machining was completed and reassembly started.  All went pretty smooth from this point on.  At approximately 2 AM the bike fired ready to make another run at mountain in the morning.

Day 3 Roadside Repairs

We were greeted by another beautiful day in North West Arkansas. The sun was out the temps were in the mid-seventies and no chance for rain. We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed out on the roads. At the first gas stop we were greeted by a local guy riding a classic Kawasaki Z1 900 with an interesting charging system installed.  The bike needed a stator and battery so he fixed it by installing an automotive battery that has plenty of power to keep the bike running until he could hook up a charger to replenish the battery.  This stretch of roads was posted at 55 mph and had fast sweeping turns and gentle elevation changes. It felt like I was riding a smooth roller coaster for 40 miles. We stopped at an all in one gas station / grocery store to regroup and fuel up the bikes with small gas tanks and we learned one of the riders had a flat rear tire beck a few miles so we had a delay in the progress.  One of the guys went to a bike shop 40 miles down the road to retrieve a tube and another guy commandeered a truck and trailer to retrieve the stranded bike.  This worked out well as the tube arrived at our gathering spot so did the bike on the trailer. Fifteen minutes later the tire was repaired and remounted and ready to go.  Try this on for size, there were more guys capable and willing to work and install tires that could possibly get their hands on the job. This made me think of most jobs people are looking to get out of work rather than lending a hand. This made quick work of any repair that needed to be done.  When you ride with a group of bikes that are a minimum of 32 years old anything could happen so I felt comfortable that no one would be left stranded by mechanical breakdowns. That was the largest adventure on day 3.

The rest of the day was traversing some wonderful roads in pristine country. The evening was spent telling stories and laughing about some sweater that Bill Cosby wore.

Day 4 the final day on the Mountain. 
Again we were in for a picture perfect day with 12 bikes running and rolling.  The majority of the first 60 miles or so was standard level 2 lane to our Mountain riding destination.  On the way we only had one minor problem is one of the bikes float valve in the carb would not seal. This was attributed to debris in the fuel tank so a quick stop at a lawn and garden shop around the corner yielded an in line filter that resolved the problem.


We rode into some uphill switch backs that were very technical and tight.  I rode with the throttle pinned and was not able to pull out of forth gear with my 650 twin.  However at the summit there was a breathtaking overlook that was worth the climb.  On back side of the mountain it again was high speed sweeper turns and steep elevation changes.

All I can say is if you have never ridden mountain style roads you do not know what you are missing. The remaining part of the day was smooth and uneventful our group was split by some of the members heading a different way home than we did back to our truck.  The last stretch of road before we entered into Rogers Arkansas was excellent with a mountain lake and winding smooth roads so, you can get into a groove and just go with the flow of the machine on roads like these. We resumed back at where we had started 3 days before at our truck and loaded up for the 18 Hour trek back to the North East. I would like to say if you have never been to North West Arkansas to ride your motorcycle do it. As an added benefit I made some new friends also. I will return next year if the invitation is open to do it all over again.  Thanks guys for letting this Yankee invade your riding area!

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