5.05.2007,2:35 AM
Plugs and Ponderings
This is a report from the midnight trenches of windy Texas.
Or put simply, I can't sleep again. My nights the past two weeks have been......restless. I wake, can't turn the head off, and can't go back to sleep.

So here I sit on the couch, enjoying the breeze whispering though the windows, the night sounds of insects and frogs, the squeak of the windmill near by (I do wish they would oil that thing), and the solitude of the darkness.

Earlier I learned how to change the plugs in the Whee. Two other Strommers arrived here in the drizzle; we sat and shared iced tea and stories waiting for a reprieve from the warm drizzle to work on the bikes. Our luck rewarded us eventually and we proceeded to remove the fairings and cowlings from the two bikes.

In anticipation of removing the gas tanks, Fred and I had nearly empty tanks. They came off the bikes easily enough. The plug for one cylinder is easily accessible under the tank. Removing the plug wire, we removed the plug for scrutiny. It didn't look too worse for wear after 17,000 miles of firing and the gap was still within range. It was replaced with the new double pin plug after gaping at 7mm. Plop the baby back in its metal bassinet and it was good to go.

The other plug was more troublesome to access: behind the radiator. Fred was able to merely loosen his radiator and pivot it forward to get at the plug. Because the engine guards impeded pivoting the radiator on Whee, we had to loosen the guard on the left and push it out of the way. We finally removed the plug from the other cylinder and it was comparable to the other with a bit more particulate matter on the electrode. With the new plug in place, we tightened everything.

I removed the top of the airbox to find moths, flies, dust, road debris, etc embedded in the filter. Hooking up the small air compressor, I blew out all the debris and wiped it all down making sure the gasket was also free of dust. The inside of the airbox was cleaned of a slight oil film with a paper towel and the cleaned filter was reassembled inside the airbox.

Chuck showed me where the throttle bodies are located and explained the procedure to synch those, adjust the throttle sensor and all the minor details involved with that. I'm going to wait until I have the valves checked to have that done. The valve inspection will be handed off to Cliff at Piper Performance; I trust his work and he takes the time to show me how he does it. An ex-racer himself, he 'knows' bikes intimately and takes pride in his work. As Persig call's it, his work has 'quality'. Besides, I love to listen to his stories from his racing days.

At 17,000 miles....... in nine months. I wonder sometimes where I've ridden these past nine months. The places I've gone and all that I've seen. All the experiences to which are added to monthly, even weekly.

I love my bike. I can't think of another bike that would have given me so much pleasure, so much of an opportunity to live and learn. Each ride seems to have it's own experiences, adding to the expanding file of memories; most good, some bad. Sometimes they've really tested my mettle, and I've learned more of what I'm made of. Such as last Wednesday, two weeks ago, last September, last July. I've traveled widely in many four-wheeled vehicles over my life and never have I had such rewarding adventures as I have had on this bike. And met so many others that share a similar adventure spirit.

"Four wheels carry the body, two wheels move the soul"

After our brief and rewarding wrenching session, we rode to the Ranchman's Steakhouse in Ponder. A 44-mile ride, the short way. Because the day was fastly disappearing, I suggested a route that was more direct than my usual 'Long Way' there. After gearing up and filling the tanks, we were off through the small towns of Azle, Boyd, Rhome, Justin and arriving at the even smaller town of Ponder. The ride was a test of stoppings; we hit nearly every red light (literally; we hit one green light), and then a train. I threw up my hands at the train and laughed along with Fred. It seemed our Karma today was Stop Practice, including some quick stops.

The wind was strongly gusting and trying to push us into a continuous lean to the north and challenge us on the bends of FM407. Normally those curves are fun to ride, but with the wind and the ruts in the road we took them slower than normal. The gray day allowed us to ride comfortably with moderate temperatures despite the humidity.

And it was refreshing to just go for a ride; two V-stroms on a ride to Ponder.
It's soothing for a restless head.

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The blackberry cobbler with ice cream was absolutely delicious.

Sipping the last drop of my warm milk, perhaps I can now sleep.
Oh that wonderful tryptophan.............

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posted by Macrobe
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