Monday, May 7, 2012

Bike Maintenance and Off to Barrow Again

I managed to get in a couple of short motorcycle rides between getting back from Washington D.C. and Oregon and heading north. Yesterday afternoon, I knocked off a couple of items from my bike maintenance list. In order to warm up the oil, it's necessary to ride for at least an hour, right? I don't really look forward to changing the oil filter on my airhead. The lower fairing and the exhaust headers make it difficult to reach the bolts holding the oil cooler thermostat to the block. The thermostat housing doubles as the cover for the oil filter canister. It is so difficult to get the filter in/out of the block that BMW makes the filter fold in half so it could be snaked through the fairing, frame and exhaust header. I probably should just pull everything off to simplify the process whenever I change the oil. The oil looked great and after cutting open the filter, there was just barely a trace of anything. I probably could have let it go a while longer. I also checked the valve clearances since the engine was nicely warmed up and they are still spot on. (As Chris pointed out in the comments, the valve clearances should be checked when the engine is cold. I just prefer to warm it up first and check it when it has cooled to room temperature.) The top end repair work from last year was a great investment.

Alaska Airlines terminal at Deadhorse
This morning (Monday). I am on my way to Barrow for much of the week. If anyone is thinking of riding to Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse, this snapshot from the door of the plane may convince you to wait a bit longer. I'm told that things had warmed up here a few weeks back but it's frozen again with low temperatures still hovering around 0°F along with a pretty stiff wind. It is calmer in Barrow but the temperatures are about the same. I don't think I've been to Barrow since January and it feels like it's been a long time. Tasks have been piling up on me and it has been challenging to find time to get up here. It looks like I may be spending a good percentage of my summer up here unless I can convince others from the university to spend some of their summer up north.

Tuesday Afternoon - Another beautiful, cold day up here. There is still a fair amount of snow as seen here in a shot of the old power plant on the NARL campus. After sitting staring at a computer screen all day, I went for a short walk outside. The sun is so bright that my eyes ached. The days are really long now with sunset occurring around 1:59AM with sunrise at 3:10AM. Needless to say, most of the windows in my quonset hut are covered with foil to block out the nighttime sun.

14 comments:

Chris said...

no interest in deadhorse for me. maybe someday in the future, but not this trip.

aren't you supposed to check valves on a cold engine? that's what my ural and r1150gs books say.

RichardM said...

Yes, supposedly cold engine but I've always checked them when the engine is about 70°F which, for me, is easiest after riding while the engine is cooling off. The air temperature (and garage temperature) was mid-30's yesterday. It probably doesn't matter too much from 30°F to 70°F but I try to be consistent.

Trobairitz said...

I am glad you got a few rides in before heading out.

barrow sure sounds chilly. Will it be warmer in the summer or does it stay pretty chilly year round?

RichardM said...

Most of the snow should be gone in a month and by July, the ocean will be ice-free. And the temperatures averages in the 50s (°F) but as been known to get up well into the high 70s at times.

Unknown said...

Richard:

I'm thinking that when we are sweating in 100°F heat down in Oregon in July, we would be welcoming the freezing weather of Barrow.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

What, 100°F in Oregon in July! How can anyone survive in those temperatures. Please tell me you are joking....

Seriously, I was getting a box of stuff ready to ship down to Oregon with my still unused mesh riding gear.

SonjaM said...

The white stuff seriously hurt my eyes. I am used to so much more greener things right now ;-)
It still makes me wonder how you do it, I mean survive up there...

RichardM said...

The white stuff really is hard on the eyes especially when the sun is so bright. Fortunately, for my eyes, evening brought fog and some light snow...

So far, I enjoy it up here in Alaska. And after travelling all over, I still haven't come up with a nicer place to live. Maybe it just takes some weird personality. Maybe if I saw Auckland first hand.

Unknown said...

Richard:

remember we were all sitting in Irondad's motel room. It was 100°F and it stayed there for the weekend until we left for Lincoln City

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

I was hoping that the 100°F was a bad dream.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone has tried to get to Deadhorse this season all ready and got a white surprise...I would say end of June would be a safer beat to head up that way...

RichardM said...

I saw a post on ad rider.com that there has been at least one bike up there this year.

BeemerGirl said...

Glad the motorcycle is starting to get some attention...and will have the chance to escape the garage soon!

I saw Geoff James' and Jennie's pic of the Tropic of Capricorn sign and it reminded me of the Artic Circle sign. I need some evidence of travel!!

Hope you aren't destined to spend summer up there. Enlist others...

RichardM said...

Finally, eh! It feels like its been a long winter. And Tuesday's ride didn't change that thought much. I'm really looking forward to my trip this July. I've never been on an extended multi-day ride with camping and long days. I'll see if I'm as enthusiastic about riding after that.