To Cali on Pandora

A man (me), his dog (Gage), their URal (a sidecar motorcycle named Pandora), a bunch of time (6 weeks), a lot of miles (to Cali and back), and a lot of flirting (yes, Gage is a constant flirt).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bye Gage

I am sad, because I have lost one of my best friends.

Gage has died. Unknown to me, he had systemic cancer and died while I was away in Africa.

I dedicate this blog to Gage, for he enriched my life in a significant way.

Goodbye Gage, I will miss you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Last Last

I had to post this! Thanks Reg, you are the best.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ural'ers R Good Peeps

I just have to add one thing...Ural'ers are very supportive people. There seems to be this wonderful code of help between fellow Ural owners.

Case-in-point, Kevin a Ural owner in Minnesota read, about my whole gas episode and is giving me a brand new, spare Ural gas tank! Wow, thanks Kevin!

The Last Day!

Started in: Wadena, MN
Ended in: Wadena, MN
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a kitten.

Today is going to be the last day of this trip. I made it to each of my family members' houses (at least once).

Grandpa and I cleaned up Pandora. I didn't realize how much weight was in her -- almost 200 lbs including Gage -- wow!

Tonight I took my Grandma out on a date. We had a great time. We both dressed up. I borrowed some good clothes from my Grandpa. Some how, I think I ended up looking like a pimp :-( When I told Grandma what I thought, she laughed, and then said, "Yes you do."

Making route 66 be my destination (at least for a while) was wonderful. While I was driving on the route, I was not thinking about my endpoint, because I was already where I was trying to be. It was easy to look around and enjoy where I was because I was not thinking about being anyplace else:
When I wasn't worried about where I would end up, it was easier to enjoy where I was.
Here are some final observations:
  • Dead armadillos look freaky.
  • Everyone should get stranded on the side of the road at least once a year.
  • Old motorcycles attract old men, cute dogs attract women.
  • I think everyone should spend at least one night on a beach with a special person.
  • Ridding a motorcycle in the cold, at night, is lonely.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Long Cool Ride

Started in: Ankeny, IA
Ended in: Wadena, MN
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a very dirty kitten.

I made it to my Grandmas!

It was cold -- 40 degrees F when I arrived in Wadena.

Shifting My Ural

Started in: Wellington, KS
Ended in: Ankeny, IA
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a very dirty kitten.

It has taken me a while to find a grinding free way of shifting Pandora. Thought some of your other Ural'ers might be interested:

  1. Release the throttle (must be before squeezing the clutch)
  2. Squeeze the clutch
  3. Wait one second
  4. Shift
I have found Pandora likes it best when I shift at these speeds:

  • Shift into 2nd at 15 mph
  • Shift into 3rd at 25 mph
  • Shift into 4th at 38 mph

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pandora Update

Started in: Wellington, KS
Ended in: Ankeny, IA
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a very dirty kitten.

This is for my fellow Ural'ers...

Pandora is a 2005 Ural Tourist. I bought her from Dave's Cycle in Spring Valley, Minnesota in August of 2005. Pandora is all stock, except for a pair of coolers I had installed.

I have found riding Pandora the best way to see the country -- I will gladly take her on another long-range trip! My cruising speed is 50 to 55 mph. I have ridden well on both four-lane and two-lane. When I am on four-lanes, I just stay in the rightmost lane.

I had a few initial problems, and they were all fixed under warranty. Those problems were:

  • incorrectly installed wrist pin -- both heads were rebuilt
  • faulty ignition module
  • cracking fuel lines
  • incorrectly installed rear axle (it was too loose)
Other than these problems, Pandora is running great, and seems to be very reliable.

Under advice from Derek in Albuquerque, I switched my spark plug gap from .040 to .030. Pandora has run a lot smother since then and Her plugs are toasty brown. When I was at .040, there was a frequent amount of arc-ing going on in the timing box when I would accelerate.
I use synthetic oil in both the engine and transmission. I noticed a very big change when I switched the transmission to synthetic. Pandora was much quieter and seemed to run smoother to me. I have not noticed any more seeping than normal.

I adjust my valves to a gap of .005. Initially I was adjusting them to .004 and found that they would sometimes tighten up on me. With a gap of .005 Pandora ticks along in a very pleasing way!

My first rear tire (the original from Ural) held up for 8,000 km.

I have the following minor problems that I will have fixed under warranty once I get back to Minnesota:

  • the horn is having problems (its not very horny)
  • the rubber engine mount washer under the gas tank is splitting
  • replacement wheel for the one that was damaged from the loose axle
  • The plastic starter cover needs to be replaced

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Quiet Day

Started in: Clinton, OK
Ended in: Wellington, KS
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a very dirty kitten.

Today was a very warm day. I rode on route 66 all the way to Oklahoma City. At Oklahoma City I left route 66 and merged onto Interstate 35, North towards Minnesota. I decided not to stop ridding until I reached Kansas.

Maybe someday I will complete the route to Chicago on route 66. It would have been fun to find a drive-in movie theatre to watch with Gage and Pandora.

I changed both Pandora's engine and transmission oil today. She liked it!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Route 66 Got Me Again

Started in: Hereford, TX
Ended in: Clinton, OK
Pandora’s Status: Purring like a very dirty kitten.

Today was a great travel day. It was warm and sunny!

I'm tenting at a KOA. Its $17 for one night and includes wireless Internet!

Early this morning I crossed paths with route 66 and couldn't resist joining it again. I am really glad that I did because in Western Oklahoma, I found an original segment of route 66! I even drove on it for a while. It was wonderful and I felt calmly connected to the past again, like I did before, in the past :-))