Dave's Cross-Country Trip 2002

Day Fourteen

by Dave Schultheis

Thursday, June 6, 2002 - Woodland Park, Colorado

The bed for which I had paid so highly was spongy and the pillows were too big. I woke up with a sore neck and got up about 6:50 a.m. Mountain Time. Check-out time was 9 o'clock, so I was in no hurry.

I packed my gear, checked the map, loaded the bike, caught up with CNN and made a couple phone calls. Tim was up and doing similar things a couple doors down, and we finished checking out of the motel at 9:05 a.m.

Our agenda for the day was to ride into Colorado Springs, do some errands, get the Road King looked at, then ride out to the M Lazy C Ranch in the afternoon.

We began at the Wal-Mart in Colorado Springs, where I picked up pictures and Tim bought a 15-foot hunk of rope. We were, after all, in cowboy country.

The Road King had been getting noisier and noisier and I wondered if the guys at Dodge City had really checked the primary chaincase fluid level as I had asked.

We pulled into the huge Pike's Peak Harley-Davidson on N. Nevada at 10:25 a.m., and asked the Service Writer to have them check for primary noise. We were surprised when Tom, one of their PHDs, came out. He listened, then went back inside for a tool (like a stethoscope) and then listened more closely. He told us he heard a possible problem in the stator area, possibly loose magnets.

[Note: I was not happy to hear about a stator problem. I still had bad memories of a failed stator in Reno in September 2001, and of spending 8 1/2 hours in the service department waiting while they put a new battery in the bike and put the last stator on the shelf on someone else's motorcycle, while I rode home with the bad one, hoping I'd make it. I did make it home but had to have the stator and voltage regulator replaced.]

Tom said they would take the primary cover off to check the fluid level and chain adjustment and any other possible problems.

At approximately 11:15 a.m., a technician named Wayne came out to tell me that he had removed the inspection and "derby" covers and had found very little fluid in the primary chaincase.

[My immediate thought was, "how could this be?" I had asked that it be checked in Dodge City and they'd said it was fine. Had they checked it or not? Was it possible that the last time I'd had a 10K service done, they didn't refill the primary?]

Wayne said he would continue to dig into the primary chaincase and let me know.

At about 11:40 a.m., Wayne came out and said that he'd removed the primary cover and found only about a half cup of very old and discolored primary fluid. He had me come into the shop for a look. He showed me that there did not appear to be any leaks or loose parts and the stator and rotor looked good. He thought that someone had forgotten to put in primary fluid on my last service.

[I should note that this was a huge shop with probably two dozen or more work stations and lot of technicians. There were also a lot of bikes that had been left for service. I was glad that I didn't have to wait for all of them to go first.]

Wayne said that all the technicians would be attending a Service Department meeting for about an hour, but after that, he would put everything back together and fill it with fluid. It would cost me for labor, some fluid and gaskets, but then I should be on my way.

[I'm not going to comment on the fact that an "on the road" rider was delayed by a Service Department meeting, because about 95% of you are also thinking: "huh?"] At least they took me in right away and looked at it.

He also said he would check the clutch adjustment, and noted that the clutch cable was routed on the wrong side of the engine guard and that he would tie-wrap it for now. I know which shop is responsible for that but won't burn them here.

While waiting, Tim and I browsed the humongous boutique and sales floor and spent a lot of time sitting on the benches outside the service department. It was warm and beautiful in Colorado, and some of the scenery was pretty nice, so we didn't mind that much.

People-watching can be fun. We saw some very interesting specimens (both of the H-D variety and of the human variety). People came in to shop, to pick up or drop off bikes, or just to kill time. We also killed a little time by walking across the parking lot to an aftermarket parts shop, but found nothing that we needed.

I also wandered through the museum on the second floor of the building, where I saw a lot of very old iron and an early Buell with a unique fold-up pillion seat which became a rider backrest.

[While talking with a sales person, I discovered that they are prohibited by Colorado law from selling motorcycles on Sunday. They can't show bikes, they can't talk about bikes, they can't take deposits, nothing. They have to move the bikes into a corner and put up barriers, then move them back again for the next business day. I don't want to bash another state's rules, but this doesn't make sense. Who is being protected by this law?]

As we were again sitting on the benches in front of the service department, we saw Wayne take the bike out the far end of the building for a test drive. He returned a few minutes later and rode back inside the shop.

Wayne came to get me again a few minutes later. The test ride was good, there were no leaks, no noises, and I was "good to go," but that I should keep an eye on the primary fluid level.

Nick, the lot person, said he would wash the bike, but I passed on that. We knew the condition of the (dirt) road to the ranch, and ol' Nick would just be wasting his time. Nobody would wash their bike before riding on that dusty road, would they? I had to go to the parts counter to pay, then we were outta there at 2:20 p.m.

Tim and I got onto Interstate 25 and headed south, then took exit 141 (Cimarron) and headed west on U.S. 24 to Woodland Park, where we stopped at the Safeway Store (for juice) and at Subway Sandwich (guess), then continued west on Hy 24.

We arrived at the M Lazy C Ranch at 4:25 p.m. Mountain Time, about 50 miles from Pikes Peak H-D. We were surprised that we were the only ones there, but it was still early. It was also pretty warm. We got out the rope that Tim had bought and cut it in half, then tied up each of our "iron ponies" to the hitching post in front of the Foreman cabin, just to see what kind of looks we would get.

We wandered the property, greeting the wranglers (some male and some female), various employees, various pets and lots of horses. In addition to the bathhouse near the cabins, there was another bathhouse we could use, plus more cabins to be occupied later, and an (unfortunately broken) hot-tub.

As the ranch is fairly remote, my Sprint PCS phone did not work but we were told that some cel-phone providers did put in a usable signal on the grounds. There was no pay phone available, but were were on vacation - who needs a phone?

Shortly after 6 p.m. a contingent came in from the pacific northwest: Snarl from Washington, Randy from Oregon and Pete from Utah. We exchanged greetings, got ice for Snarl's beer box, and after they had put their stuff away, Randy and Pete went on a b-double-e-double-r-u-n.

We were told by the ranch staff where the only available telephone was located, and 'splained that we'd have to use a credit card or call collect. They also told us that the breakfast bell would ring at 8:00 a.m. at the dining hall and that we should "be there or be hungry."

Along about 7:40 p.m., Tim and Randy and I decided to go out for dinner. We had seen a place about 6 miles away in Lake George that got a recommendation from some of the ranch staff. Enroute there, we thought we saw Amanda heading west on Hy 24 as we were riding east.

We parked at the Mountain Shadows Inn and took a nice table in the middle of the room. There was a lot of discussion about the menu, as there was a choice between a steak special involving tamales (which I don't like), and a higher-priced steak. I decided to go with the lower-priced meal, so I ate the steak and had the tamales packaged to go. There was a nice crowd in the restaurant, and the wait-staff was cheerful, so we had a good time.

We got back to the ranch about 9:10 p.m. to find that indeed it was Amanda we had seen earlier. She hadn't eaten, so I gave her the tamales for dinner. Those that were there so far sat around the (propane) campfire. It wasn't the same as a real campfire, but that part of Colorado was under strict controls, and open fires were not permitted. The ranch staff had done a great job of putting together the plumbing necessary to give the illusion of a campfire, even though there was little warmth. (Kind of like the difference between incandescent and fluorescent lighting.) Though the evening was cool, I was comfortable in shirtsleeves, although others were wearing jackets.

I took the opportunity to walk to the bathouse for a shower, then went to bed. Tim was nice and quiet when he came in later.

PHD = Professional Harley-Davidson. A highly trained and skilled H-D technician.

Miles for the day = 94. Miles for the trip = 4613.

Tomorrow: More arrivals, a broken belt, a tow truck, a wagon picture, a Road King hemorrhoidectomy and a big wet smooch.

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Created on February 12, 2003. Last updated on February 16, 2003.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA