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February 21, 2005

Working in the Shed like Ted

Theodore Kaczynski that is. Although I was not making explosives.
Friday night I drove the K75S up the ramp I built into the shed. It was going to rain all weekend and Sharon was going to Tahoe for a bachelorette ski trip, so I thought it would be a good time to do some work on the motorcycle. Friday night I installed a Fuel Plus Trip Computer. They no longer make this product for my bike, but last summer I found one on ebay and sniped it like Vassily Zaitsev. The Fuel Plus replaces the clock in the speedometer case and keeps a constant record of your fuel, distance, and time. Essentials for the serious motorcycle touring monster like me. We're talkin' some serious open-bike surgery here. After installing the LCD unit into the gauges case I had to run a wire from the fuel system computer on the mid section of the bike. To insure strong wiring, I soldered all my connections and use heat shrink insulators. After it was installed I hooked the battery back up and the LCD lit up with the correct information on the display! I scrolled through all the functions and will have to wait until I fill the tank back up to reset it. I got to bed around 2:30am.
The Nervous System
On Saturday I woke up at the crack of noon and went back in the shed to install an auxilliary four slot fuse box along with headlight relays I purchased from a Canadian living in Japan. His motorcycle headlight relay business is called Eastern Beaver. By the time the electricity gets you your headlights on a BMW, the voltage drops up to 20%. With the full power relays and a connection straight to the battery with heavy gauge wire you are going to get more voltage. This means a brighter headlight which helps illuminate the pupils of deer's eyes or it can help you be seen by those driving the cages. With my entire front fairing off from the Fuel Plus installation it was quite easy to install. With all the extra electrical accessories on my bike like the radar detector, powerlet port to my tank bag (which powers my camera, cell phone and mp3 player) and now the headlight relay it was time to install a four port fuse block, rather than having four in-line fuses dangling all over the place. I ran from the electrical box four wires and soldered a connector on the end and heat-shrunk-wrapped them. I had one extra fuse port so I pre-ran a wire for it too. So, when I have a future accessory to add, like perhaps a GPS, it would be wired and ready to go. Around dinner time I needed to get out so I called Harry and he and I went for a little road trip into Scotts Valley. I went to Radio Shack and Kragen to get some fuses and he went to Safeway. Afterwards, I treated him to some Starbuck's coffee. I'm terrible at these fancy coffee places. I have no idea what to order. When Sharon requests a coffee, I make her write it down on paper. "Venti-non-fat-de-caf-latte!" Oh my. So, Harry and I get the counter and the girl is in a pissy mood because there's only two of them working and the barrista chick is quite slow. Perhaps a rookie. At the counter I give my "Hmmmm what will I have?" Harry notices a lady behind us and allows her to pass in front. The cashier is gettin' fired up. We get our coffee and soon behind us grows a line of ten people. They are in the weeds and you can see the tension on her face. Usually they are so cheerful at "Five-bucks" calling out your name and making you feel like you're at home, but not tonight. Back to the shed after watching American Psycho, I finish the job and get to bed at 4:00am.

Sunday I woke up after noon and wandered back into the shed to start putting the fairing back together. I've had this bike apart so many times now, I can do this blindfolded. After a wonderful peanut butter and banana sandwich dinner, I plopped myself on the couch and watched the movie "Kinsey" (not out on DVD yet) provided by my connection to someone who is a member of the Academy of Performing Arts. Great film. At 9:00pm Sharon arrives back from her trip and it's nighty night.

Posted by stephen at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2005

One Way to Decapitation

Today, I contacted CalTrans, California's Deptartment of Transportation to complain about the One Way signs that sit on top of the concrete median strip on highway 17. I phoned and emailed the Santa Clara County division and I spoke to the Santa Cruz County division. I have to deal with two different offices, since the highway is in two CalTrans divisions.
Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark!
I've noticed that if a motorcyclist was to be knocked into the median strip in front of one of these metal, blade-like signs, they would be decapitated or sliced in half. There has to be about 30 of these signs along the highway. The gentleman in charge of traffic signs from the Santa Cruz CalTrans office was aware of the safety issue as it was brought up before and said he would get back to me why they didn't do anything about it. In some spots the One Way signs are safely mounted flush to the face of the concrete. He also mentioned that other large posted signs have break-away points. That does not include the 4x4 posts in the middle of the highway. I asked him if he would like to hit the 4x4 post while on a motorcycle. He agreed with me and said for some reason they don't put break-away cuts or drill holes in those smaller sign posts (small to cars, large to motorcycles).

I'm going to keep bothering them until they come up with a safe solution. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Posted by stephen at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack