Dad’s In Town (Elliott’s Post)

Ok so I gotta get going cause today is the day that I’m meeting my Dad! For those that don’t know – another long story short: I was on a cross country motorcycle trip last year and my bike broke down in Eastern Montana. It sat around in a dude’s garage that I met and he never was able to get it fixed and it sat and sat and I couldn’t get ahold of this guy, etc. etc. Anyway, I left this mess with my dad and he starts making calls and finds someone who actually was able to fix the bike. So, my Dad takes the train out to Malta, MT and I ride there from Whitefish (rode through Glacier park – amazing as ever, but slooowwww) but once I got out of the Rockies.. it’s pretty much flat and straight forever an ever (so let’s just say I made up some time). I pull into Malta and there’s my Dad waiting for me outside the hotel! We’re gonna ride back East together and break off somewhere in Illinois and Montana but we have a good 3-4 days together for a solid father/son motorcycle trip.

Right after I arrive we go over to the guys house that fixed the bike. He actually invited us over for a beer and burger. He’s a nice guy and seems like the bike is running and then we’re talking about how payment and he hands me a bill for $716. WTF. It kinda deflated the little bbq we were having. I mean he’s a nice guy and he says he spent 13 hours working on it but my god that’s kind of a lot of money considering I had already paid for the new parts and all he did was install them I don’t think he knew much about BMWs and I guess I paid for his training. Anyway, whatever, I’m trying to forget about it.

We leave the next morning. Of course my Dad didn’t get much sleep on the train and he’s out like a light at 9pm and up at 5 am raring to go. He could see I was not ready and occupied himself until about 7:30 and then we ate and were on the road.

First problem – the bike (that was fixed) is spewing coolant pretty good – we figure the guy had topped off the fluids and overfilled radiator and it’s just overflow. That seems to be the case as the coolants is coming out the cap area and seems to go away by mid day (and the engine is not overheating).

Second problem – the chain tension is really low and getting all kinds of chain slap. We tighten chain but I think we overtighten it as now there is a stretched part (that was probably there to some degree before but we probably made it worse). We stop again to take some tension out and help the stretched part fit on the teeth like it should. It helps but it’s not perfect. Basically, the stretched part will never fit on the chain ring teeth perfectly and eventually wear it away and then the chain will constantly slip but it should (please god let it be ok) last the rest of the trip no problem.

Third problem – the bike seems to be getting terrible gas mileage. We eventually determine that we’re not filling it up all the way and my Dad was sticking the gas nozzle to far into the tank and giving us the impression it was full but it really had a way to go. Bottom line is that the gas mileage isn’t superb but it’s better than we originally thought.

Anyway, my Dad and I rode 425 miles today!!! We went through Montana, cut across the corner of North Dakota and are now in Buffalo, South Dakota. It was a gorgeous day, the terrain is really much more interesting and beautiful than you might think of this area. All kinds of crazy stratified rock formations and rolling plains.

We had a great day together and tomorrow we’re heading for Mt. Rushmore, Black Hills national park, and rolling through Sturgis to check out the pre Harley rally festivities.

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