Technical Snags

A couple of weeks ago I started having problems starting my bike. It was like the battery was dead and just didn’t have enough juice to crank. Upon pulling off the battery cover I noticed that the battery was quite deformed and swollen. I removed it and went in search of a replacement. Sufficed to say no one has that type of battery in a 50mile radius of Raliegh except the Stealership which, of course, is closed on Sunday and Monday. After paying for a new battery and getting it back in and the bike back to normal I thought nothing else about it..I checked the battery on the 7 day mark and it had no issues.

Fast forward to today. I took a pretty long ride and at stop lights I noticed a rotten egg/dead animal smell. Once I got home I tracked it down to the battery. Looks like the battery has been overcharged and got so hot that it has deformed now and was venting out of the top. After doing some searches online I found several people who’ve had this exact problem. It looks to be related to a bad voltage regulator/rectifier. I’ve pulled the battery and the old rectifier out and the new one should be here Tuesday. I’m hoping I can salvage the battery but I may just order a battery and have it sent to Brian’s house in MS so I can change it out when I get there. (btw..Brian can I have a battery shipped to your house? :-D).

I’ve been kind of waiting for something to go wrong and now that it has I’m not as stressed about it as I expected to be. Hopefully this will fix this issue and I can go about my business..We shall see..

6 days left.

Find me SPOT

Anyone who knows me knows that I love gadgets…I have a camping laptop for godsake. You read that correctly. I have a laptop that I specifically bought to take camping. It’s not waterproof but it does have a solid state drive so it can stand to be bumped around a bit.

In searching through some forums I frequent I came across the SPOT Messenger. This little gadget is basically a GPS unit that doesn’t give you directions but instead sends your location by text message,email or both to people who care about you. It works where cell phones don’t and also has a 911 feature that sends an emergency message to a monitoring station which in turn relays the GPS coordinates to local emergency services so they can respond to your location. It also has a “Help” feature. This is basically 911 without the police/EMS responding. On their website you designate up to 10 people that will get your check-in and help messages.

Another cool feature of this unit is the tracking mode. This sends a message to the monitoring station every 10 minutes which is then plotted on Google Maps. You can then share this page out so people can track your location. Right now I have 2 shared pages

  1. Are you stalking me?
  2. Just Checking In

This blog will also get an email from SPOT when I check in. Right now it will only be in text with my GPS coordinates and a link to Google Maps. I’m trying to figure out a way to render the map itself without the cruft. That will probably be something to work on later. Those posts will be added to the SPOT category.

I’ve had a lot of fun testing this thing out and I really hope it lives up to my expectations once I’m on the road.

9 days and counting…

I’m Legal!

This past weekend I completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course at Ray Price Harley Davidson here in Raleigh. I can’t say enough about how useful this course is. I would say that I have 10-12 months of continuous riding experience and I learned a great deal about cornering, handling sudden stops and a lot of other things.

They gave us a 500cc Buell Blast motorcycle to practice on and let me tell you these bikes had seen better days. Luckily I didn’t drop my bike but I came *really* close several times..Especially doing the 2 U-turns in a 20ft long box.

One major perk here in NC for completing the basic course is the DMV riding skills test is waived as long as you’ve passed the MSF course. I already had my motorcycle permit so Monday I went into the DMV and got my motorcycle endorsement.

I highly recommend taking the MSF basic rider course no matter how long you’ve been riding. Chances are the longer you’ve been riding the more bad habits you’ve picked up. I will be taking the advanced rider course once I get back from my trip. Basically you go through all the MSF basic riding training but you do it on your own bike. All in all the course was very, very helpful to me and I gained more confidence in riding my own bike with the skills that I learned there.

Tent Setup

So this is a bit late but I finally got pics up of the dry run setup of the tent…First off let me say that this tent may have been a bad choice. It might work for an extended trip but the 1 or 2 night stays that I’m planning for October may make this tent too much of a hassle. I was planning to attempt the shakedown run for this past weekend..Guess what happened? Tropical Storm Hanna happened…I don’t know when I’ll be able to plan another one..This weekend coming up is our monthly outage window at work so I’ll be working late Friday/early Saturday…The weekend of the 20th – 21st I have my MSF riders’ edge course..Barring any more hurricanes/tropical storms or other madness I’ll be going Sep 27th – 28th..Hopefully :-/

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