Sunday, Derek and I went to Six Flags again -- we spent most of the day in the water park. Unfortunately, Derek only wore short pants and a short sleeve shirt. It was a hot day, but the evening was very chilly on the bike -- so I let him wear my jacket so both of us were "half warm" for the trip home.
I moved more stuff on Monday; and started to prepare for my big bike trip to the Rochester Rams' Run in Dresden, NY (Seneca Lake) -- As my bike seemed to be having a problem with it's eight year old battery, and I didn't want any problems -- I bought a new battery for my bike on Tuesday. The bike ran GREAT with the new battery!
I caught up with my work and took off late on Thursday afternoon. I left roughly 3:00pm, and arrived on-site at 9:00pm. I drove straight down the I-90, and it was a BEAUTIFUL ride!
Thursday night, as every other Rams' Run, was laid back and the calm before the storm -- for tomorrow about 80 people were to arrive, all hungry and needy for one thing or another. Although I am no longer a member of the club, going early and staying the extra day means that I am expected to assist in any way possible. We hung out by cabin A3 around the campfire and chatted until late evening as we all went to bed one at a time.
Friday, the guests began to arrive -- everything was on target and going smoothly. Opening ceremonies took place, followed by a cocktail party hosted by the "G.D.I.'s" (G*d Dammed Independents) -- this was the first cocktail party of the weekend, and I swear it was nothing more than full-strength tequila and a few drops of red food colouring!!! Holy cow! Very few people could stomach this "cocktail" -- following this, the annual party in Cabin "A"; featuring beer, beer more beer and free-poured shots! Anyone who "walks" away from this party either didn't do their share of drinking, or had a cast-iron liver! I think I got a little toasted; I don't quite remember going to bed that night! ;-)
Saturday, after nursing my hangover for about an hour -- a few cups of coffee and a bowl of non-noisy (i.e. NOT rice krispies) cereal, we prepared for the "I Like Dyke Bike Hike" -- this was a two to three hour bike trip around the finger lakes, hosted by my good friend Jack Dyke. After getting all dudded up in full leather for the trip, our first stop was at the gas station, where I discovered I left my gas cap key in my cabin! DUH! Then to make matters worse, there wasn't enough juice in my brand new battery to start the bike! What gives??!?!? I got a push start, and went back to camp to charge my bike -- while charging, I called a local Yamaha dealer to get a replacement directional relay (which sometimes causes problems like draining batteries when it gets corroded, and it looked bad inside!) Luck was with me; they had the part! I put the battery back in and Dan and I were on our way to the dealer in Watkens Glenn, NY. That set me back about $110.00 (the last time I replaced it, they were only $85!) I got a jump and drove back to camp and put the bike on the charger for the remainder of the night. It was a slow charger; not a problem -- nowhere to go any ways! I had a few "Fricktails" (Cocktails by buddy Frick) at the pool where they were serving BBQ for lunch! Saturday evening was the night of the formal dinner and scavenger hunt. The dinner was awesome!! Jon T. (with his kitchen crew) cooked up an incredible feast! Studded pork roast being the main course. YUM!! The scavenger hunt was fun! The team I was on ended up taking 2nd place, thanks to a little number stolen from Chicago (the movie/play) with rewrites by Tom Johnson! For details, ask Chip or Bob, the judges! (I want a honey dipped Chip too!)
The Unicorn, M.C. hosted their annual post-dinner/show port/brandy and cigar smoker, but for a change -- this was not the end of the evening! Tom Johnson, Bob Kirsop, Bruce MacWhorter, Albert Rizzo, Dan Marty and yours truly hosted "The Combat Zone", a Vietnam war era based cocktail party at Cabin D in the woods late Saturday night! It was a roaring success, although the shots "McNazi's" were not only politically incorrect, they knocked the crap out of a lot of people! The party was scheduled from midnight to 2am. I was one of the last team-members standing at 5:00am when the party converted to a dance hall and eight to twelve folks danced until dawn.
Sunday I was sick as a dog. I don't know if it was something I ate, drank or touched -- I couldn't even keep water in me. I attended closing ceremonies and helped clean up Cabin D and ended up lying down for a few hours to recover.
Feeling better around 3:00pm, I joined the Rams and we discussed plans for the planting of a new red maple tree in the Rams Memorial Garden up near the entrance of the camp. Jack and Steve's partner Rich Richards unexpectedly passed away last year from liver cancer. Rich was a dear friend of mine and was a Ram for many years. He was president of the club in 2002 just before he passed away. The service was held about 4:30pm. Jack and Steve planted some of Rich's ashes in the ground with the tree -- there wasn't a dry eye in the place; but no matter how sad we were for the loss of Rich, we were overflowing with happiness for having the opportunity of knowing him for the time we did.
Sunday is like a repeat of Thursday -- 90% of everything has been packed up, and whomever is left hangs out by the campfire ring in front of Cabin A3. This year, due to Russ' absence, we didn't have someone to mummify in toilet paper after passing out from trying to drink all the leftover dinner wine! Russ went home early this year, and considering that we had two EMT's on-site (we're ALL getting old); one seemed especially there for Russ' sake with a portable defibrillator in hand (seriously!!)
Monday, I was feeling a lot better -- although just a tad nauseous still. Following the final clean up and check out of the campground, we all headed home. I checked my bike battery, and it had held a full charge from Saturday night. Phew! Looked like I was not going to have a problem.
I headed up Rt. 14 to the Thruway, and headed due east. Just as I was about in Albany, trouble appeared as the bike started to lose power. The battery was going dead. I knew the telltale signs. I pulled off at Fonda, NY and rapidly located a bike shop. We charged up the battery there while looking around the electrical system. It looks as if the move to the east coast has had some effect on my bike -- corrosion was found on all of the copper contacts. We cleaned it up, and performed some testing. It looked like the bike was doing okay, although the tech couldn't find his multimeter to verify this 100% (we used the battery-charger gauge).
Back on the road, things were going well.... until highway marker B13 (on that little unpopulated section of the Thruway that connects I-87 back to I-90 and takes you to the Mass Pike.) As I was going uphill just past the Hudson river, the bike died again. The next closest exit was BEHIND me about seven miles. A friendly NYS Trooper called me a tow truck that towed me back to their shop just outside of Nassu, NY. I spent another hour on the charger, it was now 8:00pm (I should have been home by now!) -- I was back on the road. I crossed over into Massachusetts and was doing good -- until... *POP* *SPUT* *SPUTTER* she was losing power again!!! It was happening much more often now. I managed to just barely get off the Mass Pike and into an all night truck stop. The folks there were friendly and let me hook up into their charger. I cleaned the contacts on the battery leads (they looked bad, and we didn't check them in Albany -- maybe THAT was the problem??) One more hour of charging and I was back on the road. (It was now 11:00pm)
I made it to the Framingham exit (Rt. 9) -- knowing there was a Yamaha dealership there where I could drop the bike off. Don't you know it, the road was ALL UPHILL -- and my bike would not make it; so I ended up pushing it for about five miles (riding it downhill when I could); but the bike shop was still about 10 miles away, and I could not get the bike running at all, and there were NO garages or gas stations with chargers on this street that I could see. I gave up (in a sweat) and just got a hotel room and crashed for the night.
This morning, I got another charge on the battery and drove it to the shop where they started to probe it with proper equipment. As just about everything ELSE has been ruled out, it appears the voltage regulator is not passing current from the stayter (a motorcycle's version of an alternator) to the battery. They looked, but didn't have one in stock -- they needed to keep the bike.
In order to get home (and to get to work), I took a taxi to the Commuter Rail in Framingham; which took me to the South Station (Boston's version of Grand Central); and then I transferred to the Red Line (Subway/T) to Central Quincy; and then to the 215 bus which goes in front of my new apartment. Total time to commute this way: 3 hours!! Glad I don't live in Framingham!!
I got changed and got to work by 3:00pm today. I'm starting to seriously look at getting a new bike, (a 2003 Yamaha Road Star) -- but it breaks my heart to get rid of "Junior" after getting to know her so well, not to mention $11,500.00 from my bank account!
Anyways... this week I will move the remainder of my stuff from the old apartment, and chill out as my body gets back to normal -- I really abused it this previous trip.