Leaving Denver

Finally got out of Denver, later than I should have. I spent about 30 minutes in a hardware store trying to find a lock for my newly attatched camera case (yesterday I found a nice Pelican case to attach where my passenger seat goes – this way I can step off my bike, and easily take pictures.) I went through 8 different sets of locks, and never found one that worked. Frustrating. An indication of what was to come.

South of Denver, around Colorado Spring, it was raining hard. When I pulled over to put on my rain gear, I discoverd it at the very bottom of my bags. By the time I got it on I was soaked. Colorado Springs ended up getting 3 inches of rain that day, and there were several flash floods. Luckily I missed most of _that_ rain.

Once I got out of the rain, it was once again 1000 degrees. Pulling over to take off my gear

I noticed my bike making a horrible sound. Ack.. My valve job didn’t hold. I knew what it was right away. When I did the valve job, I didn’t tighten the lock nuts down very tight, since I was worried about stripping them (you have to tighten them to 7 ft/lbs or was it 7 nm?) If you use a small wrench – 6mm, choke up on it, and tighten it by hand, you can strip it the bolt. Either way, I screwed up.

It was getting late, I had just gone over a pass in New Mexico, and it was pretty cold, so I figured it was time to pull over. Couldn’t find a hotel with Internet Access, so I got just a hotel. The town was called Raton, which is spanish for Rat. If you ever get a chance to avoid this town, do it.

Next morning I pulled my bike apart to tighten the valves – to fix my problem. The lock nut was completely gone. I don’t cry, so I didn’t. But I do curse, and boy did I. Once the shock of what happened wore off, I realized it wasn’t TOO bad of a problem. As luck would have it, the thing the lock nut is suppose to hold in place (I don’t know the name) had backed all the way off. Had it gone the other way – extended all the way to the valve, holding it tight, there would have been dire consequences. The valve could have bent or the lifter could have been damaged. The only other issue is where the nut has gone. I’m not too worried about the nut getting into sensitive engine parts, since I’ve got an oil filter.

Once I got the bike back together, my plans changed once again. There is a BMW dealer in Santa Fe, so off I go. The bike sounds like hell, but I don’t think it has any permanent damage.

On the way to Santa Fe, I passed through a town called Las Vegas. It should be called “Not that Los Vegas.” It was an unremarkable town, except for lunch. The place was called Taco Express. Everybody was nice, but I don’t know how they stayed in business. At lunch time there were less than a six people in the place. The woman behind the counter didn’t know how to ring up items displayed on the wall behind her. Now the cool part was the guitar player. This fast food joint employed him to play for lunches. He was pretty good, and friendly (he asked me if I want to play.) Wouldn’t it be cool if McDonalds had something like that?

I found the BMW dealer pretty easily, and everyone was very nice. By nice, no one laughed at what I did. They were able to take my bike right away. I let them keep it, hoping to pick it up Friday morning. I hope they find that nut.

Across the street was a Comfort Inn advertising free High Speed Internet. Huzzah!

If these things are going to happen, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is better than Santa Fe, Mexico.