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Day 6, A dark and rainy night…..

I had no problem getting up early, packing and getting under way. It started raining the night before and was still raining when I got up at 5 O dark 30. Rain gear, bike loaded, and battery charged, I fired up the sv650 and got out of dodge. The 101 is really dark at the wee hours and when it is wet. As I tooled down the road at 50 plus I couldn’t help but think what would happen if a deer or bear were to run across the road. The rain pounded but I was warm and toasty inside my Frog Togs.

Then it happend (no, not a deer or bear). My bike started missing on one of the cylinders. I dropped to a lower gear and revd. It seemed to clear up, only to return a mile later. I’m ten miles north of Trinidad with 95 miles to travel by 9:30 in the morning. One cylinder was still running and I wasn’t about to stop in the middle of no where on a dark and rainy night (dawn had not arrived yet and was still an hour away). So I continued, keeping the revs up and my speed at about 45 MPH. If I could just make it to Klamath. If I could just make it to Cresent City, If I could just make it to Brookings where I will meet my real estate friend. I limp along on 1 cylinder, afraid to stop as I wasn’t sure the bike would start up on a single working cylinder. 10 miles south of Brookings, OR, my destination, the yellow ‘out-of-gas’ indicator starts blinking. I’m getting terrible gas milage as half the gas is getting blown out the tail pipe raw. I’m thinking that my chances of making Brookings before I run out of gas are pretty slim. The yellow light goes solid at 8 miles south of Brookings. No gas is imminent. As I round a sweeping curve, there, just ahead, is a Shell station!

Okay, pull in, shut the bike down, gas up. I dismount and look the bike over. My natural curiosity has me feeling the engine and I notice the front cylinder is cool while the rear one is hot. Well that makes sense. The front one must not be firing. I touch the front spark plug wire and it seems a bit loose. I push on it and it moves deeper onto the spark plug. Could that be it? a loose wire?

Talking, nice talk, to my bike, I press the starter button and to my surprise it starts up, still on one cylinder but it is running. Off to Brookings while I contemplate how the heck I’m going to get all the way to Seattle on one cylinder, well, clearly that was not going to happen.

Brookings is my morning destination. I’m meeting with a real estate agent to look at a possible new QTH up in the mountains east of Brookings. I tell her my tail of whoa and ask if she might have a dry place I could park the bike and take a look at the front cylinder ignition system (plug, wire and plug connector). She sets me up with a garage and after checking out some properties I pull into a nice dry spot out of the weather.

Taking inventory of the tools I brought, I quickly determine that I can get to the plug wire, and plug. This requires pushing the radiator forward by removing a bolt. Good thing its the forward cylinder as the rear would require me to pull the tank and more.

I pull the wire off the plug and look over the plug end of the wire. It is soaking wet! How wet? Think, wire sitting in a puddle. I poke my finger into the well in the valve cover where the plug sits. It’s filled with water. Well, spark plugs don’t work so well when they are emersed in water. Usng a rag, I carefully push a corner of the rag into the well with my finger and pull the rag out. The entire corner I pushed in is soaking wet. I smell it to be sure its water and not gas or antifreeze, Its just water that must have splashed in when the plug wire was loose. Hmmmm, how did that plug wire get loose anyway.

After getting the well dried I pull the plug and clean it up. I borrow a hair dryer and dry everything out and put the plug and wire back together. One last test. Am I getting juice to the the plug? I stick a screwdiver into the end of the spark plug wire, hold it close to the frame and hit the starter. Lots of blue spark!

Put the bike back together and hit the starter. Vroom, both cylinders firing! I thank my agent for her help and head on north to Bandon where I hope to go QRV (and hope the bike is really fixed).

–P

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