Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1979 Trip to San Bernardino, CA & the Pacific Coastline

My second long solo adventure after focusing my primary attention from 30 years of enduro riding to adventure touring, was this 1979 trip to San Bernardino, CA that I took on my 1977 Suzuki GS750 to visit with my daughter Donna. I didn’t write about the trip at the time but I do remember one highlight very clearly: .. I was in a motel in Salina, Kansas after my first two days and 1400 miles. I went to bed early and woke up at around 2:30 AM, but couldn’t get back to sleep. After almost an hour of lying there, I decided that I was wasting my time, so I got up, packed my gear and headed west on I-70 in total darkness. About an hour out of Salina, while traveling at 75 mph, the engine suddenly lost all of its power. I pulled over to the shoulder to see if there were anything I could do for it. The engine wouldn’t run at all at idle, so I tried to diagnose it in total darkness without a flashlight. After fumbling around for a few minutes with no light, I realized that my only hope was to get it running and see if I could “limp” it to the next exit and hope there was an all-night garage or gas station there. But there was only a diner where I was able to get the bike close enough to a window to work on it. After 10 – 15 minutes I found that one of the tiny sets of ignition points had lost a point. There was a hole in the point housing where the point used to be, and the opposing point had nothing to contact to in order to fire the spark plugs of two of the four cylinders. I crushed the point housing that had once held the missing point with a small pair of pliers and I readjusted the points by guessing at the gap between the good point and the crushed housing. I started the bike and it ran great, so after learning that the nearest Suzuki dealer was in Colorado Springs, CO, 350 miles from there, I got back out on the highway and headed for Colorado Springs. My emergency fix worked so well that I was able to maintain my original 75 mph all the way. That same morning I installed a new set of points in the dealer’s parking lot.

Royal Gorge Bridge, off US 50 in Colorado

The Arkansas River is almost 1100 feet straight down from the surface of the bridge.

Along the Pacific Coast near San Diego

I made a stop in Sun City, AZ to visit with Ralph Spencer.

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