Darryl.Richman's picture

Today was the "short day", only 214 miles. But this was the first day with a "hosted lunch", at Kutter Harley Davidson in Monroe, WI. This changes the equation a bit, because at the hosted lunches, where someone is paying to feed us, we are required to show up and hang out for a specified time. So far, I've been riding straight through the day with only gas stops, bio breaks and maybe time to munch some gorp (I keep a bag in the tankbag). My concern is that if there's some mechanical problem, it can eat up too much time to make it in, in the evening, during the specified time window to check in. It could easily take me an hour to repair a tire puncture. So, by requiring me to hang out, the day is essentially split and the extra time I can save by not stopping for extraneous things is cut way down. Today was a perfect example.

I think I've mentioned that the bike has been making a chirping noise. After lunch today -- when, btw, I had my first opportunity to try and enjoy cheese curds, a Wisconsin specialty I've long heard about -- the chirping came to a head, so to speak, when I stopped for gas. Actually, it came to both heads. Both head gaskets were burned through. I keep an extra set of gaskets on the bike, but it's a fussy job. You have to undo each of the seven nuts a bit, so you can move the head out some, and then undo them a bit more. I was able to do the job in something like an hour. But did I have that much time left? I left Kutter just after 1:30, and the check in window opened at 4:40 (and closed at 5:25). It was all I could think of as the bike struggled up each rolling ridge along US-151 against a 30 mph headwind. It was rare that it was worth shifting into 3rd gear, because I could attain nearly the same top speed in second, about 40-45 mph, and didn't lose time and momentum as I went through the motions to shift up and then down.

I got in at about 5:10.

And by then, it sounded to me like the left cylinder head was leaking again.

I know it sounds ungrateful, but I really wish I could just go out and ride the day through. The people at Kutter were lovely and gracious, and at the time I very much enjoyed it.

Otherwise, the weather was absolutely perfect, high 70s and clear, with beautiful back roads and nearly no traffic.

We had a hosted dinner at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, and I got to chat outside with a lot of people who were genuinely interested the event and the bikes. There was a huge crowd at both Kutter and NMM.

After dinner, we got the bike out of the van and tore off the heads again. Sure enough, the left side was already burned through again. Maybe I didn't get the head torqued enough... or maybe they're warped. The Iowa Airheads Airmarshall, Kevin Kelly, was at the museum and heard my tale of woe, and managed to russle up a phone number of a machinist, but it's difficult to hand over your heads to an unknown person for a job that isn't trivial. (These heads can't just be surface ground, because there's a "heel" that protrudes into the combustion chamber. It has to be set up very carefully in a mill to get it completely level -- the other side of the head isn't flat or even -- and then machined to take off just enough metal to get it to flat again.)

So, we're trying chemistry first. I have a tube of high temperature copper RTV on both sides of the gasket. Hopefully this will completely seal the combustion chamber. We'll find out tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(BTW, all photos below courtesy of Steve Woodward.)


The San Jose "Groeger contingent" is rooting for you!

Barbara Ross's picture

Congratulations on making it to the top of the Stage 3 standings, Darryl! That's despite being forced to eat lunch! Enjoying your daily blog. We'll be at Dudley Perkins to welcome you back, so may you have many effortless miles beneath your wheels. Happy Trails, Barbara R., Alan & Carol H., Dick Z.

We're rooting for ya Darryl!

Melena's picture

We are watching your progress with much enthusiasm. I've just ordered some stickers to help out a bit. It's great that so many people are helping out. Especially that crazy R65 group!

I just realized last night that you are in Cotati on your last night. Woo Hoo! We will be there to watch everyone come in. How fun! But you aren't thinking about that right now. One day at a time. Good luck with those head gaskets!

Another day another gasket (or two)?

Guy's picture

Another interesting day as it sounds, Darryl, but sounds like you're still having fun. Did I mention that you're actually in the lead after stage 3? Hope you'll find some more permanent fix for the gasket problem. Sounds like a time consuming challenge, especially when both are affected.
Do you get some sleep at all? Hang in there,


videos of arrivals and departures in Monroe

lubbeth's picture

I have videos of the arrivals and departures in Monroe, at Kutter's HD. I have uploaded the arrivals to YouTube and will upload the departures shortly. In the departures video, you can clearly hear the chirping of Darryls R52 as he starts it and rides away. Shullsberg, WI, where he changed the head gaskets, is not that far from Monroe. It was a phenomenal sight to see all the old iron (or aluminum, as the case may be (!)) the arrivals address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q9kMqwAc1A or search for "motorcycle cannonball monroe" and you should find it (and find both, once I can upload the departures)


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