Do you believe it?… again! Lake Tahoe

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine wrote to me, as he himself was leaving on a short trip “I hope all your chaos will be over soon”. And I started smiling, I think I was camping somewhere not to fond, there was some fixings to take care off… Spirit was sick… and I thought, in my peaceful life of today… a bit of chaos is good!… It does keep one on their toes… This morning was one of those morning without chaos… the stars were lined up… Spirit and I were ready to conquer the world onto some beautiful roads leading us to lake Tahoe.

About 9 am, with cool temps as we are at about 4300 feet, nice enough however to only have one short sleeve T Shirt on and the vents open, we left, riding 88 toward Lake Tahoe. The engine was humming, the elevation numbers were rising on us, no traffic… As a bit of time went on, snow started to fill my vision. Lots of snow… not a patch here and there… whole mountains covered by it and somehow it took me a bit back as I kept thinking… so close to camp… such beautiful country! Even Spirit was mesmerized I think… as in.. “what’s that white stuff?”

We stopped, taking many pictures, hoping they would turn out well even with the white glare everywhere. Some road construction stopped us for a few minutes… gladly… had a great conversation with the man holding the “stop” sign… he was a happy man… loved his job… he told me how much he looked forward everyday to come out and mingle with Mother Nature… I asked if they had any openings.

We stopped again at a little Lake where two elderly fishermen were not catching a thing! Funny guys… they would have been great cast for a movie. As ice was covering part of the Lake I said that maybe it was too cold for the trout to be hungry… as they replied… maybe will built a fire and they will come! Regardless, they were happy to be out on this beautiful day. Our ride continued, I was not even feeling the cold too preoccupied by the scenery…

This was going to be a short ride, I had some thoughts about doing the loop around the Lake maybe if time permitted, a few campers were to show up tonight… including the main man John who was in charge of the shopping. Shopping for tomorrow’s night dinner were I am cooking… for 50 or so… Micro Cooking for 50?… Why not! Chicken Sate… Gingered Rice Pilaff… whatever vegetables looked good… Bread Pudding with an Apricot Glaze topped with a Caramel Sauce… and for the kids I thought, stuffed bananas with chocolate chips and marshmallows, wrapped with foil and cooked in the fire. Wrong thinking however… I think the adults have been more excited about those than anything else!

Back to the riding… left on 89… the curves are now sweepers… I started a new “thing” while riding… leaning in the curves. Not a true need with a hack, left turns are easy, specially with the swaybar installed, and right handers are easier by activating the car’s brake for the bike to pivot around it… But leaning makes it all easier… the more weight into the curve, the more stable the unit is… it just looks… silly!!! And then again… the whole idea of a hack is odd… it is good most likely by on lookers for a laugh… as this guy going only at a conservative speed… why is he leaning?… So that is what I was doing and I saw my speed in the curves increased by close to 10mph… still in a safe zone…

We are getting near Lake Tahoe, just passed a town called Meyers, I had been a bit concerned about my rear tire, and sure enough suddenly we are crooked, a flat I think… but no… we are leaning the wrong way!… Oh! Great… I think, the sidecar has a flat and I left my spare tube back at the camp since I just used the one I carried with me. Pull over… NO… it is the main bolt in between the shock and the TILT (hydraulic lift for the car/chair due to various road cambers).

Do you see those two white lines… they are suppose to be lined up!… WOW… nice job… I definitely do not have the tools for such a fix. No panic… actually I just rest and watch the traffic go by… including a Highway Patrol which did not even slow down… I flag a Jeep that was coming from a side street and, nice guy, tells me about this Transmission shop a quarter mile back… Well, nothing is holding the right side of the chair… the tire is rubbing against the fender… I know that going 5mph I will make it… and we do… flashers on… waiving at cars to pass us…

Bobbie… Sieg… great attitude… right away it is “don’t worry, will get you going…”.

They drop everything and get on it! Even play with Spirit, get him some water before I have a chance to… I knew this was going to be good… I call Dauntless in Seattle… Jay… the fabricator, and I am told that the bolt that goes in that square is… welded in! Great news… bad news…

Drilling… out of the question… I take the fender off, wheel off… and Sieg is trying an air hammer to dislodge the broken bolt that is in the black square… nope… grinds it down a bit… nope…

Torch… we can see that the hole has been plugged, welded and ground down… Literally makes the hole by torching it at high temp… I think that is what he did… it worked… Did it weaken the square which itself is welded on to the chair’s frame?… probably… considering specially that the square piece… holding this main bolt is… hollow!!!

By looking at the other broken piece I can tell, due to discoloration and previous… experience… that bolt had been part broken for a while. And again… if you think about it… as previously… it did not happen in the twisties that we just finished riding, we would have most likely missed a curve… and. Am I starting to feel invincible?… the crash in Louisiana in the mud fields… finding out two breakages before it happened on the road… NO… absolutely not… just amazed at our luck and our Karma upon us… and “thankful a million times” for it…

This of course brings up a fact… how well is this chair made?… why Grade 8 was not used?… which is now, found simply at the Hardware Store next store. Costs?… This is the off road model… with pricier mounts! And do I need to be satisfied when I call the fabricator and have to hear “Oh! That should have not broken…”. No apologies… no solution… I am truly stunned…

Maybe there is a better word… but I cannot spell it right now…

Within a couple hours, all was back together… I did want to see the Lake… and we did.

Traffic as in any other City USA, I had not been there since about 20 years I think, I did not find anything changed, specially on the Nevada side, same old it seems, only more cars of course.

June 25th is a big day for me… that is the day, in Seattle, that the rig will be completely redone… gracious offer from a new friend which I have not even met yet, but getting to know about his generosity and passion for this project. He is taking one week vacation for this… and has through a website over 100 engineers working on this as a project! The plans are awesome, I will stay out of it I said… keep me in the kitchen. I cannot wait!… There are no regulations obviously for the fabrication of sidecars… I am a prime example of what “could” happen when the designs are poor and the materials used are of an even poorer quality… And I always thought that someone’s life was a bit more precious. School is open as always… I have been wrong again.

We are back to camp. It was a great day, and if you ask “are you sure?”, the answer is definitely yes. I met two great mechanics and human being, Bobbie and Spieg, which you can stop by and say hello even if you have not broken down… you will understand what I mean after a couple minutes with them, and also many from the Pashnit Forum that were ready to help as I got the word out that this might not even be fixed today… of course… I think they only wanted to help to make sure that I would cook tomorrow!… Just joking… truly a great community…

We are riding a loop through Yosemite next week, and will go back to Lake Tahoe… today was just a tease it seemed like!

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

A “DONATION”?… I have been asking if reading this BLOG is worth a dollar a month to you?… in the form of a yearly donation. Maybe it is not! .7% think so and I thank them for helping the increasing Internet costs…

The future of this Site is uncertain right now… would you please consider clicking on the above right button? For those not using PayPal, here is my snail mail…

Ara Gureghian

853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245

Naples Fl 34108

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4 Responses to “Do you believe it?… again! Lake Tahoe”

  1. Joe Says:

    I’m glad you took SH-88 to 89 into Tahoe. Its my favorite way to get to the mountains. If you have a chance, ride through Markleeville on 89 and take it down the steep east side to US-395. Pretty country to ride in.

  2. bob miller (aka leftcoast) Says:

    Hi Ara.
    I met you through another friend that I have yet to meet…Vic @ I-BMW. Been at that site for a few years, now. Then a post at ST.N (Sport-Touring.net) by Pashnit led me to your Blog.
    You are in very special part of the world for me right now. The Sierras were my first home away from home…many very fond memmories of that area Bridgeport in particular. I can understand passing through THERE more than once!
    Do I understand correctly that you will be in Seattle in Late June? If so, perhaps we could get together for a cup of coffee…or a k1200rs if you need a ride whilst the bike / chair get tweaked.
    Stay well Ara & Spirit…
    Small contribution via PayPal…probably from Kbob1200.
    Ride Safe!
    bob

  3. Andy Newell Says:

    Hey Bob,

    My family and I are Ara’s host and repair servant / savant(?) in the Seattle area, (South East King Co).

    You’re welcome to come over to the farm and have all the free Coffee you want as long as you help pass tools and tell typical K1200RS bench racing ‘stories’ and I’d love to exchange Northern California Expatriate anecdotes. 🙂

    I think it would be great to have some Washington readers swing by during the week and visit, we’re easy to find, lots of room. Please know, I’ll be concentrating on Ara’s rig as my main focus.

    Andy

    03 K1200RS, Black, the fastest color. 😉
    Yama-Hack, homebuilt 82 Yamaha 1100 off road monster chair.

  4. Tahoe Tim Says:

    Lot’s of great riding here at Lake Tahoe.
    You were very lucky to find Steve’s Transmission Shop.
    Bobbie rebuilt the trans in my ’91 GMC pickup 8 years and 50,000 miles ago.
    Still runs like new. Wishing you and Spirit many happy miles!

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