April Fool?… not really! I wish… and the Red Canyon, UT.

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

I wish the rig had enough life of its own to have me fooled as an “April Fool”… but it is not the case.

There should only be one picture above… one eye bolt… no two halves!!!

There is no other way to say it, that once again, I am motionless… an act of failure by this time a lower eye bolt holding the front upper arm… So poetic!!! Mark, back in Kingman, obviously did such a great job that the upper bolts have held up well, this time the lower snapped! Something that I can actually repair myself… for a change!

And I have to look at the positive side… it happened ten feet away from camp… the day before, as you will see it on the map (aren’t those great?), we rode over 200 miles through many switch backs with no guard rail to a bit above 9000 feet through Bryce Canyon! Keep in mind that once a bolt breaks… as it happened “while” riding in Louisiana… there is no more steering… and straight the rig goes… The first time was a mild landing in a sugar cane field as it had rained all night… the second time… I felt it and stopped. This time I heard it… Spirit heard it too… he stood up ready to jump even though we were only going maybe 3 miles an hour… he knows the rig too by now…

I am thankful that we are being watched over… this could have been disastrous… and I have much to say about it. That is if you want to hear it!… mixed with pictures of the Red Canyon that precedes Bryce Canyon… We rode there yesterday, we saw… but because of the intense bitter cold we did not truly experience the surroundings as we normally do… more about that in a bit.

To begin with, a new eye bolt is being shipped Monday am, with a spare, a new arm… do we have confidence or what?… shipped overnight, might get here Tuesday… that is in Springdale, 20 miles away from camp, or Wednesday… In the meantime, while soaking in penetrating oil, that broken bolt is not budging… Update!… the broken bolt just came off… we will be ready to roll as soon as the parts are here in my hands. A neighbor, Craig, riding a DR400, has offered to go and get the parts from the Post Office when they arrive… aren’t we a great community?

And I do need to say this… as it has been an issue since day one, since the first breakage… and post my feelings…

Please do realize that if such breakage occurs while riding… I have already mentioned the gravity of it… The motorcycle community has always been great to me for all the years that I have been riding, we truly help each other… 49 years!… Read the Motorcycle Forums and you will understand…

On the other hand, it has been almost a threat receiving situation from the sidecar Forums! I was told to “stop” posting my troubles!… Yes, I have read positive posts regarding my Journey from the same couple Forums… but, besides Claude Stanley, a sidecar fabricator himself from PA and a couple friends riding the same rig combination, Didier and Dave, not one single lead on solving this reoccurring problem… on the contrary, to use their expression… “just shut up… and stop exposing the facts!”

Why???… maybe because other rig owners are just too concerned passing time writing about senseless issues regarding which kind of wax to use or which color and ignition wire should be???

I have entered the sidecar community not too long ago… and it is disturbing, disturbing to the point that my respect for it has vanished and at this point will never bother trying to even warn others from these “life threatening” failures… except to my friends riding the same brand… and with the same concerns, specially when a family member is in the sidecar… I find it shameful…

Back to the ride… and Life! One of my destination is going to be Seattle, soon, so the whole rig can be redone and mainly another arm added!!! Maybe two more… At this point I don’t know what the outcome of all this will be… I just received an e mail from the manufacture that the design itself of the upper front arm on mine will be changed. They are stepping up to the plate… That I do appreciate. Safety here is the issue… nothing else. So I will keep you posted.

In the meantime of course the weather is absolutely “perfect”… We rode to Bryce Canyon, stopped at the Red Canyon first, where the temperatures were milder, and suddenly the scenery changed very quickly. My destination was Bryce Canyon, I had not looked closer at the map for anything else and the surprise was there!

As we kept climbing the cold started setting in. The wind was strong and penetrating even through the electric heated jacket… I was too lazy to wear the gloves, to cumbersome to take pictures with. As the entrance of Bryce Canyon got closer and closer, for a while, the cold did not matter quite as much as it did nearing the summit… When such beauty surrounds one, the elements somehow are not quite as strongly felt.

But Bryce Canyon itself is for next time… All I can add is that the bitter cold wind conditions were well worth the ride and the pictures…

You be well…

Ara and Spirit…

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11 Responses to “April Fool?… not really! I wish… and the Red Canyon, UT.”

  1. Lyle Says:

    I’m glad the bolt had good timing! Hope the replacements arrive on time!

    Pity the sidecar forums are not more supportive of your efforts to solve a serious problem! Your posts say many more positive things than negative ones about your rig. I’ve had problems with my two-wheeler, too, but I don’t hide the fact, nor do I let it stop me riding.

    At least the weather is supposed to get better! Did you get my emails about us riding down to say “Hello” this week?

    Hope all goes well with the repairs! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  2. geode Says:

    Hi Ara,
    Hi Spirit,

    I’m wondering, is the hack aligned to the GS correctly? I’ve read that getting it aligned right is quite important. But I’ve never owned a hack, only driven one.

    Brad Vardy knows a really good hack guy. Same guy who put one on Brad’s GS a few months back.

    Glad you two are safe and nothing really bad happened!

    be well, g

  3. LInda Says:

    Keep On Keep’n On

    Stay Safe Boys

  4. Michele Gibson Says:

    So very Beautiful Ara! I am jealous!! 😉

  5. Don Van Zandt Says:

    Ignore the jerks! There are many, like myself, who ‘ride’ with you and Sprit each time you post. Your posts are the highlight of my day! Your’s are some of the best (most beautiful) pictures of the areas you visit that I have ever been privledged to see. The fact that i also am a single senior sidecar driver may bias my thinking, but I don’t think so. Repair your rig…and be safe.

  6. Mike Jones Says:


    I hope you continue to share the mechanical problems you have been having. We all learn from the experience.
    You may remember that I got a little overconcerned about the swaybar when you were in San Antonio. I learned from that one too.
    I read your blog every day. You have been to many places that I have been on a long motorcycle trip in the mid-80’s.
    It sounds like Spirit is mellowing a little with people? He didn’t want to let me pet him, I remember. You and he make a good dog pack.

    Mike Jones

  7. SidecarRon Says:

    Hi Ara,
    Since you’re now in southern Utah, I’ll share a little history I picked up 40-some years ago when I had a project there. The effort took me to several colleges and universities in the state — including Dixie College in St. George. I happened to have lunch with the town historian there and he filled me in on why that area is called “Dixie.” It seems that when the Mormons settled in Salt Lake City they wanted to be as self sufficient as possible (kind of like you ;-)) so they sent out some folks to see if cotton could be grown in the southern part of the state. Low and behold, they werre successful – hence the label “Dixie” got applied to the area.
    Still lovin’ the tales and pics of your adventure. Think you’ll still make it here to northern IL?
    Sidecar Ron

  8. wes Says:

    ten feet from camp, man you must be living right. good luck.

  9. aragureghian Says:

    I always said that someone is looking over me… there is no doubt. First time at a Rally… second time again by the campground and one more time here. Even if there had not been a serious accident, just the towing here would have been a nice surprise…
    Everyone that has seen this rig has always said how poorly the welding was… and I think once Jay sees it, he will agree to exchange the mounts…
    Thank you all for your support.
    Be well.
    Ara & Spirit

    * You will see metal break tomorrow!!!

  10. Joe Says:

    Nevermind the naysayers. They’re not worth your time. Many people read your posts on a regular basis and breakdowns ar e just another part of the story. Bypass those who try and bring you down.

  11. JamesTexas Says:

    Keep those wheels turning…Hwy 12 is a wonderful road. The best pie is at a little place that has been there for many years. Ask at the Bryce Canyon gift shop, thats who turn us on to it.

    Spirit, keep him in line…

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