Friday, September 20, 2013

The Treehouse With The Gods.

Vacation time and out for my first and only short road trip for the year. My riding buddy switched jobs and could not come along so I was solo once again. The plan of attack was to ride backroads all the way down to the Shawnee forest at the southern tip of Illinois and get some hiking in.
The first stop down was Arcola for a late breakfast and it was a nice surprise to see these murals all over town. Here is a >>link<< for more info why these are all over the main strip.

 I would of shot them all but the weather was 95F+ and wearing full gear with hours more seat time to be done, I just stopped for these two. They were done about a year ago and still look nice and bright.


 So this is such a neat treat to find smack in the middle of two great hiking spots, Garden of the gods and then Rim Rock.
My treehouse was  at this great place called Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins. What a unique placed to stay once again like last year when I did the wigwam village. The placed was clean and fresh and the A/C was kicking for my sweaty beat soul.  I was amazed by how comfy the house was and to be up in the treetop was neat.
Marty and Elizabeth are the owners and are very nice. They are retired out of the Chicago area and actually Marty is from my town of  Romeoville.

 The house looks small from ground level but my bike looks small from the deck all the way up here. It can actually sleep six and the best part was complementary coffee and not one of those crappy hotel room machines but a real maker with a whole can of grounds at my liking. 


 Some of the supports for the floor joist really using the tree
My mourning coffee spot before spread all my clothes and gear all about. The things you see and hear are awesome on the deck. During the day I saw a humming bird hanging around, praying mantis, bullfrogs and little lizards that escaped my camera lens.  As the sunset on my first night I went out to a open area and watched two bats dance with each other, catching what was for them breakfast. Night time sounds were tree frogs, cicadas, owl, coyote and some cow that sounded sad it was in a field at night.  


Hiking at the gods was very pretty and extremely quiet. The whole time I was here I saw no one and had it all to myself. I can recommend doing this on a weekday and when schools is in session is suggested.











 Hmmmm, Where to park?? Being a ghost town, I had the added bonus of not having to hide to change my pants for shorts. I did catch a squirrel peeking.






Indian point overlook trail is a definite must do. 1.7mile loop and not too hard with nice cool weather. The one thing I can tell you is I got lost or I should say not on the intended trail. The state has blue arrows on the trees and somewhere along the loop I missed the turn. I took a much bigger loop and got to see a more rock face walls and really enjoyed it.

Nice backroads going back north up the road to my treehouse for a shower. Southern Illinois gravel roads are better to run fast opposed to up here since they don't pour on the loose rock.

 I didn't get many more shots of Rim Rock other than these.
 I have to clue what the nickname is for this section of the trail but I think the hallways is fitting. BTW: It was really creepy walking through here by myself with the light fading and nobody around. 

 On the way home I found Big John bringing out the groceries in the town of El Dorado IL.
 The whole High School class got a square for their name on the wall in the town of I think Enfield IL.

I almost feel home once I see The launching pad muffler man but really about 25 miles till home. The total trip was 780 miles. The quiet treehouse and all that went with it is missed but a placed I will be going back to next sprig/summer.


Friday, September 6, 2013

The Three Givi E55 Fixes

   I think I got the lemon of the Givi boxes with this one! I'm kidding but I did have my worries of Italian electronics and how they would hold up. First issue was the remote would not pop the trunk at times or just not at all. The two options that would get it working would be to unlatch the box from the mounting plate or open the box with the key and hit the learn button. This would make it work for a while but never long.
 The contacts have been breaking down from vibration or in a more defined reason it's called fretting. My fix for this is to wipe the contacts off with your finger and add a dab of Di-electric grease. It's been working non-stop for the last month without resetting.
 This the base plate contact with grease added and a little dirty but not too bad. I figured I'll clean and grease it with every bike wash.
 you can see the erosion of the contacts from the vibration and electricity going through it at the same time.  
 The box contacts are looking better than the base plate contacts.

 Little dab of fresh grease and maybe a little too much. A 
Tube of grease should last you a few years unless you really ride in dusty areas or wash your bike a lot.

 The second issue was the box lid not staying up. The problem was worse when it was warmer out and in the sun. I think the spacer in the middle of the lid hinge is a hard rubber. 

 This is a very simple fix that you can really mess up with a ham fist, so please be soft and have some finesse. Take the hinge off the box with the two screws and fold the ends together. Put the peened side up on a very hard surface. Use a ball peened hammer and any other light hammer. Ball peened end goes on the peened area of the hinge and lightly tap the peening hammers flat side. Also, you will need a helper unless you have three hands! Just tap it and see if you made a change in the stiffness of the hinge. Repeat till you can tell a difference and it won't take much of a change to keep the lid up. Remember your going to do this to both hinges so it's really going to be stiffer.  

 The last thing was the led brake lights died in less than 400 miles. Now that's some durability---NOT!
I was pretty pissed with this one just because it failed so quick. 
What you see in my hand is the lid side of the led contacts. Givi thinks it a good idea to soldier or tin the ends of the wires and then stick them in and jam the set screws down. The wires were also routed bad and stuck between two sections of trim. Not enough to damage it but not where it was meant to be.
I just noted the blk/wht wires went to the right contact and cut the wires back a little and re-stripped and put them back in. You will need a little screwdriver to do the fix and I suggest the smallest handle so you have less torque and will avoid over tightening the set screws. I also zip-tied the wires as you can see to cut vibration. This fix has lasted 4000 miles.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Lost Art of Art

   Being one for art and one of the few reasons I made it out of high school by having a little inner school escape with art class, I found it really nice to see this mural being made. Rob is also a art teacher and in some ways in the same boat as me as the way he made it through school.
  I stopped for a picture and to actually stop and take all in and how much him and his partner on the project have gotten done. I didn't go there with the intention to chat but Rob walked over to me and we had a great conversation about the mural and the story is brings.
  We had a little conversation about how schools are dropping the extras like art, auto shop, woodworking  and anything that you really have to combined the hands and the mind to create.
  This is Rob's second mural in Lemont IL and kudos to the town for allowing him to do his best..