Breakdown

For the first time since I’ve had it, Little Wing let me down this morning.

Last night I dropped my car off at the shop to get the air conditioning fixed. Ironically, I made the appointment just BEFORE we had a few days of 90+ degree weather. Of course, the temperature has cooled off now. But it’s a worthy investment for the rest of the summer, and for defogging purposes. Anyway, I timed this when I did because I have a new trunk, and I’ve proven that I can commute on the bike effectively. I was scheduled to work in Lawrence today, about a 40 minute trip up the interstate from here, and the weather cleared up from the rain previously forecast. Everything was going to work out just fine.

Fine, that is, until my engine sputtered out on the highway. I simply lost all power. I was able to get it restarted, but didn’t have much power, so I began putting along in the breakdown lane. Almost immediately, a state trooper pulled in behind me. And who says you can never find a cop when you need one? Of course, we had just passed an exit, and I was hoping to limp to the next one, just to get off the highway. He told me to go on ahead, and he’d stay behind me with his lights on. Yes, I had an escort from the Massachusetts State Police!

I made it a couple more miles, hovering between 45-55mph or so. But then it sputtered out again, and we pulled over. I threw in the towel and decided to call for a tow, using my freshly minted AMA membership. I was well protected during my wait, between the trooper, the roadside assistance van that stopped by 15 minutes later, and his second visit to check on me while we were loading my bike onto the truck.

With some difficulty, I was able to get the bike running again at home. It showed no signs of trouble on my way to the highway this morning, other than running a little rough because it was cold. I’m wondering if maybe I have a clog in my main jets. I know little about carburetors, but I do know that there are multiple jets that work in different RPM ranges. I believe my bike switches from its low-speed to main jets at around 5000 RPM. I rarely rev the engine that high, except for brief bursts of quick acceleration, and on the highway, where I run between 5500-6500 RPM. I wonder if my main jets are clogged.

I’m waiting to get my car back before dealing with the bike, mainly so I know how much money I have to work with. I still have my Vermont trip planned in less than two weeks. I’d still like to take it, but not with the bike in this condition. Either the bike will have to get fixed before then, or I’ll have to cancel my arrangements for the trip and take it some other time.

My APRS station did pinpoint perfectly the position of my breakdown. I already had a great deal of assistance, but it’s good to know that this worked as well.

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