Tribute to the 2020 Burning Man void

In years prior at precisely this time, would be on the road to Burning Man. It is being held in spirit and in the digital realm this year because of COVID-19. There are still several ways to participate:

Black Rock City Virtual Reality (BCRvr): http://www.brcvr.org/ and their Facebook page.

Tribute from the 2018 Burn from one of my favorite art cars:

Welcome to stream Monolink in the background as i reflect on prior Burn experiences.

The Burn becomes an annual reminder, a hyperfocus on the experience of disconnecting for over a week from the default world. It’s a time to reflect, to collectively let go of emotional baggage, and to test self resilience once again in the desert.

It starts with a period of preparation, “getting ready to get ready”, and the physical form of acquiring a ticket (or at will-call), and a separate vehicle pass. (Important to mention there is a sky diver and pilot entry at Black Rock City Airport [88NV], but cannot personally comment on any further details.)

Then there’s the actual miles traveled to reach Nevada, and the formal entry through the gates into the city once a scanned ticket is granted access; what a relief when this happens. Logistics is always such a key element to the Burn, often being difficult from the very beginning; no two journeys nor caravans to reach and depart the playa are ever the same.

Last year’s 2019 Metamorphosis would be the first experience gaining early access on build crew with a theme camp, to help build a part of the city and contribute to it coming up around us. Doors open for this phase on Thursday 00:01, a minute after midnight, and a full 72 hours ahead of general admission. We rolled in and landed on playa at sunrise.

Joining a theme camp is rad, there’s infrastructure and campmates, but keep in mind you’re still on your own for event tickets and transportation. For the general population, there’s 3 phases of direct ticket sales to get in on. As far as how it looks on the calendar, the Burn occurs the entire final week of August, with the Man burning on Saturday night and the Temple on Sunday, with the festival officially coming to a close at Monday noon, on Labor Day.

FOMO tickets (early bird) first go on sale in mid-March, then there’s the main ticket sale online in mid-April, and lastly the OMG sale towards the end of July. After that, available tickets must come out of the secondary market (or transferred to will-call) as the published list of voided tickets grows. You can probably imagine the supply and demand curve leading up to the opening, where tickets are not available at the door, and how rife with shenanigans the secondary market becomes during the countdown.

FOMO tickets are the closest to surefire a method of having ticket in hand without stressing the remaining sales. There is of course a price, and limit 2 per transaction: 2019 was on the order of $1000USD/ea, plus fees. 2020 which was sold at $1500/ea, but refunded after it was announced the Burn would be cancelled due to COVID-19 cancellation.

Main ticket sale goess live globally at noon PST timezone, meaning the rest of the world is up at odd hours, smashing the refresh button in attempts to confirm their place in the digital queue. All ticket purchasing must be done with a Burner account, which requires prior registration, and then an invite is sent to participate in the ticket sale; this secondary authentication ends up delaying those that attempt to register and purchase tickets on the same day (and possibly buying up already limited tickets).

The same limit exists for main sale tickets, 2 tickets + 1 vehicle pass per transaction. Payments are processed online and charged right away. The physical tickets and vehicle pass sticker are put in the mail sometime in July, and come as a care package including BRC map, survival guide, various flyers, and a gift of hard candy.

KTM 530 EXC supermoto build for the twisties

Brilliant. Take a plated dirt bike, swap in some street wheels & tires, and now the 530 EXC chassis is transformed into an entirely different machine. The build deserves its own introduction, derived from the bike’s Adventure Build for TAT.

It starts with a 17″ wheelset in order to run modern tubeless street tires. In other words, sticky sport tires, 300mm of front suspension travel & 335mm in the rear, and a single cylinder dedicated to dropping the hammer.

After searching the local secondary market, found a complete set of used wheels, mounted tires, rear sprocket, brake rotors, and chain off a late model KTM 350 EXC. They are a custom build of Excel rims laced to Talon hubs, shod with Continental Tires at 120/70R17 front and 160/60R17 rear.

The rear fit with without a fuss despite the 160/60R17 back tire, and am now dealing with fitting the front hub. 350’s use a smaller diameter axle at 22mm, while the 530 uses a larger 26mm. Dubya, the distributor of Excel hubs and wheel spacers, hasn’t had the proper wheel spacer adapters in stock for weeks, and it’s mildly irritating that a couple of aluminum spacers are preventing the entire bike from being ridden in supermoto format; admittedly, the mod tends to never be straight forward when going from bike to bike.

Decided to call around and sent the spacers out to a local machine shop to be bored out to a 26mm ID while the proper adapters come into stock. After coming back for a test fit, the spacers appear to need some slight width offset toward the rotor side, which can be temporarily resolved by a short stack of washers under the caliper to reposition its centerline.

Upon fitment to the 530, the rear went on surprisingly without a fuss. Wheel spacers, offsets, and axle sizes all fit up. The brake caliper and lower chain guide indeed need to come off to make room for wheel fitment, but it’s a manageable swap that won’t prevent frequent wheel changes. (This becomes an addition to the basecamp project list for a wheelbox to store the other set, and perhaps also the 19″ dedicated rear paddle for the sand.)

On the rear drive side, the previous owner had experienced chain rub against the leftmost edge of the tire, because squeezing a 160mm wide rear into the swing-arm about maxes out any static lateral clearance. It’s when the chain is whipping at high rpm, under sag and compression does it slacken enough to twist and contact the tire. And of course, KTM’s are known for their notoriously loose appearing chain tension. My take on this characteristic is the distance and ride height angle between the countershaft axis, swing arm axis, and finally the rear wheel axis. It’s a dynamic angle yet will always be longest when they are all in a straight line.

To check chain tension, KTM typically has a procedure to take a measurement from a reference on the swing arm. It’s best to use this as a guideline, then actually sit on the bike and load the suspension by bouncing up and down on it to check chain tension through the travel of the rear wheel. Keep in mind, there is a huge difference in chain tension between the bike at full suspension droop off a workstand, and under compression when the rear wheel travels. Folks that mistakenly run a chain too tight put excessive wear on the machine, and in some cases catastrophic failures like chains snapping or shafts breaking off, in particular on a landing that yanks the chain.

At first, I’m seeing bits of rubber getting flung up into the fender along with moisture from the manually soaked air filter and chain lube. It’s a bit of a hot mess right now that i’m not sure how i feel about it all yet (but can clearly see why pre-oiled air filters are brilliant), especially because i do like stuffing the widest tire possible. There is an ability to perhaps further dish the wheel but it’s on the order of millimetres of clearance toward the rotor side. Can also swap out the o-ring chain for an even thinner street chain.

My solution at the moment after the first handful of tuning rides, is to bolt up a piece of angle iron under the rearmost M6 mounting bolt of the upper chain guide, and screw in a block of engineering plastic and over-hanging piece to help guide the chain.

The front swap proved to also be an indirect fit attempting to hop from bike to bike. The late model KTM 350 uses a smaller axle at 22mm, while the larger 530 has a 26mm through axle. The wheel spacers from the OEM dirt front hub do not carry over because the Dubya is designed with a smaller ID hub sleeve between its bearings. While we wait on parts to come in to stock at Dubya, i sent the original spacers off the supermoto wheelset out to a local machine shop to be bored to 26mm. They now fit the hub and axle, but the widths need shortening toward the rotor side in order to retain the brake caliper centerline without using a stack of washers.

Also in the front, the fork guards need notching on both inward sides to clear the point of the tire where the tread ends and sidewall begins. The 530 already had some clearance holes at the correct height that i slightly enlarged, so perhaps it very well was a supermoto under a former pilot. The street front wheel also came with a magnet so the 530’s speedometer functions at the dash, and can be re-calibrated to a 1880mm tire circumference.

The procedure to recalibrate a KTM speedometer is as follows: unplug the 3wire connector wiring harness leading into the dash, behind the number plate. Use the Mode button to cycle into the dashboard computer units, scroll over to WS -wheelsize- and manually use the +/- keys to increase/decrease the stored tire circumference in units of millimetres. (For reference: 2205mm circumference for a 21″ dirt front tire, 1880mm for a 17″ street front tire; measure actual tire for accuracy.) Reattach the 3wire harness behind the dash, and reattach number plate.

To date, am still shaking down the supermoto format and have since been up and down Highway 9, which the upper half to Skyline Boulevard was repaved last year and is incredibly smooth. The bike handles exceptionally well without even getting to suspension tuning yet, it eats up the 15 mile an hour hairpins in both up and downhill directions, and the XC4’s torque rolling on the throttle is sensational. =)

Couple of details still being addressed. The kickstand needs to be swapped out for a shorter unit after the supermotor wheels really dropped the stand-over height of the bike. As is with the dirt kickstand, it is very tipsy on flat ground, and simply turning the bars to the right and attempting to park it will tip the bike. Sourced a supermoto specific kickstand from Warp 9, along with their front and rear axle sliders. In the meantime to park, i’ll first pull the bike over on to the kickstand so the rear tire comes off the ground (like a dog taking a leak), then kick a 2×4 under the rear tire before setting it back down.

Next, the dual sport flimsy plastic mirror needs to go. While making the bike street legal, it’s useless at speed and vibrates to the point the reflection is a complete ripple. Am opting for round bicycle concave mirrors to clip below the handlebar.

TAT route planning and building truck basecamp

Trans-America Trail route planning through northern Utah and central Idaho. Travel project has evolved into a domestic focus by building out the truck into a basecamp and minimalist camper (lessons learned from taking a hardsided camper 3 months through Baja Mexico), in order to carry the motorcycle, mountain bike, and whitewater kayak. A lot already, i can acknowledge.

The desire isn’t to traverse the TAT solely on a moto, rather to leisurely explore and adventure certain regions along the TAT, with a basecamp and many more modes of getting around to play. In the area of central Idaho in particular, there are some incredible rivers (Snake River, Lake Cascade) and waterways to play around. Having the ability to set up camp in a certain bend of a river, to fish it or paddle it, and ride spurs from basecamp, are in my opinion more enjoyable at the moment than blasting through making miles/km on a trip. However I do look forward to trail angeling those that are traveling that way and passing by.

A whitewater kayak and gear is in the process of being added to the fleet. It occurred to me how compact a freestyle whitewater kayak can be while still having a plastic hull for rocks (as opposed to inflatable). Am looking forward to learning how to roll in both directions by mastering the technique in a swimming pool.

Truck fitout has been in the middle of summer, and still haven’t figured out a shade system. 270* awnings strung off the lumber rack in the bed sounds rad, am on the hunt for one up to 8′, or may eventually build one based on a roller furler sailboat jib. Also, am looking to downsize the toolbox from the fire engine Weatherguard riding on the bedrails, to something like a Delta 807000 between the 64″ bedrails, or a gull wing box in that same width. The idea is to then skin the lumber rack with hinges and panels; the wide red box on it now already hits the rack when fully open.

On top, am looking into the wedge pop-up in favor of the the solid roof panel, with the opening angle pointing towards the cab. That opens up the area above the truck cab as a deck, likely with a solar panel in the floor or flexible units taped to the cab roof or hood. Over the cab would be the star gazing platform, sunrise/sunset tower, and general lookout point from top of the rig. Build inspiration comes from the Go Fast rooftop tent, however am opting to custom build rather than pay upwards of $4000 USD for a RTT.

The rack on the truck is intentionally designed with a wide, lower spreader clearance in order to fit a truck bed cap underneath. Since the baseplates stick out past the bedsides, am in the process of building an exo cage by tying more tubes into the lumber rack. Then down low along the cab and bed, adding an entire 8′ stick of tube as rocker rails, that stick out far enough to also be functional steps. Adding skate deck grip tape on top, and the rocker tubes shall tie directly to the truck frame with more welded tube. Keeping it low profile and even notching the cab in some areas; the rails will be braced enough to pick up the truck anywhere along its body line with the Hi-Lift jack.

Over in the rear, the bed is a full size 8′ box with a Reunel rear bumper class IV receiver hitch. I’ve recently put aside the reinforced tailgate for a 3rd party unit made for trucks hauling a 5th wheel, where a quarter of the top center is clearanced in the shape of a trapezoid. The idea for running this tailgate is to have clearance around the hitch-mounted moto carrier that i’ve always used, the 4-bar linkage lift with a hydraulic bottle jack. Now with this 5th wheel tailgate, it can fold down flat even with the moto carrier in the locked and loaded position. Before, with the regular tailgate and moto carrier, trying to fold it down would hit everything and quickly become a liability.

Up front, the custom front bumper is finally getting some progress again. First is adding a winch plate, which I tied into the reverse shackle swap crossmember that braces the new spring hangers at the frame. It’s a good beam to work with but for a winch plate, wanted extra tie ins. The winch envelope fits completely hidden behind the plate bumper, and took some cutting and grinding to narrow the gap and tie the fairlead plate of the winch plate to the bumper. It’ll be like trying to pull the winch through the front bumper. Second, enlarged some of the pod light holes into rectangles to flush mount a pair of 6″ LED light bars down low.

KTM 530 EXC adventure build for TAT

So it begins.. added to the fleet, a 2008 KTM 530 EXC-R plated California dirtbike. Taken delivery with relatively low hours & miles (180 hours; 3850 miles | 6200km) on the XC4 motor, she appears to have solid potential from the initial baseline of mechanicals and fluids, and enough initial issues to facilitate getting rapidly acquainted with this machine.

2008 is the debut year of the new generation XC4 motor. It’s a 510cc (31.1cid) 4-stroke thumper with 95mm (3.74in) bore x 72mm (2.83in) stroke at 11.9:1 compression ratio, with a 4-valve overhead camshaft. KTM decided to split the crankcase lubrication into 2 separate oiling compartments, one for motor oil and another for gear oil. Both are specified to use 10w-50 4T motor oil, so there are 2 filler caps and 2 side by side drain plugs with respective screens. Both engine and gear oil are checked with the motor cold, where the engine oil @0.6L (0.6 qt) is sighted through the glass and gear oil @0.9L (1 qt) is checked by removing a plug to ensure oil has reached its proper fill level. Am running a K&N oil filter in the engine’s pressure lubrication system with 2 rotor pumps.

The 530 is another carbureted bike for analog fuel delivery (my prior bike was a 2006 KTM 450 EXC with RFS motor), because i’m just not interested in relying on an electric fuel pump. To tune the carb, Death Valley’s elevation ranging from below sea level to over 9000′ and up will be proving grounds for jetting feasibility and AFR mixture screw range with all the ambient heat. Home base tune elevation is at 100′.

First is an explanation of the build logic and intended use. This bike is a pilot build for ultralight adventure travel on a dual sport, and my eyes are on the western half of the trans-American trail : northern Utah, central Idaho, and the western spur through Oregon to the Pacific Coast. It’s also called the trans-Am trail, or TAT for short.

For the pavement and twisties (not letting these roads pass me up on this travel project), adding a set of supermoto 17″ wheels and street tires to transform the 530 chassis into an entirely separate bike with just a wheelset and fuel tank swap. Read about its ongoing build here.

The adventure build style will be a ‘nothing fancy’ fitout, yet the bike will certainly not be babied. Determination at DIY goes as far as reasonably possible with this Austrian machine, mainly familiarizing myself through maintenance, functional modifications, and replacement of wear & tear items, yet do recognize the safeguard of utilizing a KTM or general motorcycle shop for major work (or more likely, when i screw up a DIY project). Parts will also not necessarily be strict OEM or splurges as the mantra is to ‘run what ya brung’ and most importantly to get out there even on a budget. Much of what gets purchased and utilized on the bike is being documented, reviewed, and linked in some form.

Recovery gear and toolkit strategy is to wrench on the bike and fitout the contents based on actual tools used. For example, KTM uses an M17 (KTM p/n 78038018000) and M16 (KTM p/n 77038017000) bolt for the engine and gear oil drain plugs on the XC4; both have 13mm hex heads where a box end wrench works best, because the bolts are practically coincident with an adjacent frame cross-member and can’t be reached straight-on with a socket and extension. It’s a royal PITA if one of these heads rounds off after the last person to have performed the oil change has gorilla strength.. let me tell ya all about it below.

But first, a shout-out to KTM dealer and parts retailer The Motor Cafe in Sunnyvale, CA for having exactly what I needed in stock, and great service for putting the new drain plugs out for me as I rang them 10 minutes before closing, purchased over the phone, and wouldn’t arrive until after close.

Baseline the bike:

Starting with a tear-down, then assessing the aftermarket bits and addressing issues inherited from the previous owner.

Drivetrain

When I briefly test rode the bike before purchasing from the previous owner (a self proclaimed non-mechanic; totally appreciate his honesty!), the KTM sprocket guard (machined aluminum, orange anodized) had a visibly wonky runout. First noticed it looking down as I got on the throttle out of the first turn, feeling the back tire flex (it was practically flat) I could see the sprocket guard wobbling wildly like an eccentric.

Luckily, as I suspected after pointing it out and checking the countershaft for end-play in the seller’s driveway (it had none), turns out during my tear down I find the dome compression washer is on backwards (it was mistakenly facing the guard) which caused the guard to sit off center as seen in the score marks on the guard. It was so FUBAR the guard was rubbing its way through the master link and threatened to foul it into a chain whip. Was also an opportunity to note the previous owner ran a 13T front sprocket with the 49T rear, where the front is 2T smaller than factory and probably how he liked it set up for tight, narrow PNW trails, as a big 6’4″ rider.

Drivetrain is being replaced with 14T/49T dual sport gearing and new O-ring 520 chain with 114 links and fresh master link, and new OEM dome washer and countershaft bolt. Steel front sprocket, aluminum rear sprocket, non cushdrive hub, and re-greased chain tensioners and lock nuts with anti-seize.

With the old chain removed to service sprockets, the back wheel can easily come off for inspection. Right away, found a bunch of loose spokes in particular on the sprocket drive side. To true on the bike, set a magnetic base dial indicator with roller tip on a plate of steel to measure lateral runout, then over the top to measure radial runout from inside diameter of the rim. Then took the 7mm wrench and smacked all the spokes for an indication of tension by frequency tone. The goal is to bring each side’s spoke tension within a close hi-lo range, to achieve evenly distributed tension and therefore the most robust equilibrium of a spoked wheel.

Subframe

Moving on to the rear fender and aluminum subframe of the bike, noticed the left rail had a significant downward kink. Took a cheater bar to straighten it out, and noted this area of the bike will certainly need reinforcement, bracing, and gusseting in order to support any sort of pannier load. Then drilled and routed wiring for enduro style flush taillights by Sicass Racing in the rear fender.

Fluids

All brake fluid in the hydraulic clutch, and front & rear brakes got flushed and bled with fresh DOT 5.1 synthetic fluid. My preferred method is to first use a vacuum hand pump to pull and purge old fluid through the caliper nipple, top off the reservoir, then use the traditional pump-pump-hold method to finish bleeding, which provides lever feedback as hydraulic pressure builds.

The oil drain plug was already rounded off by the previous owner, so anticipated this being a challenge. It was likely a known issue because the motor oil looked well used and dark through the sight glass, compared to the golden colored gear oil that drained out; this is actually a good sign that the lubrication circuits have not crossed over and internal seals are doing their part. First, tried hammering on a 1/2″ 6-point socket, which at 12.7mm and slightly snugger than the metric 13. However after snapping the thin wall socket even after applying heat to the aluminum case with a MAP gas torch, knew this task was going to take more heat, patience, and another cold beer.

I drained the motor oil as much as possible from the oil filter compartment and from one of the accessible oil rotor pumps, in order to reduce heat transfer to the engine oil from the aluminum case around the drain plug. Then broke out a chisel and hammer to use an impact load to break the bolt free. After many, many strikes and heat cycles with the MAP gas torch, finally saw the bolt head twist and finished persuading it out with a cylindrical flat punch. What a relief; no drilling nor elaborate extraction needed.

Ignition

Moving on to ignition, went with the KTM recommended NGK spark plug p/n 2786 with solid copper construction, with gap spec at 0.8-0.9mm (0.031″-0.035″). The bike also came with an ignition curve mapping switch, and will experiment with this device on the street to discern its functionality on a carbureted bike.

Noticed that the old spark plug was covered in oil. The 530 has a factory crankcase and rocker breather venting circuit that joins at a T, then terminates at the intake boot on the clean air side. The theory is that crankcase pressure from the engine sprays and mists engine oil up the breather lines and into the intake, thus consuming oil over time and evident on the old spark plug. Since engine oil already has such a limited capacity and short interval, am in the process of re-routing the vent line after the crankcase and rocker T joint, using 3/8″ fuel line hose to a 3/8″ double ended barb fitting (hose mender) and breather filter that fits under the seat and inside the stock air filter box. The filter is intended to keep crud from entering the motor, and is tucked up high for water crossings and away from outside elements.

Subsequent oil changes will involve measuring how much fluid gets drained and how much gets added, to determine if the breather modification effectively narrows the delta. A further modification could be an auxiliary oil cooler to the system, which increases oil capacity from the additional volume in the lines and heat exchanger.

Added an inductive digital tachometer and hour meter (coil cell battery) after completing baseline and fluids, to begin recording my service intervals and hours. It’s mean to go on the dash area but i’m really only interested in hours, so the display is routed along the above breather hose and also into the air box below the seat.

Cooling

For engine coolant, drained the radiators and noticed the previous owner was already running Engine Ice. Great stuff, all pre-mixed and ready to run; replenished and topped the radiators off with fresh blue coolant fluid.

Fan fits behind the enormous Acerbis adventure tank.

Armor

The belly of the bike came protected with a high zoot carbon fiber skid plate. Am relieving it of duty and selling, in favor of an aluminum skidplate by Enduro Engineering. Reason being is the bike is carried on my vehicles using a steel cradle that jacks it from the belly, so not ideal to unnecessarily crush and abrade the fancy composite during rough transport.

Saddlebags

When with the MoJavi saddlebag 2 x 6L side pocket capacity by Giant Loop Moto and tail rack bolted through the rear fender.

For Sale: Fuel Meister II Dual Biodiesel Processor

If you’ve ever wanted to make B100 biodiesel at home (using lye and methanol to react with FFA to drop out glycerine) and help save the world, am selling a used Fuel Meister II Dual tank biodiesel reactor.

Made in USA | $1000 USD | contact manoloalsol2020@gmail.com

Complete system along with WVO and methanol and lye to begin making B100 biodiesel – including full suite of instructions and CD-ROM, oil pump, a barrel of methanol, bricks of lye (NaOH sodium hydroxide), titration kits and methoxide chart, precision scale, liquid volume measuring tools, a barrel of filtered WVO that has been settling for months, and over a dozen settled cubies of WVO all from the same restaurant.

http://www.udobiodiesel.com/Biodiesel/FuelMeister.htmlwww.FuelMeister.com

Brochure:
http://www.udobiodiesel.com/Biodiesel/FuelMeister_files/FM2_Master_Brochure.pdf

Acquired this entire Fuel Mesiter II Dual with second expansion tank, from a truck driver that made biodiesel at home for his big rig. I took delivery of everything related to the system, including all tools and raw materials, added more accessories for pre-filtering WVO, but had to put the system in storage before i could process a batch.

Located in San Jose, California. The conical reactors are lightweight and just bulky, but the barrel of methanol and the barrel of settled WVO are heavy. Team lift into the back of a pickup, or we’ll load with ramps. $1000 USD | contact manoloalsol2020@gmail.com

In particular interesting for VW TDI owners, because the factory fuel systems in these vehicles are already B100 compatible.

PSA: Wear double eye protection!

Public service announcement: wear double eye protection when grinding metal!

Been cutting, welding, and grinding away at a steel lumber rack for the truck in these hot summer days, and had a flaming spark of debris bounce off my cheek behind wrap-around sunglasses, and lodged into my left eye cornea. Despite a PPE suite of earmuffs, cap, dust mask, eye-wear, and midday swelter, was still insufficient at preventing a metal foreign body from finding a way in; best to add a secondary face shield and goggles. No amount of flushing and rinsing under the sink nor shower could clear the object, as it was about the size of a ballpoint pen dot and visible in the mirror just outside of the pupil diameter.

The following morning, was able to have it extracted by an optometrist who would first locally numb the eye surface, and then flicked the metal out with a large needle tip. Now for this first part, I wasn’t so sure how it was going to go down before it happened.

In an optometry setting, the only fixture is the chin pad and forehead stop as part of the eye examination rig. Nothing holds the eye lid open nor anything clamps the eyeball; so all i had was my intuition to stare at some imaginary point in the distance behind her head and try not to move or blink.

Then she would scrub out the rust ring crater with an Alger brush, an electric whirring device resembling a tiny burr bit, and lastly prescribed moxifloxacin 0.5% eye drops from the pharmacy. I’m expected to make a full cornea recovery without any collateral halos or floaters in my vision.

Interestingly enough, at one point I asked if she could tell that I had LASIK in both eyes (roughly 14 years ago, which was such a positive experience it literally changed my life and subsequent lifestyle), and upon another look through her examination tools, she stated how outstanding my outcome appeared as there is no visible scaring from the flap incision, which at the time was cut with a blade; this was in Taiwan.

Don’t be a dork, wear that PPE, or as motorbikers say, all gear all the time (AGATT).

Alger brush

COVID-19 and Trip Reset

Been sheltered in place in Santa Clara County, California, USA, to date a total of 14 weeks; family continues to be well and safe, lots of victory gardening in our edibles plot, and grinding away at projects that didn’t get purged before the Grand Canyon.

Casa de Lance has been sold, as has Mirthmaker the sailboat, the Jeep is under the knife, the F350 XLT truck is getting prepped for sale, and am undergoing yet another purge and trip reset to adapt to COVID-19 uncertainty.

Recently found myself bamboozled after allowing lust and expectations to wander, then quickly ejected with a pang of jealousy for the first time ever. It’s really done a lot to fire up motivation and get hyper-focused on certain priorities, in particular to keep moving along.

As the ‘ol adage rings true, most problems can be solved with a very long bike ride. Thus, as part of the trip reset am pivoting to venture out again with a rather ultralight modus operandi: motorbike. At the moment there appear to be 2 scenarios: first is to ride originating from within and only the domestic US (due to land border closures) on perhaps a cruiser or street bike, otherwise second, if able to try for the southern hemisphere eclipse, would likely fly to Chile before the end of 2020 and acquire a bike there for the return trip adventure.

Have a look at this montage below and feel inspired:

Learned an African proverb to keep in mind: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Inspiration on the web:

Be well, friends. -Manolo

Soquel Demonstration State Forest Flow Trail

Earning those turns mountain biking in Soquel Demo Forest, deep in the Santa Cruz mountains of California. The flow trail is a network of spectacular descent sections, in what feels like an endless carve into the forest; the trail just keeps going and yet another berm beckons. POV shot with a GoPro7 chesty on a 27.5″ wheel Cannondale Jekyll.

Mirthmaker is Sold!

The adventure continues for a pair of east bay brothers. Mirthmaker’s original port of registry is Berkeley, CA where she’ll eventually make her homecoming voyage.

1979 J/24 manufactured in San Rafael, CA USA by Performance Sailcraft (Don Trask)

Learning to sail on the SF Bay was a handful of logistics and effort, and my key would be a lane splitting motorcycle. During the first beer can sailing season (informal racing, where skippers and available crew pair up, hence the crew bringing along the beer), my friend and i would meet at Coyote Point Yacht Club. Skippers meeting start at 17:00 with boats out of the marina in an hour, rounding the mark and cruising back at 20:00 facing the sunset. It was a wonderful feeling sitting on the rail of the lead boat, squinting into the sunset and tossing back a cool amber.

The following winter, my friend and i would be come boat partner after going in together on Mirthmaker, a 1979 J24 manufactured by Performance Sailcraft in San Rafael, CA and begin the process of baselining her systems for her maiden voyage.

The boat was docked north of SFO airport, now much further north than Coyote Point, and i would continue to come from the South Bay. During the summer season on work days, i would hustle all day at the factory and be out on the moto jamming north. My preferred route was straight up the 85 until it hit the 101 forming a double carpool lane next to an inch of shoulder and concrete center divide. Thus #moto2sail became the modus of getting hours on the water through many sunset cruises.

If flowing normally without any accidents, northbound 101 during rush hour backs up to a crawl in precisely 2 spots before reaching SFO, just south of the 84, and again just south of the 91. Lane splitting in the carpool lane nowadays involves splitting with pearly white shuttle buses and silent electric vehicles. There’s really only just off the paint to ride and split in these gridlock sections, so running a 10mph delta or so, slightly weaving to indicate depth and speed in car mirrors, and definitely dropped down a gear and ready to chop the throttle, is how i like to filter through. Aftermarket pipes for sure on the street. (LeoVince titanium high-mount on the v-twin SVeetfighter.)

#moto2sail (it’s not for everyone)

The advantage of a moto and lane splitting (only in California my friends; and now most recently Utah) manifested #moto2sail, where i’d already have stored sailing attire (boat shoes, polyester slacks, PFD, foul weather suit) below deck and ready to go. Then toss my helmet, jacket, and riding gear into the dock box and we’d be ready to push off as thankfully, my partner was coming from San Bruno and took care of much of the preparation like selecting and fastening the jib and running her sheets; he’d also have the snacks and drinks on board after scooping them up in his car. (On weekend sails, i would reciprocate for sure.)

It’s the only means of getting to the boat by 18:00, on the water sailing and training our points of sail, then cruising back towards the setting sun after 20:00. Unless you know someone with a helicopter. And lastly, the home run up our channel was always a reliable upwind effort, to bookend each and every outing, because we’d be trying to point as high as possible and even tack through the channel on motor and main sail.

On Mirthmaker we ran a lightweight Mercury 3.5hp outboard, bolted to the transom mount and slightly offset of the rudder to the port side. With her shaft dropped in the water and in the lowest position, the hull would sometimes heel over enough on strong port tacks to pull the motor’s impeller out of the water. Especially when weight distribution consisted of just 2 sailors on the boat with one was towards the front working with the jib.

Above all, boat ownership solidified a boat partnership, which are unspoken responsibilities to partners having each others backs while at sea. The loyalty easily extends to land and family.