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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 2 Fort Stockton - McAllen (567 miles)

Pretty straight foward here.  The original plan was to take the I-10 to San Antonio and then south but due to traffic and construction reasons we ended up hopping on the 83 near Junction and taking the 127 to the 90 to the 281.

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This detour was a welcome digression from the monotony of the I-10 up to this point. 

Who knew a road could have curves in them?  The 83 has some fun twisties through the hills and valleys.  There is one area along this road that looks a lot like the Serengeti except with hills.  Apparently some buisnesses have taken notice and they import animals from around the globe so you can hunt them conveiently.  I just did a quick google search and I don´t know if I actually passed this place but here is an example.

Once we were on the 281 though, it was back to more flat straight roads, and corn, lots of corn.

Seeing it in person really made tangible the absurdity and waste of this buisiness and the subsidies that support it, see docs like King Corn for info.

During this stretch Fricka revealed a secret that I had not known about her. She has cruise control.  While riding I had pulled the clutch in to down shift to slow down as I was waiting for a car to pass me in the left lane so that I could pass a tractor-trailer that was in front of me in the right lane.  When I did this the engine continued reving much higher than it should. I was confused by this and was wondering why the throttle was stuck.  Upon further examination I noticed that my bar end had a small brass ring visible that I had  not seen before.  I started playing with the bar end, twisting it back and forth.  I found out that when I twisted clockwise the brass ring retracted and when I twisted counter-clockwise the brass ring extended holding the trottle tube in position with friction, a non-electric cruise control. 
cruise control off

cruise control on

I had fun with this but was a little frustrated that she did not let me know about it for the last 1100 miles or so of which 90% were quite flat and straight so this would have been very useful.  My curiosity with this new found feature continued.  Then, I tried to use it and it was not working well.  When I tried to tighten it (counter-clockwise) it would not have enough friction to hold the throttle in position.  I thought little of it as I had ridden so long without knowing it was there (including the 1800 mile trip bring her home).

Then an hour or so later I look down randomly to see my bar end halfway off, dangling in the wind.  I quickly try to tighten it back up which was not easy at 75mph.  I did get it to a place where it was not in danger of losing it.  During our next stop I examined it closer to find that the screw holding it in did not have loctite on it so when I was turning the bar end repeatedly counter-clockwise it was actually unscrewing thebold that held it on. Luckily, I was carrying some loctite on me (a must on any trip).  Ever since I put the loctite on the cruise control has performed flawlessly.  It is a throttlemiester if anyone is interested.

With that bit of excitement out of the way we made it into McAllen, Texas before nightfall.  One random event that happened right before we hit the city limits was that I saw a bird get hit by a car. That does not sound too unsusual but I have always seen birds dive in front of cars on the highway and on the street and thought they were going to be hit, until this point in my life I had never actually seen it happen.

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