Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mary had a Little Lamb and Spiders Piss Me Off

Saturday found the temperatures getting into the 70’s. An unusual occurrence for us New Englanders this early in the season. A perfect day to go for a ride. We got a late start but headed out to capture some bonii for the 2010 NER Treasure Hunt. We meandered our way to Sterling MA to get the Mary Had a Little Lamb statue in honor for Mary Sawyer who lived in Sterling MA. She was the one that LambChop follow her to school one day.

Right across the street was a place to eat, which from a food standpoint was good, but a little shaky on the service end. The Turtle in the Turtle and Hare story was a speed skater compared to the service speed . While in the area I grabbed this church for putting up on for Town Clock and possibly Old Church category. I have already posted the Sterling Town Hall in Town Halls.

Our next objective was VERNAL pool restoration. I was hoping there would be sign at the location containing the key word. No sign, no word.

Acton, MA was our turn around spot for the days 140 mile loop. MeAsWe mentioned something about heading home, because my daughter was having a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend. MeAsWe said if I don’t remind you, and knowing you, we will be out until 10pm hunting things down. She knows me so well. During our 6000 southern journey it was not uncommon for us to pull in after 9pm after a days journey seeking National Parks and National Landmarks.

We grabbed a few more locations on our way south.

In Westboro, MA, MeAsWe spotted a sign that had MARCH on it; we turned around to take a picture. I turned the bike off because my feet were on sandy ground and I could see my footing slipping and trying to gain a foothold as a 780 pound bike was plunging to the ground. Picture taken, I press the starter button and notice all the lights on the dash are lit up. I turn the key to the off position and they stay lit, at least I thought I turned the key off. Tell MeAsWe to dismount again. She really doesn’t like the FJR as much as the Connie, because getting on and off is much harder for her. Turn the key to on and the bike seems normal. Start it up and things are fine.

We are headed for Marlboro, MA to pick up Mohawk Springs for the word Spring. I notice the GPS is turning itself off and on, but this has happened in the past. I use the car adaptor for energizing the GPS and sometimes the male plug pulls back and disconnects. I stop and fix it, start off again it the GPS flashes on and off again. The bike then burps and there was an oh so subtle shutdown of the bike.

We picked up Sunshine PreSchool in the Hopkinton area and were headed for Lamb and Brown in Ashland. This is when I smelled the sinister smell of smoke. I looked down and saw a lazy stream of white wispy stuff coming from the left front fork area. I pulled over and told MeAsWe.."get off get off we are going to burst into flames".. (the burst into flames is an exaggeration). Kick stand down, off the bike and I am all over the bike like a blood hound chasing down Cool Hand Luke. "You smell anything", I get a positive answer from ME. I pulled a leaf out of the fairing right over the radiator. Maybe this was it, but it appeared to be un-singed. More sniffing, but no more burning smell.

What is running thru my mind now is I am going to have to call a tow truck, I am gonna get cancelled by RVRoadHelp cause I have had my car towed twice in the last 3 weeks, we are going to be late for my daughter’s surprise birthday party for her boyfriend and just an all around blah feeling. I take the right hand dash cover where the battery is located. Every other bike I have owned has had the battery under the seat. The FJR’s battery is in the upper right fairing. Battery connections are tight and the wires appear normal.

It is 5:30 or so, and the bonii hunting is over for the day. I figure we might as well try to make it home on the bike. We are only about 15 miles away. We get home, without incident except for one spot about a mile or two away where the bike did its hiccup, burp or what ever it is. The bike now sits in the driveway, waiting to be ridden to the dealer for repair. Good thing I purchased the 2 year extended Yamaha warranty.

Thru the FJR Forum, I have learned that the grounding system is made up of grounding connections which combines the negative ground side for various components such as the fuel pump, turn signals, dash lights and all other electrical components into a junction which as become known as the Spider Ground Connector. This is simply a shielded connector which would be like taking all of the ground wires, twisting them together and using a wire nut. This shield (plastic) is to create an electromagnetic interference guard. Based on what I see it is probably a 69 cent part. Well I guess these have a tendency to get corroded due to their exposure to the elements, causing them to create resistence, which causes heat, which causes more resistance, which causes more heat to the point of burning. Apparently the Gen II bikes are more prone to this than the Gen I FJR’s. Gen II is suppose to be the new and improved, at least that why I would think they would change things.

OK having a diagnosis is good, but the cure can be a long and hard journey. First call to the dealer is they can not take the bike in until April 2nd, two weeks away. So the saga begins. Let’s hope it is a short poem ala Ogden Nash and not one of Homer’s tales.

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