Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

December 11, 2013

BMW MECHANICS SCHOOL

... i started at about 1:30pm, finished up around 7:30pm ... temperature was 30°f when i began, on the way home the irving station flashing sign said it was 20°f out ... the bike is currently under the awning of the outside storage area behind c.j.'s barn ...

... my "goal" was install a new battery in the motorcycle, add a set of jumper/trickle charge cables, and check the effectiveness of the antifreeze fluid ... before i could do this, of course, i had to first figure out how to take the bike apart ...

... i learned many things ...

... first, the "glass half-empty" stuff ...

... it seems that bmw designed this motorcycle by starting with the battery and then building the bike around it ... in order to remove the battery i had to disassemble the motorcycle's entire upper assembly, including the support frame ... even with that, there was less than a millimeter clearance that required a rather complex three-dimensional rotation of the new battery to get it seated in the support case ...

... there are a multitude of cable and hose routings that were clearly designed by engineers who never do their own maintenance ... i learned all about this in the military, but, still i cursed bavaria a blue streak ...

... i don't see as well by flashlight anymore ...

... if you look at this bike with its fairing removed you can see right through the frame, yet if a bolt is accidently dropped it invariably ends up in a little mechanical cul-de-sac for which retrieval requires the removal of the bike's upper assembly ... these spots are obviously magnetic, because no matter what location the bolt comes from, it always vanishes inside the frame ...

... but, of course, there's also the "glass is half-full" stuff ...

... other my rather rickety old knees, i still work well in the cold ... score one for all the learning experiences in such environments provided me a long time ago by the united states government ...

... bmw uses seriously nice hardware ... every bolt, screw, etc., is clearly similar to aircraft grade ... i'm thinking that this alone probably accounts for 10% of the cost of the machine ...

... you can completely remove the upper assembly of a bmw f650cs using just two of the torex l-stock bits included in the under-seat toolkit ...

... my flashlights have ever-ready batteries, the bunny wasn't lying ...

... here's the machine 1/3-way through the reassembly process, the first of four go-arounds ... turns out that the round black frame doesn't go in before the air box ... after that i was reminded several times that of disassembly and reassembly the former is always the easier of the two ...


... i finished and everything seems in order ... as i said, "school" ... if i started the same task again, even in cold weather, it would take me less than an hour to complete the job ...  the bike wouldn't quite catch and start, but i'm comfortable thinking it was just too cold ... end result:  a brand-new glass-matt sealed battery providing over 165 amps, nice long leads so i can keep said battery cozy during the winter, and, courtesy of dear friends jane and alex, a wonderful homemade pizza supper ...