by Elden Carl
The weekend of 10/3 and 10/4 of 2009 started out normally enough with and early
morning 30 mile ride from my home in La Mesa, CA east to Restaurant La Fogata in
Tecate, Mexico for breakfast. After a great meal, I re-crossed the border and headed
west for my return trip down twisty Highway 94.
About eleven miles west from my starting point I entered a moderately-sized, perfectly
radiused sweeper holding my speed at approximately double the number on the yellow
sign which said, “30 mph”. As I began to straighten up coming out of the left-hand curve
and going into a right-hander I saw a guy on the eastbound shoulder standing next to a
touring bike that was parked pointing west. Printed on the back of the long-sleeved
black T-shirt were the words, “Bomb Squad.” I only knew one guy with such a shirt, Rod
Morris. Leaning against the guard-rail was Bonnie Moore. I made a quick U-turn to see if
I could help.
Rod had already called for a tow truck and checked himself and Bonnie for injuries.
Other than some bruises and abrasions, neither Rod nor Bon had any serious injuries.
The motorcycle had minor, easily fixable damage which was caused when the rear tire
blew-out coming down the hill. Rod’s riding skills paid off as he was able to scrub off
most of his speed before running
into a roadside asphalt berm which caused a slow speed tip-over. After seeing Rod, Bon
and the motorcycle head east with the tow truck, I continued my trip home.
It didn’t hit me until later that had Rod’s tire blown 150 feet later after entering the curve,
he and Bonnie could have had a different outcome.
On Sunday morning (10/4) I left early on my way to a two part breakfast. Again I went to
La Fogata for some great Huevos Rancheros (minus the beans and rice.) My plan was
to finish breakfast another 35 miles east at Jacumba Senior’s pancake breakfast. As I
rounded a curve about 6 miles east of Tecate I saw what I thought was a dead bird in the
Just as I was getting close, the frantic mom landed next to her little one. On impulse I
made a U-turn and parked my bike. I was able to grab the very much alive baby bird and
put it up in a tree. Only the mama bird will know if my efforts were successful.
Back on my DR650 canyon scratcher and 10 miles east I came across two bicycles
pulling trailers. The rear trailer had a sign which said something like “living out our
It turns out that Ward and Jacky Budweg had traveled most of the world and were
headed for Florida. If you want to read about their fascinating story, go to
www.fromthebenchesof theworld.com. It’s one thing to go around the world on two
wheels pulling a trailer, but with no gasoline powered engine, wow!
I proceeded on another 20 miles without incident to the Senior Center in Jacumba for my
pancake breakfast. Parked in front of the building was a highly decorated amply signed
rickshaw. Inside having his breakfast was Allie Stevens, an interesting 56 year old guy
on his way to Florida from Oceanside, California. Pulling a 250 pound bicycle wheeled
rickshaw from coast to
coast is not something I could ever imagine anyone doing, but Allie says he’ll make it. If
you want to track him or join those of us who are contributing to the cause, go to
rickshawroadtrip.com. Good luck Allie Stevens.
After finishing breakfast I headed back west only to meet up with the bicycle world
travelers again west of Jacumba. We stopped and talked about the weather which was
very windy in the eastern mountains all day. I told them that they should have a good tail
wind down on the desert. After well wishes I headed west.
About 5 miles down the road it hit me that Ward and Jacky were headed down the 15
miles of Mountain Springs Grade which is much windier than the mountains and I hadn’t
warned them. I immediately turned around and headed east to find them.
Unfortunately they were already several miles down the grade and well into the heaviest,
gustiest winds. Jacky had to walk her bike for about a mile, but no tip-overs occurred.
After the heavy gusts subsided I followed them another 10 miles to the desert floor
where the wind was still strong but from behind.
After saying our goodbyes I headed east into the wind. What a ride! Even though I was
geared 15/46 (stock is 15/42) I could only use third and fourth gears most of the way up
the grade. At Mountain Springs I was forced to operate in second gear in order to
negotiate through the heavy head and cross winds. At times, just staying on the road
was a challenge. I faced about 70 miles of head winds to get home and fifth gear was
useless most of the time.
I was a few miles west of Campo where I had first met Ward and Jacky when I saw a
Harley parked on an asphalt berm. “Frank” the rider who was standing next to his bike
flagged me down. Normally I don’t have much to do with Harley’s but the guy was
obviously in trouble so I crossed the same berm his low Harley was hung-up on and
parked my DR650. Good ground clearance and low bike weight are great. I found some
wood boards and stacked them between the rear of the front wheel and the berm. I
asked Frank to straddle his bike and grab the handlebars. I told him that when I counted
to three, pull back hard on the bars and I would pull up hard on the front wheel. Three
heaves and the whale was no longer beached. Frank thanked me and headed east while
I paddled my way west to my home in La Mesa. Upon arriving home, late in the afternoon
I had one of Pauline’s fine dinners and reported the happenings of the day.
An hour or so after watching “60 Minutes” I decided it was time to rest my Great
Grandpa’s 74 year old body. As I was near conking out in bed I was trying to remember a
more interesting weekend. I entered dream land before I could come up with one.
I wish the best for Rod, Bonnie, Allie, Ward, Jacky, Frank, and the baby bird.
Holy Cow, by P. White
I ordered and had delivered your 7.4kg rear shock spring. I’ve only had it installed one
day but “holy smokes”, as soon as I climbed on the bike after installation I felt a
difference, felt like absolutely no sag at all. It was great. I’m not the greatest rider of all
times but even I can appreciate the difference. Thanks and thanks for the great service.
P. White, Nova Scotia
New Products at MMP, by Rod Morris
Top Gun and MMP have introduced new or improved products as soon as we can and
there are some recent ones that are now available. Some time ago we offered a muffler
conversion for the stock KLR650 muffler but discontinued it due to the loss of our
contractor and lack of customer interest. Many KLR mufflers had the infamous “tweet”
that was very annoying. It sounded like the same tweet that the old VW bug used to
have. We’ve had a number of customer inquiries about the conversion and now have an
excellent contractor to re-introduce this procedure again. Our conversion eliminates the
“tweet”, has a pleasant growl, maintains the spark arrester, the exit pipe is angled down
and away from the fender, relieves some of the back pressure, fits perfectly and never
needs re-packing. We tried some aftermarket mufflers in the past but were disappointed
in the way they fit and many required re-packing often; one was as low as every10 hours
at $40.00 a pop for the kit. You must send us your muffler for this conversion. It’s not a
bolt on kit.
When the KLR650 was first introduced in the late 1980’s many suffered excessive oil
usage due to the cylinder warping from too much heat. In 1996 Kawasaki started using a
thicker liner that helped keep the warping to a minimum but it still occurred in some
bikes. If you got through the first 5000-6000 miles without problems you were usually
good to go. My 1996 KLR650 has 54,000+ miles without the top end ever being off and it
still uses only minimal oil between changes.
The 2008-09 models had many new changes except for one very important one; they
still used the same cylinder sleeve that was made from poor quality material. Many 2008
models (including Top Gun’s) started using excessive oil with only 800 miles on the
odometer. Kawasaki said that it was normal to use a quart of oil in 800-1000 miles
(false). Our 2008 had an oval cylinder as did many others. After searching many
avenues and countless phone calls we finally found the solution.
We found a company that produced cylinder sleeves that would not warp. This company
started in 1945 producing cylinder sleeves for autos and tractors. In 1950 they included
heavy duty trucks. In 1968 they included motorcycle sleeves that became the renowned
power sports industry of the present. They manufacture centrifugally spun-cast cylinder
sleeves for many industries including motorcycles.
Our 2008 was fitted with one of their sleeves and an MMP forged piston and is still going
strong somewhere in Arizona. We now offer this new sleeve in conjunction with the
forged piston. You can send us your cylinder for the work or purchase any or all parts
Keep an eye on the MMP Products pages for other new products that are being
developed at this time.