A New Battery

[Originally Written 13MAY2013.  Misplaced and forgotten about, then found and published 04FEB2017.]

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  We go out to our bike all excited about the ride we’re about to take, turn the key, hit the start button, then either nothing happens or our pride and joy gives us a pitiful little “help me” whine, then nothing.  The battery is dead.  😦

The normal course of action is simply to go to a local motorcycle shop or dealership to by an exact replacement, or take a cheaper (less desirable) route by purchasing one with the same rating(s) from a discount store.  I decided to “upgrade” this decision a little.  I’ll tell you how, but first I need to give you some background information.

When I first purchased my bike (see “Starting From Scratch“) I had to replace the battery since the bike had sat un-ridden for at least 3 years, and I’m suspecting it was closer to 6 years.  Even with the new battery I still noticed what appeared to be a charging problem, especially when negotiating long stop-and-go traffic jams.  My bike’s built-in voltage meter showed a substantial reduction in voltage, down to 9.5 volts in some cases, when encountering these types of slow downs.  The voltage would gradually get back to normal after an hour or so of riding under normal conditions afterward or when putting it on a charger at the end of a ride.  Knowing the battery was new I replaced the voltage regulator which, according to my voltage meter, had slightly reduced output.  This did not resolve the problem.  Next I searched the online forums for a resolution to the problem.  One theory was it was due to a failing Stator.  I doubted this because the maintenance records I got with the bike showed it had been replaced just before it got parked by the original owner.  A check by the local repair shop showed it was operating properly so I had to rule that out.  After more searching of the forums I found a “remedy” that involved removing and hard-wiring select connectors.  There was a substantial number of favorable reviews by people who had tried this method so I did that also.  It helped the problem but did not completely resolve it.

During all of this time I had a nagging feeling the problem was caused by the battery itself, but refused to allow myself to believe it since the problem had always been there and my battery would hold a charge between rides.  Well, one day while doing some other maintenance work I accidentally shorted out the battery so replacing the still new battery was not an option.  This takes us back to where we started, choosing a replacement battery… again.

While checking prices online I stumbled across what was called a “Glass Mat” Battery.

Having never heard of that type of battery I did some research.  I found out its technical name is Absorbent Glass Mat Battery or AGM battery.  The more I read the more I liked what I was seeing.  Among other attributes AGM batteries have very low internal resistance, are capable of delivering high currents on demand and offer a relatively long service life, even when deep cycled. AGMs are maintenance free, provide good electrical reliability and are lighter than the flooded lead acid type. While regular lead acid batteries need a topping charge every six months to prevent the buildup of sulfation, AGM batteries are less prone to sulfation and can sit in storage for longer before a charge becomes necessary. The battery stands up well to low temperatures and has a very low self-discharge rate.  I also learned that AGM batteries are the preferred battery for upscale motorcycles because since they are sealed there is a much reduced chance of acid spilling in an accident, they lower the bike weight for the same performance, and allow installation at odd angles.

I was sold so I ordered one online and anxiously awaited it’s arrival.  As soon as it arrived I checked to be sure it matched the specs I gave when ordering it.  It did.

 

To install this battery on my bike, a 1985 Honda Goldwing GL1200 SE, I had to first remove the battery cover on the right side of my bike.  The photo below shows a “Battery Tender Plus” which I highly recommend.  I’ve used this model on other bikes, and a lot of repair shops, not to mention tons of bikers, recommend this over other chargers as well.

Next, after disconnecting the negative wire from the left side of the original standard lead acid battery, I had to remove one (1) bolt from the combination swing-arm/hold-down bar that holds the battery in place.  I’ll say more about this later.  Once this bar is released the battery can be tilted out, the positive (hot/red) wire disconnected from the right side of the battery, and the acid overflow tube disconnected.  After this battery removal is pretty straight-forward, just slide the battery straight out and carefully place it somewhere it won’t get knocked over.

I typically take a few seconds at this point to clean the area around and behind the battery since one doesn’t typically have to open the battery cover under normal conditions unless you need to access the primary fuse-able link.  Now is when you have to make a decision if you opted to go replace a standard lead-acid battery with an AGM battery.  Do you remove the acid overflow tube or cap it off and tuck it in for possible future use?  I opted to remove the tube from my bike.  It is not difficult to replace latter should I decide, or for some reason have, to install a Lead Acid battery at some future time.

Next, simply slide the new battery into the box leaving it tilted out slightly.  Attach the positive, then negative, cables onto the top of the battery, then push it into place while being sure there are no wires being pinched behind, or beside, the battery.  Now, while holding the battery in place with one hand, swing the bar into place against the battery and replace the hold-down bolt.  I’ve added an additional step to this on my bike as the picture below will illustrate.

If you’ll look closely at the bar you will see I’ve added a padded strip between the battery and the bar.  In this case I used a piece of non-slip matting from my woodworking shop.  This strip allows a snugger fit for the battery so it does not vibrate so much in the compartment and reduces the chaffing of the battery against the bar.

Once this is completed all that is left is snapping the battery cover back into place.  I recommend taking your bike for a ride afterwards.  Why?  Because it’s fun!  🙂

Advertisements

Upcoming Events – December 2012

Here are the events I’m aware of for December 2012.  If you know of any other events please send me the details, including a valid website link, so I can add them.  Events without their own website, or substantial information page/flyer, will not be added.  I also do not list “events” that are basically only advertising MC dealers or parts stores with only a reference to some brief customer-grabbing event.  I’m not against these retailers, some are close friends, however this type of “event” is considered to only be for the benefit of the retailer.

If you’re looking for an event to attend, but not finding quite what you’re looking for, check back here periodically.  I add new events as soon as possible after I’m informed about them.

New – When Possible, I Will Begin Including A Link To Charities Benefited By Various Events (if the event link does not explain the charity) So You Will Be Able To Check Them Out.

Also, it seems there are more and more “clothing optional” events now.  I have nothing against these personally, however since I am trying to keep this blog/site either “G” or “PG” rated so our youth can come here to learn about motorcycle related events I will not be posting information regarding these events.

Please click HERE for information about Event Photos.

As many of you already know, December is a slow month for rallies and events.  This list will be updated as I learn of additional events.

December 2012 Events

1st – 4th, Thur-Sun – Lakeland, FL – Roscoes Chili Challenge –  http://www.roscoeschilichallenge.com/

1st, Sat – Orlando, FL – 2nd Annual Toys For Tots Open Show –http://www.highperformancepromotions.com/index.php/events/icalrepeat.detail/2012/12/01/49/40%7C34%7C41%7C43%7C42/2nd-annual-toys-for-tots-car-show.html

1st, Sat – Punta Gorda, FL – Toys For Children Trike Shari Memorial Toy Run – Escorted Ride To Arcadia – http://www.facebook.com/events/485436834814911/

1st, Sat – Tallahassee, FL – Capital City Bike Fest & Swap Meet – http://www.ability1st.info/bikefest

1st, Sat – Calhoun, GA – Annual David Burchett Memorial Poker Run & BBQ Cookoff – Proceeds From Event Benefits The United Way – http://www.smokinupthecampground.com/forms/Poker%20Run%20Information.pdf

1st, Sat – Roswell, GA – Born To Ride Toy Drive And Kickoff Bash – Route Is From Roswell to Helen, GA – http://www.borntoride.com/ga/index.html

1st, Sat – Greenville, TN – Greene County Toys For Tots Toy Run – http://www.greenevillesun.com/Neighbor/article/Motorcycle-Run-Set-for-Saurday-id-322193

1st, Sat – Raleigh, NC – Toys For Tots Ride – http://rayprice.com/activities

1st, Sat – Dallas, TX – 15th Annual Mesquite Santa Cop Toy Parade – http://cmascr4.org/pdf/SANTA%20COP%20FLYER%20COLOR%20revised.pdf

1st, Sat – McKinney, TX – DFW Toys For Tots Motorcycle Run – http://dfw-tft-mr.org/

2nd, Sun – Vacaville, AL – ABATE 17 Annual Toy Run – http://www.abate17.org/calendar.html

2nd, Sun – Webster, FL – Webster Swap Meet & Show – http://www.cyclemeet.com/

2nd, Sun – Lakeland, FL – 29th Annual Toy Run & Skills On Wheels Motorcycle Rodeo – http://polk.abateflorida.com/flyers/2012ToyRun.pdf

2nd, Sun – Brooklyn, NY – Annual Senior Citizens Benefit Party – https://www.facebook.com/events/268836539903607/

8th, Sat – Mayflower, AR – 11th Annual Christmas In The Park Parade – http://www.cityofmayflower.com/

9th, Sun – Clearwater, FL – Quaker Steak & Lube Bike Show – http://thunderpromo.com/dealer-days/

9th, Sun – Fort Pierce, FL – 2012 St. Lucie County Toy Run – https://www.facebook.com/StLucieCountyToyRun

More Event Information To Be Posted Soon

Second Mystery Ride

Here’s the clue for my upcoming (2nd) Mystery Ride.  Any guesses???

You could have a howling good time here.  In fact, it’s more fun than a barrel of Monkeys.  Just don’t forget to pack your trunk.

Have You Seen This Bear

Have You Seen This Bear?

100_4409-Reduced

This is my current riding companion, Smoky.  While he’s likely to show up just about anywhere he’s most often seen in Eastern TN, North GA, Western NC, and Northwest SC.

Drop me a note if you see him letting me know the “when and where” of your sighting.  You’re welcome to pose for a photo with him if you can get him to stop long enough.  He really loves feeling the wind in his fur.  😉

The Mystery Ride – Aka – Cleveland Ride

Well, I finally had time to take the “mystery ride”.  Today’s destination was Cleveland!  No, not the one in Ohio, the one in Georgia.  The thing is, Cleveland was actually the secondary destination.  The primary destination will be revealed below.  😉

All in all the ride was a good one, yet in a small (very small) way disappointing.  I left home early, in the fog… again.  Not really a big deal as that happens a lot here in the mountains.  I just make sure all of my lights are working properly, as I do before starting all rides, and put on my lime green safety vest with wide silver reflective strips.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in a jacket that does the same thing.  😉  All of the weather services, i.e. the local news, Intellicast, the National Weather Service, AND The Weather Channel told me the night before that “tomorrow” would be the best day of the week with sunny skies and absolutely no chance of rain.  It’s hard to pass up a forecast like that when you’re looking for an excuse to ride!

My first waypoint was a tiny “mom and pop” restaurant called the Hollywood Diner.  I’ve seen this restaurant dozens of times before but never had time to stop.  About 15 minutes before I reached this waypoint the fog began breaking off and tiny patches of blue showed through.

Photo From “Hollywood Ride” Post – 14SEP2012

Finally, a gorgeous day with plenty of wonderful views ahead!  Not.  By the time I got to the restaurant parking lot the fog was almost completely gone, and the sky above me was a deep blue, but virtually all of the sky surrounding that patch of blue was covered with dark clouds and thunder heads.  😦  I wasn’t about to cancel the balance of my ride so I just made sure my rain suit was handy, then went inside to have breakfast.

The interior was nothing like what I expected to see, and I’ve been in dozens of small town and/or mom and pop restaurants during my travels to well over two-thirds of the United States.  There is nothing bland about the rustic interior here!  Large inverted water buckets bearing Coca-Cola advertising, converted into light fixtures, were suspended from the ceiling over the counter.  Behind the counter is a glass window with a view into the kitchen so customers could watch their meal being prepared should they wish to do so.  How many restaurants do you know about that actually invite you to watch them prepare the meals?

All of the walls are covered with memorabilia, photos, signs, reproduction serving trays, etc.  The wall to the left of the counter even had the famous classic “Hollywood Diner” retro picture that featured Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean prominently displayed among other pictures of these same people, a classic Route 66 advertisement, and my favorite, an Indian Motorcycle picture.  I don’t know if they planned it that way, but I liked the way they took pictures of the people featured in the primary focal point (the retro picture) and placed them around it.  Good Job!  🙂

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, and conversation with a couple of their patrons I had never met before, I paid the tab and returned to my bike.  By now most of the threatening clouds had moved away leaving a partly cloudy sky that would oscillate between almost completely clear to completely overcast during the balance of my trip.  Just before I fired the bike up my waitress came outside and pointed at the bear on the back of my bike.  “I saw that bear from the window and just had to ask… what’s its name?”  Grinning, I responded, “Smoky”.  “That’s a great name for your bear” she said as she turned to go inside, calling back over her shoulder, “Have a great ride!”

A couple of miles down the road I came to a historic marker which gave information about a nearby tiny dirt road that crossed the portion of “old” Historic US-441 that I was now traveling.

Unless one takes time to travel the back roads that crisscross this great nation a lot of history is lost in favor of the high-speed super highways that, in my opinion, quickly become boring routes filled with billboards, concrete walls, and impatient, often irritated, drivers.  These smaller, lesser traveled routes have long been a favorite of mine, and probably will remain so.

After enjoying a few more curves and hills I came to the town of Clarkesville, GA.  It’s a relatively small town to be the county seat, but it’s not tiny like many of the neighboring towns… “burghs” as we used to call them.

Clarkesville is actually an “up and coming” town.  Not only does it have a memorial near the gazebo pictured above to give tribute to those in the area who sacrificed their lives in wars from World War I thru Vietnam, they also have a fair collection of shops and restaurants.

None of the surrounding towns have a tavern…

And another Oyster Bar/Tropical Themed Grille can’t be found for 60 or more miles in any direction.

The owners even want you to be able to find them again.  If you’ll look closely at the Grille sign you’ll see the GPS coordinates.  LOL  There’s even one little shop (now closed and up for sale) that really brings back memories of the 60’s, and a song about a place bearing the same name.

Fifteen miles further down the road is the town of Cleveland, GA, and as you know this trips secondary destination.  Cleveland is also a county seat (for White County), but significantly larger that Clarkesville, at least in area.  Since it was founded circa 1859 it’s had plenty of time to grow.  😉

The courthouse is quite interesting.  Not only does the exterior reflect the architectural style of its era, the inside has been restored and displays many items of interest, especially if you like antiques.

There are also displays of military equipment, uniforms, and materials spanning from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan.  Where else can you find an original Porta-Potty???

In most of the older courthouses the courtroom(s) is on the ground floor with offices on the 2nd, or higher, floor.  Here the courtroom is upstairs and takes up the entire floor except for 2 offices at the back of the courtroom, one of which is the Sheriff’s office.  Makes sense to me!  I was a little perplexed to have not found some sort of small holding cell attached to, or even near, the Sheriff’s office.  The view from the courtroom must have been magnificent in its day.  Today’s view is nice, but without all the “growth” one can imagine a much prettier view.

After touring the courthouse I headed for the primary destination which was…  The Babyland General Hospital!!  If you have young children, or grandchildren, you probably know this is the home of the Cabbage Patch Kids.

I knew that Cabbage Patch Kids were B-I-G but I wasn’t expecting what I found here.  I assumed this outlet was going to be some store in a strip mall or maybe in some now defunct grocery store.  Instead I found what for all intents and purposes was a huge Southern Mansion.

The front walk is bordered by concrete castings of various Cabbage Patch Kids –

While the interior is, of course, designed for children of all ages, even down to the couches and chairs.

There’s a room set aside for the premature kids, complete with incubators –

A delivery room nursery –

And for the older “kids” there’s even a school bus.

The staff was very friendly and accommodating, and even as an adult I found the “hospital” interesting.  If you’re trying to think of some place to go where the kids can have something interesting to see and do this winter I would suggest that you consider this as a destination.

When I finished my tour I headed off to White County Park to have lunch.  I saw this on Google Maps when I got directions to the Babyland General Hospital.  The park is fairly large, but doesn’t really cater to people who want an occasional picnic.  There are picnic areas, but all of the ones I found were in large shelters with several other tables.  From all appearances this is more of a sports oriented park.  There’s a gym for basketball and other indoor activities, a baseball field, and I think a soccer field.  Since I couldn’t have my lunch out in a field or by a pond or stream I continued on toward my next destination, Helen, GA.

Before reaching Helen I came across the Nacoochee Mound on GA-17 just a couple of hundred feet from where it splits off of GA-75.  This is an Indian burial ground thought to be the resting place of two young lovers from warring Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes, as well as the burial site of at least 75 others from several different time periods.

As the plaque indicates, this site was visited by DeSoto in 1540, however it dates much further back than that.  Tests on items unearthed there indicate it was built circa 10,000 B.C .

From the mound I rode on to Helen, GA, a German/Bavarian themed community, where I had lunch.  I plan to re-visit Helen so I didn’t take any photos this time.  If things go as planned this will be a “destination” city, and photos will be posted about that another time.

After lunch I resumed my trip toward home, crossing over Unicoi Gap on GA-75 about 9 miles North of the center of Helen.

Unicoi Gap is not only one of Georgia’s higher points, it also serves as a road crossing for the Appalachian Trail, a foot path that extends approximately 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine.

This was the last stop for this trip, other than for fuel.  I already know where the next trip will be.  I’m sure you’ll find it interesting, and if the Fall leaf colors cooperate it will be a beautiful ride as well.

One Thousand Mile Mark

The distance described in this post occurred on Monday, 25SEP2012

I made it!  🙂  Finally reached the One Thousand Miles Ridden mark with my “rebuilt” Goldwing. I took the following pic once I noticed I was nearing the mark because I wasn’t sure where the next safe spot to stop would be.

It’s a good thing I did because I thought the tripometer would record higher trip mileage since this bike is considered a “cruiser” or touring bike.  Oh well.  The odometer tells the story anyway.  There’s a “gadget” on the trip computer that allows one to either track riding mileage by counting up, or counting down.  Perhaps I should figure out how to use it, then use that to track waypoints… at least until I take a full-fledged trip!  😉  The pic below was taken at the first safe spot to pull over after the tripometer rolled over.

This is the view I had at that point.

I hope to be posting a ride report about this particular ride soon.  Once I do I’ll put a clickable link on this post.

Happy (and safe) Riding!

A New Riding Partner

I recently found a new riding partner who will be accompanying me on most, if not all, future rides.  🙂  She’s pretty much all a biker can ask for as a passenger… doesn’t complain about the weather, no “you’re going too fast”, or “can’t this thing go any faster?” comments.  Actually, she’s pretty much submissive all the way around.  Willing to go where I want, when I want, and lets me call her whatever suits me at the time.  Never talks back or gets “sassy”.  Could care less if I make a million coffee stops, or have a cold one after a ride. (Never During A Ride!)  Starting out before dawn doesn’t phase her, nor does getting back in as the stars begin their nightly vigil.

She’s not bad-looking either!  For example, on today’s ride, which I’ll post a ride report about in a few days then link to it here, we got all kinds of attention when I stopped to refuel and to eat.  I guess with me being somewhat of an older rider (in comparison) and her being relatively young, sort of short with nice shiny black hair, beautiful brown eyes, a well tanned complexion, and weight very much in proportion to her height people just naturally want to stare.  Go figure.  There were even a few people who waved as we rode by, and a man almost ran off the road looking at us as he passed.  I’m not naive… it’s not me or this great looking bike they’re gawking at.

I’ve pasted a photo of her below, but if you want to see this gorgeous girl in all her natural wonder I’m going to make you work for it.  I strongly suggest you make sure any children can’t see this screen until you’ve made sure it’s appropriate for their age and maturity level.  Just to be sure – you’re going to have to scroll down a little so there’s no “accidental” viewings.

Start Scrolling Here – – –

>

>

>

>

>

>

A Little Further >

>

>

>

>

>

> Almost There!

>

>

>

>

>

>

Here She Is!

“Smoky”

Happy (and safe) Biking!