Not everybody is happy about it though.
Most of the members here at Karu MC are not looking forward to this change in season, and I completely understand why. They live here. Most of them hate the winter. Their summer is so very very short and their winter is so very very long. And dark. Very dark. Nearly 24hrs of cold cold darkness and nighttime for 4 months or more. Depressing at times I'm sure. I guess if I lived up here all year long I might get a little sick and tired of winter too. Maybe not. But we all grow accustomed and tired of the repetition in our lives at some point. It's human nature to want change.
That's why we all need to have our dreams. Our goals and aspirations to strive for and one day to reach.
It's never easy. It never comes easy.
But easy is not always good or rewarding for the body or the soul. Most often times it's not. Why?.
Because it's just too easy to take the easy way, the path most traveled. Anyone can do that. Many have.
What's the point and where's the challenge in that?.
Being a climber in my teenage years (with dreams one-day of becoming an expedition caliber mountaineer), one of my idols growing up was and still is the British mountaineer Douglas Scott.
I still have my original Meindl climbing boots I bought back in 1977 when I was 15. And they still fit. And I still use them. And I still have my Ice axes too.
Anyway, Doug Scott, along with Dougal Haston climbed and summited Mt. Everest on the 24th of September, 1975, in a Chris Bonington led expedition. Their route was by the unclimbed south-west face, and they were the first Britons to climb and summit Mt. Everest during this expedition.
In an interview with Doug called A Conversation with Doug Scott, his opening line in the video are words of wisdom to live by: " I couldn't ever think of going all the way to the Himalaya's just to carry on repeating what other climbers did in the past. It just seems like a complete waste of time". Exactly.
In 1977, Scott, along with Chris Bonington, summited Baintha Brakk (aka The Ogre) a 23,901 foot rock and ice tower in Pakistan's Karakoram Range. It was late in the day, they had to get down while there was still some light left, which they were going to do by abseiling. During an early pitch of the descent, Scott slipped on ice taking a wide 30m swing, pendulumed violently, and crashed into a rock wall breaking both his legs above the ankles. Scott and Bonington were 9,000 feet above base camp and the sun had just about set.
To make a long and painful story short (you can read Dougs complete account of it here) it took Scott and Bonington 8 days to get back to base camp with Scott having to crawl all the way, wearing through 4 layers of clothing in the process and ending up with swollen and bleeding knees into the bargain. He never panicked. He always knew he would get back down, he just didn't know how. So he took it hour by hour, crawl by crawl. He just pieced together a lot of little small steps.
He didn't talk about the accident for nearly 25 years after it happened, and when he finally did, he recounted his ordeal so matter-of-factly that you would think that he assumed that everyone behaves like this under these types of extreme circumstances after breaking both legs 23,000 feet up a cold and dark mountain. But we're not all Doug Scott.
When I think of riding across Russia in winter, with temperatures going down to -50 at times, in all honesty, it seems like a cakewalk compared to some of the challenges that Scott faced on Everest and The Ogre back in the late seventies. I used to think of it as a pretty monumental trip, but at least the motorway that spans the 9,100km from Moscow to Vladivostok in Russia, is now paved all the way and easier to get help on if something goes wrong rather then trying to get help when you're 23,000 feet up on the side of a massive mountain where there is nobody and nothing. They were tough men in those days. And even tougher journeys and expeditions. As one commenter on Scott's Youtube Conversation video said, referring (a little harshly perhaps) to Britain as " A country full of saturday night thugs and football hooligans parading around representing themselves as hard and tough, I wonder how hard and tough they'd be on a Doug Scott Himalayan expedition". Most people probably wouldn't last a day.
Dougal Halston once said "In winter, the mountains seem to regain their primitive, virginal pride, and no more do the howling, littering summer masses tramp their more accessible slopes. The same feelings I attach to my choice and love of traveling in winter. Aside from the increased degree of difficulty and test of ones physical and mental toughness and durability (especially while camping in -20), I also don't have to deal with the summer and her fair weather masses, who are are all vying and clamoring for that same spot to get the same shot that everyone else before them got.
In winter, I have most, if not all, of the serene and calm beauty of her picture perfect snow covered landscapes all to myself.
Riding to Nordkapp in December of 2012 seemed to be, at the time anyway, a difficult and challenging trip. Not so in reality. There was nothing too difficult or challenging about it at all. With spiked tires, some good winter gear and 3 wheels on the ground, I was all set. Don't get me wrong, it's not a cakewalk. I was still cold riding in -28°. But it's not difficult either. On a 2 WD sidecar, in degrees of difficulty, it's on the low end. There are way more difficult things I could think of doing.
It's good to keep pushing yourself, no matter how old you are, and especially the older you get(if you make it that far). It's good to try and avoid falling into the "Golden Years" trap and mentality of "well, now it's time to take things a little easier". No, it's not. It never is. You owe it to yourself to keep pushing forward.
Jaska's life changed in the blink of an eye.
Think again. Maybe. Maybe not.
How do you find out?. You don't. You make the best of now. Right now. Because in reality, that's all you have. Right now. This moment. Think about it.
The full article, photos, and hopefully a sit down and chat with Jaska will be on the blog in a the next few weeks.
All I have to complain about now is a slightly sick transmission that's in need of a few parts. And it's not a problem at all. Just an inconvenience.
What's the difference between a problem and an inconvenience?.
Here's the real world difference: If money can fix it, it's not a problem, just an inconvenience.
If you're told you have 1 month left to live, all the money in the world won't help. That's a problem. A big problem.
But my transmission and clutch?. No problem. Nothing that money can't fix. My life is that simple now. And I'm happy. Inside. The wind doesn't blow through the big hole that used to be there before. The hole is much much smaller now. And the wind has died down a lot.
And speaking of things that money can fix, here's a quick "How to" for other BMW 1150 GS owners out there on repairing a stripped valve cover bolt hole.
There are (4) M6 valve cover bolts on the BMW 1150 GS boxer motor that attach the valve cover to the cylinder head. The cylinder head is aluminum and it's quite easy to over tighten the valve cover bolts and strip a thread in the cylinder head in the process. But don't worry. No need to freak out. If you do, it's an easy 5 minute fix to repair it. Ok, maybe 10 minutes, but no more.
And here's how you do it.
First, remove the 4 M6 valve cover bolts. They have a built in stop mechanism that doesn't allow them to be removed completely from the magnesium valve cover. The bottom bolts in the above photo is as far as they come out.
Next, remove the valve cover and turn it upside down and place it in a catch tray so no dirt or debris gets inside and sticks to the oil residue on it and the excess oil will drip out and down into the tray.
Now is a good time to get your Helicoil kit out.
And on the subject of my sick outfit and specifically my transmission and the parts needed to repair it, it would appear that a new sponsor has stepped in to fill the void that was left since W'lich and myself parted ways in April. At least for this parts list anyway.
The parts list for the outfit has grown. I'm going to put in a brand new clutch, new clutch master cylinder and new bearings in the gearbox and drive train, as they're all original with 80k miles on them and are at the end of their lives. Rather than wait until they disintegrate (like half way across Russia in -40°) it's a preventative measure to ensure that all is good while the back end of the BMW boxer engine is all apart like this.
And who is this new parts sponsor you ask?. Well, rather than attaching it as an addendum to this post, I would rather wait until parts get here and new decals for this company are made in order to properly introduce them. They warrant that much at least. So, that means it will be in the next post in 2 weeks. But, I may do a fill in post next Sunday, so stay tuned to this blog. You never know. And interestingly enough, they wrote to me offering me their assistance with my mechanical problems, and not the other way around, which I was very pleasantly surprised by, and also very very impressed that the owner took the time out of his busy schedule to choose to help me. Details on the next weeks post.
Raimo's got some interesting old iron, two wheels and four.
Like his chopped and channeled '29 Ford with a Flathead motor topped with Navarro heads. Nice. I've taken a whole bunch of winter and summer shots of this car which I have to post up in the coming weeks too. It's just too damn cool not too.
Well, that's when a friend turned me onto the GSI Outdoors Toaster and I've been using it ever since. It's stainless steel, folds down completely flat, and comes with it's own black canvas carry pouch. And it's only $10. So when a hole developed in the the wire mesh on my toaster, after 3 years of continuous use I might add, the mesh deteriorated quickly after that, but the frame was still perfect and intact. So I wrote to GSI and asked them do they sell the mesh separately. Well, they just sent me out a brand new one instead.
Now that's good customer service. Top marks to GSI Outdoors.
Did you enjoy this post?.
Did you get something, anything from it?. Good. That was the intent.
Maybe you brought something away with you from it today. If you did, leave me a comment either here or on my FaceBook page if you have time and let me know.
There are one or two people I have spoken with in the last few days, and these last thoughts and sentiments are for you. You know who you are.
Do not live in the past, do not live in resentment. Do not live in anger.
Focus on the present, but look forward, be strong.
Live only in the moment of time that you have control over.