Thursday, February 23, 2012

Small Gas Tanks.

Small gas tanks on a motorcycle look cool, but any of us that ride any distance understand the lack of practicality. On my '74 CB750 chop I have a king sporty tank...holds about what, 2.7 ish gallons of gas, almost 3. Seventy five miles is about my range...90 if I'm lucky. I only have it mounted at the top/front so when the reserve is sputterin' I can lift the tank and get another, I don't know, 10-20 miles maybe. I know, I know, relocate the petcock. Thing is its gotta helluva paint job by my buddy Chuck and I'm not gonna fug it up to do it.

Anyway, I've had a handful of instances where I've ran out of gas or was runnin' on fumes. Two most notable stand out in my mind.
In 2004 I rode down to NC from IL, with stops in OH and WV, for the Horse Magazine's Smokeout and the's World Meet. A good buddy of mine just outside Salisbury, NC turned his rural abode into a campground for a fluctuating group of about 50-70 of us during that last week in June. We ate, drank and were merry the days and nights before the Smokeout.

The first day of the Smokeout we had all planned to ride in as a large ass group of CB750 chops. The year prior we had invaded the fairgrounds with a similar group of rice burners and drew quite a bit of attention. The line of scoots in front of Max 'n Mary's this year was quite impressive. That smell of burnt rice permeating the air and the whole crew looking around at one another with shit eatin' grins on our faces and ready to rumble.

Just as I heard a resounding "click" of everyone shifiting into first gear my '74 CB died. Well hells bells! Here I had a good lookin' gal on the back of the scoot and was stoked to be riding into the grounds with half a hundred other CB750's to the Smokeout. I hopped off and first thing I did was pull pull the plugs and swapped in new set. Me and my buddy Andy were looking 'em over after another attempt of kickin' the ole girl to life and determined I wasn't getting any spark. Well fug, damn the luck.

Everyone was doing the pre-emtive "look around" to make sure everyone was ready to roll and noticed I was not. I waved my hands around in the air signalling the others to go on without us. I was seriously bummed but there were a few of our guys still down in Max's shop workin' out some bugs and other issues. I figured hell, I was in good company and we'd just roll in, the 4 or 5 of us, after the fact.

After determining I wasn't gettin' any fire, I pushed the bike thru the pasture and down to the shop. In a matter of seconds I had the carb rack torn off and was pulling the bowls. I started checking the floats and the jets when shortly after I hear, "Hey Landman, whens the last time you got gas?" Huh?
I then realized that a few trips to town in search of a cheap 12'r and a pack of rubbers the day before and another trip earlier that morning of, and then sittin' in the 50-some line of bikes, idling, waiting to roll to the Horse's event, had drained my tank of all it's fuel. Boy did I feel like a turd.
70-90 miles is really not that far, especially when you're runnin' into town and back. Lesson learned, check the gas.

The second instance that stands out was in 2007 when me, my step-dad Randy, and my Uncle Roger, along with my mom, Renee and my then girlfriend Kari, decided to ride out to Sturgis, SD. We were somewhere in MN when the ole Honda started to sputter. Shit, I thought I had enough to make it to the next exit.

We were in construction, down to one lane on the interstate, bumper ro bumper (though that doesn't pertain when on 2 wheels) when I noticed. I was second in line, behind my step-dad and began waving my left arm in a circle, like the "rally the troops motion", trying to let them know I was taking the next exit. I was looking ahead, and behind, and wasn't sure if they knew what I was up to.
So i took the next exit. Apparently no one realized what I was up to, no fault of theirs, its hard to communicate when you're blazin 75 mph down the highway. As I dropped out and saw them continue on I thought to myself "fuck, what am I gonna do?"...if we get separated in this traffic it could be unpleasant for some of us, probably me as I was the one "outta gas".

I looked back up to the overpass, trying to guage them, then looked in front of me and scanned the oncoming highway. Realizing that there were no oncoming vehicles my path, I opened the throttle and lifted that tank. Blasting past the stop sign at the end of the exit and racing back up the merge ramp I managed to time it just right so that I fell directly back into formation between my Randy and Roger.
I kept on the throttle and as I passed Randy on the shoulder I pointed to my little sporty tank indicating that I needed gas. He acknowledged and I took the next exit sputtering and spattering as I rode the shoulder. Everyone else knew what was up at this point.

The bike died rolling into the filling station, as I coasted up to a pump. Got lucky there. A few asked what was wrong and a few said that was the coolest thing I've ever seen.

1 comment:

  1. dont forget when we took off down to Licking, MO to Tumpys! First leg of the trip you ran out and I popped my tank off and fed ya a little lol! That was a great weekend until the ride back in 6 hours of rain!