My wife and I left at 11:00 am on Friday morning, we were supposed to beat the rain down to Buellton for the CROV Ride.  For me this was a 235 mile ride, almost straight down 101.  Naomi (wife) was going to be riding with me on the back, but because of a stiff neck and other stuff decided to take the car instead.  We stopped for lunch in Salinas and then headed south. 

I was doing about 70 mph for most of the time, it's a long straight stretch of 4 lane freeway.  About 10 miles north of San Ardo, the bike dropped power suddenly, and then picked back up.  I had refueled about 25 miles prior, so I knew it wasn't running out of fuel.  Then the bike dropped power again.  No matter what I did, rolled the throttle all the way, choke, shift, it would not do above about 4000 RPM.

I pulled off on a side stretch next to an abandoned gas station, and started poking and prodding things.  I pulled out the toolkit and pulled the rear spark plug, which had a nice tan color to it.  Started the engine and verified I had a spark.  The plugs are old, and need replacing, but they were working.  I then looked for loose connections around the TCI, and couldn't find any.  I think my bike may be the only one out there with the rev-limiter still attached, so I was trying to remember the wire.  Yellow with black.

Before I did something foolish, I called Naomi on the cell and told her where I was and I needed her to turn around and meet me.  I then tried for several minutes to remove the yellow/black connected but couldn't.  I cut it. 

I put the key back in the ignition and tried to start the bike.  Nothing happened.  "SHIT".  I looked at the wire and started thinking about how in the world I was going to splice this thing back together when I noticed I had not put the connector back into the TCI. 

Put the connector back on, started the bike right up.  Took it for a brief test ride, and noticed I still had the same problem.  So, it wasn't that wire.  About this time Naomi pulled up and we talked about a strategy.  Since the bike would run at 50 mph on a flat road, we decided I would ride it down to Paso Robles, about 25 miles, and then see what could be done. 

About this time it started raining.

I got on and started heading down the freeway, with Naomi behind me with the flashers on.  It was a steady downpour, not heavy, but steady.  We passed San Miguel where the very first CROV ride was held, and I thought about pulling in there, but I knew there wasn't anything to help me there.  Instead I moved on to Paso Robles.  I could watch the fuel gauge drop.  I used a gallon of fuel to get 20 miles.  Normally I get 50 mpg.

I pulled off at the first major intersection in Paso, and went down that street for a while, until I found a gas station.  I pulled in and noticed a Honda shop up the street a little ways.  I told Naomi I would go up there and see if they have any pointers on where I could go to have someone look at the Vision.  When I pulled in, I noticed it was a Yamaha dealer as well.

I talked to Chris, a 60 year old guy who was the head (possibly only) mechanic there, and he sprayed something on the front exhaust.  It didn't evaporate as fast as it should have, showing us that the front was not running as well as it could be.  He was right in the middle of doing a rebuild of another bike, so he couldn't get to mine for quite a while if I left it.  However, he was willing to fill out a work-order on the bike and thus be able to store it in the garage if until I picked it up the next day.   He though the problem might be the valves because of the symptoms (see tech forum for those)

Naomi and I talked about the various options, renting a hotel, a truck, etc...  We called the hotel in Buellton and canceled our reservations there and left a note with Glenn that we would not make it.  We called and arranged to one-way rent a 10 foot truck from Budget rental. (After we discovered that U-haul was 25 percent more expensive.)

I rode my bike down to the Budget rental place while Naomi followed in the car.  We filled out all of the paper work and then went to the truck. No ramp.   The rental guy said there was a motorcycle place down the street.  Instead we grabbed a pallete from the place next door and tried to get the bike up the palette and into the truck.  By this time it was pouring rain.  We could get the bike onto the palette, but not up that last rise into the truck. We look around at the rapidly dwindling options and the increasing rain.  It was close to 6:00 by this time, so Naomi went down to the Victory dealership and asked if they had a ramp we could use.  I guess having a helpless drowned-rat looking woman ask was the right thing, they said bring the bike and truck down, and they'll get the ramp.  :-)

With their help, we were able to get the bike into the truck. It was 6:00 so they took off.  Naomi and I spent the next hour figuring out the optimal way of strapping down the bike with the straps we bought from Chris's place.  They weren't quite long enough to run across the truck. We finally decided, after several attempts, to shift the bike so that it was pointing across the truck. That way we were able to strap the front end down to the left side, and the back end down to the right side.  We were both satisfied that the bike would not fall over.

We drove down and grabbed some dinner at a Denny's.  We were not quite complete soaked but pretty close.  After dinner at about 8:00, we headed north on Highway 101 back toward Santa Cruz.  We hit some amazing rain coming down.  It was in sheets.  I would listen for the squeak of the tire as it rubbed up against the back of the truck to assure myself that the thing was still upright.  Naomi and I checked in about 9:00 on the cell phones.   We finally got home at 10:30.

The bike stayed in the truck until morning.  We talked calling someone and seeing if they could take the bike that day, but at breakfast I decided against that idea.  I bought the Vision almost 20 years ago to the day (I think the actual date is April 13).   I figured that if the problem was a major one, I would strip the bike down to the frame and rebuild it.  While I am not an engine mechanic, I can do good work on most other systems.  It would be an opportunity to take care of a lot of the little problems that have been creeping up over the years.  Little spots of rust, replacing various ancient wires, hoses, connectors, etc...    The bike has led a good existence, it's been garaged almost the entire 20 years I've owned it, so it's in good shape. 

So, that's where this story ends.  The bike is in the garage.  I'll probably start going through some parts to see if I can figure out the problem and at the same time upgrading systems.  Stainless brake lines.  New spark-plug cables.  New fuse box.