I’ve made it!
After taking the bike apart in the Holiday Inn parking lot, and getting some weird looks from the staff there, I ruled out loose spark plugs as a cause of the noise. The folks over at www.triumphrat.net gave me a couple of suggestions, spark plugs being one of them. Unfortunately I had to take the seat and tank off the bike to check the plugs, but at least they weren’t at fault. The other likely culprit for this kind of noise was a dry speedometer cable, so I checked that and found that the cable was loose where it enters the speedo. I tightened it and was unable to reproduce the noise! Either that was the problem, or it only occurs at operating temps. Emboldened by this discovery, I set off towards LA, stopping at a bike shop in Barstow to buy some chain lubricant – this could be used on the speedo cable if the problem resurfaced.
The remainder of the trip was without incident, although I was shocked to see the miasma of smog hanging over the San Bernardino valley as I wound down into it. The smog was so dense at 11 am that I couldn’t see any buildings from my high vantage point even when still an hour outside of LA. It literally appeared as a brown cloud bank with a sharp upper boundary obscuring the entire valley. Also once into this area I started to smell the ocean again which was a comforting thing even under the slight reek of smog.
Driving further down into the LA area, the smog continued, although once in it it was not as visible. That’s a pretty scary thought.
Finally, around noon I pulled into UCLA and found my apartment complex. After a couple of hours locating the after hours staff, and then them locating the proper paperwork, I was checked into my apartment! Things like mail and parking and student ID will have to wait until Tuesday, but I was at my new home.
Here are some pix for the curious. The first four are the exterior of Weyburn Terrace, the fifth is the courtyard of my building, and the last is the interior of my little space.
I’m glad to be finally stopped, and need a couple days to rest and integrate all the thoughts I’ve had while driving cross country, and then I’ll post some of my observations and things that I’ve learned about myself and the landscape between Boston and LA. For now, I’m off to find a U-Haul and IKEA so I can put some basic furniture in my bare place.
Thanks to everyone who provided support and encouragement along the way – I love you all and couldn’t have undertaken this uprooting and reinvention of my life without knowing you are behind me.