Dolphin Dock 2

We had such a good time fishing yesterday and the crew enjoyed talking to Cece that they offered us a discount to go again the next day.  Unfortunately it was windy and rough seas that morning and we didn’t get to go out again.   Instead we went shopping around the island that morning and tried another go at some bay fishing in the afternoon.

Texas has triggerfish?

It was very cool when Cece pulled up this triggerfish, I thought they mainly lived where there was coral.  This one is rather ugly compared to the clown triggerfish I used to take care of back in high school.   If you don’t know where they get their name from, that spine at the top of their head locks in place to secure themselves in holes and to make them harder to eat but if you press the second spine down (the trigger) the top one will unlatch.

This one was too small and had to be thrown back.  I’ve never heard of eating triggerfish anyway I’m not sure if I’d have wanted to keep it even if it was big enough. It’d feel like eating an ugly cousin of one of my pets.

What are these things called?  Strange looking fish with a giant eye.

We didn’t seem to have much luck the second day with the bay fishing.   We only seemed to catch these poisonous toadfish I think they were called.   Others caught a small stingray and a few small gafftopsail and hardhead catfish.   We still had fun getting to go out on the water a second day.

Coast Guard

Competition down the road did not go out either today.

The triple hull Polly Anna shrimp boat



Castaways Seafood and Grill

Where do you go when you’ve eaten at every place in Port Aransas?    Castaways again!



Dolphin Dock Deep Sea Fishing

When we motored up to Dolphin Dock Deep Sea Fishing in Port Aransas a couple of the workers came outside to greet us.  They recognized the sound of the bike and knew it had to be that motorcycle couple from New Mexico again lol.  Out of how many tourists they must see every day it’s neat that they would remember us.  I guess we did sit and talk with everyone for hours last year waiting to see if we could go out before they called it and we ended up going bay fishing later in the day.

This year the weather was better and at least the first day we got to go out for Cece’s first deep sea fishing adventure!

Bait almost looks too good to throw to the fishes, that looks like some real good sashimi right there!

First catch of the day was a 93 pound Wahoo!   This should’ve been my fish, the deck hand threw out a line as we were slowing down and hooked it then looked for me to hand me the pole to reel it in.   I had just stepped away to get a picture of Cece so they handed the pole to the next closest guy, darn it!     Oh well, the fish is a beauty! and a good omen for the day.

Cece’s first catch of the day, a very nice red snapper!   Too bad they were out of season for a few more weeks and it had to be thrown back.

We had a bit of excitement when we all had out lines in waiting for someone to get a bite when BOOM something hit my line and the reel started spinning out out so fast it was smoking. The reel stopped and the thick deep sea pole about doubled over in half, it was all I could do to hang onto it and POP! the line snapped!  We have no idea what the hell it was only that it was huge!  After that my reel was seized it wouldn’t crank in or let out anymore, whatever it was had broken my pole!

New fishing pole.  By now people were catching good sized dog snapper all around the boat but I put my line back at the same depth that I had last time.  After a bit of a wait something hit my line just as hard as before, this time it stayed on longer than 20 seconds.  My pole looked like it was going to snap, whatever I’d hooked was pulling a hell of a lot harder than that 93 pound wahoo!  After fighting it for 20 minutes I was getting freaking winded.  I needed to adjust my grip and just barely touched the bottom of the pole to the railing so I could adjust my grip and snap the line went again.

Just then a deck hand finally ran up to give me a hand and said yep don’t touch it to the railing!  sorry we should have gotten you a belt.   Oh well, good to know the railing tip for next time.

Shortly after my second broken line another guy hooked a monster fish and this time had help from the crew and managed to pull in this shark that was let go.

All in all we had a good time and Cece had a lot of fun and now wants to come back and go again!

Our haul for the day.

Cece holding up our pair of atlantic sharpnose sharks.  These are full grown and good eating!

Dolphin Docks does a great job cleaning the fish afterwards if you’d like here is what that wahoo looked like afterwards.

Since we were on the bike we bought a box of ziplock bags and you put a few pieces of fish in with a little bit of water and burp out all of the air.  Then it can be blast frozen with Dolphin Docks freezer and shipped back home.

I didn’t have time to call my neighbor who took delivery of the fish.  He said he got home one day to find a giant box and couldn’t remember what he’d bought then opened it up, wow fish!


95 pound fiance posing with 93 pound fish LOL

Good haul for the boat that day.


We did find quite a few guys fishing off the beach and the rock jetty. Some of them were actually catching something besides stick fish.

I didn’t realize that they had trout in the ocean.

Of course there are always plenty of different kinds of sea birds in this area.

Continue reading Shorebirds

Feeling Crabby

Went to the beach today after getting fishing tickets for tomorrow and going through some swimwear and t-shirt shops in town.

Crabs were everywhere!  Many different kinds too, only got decent pictures of 4 species.  Never seen so many different kinds in one place.

Ghost crabs live on land, there are burrows for these everywhere in the sand near the water.   Cece had never seen one before so I tried to dig one of the smaller ones up, the bigger burrows are wayyy too deep.   That burrow was empty but we got lucky and found a few walking around on the way back to the bike.

The blue crabs were rather feisty.  If a shadow went over the water while they were.. ahem, busy.. the males would snap their claws out of the water and splash.   The first one surprised and scared Cece so badly she screamed and fell backwards, almost completely off the rocks into the water, then I almost fell in the water from laughing so hard.

Cece holding a baby hermit crab we found.  When it came back out of its shell it started trying to graze on her hand and trying to pinch and pull algae off her palm.  “Ow ow ow! Hurry up and take the picture!”

Lots of hermit crabs in the rock jetties.

Stone crab?


What are these called!?

We headed down to I10 to get to the coast and all along the shoulders and medians were fields of these flowers.  Any idea what these are called?    A forest ranger later told us they were bee balm but a quick look on Google images showed most of the pictures of bee balm did not look like this so we aren’t sure.

Eventually we got tired of the Interstate and went down some back roads towards the coast.  We were going down small farm roads hoping not to get lost when we found a fruit stand miles from anything.  We got a few cantaloupes fresh picked just yards away from where we bought them!  NICE!

With the late start the day had been a bit of a slog trying to get from Midland, TX to stay at Goose Island State Park again and we were too exhausted to make it.  We were beat and when we saw a motel with a pool we pulled over. Nothing feels like jumping in a pool after 500 miles of gusty dry winds and 100 degree temperatures.

In the motel room we found some literature on Coastal Bend College.    Wow!  What a small world.   My company had just been doing work for Coastal Bend and I had no idea they were in Texas. Funny coincidence that we happened to stay here.  Had to get a few pictures for the people back at the office.

You know you are in a college town when the binder in your motel with all the local cable channel and take out info also has sheets of literature on the area’s geology and oil characteristics.

On the road again

With the bike all back together and running smoothly it was time to head off to try another go at some deep sea fishing!

I had ended up needing to replace the stator and pickup coil for the second time and while all the guts were ripped out I went ahead and put in my HID headlight kit that had been sitting on my shelf for over a year and installed another HID aux light on my fork with a new and improved mount.  Look for writeups on the lighting to show up here at some point.

As we’ve been this way many times before and theres not exactly a lot to see in eastern New Mexico and west Texas we weren’t planning on stopping and taking any pictures along the way.  When we saw this green alien chainsawed out of a cottonwood tree in Roswell, however, we couldn’t resist the opportunity for a cool photo op and whipped a U turn.    I guess Roswell is trying to get in on some of the chainsaw art action like Ruidoso up the mountain with all of it’s chainsaw bears.

Almost ran out of gas in Texas again… We saw a sign that listed the next town at 30 or so miles and decided to keep going and that next town did not have a gas station and wasn’t a town at all, it was the ruins of an old court house and a plaque on the side of the road.  Next real town was another 45 miles further, uh oh!   We cruised at 50mph to conserve fuel and just made it on fumes.

We were getting pretty low in altitude and the bike was running rough and backfiring through the carbs again so we took this stop to relax in the AC while letting the bike cool down and switch out carb jets.  While laying on my back trying to screw float bowl screws back in without burning my knuckles the 10th person walked over to see if I needed any help and then started asking about the bike and where we were headed.  He liked the bike and when I saw what he was driving I offered a trade, my color and everything.

Family reunion!    I hadn’t seen my cousins Christy and Cindy in years, while passing through the area the next day we had to meet up and introduce Cece to everyone.  Good to meet up and catch up some but we had a long ways to go and couldn’t stay long and I forgot to get a picture of everyone.  Thanks for the breakfast!

Oh yeah, we did see this huge texas sage bush in full bloom at a gas station, we’ve never seen anything like it before.  There were thick hedges of the stuff along peoples fences and driveways very pretty.  Cece’s Mom has a small puny bush of it but it never has many flowers and never as full as this.


Texas Trip 2012

Has it been a year already?

We are leaving to the gulf coast again for a week through Memorial day.  The plan is to go deep sea fishing and then meet up with some Texas online friends at another meet and greet at Koyote Ranch.   Last year we got blown out by rough sees and had to go bay fishing instead to salvage the day.

For a while it has seemed like this trip might not happen.   First the Yamaha was down with its charging woes and shorts in the rain, then the BMW with its excessively loud valve train noise that needs adjustment and mucked up tank that needs cleaning took that bike out of the equation also.  Problems with gear that hasn’t been used in a year, parts needed that won’t get here in time, Cece having knee issues that needs an orthopedic surgeon, an excessive amount of things at work coming up all at once..   Or in other words, the usual.

I really do not like doing major bike work right before leaving on a long trip without having time to test it out but the V Star has had much of her wiring guts ripped out and replaced and a brand new stator put in and every wiring connection and ground that I could find cleaned and liberally waterproofed with dielectric grease.  She is running good now and I’ve clocked 140 miles on it in the last few days since the open-heart surgery in my driveway and I’m feeling more confident that she’ll make it the 2000 or so miles next week without incident.

not a good way to start a bike trip

Now just have to find all our camping gear and touring equipment and hit the road!    I’m really bad about posting updates from the road but will try putting a pic on Facebook every day or two.     See ya soon!

Now where did I put all this stuff....?


Electrosport Stator Failure

My pickup coil and stator replacement that I did a while back did not go so well in the long term.  The bike worked great for 7 to 8 months and then started having problems with the battery holding a charge. If I rode in the rain for more than 10 to 15 minutes the battery would drain and become dead as a doornail and the engine would die leaving me on the side of the road in the rain and having to push start it after the rain stopped.   Several of these battery drain events occurring were enough to kill a battery.

Since the battery mostly only drained completely in wet conditions and otherwise started up and ran fine it took me a very long time to diagnose the problem.  I assumed I had a short that occurred in wet conditions and cut apart and went through the entire wiring harness more than once.  I cleaned every connection and switch with electrical cleaner and then treated every connection with dielectric grease when that didn’t work.   I did attach a digital voltage meter to the bars and noticed it was running a bit low at 12.4V at speed but not all _that_ bad and attributed it to my phantom short.

I had just changed the stator and assumed it had to be anything but that. I did check the ohms across all 3 coils just to be sure and all read in spec. After months of frustration and pulling my hair out and going through 3 dead batteries that weren’t cheap I gave up, admitted defeat and thought about trading in my bike on something else.

A tip from a friend to try before I did anything rash was to check the AC voltage straight from the stator since I had done everything else.  With nothing to loose I ran the bike off a fully charged battery and the fuel line stuck down in a small cup of gas and plugged the multimeter (on AC Voltage) test probes into the 3 wire connector from the stator in every combination.  What I found:  28V 28V and 2V !!!   Eureka!  I was only running on 2/3 of my stator.  No freaking wonder I was having problems!

FINALLY I knew what was wrong, I cracked the bike open and this was what I found. Crispy!    Sure enough the stator was toast and one of the coils was burned up completely.

Continue reading Electrosport Stator Failure

Help! My V Star 650 Wont Start!

You know how it is.  The weather is starting to warm up and you are getting that itch to go riding after all that cabin fever, you go out to the garage and lo and behold your trusty steed refuses to fire up.  What do you do?

Ok, not my V Star, but I get asked this enough this time of year that I’ve decided to do a quick diagnostic post that I can point to instead of writing all of this over and over.



1.  PILOT JETS!!   Did your bike work fine when you parked it for winter several months ago and now won’t start?   Check that the pilot jets are not gummed up, this is a VERY common issue with the V Star 650’s. If the bike has been sitting long at all I would check and clean the pilots regardless.   Also if the bike will start under full choke but will not run off choke, pilot jets!   Check here for some videos documenting how to clean the carbs.   If you have Ziv’s stainless carb screws installed, cleaning the pilots is a breeze and does not take more than 15 or 20 minutes.   For cleaning out the pilot jets, the wire out of a bread tie is the perfect size.

2. Battery.   Again, bike sat all winter and now it won’t crank.   Not to worry, its most likely just your battery.   If it drained enough over winter to not start again you can throw a trickle charger on there and maybe get going but typically a battery can not handle many deep cycle charges like this and you’ll want to start looking for a new battery when your finances allow.

2a.  Battery terminals.  If your battery tests good but you are still getting no crank or the relay is buzzing, clean off those terminals!   One of my batteries was working fine till it decided to loose a connection and left me stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception.  Took me a while to try cleaning the connections as one last ditch effort and what do you know the bike fired right up.

3. Air leaks.   I hate air leaks they are always difficult to hunt down.  Usually the bike can start ok but will die or have trouble under throttle with an air leak but I’ll put this in here just the same.  Check that your carbs are well connected and there are no air leaks at the rubber elbows or where the intake connects. It is easy to over tighten those air box or GAK POD filter connections causing them to pop off, snug is good, too tight is not.   If its none of the usual culprits check that the rubber boots that connect to the air ports under the carbs on the elbows have not dry rotted, or if you have AIS be sure none of those rubber air lines have cracked and started leaking.   A good way to test for air leaks is once the bike is running again spray something near those connections and lines and listen for the RPMs to go up something like starting fluid or even WD40 will work.

4. Pickup coil.  If the bike cranks well and the fuel system is working well but you are still getting no spark or weak spark, check the pickup coil.   The 2 wire connection under the tank is the best place to measure the resistances like stated at the top of  this document.     If your pickup coil is indeed toast here is how to fix that, I’m sorry to tell you its a bit involved and somewhat of an expensive replacement.

5.  Ignition coils.   Does the bike have a hard time starting or only runs much of the time on one cylinder until it warms up?   If you’ve already checked the fuel system, Check the coils under the tank.   Coil problems often mimic carb problems or is it the other way around?


This is just a quick writeup I’m sure I’ll think of others in time and add them here.   If you think of something to add let me know in the comments and I’ll put it in too.


6.  Fuel.   You did turn the fuel on didn’t you?  I know its obvious but you put the bike a way months ago and forgot to turn the fuel back on.  It’s embarrassing and happens to the best of us, I won’t tell if you won’t.

7. Safety Switches.  Kill Switch, Nuetral Switch, Clutch Switch, Kickstand Switch.  The bike will not run with the kill switch off or the clutch out and the kickstand down while in gear.  We’ll forgive you if you forgot the startup sequence after the long winter.    Also if your bike refuses to turn over and all the fuses are good and the battery is good, start checking all of those switches mentioned for failure.  It is possible to disable them by shorting them or remove them completely but they are on there for a good reason.