I knew the preparation for my trip was going to test me, throw sand in my face, put up seemingly insurmountable walls and drop all sorts of obstacles in front of me, I just didn’t expect it to happen quite so soon.

The upside (because I’m not quite pessimistic enough to avoid some fragmented silver lining) is that I was sort of planning on picking a project at random this weekend anyway to tinker with—most likely creating a larger problem in the process—and this just really saves me the trouble of having to make a choice. Now I have one specific problem to deal with: Figure out why my electrical system doesn’t work.

The downside is, well, that the problem is figuring out why my electrical system doesn’t work. Also the downside is I can’t really ride the bike until I fix the problem. [Actually, that’s sort of an upside, too.] I’m not incredibly savvy when it comes to electrical bits. Give me a loose gear and a bucket of bits and I’ll whip up a solution. Give me a tangle of multi-colored wires and something that makes my fingertips go all tingly and I flounder helplessly.

Here’s the story of what happened:

Autumn and I were getting on the bike to run an errand. I turned the key, instrument cluster lit up. I hit the ignition, bike cranked but didn’t turn all the way over. I flipped the choke on, hit ignition again, cranked and—just when it normally turns and starts running—I hear a bit of a pop and the lights go dead. I turn the key off, then on. No lights. Flip the engine kill switch off and on a few times. Nadda. At this point we have to jump in the car, but I do plug the battery in for a charge before we head off. A long shot, I know, but I figure it’s better to do something somewhat proactive than nothing out of simple pessimism.

After the battery had a few hours to charge I tried the key again and got, surprise, nothing. That was Wednesday.

Thursday I popped the headlamp open and checked the fuses. Here’s what I found (picture forthcoming here): both fuses seem to be intact (I didn’t remove them for proper inspection), but could stand replacement anyway; there’s a huge mass of wires and everything appears to be in place except one green/purple wire, but from my brief inspection I couldn’t figure out where exactly it led; what seems to be an unoccupied slot on the ignition array, possibly the home of the green/purple wire.

Now, any reasonable person would simply, I donno, plug that dangling wire into the available slot and then see what happens. Not me. No, I tugged on the wire a little, traced where it went, couldn’t discover a satisfactory answer and therefore decided—given that it was 1:30 in the afternoon and I still had to cook something for work at 3—that I would come back and do more investigating/experimenting over the weekend, when I would have hours upon hours to dedicate to the process.

This all comes, of course, on the heels of having spent $700 on a plane ticket to Colorado (Autumn’s brother is getting married), paying my most expensive utility bill since I’ve moved in, knowing I need a new rear tyre as soon as possible and still needing to order the parts to fix my speedometer.

So, here I am, less than 200 bucks to my name, knowing I need to spend about 80 bucks in parts as soon as I can figure out exactly what parts I need, plus about $150 for that rear tyre, and I just got paid Monday, so it’s a full 15 days until payday, and now I have to put gas in my car so I have transit while the BMW is out of commission until further notice.

What do I do? Find an excuse to spend that money on crap, of course!

I went to Lowes, on Thursday, and bought a couple more tarps, some zip-ties, and a few little odds and ends what I suspected I’d need for a day of working on the bike. We have a canopy over the end of our driveway, just a little 10’x10′ stand, which is great shade, both for the bike generally and for me when I’m working on mine. What it lacks is protection from the mosquitoes. I’ve had the idea of hanging tarps from the sides to give it temporary walls since I put the canopy up, but never invested in the two additional tarps needed. Being forced to spend a weekend tinkering on the bike was, obviously, the motivation I needed.

I hung one tarp Thursday after looking at the fuses and decided it was sufficient enough to proceed with the plan. The only thing that’s missing from what I imagined the work station would be is a small (thinking 12 inch diameter) fan that I can hang from the top of the canopy, to keep air moving and help ward off the mosquitoes. Surprisingly, they didn’t have any at Lowes. I’m not really sure where to look. Target or Ross, perhaps, but I’m not confident they have lightweight, outdoor-use fans there.

It should be quite a weekend, fan or no fan, expect an update early next week.

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