Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Eastward, Ho! Days 15-18: Some relaxing, some riding, ducks, a failed wheel cylinder and a vista

 Sunday, June 20

We displaced to a new COE campsite, this one located in the Crystal Springs Recreation Area, near Crystal Springs, AR.  The site was still occupied when we arrived so we had to leave the campground until 4PM when the checkout time would be invoked.

We found a parking spot for the VRRV, and took the Sammy to a local laundromat to do laundry.  Martha did the laundry while I headed into nearby Hot Springs, AR to the local Tractor Supply store for some hardware.

4PM came and the spot was indeed empty so we were able to occupy it and set up camp.  Nice spot, we only had a few steps to walk to the edge of the swimming area and cooled off with a nice long dip in the lake.  Not much else to report for today.

Monday, June 21

We determined we needed a do-nothing touristy day.  We relaxed most of the morning, then Martha decided to take the Sammy and go into town to check in with the local Weight Watchers group.  She's actually lost a bit of weight while on vacation folks!  

While Martha was in town, I decided that Yagi, my Yamaha TW200 dualsport was badly in need of some exercise.  I explored Forest Road 47 which was located near the camp and went perhaps 5-6 miles on gravel roads winding my way through thickly forested areas.

The weather was cloudy with temperatures in the low 80s, it seemed much cooler than the last week or so.  I stopped by a creek that crossed the road and cooled off while taking pics:

Storm clouds were moving in and rain was forecasted for the rest of the afternoon and so I started heading back.  I did make one more stop when I spotted an interesting looking dirt trail which led to a small clearing right at the water's edge:

The skies had turned quite dark at this point so I hurried on back to the camp.  Martha showed up shortly after I had returned, with groceries, so we got them put away and would spend the rest of the afternoon
enjoying the sound of sporadic rain drops.  It didn't really rain very hard at all.

Tuesday, June 22

Today was supposed to be a touristy day!  As Martha prepared herself, I saw that the local flock of ducks had come by for a visit to our little cove.  Below photos were shot using 2X digital enhancement to the optical zoom feature of my camera.  Not bad, not as crisp as when using just optical zoom, but I wasn't really close enough to get the views I wanted.

As we were making our way out of the campground, the brake pedal felt very mushy again.  Then the "Brake" red warning light lit up. Dammit.  A quick look at the brake bleeder area revealed a leak on the left rear wheel's brake system, and the brake fluid reservoir below the MIN level!

We tried calling up to six auto shops hoping for a quick fix but no luck, all were solidly booked till at least Friday!

A quick text exchange with the New Mexico Samurai guru, Mike W., had him saying it was the wheel cylinder and to replace it and then bleed the air out of the brake circuits.

I'd never done this task before, but with the help of the Haynes manual and some careful examination of the bits involved, it looked quite doable.  While I took things apart and cleaned things, Martha located the part for me at an O'Reilly's Auto Parts store.  She did try Autozone first, since Mike W. works for that chain but they ended up  hanging up on her.

So I took a picture of the setup before taking things apart:

I got the leaking wheel cylinder (the silver tube with black rubber end caps) off easily enough and then geared up to ride Yagi into town.

The ride in was nice, the wind at speed cooled me nicely and I found the store easily enough.  Upon my return (I bought two just in case the other wheel cylinder decided to take a dump) and 90 minutes later it was fixed.

Martha helped me tremendously not only holding bits of brake parts in place while I got holdback springs mounted and engaged; but also pumped the brake pedal as I monitored things both at each brake bleed valve and kept the brake fluid reservoir full.  Thanks Dear!

The brake pedal now feels much better than ever before.  The Sammy stops straight and smooth, without pulling to the left as before when it was leaking fluid.  Mo better!  It feels good to know now what was causing the dang brakes to go mushy after a while after bleeding them of air!

After 5PM or so, we got into the Sammy and drove the 10+ miles (got slightly turned around at one point) along FR47 (only one near-miss involving fat guy in fat truck going too fast around blind curve) to the Hickory Nut Mountain Vista Overlook.

We had the place to ourselves after a few minutes (two cars before us) and we took some pics:

Pano of the view from the overlook

You can, assuming you've a boat, camp on some of the 200+ small islands on Ouashita Lake, the edge of which we're camped at in Crystal Springs Campground.  Ouashita Lake is Arkansas' largest lake.


SonjaM said...

Beautiful area, Dom. Reminds me a bit of the Ozarks or the Thousand Islands of the Saint Lawrence River.

redlegsrides said...

It's a nice area SonjaM, a bit crazy on the weekends with overweight drivers driving overweight trucks pulling large boats around narrow roads with lots of blind curves.... but it's nice for a few days.

CCjon said...

Are you sure that Sammy wasn't make in Russia, maybe in the Ural Mountains...? It's making a Uralsidecar rig look reliable.
Just kidding, I can see you two are enjoying having four wheels under you.

Oachita is pronounced WAH-shi-tah. Thus the name of the 2021 USCA National sidecar rally in Mena, AR. Was the first weekend in June, the WAH-SHI-TAH Ramble. Over 280 sidecarists attended, best turn out in over ten years.

redlegsrides said...

Sounds like a fun time at the sidecar rally CCjon. As to reliability, I think it's more a result of being over 34 years old and components are degrading in this case. As RichardM and others have said, carburetted cars from late 80s were overly complicated and quirky (34 years of age later doesn't help) in order to meet US EPA emissions rules.

Now, she does ride like a Ural! But Martha likes her, warts and all