I was planning to ride and had gone out early to the shed just to start my Yamaha FJR up and move her out of the gloom and into the fresh air for a good careful once over in daylight. Instead for the first time in 5 years my trusty FJR was not starting. The battery was good, the temps quite balmy in the mid 40s and the tank was full but she would not start.
I had hoped to meet Chicken and a few others a little past noon in Galesburg and ride to Monmouth in order to dine out at the world famous Monmouth Burger King but now all I could think about was how much money, time and effort it could cost me to get this thing fixed.
Not a hint of ignition as the battery turned the starter over and over. Nothing. I turned it off. What could it be? I had faithfully put in fuel stabilizer early on and had ridden it a month ago topping off in Woodhull. The only thing I could think was that I waited a week before adding more fuel stabilizer hoping for the road salt to get washed off the roads and in that time the bitter cold of the last few weeks and the *&^%$#! properties of 10% ethanol that I couldn't avoid must have done their thing. I wondered if I was going to get skunked for the month of March as far as getting a ride in.
Maybe all that cranking was enough to get fresh fuel with stabilizer in it down to the carbs and maybe just maybe after an hour or two it will work it's magic. That was my only glimmer of hope. And maybe I'll end up spending a lot of money to get the thing towed somewhere it can be worked on I thought to myself as I trudged back to the house in a foul mood.
About an hour later having resigned myself to at least doing something constructive and cleaning up around the place I was back in the shed engaged in that time honored rural tradition of deciding what valuable junk stays and what goes in the bed of the pickup and on to the dump.
With no real hope of anything good happening I reached over and switched on the ignition one more time and hit the ignition button. VROOOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This can't be squandered. I left it running and dashed inside collecting gloves, boots, riding suit, new insurance card, new registration sticker and helmet from different locations all through the house. I hustled back to the FJR which was idling contentedly and I geared up. A quick check of air pressure in the tires by kicking them and deeming them fit, a quick check of vital engine fluids and lights and I was off down the drive and on to the roads on my first ride for the month of March.
A little later after rolling around through Woodhull, Oneida and Ontario I was feeling much better. It was a pleasant ride and now with the electrical system freshly charged, all engine fluids nice and hot and fully circulated I put the FJR back to bed. I draped a tarp over her promising I would be back and closed the doors in preparation for what Sunday's winter storm advisory might bring.
I don't know if my theory about fuel stabilizer and carbs was right but despite the snow falling and the winds howling outside with a ride under my belt things are much better.