On the 9th day of our vacation — Sunday, June 14th — we began our ride back home. We left Richmond at 8:00AM.
Our first fuel stop was at a Sunoco station in Dry Ridge, KY. Dry Ridge was only 73 miles from our hotel; however, Bob already had some miles on the motorcycle and didn’t fill up before we left Richmond. Bob decided to top off the oil too.
As we got back on Route 75, I was talking with Bob asking if he wanted to stay on the Interstate or change direction to slower roads. We decided to pull off at the next exit (Crittenden, KY) to see what the GPS would give us for alternate routes. As Bob is coming up the exit, he hears a ticking noise. Bob is not sure if the noise is coming from a lawn mower working the yard at a Marathon Station or from the motorcycle. Bob revved the engine a little and decides the ticking noise is coming from the motorcycle. He looks down and notices oil blowing out the fill hole! Bob expected the oil light to be lit, but it wasn’t. Bob coasted the motorcycle into the Marathon parking lot.
I am happy that we had the car. I stayed with the motorcycle while Bob drove the car back to Dry Ridge to see if he possibly left the oil cap on the ground. The cap wasn’t there. He looked all over the lot and even asked inside if anybody had turned one in. Bob believes the oil cap must have been in there part of the way since it was a 7-mile stretch from Dry Ridge to Crittenden. He thinks he would have run out of oil in less than that distance. Bob doesn’t know whether he got distracted while putting the cap back on or what. It’s a good thing that we decided to pull off so Bob had a chance to hear that ticking noise.
Using a telephone book at the Marathon Station, we located a Kawasaki dealer. Bob telephoned the dealer; they don’t open until 9:00AM Monday. We obtained permission to park the motorcycle at the Marathon Station, possibly overnight. We drove back to Dry Ridge and looked one more time to see if Bob had possibly left the oil cap on the ground. We then drove back up to Crittenden. Bob watched alongside the road hoping that he would beat the odds and find the oil cap lying on the ground. No such luck. We drove back to Dry Ridge and booked a hotel (Hampton Inn) for the night. Did you notice how many miles we drove back and forth between Dry Ridge and Crittenden? We drove 35 miles back and forth!
We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel and were able to check into our hotel room at 1:00PM. Bob posted a message about losing the oil cap on the VROC website. He received many replies, a few with suggestions on how to plug the fill hole. One suggestion was to buy a compression freeze plug, the kind with a bolt and washer to squeeze it to expand to seal the hole, at a hardware store or AutoZone.
At 3:30PM we started our search for a compression plug. We stopped first at Wal-Mart, which was located less than a mile from the hotel. No luck. Then we drove to Lowe’s, about 25 miles north of the hotel. Bob found a compression plug and was convinced that the plug would be a good temporary fix for the missing oil cap. We were less than a mile from the Kawasaki dealer, so we drove by the shop. It looks like a small shop, so we wonder whether or not we’ll be able to purchase a replacement oil cap there on Monday. We drove to the Marathon Station in Crittenden (another 25 miles), where we had left the motorcycle. The Lowe’s plug was too big.
We used the GPS to find a nearby AutoZone .. not so nearby, 25 miles from Crittenden. While driving to Autozone we got caught in a nasty rainstorm. An alarm went off in my car right after I had driven through a deep puddle. The alarm sounded like car doors were ajar, but much louder. I never did find out what cause the alarm to sound. None of my alarm lights were on; the car was running normally. Whatever that alarm was it certainly scared me! We arrived at AutoZone, and Bob purchased two different sizes of the compression plug. We drove back to the Marathon Station in Crittenden (another 25 miles). The GPS took us from Crittenden to AutoZone a different route than it did from AutoZone to Crittenden. We much preferred the route on the way back to Crittenden. The GPS routed us on back roads, rather than highway, on the way back to Crittenden. One of the compression plugs worked!
Bob rode the motorcycle and I drove the car back to the hotel. Four hours had passed since we began our search for a compression plug, and we added at least another 100 miles on the trip odometer.
While riding back to the hotel, Bob notices that he has little or no back brakes. The back brakes are contaminated with the oil. The plan is to call the Kawasaki dealer at 9:00 Monday morning to see if they have an oil cap AND back brake pads in stock.