8 Ball In The Wind

Friday, August 30, 2013

Give Me A Brake!!

After all the craziness that has been going on the past week or two trying to get things ready for the 3 Pass Run, a campout next weekend, and getting things ready to go back to work, it just doesn't seem to be getting any easier.  Things are still in a realm of Taoist equilibrium.  Everything is counterbalanced by its opposite, and the repercussions of their interactions.

What does that all mean?  Don't ask me, my brain is half frazzled after the past few days.  I have been amazed that apparently my angel (or the way I am, maybe an entire squadron of them) is still on the job.  I rode up to see T on Sunday, because he had noticed the amount of extra clutch cable I seemed to have on the bike.  Since his cable was just barely long enough, he asked if I'd be interested in swapping cables.  It made sense to me, so away I went up to his place.  Once I got there, T had his cable stretched out on the ground.  I pulled mine off and he laid them side by side.  They were the same length.  I guess I just didn't need as long a clutch cable as he does.

Well, since it wasn't going to do anything to help him to use my cable, I started to put it back on.  T was holding the handlebar end of the cable as I was fitting the transmission end back into place.  He just happened to look down my front end and noticed something didn't look right.  He reached down and felt my axle nut.  It was not only loose, it was already backed off about a quarter of an inch from the fork leg.  He reached down and tried to spin it with his fingers, and it spun freely and threaded itself a bit closer to being tight again.

Now this is the day after making a 200 mile run up through the mountains and into eastern Washington and back.  I can only imagine what could have happened if it had been say a 300 mile trip.  I think Gypsy and I, and even the wife would have been needing some repair work done.  Gypsy hadn't been handling quite right compared to what she usually did on those snaking mountain two lane cliffside roads.  Now I knew why.  Once I got the clutch cable back on and adjusted, I torqued the nut back onto the axle.  Then, when I got back home, I retorqued it again using a little red loctite.

Well, today, I had to take Gypsy for s short 6 mile round trip run.  Just to go down to the family's recreation lot to  do a couple things to get it ready for some family members who were showing up to camp for the weekend.  I unlocked and opend the garage door, and straddled Gypsy.  As I pulled her up off the kickstand, my foot slipped just a bit, and I gave her a little front brake to keep her from moving.  After letting off the brake I went to roll her back out the door, and she very sluggishly rolled to the point I had to roll up onto the surface of the alley.  Then she didn't move at all.  I could tell the front brake wasn't disengaging, so I pushed her the four or five feet back forward again before dropping her back onto the kickstand.

Grabbing some tools out of the rollaway, I pulled the caliper off the bike.  I actually had to open the bleeder valve before I could get it to come off the rotor.  Checking the pads, I could see they were worn.  But what really caught my eye was the fact that they were worn at an angle.  So I put her up on the lift so the front wheel was well clear of the ground, and checked it out for free rolling and usiing my Mark I eyeball checked it for true.  The wheel rolled fine, and I couldn't see any sign of it being out of kilter.  Even when I looked at it from different angles.

It was obvious that the pads wearing unevenly had caused it to bind, and lock up on the rotor.  Now wouldn't THAT have been fun in the middle of a tight turn up on one of the passes, having the caliper lock up while the axle was loose?  Can we say roadrash?  It was about then that I realized that the axle nut had probably been getting loose for a little while.  At least a week or so, which would explain how the pads wore so unevenly.

Luckily I had another set of pads in the rollaway, still fresh in the box.  I installed them, mounted the caliper, and gave the whell a whirl.  No problem at all.  It rolled just fine, and didn't rub at all.  I bled the brakeline and hit the breaks a few times.  It stopped the wheel, and released EVERY TIME.  So, I went into the house, cleaned my hands, and went for a ride down to the property and back.  I did what I had to do down there, and gave Gypsy a test run at the same time.  Everything ran nice and smooth, and worked the way it should have.

After getting back, I checked over the bike again, and looked for any more loose nuts and bolts.  It had been a couple weeks since the last time I had done it.  Finding the loose axle nut showed it was past needing to be done again.  One of those lessons life reminds you about from time to time.

From what I understand, one of my nieces is coming up with her boyfriend who rides a Shovel.  They want to go for a ride Sunday while they camp at the property.  I wrangle up a couple of my riding partners and take them on a nice couple hour ride in the area.  I can already tell I really need a ride to blow this weeks crap out of my mind, and get me focussed so I can deal with next weeks crap.  Gypsy, and in time Frankenbike are what seem to keep me from going completely asymetrical and out of balance anymore.  Helping keep my yin and yang in balance, and my spirit more or less at peace.  Plus helping to keep a squadron of angels employed as well.  So, I'm looking forward to doing a little just "follow me" run this Sunday.  After this week, it ought to be interesting.  Hopefully not too interesting though.

I'll catch ya on the road sometime...

Ironhead Musings

I've been looking over my Ironhead project and have made some basic decisions about it.  Going along with my plan to find a pre-70 kick only motor with a good title is going to make things a bit harder than it needs to be.  But it will also give the bike a little bit of class.  The main reason I am looking for a pre-70 motor is because I already have a frame for one.  The title will go with the motor since Harley didnt put VIN numbers on the frame back then.

That being said, if I run across a complete, or very nearly complete Sporty with title for a price I can afford, the plans may change.  It doesn't mean I am going to drop this project.  If I find such a deal, it just means this one will go on the back burner for a while.  But, I don't really foresee that happening anytime soon.  So we'll just keep Frankenbike on the front burner, slowly simmering for now.

In the future sometime, I would very much like to build another long bike.  Raked out to about 40 degrees or so with a nice long springer front end.  But that's not what this project is going to be.  Instead, the Frankenbike is going to run a stock rake.  But with maybe a two inch over set of fork tubes.  But until I score them, I'll be running stock length tubes.

Dual disc on the front, with single disc on the rear.  I may not ride as fast as some of my friends can on a little 900, but I am damn sure going to want to stop when I need to.  I rode too many bikes with old drum brakes, and that definitely taught me that I want to actually stop and not just slow down.

The fuel tank is Frisco'ed and sits nicely up on top of the frame.  With the sprung solo seat, and no P-Pad, it's going to have the look I want.  She isn't going to be fancy.  I'm not really into fancy bikes.  Just something that I think is cool, and not a bunch of extraneous bullshit on her.

I think that is another reason I like the pre-70 Sporty's.  With all the English bikes I have owned and ridden over the years, they are a nearly perfect blend of American and English.  Right side shift, plenty of power for what I want, with a motor and tranny I can wrench on myself without needing a degree in electronics.  Finicky enough that one saddlebag will have to be filled with tools.  But then, that is how I ride anyway.   I always have a saddlebag full of tools, lube and zip ties, even though I ride a VERY dependable 91 Evo (it all goes back to years of riding old English bikes and a semi-rat '57 Panhead).

Until I find the motor I am looking for, I'll be slowly putting the Frankenbike together as I can.  Going to build a wiring harness for it, and getting it ready for a new motor when it is found.  When she is finished, she won't be a "pretty bike".  When the Frankenbike is finished she will be, with respect to the Quad Cam Bastards for paraphrasing their motto, a "Livingroom built, Sportster powered, death machine."

Whether Frankenbike turns out to be a monster or a bride remains to be seen.  I am hoping that with the P Cams I have for her, she'll be a bit of both.  But a lot of that will depend on the motor I find for her, and if I can score more than just the motor and title, all the better.  That will mean she'll be getting flogged down the road the way every old rigid Sporty is meant to be.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Times, They Are A Changin'

I rode over to Patricks place with Ryan on Sunday a little while after the ABATE meeting.  Ryan wanted to check out Patricks chopper 'El Jefe', and visit for a bit.  El Jefe developed a leak in the fuel tank on friday, so Patrick didn't make the 3 Pass Run with the rest of us.

At the meeting, I got nominated for Coordinator, and Patrick  was nominated as Deputy Coordinator.  There weren't any other nominations.  So unless something changes by the next meeting when we vote, we're getting railroaded into office.  Not that either of us have a problem with it, better to get it done right than totally fucked up.

Ryan is on his first bike.  He hasn't been riding for more than a few weeks, but is learning.  The hard way...He went off the road and almost saved it before his front wheel stuck in the mud and the whole bike flipped over onto its back and fell over.  With a few nice big raspberries on his leg and side, and some road rash on his arms and face, he learned his first lesson.  He respects the bike a whole lot more now.  Or at least he seems to.

As him, Patrick and I were talking about the guys we ride with and their bikes, I noticed something.  Well, maybe "noticed" isnt quite the right word.  Of the three of us, I was by far the oldest.  Patrick and Ryan are closer to the same age, but from different backgounds.  Patrick has a history with bikes, and knows about respect and the way things and people should be treated.  Ryan is the FNG of the group, and so actually, is his dad Jim.  But right now, I'm just telling you about what went down amongst the three of us there amongst Patricks bikes.

Like I said, I am the oldest of the three of us.  That was really brought to my attention as Patrick was explaining to Ryan about how the 'older guys' like me and T have so many years and years of riding experience.  Real 'Old Guard' sort of saddle tramps.  Now I know I'm more than a bit grey haired, but this was the first time I really felt like an 'old grey beard'.  At least to this extent.  The really amazing thing is though, it doesn't bother me.

Before, I still kind of pictured myself like Patrick.  Early 40's, at least mentally thats how I saw myself.  But now I realize that I'm not that far from being old enough to be Patricks father.  He is still learning shit from me, and T, and Mo, and all of us other old farts he rides with.  But he is also passing down that knowledge to those 'new guys' who show the desire to learn about this life the right way.  Who are showing the desire to respect this life we live.  Not just ride because it is cool to do.  Now that I am amongst  the 'elders' of our little group, knowing that someone else is going to be carrying on the traditions that I have always tried to live my life, is actually pretty fucking cool.  It shows to me, that the lessons I learned long ago have been passed on.  If only in a small way, but they are getting passed on.  I am kind of proud of that.

By the time we left Patricks place, and headed up to Mineral to see T, I had realized there had been a definite shift.  Growing up, I was the youngest in my family, by quite a bit.  My oldest sister is 15 years older than me, and my youngest brother is 7 years older.  So I guess that is why it felt kind of strange to realize I was one of the 'old guys'.  I've always been one of the 'young pups'.  On that grey and soggy afternoon at Patricks place, I realized I wasn't the young guy anymore.  Or even the slightly older guy.  I was the old guy, who was to be listened to and shown respect, because I had been through it before.  I know many people I feel the same way about, so it was a shock to realize others thought that way about me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in anyway bitching about it.  Hell, it's cool as shit, actually.

Life is all about cycles and circles.  Things having to stay in motion, and change.  Even if they still seem almost the same.  There was a time I never thought I'd live to see 30.  Let alone to be able to look back at being 50.  But in those intervening years I have come to a place where I am respected for who and what I am.  Just being me, and doing what I do.  Somewhere along the road, I assumed a position of respect I hadnt noticed myself taking.  Does that mean things are different in my life?  Have I changed somehow?  Fuck if I know.  Maybe, just maybe, while I was getting older, a little of that growing up shit snuck in somehow.  But as we used to say (and T and I still do say form time to time); "What the fuck...Run Amuck!"

Catch ya on the road sometime...

3 Pass Run Video

I hope you enjoy watching this vid, almost as much as we did making the ride.  If you're ever riding up into the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, go make this run.  The three passes range from 4,500 feet to 5,400 feet elevation.  Two of them, Cayuse, and Chinook Pass, are only about ten or maybe fifteen minutes ride apart.  Just don't forget to keep at least one eye on the road between the two...it is a long ways down if you go off the road.

This is a really great loop to ride, but there are even better roads to ride up in this neck of the woods.  Come on up and check some of them out if you get the chance.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, August 26, 2013

3 Pass Run

We started gathering at the Bucksnort Pub on Saturday.  It had been cloudy, and even rained only an hour or so before we were scheduled to meet up.  But the skies cleared, and it began to warm up.  By the time we actually left at about 11:00 AM, it was already pretty warm.  When we crossed Chinook Pass at about 5400 feet, I was warm just wearing a flannel shirt and denim vest.  I think the rain before hand kept the turn out rather small, but we still had a great time.

We rolled on down into eastern Washington, and as we did the terrain began to change.  The forests were now mostly pine, instead of the Douglas Fir that predominates on the west side of the Cascade Mountains.  It was drier, and as we got closer to Naches, the forests faded into grassland, and orchards.

We stopped for food and cold bevies at the Walkabout Creek Saloon in Naches.  Good food and VERY biker friendly.  Then we hit the road and headed back west.  This time we rode over the lowest of the three passes we hit.  White Pass is only at 4500 feet elevation, where Cayuse and Chinook Passes are both over 5,000 feet.

We rode back over the pass and down into Lewis County again.  Then we putted back into Morton, and enjoyed ourselves back at the Bucksnort.  It was only about a 200 mile trip, but it was a great day for a ride, and a great bunch to ride with.  This just happens ot be the core group of the local ABATE chapter that is forming here, so I am sure we'll have more good pics from rides in the near future.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bitch Of A Week For Bikes

I'm not sure if someone put a Hoodoo on bikes here this week, of maybe the blue moon has everything just out of whack.  But it seems like almost everyone I ride with, has been having some sort of issue with their bikes this week.  I've been having issues with the tranny vent line blowing oil all over the ground after I stop somewhere.  That was fixed by getting a longer vent tube and rerouting it.

T had a new tire put on, and the first good bump he hit it cut his wiring for his turn signals.  So he had to rewire and reroute the ass end of his bikes wiring harness.

Dutch is having rear brake issues, and is diving into it tonight so he and his ol'lady can ride up here on Sunday.

Then today, I get a call from Patrick, and his gas tank is leaking at the seam onto his rear head.  So he isnt going to be able to go on the 3 Pass Run in the morning.  T is trying to hunt down some tank sealer for Patrick.  But even if he found it, and we applied it for him, there isnt enough time for it to cure before we head out in the morning.

So I'm not too sure what the Hell is going on around here.  But after having all my bead breaking tools break trying to get a tire off a spare rim so I can replace the newer Metzeler with bad sidewall checking on my bikes rear wheel. I'm just going to temp fate and hope the tube I have inside it holds up at least until tomorrows 3 Pass Run is over.  That might increase the pucker factor a bit if that puppy gives out going through the mountain passes.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Well Sheeeit!!

Going round and round with that tire I have been trying to get off an old Sporty rim.  And not in a good way.  

I bent an 8 inch C clamps screw, and twice broke my bead breaker.  But, at least I have ONE BEAD BROKE!!

But judging from the rust on the innertube, I am still in for one Hell of a fight to get that second bead off the rim.

Once I get the tire off the rim, I'm not going to worry about what shape the rim is in.  I only want the hub to clean up and resell or trade.  the spokes and rim are more than expendable.  I've got better shit to do this weekend than fuck around with this tire, so I'm calling a temporary ceasefire in the struggle for the freedom of this tire.  At least until the weekend is over.

Me, I'm going riding...Catch ya on the road sometime..

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Use A Little Lube

I was getting ready to go for a little ride the other day, and noticed the weather checking on the rear tire had gotten worse.  Running Gypsy over max weight load probably hasn't helped, but until the wife and I  find a good way to lose weight, or I make the bike uncomfortable for her to ride Gypsy will just have to deal with it.  But that's another story...

I do have another tire that I could use in a pinch.  It's probably even older than the Metzeler that's on Gypsy now.  But without the sidewall weather checking.  It's an old Dunlop Qualifier, on an old rusted up Sportster spoked rim.  So the plan yesterday was to pull it off the rim, and swap it for the Metzeler with the checking on the sidewalls.  Like I said, that was the plan.

I spent about 20 minutes trying to break the bead on one side of the tire.  Then I added dish soap to the mix, and that helped a bit.   After about another 20 minutes with no bead breaking, I soaked the bead in DOT 4 brake fluid and let it soak for about 20 minutes.  

When I came back I spent about another 10 minutes working the bead breaker and an 8 inch C Clamp trying like Hell to get the bead to pop.  Smacking the sidewalls with a rubber mallet as if it were Thor's hammer Mjolnir striking down an ice giant.  Then tightening the clamp and bead breaker some more.  Then, when I wasn't expecting it to, or even tightening anything up, she 'popped', and the bead broke all the way around the rim.  After about an hour and a half, I was finally about 1/4 of the way finished with the job I had planned.  

I looked inside the bead, and realized why it had been such a bitch to break.  Even with the soap and the DOT 4, it was nearly dry as a bone, and covered in a fine powdery rust.  I was hoping the other bead wasn't going to be as  big a pain in the ass.  That was a forlorn hope it turned out.

After another almost 3 hours of fighting that other bitch of a bead, I soaked it in DOT4 one more time, and figured i'd let it soak over night.  Then in the morning hit the sidewalls with a 4 pound sledge I have a few times, then the rubber mallet a few more times, then hit it with the bead breaker.  Did I mention that during the 3 hour fight with the bead I bent one of my 8 inch C clamps?  

I don't take shit from a machine (or parts of one) so I will get this bead off.  It just might take some time...until then, I'm going to soak the sidewalls of the checked tire in brake fluid, since there is a tube inside the "tubeless" tire.  I'll run that until I get this other one off, or buy a new 140/90 16 to replace it.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, August 12, 2013

That Was A Bust

I think the forecast for thunderstorms all weekend, and the wide spread storms on Friday night, really put the kibosh on a lot of people coming down for Saturdays ride.  Hell, no one even showed up to camp in the back yard, and that hasn't happened in years!!

Got another couple of runs over the next two weekends, so we'll see how things progress.  I am hoping for a decent turn-out for both of these runs, and especially the 3 Pass Run on the 24th.  Still have a way to go to raise money for the rally here in Morton.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The 71st Annual.....

This week, when anyone who rides starts talking about going to the "Annual" event, I think virtually everyone thinks of Sturgis.  Well, this year is the 73rd Annual rally in Sturgis, a small town in the Black Hills.  But the "Annual" event I'm talking about is the "71st Annual Loggers Jubilee" in Morton.  A tiny town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range.  This is by far, the biggest event  for miles around.  With competitors coming from around the world to compete in the two days of logging events in Jubilee Arena.

I live a half block from both the Jubilee Arena, and the large flea market/vendors area.  So, over the past several years, we have sort of held our own little bike campground here at my house.  I guess you could say it is the 6th annual Jubilee Backyard Bash...something like that.

I just know I have been busier than a one armed man in a paperhanging contest.  Trying to get the yard all set up for tents and bikes, and clearing a path around the house to the front for folks to walk along.  Instead of having to come through the house to get from the front yard to the back, or vice versa.  And I have even installed a lighting system on that side so people can see where they are going.  I think I'm going to be a little depressed if no one uses the new path this year...but we'll see.

Anyway, I pulled down and cleaned the shot ski, so it will be ready again for the 3 person shot event.  This year, both Apple Pie AND Fire Ball will be in good supply for the shot-ski.  So it ought to be an epic Friday night!!

Then on Saturday, I'll be leading the "Get Out Of Town Run" before the crowds and the parade grid-lock this tiny berg of 1,100 people.  We'll be leaving an hour before the parade starts, and get back into town and hour or so after it ends.  Just in time for a quick Bar-B-Cue, and maybe a night around the firepit (if the cops dont fuck with us cause there is a burn ban on in the county) or down on Main St at the street dance.

Either way, it ought to be a good weekend for friends to party.  Oh, and did I tell you it was also going to be the height of the Perseid Meteor shower?  What better excuse to lie on the ground all fucked up and look up at the stars?  I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's A Small World After All

I just bought the latest issue of The Horse Backstreet Choppers magazine today.  By the time I read the second article, I had a strange feeling of Deja Vu (and I'm not talking about the Deja Vu chain of strip clubs).  When Patrick and I rode down to the Bastard Bash last weekend, the one guy that came across the street from the campground to the gas station with the copper cane was Matt Tobias.

As we sat around the fire pit shooting the breeze, Matt mentioned he lived in Payson, AZ.  I chimed in; "Same place as George The Painter."  Matt said yep, and that he had met George a few times.  Then he told us the story of Charlie the Nomad buying one of Matt's Sportsters, and a bunch of what happened to El Nomad after that.

As I was going through The Horse, I started reading Charlie the Nomad's column in the mag.  Here Charlie is, telling the same story.  Only better.  He's telling about what a bad assed Sporty Matt had built, and how he just had to have it.  Even if it meant selling one of his own Sporty's.

Kind of a strange feeling to hear a story from the person involved like it was no big deal, then a week later to read the other side of that same story in my favorite magazine.  Yep, like the saying goes, (and anyone who ever rode on the ride at Disneyland will probably have the song stuck in their heads for a while) "it's a small world after all"...yep, there goes that damn song again...

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wow, There's ALMOST Room To Work...

Going through the work shed trying to get everything half assed organized yesterday.  I finally threw out almost a full garbage can worth of antique electronics parts.  So now I have more room to work on the bench and a couple of clear shelves again.  I still have a large upright freezer, and a refridgerator, and a hot water tank, and some other metal to haul out and scrap.  Then, not only would I have more room, but I would have some extra money in the Ironhead fund.

I still need to relocate the little drill press, and grinder so I can do a little fabricating if I need to.  That will also help with getting the speakers spread out so I have some tunes when I'm out there working on the bikes, or in the shed doing something on the bench.

It's nice to have a halfway decent idea of where my spare nuts, bolts, and washers are.  Besides just being "in there somewhere".  That makes it quite a bit easier to do anything when it is all more or less in one place.  It's much easier to dig through a big coffee can of fasteners than to try to find one or two scattered around in various boxes and cans.  The tools are getting much better organized.  Well, at least they are all in the same room.  So I don't have to hunt my tools down when I'm trying to work on something.

I've hung the old fucked up parts on the walls.  It gets them out of the way, and when I can, I'll get them either repaired (like the crack in the side of the inner primary case) or stripped and used for scrap (like the Ironhead case with the bogus VIN on it).  Hell I even put up a bulletin board so I can keep track of what parts i need to get for what bike, and upcoming runs and shit.

Now all I really need to do is to clear out the woodshed side of things and completely enclose and insulate the whole shed.  Then I might actually be able to work out there in the winter time.  We'll see.

Anyway, I'm off on another exciting adventure in the world of a job hunting, bike riding, parts hunting maniac.

Catch you on the road sometime...