8 Ball In The Wind

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Busy Aint The Word

Here it is the day before Halloween, and I havent had a decent chance to sit down and write anything on here in what, a week?  It's been really busy trying to get this new ABATE chapter actually rolling.  As well as working, and taking care of stuff around the house.

I came home last night and we had a clogged sink.  So, I checked it out, and quickly found it was near the top of the drain, about two feet beyond the U Bend.  So I pulled the piping to the drain, and hooked up my drain cleaner (the one that looks like a little donkey dick) and hooked it to the garden hose I ran in from the backdoor.  The wife opened it up, and it immediately swelled and sealed off the pipe like it should.  After a couple of seconds, I could hear water flowing in the drain so I asked my brother to see if he could hear it through the drain in the bathroom since they are connected.  No dice, he didn't hear shit.  Robin said she could hear water flowing from outside, but wasn't sure where.

About that time, the downspout on the gutter starting flowing with water.  Mind you this is on a nice bright sunny day.  She stepped back and looked at the gutter, and that's when she noticed the water shooting out of the kitchen drain vent up on the roof.  I wish she had grabbed her camera and taken a video of it...I am sure it would have gone viral on youtube for sure...Instead, she ran over and turned off the hose.  As soon as pressure in the hose stopped, the donkey dick sharnk, and all that water filling the vent pipe blew out passed it and pushed it out of the pipe.  Soaking me in the process.

Alls well that ends well, after a couple hours, a quart of sulphuric acid followed by a couple pots of boiling water and some forceful snake usage, the drain came clear, and all is well.

Almost...As I was cleaning up the mess, and dumping the nasty backflow water Robin grabbed her camera and took a pic of me coming back from dumping the water in the dry clothes I had handy.  Not my best for sure.

Have a good one everybody...

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skilled Hands

I was sitting here earlier today, just checking out the roller for the Ironhead.  I realized, by the itme I am done with it, I will have either learned a few new skills, or regained a few old ones.  The new ones will be fabricating the sissy bar, and trimming the rear fender the way I want it.  I have never really taken my time to do that with the quality I want on the Frankenbike.  So I am going to have to get skilled enough to do it right.  The old skills, are just working on wiring and putting everything together the way I want.  I might have to actually learn how to do a little welding too.  Either way, when she is done, I'll have a lot more skill with my hands than I do know.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Friday, October 18, 2013

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT3

As I get back to the story I have been relating to you all, I think I left off after falling asleep watching TV in the motel room.  Yeah, I know, call me a lightweight, whatever.  I was just mentally burned out from a long day of seminars, and sitting in the same position for hours.  After about eight hours sitting, my body was numb, and my mind was just burned out.  I didn't even have the pleasure of changing scenery as I sat.  It was all the same room, all day long.

Anyway, when I got up, and finally went outside as it was starting to get light out.  I checked on Gypsy.  She was covered in ice.  Hell, it was below 30 degrees out, so I would have been more surprised if she hadn't.  I dug a bar rag out of the saddle bags, and wiped her down.  Getting all the ice off her seat and dash probably took about five or ten minutes.  A couple of other ABATE members came out to smoke a cigarette (Washington is one of those places you cant smoke in a "public" building...like a bar, or a motel, or within 25 feet of a exterior door or window) and as they finished their smoke I was just finishing her up.

About 7:00 AM, I figured I'd fire her up and let Gypsy have a chance to warm up.  It was going to be a beautiful day,  and there was time to make a quick, but cold ride through the Canyon and back before the meeting started.  But the cold had thickened up the 50 wt oil in the crankcase.  The starter was struggling to crank over the motor.  She'd cough, and spit, but never caught.  Even when I kicked her, I could feel how thick the oil was, as the resistance was way more than usual.  After trying to get her to fire for a few minutes, I figured I'd wait a bit.  So I loaded the gear on her for the ride home, and rolled her out into the sunlight, and parked her next to a curb so the sun could warm her up a bit.

About 8:00 or so, I went back out, and tried to fire Gypsy up.  She fired right up without hesitation.  The trick was to keep the cold blooded old girl running until she warmed up a bit.  It was really kind of strange to look down at the temperature gauge on the top of the dipstick, and see the needle about a 1/4 inch below the lowest temperature mark of 50 degrees.  I dont think I had ever seen it that low, outside of winter here in Morton.  Uusally when it gets down around freezing, I'm thinking twice about whether I REALLY want to go for a ride.

After about 5 minutes or so, the oil finally got up above 50F, and I took her for an easy little loop around the motel parking area.  Since I knew we'd be taking off roght after the Board of Directors meeting, I parked Gypsy in front of the conference room building so she could soak up the sun for the rest of the time there.

At the start of the meeting, there was a motion to suspend the agenda, and vote in two new chapters.  So right from the start, we were involved in the decision making.  What didn't hit me until I was almost home again, was the realization that I was now a part of the Board of Directors of a large Non-profit organization.  But it is something good I can help to grow and build upon.  And we neeed it in this part fo the state.
Elk Country Chapters Charter

The meeting lasted a couple more hours, and finally ended around 2:00 PM.  We heading outside, and a group of us got ready to head back through the Yakima River Canyon, and stop for lunch at Walkabout Creek Saloon in Naches. Robin and I had rode over with one other bike, but we were heading home with four others.

Walkabout Creek Saloon

After eating some great food at the Walkabout Creek Saloon, we headed outside to hit the road and head home.  A couple of us had to top off before we headed all the way over White Pass.  So I  went to fire Gypsy up to ride down the street to the Circle K and top off my tank.  But, when I hit the start button, nothing happened.  With traffic going by, I couldn't tell if the relay was closing as I tried the button three of four more times.  When I went to kick her over, she fired up on the second kick, wiht no trouble at all.

I shot down the street, filled the tank, and she did the same thing.  No electric start, and as I kicked she would only sputter and cough.  After kicking about ten or fifteen times, and everyone waiting on me to get going, when Mo asked if I needed a push I just hung my head and said "yea".  Once we started pushing, I rolled about ten feet and popped the clutch.  Gypsy fired right up like it was nobody's business.  I was just a wee bit ticked off that she was acting up, and probably doing 70 mph by the time we got out of town.  I made the turn at the junction with Highway 410, and was a good quarter mile down the road before I realized everyone else was having to wait for traffic.  I slowed down, and calmed down, and let them catch up.  I just didn't want to have to shut the bike off again.  

So I didn't.

We headed up White Pass; and even at the construction site, we lucked out and didn't have to stop.  It wasn't until we rolled into the driveway that I shut her down.  It wasn't ntil the next day that I checked her out with a clear head and figured out what the problem was.

When I checked her out in the quiet, I could hear the relay click.  But the solenoid wasn't making a sound.  So I figured it was either the solenoiad went out, or the circuit breaker between the relay and the solenoid.  I checked it again a bit later, after making sure all the connections were good and tight.  She fired right up when I hit the button.  I let her warm up, then shut her down.  When I hit the button again, it was just the relay clicking.  Nothing else was happening.  That told me, right there.  It was the circuit breaker.  

Yesterday after work was th first chance I had to pick one up and replace it.  Afterwards, Gypsy fired right up.  Since then, she has fired up every time I hit the switch. No trouble at all.  I think it was just paybacks for leaving her out in the rain and cold weather.  At least she will be inside the house this winter when I regasket the top end, and do some other needed maintenance.  Who knows, she might end up rolling out wiht struts and a sprung seat instead of shocks...but who knows.

Anyway, A.B.A.T.E. of Washington has grown by two new chapters.  One is out where I grew up, and went to High School.  The other is the chapter I was voted in as Coordinator for.  So I thought that was cool.  Anyway, it's late, and I have to get some stuff together tomorrow, and round some folks up to go riding in a poker run in Kelso on Sunday morning.  So, have a good one, and as always,

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT2

When I left you last, Gypsy had been left outside in a parking lot with a few strange bikes, and a bunch of cages.  That was bad enough, but then sometime during the night it started to rain.  I got up out of habit a little after 5:00 am.  I laid there for a few minutes, and finally just said; "Fuck it" and got up.  I went in, used the bathroom, then took a quick shower.  By the time I came out, Robin and Mo were awake, and Charlene would soon be.  So we turned on the TV, and waited for the continental breakfast to be ready.  

I went outside, and saw it was raining.  Not hard, but just enough to make everything wet, and seem miserable.  But, the weatherman had said it was suppose to be a fairly decent day...so I kept the faith, and didn't get too disappointed.  Which is a good thing, because, by the time the registration for the S.T.E.A.M. training was about to start, the rain had stopped, and everything had dried out.  The sun even finally burned its way through the thin cloud layer by about noon or so.

When we went into the conference room, Mo recognized one of the other people there.  It turns out he had gone to school with one of them back about 40 years ago or so.  Everyone was really friendly, and several people came up and introduced themselves simply because they didn't know who we were, but knew we were in ABATE because we were there.  When they heard we were from one of the two chapters wanting to be chartered, it was like suddenly meeting a bunch of cousins you didn't know you ahd before.

The training was mostly on how ABATE operates, and its structure.  What it's goals are, and how things should be run, and why things are done the way they are.  Good information, put out in a friendly, concise manner so it was understandable.  Finally it the training and seminars were done, and it was time for a good hearty meal.  

After dinner, everyone more or less went their own way...little groups gathering together, or hanging out in rooms, or hitting the bars for a while.  Just an average night when a bunch of riders hit a town with friends old and new.

I made the mistake of kicking back on the bed and watching a little TV.  I was out before 9PM...but up again at 4:45 in the AM.  The sky was clear, and the temps were down below freezing.  But that I'll leave until the final part of this little story.  So until then;
I'll catch you on the road sometime...

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT1

After work on friday, I came home, changed my clothes and loaded up the bike.  I was ready to hit the road and ride over the 4,500 ft White Pass and get over to Ellensburg, WA just as soon as possible.  Pat, the  Chapter Coordinator from Lewis County was going to ride over with Robin and I.  The others from our "prospective" chapter had already headed across the mountains a couple hours earlier.  I guess that is the price I pay for working for a living.  Anyway, we headed out, and hit the road when Pat arrived.

Things were rolling along pretty good as we rolled through Randle and saw three of the elks herd in different fields along the highway.

Then, as we rolled into Packwood, a big cow elk ran up onto the side of the road and I let go of the throttle, downshifted and hit the brakes.  I could hear Pat on his bike behind me over the sound of Gypsy's straight pipes saying: "Whoa!"  The elk didn't go any farther, but you can never tell with those critters.  And as many of the people who ride with me very much know, I seem to attract Mother Natures critters as I ride.  As we got to the other side of Packwood, we passed a small part of the Packwood herd lounging in one of the motel parking lot's lawns.  After that it was clear sailing up to the summit of White Pass.

By the time we reached the top of White Passit was almost time for it to start getting dark.  It was already cold as a withes tit, so I bought a hot cup of coffee before we headed out.  Since Pat had electric glove heaters (imagine that) he bought Robin and I some of those chemical hand warmers to slip inside our gloves.  We had about 80 miles to go to Ellensburg, and I knew it was going to be too dark to ride the Yakima Canyon into E-Burg, so we just headed off down the east side of the pass.  Up until we rounded "Deadmans Curve" and had to stop for road construction to repair the slope just below the road because about 500 ft of it slid down the hill a week or so ago.  I don't mind stopping on the road for repairs.  It is just that I have had two Brothers go down on that corner over the years; one dislocated his shoulder, and the other had his bike launch over the rail and down several hundred feet into the canyon below, while he slid under the guard rail and got torn to pieces by the posts supporting it.

We beat feet down the road, and I am glad I swapped over to my clear yellow glasses before we left the summit.  I'd have ridden right off the road with my dark shades on if I hadn't.  Near the bottom, a big elk was laying dead across the white fog line on the road.  About 100 feet further on was a little car pulled off almost into the ditch with his four-way flashers on.  Just too many critters out an about going "bump in the night", and most of them big enough to kill a bike if it was unlucky enough to hit it.  We kept going without really slowing down much.  I figure we were cruising about 60 to 65 mph.  Can't say for sure, Gypsy hasn't had a speedo since November of '09.  But I am pretty good at 'guestimating' the speed within 5 mph or so.  

When we topped off the tanks in Naches, I told Pat that we'd be better off to just hit the freeway and make some time than try to ride the "Canyon Road" in the dark.  I mean why ride a cool scenic road in the dark when you can't see anything.  Especially the critters that might be coming down to the river alongside the road for water.  We rolled out of Naches, into Yakima, and headed down the freeway over a couple of ridges before the freeway dropped down into E-Burg.  We rolled into the Days-Inn, and Pat went to his motel to get checked in.  

After we got checked in and unloaded the bike, we called Pat, and met him at a truckstop near by for some food before we crashed for the night.  I was really surprised by how many people there at the motel and diner knew who I was, or about the chapter we were trying to form.  Things were definitely going good.  I parked Gypsy over by the Indian trike Mo & Charlene rode over, along with a few other bikes.  She wasn't going to get under cover for the weekend, and it didn't help that it rained that night, and into the early part of the next morning.  But I'll leave that for next time.  It's almost chow time now, so I'm going to bug out of here.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Now What's Going To Happen?

On Friday, after I get off work, we'll be heading over White Pass on the way to Ellensburg.  That is if the pass is still open.  If not, then we'll have to ride up through Sumner to Auburn, and over Snoqualmie Pass.  Not nearly as nice of a ride, so I am hoping White Pass will be open.

We'll be heading over with Mo and his wife Charlene.  If the weather is even halfway decent, we're taking the bikes to Ellensburg.  I would really hate to have to go in the car, and the forecast is for scattered showers on Friday.  So I am really pulling for it to be good enough to ride in.  I would feel kind of odd to go to a motorcycle gathering in a car.

We're heading to the A.B.A.T.E. of Washington state Board of Directors meeting.  The whole idea is to get our chapter to be chartered as an official Chapter of the state organization.  So the four of us are riding over together, and maybe a couple more of us will meet up there, or ride over too.  Still getting a line on how that will go.

I figure it's roughly a tank of gas to Ellensburg, but we'll probably top off in Naches just to be on the safe side.  We'll be riding up through the Yakima River Canyon between Selah and Ellensburg.  The motel where the meeting is sits right on the side of the road coming out of the canyon.

Since we'll be in that neck of the woods, I'll be swinging up to Cle Elum to see a good friend of mine named Gabe.  Or maybe getting him to swing down and visit us in E-burg.  However that plays out, I'm definitely going to see Gabe, one way or another.  If we get a chance, it would be great to ride with Gabe and his '78 Lowrider.  I havent gotten to ride with him in a couple of years, so it is one of the things I want to do while I am over there.

There are a couple of places I want to check out, if there is time.  The Flying Horse cafe, for one.  If there is time, I would like to ride up towards Roslyn, and get a bite at the Brick.  It's been a few years, and I miss that cool little town.  It is where they filmed the TV show Northern Exposure.  A lot of the buildings have cool murals on the sides of them.  One even has a Marlon Brando mural from The Wild One on it.  Others are pretty cool too.  So if you ever get up in the Greater Ellensburg area, go check out the little town of Roslyn.

I'll be posting any pics I take, there ought to be some good ones while crossing the pass.  There is already plenty of snow up there, so ought to have some good ones.  Especially if Dog Lake hasnt frozen yet, and the snow is covering the slops down to the lake.  Either way, I'll post the best of what I take.  Until then, I'll be getting things ready to go.  One way or another.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Sunday Ride

Mo called about nine in the morning.  Asking if I wanted to go for a ride.  He said we'd leave from either the house he was buying in Morton, or the Bucksnort around 'noonish'.  I said I would give Patrick a call around ten, and see if he wanted to go.  This was the start of a few miscommunications that put a slight taint on the day.  I got the feeling it was just going to be a couple of bikes, and just the guys.  When I spoke to Patrick, I didn't have enough info about what was going on except a very vague idea of the route, and Patrick didn't have time to ride that far.  So I told him to call Mo, and see if they could work something out.

When I arrived, I found several bikes, and several wives or Ol' Ladies along.  So I realized this wasn't quite the quickly thrown together ride I had thought.  Robin wasn't happy being told she was staying home anyway, and when I saw the other women there, I knew she was really going to be upset she didn't get ot go.  After a few minutes, I realized we weren't heading off at noon, so I tried calling Robin to tell her I'd come pick her up.  No answer on her cell or the house phone.  So I fired up the bike, and rode to the house to pick her up.  When I rode up in front of the house, the car was gone.  So I ran into the house and grabbed my camera.  I told Ed what the deal was, and headed out.

Mo said when he and Patrick had talked, Patrick had said he we would meet us at the Bucksnort, or on the road.  Which I found out later, was NOT what he had said.  Patrick had his bike out, warmed up and wiating when he heard us all ride past on the highway.  Needless to say, that made for two pissed off people that could have gone on the ride.

As we rode down Highway 508 past Dodge Rd, my heart sank a bit when I saw Patrick wasn't waiting there for us as Mo has said.  Mo wasn't leading, Rick & Melissa were, I considered just pulling off and heading up to Patricks house, but I was on the right side of the group, and would have had to cut a couple of other bikes off to make the turn.  

We rode down Highway 508 and up through Bear Canyon to the Centralia-Alpha Rd. Then at the end of Centralia-Alpha Rd, we headed back to the right, and up into the framland and past the coal fired steam plant on the back way into Bucoda.

From there, we rode along more backroads to Mckenna where we stopped at Walt's Place to get some refreshment. At Walt's I learned the state had opened Highway 7 through the canyon at La Grande again, and that was the way we were going home.  It is a cliff edge twisting road, high above the Nisqually River that borders Pierce and Lewis Counties.

We stopped at the Elbe Bar & Grill.  From there the ride more or less broke  up.  From Elbe, everyone was going to take different roads home.  So after a few already left, I fired up Gypsy just in time to watch the local steam excursion train block the road I needed to take.  Oh well, it made for a nice quick pic.  Then it was across the bridge, and down the road back to Morton.

It was when I got home that I got home that I found out about the mix-up wiht Patrick.  So I called him.  Even five hours or so after the ride started, he was still pissed about it.  And I have to admit, rightfully so.  Shit doesn't happen, it 's caused.  I just hope this gets worked out before it festers and turns into something nasty.  It has to be something the two of them work out.  I am sure Patrick feels disrespected, and to him especially, that means something more than to most.

It was all in all, a good ride, and I have to say, I wish I had the camera on when we crossed the section of road that was flooded by a creek over its banks.  That was REAL fun on all the bikes that run no front fender (mine) let me tell ya.  lol  Well it is time to post this, and get on to some of the other shit I have to do today.  I have been sick since last Wednesday, and Saturday was the first day I felt decent again, so when Mo asked if I wanted to go for a ride on sunday I just flat needed it.

Catch ya on the road sometime...