8 Ball In The Wind

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Swap Meet!!

I'm hoping to sell a shit load of spare parts this weekend, and find that one elusive thing I need to bring Frankenbike a step closer to being "ALIVE!!"...A title...either a frame, or a pre-70 motor.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Plus, there's suppose to be a party Saturday night!!

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I've been down sick with the lung crud for the past week or so.  I finally start feeling a little bit better, and the weather turns beautiful.  Warm, sunny, bikes EVERYWHERE...
I can't go riding yet.  I ain't over this shit yet, and I'm not going to risk getting sick all over agai, and missing another week of work, just for a ride.  I don't care how spectacular I'll feel after.  Or how beautiful the world will seem.  I am at that point where I have only been feeling half human for the last day.  I KNOW if I went riding, I'd end up feeling like shit again.  It just ain't worth it.  Not for just a little putt.  Not when I have to be in Monroe for the swap meet next weekend.  I can't afford to risk it.  Not if I want a CHANCE of getting my Frankenbike any closer to being up.
If I felt equal to my desire to ride, I would be gone...But, I don't feel half as good as I want to ride.  I'm still coughing up gobs of shit from my lungs.  So just going to play it safe, and take care of myself.  I may go batshit, but I can deal with that.  I'll just take a really COOL RIDE when I feel better, and blow all the bats from my belfry.
It's just fucked...went to this months A.B.A.T.E. meeting down the street.  Virtually EVERYBODY rode their bikes, and it was the biggest turn-out in a couple of months.  I wanted to ride, soooo-flipping-bad as I watched them all fire up the bikes and ride away after the meeting.  Sooon enough...I'll be over this shit, and more than ready to ride.

Catch ya on the road sometime...(just probably not this week.)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Great Grandson of Anarchy

I was watching an episode of Sons of Anarchy from the first season, and a reference to the 19th Century anarchist Emma Goldman got me thinking of the little town I grew up in.  The towns name is Home, but in the 1890's it was called the 'Mutual Home Colony".  My brother and his wife still live there.

Home was founded in 1897, by three men and their families.  Their concept was pretty basic.  The would lean more towards individualistic anarchism, where there would be an "...absence of all laws, rules, and regulations."  This pretty much left the members to be free to follow "their own line of action no matter how much it may differ from the custom of the past or present." Basically you could do whatever you felt like doing, as long as you didn't interfere with your neighbors right to do their own thing as well.

Home soon had the first of several newspapers, the 'New Era'.  Which invited "all who believed in man's rights to do and think as he pleased..." to come to Home, and settle there.  There was a real feeling of everyone being able to do their 'own thing'.  Without any problems from the community, the church, or law enforcement.  Home was proud to boast that it had "...no sidewalks, no churches, and no police."  The nearest law enforcement was in Tacoma, a nearly40 mile roundtrip steamship ride away.  So the law pretty much left Home to do as Home wanted to do.

Article from the New Era

Many different free thinking folks moved to Home, and not all of them were anarchists.  Many were socialists, 'free lovers', athiests, vegetarians, and those who believed in a wide array of spiritual beliefs.  

The little town was soon growing.  Everything had to be shipped in by steamship from across the Puget Sound, as there weren't any roads out along the Key Peninsula yet.  Soon the waterfront and hillside were cleared and two acre homesites were going up.  They erected a community hall that was named "Liberty Hall".  It was there, in Liberty Hall that; school was taught, the colony's members could come and enjoy social interaction with each other, talk about the latest news, or listen to speeches by famous anarchists who traveled to Home.  Emma Goldman was one of those speakers.

Mutual Home Colony circa 1900  Photo from the Univ. of Washington collection

Mutual Home Colony circa 1900  Photo from the Univ. of Washington collection
Teacher & students in front of school  aka "Liberty Hall" circa 1900
from the Univ. of Washington collection
In 1905, Home's peaceful isolation came to a sudden and bitter end.  The assasination of President McKinley by an anarchist suddenly had law enforcement, and especially the mainstream press of the day casting a distrustful eye on the little coveside community.  The Tacoma Daily Ledger even published an article that called upon citizens to "exterminate the Anarchist", and further went on to state that "Each anarchist should be killed as a wild beast, a mad dog".  Yep, the times, they were a changing for Home alright.

Front Page of the Discontent from Aug. 8, 1900
Photo from the Washington State Univ. collection

The second newspaper in Home, 'The Discontent', carried many articles in it espousing 'free love'.  While not quite what we would think of it today (and most folks outside of Home thought about it back then), the articles considered free love as an expression of a woman's right's in sexual relations.  The articles gave the general public in Tacoma, and around the country where the newspapers were mailed to subscribers, the image of mass orgies in the little town.  This got people in Tacoma, riled up about 'those vermin' in Home.  The Grand Army of the Republic (similar to today's VFW but with veterans from the Civil War, and later conflicts) decided to 'clean the rabble out of their nest'.  They would purchase tickets aboard the local steamship, and would attack the community.  Or that was their plan anyway.  Word got back to Home, and a resistance party was organized.  Virtually everyone with a gun, or weapon was waiting at the dock when the regularly scheduled steamship arrived. Funny thing, not a single person got off the steamship that day.

Home still wasn't out of the woods.  It wasn't long before the US Postmaster General got in on the act.  I swear, for such a small little village, these guys had some heavy weight enemies.  Citing the 'lewd' material in the newspapers being sent through the mail across the United States to subscribers, the Postmaster General ordered the town of Home's post office closed...their rights to a post office revoked.  That was over 100 years ago, and if you go to Home now, you will find a post office.  But it is the Lakebay post office.  Home still isn't allowed to have it's own post office.  So instead, they have the post office for the town a few miles down the road in downtown Home.  It is the only post office I know of that is in the wrong town.  Go figure it's in Home.

'Lakebay' Post Office...in Home, WA

The simple expedient was to just pack the editions of the Discontent, and it's subsequent replacement, the 'Demonstrator' to Lakebay to be mailed out.  Which was just a pain in the ass, but it worked.

There were some rather rowdy types in Home.  Or ones who had a past of what today would be called 'terrorist activities'.  In 1910, Jay Fox, who took part in the Haymarket bombings and riots, moved to Home and started the fourth Newspaper, 'The Agitator'.  In his newspaper, Mr Fox promoted the socialist labor movement the I.W.W., also known as 'The Wobblies'.  Who were a rather violent element of the labor movement.  They actually rioted in Centralia, WA, and many were shot down by government tropps...but that is a different story for a different time..maybe.  Two of the 'accomplices' to the Los Angeles Times bombing were found in Home eventually, and arrested.

Front Page of The Agitator
photo from the Washington State Univ. collection

In time, Home became more of a main stream community.  The children of the anarchists seemed to swing back away from their parents teachings.  Many of those from the old anarchist colony days were still alive and around when I was a boy.  I respected them, not just because of their age, but because they ahd such wonderful tales to tell of the place I was living and growing up.  They filled a young boys mind with images of things that had long since ended, and gave meaning to things I took for granted.  The steamships no longer plied the waters of Puget Sound, so the towns large dock was to me only for fishing and diving off of.  I only learned of its original purpose while listening to the older folks in town, and imagining what it must have been like.

There is still a sense of not quite conforming in Home that is deeply rooted in me.  I grew up in an old house built in an anarchist/socialist/free love colony.  As I grew older, and thought about it with an adult mind, I came to enjoy the idea, and reasons for all the doors leading outside from the house.  The only room in the house that didn't have an exterior door was the one bedroom.  It had a small door in the wall just above bed level that led into the kitchen.  The bathroom even had an exterior door next to the toilet.  One never knew when you might have to make a hasty exit when the spouse arrived home.  

My mothers stepfather was the son of anarchists.  So, I guess that makes me a "Great-Grandson of Anarchy". To this day, I am proud to say I 'grew up' in Home.  So many stories from that little town, an dplaces that have fallen into history that were such a treasure.  Now they only exist in my chaotic memories.  Besides being the place I rode my first bicycle, and my first motorcycle, Home holds a special place in my heart and soul.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Sunday, March 2, 2014


She came into my life completely out of the blue.  I was online checking out the used bikes at a few of the local shops for a Brother, and then I clicked on her image.  When I showed him the pics, and the price, he was interested.  But only sort of.  More curious than anything else.  So I got on the phone and called.  He wasn't in a position at the moment to put anything down quite yet, but I was more than just curious what I could find out about her.  It's not like I could really afford another bike, but something kept pushing me to call and get more information about this hot little number, and with such a sweet price.

Needless to say, when I got the call back from the salesgal, she gave me all the right answers.  Out of curiousity, I asked what sort of trade-in I could get on my '05 1200 Sporty.  When I heard her say;"Without seeing it, around $5,000 to $5,200" I almost got a hard on.  Then I asked her what the payments would be figuring in that kind of trade-in amount.  "Less than $100 a month." was the reply she gave me.

The next day, I rode Miss Bettie for the last time.  I took her up to Renton to use as a trade-in.  Part of me thought I was nuts for trading in a bike I had bought brand new less than four years before, for a bike that was almost twenty years old.  But I knew at the time that I wanted a big twin again.  I wasn't going to be able to afford a Pan, or even a Shovel (at least in 2009's economy) for what I could pick this sweet Evo up for.  I wasn't completely sold on her yet.  There was still the test ride to come.  That would decide whether I was leaving Miss Bettie or not.

I had never ground Betties pipes or pegs going through a right turn.  At least not while feeling comfortable about it.  She wasn't the tightest cornering bike I'd ever had. She sat almost as tall as my old Norton P11A, Lola.  Which is still strange, because Lola always handled corners really good.  I rubbed the pipes and pegs the first time just pulling out of the parking lot.  She layed over so far, and so effortlessly, and came right back up with nary a lick of effort.  I swung around thru Renton on a test ride of a few miles.  It seemed like everytime I made I right turn, I was dragging the pegs or the pipes. Without even trying.  It wasn't that they were so low, but that I was so easily and comfortably leaning into corners wiht her that I wasn't even thinking about it.

When I got back to the shop, I told the salesgal that depending on the trade-in, it was a done deal.  They gave me a quote of $5,200 as a trade-in on Miss Bettie, and I hung around while the financing got worked out, and the bike washed and detailed.

It was the shops 1st anniversary at their new location.  So there was a big party going on.  I ran into an old friend, and her fiance.  He was looking at a new bike too.  But he was actually shopping for a NEW bagger.  Not my cup of tea at all, but hey, it wasn't going to be my bike, so who cared.  When the bike was brought out front for me, I told Tammy and Doug that I had just traded Miss Bettie in for a bike, and pointed her out.  

Now I had looked the bike over pretty closely before I took it out for a road test.  Sat on it, brought it up off the kickstand, fired it up, and checked out the clutch and suspension.  So when Tammy walked up to the bike and said it had such a cool looking rose painted on it, for a minute I thought she was looking at the wrong bike.  But sure enough, there on the top of the rear fender, was a ghost rose.  It only really shows up if you're in the right position.  It's much more of a ghost than the eagle flames on the gas tanks.

That's when Tammy asked what I was going to call the bike.  "I really hadn't though about it much yet.  But I think I'll call her Gypsy Rose." I added without much thought." I told her.  Since I traded in Miss Bettie; who I named after the queen of the pin-ups, Bettie Page. I thought the ghost rose made it only fitting to name this bike after another famous sex symbol.  This one was even from the Seattle area.  The famous Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy, and I have put a lot of miles behind us since April of 2009.  She had just under 45,000 miles on her when I bought her.  Which, if you figure she was a 18 year old bike, isn't that much.  Something like 2,500 miles a year.  In the past five years, I have probably come close to doubling that amount.  I'd have to 'guesstimate' that she has about 70,000 on her now.  That first winter I had her, I did some modifications to her.  One of which was to disconnect the speedometer cable when I changed from a 21 inch front tire to a 16 inch.  I just didn't feel that having a speedo was important enough to buy a speedo drive geared for a 16 inch wheel.  Besides, did I really want to know how fast I was going?  I'd know if I was doing over the speed limit easy enough.  The only thing I had to worry about was when I was going so fast I was scaring myself....and do I REALLY want to know how fast I'm going then?

I've changed a few other things over the years.  Those pipes are history.  I actually ground off about an inch off the bottom of the fishtail for the front pipe going around corners.  So, a few of us threw together a different exhaust system that doesn't grind in the curves.  It still needs to be redone, as over the years I have come to realize the front pipe runs too close to the  clutch cable, and also rubs the kicker arm when I kickstart the bike.  I have also pretty well quite running the front fender, and may actually use it as a rear fender on the Frankenbike.  

I have to admit, I just can't see getting rid of Gypsy.  I can see a few more changes coming.  Mostly minor ones.  What I would really like to do in a couple of years, is get a Fab Kevin hardtail kit for her, and just run a sprung saddle seat, and a different rear fender.  But that is a couple of years down the road.  After I finish the Frankenbike.

Next week, I am going to bring Gypsy into the front room again, and spend a couple of weeks just going through and giving her a serious once, or twice over, and replacing al the gaskets in the top end, and primary.  As well as adjusting the shifter pawl drum.  Maybe, if I can score the pipe at the swap meet the end of the month, I'll get that exhaust finished the way I want.  

One thing I can be pretty certain is true; As long as I own Gypsy, I don't think she will ever, really be "finished".

Catch ya on the road sometime...