Friday, January 18, 2013

A Way of Thinking for Motorcycle Touring Repairs... Far From Parts

You don't have to get deep into the hinterlands of China to get to a spot where there just aren't parts for your Ducati.

Hell, SW Arizona had me failing to find parts for my '08 Yamaha Raider!

I was loading it to move camp a week ago and happened to spot a hole where there was supposed to be a bolt. When and where I lost it I have no idea... or how long my senile self managed to miss a bolt missing out of the left hand fender strut! But there it was.

Then came the confusion in finding out that Yamaha don't stock the bolt in the shops... and I had to leave town. Another rig was coming along behind me in a few days and was supposed to pick up the order for me... on their way through... of course... the order didn't come for them either... so There I was... out in the desert with the scooter un-rideable with the missing bolt and me having used up my patience.

So... I went looking in hardware stores around the area...

A half dozen hardware stores and one dedicated fastener dealer later and I came up with zip... because I had made the mistake of looking for THE part.

Rather than A part that would do the job until a proper and correct replacement could be acquired.

I had just left the last hardware store in Lake Havasu city without the RIGHT bolt... when an old lesson FINALLY broke through the crust that's formed over my brain pan the last few years. ;)

I did a very nice military style about face and trotted right back in. The clerk that had helped me looked kind of surprised. I told him I'd had a Cowboy epiphany and crooking a finger at him said; "Follow Me."

Yes sir... when you're a long ways from town on a ranch... you learn to make do with what you have until something better comes along.

This first pic is the right side fender strut and how they should look with both proper and correct button head bolts.

*How the Fender strut bolts are supposed to look*

This next pic is the left side from where the left hand bolt had vanished... and my improvised fix...

*Raider Fender strut with temp bolt for a fix*

The only thing any of the hardware stores had was HEX head bolts. None of the Button head in the right thread rate/metric.

The problem as I saw it was going to be fitting a socket on the hex head bolt and getting it down into the recess in the fender strut... so I kept to my single minded search for the RIGHT type, rather than one that would get things put together and functional in a pinch.

My cowboy epiphany was that I could space the TOO large head out with washers or a spacer and have a good strong 10.9 grade bolt in there until I can get my hands on the bolt you have to Order from Yamaha.

*washers spacing the hex bolt on a Raider Fender strut*

Turned out, the recess isn't as tight as I thought it was... but it don't change my point any. :)

That point being; Do you really want to sit in a parking lot somewhere for a week or ten days waiting for some ordered part to get to you from a Motorcycle dealer?

Go find a decent hardware store or mechanics shop of some kind. You can almost always find bits and pieces in a hardware store or shop; Parts that were made for something else; BUT, parts that you can, with a lil' imagination, fit together to get the job done securely, until you can replace the faulty bits with the permanent repair.

When you're broke down and a long way from home and other help... think outside the box, Use your imagination and don't just stay broke because you don't have a piece with the proper part number!

Hell... a metal strap bent around and with a few holes drilled in it could likely be worked up to replace a busted shock and get you rolling to find the permanent fix. It'd be a tough testing hard tail! ;) but then I did see that old man on a '36 Indian riding to Alaska... on his Old HARDTAIL! :)

The Bike is fixed... and now I've got the excuse to make the 300 mile or so round trip ride to Phoenix to pick up a pair of Proper Raider Fender Strut replacement  bolts! ;)

Where there's a will... There's a way... just let your imagination run.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Safety? Or Living Life? Which RIdes First on Your Motorcycle

When you climb on your bike... What is your FIRST, major and enduring thought?

All the bad things that can happen? or... Your Hunger for the Soul filling, lung expanding, heart throbbing joy that lives on the open road?

Do you spend your time worrying about dealing with all the possible lowsides, highsides and potholes of life? or do you set things up with a reasonable amount  of common sense... and then, having done what you could do... Go out and LIVE?

No matter how much ATGATT you strap on; how much insurance you carry, how bright your colors, how loud your pipes, how careful your attention, how skilled your handling and how lucky you might be... at the end of the road... You Die.

Looking back, do you want to see; A life lived inside sealed rooms with filtered sterile air and non-flamable, non-toxic, non-cancer inducing padding? Eating food that is carefully created to be safe for your heart... and tasteless? Protected by armed guards and cradle to grave oversight and management by a "benevolent" government?


Do you want to LIVE, and taste all the Joyous memories you can create... until you die?

That's truly the question that sits hidden under all the noise and spin.

...and in the end... all that spin for "Safety and Security" is generally spun by somebody with something to sell or an agenda that will collect power unto themselves...

... and in the end, how much of that caution even matters?  'cause the triple check safety nuts and those who LIVE... end up in the same place... a handful of ashes in a bucket.

If you choose that imagined safety, security and predictability, Ok, that's Fine. I don't have a problem with it. The choice is yours. Where I start having "Issues" is when somebody ELSE... starts trying to impose their Values and Oh-pin-yuns on ME... How, where, when and why I ride... and How I LIVE (or do anything else for that matter)

Look. The only real question I ask myself before I take any action is... Is this all me? Can/Will this do any damage to another person or their property?

***I'm talking physical and real here... not someone's ego or dainty feelings.. grow up and get over it. The fact that you might miss someone if they check out early from their decision to take risks is YOUR problem. You've no right to try and restrict someone else's options, 'cause you don't want YOUR feelings hurt. Telling someone; "All you think about is yourself! You don't think about ME... you don't think about US! If you can't hear the double standard hypocrisy in that... I can't explain it to you***

If the only downside hits me... than it is MY choice and ever'body else needs to let go and just stand back.

That goes for Helmets, ATGATT, cigarettes, seat belts, crossing the double yellow to pass slow VW bugs when you've got visibility for 400 yards in both directions, sky diving, medical insurance, ... and on and on and on...

People need to let go, stand back and let folks LIVE. They'd get a more harmonious outcome.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Monday, January 14, 2013

Changes to the Site...They are a Coming!

I've just started a complete rebuild of the entire website, though its final completion is gonna take some little while!

My ISP, Sitesell, has imposed on all of us web fellas and fellerettes, that are customers of SBI anyway,  a new and improved blockbuilding program that we build our sites with. The good news is; While the old system was a one of a kind jewel... the NEW AND IMPROVED SBI version is heads and shoulders better! ... and near as I can tell, STILL, one of a kind.

For those of us who are NOT computer geeks and don't have HTML as a second language... The BB2 system that SBI has been rolling out for the past several months is the "simple" way (if that exists) to do something that is for sure and for certain, NOT simple! ;)

The only downside is... for lazy biker cowboys like me... it means a lot more work to keep things improving around here! ;) ahhh... but then, anybody who tells you; It's gonna be a quick and easy job to make a lot of money on the net is NOT bein' truthful. It's a piece of work. Do it right; Work hard with discipline; and you've got a dang fine opportunity to break out into a new sort of life.

It's sure worked for me.

But, go in with the idea of a get rich quick situation where you drop $29 bucks and start makin' money tomorrow afternoon... and you're cookin' a meal of frustration and disappointment. It ain't gonna happen.

Anyhoo... my home page of Motorcycle Touring the Good Life has been the first page on this site to be converted from the old system. I built a couple of new small pages earlier, just to get my feet wet... but converting old pages is a more complicated enterprise. That'll take me a while to complete!

I think the Home page looks a lot cleaner and better than it did... So, the work to upgrade the entire site should end up a fairly decent benefit to anyone who comes here looking for some information. I've got some reorganization ideas to go along with the new software that should clean things up even more.

So stay tuned over the next few months while the remodeling behind the scenes moves along... and hopefully, makes what you see a more valuable place for you to visit!

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pristine and Showroom Condition?... or ... The Patina of Many Miles?

I've seen some blogs lately, and had a conversation or two about the nicks and dings bikes get goin' down the road.

Many riders work and spend hundreds, thousands even, keeping their rides in showroom condition. The other end of the biker spectrum bein' the rat rides that are kept together mechanically... but look like rolling wrecks otherwise. ;)

I gotta say... there's something about those battered but not beaten bikes that capture my imagination. I can't help but wonder about all the roads that old Indian I crossed paths with, up in Tok, has seen...

*a 1936 Indian I met on my Alaska run*

You can't help but wonder about the stories behind that scratch or this scrape... or that bent fender...

When I see a clean, unblemished motorcycle the first thought in my head, right or wrong, is; Too bad that guy don't ride much. He'd be a lot happier! ;)

I've talked and schemed a lot in the past about hangin' some fancy paint on Sonja and some other flashy farkles... For a bit the scratches, dings and worn spots bothered me.

Somewhere in there that being bothered about it got to bothering me and I really started looking around and thinkin' on it. Do that and you start to see a lot. Some riders polish... and some riders ride.

I came to the conclusion that other than making repairs to the mechanical faults, keeping her sound and road worthy, doing much in the way of cosmetic repairs... simply erases miles of joyous memories.

Leaving that road patina alone is like maintaining a 3D rolling book of memories! ;)

That was in my mind when I started doing some mods on Sonja this past summer. I began moving away from that spit and polish motorcycle philosophy as I changed over to the blacked out Hard Chrome pipes and powder coated Yamaha Backrest. The main motivation was to improve function, with little thought about the Showroom appearance.

In the bargain I discovered all that chrome really didn't suit me very well. I ended up with her showing a personality I'm a lot more comfortable with. Awesome!

I believe that the future will continue to see Sonja wearing the battle scars of her travels like badges of honor, and a visible testimony of the miles she's carried me.

*The road is nowhere for a weak spirit*

I can't hide the dings, limps and scars I've picked up. I don't believe I should hide those. They're more like beauty marks to a travelin' man whether they be on me... or... my motorcycle. I can't bring myself to call 'em damage. I want people to know... neither me nor Sonja are some prissy trailer queens! ;)

We ride in the rain. We rattle down the back roads. We take our lumps and we keep it in the wind!

And if somebody thinks it's wrong... He can sit in his garage polishin', paintin' and primpin' all he wants. Me and Sonja will be out in the wind somewhere, dusty, dinged and weathered! ;)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The World Demands Its Pound of Flesh

The world doesn't understand. What it doesn't understand it strives to destroy.

To ride, to put it in the wind is to breathe. To leave the key on the hook is to suffocate and die. In the wind on a ribbon of asphalt I am Free. I am Whole. I am alive.

The far horizon forever running before me shows the breadth and depth of my Freedom. The thunder on which I sit flows power into my soul.

Back there, trudging along in the sewer they call soh-sigh-uh-tee I am lost and the light is black.

Out here, head thrown back in the wind on an open road, the light is bright and pure. The taste of my liberty is sweet on my tongue. My spirits soar in their Freedom as if I rode the wings of an Eagle.

The wives, children, girlfriends, bosses, friends and acquaintances all have stood gazing at my tail lights; and the lights of riders like me... throughout our history...

They hear our words yet comprehend nothing. Their understanding does not exist and they make no effort to know or learn.

Their anger burns for us being who we are and our combined refusal to surrender our lives in submission.

That they brand us selfish, uncaring, unworthy is a false burden I will not accept...

If a person truly loves you, why would they demand that you take an action you have warned would destroy the very person they claim to love? If they love you... they back you. They do what they can to help you... even if they can't understand you. They give you what hangs a smile on your face. And that "thing" they give is not a "Thing".

There are many I do not understand. The things that drive them are foreign and beyond my understanding. But I understand THAT. I make no effort to turn them to my way. I tell them to chase THEIR dreams not mine.

Accepting a person for who they are, seems like the only reasonable way to be. But so seldom is it the way it is.

I can only ride off from it for a time.

Ride off, often enough to feed my soul and wash the grime of their disregard off my heart.

... and break the chains they never stop trying to lock onto my soul.

Grab Your Handles and Ride