Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making Progress Slowly

Work on the bike goes slow... Partly because it's been a bit cold... and it's not a really happy bit of work... but...

...mostly because I've become unsure of the route I'd picked out. That's the problem with reading more... AFTER... you made a choice.

I got the pipes pretty much stripped ready to paint... and just got the quivers. I know I'm only doing it to sell the scoot... but... I don't want to be the guy that sold her with a crap job done. I've made enough bad turns in this life, no need to add to it.

I found several people doing exactly what I am... and using the high temperature paint I was intending to use... who had the stuff fail... as they were going through the curing process!!!

So... a few more phone calls and I found a guy doing powder coating with a High Temp coating that's supposed to be rated to 1000 degrees. Now, those shrouds around the pipes get warm... but when my leg is sitting an inch or so from 'em at a stop... I can't believe that the pipe shroud is anything close to a thousand degrees.

That, he told me could be done for 'bout $150 bucks... since the paint and such is gonna cost upwards of $40 or so, if not more, I figure... seems like a good bet... and a better deal for whoever Sonja goes home with in the future. I think that's the way I'll go... I don't want to send her off with a lousy job of it.

Then... on to the Harbor Freight "Dent Repair Kit"... um... NO.

So... fourteen bucks. Read the reviews on the website... and all sorts of guys claim they were "Surprised" when it worked like a champ.

This ol' cowboy was not... surprised.

Cuz... it didn't work. Not even a quivering grunt of a try.

The glue stick stuck to the tank just fine... but it wouldn't hold to THEIR puller part.

As soon as I'd start screwing up the pulling tab... POP! it just camp loose. Didn't pull that dent a sliver.

The dent is a hail dent... from a big honkin' hunk of hail...

It's been there as long as Sonja has been with me... and kinda irritated me at times...

But also... it was/is kinda cool at the same time. Some of that "patina" that you can't find on "Show" bikes...

The scars of the road wars that tell the power that lives inside a person... or a machine.

I put the glue on the pulling tab... just like they said.

...after cleaning the dent area with their "release" agent...

And stuck the pulling tab to the dent... NOT pushing it in... just like they said...

I waited for several minutes to make sure the glue had time to set up and hold...

Then I attached the crossbar gizmoe... spun the knob onto the pulling tab... and started "screwing"...

Well... crap... might as well have been making a pass at a statue... I tried a dozen times... cleaned the tab... cleaned the tank... held my left ear with my right hand and wiggled my butt like a gypsy hooker...

and EVERY time... EVERY time... the tab just let go. I even put glue on to wrap up around the tab trying to get a good mechanical hold... NADA.. works bout as good as a hooker in a convent.

The glue stuck fine to the tank... and cleaned off ok to try again... but it's a $14 dollar profit maker for the boys selling it. It don't work.

The dent is still there and ain't even a whisker off a fleas butt smaller.

So... tomorrow I scrub up the Saddlebags...

The left one there developed some cracks that I'm just not willing to send on to a new owner.

The majority are on that front sloped surface of the lid...

and a few more on the very top.

No idea why. I watched the guy that painted them.

He was finicky about how they were handled and what was used to clean them.

Some sort of special degreaser/cleaner just for the purpose...

And he put that high dollar paint on there awful thin with each coat... but... like you can see there... after a couple of years... it's cracked...

So... I'll sand down the cracked areas to smooth it out... and take the shine off the rest... and then do a cowboy paint job with plain black and clear coat... and call it good.

Sometime in April I suppose I'll have to pull the trigger and put up the sales advert... gonna be a melancholy day...

Ride if You Can

Friday, March 21, 2014

Back on the Front Range and the Work Begins...

I've returned, early in the season to Fort Collins. A good friend of mine has a small farm over on the east side. She's off on Active Duty with the Army so having someone just being here is a worry off her mind, and it gives me a place to do the work I need to do.

The bike is now in one of her garages to be shined up and made ready for the lucky bugger that gets to be carried on her into the future.

I've spent a couple of days just lining out what I need to do and where to get the "Stuff" to do that.

I'll start in today pulling the saddlebags and pipes that need to be refinished. The paint in one spot on the bags got spiderwebbed a bit and you all know of my issues with Hard Chrome's ceramic coating on the pipes.

I've found some 2000 degree Header paint as well as 2000 degree clear coat to refinish those... as well as some words about preparation and Proper Curing so the finish is reasonably durable...

I also found a kit to try taking out a hail dent on the tank... and I'm going to try my hand at an Artistic treatment of a scratch on the rear fender... from waaaaay back when that first backrest parted ways with the bike at 70 mph!

Then there's replacing the tweaked shift lever from that U-turn didoe up on San Juan Island a couple years ago... and also on a tangent... I'm going to repaint the Black Widow 12' folding ramp... as that will be sold as well.

It's not a happy thing to have to do... and maybe if the Leather shop I'm putting back together does well enough... fast enough... I'll be able to get back between a pair of wheels before I'm too old to keep 'em from falling over...

But... right now I can't dwell on the potholes... just the slope ahead that I've got to climb.

Grab Your Handles and Ride (you never know when you're gonna loose your wheels)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Storms and Tribulations and Difficult Decisions.

Ahhhh... It never seems to quit. The requirements of life consume the dreams of your heart.

As a bent and broken economic system continues to squeeze a good portion of the population... I feel that squeezing on my own ass. Problem is... my heart ain't in, and never has been, keeping my nose to the man's grindstone... so it complicates the generation of income...

I'd just as soon take that grind stone and break it over the bastards head.

Buuuuuut... they give you an all expenses paid long term vacation in a state run resort for that... so I leave the dream of busting the man's head in wonderland and just keep on keepin' on.

How-some-ever... the thinning income of the last three years and the rising cost of the slowly failing effort of keeping the rig together is pushing a couple of unpleasant decisions into my world.

The first is that come the spring our traveling is pretty much suspended for the foreseeable future. Heidi already returned to Colorado in December to go back to working in her store in an effort to get it back into healthier shape. That seems to be showing promise.

But, that effort is likely to continue for months and months. I stayed south... simply because I have come to detest, hate, revile... did I say HATE? Snow and cold...

Buuuuut... as much as I dislike that reality has a way of beating you into submission. Even if you are the most stubborn son of a bitch that came out of the womb.

Even if I wanted to keep on wandering... The old truck and fiver is just not reliable enough to make wandering with 'em an enjoyable situation any more. You go down the road holding your breath waiting for something to break... knowing there ain't no cash to fix it again. That and the simple truth that the dinero to make it reliable got consumed, what little there was of it... just trying to keep it running at all over the past year.

The second is the cost of correcting that thinning income.

Some folks are prospering these days... a whole lot more I believe are subsisting, pretty much hand to mouth... I'm in that second group, as the 18 cent a package Ramen soup that constitutes 'bout 40% of my diet these days attests.

I have to go back to work at a more "regular" job than I've been doing with my writing and such. So, I have the choice of working for the man directly or putting my custom leather shop back together and going after that again.

Now... the direct for the man option, for any sustained length of time almost certainly guarantees a visit to the "State Resort"... so that's pretty much a no go from the get go.

That only leaves restarting my leather shop... which ain't gonna be a cheap option. Leather stitchers aren't cheap, and I sold off the "heavy" equipment when I shut my old shop operation down. Considering the way our outfit has drained all the assets to an empty well over the last year and a bit... there's only one thing left in which there resides a material value that can be sold...

 :(  ... My Raider...

UGH... You're born... you get beat on for a while... often Life sucks big... and then you die... yeah I'm in a pretty pissy mood.

So... unless Amazon really gets with the program in the next six weeks or so and one of my lil' westerns for some unknown reason turns into a breakout... It looks like this Ol' Buster is gonna be sitting at a leather bench again... and bikeless... Tooling leather is fine, I enjoy that... but... the rest... just bites.   :(

Maybe I can figure a way to squeeze the dinero I need... solidly into four digits... out of thin air... I offered some tender kisses and my sweet Ol' Behind for a small fee to a couple of gals... they called the Poh-Leece... no sense of humor at all... so that's out...

... and like I said... workin' for a "Boss" any more... for more than a few days is... well... lets just say... that dog don't hunt... so we'll keep on keepin' on and see where I end up.

Real Mixed Emotions about the whole deal