Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today I Take the Plunge into a Bit More Intense Motorcycle Mechanicing

A mechanic I don't claim to be. I've never truly ruined anything...but I have had a redo or two. I'm hoping I don't have that tribulation with this Forks rebuild.

Got back from a short mountain trip yesterday afternoon and picked up the parts to start that job today.

Yamaha called a few days ago to tell me the parts were in, just as I was just getting BACK to our camp near Red Feather after a run to the lowlands.

I had to go down to find a pair of fresh Vent Covers...

...after a hail storm took out my awning and both roof vents the evening before... arrrrrrrgggghhhhhh....

Yeah... all those "points of light"in the awning...

...are NOT supposed to be there.

The next morning when we opened the door my granddaughter says "look! Stars!" :)

So this morning I'll study the how-to's I've saved... and then with a deep breath I'll start pulling things apart to replace those fork seals.

I heard it described fairly accurately I think; "The fork systems on a motorcycle are some pretty complicated technology but they only use a few really simple parts"
 Let's hope that guy was right and a puss gut mountain cowboy biker can take 'em apart and put 'em back together again without some sort of a humpty dumpty sitchy-ashun developing over there in the garage.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paint Repair For Poorboys

A few years back I had a bit of a didoe. I'd recently installed Yamahas' high dollar, chrome, quick disconnect backrest on the Raider. 

At something like 65 mph it disconnected all on its own and, unseen, left the scooter. I didn't even feel it when it gouged the crap out of the fender in the leaving.

Spent the better part of an hour driving up and down the road I'd rode... in the dark... trying to find that $1000 piece of chromed aluminum. Well, I found it and kept on using it, more carefully, for a couple years. But, that nasty gouge in the paint remained to poke and irritate me. 

I kept thinking the right "applique" would cover that just fine. And it would... but it took me till today to stumble across the right one! 

And I believe, the red is just the right contrast to work well! This one came from an outfit called Lethal Threat... they have some pretty cool decals. It's only been on for like an hour... so I can't review the long term quality, but the weight and feel of the vinyl gives me confidence.

So one more thing clicked off my list... without a $1500 paint job to fix it. :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yosemite and Me Be Saddle Pards

Trobairitz's comment yesterday made me giggle; "For some reason I picture Yosemite Sam stomping around cussing..."

I'm pretty sure neighbors might have been wonderin' 'bout the blue smoke and little symbols floatin' over the trees... %#@%!!!   &$*%@#!!!  &%$@@@!!!

... TARNASHUN! SATAN!  You Gol Durn Red Headed VAR-MINT! 

Show your Gawd Damn Face you pig eyed, spavined, knock kneed, two bit, parsimonious boot lickin' back stabbin tweaker of a yellow hearted DOG!

COME OUT and stand me to my Face!!!! 

You foul Smellin' dry gulchin' Skunk! You an' ME is 'bout to have us a gen-U-wine Western difficulty! I'm a gonna teach you a new dance you ugly, worm riddled son-of-sow-bellied SNAKE!

Yep... kinda lightened up my day considerable... :)

After some study of the sitchy-a-shun... I went on down to Yamaha and got the parts ordered... as well as the seal driving tool... using the dinero that was SUPPOSED to be fueling my run through the wind.

Once again, Sonja sits over in Evin's garage waiting on parts to put her road ready. Be some time next week when she'll go back on the jack and I'll tear the forks apart to put 'em right.

Thanks Trobairitz

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blown Off The Saddle

I ran some "last minute" errands" through the morning. I'd decided to leave a day earlier and make a wider circle.

My heart was strong and anticipation high. A week in the wind is a joyful ride.

An hour or so after I got back "home"... I walked back over to the garage with my water bladder and canteens... to finish loading and to check the tire pressure in anticipation of an early morning departure...

When I kneeled down at the front wheel the first thing I saw was a puddle of oil on the high side of the rim... WTF?!

When my eyes moved... they saw the oil all over BOTH forks... brakes... wheel... even a small spot on the ground... 

Apparently, during my morning errand run both seals blew... and blew big. :( 

My ride to the Grand Canyon is over before I rode a mile of it.

The seals which were, I must admit, weepy... and I was hoping I could milk just a little longer... Blew without mercy.

I am grounded now... until I either pony up the $300 plus for shop repair or learn to do it myself...
... either way... I won't be putting it in the wind THIS week.

One more hit... I'll power on through... I always do. That's what I was taught, and how I am... but it's getting harder.

I have been "powering through" since I watched my father die... when I was three... and yes... though they say a three year old cannot remember such things... I can describe in detail that day... as a shocked sister can attest...

59 years since then... hit after hit that either rip the soul in obscene ways I can't speak... or bruise the spirit with beating after beat down... never a respite... never the time to catch your breath... 

... Damn... so... I'll get drunk... I'll get mad... and I'll scream at the Devil, daring that red headed bastard to show his face...

But I know that back stabbing coward won't come... so... I'll stand up... put one foot in front of the other and fight my way around this newest obstacle...

... but each difficulty takes longer, the effort takes more... it truly sucks.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Itchty and Antsy... I'm Ready For The Road...

Wednesday morning I'll swing a leg, twist the throttle and put it in the wind.

Yesterday Sonja got her fresh oil to ready her for the road. I hope she appreciates it. At better than $10 a quart and needing better than five quarts (more than my old 390 cubic inch V8 Hot rod from years ago!!)...

... Oil changes are a pricy bit of maintenance!

Especially when you move away from Dino oil and go full synthetic... This is my first full syn run... buuut it's supposed to be better on your machine. Since I seem to be a lil' hard on 'em... I finally decided I should go with some of the more modern technology.

That's not an easy task with a Raider neither!

That bike has THREE drain plugs! and of course, they're set right where the jack needs to be to lift the bike high enough off the ground so you can swing a wrench... since two of 'em are on the side tucked in between the crankcase and the frame...

So... you have a bit of a balancing act to get the bike up straight... and just high enough to clear for the drain pan and wrench access... which puts it kinda far back...

It be a bit spooky workin' under near 800 lbs as it teeters and wiggles balanced up on that jack. :) Her tires are barely touching the ground. Only lift a couple inches... But I got her done with no great excitement so she's ready to roll!

Finished up checking and rechecking my gear... almost couldn't stop just swinging a leg and leaving early!!!

*Sonja be like; "Le's go dude!"

Though I'm only rolling for a week... That load is actually sufficient for a run to Alaska! ;) I've distilled it again after all these years... I carried too damn much clothes to the Yukon... Three/Four days of changes is plenty... you just hit a laundry a lil oftener. ;)

Oh yeah... I found a bit of special gear that is, so far, pretty cool.

I was watching a movie just last week; "Lone Survivor"... The tale of Marcus Lutrell and what I think is a pretty awesome movie. One lil' thing caught my eye... which has nothing to do with that story...

All of those guys, Warriors in the Finest Sense of the word, were all wearing Mechanix  brand gloves. I did a lil snooping and discovered they have a style that they call "Tactical"... that has good finger and knuckle protection for soldiers/sportsmen etc.

Then being textile, they should be a lot more comfortable in summer weather. You can find 'em in cammo prints too, not just black.

I've seen MECHANIX gloves many times before... made for mechanics... but those were bright blue and such... never gave 'em a thought...

But these... they call the M-pact style.

Fit like a "Glove" :) are comfortable and even have a vibration absorbing pad material on the palms...

The two pads are a "Poron" material under the synthetic "leather" that are supposed to soak up vibration and impact...

... and it don't hurt that they look Bad Ass ;) and are priced at Sportsman's Warehouse at just $25 bucks.

Even us poor boys can afford that!

... So now it's watch the clock... watch the calendar... and get ready to put my knees in the wind again.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Gear and Making Ready for a Circle

A few guys from a forum I frequent are having a "mini" rally down in Flagstaff. It's one of those "Brand" sort of rallys. I sorta wanted to go... buuuuut... really, when I look in my wallet... there ain't much in there but space... still...

Then one of the fellas wrote and sorta pestered me to meet up with 'em... so I said... What the hell... and so I'm goin'. Don't know how... maybe a liquor store or two ;) ... but come the 18th I'll be hangin' it in the wind for a 1500 mile circle to Flagstaff and back. 

That said... my road outfit has gotten a bit scattered so I have to whip it into shape and quick.

One of the things needed has been a new tail rack.

I been meaning to put that on ever since I swapped out the back rest... near two years ago now. It just never seemed to make it to the top of the list...

But, lashing a camp on a bike without one is fairly difficult... so I found the dinero and got it ordered in.

You know... Yamaha is a lot like HD when it comes to parts. HD might mean "hundred doller"... but I'm thinkin' "Yamaha" must mean "Lots of cash" in Japanese...

anyhoo... with the saddlebag repairs and paint done, the pipes refinished, the signal lights and plate carrier and the charging block all finished up...

The old scooter is lookin' pretty good to me. :) She's ready for a ride...

Another part of my outfit that's been needing attention is my bedroll... thinking about that I thought of making part of this a motel run... if I could get one or two nights at cheap Motel 6's along the way...

You know... $36 bucks and all that? Wellll... I checked up on one in Moab... Which would be 'bout the halfway mark and a decent near 400 mile ride that first day... "The cheapest of any chain"??? well... how does $160 bucks for ONE NIGHT in Moab sound? Pretty reasonable huh? Bwahahahahahhahahahahaha!!!

Well... I know this pretty lil' meadow just west of Durango... just before you get to Mesa Verde that'll make a nice lil' FREE camp half way to Flag... Sorry Motel 6 but 160 bucks for ONE night is NOT any sort of a reasonable rate! ;)

So... my circle will be made under canvas! Buuuuut... that's a problem too... cuz my last circle I discovered that my old mummy bag is no longer tolerable. I just can't stand the confinement... but... sleeping bags are costly!!

Then... I was walking through good Ol' Walmart... getting some lil' bit of something or other and happened to notice their sleeping bags... polyester just like the big high $$$ backpacking brands. Same weight of fill...

... and $32 bucks compared to a hundred and better for the big names... So I got to thinking about bags.

You know they've always been sort of a problem... summer weight or winter weight. You're too warm or too cold... And with their cost... who can afford all sorts of different bags?

 Well... I got this "idea" for a relatively low cost experiment... with seeing Wally worlds price... I got to thinking... IF... they were decent quality... a guy could carry a couple of the lighter ones... and layer them just like we do our clothes! My imagined "problem" would be solved.

They've got like three weights... warm, cool and cold... and ALL below $40 bucks!... so... even if a guy goes with two... he'd have a bag a lot warmer than the "big" brands... at less than half the price when you look at the cold weather grades. I grabbed a cool weather for $32... and it's rectangular so I eliminate that confinement issue I built up with the damned old mummy bag.

Gave it a "soft" test last night. The weather here went pretty chilly and wet last night. I left the windows and roof vents open and checked that bag for comfort and warmth.

That cheap $32 cool weather bag was almost too warm :) and more... though one night don't measure it for sure... I can't see a fault in the quality of materials. it's the Coleman brand, which has always served me well... how much variation can there really be in polyester these days?

I've got a couple of poncho liners I can pin in or around it to add a few degrees if necessary... and After the "real test" of this circle... I believe I'll add that second Walmart discount sleeping bag... for the earlier spring rides and late into the fall.

I saw one really light thing. Only like a pound of fill... THAT would make an excellent liner.

So... Nigh on to ready to roll

Grab Your Handles and Ride.

Monday, June 9, 2014

She May Have to Ride on the Truck Between Camps... But... A Trailer Queen She Ain't!

 I Believe People Think; "That Boy is Brain Damaged"

A biker has a choice. He/she can ride, paying little attention to the weather, or you can lose those days.

You can sit inside waiting for those sunny days... or you can just ride and take what comes...
*Consequence of forgotten rain gear*

If you do plan on taking what comes... I'd suggest you don't ride off and forget your rain gear... after pulling it from a saddle bag while you were rewiring your charging dock... Bwahahahahaha...

I remember pulling into the hardware I used to toil at. The thermometer on the sign board would be flashing 10 degrees as I pulled off my helmet and balaclava walking inside. The cashier would always just look at me and shake her head.

Me? I'd be grinning. I was ALIVE!

I don't care to ride in those temps any more... but... I've no idea why... rain makes me goofy.

Yesterday I rolled though the downpour... and music was swingin' through my head, helmet bobbin' to the rhythm. 

I glanced at the dad and soccer mom in their mini van as I passed, the water just pourin' off me and the bike... the look on their faces said it all; "No wonder this country is goin' to hell! So many people are NUTS!" ... Bwahahahahaha.

Some riders lay out big $$$ for exquisite paint and acres of chrome...

I've thought about it. Thought how cool it would be to ride one of those "show" bikes...

... and then thought about all the sleep I'd lose what with the work to clean and polish all that fancy four times a day...

Nah... for me... the finish I prefer, that fits this rider is the patina of miles. I'll wash off the grime once in a while when I pass a carwash...

... but worryin' any length of time 'bout bugs, dirt and rain splatter... well... that's just a waste of time.

Clean it all off and twelve miles down the road it'll all be right back on there... unless a fella leaves the bike parked under an awning waiting on a sunny day...

Screw that... I'll just remember the rain gear next time ;)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dark Clouds Threatening... or ...

The clouds hung low shrouding the front range. A few drops of rain splattered on my helmet. I wondered if I was going to get wet.

I was only riding a few miles into town in search of a switch. As I wait for a new Yamaha tail rack to arrive, so I can install it on the back rest, I was working on re-installing my electronics charging power dock.

I had a single "Lighter socket" power point before. This time, when I reinstalled the repaired and modified saddle bags I decided to do a better and upgraded setup. I was about to fix the new socket in place when I realized it had a power indicator light. That hadn't been noticed before.

One little led won't draw much power. Maybe a .1 or an amp or less? ... but... 24/7 that would not be a good thing... So... I decided I needed to back up and wire in a switch to kill power to the unit when un-needed/wanted, and when the bike is parked... So I was riding to find that switch.

The days have been pretty slow and frustrating lately. Down hard with the flu... my next book stalled from that and a lethargy in my writing muscle... it's just been some of that "meh" kind of a time.

So I rolled along chewing over all that frustrates. Words came to me from many places that scolded me for being "down"... bleh... just all thoughts wandered off into the distance and I just rolled...

... and that's when it struck me; not like a hard attention getting slap, not like a gong ringing in my ears... just one of those simple, quiet revelations... I had very nearly sold his moment. That's what selling the bike would have been... selling all the moments like this one... for a few transient dollars.

I was smiling... looking at those low hanging clouds and thinking... without words...

Not an ear to ear, giggling, wicked happy sort of belly laughing grin... just that easy, soft, subtle upturn of the corners of your mouth when... you're just riding easy. When all is calm and quiet and Right.

One of those moments when all the troubles and useless trivia of this life fade away and you are just in the place you belong and there are no doubts or questions... A moment when priorities come clear and you just see and hear and breathe... and your heart slides along content.

And I thanked the Boss for that moment... and suggested that a few more of 'em from time to time would be much appreciated... and the bike just rumbled along

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finally! She's Back Toghether and On The Road.

Got the Raider mostly put back together last Thursday... Took some bit of gymnastics since senility seems to be advancing at an alarming rate.

I drilled things out to give better relief for the wire that feeds the license plate late this time. That's what failed on the last one. The wire got pinched until it failed.

So then...

I hooked up all the wiring for the new signal/running lights from "Back Off" and the replacement illuminated license plate bracket from "Radiantz"... and had signal and break lights, but no running lights in either the factory tail light OR the new signal lights... and no illumination light on the plate...

So... tracing wires, rechecking connections, checking fuses... check check check and nothing. After several hours of frustration, and after having called Yamaha to see if there was a hidden fuse somewhere... I'm standing there scratching my head and wondering WTF!!!

While I'm scratching... my eyes come to rest on a small black box RIGHT BESIDE the main fuse box under the seat. A small black box I MUST have seen three dozen times in the past few hours...

Any idea what is in that lil' box? grrrrrrr... yup... THE tail light fuse that was causing all my gyrations... Hell, I'd taken half of the the back of that bike apart hunting for what was causing my troubles and there it sat... right there hidden in plain sight... just plain pathetic...

So... the bags are repaired, repainted and reinstalled.

The new lights are on and working.

The shift lever is repaired and straight.

The pipes are refinished and reinstalled.

The damaged wheel finish is polished up and they're looking good...

Sonja the Raider is back on the road.

I much like the new light and license plate layout better than before. It's a lot cleaner.

My only gripe is that when they're on, those signal/running lights aren't quite as bright in the daylight as I'd like them to be...

...soooo... I plan to add a second set right above the existing ones... just double 'em up. I think that'll work just fine.

So Friday I took a quick ride over to the carwash to clean off a few weeks of dust and stuff that had collected from sitting on the jack in the garage for so long.

... And of course... washing any sort of a vehicle makes it rain right?

This was no exception... just as soon as I pulled out of the carwash with a shiny squared up scooter... it started raining...

Well... if I'm gonna waste a wash might as well at least make it worth my while so instead of just goin' on home I turned west for Poudre Canyon.

The farther I rode west the darker the skies got... and the more frequent the rain squalls... The river up there was running bank full.

Fact is now today, it's really starting to flood roads and such again down here on the flat lands. Everyone is kinda nervous considering what happened last September... and repairs from all that aren't even close to being done yet...

With the skies looking ever more ominous to the west I chose to just turn 'round and head back through the lighter rain goin' east ;)

I don't mind the rain... hell I sort of enjoy it. I'm not what you might call a fair weather biker... but to be honest... I was starting to feel kinda puny...

So I turned back.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny but by mid day I was feeling kinda blah again. Thought maybe a ride up Big Thompson Canyon would lift my spirits some...

... That river, the next big canyon south, is running fairly full too, but not as heavy it seems as the Poudre.

Buuuuut... by the time I ran the Canyon and got home... I was feeling like I'd run a marathon with a 300 pound whore on my back... yup... that "puny" feeling was some sort of a flu coming on...

... which has been whuppin' my butt since Saturday afternoon... and continues today...

So I guess... for the next few days it's lay about waiting for this crud to run its course...

Grab Your Handles and Ride