Monday, July 21, 2014

A Weird Conclusion to The Fork Rebuild... and Some SWEET Time in The Wind

Sooo... I'm at a tee total loss. The bike is back together and I've not got a sliver of a part of a small bit of the shadow of an idea how.

The curbside of the forks was together days ago. The road side refused to go. I broke down and ordered the pro tool which required waiting a week for it to arrive. When it did it was the wrong "drive" so I had to hunt up an adapter for it...

Then I went to assemble the fork tube... and the PRO tool wouldn't hold! ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

I had help to hold the holder and no matter what I/we did... nada... it wouldn't go together. Frustrated and angry I called it quits at dark. Went over and sat under the shredded awning and sipped a beer... stewing in my own juice.

Shortly after dawn I walked back over to give it one last solo try... and failed again. That damned tube just kept turning. No Joy.

So there I am... bike sitting on a jack. One tube that isn't and won't go together and stumped and frustrated and fresh out of any ideas....

Absent mindedly I picked up a wrench... and just went to turn that bolt again, and turn the damper rod, while trying to come up with another "idea"... and with NO HOLDER in the tube... the damper rod wouldn't turn? Locked up solid... WTF???!

I picked up the torque wrench and put it on... and CLICK! with NO DAMPER ROD HOLDER IN PLACE...not one damn thing to hold it... and it didn't/wouldn't turn...

So now, I'm kinda freaked; Did I screw something up and have the forks all jammed up?

No... it works like it's supposed to, both sides... Weirdness... checking the other tube it wouldn't turn either???... IDK. I've no freaking idea what or why or when or how...

I only know... the forks weren't together... and then they WERE... and I didn't do a damned thing... but... I'll take it! I hurried and got the oil in and leveled, the wheel and fender and brakes on... got her back together... and then gingerly rode a hundred miles... testing to see all was "Right"...

The brakes work. The forks work. No leaks. No Squeaks. No heat... just... doing what it's supposed to do...

Then yesterday I climbed on and went on a nice wide circle.

Ran up Hwy 287 through Laramie. Rolled out Hwy 130 through Centennial and climbed up into the Snowies...

You're just over 10,000 feet up in Snowy Range pass on top... Far Country that soothes the soul of a grumpy old puss gut like me!

Coming down off the west side of the Snowies I caught Hwy 230 just a little below Saratoga and turned south for Walden in the North Park country of Colorado.

Grab some fuel there and came back east on Hwy 14 over Cameron Pass, another 10,000+ footer... and down the Poudre Canyon back to Fort Collins.

That's a nice run down the canyon... until you get to the lower end...and then all the cagers who can't go around a 35 mile an hour bend at 25 without hitting their brakes kinda mess with the day... :)

Buuuut... bottom line... a few hundred miles on my unknown-how-I-did-it repair... and all is good. Awesome!

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Remember Maxwell Smart?

What's he got to do with Motorcycles you ask?

"Missed it be THAT much!" Just imagine Max's voice :)

I haven't gotten Sonja put back together yet...

But I came close... I found a five dollar tool for plumbing (a nipple extractor) that gripped the curbside damper rod perfectly, allowing me to torque the bolt holding the tubes together...

That center offset section "cams" or turns eccentrically and wedges into smooth round holes to grip.

A small collection of extensions gave me the length needed to reach down inside the fork...

The first tube was torqued in but a few seconds... so excited that I'd have her back together in another hour or so I slid the contraption down the second tube and turned it to lock in place... and turned it to lock in place... and turned it, and turned it... and whispered a curse... and turned it...

Nothing! What worked 100% perfect a foot away in the other identical tube... wouldn't grip even a slight bit in the second... arrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!

Sooooo... I spent five hours running around, calling, walking through tool/hardware stores trying to scheme and option... went back to the garage and tried again... fail... ugh...

I smell that sorry little irish again. Who else do you know, 'cept for me, takes a two hour job and converts it into a three week ordeal? That pest Murphy has GOT to be mixed up in this ;)

Well... I finally surrendered and called Motorcycle Superstore to order the "Pro" tool... which of course they have to get from THEIR supplier... which is identical to the plumbing tool I used to sell in MY hardware days... which they no longer manufacture as a Five dollar plumbing tool.

Nope... it's a $25 dollar Motorcycle Damper Rod Holder tool! or more if you go to the wrong place. :) So... I wait another week for the HOPEFULLY last tool to arrive so I can put my girl back together!

I did succeed in finding a boot that will, also Hopefully, protect the forks from future premature fork seal failure from dirt...

I located a pair of what were manufactured as Rancho Suspension Shock boots that fit near perfectly. They'll keep grit and rocks and bugs from either dingin' the tubes or getting into the seals and causing future leaks.

Kinda old school and I'm sure the chrome and flashy paint boys will thumb their noses... but then... I've never seen the chrome and flashy paint boys on the roads I ride. :) How-some-ever... I HAVE seen plenty of grit and rocks and bugs...

... and it wasn't just in my bed roll!

Another week and she'll be healthy again... my fingers are tightly crossed...  Until then... I walk over to the garage twice a day and ring that gremlin bell you can see danglin' just under the frame below the gear lever...

Oh yeah... I don't think I told you here... maybe it was just on that "other" blog...The RV one ;) (that story starts here)... I'm still dealing with wasps on the roof of the rig that won't let me up there to do THAT maintenance either... So I built a tent to hang a pest strip in, and traps all around to kill the nasty little parasites...

*Bug tent on the 5th wheels roof surrounded by traps*

Tough as they are... I'm more stubborn than they are (Yosemite Sam genetics prolly) and I'm winning that battle too, if slowly... My "bug tent" is knocking them down day by day...

Putting my frickin frackin motorcyclin' butt back in the wind will be a VERY appreciated day! :) ... even if it IS on a Yamaha... bwahahahahahahaha

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How Do You Tell If You're Getting Lost?

When you look around and you don't recognize YOU.

The stagnation of this stationary life that circumstance has gotten me mired in the past few months... has me that-a-way. I feel lost. I can't but feel like I'm just waiting... and there's NOTHING here to wait for. Time is long past to be going...

The hardest thing for those that aren't is to understand the hunger that drives a rover.

There's those that travel and even travel full time that think of themselves with that moniker. They are wrong. They might do it full time for a few years; or off and on for a lifetime... but traveling is not Roving.

Those folks go to see this or they go to see that... and then... they go Home. They might "RV" full time for three, four...maybe five years... but then... They Go Home. They settle in again.

I'm not denigrating them or their way of going when I say; "They are not Rovers." Let's be clear. They are fine but that's not being a Rover. They are simply people who go from here to there and back again from time to time and fully enjoy it.

However... A true Rover... a wanderer... lives from a completely different perspective with a completely different need. He has no intention of getting "There". He's not trying to "Get" anywhere. For the Rover... there is nowhere to "Get"... He's already there. He only needs to be moving.

As a bird needs the sky and a fish needs the river... a Rover has a visceral, genetic hunger for the road. It is a need that drives his soul.

He doesn't seek anything. That is not and never was his goal. It takes a lot of Drifters many years to realize that themselves. They keep asking; "What am I doing? What am looking for?"

They are taught by soh-sigh-uh-tee that they are somehow faulty and their way is a weakness. It takes many years before the realization finally shines in their hearts... "I'm not wrong. I'm not weak. I'm not trying to "DO" anything. I'm not trying to collect anything. I'm just Being. I'm just me."

To quote Gus... "Just a man... free on the earth."

It is the Going that feeds the soul of a Drifter. It's not seeing some place that drives him. It is but the simplicity of the movement itself, the change. The Freedom. ROVING is the Stuff that sustains his soul.

In this society, to be "approved"... you must show yourself to be "productive". You must demonstrate tangible creation for dollar spent. You must be profitable to "IT" the society to be measured a "Good" person.

A Rover has no need for any of that judgmental nonsense.

A rover I will always be
I need the wind in my face
The sun on my back
A throttle in my hand
A big V-Twin rumbling under me
Two tires singing on asphalt
And the Horizon... racing on ahead of me

Simply put, a Rover knows that the place where he belongs, where his Spirit is in rhythm with the universe is out there... along some lonely road... following the paint stripes of a Ribbon of Asphalt.

When he is there... His spirit glows warm with the sure and certain knowledge...

~ I am home ~

Not new words for me... but words that continue to echo in my head.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Two Hour Job...

That's goin' on two weeks! ha ha ha... Yup... those seals and such are maybe two hours for a "trained professional"... and I'm bumping up on a couple of multiples of that.

Buuuuuut... got a call yesterday afternoon and my bushings are in... so I'll bump along today and see how close I can get to putting her back together!

I can't say I'll have saved any dinero... considering the tools I've bought to do this work... but I am kinda happy to be honest that I'm doing it for other reasons. Somehow I think it's a benefit to have been in there, and know better how things work... and just to refresh the memory that I can still get it done when needed.

... and that kinda gets a guy to thinking 'bout other things.

I wrote on my "other" blog/site that I'm now of that age where folks often make veiled and not so veiled comments that it's time for the "old guy" to start slowing down... "You're too old to be doin' things like that any more..."

Just the thinking of that sentiment... let alone the voicing of it makes my liver quiver. My response is generally something like; "YOU are too old to live maybe... but ME? I'm only too old... when I'm DEAD!"

You ever hear or see anything about this Ol' gal? Gloria is 89 years young. Still twisting the throttle and still hangin' it in the wind.

That's my goal now... and I've got better than a quarter of a century to pass her record by!

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sometimes When it Comes to Motorcycle Maintenance... Cheap Don't Pay

Sometimes a guy just walks along shakin' his head... He's walkin'... cuz the bozo is too cheap for his own good.

Got the forks torn down with very little trouble really. Turned out I needed to enlist a buddy with an impact wrench to provide enough "ooomph" to pop the bolts that hold the forks together. To get them back together I've got to fabricate a "Damper tube holder".

Not a big deal... just one of the "lil' details" nobody seems to mention in their "Easy Job" write ups. ;)

I also need to break down and pick up at least a cheapie impact wrench...

The MAIN obtructification standing in my way is that bit of mush that slops around between my ears. A couple of weeks back when I ordered the fork seals... I was trying to be frugal, conservative... penny wise... yeah lots of fine sounding words that mostly mean tight wad dumb ass to cheap for his own good! ;)

What I DIDN'T order were fresh bushings. Dumb move. When I got the forks apart it was clear and plain they were worn way to much to leave... so they've been ordered now and I wait again for new parts.

In the mean time I decided to make an "Old School" modification to protect those fork seals in the future.

I started hunting around for fork boots.

Only... near as I can tell, Nobody builds any that fit the forks of a Yamaha Raider...

Most of my life, spent on the ranches, has been figgerin' ways to make what you HAVE, do the job you need it to do. So I've developed a pretty good ability to find new parts that were mistakenly believed to be something else!

Like Rancho Truck Shock Boots. Those aren't shock boots! Them there are Yamaha Raider Fork Boots! :)

Yup... their nice rubber boots fit like a freakin' glove. Takes a good bit of effort to get that skinny end started but once you do it fits like it was designed for the purpose.

I'll zip tie the ends with black ties (which will be nigh on to invisible) and dirt getting to the fork seals will not be a problem in the future!


Now I know... Rubber boots are not gonna appeal to folks that are all into chrome and polish, and I understand that, and that's fine.

But me? I'm into snoopin' around back roads. Signs that say "Pavement ends" don't turn me back like they tend to do for the spit and polish boys...

The only problem with that is, my ride tends to experience a bit more grit and grime than the average big red cruiser..

*Up in the Yukon*
This bike is gonna take me back to Alaska again... it's gonna take me hopefully to the Maritimes... and lots of other places in between... and lots and lots of Places and visions those riders that have to fret about their chrome will never see...except in the pictures made by nut jobs like me. :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride