Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Not Packed Yet

 On Saturday I'll be leaving for a nine day bike vacation to the Smokie Mountains. I had a few things on the Ultra that needed attention including a new battery, new clutch and new front tire. The radio/nav system hadn't had an update in over a year so I went on the Harley web page and discovered it was due for the latest software. This is a simple matter of downloading the data and transferring it on a thumb drive to the bike. All went fine. Last night was the final piece of maintenance when I changed the tranny oil. I was happy to see nothing stuck to the drain plug magnet.

 In years past I would be packed by now. I've found that just makes these last few work days drag out forever so I'm not gonna rush things. I also don't have a packing list made out. Thats not like me to wing it in this area. I usually take too much crap anyway so if I forget something maybe it will all even out.

 Every day in my shop I walk past the tank for the sportster and think to myself that I need to get rolling on that project. Those thoughts inspired me to take some campfire pics so I could maybe practice up on my attempts to paint real fire.

 By the time the fire was burning the brewskies had left me less than steady but these turned out pretty good and should give me some material to study in developing a style for painting my own flames. The first thing I notice about them is that I can't make most of the outer shapes with the stencils I already have. The next thing I notice is there is a lot of stuff moving in all directions, not just vertical. I'll give it more thought when I get back from vacation.


Sunday, August 12, 2018


I'm posting this from a motel room in Rome, Wi. Yesterday we attended a family reunion on my wife's side. The day involved bullshittin, beer drinking, boat rides and bags. Ya bags, or better known as cornhole, where you toss a bean bag at a hole in a target. I suck at it but then I was going against "leagers".
A good time was had by all. Anyway, gotta get moving and find some chow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

35,750 Miles

 That's what the odometer on my 2015 Ultra Limited was reading when I decided to pull the primary cover and replace the clutch. I had noticed on a ride two weekends ago that I was able to whack the throttle and slip the clutch. Not the kind of thing you want to mess with when bangin gears, doing burnouts and knee draggin with your buddies in the Smokie Mountains. OK, these days we're more like the old geezers we used to laugh at as we flew past, but its all good, knees in the breeze and all.
 My first concern was getting the bike vertical to work on it. No center stand and even if there were, I ain't capable of putting a 900+ pound scoot up on one. OK, maybe I could but my back would be barking at me for a week. These days I limit my lifting weight to an 18 pack of brewskies, 24 pack if they're on sale.
 Anyway, the chore was easily handled with a bike lift that Chris VB gave me. At first I was nervous and thought my wife may need to run the jack while I balanced the bike but I found that the lift was well suited to the task of bench pressing a full size touring rig. Once I blocked it up front to rear the bike felt quite stable. Thanks Chris!

 The job itself is pretty much just straight forward wrenching with no special tools needed unless you consider a torque wrench a special tool, which you shouldn't.

 The heel shifter, front and rear floor boards and primary cover come off. Then 6 bolts holding the diaphragm spring in place and thats it for tools. During disassembly I discovered this gunk smeared around the edge of the pressure plate, under the diaphragm spring.

It had the consistency of a paste but I accidentally found out it was attracted by a magnet. This is the worn material from the fibers and steels of the clutch.

A caliper proved that the clutch was actually worn past spec.

 The last clutch I did was in the sportster and the manufacturer recommended soaking the fibers in primary oil overnight. This Barnett clutch only wanted a 3 or 5 minute bath.

  So after buttoning everything back up and filling the primary with oil, it was time for a test ride. I thumbed the starter and the beast let out a big roar as it came to life. The next sound I usually hear is the famous Harley "clunk" as the bike is shifted into first gear. Not this time. One down, no clunk, not a peep. Sweet! In fact, in about a dozen shifts from neutral to first it only made a light clunk half of the time. Thats a huge improvement and I wonder if it will get better. Before if I wanted a butter shift from N to 1 I had to pull in the clutch lever and whack the throttle three times before attempting the shift. Two whacks didn't work.
 The clunk wasn't the reason for the new clutch. Slippage was and I realize now how bad it really was. No more twisting the wick and getting a slip. A couple of rips through the gears and wow I could really feel the difference. It pulls hard and I'm looking forward to the next ride.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Used Vehicle Search Continues

 Saturday at work sucked. There wasn't any particular reason why, I just couldn't get out of there fast enough. Thats not normal and I think I'm just getting anxious to go on vacation. The next two weeks are gonna be brutal.
 After work I went for a bike ride and stopped at a few dealerships to check out their inventory of used crap that might fit my budget. I wanted to see if a particular truck was still available. It had been there for quite a while and I was thinking of making them a lowball offer just to see how that played out. On the way I glanced down and noticed I was low on fuel. I don't normally let it get this low and if I were aware that I was running on fumes I'd have been nervous. Only 23 miles to empty. I know thats a quarter tank on some bar hoppers, or a full days use, but I don't roll that way.

 When I got there I spotted the truck from a distance but something wasn't right. The truck had a bit of bubbling rust starting around the fenders and those bastards recently put flares on it to cover it up. I call them rust covers. I hate that and these particular flares look awful and are a deal breaker for me. Too bad, this 3/4 ton would have pulled any load I hooked to it.

 That same lot had only one other candidate that would have met my needs.

 This Yukon was in fair condition and wasn't a full time awd. For me the third row seating would get shit canned and it would be just like a pickup with a permanent topper. When I look at this thing I daydream of pulling my bike and trailer down south on a cold winter day. I'd drive until the sun was shining and the roads were dry, then hop on the bike for a ride.
 Another dealer in the same town had a used truck lot so I decided to investigate. The first thing that caught my eye was a Toyota FJ Cruiser. I had a v8 powered fj40 decades ago and I guess its just kind of a nostalgia thing. That, and the fact that I'm drawn to ugly vehicles. Over the years I've owned a Corvair, an AMC Pacer and a Willys pickup. Its all good. Another vehicle on that lot really caught my eye. This black and orange Harley edition is a real looker.

 The last "truck" I looked at was this Avalanche. Not my first choice but I suppose it would do. A car like ride with the ability to do some light towing and even lighter hauling in its tiny bed. It was clean enough for the age and thats what caught my eye. 

 The latest news on our truck fund looks favorable in the dollar amount but I doubt the money will be available before I leave for vacation. Until then I'll keep poking around and see whats out there.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Top Ten List

 Wow, August is here already! This summer is flying by and I feel like I haven't accomplished a damn thing. As far as motorcycle projects go that's really a true statement. The Rat Turd is still in the living room. The sportster needs a headlight, turn signals and a fuel tank. The BSA is still sitting idle on a lift in the shop. I want to work on these things but it just hasn't happened.

High class

 Last weekend I decided to spend the day on the Ultra just to see how out of tune I was from not racking up the mileage this summer. When I got home I was sore and my mileage wasn't anywhere near what I plan to do on a daily basis while on vacation. Most of the problem is a bruise on my back side from that fall out of the garage rafters. After that ride I started feeling anxious about this vacation so here is my top ten list of shit that needs to happen before I can leave.
 In no particular order of importance:
 *Replace the front tire on the Ultra. Its cupped weird in the center with the blocks tapered front to rear. I don't remember any other bike tire wearing this way. Its worn and I don't trust it in the rain. I think the rear will be fine.
 *Investigate the state of the clutch. If I'm cruising at hiway speed I can roll off the throttle then whack it and the clutch will slip. I'm thinking plates, frictions and springs. Unfortunatley this wasn't a planned expense.
 *Charge the batteries in the GoPro and re-familiarize myself with its operation. I still have video from last year that needs editing.
 *Study the map and look for possible points of interest along the route. BillT pointed out I'll be near the Corvette museum and I may just check that out.
 *Buy socks. Its become a tradition, once a year right before vacation whether I need them or not. (I always need them)

Tapping a fresh glass of vino

 *Clean the bike. Not the bugs and grime although that will probably happen, I mean the trunk and left saddlebag. I was shopping out of town a while back and needed to haul a box home. It was threatening rain and I wanted the box in the trunk. The amount of crap that had to come out of that trunk and get stuffed in the saddlebag was embarrassing. If I have extra room on a bike I find something to take it up. Gloves, glasses, hats and tools. Spare parts, camera stuff, gizmos and straps. Its all in there.
 *Create a real packing list. This isn't an impulse ride, its a planned vacation and if I want it to be smooth then I better not forget any essentials.
 *Make sure I'm caught up at work. Not much planning involved, just a matter of doing it. I don't want to be thinking about a chainsaw sitting on the bench while trying to enjoy the Smokie Mountains.
 *Update my thumb drive play list. I usually just fly down the interstate while blasting tunes till I reach my destination. I'll smell the roses when I get there. You don't have to like it, its my ride.
 *Surf the web for a used vehicle. Dunno yet if I'll have found a truck by then or if I'll even have the cash in my account but I've been enjoying time spent researching different rides.
 That's ten. As far as the vehicle search goes, I got a call today from a salesman where I test drove a Grand Cherokee. There are three vehicles I've been watching closely and that one is still available. We'll see.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Buzzed Blogging Is Drunk Blogging

 Its Saturday night and I'm trying to write this blog entry whilst enjoying a prettty good buzz. My wife and I just returned home from a dinner date. I guess thats what we do now that the kids have flown the coop. Actually its kind of nice to be looking back at having raised a family rather than worrying about getting the kids pointed in the right direction so last night was her turn to enjoy martinis and tonight I enjoyed quite a few old fashioneds.

 What does this mean to you? Well, I could babble on about some nonsense or just narrate a few pics. I choose the latter.
 Lets start with my Automower named Mowby Dick. He lived up to his namesake twice this week when he drove off the curb in front of my house. Once while I was home and the other time when I was at work. I drove home to rescue him because I didn't have my security cameras set up yet and didn't know if he was in the street. According to the neighbor he was in the street and that was confirmed yesterday when he pulled the same crap while I was home. Of course this isn't his fault. I had the wire buried too close to the curb but hes still a dick.

 On the same topic, these mowers are the hot ticket in the Husqvarna world and are getting updates all the time. Here I'm feeding Mowby a fresh set of 1's and 0's.

 In work related news, we got another new to us truck. This one will pull the tent crew trailer around. Its amazing how tight these medium duty trucks will turn. If you crank the wheel while going forward, the cab and the trailer will hit each other. Thats pretty impressive.

 Not sure whats happening here but I gots me a pic of it.

 And finally for the pics I offer you this:

 I don't normally wear my reading glasses while standing at the toilet. At my age I know where to find everything without having to look, but I had to put them on when I thought I noticed some writing on this roll stacked on the toilet tank lid. Sure as shit (see what I did there) someone wrote on it. I feel sorry for the guy that felt the need to write the message. Its just another case of young punks that don't have their mommies here to wipe their hiney and clean up after them.
 Enough of the pics. I've been thinking about this used truck purchase coming up and realized I'll be heading south in a few weeks for vacation where the trucks are not as rusty. I think if I'm still in the market then maybe I should take advantage. It would give me something to do between rides and I'd be happy enough truck shopping while on vacation. The part I can't quite work out is the logistics of getting me, a truck, and my bike all home together. See I've been looking at short bed trucks and even if I found a way to get my Ultra up into a bed, I would need an 8 footer to haul it. Of course there are other options so for now I'll just roll with it and see what happens.
 Finally, I want to wish Deena a very Happy Birthday from Scotty too Hotty!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Phones

 I'm a techy kind of guy so when my wife dropped her phone and cracked the screen I have to admit I was a little excited. Not pissed off excited, rather "time for new phones excited". See I've figured out that my wife and I need to have the same phone so I can answer any questions or show her tips I've learned. Not that she can't do these things on her own if needed but I'm already actively seeking these things out so why not take advantage of that. BTW, "techy kind of guy" can be translated to "sucker for gadgets".
 Monday after work she texted me to stop at the cellular store and "pick up some new phones", as if it were as easy as running through a drive up window. I really wanted to just go home and lay in my recliner. If you remember I fell out of the rafters of my garage and I was still feeling like I had been tackled by the Green Bay Packers defensive front line. Then she called and I gave in to her request but insisted she stop at the store on her way home. With the price of phones and extras I really felt we should make these choices together.
 You never know who yer gonna get as far as experience level when you plop down in the chair in front of the phone geek salesman. Some are new and just need a job. Some are experienced and rush you through the process but we got the guy that had a pretty good clue and wanted to make sure we had all our questions answered. Cripes the whole thing lasted an hour and none of that was wasted deciding which phones to get. I asked which was the latest and greatest android phone out there. He said the Galaxy S9 plus and I said, "two please". Mines black and hers is purple. I don't know if these guys work on commission but if they do then he ate good that night. With the cost of phones, screen protectors, cases and wireless chargers, I could have bought a really nice used bike...or fixed the dent in the BMW roof or painted my house roof. I'm not complaining, just pointing out that this crap is a big drop in the bucket. I, and many of you, use our phones all the time. We do stuff on them that was unheard of when our parents were our age. I don't mind dropping a little coin on something that is always within arms reach and ready to serve. Of course it sucks that the technology usually is obsolete before the phone plan expires but they got us techy people by the balls. If you want the latest and greatest then you gots to pay.
 No reviews. The phone has been out long enough that if you are into it then you already know what it does. The camera is awesome, it has more storage than my S7 and the screen is nice and big to compensate for my aging vision. Actually, the phone is kinda big and when I whip it out I feel like I'm sporting a boom box on my shoulder. Look at me and my big phone.
 The worst part of a new phone is transferring your apps, pics and stuff from the old phone. They've made advances in this over the last few years because it went fast this time. The next worst thing is trying to remember all those log-ins and passwords to access those apps. One other thing I found out about some of this new technology is that its not always very good. Here's a pic of me.

 This is how I posed when I took a pic to create an emoji of myself. Its a new feature of this camera. This is how the phone translated it:

 Who the hell is that supposed to be? The eye color isn't even right. I like the "get off my lawn!" version in the first pic better although you will catch me throwing out a peace sign every so often.