Sunday, June 28, 2015


 Here in Princeton WI we celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and festivities in the city park last night. This always happens the Saturday before the 4th even if the 4th is a Saturday. Don't ask me why, I don't make the rules.
 Let me back up a bit. Today started with  half day of work. I spot sprayed about 80 gallons of roundup through a hose from a tractor mounted sprayer. This all went on one large commercial account. My mission was to eliminate rogue weeds in sidewalk cracks, flower beds, loading docks, parking lots, and anywhere else they didn't belong. If 80 gallons of spot spraying seems like a lot, you're right. It's a big place.
 I punched out around noon and rode the bike home where I picked up my bride. We enjoyed the sunshine while on a nice bike ride. We managed to piss away the afternoon and got back to the house around 5. It's my daughter Parkers birthday and we wanted to take her out to dinner so Parker got into her gear and I took her on a ride about 45 minutes away. My wife met us there in her car. We enjoyed a nice meal on the water and then rode home.
 Now it was just a matter of waiting for it to get dark and watching the fireworks.


  We've been in this house 18 years and raised three daughters here and every year it's the same thing. Find some chairs or blankets, hose down with bug dope, mix up some adult beverages and walk down to the school field where the fireworks are being set off. There's a band playing in the park and they can be heard equally as well from my house or the spot we watch the fire works so we can hear the music all night. I enjoy this tradition and wonder if we will do it next year when there are no kids left in the house.
 Actually, now that the last child is leaving, I wonder how much things might change around here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Who's Knockin At My Door?

 Ding dong. What the heck? Who's ringing my bell? That bell rings less than once a month, probably cuz I don't play well with others. Anyway I get up out of my lazyboy and find the neighbor standing outside my door along with some dude. This dude was dressed in such a way that he was obviously a biker. I stood there all cleaned up in a dress shirt not looking at all like a grease monkey.
 " You fixed my 30 year old snow blower once. Do you think you could help this guy with his bike?"
 "Certainly. Let's see what you've got."
 The bike was a big twin with points. The electric start was out but it was also a kicker. The concern was that the oil pressure light wasn't coming on when the ignition was flipped on. The bike wouldn't start.
 We'll call him "Rick". Not because I want to protect his identity, no, we'll call him Rick cuz if I remember right that was his name. Rick says he only has twenty miles on a fresh rebuild and I can see there are a few wires hanging out. I know exactly what's going on here cuz I've been there. The project isn't done but the excitement to ride out weighs everything else and you slap it together enough to ride into town. That's cool.
 We're working in the street and it's getting dark. I walk back to get some tools, my glasses and a flashlight. The neighbor supplies some bug dope. After 20 minutes of tossing ideas back and forth along with some inconsistent results with a test light, we determined there must be a bad ground. Sure enough the negative battery cable was loose.
 One or two kicks later and the v-twin roared to life. Rick rode off to enjoy his fresh project. I strolled back into the house and flopped down in my big comfy chair and the neighbor did whatever neighbors do.
 If the doorbell ever rings again I prefer it to be something like this rather than someone shoving their wares or political ideas in my face.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's Official

 The new bike has been accepted as part of the fleet and received its very own GSR sticker.

 I'm getting much more comfortable on the bike. I'm just over the 2000 mile mark. My wife and I have gone on a few short rides together including a "dinner date" Friday night to our favorite mexican joint.
 I ran into a couple at the gas station that were on a '14 Limited. We talked for quite a while about the bike and I told them I just bought one. His question was "then why are you on that sportster?" I told him I thought it was gonna rain that day and the new one was clean and the sporty needed a bath. Hey I like having more than one bike to choose from even if the sporty is slower and handles worse. They're all fun to ride!
 In the pic above you'll notice the long vertical openings on each side of the fender. There are companies that offer lights to fill these up and offer more warning to people behind you. They can be wired as tail/brake/turn or any combination of the three. I may just order a set.
 You may also notice the skid mark on the floor. I came into the garage a little hot the other day. The anti-lock/linked brakes don't kick in under 2 or 3 mph.

 Yesterday my dad, brother and I went down to Iowa to a wood carving show. Dad had a piece in the show.

 It's the swan on this end of the table. I think I posted some pics of it before in the early stages. It really is a nice carving and it did place. I was so impressed with the amount of talent exhibited here. You can see the hours and hours of time it must have taken to finish some of these works of art. If you ever get a chance to go to a wood carving show I suggest you do it.
 Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there. My wife and I are gonna spend the day on the bike. If the weather holds out it should be a fun day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Plugs and Carbs

 Earlier this year I was cleaning off my bench at work and noticed there were a lot of used spark plugs and replaced carbs laying on it. There happened to be an ice cream bucket nearby and I started tossing plugs into it. I saw another bucket and started tossing old carbs into it. There is absolutely no good reason for saving old spark plugs. If you want them come get em. The carbs get some pieces salvaged off of them every so often so that's my excuse for hanging on to them. I should note here that Greg works on four strokes on the other side of the shop and has at least one bucket full of carbs he's always digging in.

 I'm not religious about saving this crap. If I remember then I toss the old ones in the bucket. I don't know why.  Many just end up in the trash can on the other side of the bench and as I look at this pic I realize how stupid it is to be saving these. I think I'll empty the bucket tomorrow.

 Here is the bucket of carbs. What makes a carb bad and not rebuildable? Here is my rule of thumb. If a carb won't prime and it's not the fault of the purge bulb, fuel lines or filter, then it gets tossed in the bucket. These carbs have check valves in them that get plugged or damaged. When I say damaged, many times it's from someone using compressed air to "blow out" the passages. Many times they blow out these check valves ruining them and then you have a carb that won't prime or run right. A carb kit doesn't usually come with new check valves so rebuilding is a waste of time. Besides that when you add the cost of a kit and labor, it is cheaper to just replace. In the pic below is a black Murray(MTD) trimmer. It's getting a new $19.99 carb. You just can't rebuild them for less.
 Today the boss walked up to my bench and asked me if I could do something for him when I got caught up.

 I told him I'd do it for him now because I didn't know when I'd get caught up and I was leaving for vacation the third week of august either way. This mess is just the "in progress" pile. Yep.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First Service

 Last weekend I took the new Harley up to Appleton HD for its first thousand mile service. I had a few questions and concerns about some noises I was hearing and the mechanic acknowledged that there might be something going on there but it wasn't much and I should beat it some more and see if it got worse.
 It got worse. I rode back up there yesterday and the guy working the service counter was someone else. He came out and listened to the bike and immediately decided the compensator needs to be shimmed. Sounds good to me. That was my "internet diagnosis" so hearing him say that made me happy. I have to take the bike back up there tuesday night so they can work on it wednesday. They'll give me a loaner to get home.

 When I left the dealership yesterday it was raining pretty good. This would be my first ride in the rain on this bike and I was looking forward to seeing how it dealt with wet conditions. When I turned onto the hiway I decided to run it up in first gear pretty good then grab second and fist full of throttle. I didn't expect the heavy bike to break the rear tire loose but it did.  It's nice to know where the edge is.
 The protection from the weather is decent. Not perfect but pretty good. Good enough for a bike I suppose. No complaints. You know how rain beads up on the windshield and rolls over the top? It then flies into your face or drips down the inside of the shield. This is very minimal on this bike and I think the vent in the front of the fairing is the reason why. I never thought to close it and see if things changed.
 I did not test the abs on this wet ride and it never kicked in. The reason I didn't check it out is I already know it works. Last week I was at a customers house discussing our services. He has a long gravel drive in the middle of nowhere. When I left and knew nobody could see me I sped up to about 30 mph and then just grabbed as much front brake as I could. If I were on a non-abs bike I would have been picking stones out of my knees and palms but that wasn't the case here. The front brake lever just pulsed as I held steady pressure and the bike slowed to a stop. It felt like the front wheel may have locked a few times just for a nanosecond but there was no loss of control at all. I'm impressed and happy to know that the system is there if needed. I know some guys will argue that they can brake better on their own and don't need a computer with linked abs brakes. Some of those guys may be right. For me on this big heavy bike I think it may be a good thing and so far am happy with they way the bike handles.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


 That's right. That's me slammin a PBR way before it was cool. We didn't drink it because it was a fad. We drank it because it was a local cheap ass beer.
 And how about that duck on my bibs. Sweet. The nerdy kids had pigeons or sparrows but the cool kids were rockin ducks.

 Whutchu lookin at? You eyeballin me kid? Don't give me the stink eye.

 And pops was styling in his pink silk...vest? jacket liner? smokin jacket? Not sure.

 Make it a point to do at least one thing that makes you happy and have a great day!
 Me? I'm gonna ride my bike to work and be grinnin all the way.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gettin Organized

 It had been less than a week of new HD ownership when I got a call from the dealer that parts I had ordered were in. This is a good thing because one of the items ordered was a trunk organizer. I guess its about 60 miles to the dealer so a mini road trip was in order.

 Just look at this mess. I got stuff bouncing around on top of other stuff and glasses getting all scratched up. My fellow Harley brethren would be ashamed of this mess. Me, I just don't want the top case turning into a shit hole like the Kawasaki Voyager I had years ago.
 Installation is a simple matter of removing the liner and applying some sticky backed Velcro to the top edge of the case. After re-inserting the liner, a Velcro "hinge" is hung over the top edge. The three fitted organizers are now attached to the Velcro. The forth organizer on the back wall is factory stock and contains owners manuals and a tool kit.

 Ahhh, that's much better. A place for everything and everything in its place. I can still fit two helmets or two twelve packs in here.  For me the whole purpose of having a trunk is being able to do daily chores on the bike. This should work.

 Today my youngest daughter is graduating High School. Congrats Parker! Here is where I would normally insert a joke about getting luggage as a grad gift. No need. Parker already has plans to fly the coop and attend school in Oshkosh. Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-

 I usually write this blog the night before a post. Not last night. I forgot all about The Greasy Shop Rag. Why? No particular reason. I got home late from work after stopping to look at some projects for customers. Its kinda a nice excuse to go for a ride after work.
 So now you get the condensed version because if I babble on I'll be late for work. Not that it matters. The boss doesn't look at that kind of thing. If you got something going on then take care of it. Unless it's gonna screw up everyone elses schedule it's cool. Well this is important business so I'll keep typing.
 I checked my lottery numbers earlier. Things are looking up. I matched 2 numbers out of six. Thats the best I can remember doing in a long time. It doesn't pay anything but sometimes you just gotta make the best out of tiny improvements. At this rate I should win something from the lottery in 150 years.
 Work has been very busy. Trying to keep customer repairs done in a timely manner while James and I also try to get caught up on our lawn applications is a real challenge. So far we haven't had many whiners. The weed control portion of the business has grown quite a bit this year. (Get it. weeds, grow. ya, its still early) After some discussion with the boss we decided to add another spray rig to the crew.

 This hooded sprayer will be mounted on the front of a tractor and will be interchangeable with the one we already run. It will be nice to run two machines at once and really start getting caught up. Worst case is we have a backup to the one we run now. They are reliable machines but we are committed to doing so many accounts that it always bothered me that a breakdown could really set us back a long time.
 Well thats all you get. I need to get my new bike at the shop so the birds have somewhere to perch. Apparently the old bike wasn't good enough cuz they won't leave this one alone.