Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wet Dinner Ride

 Saturday started out like any other day. Drag my ass out of bed and go to work. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. After work I discovered my wife went fishing so I decided to join her.

 No this wasn't a big fish. I must have caught a log with my lure and I ended up cutting the line. My wife had better luck and caught two fish. Our collapsible fishing poles that fit in a saddlebag work pretty decent.
 After a hard afternoon of fishing we decided to go for a dinner ride on the Ultra. When we left the house the sun was cooking pretty good but before we reached our destination things started looking gloomy.

 The weather pattern all week has been scattered thunder storms and tonight wouldn't be any different. Somewhere on the other side of those dark clouds was our dinner and I hadn't eaten anything but a muffin at breakfast. It was decided we push forward.
 As it turns out we made the restaurant just minutes before the rain came down and it's a good thing because it came down hard. It rained throughout our meal and we sat at the bar afterward waiting for it to ease up. Not so much for me, I don't mind getting wet especially when I know the next stop is home. The rain gear wasn't in the bike so I wanted to try to sneak around the worst stuff so my wife wouldn't be miserable. That plan failed and we had a 25 mile ride in the wet stuff. At least it wasn't completely dark yet. Wet glasses and night lights just don't go well together.

This is us once we got home. Wet. I think my wife has mixed feelings about riding in the rain.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dinner Ride

 Saturday's weather was gorgeous and after work my wife and I wanted to get out on the bike for a ride. We heard good things about Blancks Supper Club on the east side of Lake Winnebago and made that our destination. Before we left the house my wife commented on how she likes the smell of some beard oil I have been using on occasion and why wasn't I using it today. I obliged and lubed up with Duluth Tradings finest. Once we got on the hiway I was having some difficulty with my glasses. I thought they were fogging up but when I touched the outer glass I discovered they were covered in oil. I guess my beard was flying up and slapping the glasses, leaving me with blurred vision. A quick stop at the local pharmacy for some hair scrunchees and a quick braid job by my wife fixed the problem. Not really the look I was ever going for but to be honest what I had going on wasn't that great anyway.

 We continued on traveling mostly back roads and were treated to nice scenery and great weather. New tires on the Ultra really make it handle better. The squared off rear was getting annoying and the renewed feel of the bike make it easier to forget how much money they cost. At the restaurant we enjoyed a good meal and afterward continued around the big lake. Once on the north end we decided to push on a little further and visit my dad.

We were treated to a viewing of his latest carving projects, a few of which have taken blue ribbons and "best of show" at some recent wood carving shows. This bowl is his latest work in progress.

 The ride back home took a little over an hour on the hiway. It was dark when we got back but were still dressed in the mesh jackets we were wearing when we headed out in the afternoon heat. All in all I'd say it was a nice day for a ride.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


 I went for a ride the other day. I didn't take the Ultra or the Sportster. I didn't even take the Rat Turd. The bike I rode was an '86 Honda Rebel 250. This is Brookes bike that I got ready for her to ride this summer. After putzing around with it for a while, all that was left was a test ride and the 23 miles between our house and hers would qualify.
 Now I'm not complaining but the Rebel is a small bike. Trying to get my toe under the shifter was difficult and my knees were pretty close to the bars. Nevertheless, I was able to operate the bike ok.

 It ran pretty decent and I was surprised to discover it would haul my fat ass at 75 mph if I tucked in. I also discovered the light little bike doesn't tolerate a lot of body movement. Frame flex becomes an issue when carving corners.

 None of that matters because Brooke is a lot lighter than I am and the bike fits her well. She was happy to get it back and I heard she took it for a problem free 50 mile ride yesterday.
 I enjoyed working on the Rebel and I'll happily help Brooke out with any issues that may arise but I'm equally excited to get the bike off my lift table. I am eager to get started putting the BSA together and it's warm enough outside to paint some parts so I really should get started with that, but not today. I'm heading in to work to try and catch up with lawn treatments while the weather is decent. I won't work all day, just long enough to feel I've made an effort to get a few accounts off the list. Later this afternoon my wife and I will go for a dinner cruise on the Ultra. The weather is gonna be perfect.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Workshop Wednesday-Duplicate Sprayer

 If you follow this blog you probably know that at work I fix chainsaws and plow snow. I don't talk about it a lot but I also do lawn applications. You know, fertilizer and weed control stuff. Business has been good and we've added another spray rig to the crew. The tractors we use are Steiner. There's no particular reason for using the Steiner except we had a few and they were heavy duty enough to handle the weight of the water, tank and pumps along with being pretty reliable machines.
 These tractors push a hooded sprayer that does the blanket application but to do the trim work and reach into remote areas, I needed a hose reel sprayer. About five years ago I built one and mounted it on the back of the Steiner.
 You can see the unit on the right has the hose reel sprayer and tank on the back of it. This setup works so sweet because I can broadcast spray a large lawn in a short time and then run around and trim it out while riding the tractor. The other handy feature is the ability to place that hose reel anywhere on the property I need it to reach remote areas. I see other contractors dragging hundreds of feet of hose from a truck parked on the street. That's just lame and wastes a lot of time. If I can do the job quicker then I can be more competitively priced.
 The other fad right now in the spraying world are these small stand-on sprayers that double as fertilizer spreaders. We have one and mostly just use the spreader. I really don't like open sprayers because of the potential for drift. My clients also like the fact that we are spraying under hoods.
 Because the first hose reel sprayer has run without any break downs for five years now I decided to just duplicate it.

 The plan was to make everything interchange. If one tractor or sprayer breaks down then I can swap pieces around as needed. This pic is just showing the old sprayer on a forklift held above the new sprayer I'm building.

 And this is the finished project. Now that I look at the pic I'm reminded that I still need to tidy up some wiring. The design is such that it can be forked off the tractor and sits on its own legs. This means it could sit in a UTV or pickup truck if needed. The only real drawbacks to this setup are the potential for catching the reel on a tree branch and the high center of gravity. In five years we haven't rolled one but I must admit I did bend the crap out of the reel once.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

More Rebel Updates

 It's been a while since I reported on the Rebel revival so here is your long awaited update. I talked about fixing the rear brakes and now was time to rebuild the front.

 The master cylinder was full of goo and the caliper pistons were too. They were hanging up and not returning in their bore. I ordered a rebuild kit for the master and seals for the caliper pistons.

Everything cleaned up and went together fine and the air easily bled out of the system. 
 The next project was to trace down an electrical gremlin. The left rear turn signal wasn't working and the problem seemed intermittent. After about an hour of pissing around I determined the problem was in the bulb socket. The ground lug is crimped into the socket housing and in this case the crimp was loose. A spot of solder fixed that right up and the light now goes blinkity blink as it should. 

 With the lighting cleaned up, the next step was to fire the bike up. The bike cranked without even a pop for about a minute before I realized the kill switch was engaged. After correcting that issue she fired right up. Unfortunately it leaks fuel and I had to order some gaskets. Those gaskets arrived in the mail yesterday and I'll put the carb back on the bike today.
 That's about it. If the test ride goes ok, the next post you'll read about this bike will include some pics of me delivering it back to Brooke.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Electra Glo Lighting

 Here is another story about how Harley Davidson has figured out how to get me to lay down my hard earned cash to put the final touches on the bike they started but never finished. This is what the rear of my Ultra Limited looks like:
What is the deal with those big holes on each side of the fender. It really looks like something is missing and I know I'm not alone on this because when I ordered the lights that HD offers, they were on back order.
Here is the bike after the install. It looks a lot better, even with the lights off. I've added a lot of HD lighting to the bike and the nice thing is that they all were direct plug-ins. No splicing is required.

With the tail light on you just see this glow around the outer edge of the light housing. They look orange in this pic (at least on my puter) but I assure you they are red like the rest of the lighting in the pic. The main tail light below the plate is an led upgrade.

And here they are with the brake lights on. Actually I took this pic alone with the hazard flashers on, thats why the center light is just tail right now. It only took three attempts to time my camera shutter with the bike flasher!
 This mod cleans up the appearance of the back of the bike with the added benefit of being more visible to people behind me. Harleys top of the line CVO models don't have these holes or a place for these add on lights. I don't think they come with the lower fender light either. Huh, I guess less costs more.
 When I bought the bike the original plan was to get the trunk removal kit. If the trunk came off then I would need to add turn signals and the kit they were offering had some cheezy lights that went on the saddle bags. I guess that option is back on the table with these new turn signals.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Friday and Saturday

 What to write about. That's the question for myself this morning. I suppose I'll tell you about my weekend so far.
 Friday afternoon I left work early, came home and packed the bike for an over nighter. Leaving work early was a tough decision because we are so backed up right now but we've had these plans for months and it is our wedding anniversary. Packing was tough because you only have so much room and the weather forecast was up and down for the weekend. We left late afternoon and the temp was 90. Yes, 90. The forecast for the next morning was cool and maybe wet. Packing the right gear for all these situations for two people took up a lot of room but the ultra is a lot of bike.
 We rode down to Germantown to see a Kiss tribute band. Before the performance we met with our middle daughter and her boyfriend for dinner. Mike, Brooke and Terry showed up a bit later to join us. The reason for this adventure was because my wife went to school with the drummer. I met Jay for the first time last year and he's really a great guy and has a wonderful family. Unfortunately he has had some very serious health issues that have kept him away from performing. Well I'm here to tell you that Jay has overcome those issues because he kicked ass Friday night. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has been able to accomplish.

There are a lot of things I could blame the lousy photography on. I'm gonna go with "too much beer".

 Saturday morning was cool and very windy. We bundled up and headed toward Madison. I punched in REI (the sporting goods store) into the gps and took off. Right away we ran into a backup on the road and started a detour. Long story short, gps is great but you need to have some sense of direction or a small clue where you are and want to be. When I saw the exit for Racine, I knew we were being led to a store in Illinois. No problem, we weren't on a schedule.
 When we got to Madison we stopped at the Harley dealer because I was still in search of a battery for a heated vest. No luck on the battery but we did manage to find some head gear for my wife. Later we arrived at my oldest daughter house and enjoyed a cook out. I got some valuable grilling tips from her boy friend and look forward to trying them myself. A good time was had by all.
 I gotta wrap this thing up and take my wife to brunch. The rest of the ride home was pretty normal with flipped over cars, fire trucks, erratic drivers and main street festivals. You know, the usual stuff.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Slimey Crud Run Spring 2016

 Last weekend I told you I was going to attend the Crud Run and I did. The day started out with everyone backing out of the ride due to the weather forecast. So be it. I enjoy riding alone anyway because I know the only complaining will be coming from me and I can control that by simply shutting up.
 I took a route I've used before and saw some of the regular attractions.

 A little further down the road is a place where the Wisconsin River can be crossed by ferry.

 Despite the lack of sunshine there was a halfway decent turnout.

 I watched the bikes come and go for a few hours and struck up a few conversations that didn't involve customers asking when their chainsaw would be ready for pickup or when their lawn was going to get fertilized. That was refreshing.

 There was even a home built sidecar/space ship looking rig there!

Here is a Confederate States of America theme bike. There are a lot of little clues you may not catch on this mount without a history lesson. I like the bikes that are put together with more passion than money.

 Even the two-strokes were well represented. Ya just don't see many ram air suzukis around but I saw two that day. There were also some yamaha and kawasaki ring-a-dings there.
 So when I left I did a little exploring and found a couple fun roads. The Ultra is kinda a pig on these roads but this day was more about relaxing. Except for a sore jaw from my full face helmet, I had a great day!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The mind is a crazy place.

 The human mind is a crazy place to hang out. At least mine is. When I'm in my truck I play the radio. If I don't then my mind wanders. I know I'm not the only one because we have done things like put men on the moon, split atoms or even allow ordinary joes like me to reach out to your cell phone with this drivel I call a blog.
 Anyway, much of the crap I think about is totally a waste of time. That time is gone and I'll never get it back so why am I using it to come up with ideas for shit that don't matter? I think its just a gear head thing but I've never talked to anyone about it before and I certainly am not gonna waste any precious time reading a book on the topic. So, if you happen to be building a carbon fiber airplane fuselage and need ideas on locating passenger seat supports, well then I may be able to help you.       WHY? Why does a sober, non drug induced mind wander so far off track from reality. I don't even like to fly and certainly will never work on a plane. Many times I need to follow these ideas out to conclusion just to get them out of my head. Obviously that's not gonna happen here so I'm stuck with it for a while.
 Now here is the real kick in the ass. I wrote the above paragraphs a few weeks ago when the whole airplane repair mumbo jumbo ran through my head. I managed to forget all about it till today when I was in a rush to get this blog out. I sometimes write these in advance then post them on wednesdays and sundays. Anyway, the corny idea that evaporated from my thoughts is now revisited. Fortunately, today is the Slimey Crud Run and I'll be busy trying to discover new back roads and then checking out others creations that they worked so hard on during the winter months. For some, this is the maiden voyage of the season much like me taking the Rat Turd. Unfortunately I won't be taking that bike as planned because it developed some kind if ignition problem and I just didn't have any time this week to work that out.
 The original plan for today included a bunch of other riders. The group is down to me and one other rider and I still need to hear from him this morning to see if he can go. It seems the forecasted high of 50ish and a slight potential for rain has scared a few guys off. Hey, I believe in "riding your own ride" with no pressure from anyone else. That just creates problems and if a little foul weather is gonna cause vaginal discomfort then by all means, stay home.
 In the past I've pissed a few people off because I don't like to stop just because the weather isn't perfect. If I have the gear on and decent tires then I don't mind riding in heavy rain...until it finds its way to my crotch and creates discomfort.
A couple of bikes that caught my eye at last years Slimey Crud Run.