Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Dream Come True

  Sometimes after a day of work it's the little things that can make or break my evening. On the ride home there are two different spots where slower traffic is to move right and the flow of traffic continues in the left lane. The right will eventually have to merge into the left lane. Cops like sitting in these spots because they know stupid shit will happen here.
 In both these spots the speed limit is under 55 and then turns to double nickels after the merge. The problem comes when Lick Knobs use the right lane to pass and gain position on the herd. At the merge people get screwed up, blocked and start hitting the brakes. This sucks for everyone except the asshole that passed on the right. I can imagine the bravado they feel from such moves but I'm not impressed.  Is it wrong to wish ill fate on your fellow man for doing something as minor as a traffic violation?
 I've been pulled over in one of these spots for excessive speed. Nothing like passing on the right, just me rolling along too fast. Now every time I get passed in one of these zones I get pissy and wonder where Johnny Law is hiding. Probably stopping a bank robbery or pulling a kid out of a burning building. That's crap! I need him here to stop this caddy with out of state plates and let him know it's not ok to bring your big city attitude to our small community. I'm sure there must be an old Beach Boys song that covers the way I feel about this. If not, well this is me patiently waiting for justice:

 Well the other day there was a chance for my dream to finally come true. Joe F-stick with out of state plates pulled the "pass on the right" bullshit and guess who was waiting for him? That's right, the long arm of the law. Our speeder got on the brakes but it was way too late. He did have one advantage though, traffic was unusually heavy. The cop was sitting on the opposite shoulder and had to wait a long time before he could safely whip a shitty (execute a u-turn) and pursue. I was miles down the road and was giving up hope of my dream coming true when in the distance I finally saw his lights approaching.

 Some people say old people shouldn't drive. I don't agree and believe if everyone else just drove sanely then we could accommodate a few drivers with diminishing skills. I knew the driver of the vehicle behind me was an elderly woman because I saw her when I passed her on the right way back before the merge in the two lane traffic. I know, I know but this was different. A whole line of us went around her slow ass and nobody was in jeopardy of injury and nobody was speeding or breaking the law. She was just moving slow in the left lane and the thought of her trying to merge into traffic was scary.
 As the cop got closer I determined it was time to signal and pull onto the shoulder to let him pass. I was hoping the little old lady behind me would follow my lead but must have never noticed the lights or siren behind her because she was actually shaking her fist at me as she was passing me. I got to see that moment in her eyes as she noticed the cop behind her and that I was doing the right thing and she was just in the way. That was quite satisfying. It was also quite satisfying seeing the cop had the guy in the caddy pulled over up the road in the next county. I wanted to beep the horn or throw some confetti or maybe whale on one of those party horns that roll out as you blow into them.

 Nobody got hurt and it felt pretty good to see someone finally not get away with bullshit driving. A nice way to distract from the daily ride home.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Joy Ride

 Yesterday was another work day and let me tell ya, some people really challenge my ability to not be a dickhead in the store. I was talking with a customer in the showroom when a guy taps me on the shoulder and says he hates to interrupt but...and then he goes on with his lame ass story. The first thing I did was look around to see if I was being filmed because this guy was politely being rude, if that makes any sense and I felt like I was being set up. I wanted to give him a quick answer that would get him to leave me alone because I knew he was just looking for free advice. I came up with one that made him go away but what I wanted to say was if you hate interrupting then why are you doing it and by the way go jump in the lake. And another thing, why do you think your problem is more important than this gentleman that got here before you? OK, I'm done venting.
 So after work my wife and I went for a joy ride. No destination but I was tired and knew I'd keep it under a hundred miles.

 I thought this pic looked odd because the road looks pretty straight but the bike looks kinda leaned over. Not really leaned over but tipped more than appropriate for the situation. I don't even know where this was so I can't piece it together.

 Just a breezy ride on some quiet back roads. I realized I had traveled about ten miles on these back roads that were posted 55 and I had not even touched 45mph. That's one of the first signs of getting old. I forget the other signs.

 My wife is our official photographer and she gets some interesting shots despite the fact I don't take her to interesting places. The glare screwed this one up. I call it "alien campfire".
 Our turn-around point turned out to be take out chinese. We didn't leave the house with food in mind but it ended up that way. It's fun not having a plan and ending up with a nice ride. The sun is shining and we should be able to get out again today. See you on the road!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Workshop Wednesday-Stake Puller

 Our tent crew at work has been after the shop techs to build them some kind of stake puller for those tough to remove tent stakes.

 There has been a lot of talk about converting log splitters, building self propelled hydraulic units and many other mechanical doohickeys. The other day when Dan asked about a puller I decided it was time to "just do it". The idea of beefing up a hi-lift jack had been discussed and I was in the right mood to build it.

 I don't claim to know everything and the nice thing about our shop is wealth of knowledge that is freely shared among the techs. When I asked the others how thick they thought this piece of steel needed to be, most thought half inch thick. I don't know why I asked because I had already planned on using some 3/4" plate.

 Most of you have figured out by now that my method of building shit like this is "go big or go home". If the jack breaks, I don't want it to be where I modified it. That's the reason I chose to use 3/4" steel for the piece that actually pulls on the stake. I mounted it in a way that most of the pulling force is on the original jack lifting pad. Thanks Al for the idea.

 The base plate has a hole large enough to allow a stake head to pass through. The jack upright is raised so it can pivot to compensate for stakes pounded in on angles. This way the jack will never shit out no matter how many monkeys are on the end of the handle. The hole in the plate design assures that.

 The tent crew took it out on a few jobs already and it's not broken yet. When I asked how it worked I was told it does what it is supposed to do and got a thumbs up.

 In other work related news, it seems I'm to blame for the destruction of all living creatures on the planet. The other day I was spraying some weeds in a lawn when I noticed a lady walking down the sidewalk. My spray rig was parked in the street and the hose was hanging over the sidewalk, meaning a person would have to lift their leg up and step over the hose or walk in the freshly sprayed lawn. Both are unacceptable and I was watching for this scenario so I moved over to the machine and pulled some slack into the hose so it would lay flat on the ground. As the woman passed she said "thanks..." and right away I thought she meant for moving the hose. Before I could finish that thought she continued "...for killing everything!" Set phasers to stun I just took a direct hit. She had a look on her face and the tone in her voice as if I had just pushed the button on a doomsday device. I was at a loss for words and all I could do was smile and laugh. She continued across the street and struck up a conversation with some workers there and in a short time they were all watching me.
 I wonder what crawled up her ass and died?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ride To Work Day

 Monday is the official "ride your motorcycle or scooter to work" day. The idea is for a mass of two wheeled vehicles to demonstrate the benefits of riding to include less congestion, easier parking better fuel economy and the like. This despite that fact that my Ultra takes up dang near as much parking as todays cars and gets worse mileage. Maintenance costs are higher too.

 Creating this event is fine and dandy but I admit to usually finding out about ride to work day after I've arrived at work and maybe hear about it on the radio. If the weather was nice, I rode. If the weather was crap, my bikes are probably still in the garage.
 I have to wonder what the point of promoting motorcycle riding might be. Oh sure the manufacturers want to sell more bikes and more riders means more awareness. Personally I'm not so sure we want to push riding onto people that wouldn't otherwise take it up on their own. I see enough stupid shit happening out there with the riders we have. Ya some of it is about riding gear or ATGATT (all the gear all the time). I'm guilty too. Lately my riding style could be best described as SOTGSOTT (some of the gear some of the time). Sadly, I'm of the bull headed nature that I need a good spill to get myself to remember how bad it hurts to hit the pavement. The other stupid shit I'm referring to is rider skill. Young riders with no skills yet, old riders with no skills yet, "new" old riders trying to relive their youth and aging riders loosing their coordination. Somewhere in the middle of all that are experienced riders with decent reaction times. Nobody is born with these skills. They are learned and only more practice and muscle memory makes you better. The problem is the practice happens out in the real world of questionable road conditions, wildlife, and text messaging cagers. I swear some people can be looking right at you and not even know you are there.
 If you're in a cage on Monday please be extra cautious of bikes. That doesn't mean that on Tuesday you can knock us over like bowling pins, it just means there may be all different skill level riders out there promoting "scoot to work day" and some may benefit from your defensive driving. From what I've seen on the road lately, some may not know what that means. Common sense is another term many are not familiar with. Yesterday, as a pedestrian, I was almost run over when some broad was looking right and turning left. Seriously, I was looking directly into her left earhole as her bumper approached my shopping cart. Of course when she finally noticed me I got the stink eye for being in the cross walk while she was battling for a parking space.
 So remember, everyone out there is at a different skill level and when we see stupid shit we need to keep the road rage to a low roar. It's ok to think someone is a dumbass, just don't act on it.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017


 When it comes to branding, nobody does it better than Harley Davidson. The bar and shield is recognized world wide and appears on everything from genuine accessories to useless trinkets. It also appears as outerwear, underwear or even permanent ink on the bodies of many an enthusiast. The Motor Company has really got it figured out. We the consumer pay good money to advertise their brand.

 This post isn't about "us" or any desire to be part of a brand. I want to talk about the people that are actually paid to represent these brands. If we like a celebrity that represents a brand, then we maybe gravitate to that product. It works the other way too. What was the deal with Jeff Foxworthy in that super hero stuntman outfit representing Golden Corral? I hope he got paid well.
 My problem is with the paid employees we actually interact with. The people that work at the shops and dealerships. These people can take a good brand and absolutely foul up my perception of it. I own a HD Ultra Limited and I like it. I know what it can do and it makes me happy. It's the Lick Knobs at some stores that piss me off and lessen "the brand". Here's some advice for the owners of these shops. If you let your employees lie to customers and waste their time, you will lose those customers. I know because I'm an employee that represents a few different brands and we make every effort to satisfy the customer even when they are wrong. I should point out that not everyone I interact with is a "customer".
 Case in point. In a phone conversation, Lick knob A tells me they have a part in stock. After traveling quite a way to the store I discover that not only do they not have that part in stock, they have NEVER stocked that part. What the hell? As much as I wanted to go off on the lady at the counter, I knew she wasn't the one that I originally talked to on the phone. She was a perceptive old gal and could see I was on the verge of being one of those A-hole customers that didn't get the service they were expecting. I kept my cool and she did her best to locate the part at another store but struck out.
 And then I spotted Lick Knob B. This is the guy that was "helping" me when I walked into this shop a while back to buy the new Ultra. I had a lot of questions about the Rushmore models and this guy treated me like shit. A potential customer of a flagship bike shouldn't walk out feeling belittled and treated unworthy of the brand. He even implied that I couldn't afford the bike. Sure I was in my work clothes but so what. Who the hell did this guy think he was? I got even by purchasing the bike at a different dealership and I thought about that as I walked out during this visit. They got their second chance and blew it so I'm done with them.
 If you decide you want something then you have to decide where to spend your money. Is price always the deciding factor? Not for me. Sometimes I'll go out of my way to get a part if I need it now and other times I'll get a decent price and wait for it to be shipped to me. When I don't need the part right now then its about who I want to support. In this case I thought it was a nearby dealer but they pushed me away because of a few employees that don't get it.
 I won't name shops because I've found out that everyone doesn't get the same satisfaction from a given dealer. I may have a great experience at a place that you got snubbed at. That's why I usually give them a second chance but when you dick me around twice in a row then I'm done.

Rant over. Later.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hot Hot Hot

 BLAMO! Just like that summer weather has arrived. Already the lawns are getting a brown tint and are a bit crispy with the lack of rain. Temps have been in the upper 80s and will remain that way for a week they say. It is 77 degrees already this morning with highs predicted near 90. I know that seems fine to most of you but for me that is too hot. Yes, I whine when its too cold or too wet and now when its too hot. Guess what else I have to whine about. Yesterday it was too windy. The wind made the heat bearable but it also cost me a pair of my favorite sunglasses. I was riding along minding my own business and just started across a bridge when an updraft or some kind of weird wind hit me from down low, went up my chest and pulled the glasses right off my face. It was like an invisible hand just yanked them off my head. I reached out for them in a quick panic type reaction but I was too late. I watched as they flew over the guard rail and ultimately into the Wisconsin river.

 On the topic of things that don't happen too often, mine wasn't the only bike parked at the shop yesterday. Al finally got the needed battery for his Buzz Lightyear bike and rode it in Saturday. Of the other two people at work that ride, one has a broken leg and won't be on a bike for a while and I'm not sure what the story is with the other. I know he has been riding, just not to work.
 Today we will ride down to Madison to visit our daughter. My wife was with her Friday and Saturday when she went in for back surgery. We'll visit with her again today to see how she is doing.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017


  After work yesterday I was on my own to forage for dinner. Now given the fact that I rode the Ultra to work and the sun was still shining, I decided it would be best to wander off for a nice ride and visit my favorite mexican food joint, the Grand River Oasis. I wasn't in a hurry so I stopped a few times to look around and snap a few pics.

County Park-Big Green Lake

  The bike has been running good. I'm getting pretty comfortable on it despite the fact that it weighs half a ton. This ride was very relaxing after an unusually tiring day. It's hard to explain but it was one of those times when I felt very connected to the machine and it responded exactly the way I wanted without thinking too much about it. Even the bugs left me alone. I saw a dragonfly do a left flank maneuver like none I had ever seen. Normally they just hari kiri themselves and splatter their guts all over my glasses or windshield.

Looking north at Lake Puckaway from Marquette
 On the ride home I passed through Montello and just happened to look down at the odo and noticed a milestone.

 I pulled over for a quick photo. I figure the bike is about a quarter of the way to being shot. Well maybe not shot, but I have to wonder what kind of shape it will be in at 100K? At this pace thats only six years away.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Searching For The Wear Bars

 I've been thinking about this post for a few days now and keep coming up blank. No bike wrenching or even much riding to report about. I guess did ride to work two days this week. Nothing unusual happened. Fourties on the way in, hot on the way home. The other night after work we rode to dinner and then for a short tour afterwards. I thought about riding in to work yesterday despite the threat of rain. At the last minute I decided against it and here is what I encountered in the truck.

 A little further down the road a car wiped out a sign and was in the ditch. Not sure if it was from visibility or hydroplaning but it could have easily been either one.
 After work yesterday we had a destination about two hours from home and were debating if we should take the car or bike. Temps were great but there was a threat of heavy rain. Night riding in the rain kinda sucks and we decided to take the car. We both felt like we wussed out and wished we were riding until half hour from home on the return trip when it rained pretty dang hard. It made wussing out justified.
 Getting surprised by rain and putting on the gear is way different than heading out into a known storm. I don't mind getting wet but I always consider the other factors. Do I want to sit in a restaurant all wet while trying to enjoy a meal? The older I get the less appealing that seems.

 The BSA and Rat Turd will have to wait. Summer is short enough here in the northern states and I need to get enough riding in to satisfy me through winter. I like to run a fresh set of tires right before I leave for vacation each year and that means I have a lot of miles to put on to wear the set out that's on the Ultra. I'm gonna work on that today. The weather should be nice with only a chance of a scattered thunderstorm. With no actual destination, it should be easy to ride around such storms.