Wednesday, August 28, 2019


 I had a good vacation so lets not ruin it by forcing me to write something witty right after nine posts in a row. I'm not that creative or interesting. I will post something because I made a promise to myself to post every Wednesday and Sunday. There were no promises about post quality so anything goes. Lets see, while in Hot Springs we were in a store along the Appalachian Trail checking out the gear and nic nacs when I saw this plaque:

 I started laughing uncontrollably because its quite true, and decided it had to come home for my wife. The cats treat this place like its a day spa and we're here for massages and meals. In return we get the smell of crap every time they drop ass, the whining just before meal time and hair everywhere.

We also get the occasional "puke present". Thats where they situate themselves right in the middle of whatever room you're in and start ralphing on the carpet. "Here ya go, I made this just for you". Gee thanks. Now I'm not saying I didn't do this a time or two back in my single days living in a place called the Animal House. I did, but I cleaned it up...eventually.

 Gotta go. Oliver is giving me a dirty look because I'm late giving him his early morning scratches behind the ears.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Made It Home

 I woke up to low 50 degree temps in central Illinoiz this morning.  Put the rain gear on mainly for warmth but there was a slight chance of light rain. Never saw any rain and ditched that gear when I hit Wisconsin.  Actually I had good weather and made good time today.

 The one thing I worried about much of the trip was if there would be enough tread on my rear tire to get e home.

 While the tire did use up a noticable amount of tread, there's certainly enough left for a while. Heavy rain traction may be bad but there's still some commuting miles left in it.
 It was good to see my friends again and I'm already looking forward to next year.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

8 of 9

 Today is the second to last day of my annual bike trip to the Smokies.  The day started out before sunup and the first couple hundred miles were either very light fog or just overcast skies.  Decent enough riding weather, for sure. I made my once a year stop at Waffle House and took a chance their breakfast would stay down. There were no emergency bathroom stops, in fact the only stops I made were four splash and go fuel stops.  Not bad for a 600 mile day although my ass is a bit sore. Illinoiz is usually a suck ass ride but today the sun was shining and temps were in the upper seventies.  Just about perfect interstate conditions except for about a mile of construction that slowed me down.

 I pulled off in my usual spot for dinner and sleep. I used to just push it the whole 950 miles home but those days seem to be gone. Maybe a different seat would help but I don't think a comfy ass is the only factor in making a long safe journey.  Certainly staying hydrated and alert are more important and Harley doesn't seem to offer those accessories.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Some Rain

The weather forecasters have been threatening rain all week. We did get caught in some showers but for the most part we've lucked out. Last night the hard rain started right after we got back from dinner.

 Today we decided to ride through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and into Townsend for a Mexican lunch. On the way back we saw about 20 elk which was kinda a treat because everywhere in town they talk about elkfest but we hadn't seen any elk. It was nice to see their hype wasn't just a tourist draw.

 We also decided to stop at an old mill in the park.

So the water is diverted along this duct toward the mill.

The tall brick structure is a water chamber. I think the dude said it holds 12 tons of water. That water is then discharged through a 15 inch pipe to a water turbine. 

 The turbine is more efficient,  smoother and quieter than a water wheel. Inside, our guide explained the process of milling corn and wheat and he still does some milling for the tourists.

This place is like 130 years old and looks like it could stand for another hundred with little help. I enjoyed our tourist stop very much.
 Tomorrow is gonna be about a 600 miler heading home. Hopefully I can dodge some of the crappy weather that's been hitting states north of here.
 It's been a good vacation.


Thursday, August 22, 2019


 If you haven't noticed yet, eating is a major theme on this vacation. Last night we found a new favorite place to chow down called Haywood Smokehouse.  We all ate something different and all loved it. I had pulled pork, potato salad and beans and left pissed off we hadn't found this place sooner.

 This morning started out with the usual discussion about where to ride to and just continued on as a bullshit session that went on till lunch. It seems the more times we come down here as a group the more it's about the group and not just riding. We found a new place for lunch called Brickhouse Burgers and BBQ. The food was decent and I could see going back again.
 A few more pics from the week so far:

 After lunch Ed, J.T. and I rode the parkway into Cherokee to act like tourists.

 A good time was had by all.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019


 Today started out like most here in Maggie Valley,  with maps out and weather apps rolling.
  We decided to ride to Chimney Rock and do lunch. It really doesn't matter which way you point the camera, there's great scenery everywhere.
  Part of the ride included the Blue Ridge Parkway and we stopped at a traditional photo spot. I took a selfie of a selfie. When I get our group pic from J.T. I'll post it.
  While on the parkway  we spotted some heavy rain and were able to keep ahead of it. It was a pretty decent day for riding and except for two slugs putting along on the parkway we had light traffic. Big thanks to BillT for his great job of navigating and leading the ride.
 We're discussing dinner plans now. Last night was the Chinese buffet. Not sure where we may end up tonight.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Photo Dump

 Years past I was using the Blogger app to write this blog and was only able to upload one pic at a time.  Now I can add multiple pics from my phone so I'll do just that.

 First of all, Ed showed up pulling an enclosed trailer. Inside was an '89 HD Ultra classic. With only 30 miles drive time since he bought it, he was to have an exiting day learning his new to him bike.

 Frank made the ride up from Georgia and we had a nice dinner and visit with him. We even managed to get in a few hours of poker.

Today we rode to Hot Springs  for lunch at Iron Horse Station restaurant.  The food was good as usual and afterwards we walked the Appalachian trail.  Well just one block of it but sometimes it's all about quality and not quantity.
When we got back to Maggie Valley we decided to take the Elevated Mountain distillery tour.
Afterwards we went to the grocery store and had some tough decisions to make.
 When dinner time rolls around we'll all pile into Ed's truck and find some grub.


Monday, August 19, 2019


Yesterday I made a quick post mostly just to check in. I suppose a vacation means different things to each of us. Some jam as much into the time available and others lay on a beach and chill.  I'm somewhere in the middle. There's riding and dining to be done but I also like the quiet time when I don't do Jack shit. I have a very loose schedule with enough voids in it to make it a vacation.
 Today J.T. and I played tourist in Cherokee for a short time then got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed to the Pisgah Inn. We made a few stops and enjoyed the scenery that the area offers.

We then rode on to the Inn and met Dan and BillT for lunch. The Pisgah Inn offers a beautiful view while dining and we noticed a storm rolling in. The decision was made to get on the bikes and stay in front of it. We failed miserably.  The hour ride was almost all rain and also some fog. The limited visibility slowed us down but we never stopped. Upon arrival in Maggie Valley we found Frank waiting for us at the motel. We'll make a beer run then park the bikes for the night. The rest of the evening will be old friends cat thing up.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Day Two

I'm sitting here in Cherokee  taking crap from my buddy JT because my tech skills are lacking. He showed me a faster way to write this blog in a web browser now that the blogger app is gone. Problem is I cant think of what I want to say fast enough to speak it so I'll just keep hunting and pecking.
 Had good weather for my four hundred mile ride. Almost too good. It was 99 degrees in bumper to bumper traffic in Pigeon Forge and while sitting there I remembered that last year I had the same problem and said I'd never do it again.  Oops.
 That's it. The ride was uneventful otherwise. Gonna get cleaned up and find some grub.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Check List

Before leaving on a bike trip I always go through a checklist to ensure I have everything I need to make it as trouble free as possible.  One item on the list is checking the weather radar.
Traveling the length of illinois sucks on it's own. Throw in some craptastic weather and you have the makings of a disaster vacation. The leading edge of that rain looks nasty so my plan was to drag my feet a bit, meaning riding close to the speed limit, and let the worst pass by. I hit heavy rain near Rockford and was soaked to the bone. Water was running down my leg and into my boots and I was sitting in a puddle of water. None of this would have happened if I had stopped to put on my rain gear but I'm on vacation and if I want to be a stubborn idiot then who's gonna stop me? Once past the wet stuff I turned my seat heater on to "slow roast" and dried my nuts. The rest of the ride was great weather and even too hot at 94 degrees in Paducah.  I didnt check the odometer yet but I think it was about a 550 mile day. Surprisingly I don't feel too bad and I stopped to pick up a couple friends to make me feel better.
We cant get this stuff at home. I don't know if it's good beer or on the same level as Schlitz or Black Label but I enjoy it.
 Next on the list is dinner at Rafferty's.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Test post 2

Three more work days before I leave on vacation. I like the sound of that. Of course no more work days sounds better but sometimes you just take what you can get.
I plan to make a short post each day on vacation but in the past I've had problems doing that from my phone. This a test of that ability.
The pic is of a property where we did an automower install yesterday. Its blocks from Lambeau Field and 70 miles one way from the shop. Normally we look at a job, discuss options and bring any extra materials or tools for the install. We know what to expect when we arrive to do the work. This unit was an internet purchase so due to the distance, we kinda went in blind. Luckily the owner was willing to commit to some changes that have to be made to allow our machine to pass along side the house. We have mixed feelings whether or not to continue with these types of installs where a customer just makes a purchase online without being able to discuss with a dealer if it will work or not. In the end it boils down to us doing all the labor at a fixed rate while someone else makes the profits from the sale. If the purchaser has a problem or just a question,  guess who's time they're gonna eat up.
So far these are just concerns and not issues. We have a pretty good system in place and the machines work well if properly installed. This one needs to work. Installed yesterday and today the owner leaves for six weeks. Not the ideal situation for sure.
 So I tried to make this post from the Blogger app. Apparently that doesn't work. I'm stumbling through this from a web page on my phone. This is gonna be a shit show. Oh, no pic?

Sunday, August 11, 2019


 In less than a week I'll be on my annual bike trip to the Smoky Mountains. While the amount of planning has gone down each year there is still a certain amount of preparation. You'd think the most important thing would be prepping the bike. Yes thats necessary but more important is to make sure I'm physically ready. No I haven't been working out. These days being physically ready means not tripping and breaking a leg or not cutting myself open during a chainsaw test run at work. It also means going down a different aisle in the grocery store if I hear some little snot nose brat has a cough or the sniffles. I try to avoid anyone that looks like a walking germ factory.
 Other preparations do include bike maintenance and yesterday I serviced the air cleaner. The KandN filter is washed and then reoiled. I run the rain sock most of the time and the old one was wearing out so I bought a new sock. Lots of loc-tite used here during reassembly. Theres 12 screws total holding this thing together and on the bike. Harleys vibrate like a dog shaking water off itself and I just envision parts hitting the hiway if I don't use thread locker on the bolts.

 Another little task I wanted to get done was to update the radio on the bike. I have no idea what little fixes this update includes but it was a big file that I downloaded on a thumb drive then uploaded to the stereo. I walked away while it was updating and the package "image installer" shown in the pic is the only update I noticed. I don't always listen to tunes when riding but might as well have the radio working right for when I do.

 Another pre-vacation preparation is deciding what to pack. Wadding up a bunch of nice Harley shirts in a saddlebag is kinda a drag. They always come out more wrinkled than an elephants nut sack. I have a favorite shirt and I guess its made of rayon. It seems to pack pretty good and doesn't wrinkle too bad till after you wash it. I don't do laundry on vacation so I'm set. My wife bought me four more.

 Those are some serious vacation shirts. Another packing task is selecting socks for the trip. I like socks. If my feet are jacked up I get grumpy. The trick is choosing socks that are comfortable but near the end of their useful life. Why? Because I ain't haulin stinky socks back and forth across the middle of the country. Once removed from the feet they will be tossed into a motel garbage can. I have enough smell issues without contaminating all my laundry with foot odor, and having my bike smell like a rendering truck on a hot summer day is not my idea of a vacation.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019


  Tension-the state of being stretched tight. Under the primary cover of most Harleys is a big ass chain that runs from the engine crankshaft to the clutch/transmission. For some reason I had a bad feeling about the plastic tensioner that takes up the slack in this chain. I know I've looked at it before because I have a memory of replacing the clutch in this bike at one time. I don't keep records except for the occasional note scribbled on the wall in the garage. I always thought this blog was my record keeper but trying to search for stuff is difficult.
 Right after typing that last sentence I googled this blog name and the word clutch. It took me directly to a post I made almost exactly one year ago where I replaced the clutch. That was seven thousand miles ago. I knew last year was a slow year for mileage and this year probably will be too due to a lot of time on the sportster.

 Pulling the primary cover is pretty easy. A shift lever, front and rear floor boards and then the cover bolts is all that has to come off. 

 I was happy to see the magnet on the drain plug was clean. I was also happy not to find any plastic from the tensioner. I don't know why but I thought this thing was gonna be damaged.

 Once I saw that everything was in good working order I could relax. If I would have not looked in here and then gone on a week long vacation, there would have been no relaxing. Peace of mind cost me only twenty dollars in the form of a gasket. The oil would have been replaced anyway.

 Leveling the bike for topping off the fluid level was easy with my handy dandy bike jack. Thanks Christine!
 I also decided to change out the tranny fluid. No metal on this plug either makes me a happy camper. I use Redline synthetic oils and thats why this fluid looks the way it does. Please excuse the use of bitch mittens.

 All this fresh oil means its time for a test ride. My wife had just commented that I am about to head out on a bike vacation that requires full days in the saddle. I haven't had one day this year that even came close to a full day in the saddle. My first vacation day is a five hundred miler and she doesn't think I'm prepared for that. She may be right. I decided to ride up to the Harley dealer in Appleton for a part I needed and took the most direct route I could at 56 miles. This was only to ensure I got there before they closed. For the ride home I went way out of my way and made a big loop that turned the entire trip into almost two hundred miles. Sadly, my ass kinda hurt when I got home. Not good, only ten days till vacation.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

I Scream

 Friday night and I had a few hours to kill. My wife was working from home so I figured I might as well go for a bike ride. I've been going on evening rides a lot lately and wanted to choose a new direction with new scenery. I don't plan out much more than a starting direction and just fill in the rest as I go. Thats the best way to go for a ride, don't you think?
 As I wandered closer to Fox Lake I decided it would be ok to stop at the drive in for an ice cream cone.

 The sign out front says they've been around 85 years. Dang.

 I kinda walked around the sporty while slurpin down that cone. I really like this bike right now. Its running pretty good and the looks appeal to me. Its just the right bike for an evening cool down ride after a hot day. The down side is eating bugs but thats all part of the experience I guess. I got less than half way through the treat before it became an unmanageable sticky mess and got tossed it in the garbage can. Thats ok, I think the idea of stopping for a cone was stronger than the desire to eat one.

 I was about 20ish miles from home and wasn't ready to head right back so I continued on to Waupun, Brandon, Fairwater and then to the inlet at Green Lake. Sometimes you can get some nice sunset pics here and a few clouds reduced the suns glare enough for some decent shots.

 I didn't really notice much in the background and kept clicking away.

 Hey look at that. Isn't that just ducky! I don't know why this one was just standing on one leg. Kinda looks like hes gonna crank out a fart and doesn't care who notices. Thats the way I do it anyway.  I was there fifteen minutes and he never put that leg down. In fact I'm not even sure he has a full leg on that side. Could it be a nasty crayfish accident? Maybe he was caught kicking sand on other ducks and they fixed him good, or possibly he was behind on a minnow payment and a loan shark took an oar to his leg. I wonder if he now just spins in circles when he tries to swim. Oh well, I got bored with the wild life and headed home. In the end I put on seventy two miles. Not bad for an impromptu ice cream run.