Monday, April 24, 2017

Funday Sunday

I made the executive decision to work on the condo Sunday instead of riding. I have to be ready to have the granite measured next Monday and don't want to put it off. So, I grouted the kitchen floor.

Then I was cutting the edge tiles on the back of the kitchen wall in the living room. Laying it all out I came upon a big problem. The floor has a settlement crack the length of the room. Seen them before and usually not that big of a deal. But, the two foot length of the tiles means the floor has to be leveled out.

This is with the bar shimmed to level. Just after the crack the entire floor has a low spot. I will be using some concrete leveler to float it out.

This little hiccup had the potential to mess with my schedule. But, I'm going to fix this and have decided to hire a cabinet installer for the kitchen cabinets. The cheapest cabinet to be installed is just over half of what I can get them installed for. One miss directed screw would mean waiting for a replacement cabinet, plus the cost of it. While an installer could also have that problem I'm thinking I am more likely to have it happen.

With the floor stopping the tiling process Sunday, I did the only thing I could think of. I went for a ride! Headed out on Stella to look at appliances. It was in the high 90's when I left. I will say ATGATT on a near 100 degree day, when making multiple stops, was a pain. After two stops with salespeople being less than truthful I will just turn to Home Depot or Lowe's. 

Sunday afternoon traffic was busy, as expected, but the closer to out of town I got the better it got.  It wasn't until I was out of town that I realized the vents on my helmet were closed. It also clouded up and the temperature began to drop. With the vents open it was quite pleasant to be out on Stella. 

I logged in just over 90 miles of smile inducing, much needed, wind therapy. I was nearly back into town when the best part of the ride occurred. Mr. Harley rider pulled up next to me at a light, revved his loud pipes, and made motions that he would outrun Stella when the light changed. I let him leave first, but quickly hit redline for two shifts and Mr. Harley was in my rear view mirror. I slowed and he passed me like he was doing something. Stella had her first drag race, and first time hitting her redline, and did quite well.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Four Week Report

I am now four weeks into my condo remodel. In one respect it seems like a long time, but in another I have accomplished a lot in a short period of time. I keep forgetting I had to wait for two weeks for Marty, the drywall guy, to fit me in. It was well worth the wait as he is a magician with making repairs and once he was here it went quickly.

While Marty was fixing all the drywall issues I was assembling the new kitchen cabinets. As I was working on them I was thinking it was like putting together a high end IKEA product. I have put put together plenty of IKEA products for my girls in the days gone by. All components of the Cabinets To Go cabinets are real wood and of a high quality, but come unassembled in flat boxes.

My assembly area

 Dovetail drawers on all boxes

Once Marty was done it was time to get busy painting. I purchased a Harbor Freight airless sprayer that had the potential to work great, but operator error led to less than desirable results. I finished up with the old fashion pan and roller.

Sun City residents love to come by and see what your doing. They also love to have you come see what they did. Some of their projects look terrific and some leave me scratching my head. An example would be the one with the same tile in one unit that goes in a different direction in every room. I couldn't imagine living in that kind of environment. I have also seen several with up to five different floor coverings in the same unit. 

 Being on a deadline and needing to get the cabinets installed I pulled off the painting to start the tile work. Because of what I had seen it took me about three hours to make a final decision of where to start. The entry way to my unit is on a fourty five degree angle to the rest of the unit. That would leave the tile in the three major rooms all running on a diagonal, which in square tiles looks great, but the wood look tile not so much. So, I started in the kitchen, laying in the traditional pattern. This will leave my entryway to run on an angle, but making everything else square and easier to lay. 

My plan is to lay as much tile as I can today, completing the kitchen and breakfast nook section, then working in the living room area back towards the entry way. Sunday I will grout the kitchen area to enable me to start hanging the cabinets on Monday. Have to have them done so the granite guys can do the templet the following Monday. Somewhere this week I have to find the time to go order my appliances.

In another stroke of luck my landlord has agreed to terminate my lease early without penalty. I have been here five years and getting out three months early will be nice.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Sort of Ride

Monday started with me painting doors. After four coats on each door I decided to go for a ride. Headed home for a quick lunch and shower and I was off.

In short order the catch in my lower back started to become an issue. The combination of the riding position and lack of riding and it was getting uncomfortable. At the 50 mile mark I was near the Sunset Point rest area, so I pulled in.

The high desert was awash in the yellow blooms that attest to the amount of rain we have had. The only bad part will be the wildfire season.

Looking off the other side of the rest stop shows the green already turning brown.

Because I am a smart person I left the camera at home, so the iPhone pictures are all I got. Anyway, after stopping I almost couldn't get off of Stella. After a pit stop and some stretching it wasn't loosing up, so I aborted the ride and headed back toward the house.  

My ride only lasted 100 miles. 100 uncomfortable miles and ended with a nap. The nap was interrupted with the call that my cabinets are in and I will pick them up Wednesday or Thursday after I get the freshly painted doors out of the garage. I then went to Home Depot and got a different brand of paint. I will be back to full time get it done mode in the next day or two.

Tuesday was spent painting doors and door jambs for nine hours and ending with copious amounts of Deep Blue Rub. I hate back issues, but will try to get a ride in on Saturday if the drywall guy doesn't work. I will be on hold while he is doing his magic on the condo.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Started Putting The Condo Together

The tearing it apart stage is a thing of the past and the putting it back together has started. First step was the repair of the cold water line that was leaking in the wall. Adding a washing machine box with quick shut ball valves brings things into the modern era.

Cutting some holes to put the electric into the attic where it belongs, instead of being stapled to the ceiling.

 The big, bottom hole is where the junction box was protruding the wall and was just covered with drywall mud. The electric line was then stapled up the wall and across to the fan. Not safe and ugly as Hell.

After a three day wait the new doors arrived late Thursday afternoon and Friday morning I got to work. In less than five hours I had all six of them installed.

There was a sea mural painted on the wall surrounding the back yard that had to go. I jumped the gun and started painting before I took a picture. This is the part on the side of the garage.

Fresh, new white walls. I was just searching for things to do.

I have literally worked myself out of a job for a few days. Nothing else can continue until the drywall is repaired and textured. That isn't scheduled to start until Thursday. I think Saturday I will prime the bare wood of the door frames and sand the doors.

Early next week I am going for a ride! There will be a report after it happens.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Is That Screeching Sound?

Four days into the remodel and things were moving smoothly and quickly. Even removing the popcorn ceiling went better than expected.

Then the brakes were applied. The washer valves wouldn't shut off, so I got a couple of hose caps and fixed that temporarily until I could cut into the wall to replace them

Unfortunately when opening up the wall I found what appeared to be a leak on the cold water line. The top right shows what really old copper should look like when not exposed to leaking water.

Yep, its a weeper

I will have to open the wall up some more to be able to replace the leaking T and to put in a new washer box. May as well use the latest gismos since I cut into the wall.

The drywall guy came by today and gave me a livable price, but can't do the work for two weeks. Texturing the ceiling and patching all the holes in the walls is something best left to the professional so I will have to wait. Waiting means removing the 500 feet of existing tile, patching the cracks in the floor, installing four new doors, converting a pocket door to a real door, relocating three electrical boxes, running the electric for a ceiling fan in the attic instead of stapled to the wall and ceiling of the bedroom, removing the water heater for the tile installation and changing to a ball valve shutoff, painting the closets and pantry, and taking out all the pavers in the little back yard to make Dexter a potty place. That will also mean at least two more trips to the dump.

Minor surprises aren't a bad thing as long as they stay minor and I can fix them myself. That makes them affordable and just adds to the fun. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

As Luck Would Have It....

....Stella was finally ready to be picked up the day I received the keys to the condo. So, now I have two operational motorcycles and the need to get to work on rehabbing the condo. Decisions, decisions…..necessity overcame what I wanted to be doing and the demolition of the condo commenced. 

Before pictures

Friday night I removed the cabinet doors and microwave.

I spent 18 hours over Saturday and Sunday getting busy. After watching many hours of home improvement shows it didn’t take long to find one of those ahhh s@#t moments. The generic fiber board cabinets weren’t modular and had been built in place. Being built in a time when the Unions were strong they were built to last with thousands of staples and came apart one board at a time. Slowing me down was probably a good thing. But, I managed to need a trip to the dump Saturday to prevent a standstill anyway.

The doors were something called split jamb doors which I had never seen before. Basically the door frame came in two pieces with the door trim already installed. My home inspector told me you just have to beat them off with a BFH, but that sounded like a good way to tear everything up. I searched the internet and found thousands of install videos, but not one removal one. After looking it over carefully I made a plan to bust off the door stop and tried it out. It worked perfectly and with the stop removed the two halves just pulled apart in under five minutes a door. The reason for the removal is they are covered in some dark brown, plastic coating that is near impossible to remove. The pantry door had been painted and it looked awful, so new doors it is. 

Worst part so far is the plumbing for the kitchen sink isn't in the wall! I can't believe they didn't make the plumbers move it, but what are you gonna do 45 years later.

So, the updating on the condo is in full swing. I’m planning on a ten hour, six day work week until completion. I’ll take Sundays off to go ride and after the major demo is done and all my dump runs are complete I will ride Petunia or Stella over to the condo everyday. Who knows I may even take the long way home once in a while.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Updates..Stella, Petunia, Life

Today starts the fifth week of Stella being at the Dealer to have her rear drive assembly fixed. Updates have been sporadic, calls not returned when promised, and questionable excuses have been offered. But, when you are the only Dealer within 350 miles you hold all the cards. The two best excuses are #2 the mechanic quit and took the special tool with him. 

The #1 best excuse is the non reusable keeper is on back order and should be here in thee weeks. I told him to just put it together with the used keeper and call it good. That is when he used excuse #2. He called me Thursday morning and said the tool would be in Friday and he would call me back as soon as it came in. I’m still waiting.

Well, at least Petunia is back up and running. But, is being naughty and blew a fuse yesterday that I have to check out this morning.

At the end of this week I begin my next project. Because I just don’t know when to quit I purchased a fixer upper condo in the retirement area known as Sun City West. I close on the little gem Friday, the cabinets and granite are ordered, and I plan to start the demolition on Saturday.

I hope I'm not getting to old for all this fun!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Fine Mess

Here in Arizona, known for abundant sunshine, we have had an usually cloudy, wet beginning to the year. January had only a couple of sunny days and February hasn't been much better. But, I have snuck in a few rides to nowhere just to ride. I take the camera and then don't use it. Just thrilled to be out on the bike and don't think about it until I am back in the garage.

I had been noticing a small drip of oil under Stella, after these rides, and looking at where it was dripping from the source couldn't be located.  Then Thursday morning entering the garage there was a puddle bigger than a Homer bucket. Went to the Guzzi forum for some help and it was suggested the leak was either the CARC (transmission in Guzzi speak, rear end in the real world) pinion seal or the gearbox output shaft seal (transmission in the real world). 

Solution was to pull the CARC and have a look see. So, I did and this is what I see  

I clean up the mess and sit the CARC to the side and half an hour later it looks like this just from sitting and with no pressure at all in the unit because I have the vent on top removed.

Now, on one hand this is great news as this is the pinion seal leaking which is the easiest to replace and I was planning to remove it anyway to grease the swing arm bearings that seem to come from the factory dry. The bad news is it requires two special tools and not using either of them very well could ruin the CARC beyond repair. The CARC replacement is close to 40% the value of the bike! There in lies another problem. There are only two Guzzi Dealers in the State of Arizona. Neither of which have a very good reputation when it comes to service.

On the recommendation of the forum I contacted the Houston, Texas Dealer and they want the whole bike, not just the broken part. But, on the bright side they confirmed it would be covered by warranty. I began to think that would mean anything that would go wrong in the future would require a trip to Houston and who knows how long to wait for parts to get there from Italy to get the repair done. 

It gets even better when a dealer from the Land of Oz chimed in with DON"T RIDE IT ANYWHERE! He included a list of what could go wrong in just a very few miles and it isn't pretty.

The closest dealer here is 60+ miles, one way, from me, will require getting a trailer, and hoping the reviews I have read are wrong. I'm not sure this is the adventure I was looking forward to when I went Italian.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Time To Quit Farkling

It is just about time to leave Stella alone and get to riding. She is as farkled as she needs to be at this point. The only thing I really need on her now is miles. The finishing touches were in the wind protection and helmet buffeting area.

The new Scorpion helmet is great, but there was some buffeting that the old HJC didn't have. I made some adjustments and finally added a Laminar Lip. That was the least expensive option I could find.  It worked pretty well until I opened the vent on top of the Scorpion. It was impossible to ride very far with the vent open because the air blast was directly into the vent.  The noise was terrible.

A new, taller windshield was over $200 and being a cheapskate that didn't work for me. So, with coffee in hand I stood looking at her and thought I identified an option. A quick trip to Home Depot and $8 got me an aluminum flat stock and a couple of bolts. I cut the flat stock to hold the windshield braces and move them up 1.75".  

I was feeling pretty good about my project until I tried to install the dash panel. Because of the rise, the fat section by the upper bolt interfered with the preformed panel.  A quick stop and think and I decided to trim the offending areas of the panel.  This was a huge chance as the dash would be very expensive to have to replace if I screwed it up.  I marked where I thought I needed to trim and cut it before I chickened out.  Tried to install the dash and hadn't cut it enough. So, with a honing stone in my drill I went to work making adjustments a little at a time.  I finally got it to fit and it worked out pretty well.

A ride would be required to test everything out.  That was accomplished on Monday when I headed out for a quick 90 mile New Year ride to nowhere. Headed out toward Wickenburg with overcast skies and a temperature of 50 degrees. The farther I went the lower the temperature went. The skies were growing grayer and trending toward black and the wind began to gust. The buffeting  seemed to be gone and when I opened the vent all was good. I stopped and lowered the windshield half way and tried that, but it was a no go as I couldn't ride with the vent open and put it back up again. I aborted my intended plan to make Wickenburg and instead turned toward Lake Pleasant and home.

So, I got in the first ride of the year, seemed to fix the buffeting issue, and missed out on the rain. That made it a good day for me. I return to school today to substitute in a 4th grade classroom. I still have seven of my mandatory days to do and think I will only do a day a week. No need to get in a rush as I have until mid March to finish up. 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

The year That Was....

....wasn't the greatest, but tomorrow offers the promise of new, brighter days ahead.

So, Good Riddance to 2016, you Bastard, and Welcome 2017 with your bright possibilities and the shine of many promises!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It Must Be Time

After sixteen years, maybe closer to 20, of wearing the same HJC helmet I decided I should replace it.  Manufacturers suggest the life of a helmet is five years and I clearly haven’t listened to that. It is in nearly perfect condition with the exceptions of the few, superficial scars from the few miles it rode in the trunk. The inside looks good, it doesn’t stink, and I would think it would be better than the Harley cap I rode many miles with.

However, when I purchased Stella I told myself I wouldn’t ride her without ATGATT. In the four months I have had her I have honored that vow. So, I began the search for a new helmet that I might like. I was interested in a modular helmet that would flip up, that had air vents that allowed the flow of air to be felt, was comfortable and quiet, would work with glasses, and allowed for good vision. I also broadened my price point as the $100 range just didn't feel comfortable to me. 

I found a Scorpion EXO-AT950 that looked promising and with great reviews. When finally finding one to try on in the size I am currently wearing it was tight. Really tight and uncomfortable. The guy at the shop told me to just buy the next bigger size and he could have it in a week. I left and went home. The next day I looked on the internet, Black Friday Weekend, and found that same helmet for 20% off, with no sales tax, another 10% savings, free shipping, and free exchange if it didn’t fit. I ordered it in the next size up and it arrived in 6 days.

After 200 miles this helmet feels like an old friend. It is warm, with the vents closed, and there isn't a fog issue at 38 degrees. The locking mechanism offers a positive closing and the visor has 3 open locking positions. There is a drop down sun visor also. It fits snug, but not tight and it really doesn't feel any different than my old helmet. I do have a bit of buffeting that I didn't have with the HJC, so will need to play with the windshield to see if I can get it calmed down. Other than that I am really pleased with this purchase.

Yes, I am back to riding after only four weeks. Started out with short distances and have slowly increased to a 110 mile run yesterday. Looking to get in a longer distance run in the next week or two, if I can convince myself that 35-39 degrees isn't to cold to be leaving the house. I should focus on the fact it will warm up to 65 for the afternoon trip home. Besides that the heated grips I installed work great at 38 degrees as I have only used my summer gloves so far.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Just Like That....

....and I'm average.  I had just been talking to a friend about the claim that the average, 55 year old, American had to take 5 prescriptions.  I was feeling pretty smug being on none of the stuff.  Well, the Universe has a way of slapping a guy silly when they get cocky.

Monday found me in the room with 26 seven year olds when the pain started.  First in my left arm and then in my chest.  First thought was, "Oh sh#@, not here!"  Lesson plans aborted and the kids spent the afternoon coloring their art projects.  The pain lessened and I kept watching the clock move to dismissal time.  Sent the cherubs on their merry way and headed to the ex-wife's room to see if she had any aspirin.  All she had was a grade level meeting going on.  So, I grabbed most of my things and headed home.  By way of the UPS store to drop off a return for a part that wouldn't fit Stella. Must not of hurt to bad.

Getting home I took some aspirin and laid down to sleep it off.  That wasn't working, so I got dressed to take myself to the hospital. Walked into the garage to leave and convinced myself that I only needed a little more time and went back to bed.  At 10:30, almost 11 hours after the pain first started I gave in and went to the Emergency Room.

They made quick work of getting me in the back, behind a curtain, poked, prodded, and did a test. In about 45 minutes they came with the results...Heart Attack!  Words you hope to never hear.  Now I had to let my daughters know, so I sent a group text that I didn't expect them to see until they woke up Tuesday morning. Unfortunately my little  kid was up, finishing a test on Hospital Ethics of all things, and responded she was on her way.  Upon her arrival I got no credit for going to the ER, just a lecture on driving myself there.  This scene would be repeated at 7 AM when my eldest arrived.

Into the Cath Lab I go, insert the camera into my groin, up into my heart, and find 100% blockage in one artery, place a stent into OM1, and make me lay flat on my back for two hours without moving my legs or head.  That was the hardest part of the whole deal.  The whole process, from arrival at ER to discharge, was 37 hours.

Follow up 24 hours later and the results showed NO damage to the heart, which the doctor said doesn't happen often, and directions to take my medication as prescribed and move easy for the next six weeks or so.

So, I got really lucky and dodged a huge bullet and became average at the same time. Average in the fact that I am now taking those 5 prescriptions that those 55 and older take.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Funday Friday

Friday rolled around and there was nothing on the schedule, finally, to prevent me from taking Stella out for some longer distance exercise.  A quick check of the weather and I made the decision to head in a northwest direction because I have about worn out the easy northeast routes from Surprise. What a day! Cloudy all day until about 3:30 when just thirty minutes from the house the sun popped out for the first time of the day. Until that point it never got above 83 degrees, but reached 90 in short order when the sun kissed the afternoon hello.

Starting out on US 60, I pointed Stella toward Wickenburg. Leaving the house just before 7:00 AM found minimal traffic and pleasant temperatures.  Nearing the junction of US 60 and AZ 89 a decision had to be made. That proverbial fork in the road as it were and I choose to go left. It quickly crossed my mind that maybe it was time for Stella to taste a new state’s asphalt. Bearing left on US 60 I headed toward Salome, Arizona to connect with Arizona 72 North.  California here we come!

Arizona 72 takes one toward Arizona 95 and Parker, Arizona. The California border and a change to California 62 found the booming metropolis of Earp. Yes, it named for that famous villain Wyatt Earp. Stella is introduced to California as we headed to US 95 North rolling toward Needles, California and back into Arizona.

The destination was the old Route 66 into the Black Mountains and the town of Oatman, Arizona. Oatman was the site of a gold rush in 1863. Today it is a tourist trap that is famous for the wild burrows that come into town every morning to get fed by those tourists. At night they return to the mountains around the town to do what wild burrows do at night.

Road into town from the East


Mom and offspring

Note to tourists, he is still nursing

Someone told this one not to play in the street

On the return portion of the ride I stopped by the London Bridge.  Yes the real London Bridge that was purchased, torn down, shipped to Arizona, and rebuilt in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

A nice little Friday 490 mile tour on mostly 2 lane, traffic free roads.  I’ll bet on Saturday I wouldn’t be able to say that.  My only real issue on the day was finding a name brand gas station. Stella is spoiled and doesn't drink from the pumps of Who-Knows-What-Is-In-The-Tank stations. 

And me being the smart guy I am, I had the RotoPax and it was empty! 
When we finally found a Shell it only took 6.7 gallons to fill her up.
I am going to keep that RotoPax full and run her dry the next time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Name Change

Stella and I have been adding miles on a consistent basis.  I am still in the process of changing things on her that are necessary and am getting ready to add a few things just because I want to.

Realized this morning I hadn't been here in a while.  While I was catching up I remembered that Dom over at Redleg's Rides had asked a while back if I was going to change the Blog name now that I had a goose.  I had been thinking about that and think I am going to exchange the word Harley for Adventure... thus the Blog becoming Arizona Adventure Dude.  Checking with the FAQ section at Blogger I don't think it is hard to do, as you can see if you look at the title.  My next question is how to change the URL and that gets a little more complicated, so I still have some checking to do on that.  I also don't want to change it without giving some notice for the readers that want to keep following along.

Being brand specific in the title, these nine years later, shows my short sightedness.  Who knew I would still be sharing after that amount of time?  Now with Petunia having the sidecar attached she is an adventure and Stella is considered an ADV bike, so Arizona Adventure Dude seems to me to be a good fit.

Unfortunately, for Petunia, I haven't put her together yet.  When I get ready to work on her and walk into the garage and see Stella I gear up and ride.  I also have only done half of my required substitute days for the District.  That is a problem that I plan to correct in November so I can get that out of the way. is an adventure!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Craziest of Days

There is something in the air out here in the desert!  Our Monsoon season ended, officially, on Friday. It rained on Friday during the day and Friday night.  These are strange occurrences indeed.

It got crazier on Sunday morning.  I went to a Moto Guzzi National Owners Club, MGNOC, monthly Breakfast Ride.  Left the house at 6:55 and rode into a bright morning sun.  Arrived at the appointed Denny's and started meeting the folks without even thinking about weather.  We move inside to their conference room and someone said, "Look how hard that wind is blowing!"  Just minutes prior there was no wind at all.  The waitress walked around taking breakfast orders.

She quickly followed that up delivering coffee and water.  Seemed like a normal day.  Within five minutes she came back in and announced, "I have some bad news.  It is pouring rain and all of you are on motorcycles."

Someone responded, "I not leaving until it quits."

"Well, we can't cook breakfast now!", she added to much laughter.  "No, really, I'm serious," she repeated, "the roof is leaking onto the griddle.  We won't be able to cook until they can get someone here to fix it."

The Breakfast Ride had just been officially rained out, from inside the restaurant!  That is a new one to add to the list of craziest things to ever happen to me on a motorcycle ride.