Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello, Dexter Highjacks the Blog

Hello, this is Dexter! My daddy is attempting to make me a biker dog and I'm not sure I'm a willing participant!  Being four years old it is hard to learn new tricks. Granted, he was willing to try small steps, like taking me to the Dog Park, but after peeing and playing we had to get back in that loud contraption!

OK, he did get baffles and it isn't as loud as before, but I'm little and not sure I even want to be a biker dog.  He tells me it will be a lot of fun and there are great things to see in the world. We went for a 75 mile jaunt a couple of weeks ago and I refused to go again the next day.  I need small steps, not gigantic ones!

Daddy has been asking every day if I want to go on a motorcycle ride and I get excited, but not sure if I'm ready.  He takes me outside, I smell the great fragrances, but when it is time to load up I chicken out.  Well, today it was time to take the chance.  It was a perfect day, cool, partly cloudy, to get our ride on.

We left about 9:00 AM in cool weather, up something called the I17.  Daddy was happy that Petunia pulled us up something called 7 mile hill/Sunset Point without any trouble at all.  Once up the hill we pulled over at the Rest Area to take a break and allow me to stretch my legs.

We met some humans. The lumpy ones were my favorite.

 Well, until I found some more my size.

 This is me leaving Sunset Point  going to a place called Prescott.

This is just after stopping in Prescott at the county court house.

 We walked around and I got to wet some trees.

 Daddy told me how good I was being and that he loved me!

 I hate Doggles, and refused to wear them, but as the day progressed my eyes started to bother me.  Daddy stopped and made me wear them.  I resisted, but they did help my eyes, so I pretended to be OK with them.

 Here we are almost home after almost 200 miles! I can't believe I rode almost 200 miles!!  Until today the most I have ever ridden is 75 miles.  I'm not sure I want to admit I had fun, but we were outside, I made some new friends that I may never see again,  we went on a couple of walks,  Daddy kept telling me I was a good boy, and the Doggles made my eyes feel better.

This being a biker dog might just work out for me. Especially if everyone thinks I'm as cute as they did today. I think I might need to get a leather jacket to keep me warm and dry if it rains.  Daddy mentioned a camping trip in the next couple of weeks. Not sure what a camping trip is, but today didn't hurt me and I did have some fun.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dexter and the Learning Curve

Dexter was a willing participant in a Saturday 75 mile ride.  It was a great day in Arizona with bright sunshine and mild temperatures.  He sat on the seat for about the first 15 miles, then got into his bed and napped most of the rest of the ride.   Only issue on the ride, that went over some small hills, Petunia didn't seem to want to pull herself on some of the upgrades. Mmmmmm.

Sitting and trying to remember back on the when I first got the pigpen, some 7years ago, I began to remember Petunia would haul the tub at 90 mph.  That is when the cam adjusters came apart and I took her in to have new gear driven cams put in.  After getting her back, she wouldn't pull the tub over 40 mph.  I had a couple of other things done to her, so took her back to the shop and they said nothing was wrong with her.  Took the pigpen off and the bike ran well except for gas milage, so just left the tub off.

Sometime in the night, Saturday, it popped into my mind that along with the gear driven cams the Baker 6 speed was also installed at that time.  That lead to my remembering that after last years motor update I realized that now that sixth gear was usable.  Putting the extra weight of the pigpen could have negated that change.

So, Sunday I was going to test my thoughts that I just wasn't using the correct gear for the conditions.  Getting ready to retrace Saturdays route, I took Dexter out to go for another ride. Pushed Petunia into the drive, got out the harness, and Dexter ran back to the door and wouldn't move.  I opened the door and he ran inside, refusing to come back out.  I guess he wasn't ready for a repeat of yesterdays fun.

Retracing my route I kept Petunia 1 gear lower than I had on Saturday and she did great.  Unless I was on flat ground I stayed in 5th gear and no problem. With the cruise set at 70 she pulled the small hills without a worry while turning 3,000 rpm.  On flat lands, in 6th gear she ran 70 mph @ 2,500 rpm.  The learning curve for driving the hack continues and that is the easy part.  I'm hoping Dexter isn't going to start being a problem.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dexter the Wonder Dog Goes on the Road

Today was the day.  Dexter has been hanging around the pigpen while I continued to make minor adjustments and deciding how I was going to connect his tether.  On a mild, overcast day it was time to get out of the neighborhood and hit the real road.

Sitting on the seat

 Lets try laying down

 Time to try out the bed

 Can't you see I'm trying to nap

 Can we go home now?

 No, I don't have to go!

So, after a 40 mile round trip to nowhere we found our way home.  Dexter didn't jump out of the pigpen and seemed pretty relaxed the whole time.  I chose to not remove the seat because it seemed to be a better choice.  I don't like the double link chain I got for the tether because there was fur that was pulled from Dexter stuck in it, so I will get a different kind.  Other than that I think the day went well, Dexter seems happy, and he didn't seem stressed at all today.

He is currently curled up next to me sleeping. Such a good, tolerant little fella. Next adventure might be out to the lake to play in the water.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pigpen Updates

Seems like reattaching the pigpen is one thing after another.  Nothing major, just things that probably were needed anyway.  After 500 miles with the pigpen I realized at 65 mph and higher the clutch was slipping and the rig would not pull on upgrades.  Checking into this I found that with the added power of the motor update and the weight of the pigpen the clutch spring may have been to weak.  So, I replaced it with a heavy duty clutch spring today.  Yes, it is going to take some getting used to the added strength needed to operate the clutch now, but Petunia pulls the pigpen a lot better now and sixth gear is now usable.

 When I added the turn signals to the pigpen I was worried about the power draw and swapped over to all LED lights on the 6 signals.   They blinked faster then they should, so I put in a plug and play load equalizer to correct that problem.

Driving the rig gets easier every time I take it out.  I am still making adjustments for Dexter and he is getting better about riding.  Next project is to remove the seat and install a platform that will lower him seven inches into the tub.  That will get him out of the wind and allow him to move around more.

I have also ordered a new set of triple trees from an 09 Tri Glide to make the steering easier at speed.  After talking with a couple of people, changing out the front geometry will make a huge difference in the handling.  The Tri Glide triple trees cost a third of the other option and are really a stock Harley option.  Hopefully this will be the end of upgrades and I can spend some of this garage time on highway time.  I believe that may start with a weekend ride in just a couple of days time. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Just When You Think You're Done

Saturday was spent adding turn signals to the Pigpen.  Removing the carpet from the inside walls, drilling holes, running wires,  soldering the splices together, then success it all works, using spray adhesive to reattach the carpet and the job was done.

Sunday was scheduled as a day to go riding.  So, off I went at about 9 AM heading Northwest toward Wickenburg and wherever the road took me.  That was until about 10 miles down US 60 when I tried to downshift stopping for a red light.  Shifting is something I barely even think about as it is an automatic reflex after all these years.  Automatic until your heel tries to shift and nothing happens.  Foot searching and there is nothing there.

Turning right to make my way slowly into a gas station, stopping on the shady side, I discover a stripped shift shaft.  The outside splines had given me a problem a couple of months ago about 50 miles from home at my niece's house.  I fixed it enough to get home and repaired it the next day.  Today the inside spline decided it wanted to play and somehow pulled completely out of the shift rod lever.  Luckily I had put the tool pouch back into the bike where it belonged and had enough tools to make a repair enough to get back to the house.

Petunia is now sitting in the garage waiting for the new shift shaft that hopefully will be delivered in about three days.  Funny how the local Dealer doesn't have the part in stock and needs to order it, but the online Dealers have it ready to ship.  On the bright side I was close to the house and made it home with little effort.  On an even brighter side I am typing this while listening to the thunder and rain pouring down outside.  It is pouring off the roof and I can still hear it beating on the roof and windows.  Wouldn't be riding today anyway.

Wednesday Update:  The parts arrived today and after half an hour in the garage Petunia is road worthy again.  Just a short ride to check the shifting and it feels a lot better, more positive and neutral is easier to find.  A little later tonight or tomorrow afternoon and I will take her on a longer jaunt to get a better test.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Relearning to Drive a Hack

Today was Dexter's introduction to riding in the Pigpen.  To say he tolerated it would be an exaggeration.  We rode to the dog park where he had fun.  We walked around the lagoon.  Back at Petunia  I took him off the leash to put the harness on him and he ran off to a tree and layed down in the shade.  I walked over to him, sat down, and he crawled on my lap.  I put the harness on him, walked him back to Petunia, and buckled him in.

This was not his happy face!

Riding yesterday the 17" windscreen on the Pigpen acted like a sail and the wind buffeting around my ear was uncomfortable.  Today, after the dog park, I cut down an old windscreen to 7" and replaced the taller one.  

Cutting down the windscreen made a huge difference!  There was no buffeting up around my ears and the drag was noticeably reduced.  I also took the toolbox I was using for ballast out.  I realized yesterday I just wasn't using enough muscle to make Petunia turn.  Maybe even riding a bit scared to turn.  With no ballast today all went well.  I did realize I wasn't slowing enough when making turns.  I was trying to turn at about 30 mph and that wasn't going to work.   

Heading out in the 107 degree temperatures of Arizona I used the opportunity to test out the HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Vest my nephew and his wife gave me.  Soaking it for 5 minutes and then wringing it out I hit the road.  It worked great!  I was cool and could feel the cooling effect of the vest.  After riding for almost 90 minutes it was still very comfortable in these temperatures.  I will have to say that to continue to ride I would have had to stop and resoak the vest to remain comfortable.  Still, I am very happy with its performance.

The relearning process has just started and I am looking forward to continuing to become comfortable with driving a hack again.  During the process I have to make the decision if I need to install an EZ-Steer or Tri-Glide triple tree to help with the steering.  Time will tell.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back to Hacken

Pigpen is back where it belongs attached to Petunia.  Took it for a spin in the neighborhood on Friday and everything except right turns seemed fine.  Almost got hit twice trying to turn right and Petunia just went straight.  Part of the problem was I had no ballast in the pigpen.

Got out early Saturday morning to wash the rig and was going to install the right turn signal on Pigpen, but the flange isn't flat as there is a nut the protrudes about 1/8 of an inch and I'm not willing to drill that big of a hole in the side of the car body.  So, I will have to come up with another option.

Got ready to take her out on the road for a real test and decided to put a toolbox inside the Pigpen for ballast.

That was the ticket I missed on Friday and at highway speed, with my ham hock hanging off the right side of the seat and shifting my weight between Pigpen and Petunia, right turns in the road were nothing.  On the straight portions on the highway Petunia's steering was completely neutral and she tracked straight and true.  I could have almost taken my hands off of the bars and she felt like she would still run straight.  Tighter corners were another story, as it required some muscle to get her to turn.  She ran very strong up to 70 mph and could have gone higher, but I'm not in that big of a hurry. 65 mph seemed to be just about right and the cruise control held her there without any issues.

Back into town I stopped at Wally World to get some cleaner for the tonneau cover and between there and home I discovered that right turns were still an issue.  It seems I just wasn't putting enough input into turning the bars as required.  I will be out working on that this weekend.

Still have a few finishing touches to be done, but all looks promising.  Dexter came out this morning to check out his new ride.  I hope he knows what is coming.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pigpen Progress

Just spent a warm, humid, six hours in the garage. The result is the pigpen frame is now attached to Petunia.

Took her out for a spin in the neighborhood and at all speeds she runs true with no pull to left or right.    That tells me all of the extra care and time on the attachment was well spent.  Only real problem was when I took off the bolt on the strut to adjust the lean out I dropped Petunia on her left side on top of the frame.  I worried that it may have messed up all of my work, but all pinch bolts had been torqued and rechecking showed everything was still good.  Also, there was no damage to Petunia.

The ride showed no speed issues up to 45 mph, but without the body that isn't a fair assessment.  However right turns were an adventure.  With no weight out there flying the chair was a bit hairy.   Next step tomorrow is connecting all of the electrical and installing the body.  I also changed the baffles in the mufflers because I was tired of the loudness and am worried about Dexter riding in the car that close to the pipes.  She is much quieter, but still sounds like a Hog.

Have to get a new Taillight as the current one has four holes drilled in it and the tape that was covering them up is past tense.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Garage Time With The Pigpen

Well, the temperatures in Arizona are down into the low 100's, but the humidity is a bit high.  Still it is time to try and venture into the garage and think about installing the pigpen, also know as a sidecar,  back onto Petunia.  Dexter the Wonder Dog is getting ready to become a motorcycling pooch and he got his new Doggles this week.

First order of business was looking at the TILT control that didn't work the last time I had it hooked up.  The purpose of the TILT is to raise or lower the sidecar to lean the bike out or in to help with steering on crowned roads.  I started by removing the body from the frame.  I did this for two reasons.  First was to be able to get a perfect foundation when making the connection between Petunia and the pigpen.  Secondly was to be able to access all of the wiring.  Cutting into the wiring I found a rats nest of a crappy job that someone before me had done.  Digging deeper I found the TILT has a pair of disconnects near the motor and one of them had somehow come apart.  I also found the 3 way switch on the bars was bad.

This is how it is supposed to work

The nest of wiring

I plan on redoing every bit of the wiring using all soldered joints and shrink tube.  Just seems like the best way to do the job the right way.  Also, when I got the sidecar the guy had the switch mounted to his handlebars, so that is where I put it.  That leaves it out in the elements and unprotected.  To protect it I will drill a hole in the fairing and install it out of the weather.

Another issue that I paid no attention to last time was the turn signals.  The pigpen doesn't have signals on the right side of the car body.  I have ordered a pair and will put them there, disconnect the right turn signals on Petunia, and hopefully that will prevent anyone from being confused when I signal a right hand turn.

The plan to get back into the world of hacks now begins in ernest.  Updates will follow as I continue to look into sidecar forums, get it installed, refresh my riding/driving skills with the hack installed, and teach Dexter he really WILL like to be a Biker Dog.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Polaris?

Polaris is stepping into a new type of motorcycling with the introduction of the Slingshot. Labeled a motorcycle you need a motorcycle endorsement to operate it, as well as follow helmet laws.

Sounds like an interesting vehicle to me and I look forward to checking it out at the dealer just down the street from me. Was supposed to launch July 27, but you never know when they will be hit the showroom.

Follow this link for more information:


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Saturday in the Country

Saturday morning arrived with cool temperatures and bright sunshine.  The original plan was to be at Nancy's place around 9:30, so I called about 8:00 to be sure she was ready.  Her place is Southwest of Sierra Vista and while she sent great directions, they are only useful if I had taken them with me.

I placed a second phone call when it was apparent I was lost and thought I was straightened out.  Getting lost a second time resulted a third phone call and finally when I turned the corner Nancy was standing there waiting. It would have so much easier if I would have remembered to take the directions. First came the tour of the outside acre of her property and all the hard work of planting and installing fence and irrigation systems.  Then it was to the inside and the tour of her beautiful home that had also received a lot of TLC after its purchase.

After a cup of coffee and catching up for a while it was time to go explore the reason she loves this area so much. Our first stop was into Ramsey Canyon.  The trail head was about two miles from her place and changed from desert landscaping into tall trees and a hiking trail that rose up to 9,800 feet in elevation.

Bridge to begin the hike just outside the Visitors Center

I wasn't aware that the elevation here was about the same as Flagstaff, but as we started walking Nancy told me if I needed to rest to just stop. Well, it was hard to breath with the allergies plugging me up, not to mention to the lack of exercise on my part, but I kept plugging along.  Being in the shaded areas was pleasant as it was heating up.  

This rustic log cabin is along side the trail

View of the mountain top

It was an enjoyable walk/hike and the scenery was beautiful. Not anything like I could have imagined.  We drove, in a cage, to a couple of other areas that Nancy hikes and then headed over to Carr Canyon.

We took a walk down to the location of the original Carr House which is now in ruins.  It was interesting to speculate about the construction methods used based on what was left of the house. It showed signs of being updated as the walls had been chiseled out and notched for electrical outlets. It also appeared that galvanized pipes were used, but couldn't really tell if it was for water or support. We stopped in the Visitors Center on the way back up and took a look around.

This tree is just off the front porch of the old house

A reminder that we are on the US/Mexico Border. Tracking devise used to locate Border Crossers.  However with the terrain around here I can't imagine they have many.

Next we headed into Sierra Vista and stopped at La Casita Restaurant & Cantina for lunch. The food here was very good. We returned to Nancy's and sat on the porch talking until Happy Hour time and shared a bottle of wine.  We continued to talk for another couple of hours until moving inside until bed time.

Sunday morning arrived to cool, almost cold weather. After breakfast it was time to don jacket and gloves and head to the barn. It finally warmed enough at Picacho Peak to remove the gloves and jacket when I got gas. The ride home was mostly uneventful and it was good to get much needed windshield time in.  Arrived at home after 3.5 hours and went to collect Dexter.

The doggy sitter told me they would like to keep Dexter because he was such a lover. I respectfully declined their offer and he must have had a great time with the other dogs because he slept all day on Sunday and Monday turned into the same.

Monday, May 19, 2014


The conspiracy of life may have been broken.  Retirement has been almost exactly a year ago and there has been no real riding.  At least no road trip to speak of.  Partly because of updating Petunia to an 98 inch beast, partly because of family issues, partly because of not feeling like riding.

But, even with an issue with installing a new clutch on Mother's Day that didn't go well, the motorcycle gods smiled on me and I got away over the weekend.

My concern about the new new clutch arriving was unfounded as it arrived on Wednesday, three days after ordering it.  Petunia was resting in the garage, apart, waiting to be put back together and in 30 minutes was ready to roll.

A dear friend moved to Hereford, Arizona and invited me down to see her new place. The plan was to leave Saturday, early, and be down there around 9:30, but I was so ready to ride I left Friday about 11:00.  I chose to run the back roads to Tucson.

Leaving out US 60 Superstition Mountains

Enjoying the ride

Petunias new cockpit

After making my way to Tucson on the back highways through Florence, the home of the Arizona State Prison,  I had no choice, but to ride I10 for about thirty-five miles to Arizona 83 which is a scenic highway that takes you to the Elgin region and wine country.  I have visited several of these wineries in the past and found that they produce some very good wines. Granted they are no way near the stature of California Wineries, but very good.

Highway 83

This is wine country? The drought is taking a toll. On the ride through this area I only saw one stand of grapes that were being watered and were green.

I made it to Sierra Vista about 5:00 and since I wasn't expected until Saturday morning I checked into a motel for the evening.  I stretched a 3.5 hour ride into a 6 hour one by taking the long, leisurely way.  It has been so long since I rode any distance that the last few mile were uncomfortable. I am so far out of riding shape that this short 300 mile ride kicked my rear and I slept like a log.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Routine Maintenance Isn't Always Routine

I bought a new clutch pack about a year ago and because the old one was slipping now was a good time to put it in.  So, Mother's Day Sunday instead of just sitting around I went to work.  I was surprised when the job only took two hours, but when test riding Petunia the new clutch slips worse than the old one.  It was supposed to be a heavy duty clutch, but at 30 MPH and opening the throttle wide open the RPMs went to 4,000 and the bike barely moved.

So, I jumped on the web and ordered a Barnett Kevlar Extra Clutch Plate kit.  It is supposed to be here as early as Tuesday - Thursday and I will try again.

A few weeks ago I had checked my primary chain adjusting shoe and found it showed considerable wear.  I say considerable wear because I changed it only about 10,000 miles ago.  The original one was at least twice as thick as the one the Harley dealer sold me and claimed Harley changed to the new thinner ones because they were better.

Instead of getting another 'new and improved' one from Harley I picked up a York Automatic Primary Chain Adjuster #18-0581.  The shoe rides on a double spring which allows it to move as needed and is closer to the thickness on the old original shoe.  Hopefully it won't wear as quickly as the one I took off. 

Because the new new clutch is supposed to be here Tuesday - Thursday I will take Petunia apart Tuesday morning just to be ready.  This possible delay is most troubling because I have a weekend ride scheduled that I don't want to miss.

UPDATE; The new new clutch arrived Wednesday afternoon at 1:30. Petunia was on the road at 2:15 and seems to be running as she should. Will take her out Thursday morning for more of a test, but it looks favorable for a Road Trip this weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day Well Spent

Sash and Highway made a stop in the Phoenix area to do a show on Monkey Butt Radio.  We took the opportunity to get together for breakfast and a ride.

This is just as they arrived at The Place ready for breakfast.  The Place originated in Flagstaff, Arizona as Mike and Ronda's.   I learned about it when my daughter was going to NAU and it is still my get away breakfast joint whenever I travel heading north.  Breakfast was plentiful and delicious as usual for The Place.

The weather couldn't have been better with bright sunshine and a high just around 95.  Leaving breakfast we headed up to the Cave Creek/Carefree area of yard art you never knew you needed and biker bars toward Barlett Lake.  Rolling through Cave Creek Sash spotted a restaurant named Cartwright's and since that is her maiden name we had to make a stop.

From there is was back on the road heading east to the turn off to the lake.  This is the second most fun road into a lake in Arizona near the Phoenix area.  It is 16 miles of nice sweeping turns, stunning scenery,  and bathed in sunshine today.  Running at a leisurely 50 MPH I lead towards the lake.  Reaching the boat launch area we found a nearly empty lake.  

The last time I was out here in June 2013 the water was at least as high as the light colored pavement on the right.  This is the only ramp on this half of the lake and it is now closed.  People were still launching off of the bank just to the south of here.  However there were very few boats on the lake and no cars in the parking lot.  In the past a weekday trip out here would have at least half of the parking lot filled and the lake filled with boats.

Sash and Highway enjoying the perfect weather.

Time to head back toward town and as we left the parking lot Sash rocketed past me like I was standing still.  The trip out was run at 60 -70 MPH.  The last time I rode with Sash and Highway was in Tucson going to Mount Lemmon and she was a newbie.  Funny what riding across the USA and back can do for a person as her riding has grown exponentially. Having a riding mentor and teacher like Highway doesn't hurt at all, but I was impressed with her belief in her riding and her skill level.

We made a stop at the Tap Haus Bar and Grill for a beverage and appetizers before heading in our separate directions.  Today was a perfect riding day and I look forward to the next time we can get together.  Thanks for sharing your day with me! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interesting People

Scooterists come in all flavors and categories.  Once in a while one shows up that is so unique it is hard to believe.  Let Scooter Tramp Scottie introduce you to one of those scooterists as he writes;

Ran into Hondog at Daytona Walmart. He lives in the woods of New Hampshire with the bears and completely off the grid. No electric or running water.

By winter Hondog travels the southland on this contraption and with very little money. The sleeping trailer he pulls behind the bike is at a friends place right now. Hondog is a member of the CMA. Ive known him for many years.


Now being a scooterist at 74 alone is unusual, but this fellow Hondog is in a class alone.