Monday, April 27, 2009

Quirks of Life

After a great six days in DC I come home to these items.

It is Monday and I go to pick up Petunia, but after a week she isn't ready. Seems the cam shoes were the worst John has ever seen. Worst as in both sets were in the bottom of the oil pan and he won't finish her up until tomorrow. Knowing I was out of town and being extremely busy I suspect is why she wasn't done. Not that big of an issue really in the scheme of life.

Bigger issues are rearing their ugly head around AHD land. Seems my pop is having health issues again. The January scare was behind us, but now with stroke symptoms showing and I begin to worry again. He is going to Louisiana this Wednesday for the yearly business trip, regardless of the opinions of anyone. I just can't let him drive himself there, so I will be taking another week from work to do the driving. There are no planes in Pop's 82 year old world and nothing will stop him from going. So, rather than chance something happening to him, or someone else, I will step in and do what I feel is the right thing to do.

I can always ride Petunia another day, but I don't how many other days I'll have with my pop. Life does have its quirks.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nation's Capitol

Greetings from our Nation's Capitol. I have been here for five days and am ready to return to my real life Sunday. The conference has been the worst I have ever attended because of the number of cancelled sessions, But, it was also the best conference because of the history of this Country that I have only read about.

This is the US Capitol looking north from our hotel. This was our first view of the history of the city. This is only the second historic city I have ever visited and they have both been because of attending conferences because of my teaching career.

This was my view of the White House during a night walk. It was a six mile hike from our hotel, but a great walk. This was taken Friday and we had to wait for about 45 minutes for a temporary event.

The history of this city is world renowned and I will post more in the next couple of days. All of the, 235, pictures I have taken are different from what have already been published. This has been a great week and the history has enthralled me.

More to follow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

I posted last weekend about the Pig Pen needing new brake pads and not finding them in the USA. Well at 4:15 Monday morning I found a place in Golden, Colorado that is the regional distributor for Brembo Brakes. I gave them a call at 8:50 while my students were out at PE. I explained to the nice lady who answered the phone what I was looking for and she transferred me to Donny Erickson, the Product Sales Manager for T.A.W. Vehicle Concepts, Inc.

I gave Donnie the numbers off of the pads I took off Sunday and he told me they wouldn't help. He asked what kind of sidecar I had and when I told him it was a Champion he said, "Great, we supply them with their brakes." What are the chances of that? He then looked up the part numbers that they use, cross referenced to the brake pads, and said they had plenty in stock.

The next question was if I wanted standard pads or metallic ones. After a discussion of the virtues of each type of pad, I chose to go with the metallic pads. My reasoning was the stopping power and lack of fade with metallic pads. Donnie cautioned that many don't like metallic because of noise when the brakes are applied. But, when Petunia comes home she will have a new set of Bassani Fishtails on her and if I can hear the brakes I will have a real problem.

While on the phone I questioned if they made the same pads for Petunia as well and was told they did. Since I was ordering two sets for the Pig Pen I also added a complete set for Petunia. Donnie gave me my total, I gave him my credit card number, then he told me he didn't know the exact amount of shipping, but it would be less than ten dollars. The order was complete and he said it will be shipped that same day.

Ordered on Monday morning and the new pads were sitting at my front door when I got home from school Wednesday. That was quick service and shipping was less than three dollars. I opened up the box and they were the exact pads I needed. That is the kind of service that I appreciate and I would recommend T.A.W. for your brake needs.

Next I loaded up the new tire and the rim and went off to have the wide white wall installed. Forty minutes later I was back at home putting it all back together. All that is left is to get Petunia back and put a few hundred miles on her to break in the new cam gears and Baker 6 speed before reattaching the Pig Pen.

This weekend will be boring, next weekend will be spent in Washington, DC, and after that weekends should be spent riding again. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring and Love is in the Air

I took a drive out to the lake yesterday just to get out of the house. While there I met Betty. Now, I'm not usually a forward fellow, but there was something special about her that I just couldn't quite put my finger on.

After talking to her for a short while she invited me to follow her home.

As I followed, I wondered if I was making the right decision.

She did appear to be special, so I kept following.

Reaching her place, she excused herself to go slip into something more comfortable.

When she came out I knew it was love at first sight.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quit The Whining

After posting this morning I read a few blogs to see what rides others had been on. I read Joker's post from Saturday and it put me in my place, but good. So, I don't get to ride for a few days. My life is really pretty sweet and instead of feeling sorry for myself I should just suck it up and do something constructive.

So, I got out the tools of the day and got busy doing some much needed and neglected cleaning around the house. Ye old vacuum and mop pail have been feeling pretty neglected recently, but got a workout today. After I was done mopping I needed to get outside and stay off the wet floor.

So, I started eyeing the Pig Pen. I wanted to install the new wide white wall tire I purchased and what better time to do that than today. I jacked her up and started to unbolt the wheel.

It wouldn't come off. I looked harder and found that I would have to remove the Brembo brake to get the wheel off. After doing that, it wouldn't come off. I looked even harder and found I would need to take out two of the three bolts holding on the fender. Completing that, it still wouldn't come off. Damn, I would have to remove the fender to allow the tire to slide out. Completing that, it did, finally, come off. These aren't complaints, they are facts.

I took out the valve stem and no air came out. How could that be? I bounced the tire on the ground and it bounced and had no flex at all. I stuck a wire into the valve stem and goo game out. I got the drill and drilled three holes into it, but still no air came out. Next I got the sawzall and cut it open. The evidence is in the picture below.There was so much crap in the tube that it was almost solid. I'm not sure what it was, but I've never seen a tube filled like that before. After cutting and pulling almost all of the tube out I found another surprise. Instead of a rubber band to cover the spokes they used a wrap of duck tape and it had many torn edges and the spokes were touching the tube. So, I stopped and will take it in to have the tire mounted, correctly, and balanced.

Since I was so close I pulled out the brake pads to have a look. They were more than half used up. I thought it would be a great idea to go inside and order a new set. So, I went in and looked them up on the Internet and only found one place to get them. That was a place overseas and they would need to be back ordered. I emailed both Champion Sidecars and a dealer in Washington state to see if they have the new pads. Whatever I have to do it doesn't make any sense to put it back together like they are.

So, while I didn't get to ride today I was still productive. I got some needed chores done and got a head start on having the pig pen ready to roll when Petunia is ready.

Getting Cranky

Today is the thirteenth day since Petunia spit up her cam tensioner shoes. I found out Friday that the parts won't be here until at least this Friday. John won't start working on her until Monday the 20th. I leave for Washington, DC on Tuesday the 22nd.

That means I won't get her back until Monday the 27th. A whole four weeks of no riding. Four weeks, NO riding, with no snow to shovel, no cold to endure. Four weeks of great spring weather, not counting the rain yesterday, and NO riding.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Petunia's Prognosis

The verdict is in and Petunia had a secondary cam tensioner grenade in her belly. The whining must have been the metal remnants rubbing against the chain. The primaries are worn through and there is a hole/slot on one end.

I am going to go with the S&S gear drive kit because it isn't very much more expensive than stock parts and should last a lot longer. The kit will also have adjustable push rods. John has convinced to to change out my Power Commander for a Techlusion Electronic Jet Kit. This unit connects after the factory ECU, rather than before, and is adjusted with a screwdriver and eliminates the need to go to a dyno to get optimal performance. Since he has been doing this for twenty some years I am willing to give it a try for the price of the unit.

As I was talking to him about this repair, on Tuesday, I asked about installing the Baker DD6. Without hesitation he said, "NO! I don't install other people's parts. I have to be honest, I make money on parts and I'm not willing to change that policy."

Not a real problem as I had talked to Big D about the job. He told me he wasn't a for profit mechanic and didn't charge, but I could pay what I thought the job was worth. The problem was the special tools needed. Everything in Harleyland requires a special tool. So, I went about finding the cost of the special tools needed to install a Baker DD6. Big D said if I bought special tools I could subtract their cost from the price I thought the job was worth because he could use the tools later.

Here is what I found.

This is a pulley lock nut tool and costs $140

This is a door puller. Cost $95

A main shaft bearing inner race puller. $174

A main drive gear and bearing removal tool. $189

A shifter gauge. $90

That is a total of $688 plus shipping for a set of one use tools. Plus I would have to factor in Big D's time. When I went back to see John this afternoon it seemed he had a change of heart. Since I approved the work and ordered the parts for the cam job, half of the work of installing the DD6 would already be done. So, he said he would install the Baker unit for a lot less that I could buy the tools for.

To have everything done at once was to good to pass up. It is just easier to have it all done at one time and be done with it. When I talked to Big D he pointed out it would also be warrantied if the shop did it. So, I will be taking him the DD6 kit and when Petunia is done she will be all the way done at once.

But, the real problem from my perspective is this little blip on my radar is going to take about 65% of my summer ride budget. I would prefer to stimulate the economy from the seat of Petunia and not from the couch in my living room.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Joker's April Fools Joke

Joker fessed up in his comment section, so I can now post this.

Joker I never was a cop, but I have watched CSI.

The following was written this morning.

I am starting this post at 9:00 AM, Mountain Standard Time, April 1, 2009. It is my belief, and I already sent a second comment to Joker that he hasn't posted yet today, that he got all of us good with his April Fools Joke.

After biting and sending in my first comment, I started thinking about it driving to school. Lady R posted a great suck you in story this morning and than confessed it was an April Fools Joke at the end of it. Joker doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to give up his joke that easy. So, I just had to start looking into it.

In January Joker posted pictures of his Springer at the shop after the long winters modifications (see left picture). Today he posted pictures of this outstanding Springer with an incredible sidecar attached (see right picture).

In our daily comic section there is one called Hocus Pocus and I used that to help me out here. Do you see what I see? Differences that I noticed include different grips, front brake line has a different angle on the hack, front fork reflector is missing, the heal/toe shift linkage has both a different angle and toe, the tank pouch is missing, passenger pegs on the hack are stock, the clutch covers are different, and the seats aren’t the same. But the biggest difference is the fishtail mufflers. In January they curve top to bottom and today they were reversed. Oh yes, and today’s picture was taken in front of a white house with a concrete driveway. I believe that Joker’s house is gray, with a red colored door, and an asphalt drive.

I’m going to hold this post for a day or two to give Joker a chance to confess. If he does I will post this just as it is written and if he doesn’t I’m going public with my conspiracy theory on Friday morning.

Brother, you got me either way!!!