Monday, January 27, 2014

Back to Road Ready

Updating Petunia is nearly complete.  I had known for awhile I needed to change the fork oil, but removing the fairing caused me to wait.  Then adding the Brembo brakes on the front made it a necessity from a safety perspective.  Every time I hit the brake lever the front end would take a dive.  That and on several occasions the front end would feel like it was washing out when I cornered at speed.  I thought about changing from the Harley single cartridge left fork, but instead I changed to the Progressive Monotube Fork Kit.  Riding Sunday afternoon was a treat with this new front suspension.  No more nose drive when braking, no front end drift, a very solid feel when cornering, and a general solid feel to Petunia's ride-ability.

Because of the fairing removal to get the forks out it was time to address the faded, bleached out inner fairing.  Searching the options I went with a color matched painted inner fairing.  Here is the before and after comparison.

I had been riding for almost two years without sound as the radio went out.  It was time to change that and I opted for a Sony radio with Hog Tunes speakers and a tweeter bar.  I also wanted to change the yellow lights in the tach and speedometer.  According to Harley when these bulbs go out you have to replace the entire unit.  Once removed I found both to be sealed units.  Searching the net I found and he changed out the old yellow lights with blue and I changed to blue leds for the other smaller gauges.

Now I just have to make time to get out on the road and exercise Petunia.  Going to have to get to some local attractions to show what this great winter weather looks like out here in the desert.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


No, I'm not a pirate. For the first time ever that I have ordered motorcycle parts online I received the wrong parts.  Not just one, but three.  On the same day.   After an almost week weather delay caused by snow back east!  SEE finally a snow delay in sunny Surprise, Arizona!!!  That is just wrong.

Dexter the wonder dog doesn't seem bothered. 

At least the Progressive Monotube Cartridge Fork Kit was right and an east install.  Now there is only 5 ounces of oil in each leg to worry about and it is only there to lubricate the internal moving parts.  I also changed the fork lowers because the old ones were peeling and showing their age.

So, now I sit and wait for the redelivery of wrong parts and an inner fairing.  Funny thing is, if Petunia was ready to ride and I didn't it wouldn't bother me.  But, because I can't ride it is aggravating as Hell.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Maintenance Time

It must be winter in Arizona because mornings are about 40 degrees and afternoons are in the low 70s.  Since it it winter and riding slows down it must be time for neglected maintenance on Petunia.  Necessary parts should be arriving today through Friday and much needed fork work, clutch work,  rear Brembos, and a couple of farkle updates and Petunia will be just like a new pig looking for highway to chew up.

She looks sad without all her cloths on

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tax Season.....What/If

Retirement?  Early retirement when not old enough for Social Security?  An elusive dream or creative entrapment?  As tax season approaches it might be time to look closer at just how much a person really makes a year.

Finding some spare time on my hands I have done my preliminary 2013 taxes already.  That got me to thinking and looking at the last pay stub I just received.  Since I only worked 5 months in 2013 I was a bit surprised by what I found.

Looking at the total earnings it isn’t bad for less than half a year.  But, then looking at the withholding/deductions section was like WTF!  Subtracting all the Arizona State Tax, ASRS Retirement, Federal Tax W/H, FICA Medicare, FICA Social Security and that total earnings took a nose dive.  So, subtracting all of the withholding/deductions from the gross, taking that number and dividing by the gross I find I am in a 42% withholding bracket for 2013 and that is just based on 5 months.  The true value of my income wasn’t what I made, it is 42% less than what I thought I was making.  42% that I don’t have to pay being retired!

Being interested in how that works for me, I found the new 2014 tax guide.  I did the projections for next year with my numbers and found I will only pay 8% tax on my total income.  No ASRS Retirement, no FICA Medicare, no FICA Medicare, and only a one time estimated 2014 tax payment if I’m not off on my calculations.  I could be off, but I estimated this year’s tax bill last February and am only $75 off.  Wasn’t expecting or counting that bonus check.

Next I compared 2013 spendable income to projected 2014 spendable income and found a reduction of only 9%.  I didn’t believe that number and went back several times and it always comes out the same. Because I had already cut the cable cord (small sacrifice to retire early and not planning to be home as much anyway) and restructured my cell phone plan without a smartphone I made up that 9%.  The reality, for me, is by looking closely at what I could live without and still live comfortably I am retired on even money.   Just to be safe going forward I am now budgeting more closely for this year to prevent any surprises.

Play the What/If game while doing your taxes and see what you find.  Maybe working those last couple or so years really isn’t as profitable as it would appear.