Thursday, July 24, 2014
I got it in my head a few weeks ago to work on my swing mechanics in an attempt to make a little more of a contribution to the team. Some coachin' from Joe and a pile of YouTube videos helped, but I needed to be able to take some swings at home, with what little down time I have.
Since I'm a cheap bastard, I grabbed one of Dad's old bats and a few old softballs layin' around, which left me only in need of a tee. With a swiped length of hose from work, a 2x4 and an hour, I whipped one up. Works pretty doggone good too, if I do say so myself.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Anyways, I figured since I would be there anyway and the T-bird was lookin' pretty decent, I'd go ahead and enter her in the bike show there on Saturday. When I arrived, there was dozens of Harley heads sittin' there with their terry cloths, toothbrushes and chrome polish, just goin' to town on their bike. I jumped off, slapped at the chrome with a bar cloth for about 30 seconds, then headed off to get to work.
Lo and behold, no other European bikes showed up for the show, I wound up winnin' first place for the Best Euro Import.
On an aside, I've not been doin' a good job of snappin' pictures as of late. However, I snapped a few from the burnout pit at GBW. This was one of my favorites...
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Honestly, it was very low key this year. We must be gettin' lazy in our old age... for the first time since Cottage Weekend started, we didn't even talk about campin' on the island. The weather was perfect for it, but I guess nobody else felt ambitious enough to fuss with it. Among other reasons, the girls aren't especially enthusiastic for campin' out and the work that goes with it, so I guess that makes us boys a little more prone to stay at the cottage and not deal with the bitchin'.
All that aside though, I reckon everyone had a great time regardless. We ate a shitton of food, and all the recyclin' bins are overflowin' with cans and bottles. We spent many happy hours on the river, and we spent the late evenin's playin' a fun card game that Spanky introduced us to called Cards Against Humanity. It's completely politically incorrect and despicably glorious... perfect for me and my friends, and our sick and twisted brains.
The highlight of the weekend was a four-mile float down the river. We loaded all the kayaks and people into two trucks and headed upriver to a public access, and spent the next several hours leisurely workin' our way back down to the cottage. I wound up sharin' a leisurely pace with Schlongie and his buddy Jesse, and we arrived back at the cottage about a half-hour after everyone else. Prolly shoulda looked into some sunscreen. I'm burnt to a damn crisp after that trip, but it was definitely worth it. I didn't take nearly enough pictures over the weekend, but I did snap plenty of 'em while we were on the water.
|A heavenly view.|
|Jesse and Schlongie tryin' their luck in some slower water.|
|Under the bridge.|
|The fish weren't bitin'... didn't stop 'em from tryin'.|
|Always liked them ol' iron bridges. Less and less of 'em around.|
|Schlongie, gettin' paparazzi'd.|
|Back to the cottage... time to eat.|
Thursday, July 10, 2014
This young'n didn't want to leave the perimeter of the shed. I recently re-scoped my .22 and haven't gotten around to dialin' it in yet, and didn't really want to go tearin' the shed up with the scattergun, so I opted for the ol' .223. I took a little chunk outta the support block, but the shed wood is unscathed.
Still don't want to make a habit of shootin' at the shed with a centerfire, so I reckon I outta try to scare up enough .22 ammo to get that scope dialed in...
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
I had mentioned that I'd lined up a transporter to get the bike from Phoenix to PA. Well, several weeks later, after several failed attempts at correspondence with the guy, I finally got ahold of him, and was assured he was on it. Then.... nothin', again. I damn near never break an agreement with someone, but I just didn't think he was gonna get it done and I was sick of feelin' like I was gettin' fucked, so I started lookin' for other options. (As an aside, the fella's name is Darrell Tindall, under the name TheTransportGuy2 on Uship.com.... I DO NOT recommend doin' business with this guy.) The seller had been pretty decent about holdin' onto the bike for me while I arranged shippin', but after six weeks, he was startin' to get antsy.
About that time, I noticed on Facebook that an acquaintance on mine from high school was deliverin' a boat to Commifornia, so I shot him a message to see if he was up for a stop in Phoenix on his way home. A week later, the bike was in my hands.
That was only one headache. The seller, who also turned out to be a dumbass, was a whole other series of headaches.
First, he decided to mail the title and key to me, which was fine. What wasn't fine was his wise decision to send them in a plain jane envelope, with the key floatin' around loose inside. Needless to say, the key wound up in Post Office Purgatory. More on that later.
Third, correspondence with him was painful, at best. I had maintained open lines of communication with him throughout the process, and especially once I had the bike in my hands, I had a few questions to ask about his care of the bike, and some of the aforementioned gremlins in particular. He was quite adept about givin' me answers to questions I'd not asked, as well as managin' to avoid answerin' the questions that I had asked about. In at least one instance, he flat-out lied to me about the condition of a part (note to readers: don't post pictures of the malfuntionin' part to your Facebook page, then say it worked just fine while you had it). I'm not sure he actually read anythin' I typed, as he was particularly good at askin' questions about things I'd already told him about. He got his money, so I just don't understand why he felt the need to be so dodgy. Really, really frustratin'.
So, back to the key thing. Since the lost key was the only one to the bike, that left me with only two options. First, get a replacement directly from Triumph, or tear the front end off of my old bike, swipe the ignition, tear the front end off the new bike and swap them out, all before ever gettin' the bike runnin'. In the interest of time, I opted to get a new set made from Triumph, since I was still waitin' on the bike to arrive at this point. When I called to place the order, I was told that A) due to a factory fire in Hinckley a few years back which wiped out some records, I might not be able to get a new key set made. If that was the case, they'd let me know within a week and refund my money. or B) they could indeed make a set for me, and I'd have 'em in two weeks. Three weeks later, havin' not heard anythin', I called the dealership I'd made the order from. They called Triumph and were told that they were waitin' for a few other orders to come in so they could all be done at once, and that I should have them in a week. A week later, with no keys in hand, I called back. This time Triumph told the dealership that the guy that cuts keys was on vacation and had just got back, and again, I should have them in a week. By now, both the dealership parts guy was gettin' pretty upset, as was I. I had gotten the bike at this point, and was still not able to run it. A week later, five weeks after placin' the order, I called again. This time, I was told that the records for my bike were among those that were lost in the fire. Five. Goddamned. Weeks. it took them to figure that out, when I was initially told one week. I'm still pretty pissed about that. I've been a Triumph guy forever, but this whole situation has put a pretty bad taste in my mouth.
So, that left me with only one other thing to do... start rippin', tearin' and wrenchin'...
|The old and the new, prior to any wrenchin'.|
|What's left of my baby, who's now a parts bike. Bittersweet, indeed.|
|The swiped ignition.|
|The new bike, stripped down and ready|
for the new ignition.
|Almost back together....|
She's been runnin' for a few weeks now. I've been tinkerin' along the way, and still have plenty more tinkerin' that I'd like to do. Either way, I've got my Triumph again, and I'm a happy guy.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
My second attempt at the 1K in '09 resulted in a blown rear tire that damn near got me killed, but left me with a great story. I thought I'd posted that somewhere on here, but I can't find it at the moment, so I'll have to publish it again sometime. Regardless, I got the bike fixed and managed to get off about 700 miles that day, but I fell short of the 1K.
I've done a handfull of 500 < 12's and one successful and one failed attempt at the 2000 < 48 in the years since my first ride, but I always liked the 1K. It's longer and more satisfyin' than the 500's, but with the same relatively relaxed pace. This past weekend, however, would be my first time ridin' any long distance by myself. The goal was to make it to Hoagy's house in Glen Dale, WV by 6pm for a dinner celebration in honor of Hoagy's Heroes' 10th anniversary.
I drew up the route myself and pored over it on Google Maps for several hours, so I felt very confident that I wouldn't get lost or anythin' silly like that. My route took me from Gettysburg to Chambersburg, PA on US 30W; I-81S from Chambersburg to Knoxville, TN; I-75N from Knoxville to Dayton, OH; I-70E from Dayton to Wheeling, WV, then a few miles south to Hoagy's house. Total distance as per Google was about 1,030 miles.
I was up and ready to go late Friday night, in preparation for my departure from my startin' point a little after midnight. I had prepared well, and was definitely feelin' good as I kissed my lady and headed out the driveway.
By midnight, I was fuelin' up at the Sheetz in Gettysburg, my chosen startin' point. A friend of mine from the local PD arrived a few minutes later to sign my witness forms, and I took off about 12:20am.
I made my Knoxville gas stop with no problems, and was headed north on I-75 through the hills of Kentucky that things went south.
To preface, I've been havin' a bit of a fuel delivery issue with that bike when the tank gets on the lower side, which sometimes causes a miss. I was about 40 miles from my next scheduled fuel stop when she bucked a couple times. I thought it was my low-fuel miss, so I decided to keep goin' as long as the bike would let me before I hit my reserve tank. After a few miles of this, the bike bucked, and then revved freely as the bike lost all power to the rear wheel. I got the bike off the side of the busy highway, thinkin' that I had blown my clutch. It was somewhat of a relief then to notice a few minutes later that the chain had come off the sprocket.
What I'd thought was a miss over the last few miles was actually the chain loosenin', then skippin' over the sprocket. So, that left me with a bunch of bitched-up sprocket teeth and a chain that was damn near outta adjustment.
I tried to make a few phone calls along the highway, but the noise was overwhelmin'. I finally just loosened everythin' up, put the chain back on, buttoned everytin' back up then babied the bike to the nearest exit and jumped on a quieter side road.
Five phone calls to four local Kawasaki dealers yielded no new sprockets in stock, so fixin' the problem then and there just wasn't in the cards. I finally just said "To Hell with it," buttoned everythin' back up, and got back on the highway, bad sprocket and all. I figured I'd just go until it wouldn't go anymore, then worry about gettin' a chase truck.
At that point, it was warm enough to ditch the gloves and coat, and Kentucky's a helmet-optional state, so I opted to strip down and ride light for a little bit. Ditchin' the gloves meant that I finally got to use the old digital camera that was tethered to my tank bag. It's a dinosaur, but it has a regular shutter button that I can feel with an ungloved hand, so I can rely on touch and not sight to take pictures on the road. I figure if I point the camera in a subject's general direction and hit the button enough times, at least one of the pictures might come out the way I want it, all without havin' to divert my attention from the road.
Now that my sprocket was pretty much shot, I opted for a much easier pace than I'd been settin' earlier, which meant gettin' much better gas mileage as well. Even with spendin' almost an hour stopped while dealin' with the sprocket issue, I was still on schedule to get to Hoagy's house in time for dinner. By this time, I'd ridden into beautiful weather, so I was enjoyin' the slower pace. I couldn't take quite as many pictures as I'd have liked to though, as the highway was reasonably crowded for most of the afternoon.
|Somewhere along I-75 in northern|
Kentucky. God Bless America.
|Hittin' my thousand-mile mark in eastern Ohio on I-70.|
Seventeen and a half hours and 1,032 miles after leavin' my Gettysburg startin' point, I parked my bike behind Hoagy's neighbor's garage with ten minutes to spare until dinner. An awesome dinner, a shower, and a few too many cold beers made my journey all the more sweeter. A great time was indeed had by all, and we all stayed awake way too late spinnin' yarns about great rides we've had over the last ten years.
|I don't normally drink that kinda water, but options were limited.|
I was plannin' on headin' to Pittsburgh to visit my cousins on Sunday, then ride home Monday, but I decided to just head straight home. I figured that if my sprocket finally gave out, I'd have better luck gettin' a chase truck on a Sunday than a Monday.
Many folks from my area depend on the PA Turnpike to get from one side of the state to the other. I feel like I'm gettin' raped every time I pay the exorbitant toll to ride that shitty, borin' road, so by trial and error, I've settled on US 30 as the best means of gettin' back home. It's a few more minutes and few less miles, and it's a helluva lot purtier, plus no damned ol' toll. Sunday was no exception, as the traffic was light and the weather was just right. I took my time and was able to snap a few more pictures along the way.
|One of any cool murals along the Lincoln Highway.|
|Some of the wind towers in the Laurel Highlands along US 30.|
|There are several sections in the Laurel Highlands where the|
road just stretches on forever...
After a particularly nervous ride up a hill that I damn near didn't make it up, I decided to stop at the summit for a beer at an ol' biker bar. I've passed The Mountain House uncountable times over the years without ever stoppin', but with time on my side, I decided it'd be a good day to do that.
|Yes, that's a 911 Turbo S I'm parked next to. Damn sexy.|
|Purty awesome view for a bar.|
Two days and 1,282 miles later, another awesome adventure came to an end.