Sunday, December 13, 2015


Our oldest daughter had a traditionally significant birthday this weekend and while it was her big day, a milestone of her own, it was one for her mother and me too.  The little girl that was home with us this weekend is now older than Peg and I were when we brought her into the family.  An amazingly wonderful thing.

A few weeks ago she made a request, "Can we work on a project together?  I need a Tack Cabinet for my horse, a place to store things at The Barn.  No hurry, not a rush-before-Christmas can take as long as it takes, just something we can work on when we can."

A set of plans were found, obtained, adjustments to get the cabinet just right for Katlyn's horse being made as we go.  I had the van so picked up the sheets of plywood on my own a couple of weeks ago.  This weekend we actually got started making sawdust.

In addition to some birthday cake, some other early season eating and drinking making Merry were begun.  There's a 1000 piece jigsaw that was assembled on the card table and I imagine that it will be there for a number of days still before being disassembled.

With sawdust in the 'storage' section of the garage, things on the lift in the heated shop have come to a momentary standstill.

My first rally of the '15 riding season (not counting Slimey Crud) found me at the Madison BMW Club's Great River Road Rally, riding my trusty ol' TW200.  On the ride down I noticed that my right boot was getting some oil spray, something I'm not at all used to on any of the machines.  Over that May weekend, the oil only got worse.  With other attendees gathered around, speculation was that possibly a hose clamp on a crankcase breather tube might have grown tired of just gripping the hose and moved on to cutting off the hose instead.

I parked the TDub in the garage where it waited for the OFF riding season for the discovery and repair.  Numerous times all summer I looked over in the corner, wishing the Little Mule would be available, instead choosing one of the other bikes for that day's ride.  This fall, before the hoses outside were frozen solid, I rolled the Yamaha out of the garage, used degreaser and cleaned off a LOT of grungy, baked on dusty oil.  It didn't take more than a mile or two to source my problem.

The case gasket, at 12 o'clock straight above the clutch basket, had somehow for lack of a better word, collapsed, dropping down inside.  Maybe it was just age and gravity (gets us all eventually) that dropped the gasket around that arch between those 2 bolts above the clutch.  The gasket was ordered, as was the kickstarter oil seal before I even had the bike on the lift in the shop.

While cleaning off the old gasket from both sides of the cover/crankcase faces, I just happened to notice that a circlip on the kickstarter shaft was missing part of its circumference.  These two pieces were still one before I tried to remove the 'clip.  These clips are never a complete circle though still in place, this one was even less of a circle than normal.

Waiting now for that last circlip, then assembly and some fresh oil.  I'm not sure which of the other machines get lifted next but one of them better get in the shop soon, I've a fair amount of work to do on the others, too many tires to change and time is moving.  Spring and more riding will be here before we know it.


  1. You certainly know how to keep yourself busy during the upcoming cold season, Coop.

    1. Sonja, it's getting easier to be ready for and looking forward to the next season. Now if I could just follow your cue and be busy with things more physically demanding.

  2. The one issue with so many bikes is they always need something. At least you have a heated area in your garage.

    Good you have the opportunity to work on a project with your daughter too.

    1. You are right about always needing something. The upside is that (hopefully) there's at least one of them still running. So far, so good :)

  3. Lacking that nice heated moto space, means no lift, and makes me thankful I don't have a stable of bikes all clamoring for TLC.

    My winter project will be limited to replacing my heated grips on the Vespa.

    In the mean time today I tucked the Vespa into its winter nook at the back of the garage. Some time in the new year I'll get cracking on the grips.

    1. There's plenty of time; you'll find just the right time to get those nice grips installed. I keep thinking that I will try them on a machine but so far haven't done it.

      When you're not in the garage, stay warm. :)