Saturday, February 20, 2016

Went For A Drive Ride

Same attitude as a motorcycle ride, same destination(s) and almost so close, close enough to the same level of enjoyment.

Heading down river, most likely much like my first ride of the new season will no doubt be.  Still in the last half of February, the sun's greater intensity and wider sweep through the sky are giving all of we northerners hope.  Our recent higher than average temps have only helped and I'm both hearing it and seeing it from my friends.  Lighter steps and brighter dispositions, not withstanding caucus and delegate commotion.

It's been a week that's felt way extra long resulting in only a 2 day weekend (boo hoo, I know) for me and even that was seriously threatened yesterday, possibly making an even shorter break, avoided with great help from a dear friend.  Thanks so very much Rick, that's twice now that you've saved me in very big ways.

Bright and mild this morning, blue sky with a blue-sky-orange sunrise, I felt a bit foggy and knew I had to get some quiet "woods" time.  Peg was invited though wisely turned me down...."too much mud right now or were you thinking about paved?"

Paved was NOT what I had in mind so I headed out alone.  She's so much more effective as well as efficient at Saturday cleaning than I am anyway; I'm sure that all went better without my help. :)

Lake Pepin, the lake's ice ledge here where the Mississippi River transforms into its narrower and faster self.  There were a few bald eagles fishing, most of them seemed to only be casually thinking about it while resting at water's edge.

Lock and Dam #4 at Alma doing no fill/empty cycles at this time of year, only maintaining Pool Depth on the river.  There were fishing boats on the river downstream and countless ice fisher people on the frozen backwater ponds upriver.

I stopped in Buffalo City for a coffee and there was a guy there with an interesting boat and to me, a very interesting boat motor/drive unit.  Didn't have the camera after leaving the car.  Little did I know that he and I were both headed to the Whitman Bottoms Swamp.

"Mud Motor....air cooled,  don't need water, just like a lawnmower", he explained.  To unknowing me, an interesting V engine and drive unit.

Not really a boat landing though serving as one today.  "Roller trailer.....the only real answer" I was told.  More new knowledge for my little adventure and all I'd really been seeking was some quiet time in the woods.  It didn't take very long until I got the quiet that I was after......

 It is absolutely as icy as it looks between the rear truck wheels and where these guys are standing.  The truck is on solid ice covered ground, the guys and their trailer on river ice sheet.  The truck/trailer combination slid back 6" after he put it in Park and got out.

I couldn't really tell if it was loping from being too rich via the choke being on or not but what really surprised me was when he put it in gear and actually had the prop spinning.  Lugged down to what sounded like 200 rpm.....and it seemed to take it, never stalled or hiccuped.  Then he got it spinning faster as they headed upstream through the backwater.

Then I got the quiet that I was after..........


 Common here, large trees with very shallow root systems.  Topple in winds, often after the river floods.

Yes, there was a faint bit of traffic noise, a train now and then, tracks on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin side of the river.  Other than the birds, this was the best sound though......

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Morphous On The Lift

Finally getting to the black Yamaha, the long and low scooter is warm and in the shop.  Yesterday I took the old 400 Automatic outside and gave it 15 minutes of exercise to the best of my ability with snow and ice everywhere....which wasn't very much.  Knowing that far too much of our parking area in front of the garage is just about a skating ring, I gingerly waddled the Honda over to the deeper snow, foolishly thinking that with that much side to side 'resistance', I'd at least be able to idle through the 5" of fresh snow that we received the other weekend (no knee high boots required in our neighborhood).

It didn't work.

Still fumbling with the idle speed and idle mix screws, engaging Speed 1 left the rear wheel spinning and it spun so freely in the snowy yard that I wondered if I'd missed something and failed to engage the transmission.  One, almost fall down look at the rear tire told me that the wheel was going around but we weren't going anywhere.  A bit of paddling, just enough traction to put the bike down and on its side.  Oh well, it's running well enough for a road test when road tests are again reasonable.  For now, back into the garage in one of the snug corners.

I purchased tires for the Yamaha Morphous almost a year ago, looked in my PDF manual at the instructions for removal of the rear wheel and decided, "not now but soon."  Anxious to use it more last summer, especially since both it and the Helix were ready for tires, the Honda's tire much more in need of a change, it wasn't a big season of scooter riding though I did take the Morphous on a few short rides, willing to use up that last of those wear bars.  So, in a word, I was intimidated by the look and scope of the project.

Taking this black bull by the horns, I finally went at the project this morning, printing out the 8 or 10 pages of the manual relevant to the tire change.  Last night I spent time looking through the convoluted instructions...."See Engine Removal - Section 1-4"....."See Swingarm Removal - Section 3-17" ....."Remove Muffler"....."Remove Tool Tray"  and on and on.  I thought rear wheel removal on the Helix was bad.

I decided to trade some scuffed up fingers for leaving one of the body panels in place and I'd do it again, gladly.

Here, the wheel off but only after various body panels, the muffler, swingarm and too many other odd bits had to come off first.  Brake caliper hung from Zip ties.  I should be thankful that I didn't have to drain the coolant and interrupt the brake line I suppose.

Speaking of muffler, it almost broke my arm when that last bolt came loose.

Take a look at the bolts, fitments and hookups on the swingarm....hopefully I'll be able to get everything back together without any extra parts left over.

It might be best to not wear this tire out, instead push the scoot aside, polish it up and take THIS one to next year's Bike Show for parking.  Only another 11 years until it's ready for the Vintage classification.

Friday, February 5, 2016

At The Show

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show that is.  Progressive Insurance does it up big at the show, a large exhibit, the slot car races, coffee, the bags that get handed out at the entry gates, etc.  This year a few new things, one of which was Flo's Chop Shop.  Hair cuts, shoe shines, pedicures and once the show actually opened at 3:00 Friday afternoon, I never saw any of the chairs empty while I was around.


I spent the morning with my mom; a doctor's appointment, a bit of shopping, some paperwork and so on.  Then on to see my dad's sister in the assisted care facility and from there, I decided to go downtown, very early considering that the Show wasn't going to open until 3PM but I knew where I wanted to park (the lot was empty as I'd predicted) before it got busy and figured that I'd walk the Minneapolis Skyways for some exercise pre-show.

Unknown to me, Mike was at the show, inside helping the Viking Antique Chapter get set up and when I received an email with a very expensive HD photographed, I knew that he was inside.  I replied, letting him know that I was right outside the Mpls Convention Center building and headed toward the lobby.  He came out to greet me within seconds and with his Credentials, he led me inside to an almost empty room, save for the last minute setup that some of the vendors were still busy with.  That meant I had great access to take some photos without throngs of people to jostle through, still early before the 3PM opening.

So photograph I did.......

I like these.......

A couple of 2WD models.......


Some large posters......

Large Studs, a different type.....

Here I'd finally worked my way to the corner where the Antique and Vintage Japanese bikes were.

 I know these guys and proudly admit it......

 I have one of these but mine hasn't looked like this since 1963.  On 2nd thought, I doubt mine looked like this on the day it was imported.

About 1 PM at this point and I thought it wise to exit the exhibition hall and wait until the 3:00 official opening.....since I only had a ticket, no Credentials.  So it was out for a coffee and a quiet table in the lobby area.  Only seated a few minutes with my coffee cooling, Virgil sat down at the next table.  For the next 45 minutes we got caught up and Virgil did an extraordinary job in tweeking my interest in Fat Electric Bikes; he the owner of 2 of them.  I just might have to get rid of one mine that has no pedals and trade for one that does.  Absolutely new to me, Virgil gave quite a sales pitch. 

To be considered.

With my coat checked (2nd coat on the rack) I went back to the entrance doors to our section of the large Mpls Convention Hall, knowing that I'd start seeing friends.  Soon there were more familiar faces and familiar faces is the primary reason I attend the Show these days.  It's a social event for me; the only thing I bought today was a quite-good cup of coffee.  These wonderful new bikes need to be purchased and well cared for by all of the attendees and then in a few years, with 2k-3k accumulated miles, made very available to Coop at reasonable prices.

Mike, Virgil, Bob, Roger, Bob, Ron, Gary, Tim, Nels, Marty, Doug, Sheri, Dave, Dave #2, Rick, Mike and other familiar faces, only some with names I know, all within the 1st couple of hours on Friday afternoon.  Worth the price of admission always.

21 Helmets......

Lots of questions and comments about this recent arrival.....

 Like the ones I own, dirt from 3 seasons ago still present.......


This one caught my eye......I intend to learn more about the Mosquito.

 Mike found the Ducati ladies.....I spent some time at the Indian booth.


These Yamaha assistants must have heard about our recent 12" snowfall and brought their winter boots, ready for conditions.  That's the best part about our annual February show.....we're normally over the hump at this point with Spring just around the corner.

I'll finish with (one of) my favorite very good there's little that needs changing from year to year.