The Road

The Road

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Life On The Road

Life On The Road: Life out here on the road is real good ! I rode thru blistering heat for 3 days but hey,it's summer.I started typing a post yesterday but never finished it so here it is and I guess I'll finish it now. The trip started off at 5 am and by 8 it was already 95 degrees out and climbing.We rode all day in 100 degree heat to a state park about a third of the way across PA where we camped for the night.The bike ran well and things are ok. on Wed we rode to the far side of PA to a park on the Ohio border .Again it was a ride in 100 degree heat but we rode on back roads all day and it was fun .Dead tired when we rolled in for the night but after a swim in the lake next to my tent I felt refreshed .Thursday we rode to the event with a stop in Northern Ohio to look at these puppies Ariel wants.He and his wife are getting one of them so we figured while we were in the general area we could check out the breeder. That was fun and then we hit the interstate to head south to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course where the vintage motorcycle event is held. My buddy Greg from Vancouver rode over to the event towing a 1966 Yamaha behind his 2009 Kawasaki!!!!! Yes,there will be pictures but not tonight I'm beat.I left Mid Ohio this afternoon and now I'm in South West Michigan headed for the ferry to Wisconsin and west!I'm tired and ready for bed.I took a motel room 'cause there is nowhere to camp around here and it was getting dark and the fucking deer were gathering on the side of the high way .Don't need that crap so I went for a room and here I am.I'm a thousand miles into the trip and the bike is running great,I feel good,and the weather has been ok.So,there you have it,my first post from the road as I head out into the world of the unknown all alone now on my 1975 Moto Guzzi 850-T. Some call me crazy and reckless.I heard all sorts of crap about how I'm too old and what if and bla bla ball I know Is I'm going and there's no stopping me now !

Down To The Wire

Down To The Wire: The last week has been insane! I fixed my friends Honda 450 and then moved out of my storage garage in 90 degree heat.It was close to 100 in the garage packing up .Had to move car motors,engine crane,countless transmissions and a few rear ends ,box after box of assaorted auto parts.Sold a few things like a 66 Valiant interior to a friend building a 64 Valiant convertible . That helped ,gave me enough money to buy fuel from here in NY all the way to the Upper Mid West ! Also been working on the bike at night. Everything was going smoothly until last night.I was doing a brake job on the front brakes when I discovered the threads were striped out on one of the brake caliper mounts on the fork leg!!! I saw this at midnight so you know I didn't get a good night sleep last night.Tossed and turned for 2 hours thinking of ways to fix it if I couldn't get a Helicoil that would work.8AM I'm at the auto parts store and my friend who works there is working.I see his bike as I pull up and I knew I'd get what I needed.Yup,I got the right stuff and now I can put the thing together and move on to the less stressful jobs I need to do like getting the wiring all straightened out.I am leaving on Tuesday morning.My friend Ariel is riding out with me on his mid 70's Ducati.We are meeting at the Ferry Terminal and taking the boat north to Conn. then heading west and thru northern PA on back roads all the way to Ohio to Vintage Days at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.After that event is over I'm on my own and FREE!!!!! Tick Tick Tick ,the clock is ticking and the time is short now.
Thank god for Helicoils is all I can say right now!

Getting Close To Travel Time !

Work and other assorted things : Things are moving along nicely.Tomorrow is my last day out there at the Vinyl Victorian ,well, at least until my return in October.I will have all the work finished that I promised him I'd do and they are happy with the outcome so in the end it all seemed to work out.Saturday while riding to work on the Long Island Expressway I got pulled over by the Sheriff. I'm thinking, what did I do? I was just going along slightly slower than the flow of traffic getting ready to exit when this happened.I pull over,park,take off my helmet and asked what I did.He just says nothing. Then he gets out and starts looking at my bike so I asked if he liked it.He said yes big time and a big smile came to his face as he started telling me all about how he loves Moto Guzzi's and also owns one! Then,for the next 45 minutes we stood there on the side of the high way talking Moto Guzzi.We exchanged emails and I gave him my phone number.It seems he wants me to help him find an older one like I have and fix it all up for him.Sometimes my life is so strange.I'm thinking I want to start working on bikes and get a little shop going at home and out of nowhere this just falls out of the sky and lands on me.Just like last year when I couldn't go on my cross country trip because I was broke and unemployed and this huge job at the VV fell on me.Fate and karma .Even the trip was influenced by fate and karma. You know, if I went last year the bike would have blown the clutch about 1000 miles into the trip and it would have been the end of that trip. Instead,I went broke,went off with some friends for a weekend to a bike show and upon my return there was a phone call and enough employment to fix up the bike, pay the bills for a year and go on a 3 month trip on my bike! Now I'm thinking,what the fuck am I going to do when I come home and I have these new options. Life is good ! I think these kinds of experiences are why I've always relied on myself for my own employment . It gets scary at times but when it works out,which it always does somehow, it is so fucking good.That independence is such a powerful thing.My parents had no idea what they were creating when they were handing me all their bullshit and rejection.In reality I have them to thank for the level of independence I have and the abilities I have.I had to learn very early on how to fend for myself and now at this end of life I can look back and see how that bad experience with them turned into a very positive one for me.I was lucky. Again ,fate and karma .So now I'm just under 3 weeks away from going off on this great adventure and wondering what will be waiting for me out there in the world as I ride down these unknown roads just wandering and taking it all in.

Quality Time

Quality Time: Now it's June 2010 and It's getting close to my departure . -------------------------------------------------------- After working 17 days in a row out at the Vinyl Victorian in the last big push to get as much finished as I can before I begin my journey westward to the mountains and beyond I decided to spend a weekend of quality time with myself. Friday I left work at noon,came home ,showered and got on a train into Manhattan to go to an opening of a friends art exhibit.That was ok but you know,those artsy rich people aren't really my kind so after about a half hour I booked and started to wander.Plugged in my Ipod and took a nice walk on the High Line then went and had some dinner .After dinner I went to one of my favorite bakery's ,Bruno's way downtown and had an espresso and a few goodies.Ended up walking down to the river.Man,has that place changed from back when I used to hang out there in the late 70's.It was nice sitting by the river watching all the people go by and just listening to music taking it all in.I miss the World Trade Center though. Everytime I look in that direction I see a hole in the sky but all the lights in all the buildings on both sides of the river looked really nice and I just relaxed and enjoyed myself.Got home around mid night.Saturday I rode with my friend Mike in the morning then just took a nap .I slept all afternoon! Sure felt good to just rest after pushing myself like I have been doing.Mike and I decided we'd rebuild the carbs on my Moto Guzzi on Sunday and that's what we did.It was a good day.Now my bike is starting to run really well.Each time I do something I see a real improvement and I'm becoming confident that it will do just fine this summer on this long trip I have planned.I love playing in my garage!It's an extension of my twisted mind .It's chaos and somehow it works perfectly.I know where everything is and can just grab what I need and the work flows like water over smooth rocks.Go figure , you'd never guess it looking at the reality of the space.

It's ALIVE !

IT"S ALIVE IT"S ALIVE ! : Buttoned it all up last night and it fired right up and all is good! No funny noises or any bullshit,just a smooth running motorcycle.All I have left to do is adjust the shift linkage and I'm ridin!.Tonight that will happen when the rain finally stops and tomorrow she comes home and goes back into service just in time for a warm beautiful weekend!. On the other matter,I'm still employed . He showed up late in the afternoon,payed me and acted like nothing was wrong. Go figure!
Each day my trip becomes more and more of a reality now! Just came home.I went over to Pauls house,got on the T and rode it 25 mi to home.It's SWEEEEEEET !

Monday Nights Work

Monday Nights Work: Went over to Paul's last night .Checked out all the wiring and made sure the starter worked and I have spark then started the final reassembly. Got the air filters on,the both side covers on taped up the alt wires for now and closed that mess up, installed the exhaust system,and routed the breather hoses underneath the motor.She's close to running now! Tonight she'll be a running motorcycle again but stuck in the garage because of the fucking rain! Last nights photos:
Tonight all I have left is to put oil in the motor,gear oil in the transmission,put the seat and rack back on,hook up the rear signals,put the gas tank on ,and hook up the gas lines.Then it's all back together and I can start it and see if it will shift gears properly.I might have to do some adjustment of the shifter linkages .This can be a bitch , but I can't really do that 'till I can ride it.So, now I'm that much closer to going on my trip! Maybe sooner than I think too.Last night dickhead calls me up and tells me he's making holes in the room I'm painting! We had an argument over this and the way this job is being mishandled and I am left with the feeling he's going to tell me to hit the road today!This is good and bad.Good because I'm sick of the bullshit and I'm tired of getting upset and having my blood pressure being driven up by him.Bad because I still need money for the trip.Well,I'll just have to do something else for money I guess.So today I'm going out there with my station wagon prepared to load my tools and exit!The drama never ends with this guy.

Saturdays Work

Saturdays Work: Mike called about 10AM and asked if I needed a hand so I gave him directions to Paul"s house and headed out for the day.I got the bike disassembled before either one of them walked into the shop and when they arrived we figured out how we were going to proceed.On this motorcycle you remove the bike from the motor.The motor itself is a frame member.So, to do this you need to take apart the whole rear end and the sub frame that connects the rear section to the main section and the motor.Once this and all the wires and hoses are removed from the the motor leaving the motor on a jack of some sort(in my case a transmission jack with casters) so you have full access .
So, we decided to hang the bike from the ceiling and work on the motor right underneath it! While Mike and I lifted the rear of the bike letting the front wheel pivot in the work bench Paul took tie downs and hooked the back that we were holding up high to a hook in the ceiling. Then we were free to work our magic on the engine and transmission freely.Paul milled a socket to make a special tool to get the clutch hub off the trans input shaft and Mike and I pulled off the old oil soaked transmission and clutch.The clutch was really fucked and that's where the metal particles in the oil were coming from.The hub worked loose again and as it wandered back & forth in the the seal it carried these particles into the transmission.But,rather than take that chance and just replace the clutch we decided to put in the new (used low mileage) unit I had bought . I don't want to know about it! I'll tear the old one down and check it before I ever use it again just in case this theory is wrong.
After spending the whole afternoon setting up the new clutch and installing the transmission on the motor we decided we'd put the bike and motor back together so I could work on it by myself if need be on Sunday.Here it is at the end of the day on Saturday
Cool Huh ! Saturday was a good day!

Friday Night Progress Report

Friday Night Progress Report: ------------------------------ Worked all day painting the foyer with the 20 foot high ceiling at the Vinyl Victorian ,the name I gave this house I'm working on, and after dinner went over to my friends house and attacked the bike.Took off most of the stuff I need to get at the motor starting with the tank & seat and moving into the more tedious stuff.Bagged each component with all the nuts & bolts for it to speed reassembly too.
I worked on it 'till about 10 PM before heading home very tired but happy. All this work is being caused by this one little find I made one day when I opened up the transmission fill plug to check the fluid level.See the silver goo on the end of the plug here? That's metal particles! Very fine metal particles being picked up by the magnetic tip of the plug.This tells me something is very wrong in there.It still works just fine but this is a symptom of a problem that could really fuck up my trip .
If I were to ignore this like some guys would I could have a real bad time out on the road or not but I don't want to find that out.I think it's a bad bearing causing the lay shaft to become misaligned and wear also causing the front seal to leak fucking up the clutch..So,I spent a thousand dollars on a new clutch/flywheel kit and a good (hopefully) used transmission and a full set of oil seals.What the fuck,it would cost that much to truck the bike and me home from out west and the stress and inconvenience is something I don't need. I get enough of that crap here with dickhead at the plastic covered palace out in lala land.So today I'm going to dig out my transmission jack to support the the motor as we lift the bike off the motor!.That should be an interesting photo!.My other friend Mike is going to help me today 'cause Paul has shingles and is real tired.He's almost over it but he's really beat from it. This is the new clutch that is going in today
Sure glad we waited to do this until this weekend. Last Saturday it was 70 degrees out and I was riding this mother,today it's only going to be 40 degrees, right now it's only 28 degrees. Thanks to Paul I'm in a heated garage ! I'm a lucky man to have the friends I have!

Riding The "T"

This blog is about my cross country motorcycle trip on my 1975 Moto Guzzi 850 - T . As always anything I do always starts out in chaos and a huge amount of hard work to make order out of that chaos. This is how this trip began in March of 2010 three and a half months before my departure on what would turn out to be a three month journey covering 14,000 miles in two countries alone. But,as we all know,you are never alone on a vintage motorcycle. ---------------- Bike Work : Yesterday I left work early so I could get home and ride my Moto Guzzi over to Paul's house.The work has begun ! Got the bike over there just as he finished moving his stuff out of the way and we got it up on the lift. Pulled the drain plugs out of the engine and transmission so they can both drain over night. I'm committed now!Friday night we are going to rip it all apart and start wrenching.I can't wait! Here are some photos of his garage.As you can see we have everything we need including a milling machine,lath,drill press,shop press,and so on. This job is going to be fun.Paul and I have been building bikes together on & off for about 15 years and work well together.
Hopefully this job will get done by Monday or Tuesday night so I can start using it to ride to work . We are only doing the motor and transmission work now.The other upgrades like the fork work and front brakes & new cables will get done in a few weeks after I ordered all the parts.I don't want to tie his garage up for too long at one time and prevent him from working on his own stuff. So there you have it,after months of going on & on about doing this it's finally happening and not a moment too soon!There will be lots more over the next few days I'm sure.