The Road

The Road

Friday, January 25, 2019

Finally A Decent Day To Ride

It's been really crappy weather here in New York lately .Yesterday we had over two inches of rain.I was glad for that actually because it washed all that fucking salt the town dumps on the roads away so now I can ride again.It's cold but sunny today.I can deal with the cold to some degree so out I go as soon as it warms up into the mid to upper 30's F . It's already 33F outside and it's only twenty after nine in the morning.So I have the batteries on both my Moto Guzzi and my BMW on the chargers to keep them up to snuff after that sub zero shit we had the other day. Today is nice !I'm hoping it will be the beginning of an upturn in my life.The way things have been going lately it seems every day there is some sort of problem to deal with and each of them require me spending money I had saved for the down payment on a house out in Arizona.Somehow I must turn this negative flow around.Yesterday at 7:30AM my wife calls to tell me her car is giving her shit again ! I sent her to the shop and it turned out to be a bad belt causing the power steering to malfunction . A minor problem but aggravating none the less so today I'm hoping for some good.It's a nice day as you can see from these photos ,cold but nice is about as good as one can expect in New York in January .

Winter riding is hard.I need to wear all sorts of layers of clothing then put on my leathers. I do stay warm with the exception of my fingers .So,I'll get a 45 minute to one hour ride in today on the BMW.

Sunday is supposed to be warmer so the Moto Guzzi goes out then. The BMW throws off a lot of heat and breaks the wind with the fairing so it's a better choice for today. The Moto Guzzi must be run though.It has those chrome cylinder bores and you can't let them sit for too long or the chrome can be damaged. I run that bike almost constantly for this reason .If you use it it will last pretty much forever is what the mechanic at Moto Guzzi told me when I bought the bike back in 2007. He was right ! It's gone over 130,000 miles since then and still as strong as it was the day I bought it. Not bad for a 44 year old motorcycle.
She's on the charger and getting topped off so she'll be all ready when Sunday rolls around. The batteries for my other bikes are in the basement and get zapped every week or so keeping them fully charged  so when Spring finally gets here again they are in good condition and ready to use. So,there you have it,the plan for the next couple hours. When I return I'm going to work on this painting I went back to the other day.I started this damn thing a year or two ago ! Sometimes I just get in a state where I don't paint.That always ends too just like these runs of bad luck that seem to happen to all of us from time to time.
It's got a LONG LONG way to go yet so perhaps today will move it forward some and get me more motivated to paint again.I know that the other day I felt real good after a couple hours of fooling around with my paints. Today should be a good day . Took this on my last ride .Winter On Long Island !

Well,it's time to hit the road and freeze my ass off .

Thursday, January 24, 2019

My Yamaha DS6C

I posted this somewhere in this blog before but I want to change it and update it some so I'm re-posting it. This is a true story of the life of my longest owned motorcycle.I bought this bike way back in 1972 right after returning from a six week hich hiking trip to Nova Scotia with my girlfriend who later became my wife and then my ex wife.So here it is. These two photos are the only photos I have of the bike in it's original condition from back in this era.They were taken in 1975

Back in the 1970's and '80's I used to work in the city doing renovations on and off.I did a few on this one block in the East Village and one of those jobs was for my friend Richard.I was doing his apartment and building him a dark room .It was this very day ,the 30th of December ,when I was driving in to go to work in my 1965 Valiant.The car was running great,I was in the Mid Town Tunnel when traffic stopped. I put my foot on the clutch and there was nothing there! I was stuck right in the middle of the tunnel ! There was a kid behind me and he offered to push me out . What luck ! So he gets me out and stays behind me while I crawl under the car to see if it's something I can fix right there .No luck. I thank him for his kindness and he asks where I'm going so I said east 9th between 1st and 2nd. He then offers to push me all the way down town to there ! He pushed me down to St Marks Pl ,around the block and put me into a legal parking space right in front of Richard's building ! Didn't want any money so I gave him a few joints. I don't know what it is but when these things happen to me just like last summer with the bike and the guy who helped me, I always end up meeting some stranger who is incredibly kind. I worked all day and called up a friend from LI who had a truck. He comes in with his truck and a 10 foot long chain and we start pulling my valiant up 1st ave to the tunnel.We had no idea that you can't tow in the tunnel .We get to the approach and there is this massive traffic jam.We are right at the entrance to the tunnel when this cop comes over waving his arms yelling you can't you can't .I roll down the window and he's telling me I need to use the 59th st bridge.I point behind me and he looks and sees this wall of cars and throws his arms up in the air and waves us on into the tunnel.So,I have more good luck. I get the car 40 miles to home and put away in a garage I had rented where it sat all winter waiting to get fixed. I finished Richard's place ,put this rat I had on the road so I had a car to use locally and just used the train to get to the city.At the end of the job Richard gave me this 1969 650 Triumph he had as pay for some of the work.I was happy with that but I could never get the thing to really run right and here begins the story of how I got my little 1969 Yamaha DS6C back from the dead.
 I was wandering about seeing the world. Then my life went south ,it all fell apart and things weren't good with me at all.The bike was stolen from my yard one day and a week later I found it all trashed but I saved it in my garage anyway just because I loved it and after doing Richards job I reconnected with it and here it is in about 1983 up at my camp.She was back in service and I was traveling on her again !

By the late 80's it had red body work and low pipes.The only thing DS6C was the frame.It wasn't always this way ,and I wanted to bring it back to the bike it used to be.What happened is that it got stolen ,destroyed ,and recovered back in the early 80's.It sat for a while, I fooled around with this 650 Thiumph ,it was nothing but aggravation ,sold it and found myself bikeless. That lasted for about 3 days.I looked around and found this 70 DS6 with no papers. Back then no papers was a real problem so I got the bike cheap.I had the paper on my DS6C so I took the new one apart and set it up on my DS6C frame.It was ugly but it was a good runner.I drove it like that for 10 years.It was my only bike!I looked and looked but could never find a DS6C so I made it into a DS6 and used it this way for a real long time.

 Then I got into bike restoration and I started to restore the blue YM1 and started sending out wanted pictures of a DS6C in all my letters and parts orders.

It was 1989 now. One day in 1991 I received a call and some guy in Pa. told me about this Harley Dealer in NJ. who had about 100 old Yamahas in a storage building.It turned out the dealership was originally a Yamaha dealership and these were all just left behind by the previous owner.I called and made an appointment for the next day and when I got there I couldn't believe my eyes.There were about 150 Yamahas from the 60's just sitting there and a parts room full of NOS parts! I found my DS6C and another one for parts.The good one was left there in 1969 over an unpaid repair bill!! It had 1400mi on it ,a dented tank ,smashed instruments and a dented rear fender ,the rest of the bike was like new.I got the pair for 300 dollars. After we did the deal I asked if I could look around the parts room some.The owner said sure go ahead so I did. I found a YDS3 front fender and all sorts of bits and pieces for my yM1.I also found a front brake for the TD1B that my friend Don Scarborough was building. This place was a gold mine.  Over the next year I told all my friends about it and we cleaned him out.The one thing he didn't have was a green DS6C gas tank.That was the only part I needed to get back my DS6C.I looked and looked and one day I found one in NC. at Wilson Cycle Center.This place turned out to be another gold mine.The owner was a real gentleman. He used to send me my parts with a bill and give me 30 days to pay!So I order the tank and I wait and wait ,no tank. I cal l,he says he sent it UPS so I track it. It turns out he sent it to my friend Don in Michigan. I finally get the tank and a fully restored DS6C with 1400 miles on it.

 Like the YDS3 , the YM1 ,and R5 I use it all the time and it looks and runs as good as the day I finished it.I've owned this bike since 1972. I rode it to Newfoundland ,all over the Adirondacks, and Maine & Nova Scotia. It's probably the best motorcycle I have ever owned next to my R5, my YDS3 ,YM!,  Moto Guzzi 850T and now my 1988 BMW K100 .They are all the best bike I've ever owned . This is the thing with motorcycling . Every bike is a different ride and each has it's own thing that really makes riding it special. It's almost as if they are living beings. If they could speak they would have some incredible stories to tell like this picture.It was taken in November 2010 after I returned from a 14000 mile ride on the Moto Guzzi.I had just met this guy Juan on this meet up thing for vintage motorcycles and we went on our first ride together. Since then hundreds of hours of good times wrenching and riding on our old motorcycles and it just goes on like this. Motorcycling has been the most positive force in my life and the one thing that has kept me going when I was ready to throw in the towel. It has brought some of the most incredible people into my life and opened up so many opportunities for me that it would be impossible to count them all.

NowI'm at the tail end of my life.Still riding and restoring bikes and cars , working up at my camp out in the woods in the Adirondacks , keeping busy down here in La La land AKA long Island just waiting for the day I can get the money together to move to Arizona where I plan on spending my last days here in the asylum riding and wrenching with a little painting and lots of camping thrown in for good measure. Motorcycles are my life . They are the air I breath . I have a nice red DS6B as a future project . Ain't she sweet !

Been saving this one for around 10 years or so. Bought her off Ebay for a whopping 256 dollars ! And,she only has 5000 miles on her.I love the DS6 series bikes. I built a replica of my original orange DS6C a couple years ago.Haven't fired her up yet.She sits in the shed with some of her sisters .

Like the 1965 YDS3 that I restored back in the early 90's .This bike is the one I took my first cross country ride on back in 1969 as a 20 year old crazy hippie.That original one is long gone.Sold her in 1970 for gas money to go back out west .But,I found this beauty in my home town.She came from the same dealership that my original one was from and is the exact same motorcycle .

Then a couple years ago A good friend sold me another bike from that same dealership.This one is a YM1 (305cc) and he was the original owner.He let it sit in his garage for 30 years and the crank shaft got destroyed by rust so I got it cheap. Well,long story short,I had all the parts and I am just about finished with a ground up restoration of it.The best thing about this one is that it came with all the original paperwork signed by the owner of the shop who was the guy who sat me on my very first motorcycle  and showed me how to operate it in front of his shop way back in 1965.


As you can see ,  I'm into these bikes BIG TIME ! But ,I'm also into my other bikes just as much.I like doing all sorts of bike work too.I do enjoy restoration  , paint  & body work , and the mechanical stuff . Here is a link to a flickr album of one I restored for my friend Tony . He in turn got me into the BMW's by giving me the 1988 K100 as a gift ! So here is the bike I did for him,it is a replica of his first motorcycle . Enjoy.

And this gem is my newest addition.This is the exact same bike as my very first motorcycle right down to the color. It's a 55 cc single cylinder machine a 1965  Yamaha  Riverside 55  model YJ1 I drove out to the Gilmore Car Museum to pick it up from a friend who helped me get it. Stuck it on the back bumper and drove a thousand miles to home with it. At some point I'll restore it.For now she sits with the rest of the projects safe and dry waiting for me.

Here is a link to some cool photos taken at the Gilmore Car Museum out in Michigan

It's hard being a motorcycle addict !

Friday, January 18, 2019


Well,it would seem that this month long disaster is finally drawing to a close. Yesterday we were able to finally pick up the car from the shop where we had the motor replaced.It was a long drawn out affair but no ones fault. It was just circumstances in the lives of everyone involved from us to the mechanic and even the shop owner.It seems we all were in this nightmare together with our own set of problems from keeping us from functioning but in the end we all got past it and now our lives are returning to normal. Mike,the mechanic, lost his father , the shop owner had some disaster at his house to deal with , we had our issues with the heat in our house going on the fritz ,the car I needed to drive my wife to work needing all sorts of work to it so it was up to the 80 mile drive every day , and , the most important thing , money.We got past all of it and today she drove herself to work in her own car.So,now I have to find a way to replace all the money that I had to use from my cross country trip fund  I'm saving for.That fund got totally wiped out by this but with any luck I'll have some good fortune and replace it and get it growing again in short order. I have seven months to get that back together. This whole thing depressed me as I saw my retirement dreams just slipping thru my fingers like sand but I've dealt with worse and come back . So , with this in mind I'm going forward optimistic  in my abilities to do what I need to do. First order of business is to list some vintage auto parts on Craigslist and other sites to start the fund growing again. As for the bike,well, it's running really good these days so life is good. I think I'll paint today and put myself in a good frame of mind to dig myself out of the hole. No point in being all fucked up by any of this . I just keep the vision of me blasting thru the Rocky Mountains on my  BMW K100 in my mind and draw my strength from that as this all unfolds before me. Just like the last cross country trip on the Moto Guzzi back in 2010. Things almost fell apart before that one too but somehow all the stars aligned and it all fell into place .

Saturday, January 12, 2019

What A mess

This past month has been one giant mess.It's one of those never ending nightmare kind of things that started the week before Christmas with the motor in my wife's car taking a shit.This is the base for all the other problems.It seems that  once this cycle begins it's almost impossible to stop it. So,we decide to buy a good used motor. We had it delivered to the shop and then the mechanic has to go down south to be with his dying father .That goes bad and the poor guys father dies.Now here we are in the middle of January and he's back and that problem is almost resolved .During this time with no car for my wife I had to press my 43 year old Dodge into service.It hadn't been run in 6 months and needed all sorts of stuff I put off because I was going to sell it.I spent a week and a half dealing with that .Every time it rained  the car ran like shit.I did every thing under the sun and finally got it going right just last week.I had to use my 54 year old Valiant station wagon to bring her to work during this fiasco . Every morning at 5:30 hitting the road going 40 miles to her job and then 40 back home in a 54 year old car with no heat that I was just about ready to start a restoration on, She'd take the train home and that was another disaster.The fucking LIRR is a pathetic joke . Always late and sometime cancelled or broke down, she had to endure that. Thursday she calls to tell me the train is stuck and it will be an hour late. Just minutes before she called I realized the heat in the house wasn't working .I was in the basement trying to get the burner to fire with the reset button when she called so I told her the good news. I called the oil burner guy I use but he can't get there 'till morning 'cause his kid just went to the emergency room in severe pain from a tooth extraction earlier in the day and he had to deal with that . So now we have no heat. I kept the house warm with the stove and a couple electric heaters so it wasn't too bad.That got fixed first thing yesterday. The motor in her car is going to be finished on Tuesday ! So I take her in to work today,drop her off, am heading home and I get nailed by a fucking red light camera going thru this intersection that has this small sign saying no left turn ans I made a left not seeing it.  I saw the flash from the camera so I went around the block and saw what I did . Just can't win !So now I wait for the letter telling me how much money I have to give the fucking state . When it goes bad it really goes bad but with any luck  it will start to turn around. Sometimes it's just a bitch.

AN UPDATE ! Now it's Saturday afternoon a few hours after I wrote this post .My wife just calls me to tell me the train is not at the station and it's 10 minutes late with the message sign saying it's on time .She is going to call me when she finally gets on and again when she is one stop away from home. I am 30 miles from one of the largest cities in the US and we get 3rd world service  like this while they keep on raising the fares and telling the public how great their service is. This country is going down faster and faster by the day. I guess this is "Making America Great Again" from where I'm sitting it's more like lining our pockets and if you don't like it too fucking bad.