I woke up at 4:00 AM this morning and couldnít get back to sleep. As I lay in bed with all kinds of bizarre thoughts flittering through my mind, one of the them came home to roost. I started wondering if Joe was going to take out the little ridge that runs down the middle of the tank. Now; when Vern did the tank for the 05, not only did he take care of numerous dents, he made the top of the tank smooth. And when I looked at the 4-1/2 gallon tank that Joe had on his Roadster, heíd taken that ridge out and the tank was beautifully smooth.
I had assumed (thereís that word!) that Joe was going to do the same for the tank for the Express. I felt like I should talk to him and double check. At the same time, I donít want to be a pain in the ass. Joe doesnít need me to be looking over his shoulder making suggestions. I wrestled with the idea of sending him an e-mail for a while, then decided that I would. So I asked him to give me a call when he had a free minute, then promptly forgot to turn my phone on.
Joe tried to call me during his lunch break, but my phone was off. I saw the e-mail he sent when I finished running errands and mulching the leaves in the front yard. He said heíd call me tonight. I grabbed my phone and turned it on and waited.†
Joe called and we discussed the tank and the ridge. I guess itís a good thing I called. He was going to leave it because it was in good shape. He says itís not that big of a deal to take it out. He wished Iíd let him know sooner, though because heíd shot the tank with primer, and now heíll have to do that over. While we were talking we discussed a few other things that we hadnít talked about. I feel a little bit bad that we hadnít discussed that ridge sooner, but that seam bugs the hell out of me. Itís a dumb thing, but it does detract from the looks to me. Of course, somebody else will love the look, but I donít. The other things we discussed were informational ; mainly details of the job. One thing was whether the brace for the front fender should be gloss black or satin black. I told Joe that I would defer to his judgement; I think either would look good.
Joe was hoping to shoot the paint this weekend, but now thatís looking less likely. Oh well; I wish I had thought of it sooner, but Iím glad that I spoke up. I donít want to make extra work for Joe, but the Gentlemanís Express is a dream for me and it would really bother me if I hadnít said something.
Yesterday was Friday the 13th in the year 2020. If any day is preordained to be disastrous, that should be the one.
It wasnít. I actually had a pretty good day. I got the new sissy bar installed and I also got the saddlebag mounts spaced out properly. The way they were, the right saddlebag would rub against the shock when the mounting bracket would flex. Itíll be good when I can get the bracket modified. Itíll be much cleaner and more rigid. The black sissy bar makes a good bit of difference in the appearance of the bike. Itís looking better with each improvement. Once the paint is done, itíll be magnificent; even if there are a few more small changes that need to happen. Theyíll happen in time; I have no intention of not finishing. I just need to slow down on my spending.
So after dinner, I sat down to watch a movie. I got about halfway through it and fell asleep and didnít wake up until 2:00 AM. Then I was wide awake. I tried to go to bed, but after an hour of listening to the committee in my head, I got up. I went online to surf and discovered that Harley-Davidson has pulled out of racing. That depressed me. Even in the dark days of the early 80s, Harley kept their race team. When I look at the current state of the MoFoCo , all I can see is a turd circling the bowl as the toilet flushes. I see parallels with the Indian Motocycle Company in the 40s. I guess thatís to be expected when you have non-enthusiasts running a motorcycle company. However, Iím sure that Al Bundy and the rest of the Board will get their golden Parachutes when HDI folds up. Itíll just be the people who were loyal whoíll get screwed. I bet Erik Buell would agree with me.
Between the Wuflu making a comeback, the Election and now H-D, I really felt like this was a particularly bad Friday the 13th for my emotional serenity level. I went back to bed somewhere around 5:00 AM and I slept until 8:30.
The funny part is that I feel a lot better this morning. I donít know why. Iím sure that the Guvnor will do exactly the wrong thing to control the virus, the board of directors at Hardly-Ableson will take the appropriate measures to speed up the demise of the MoFoCo and the election results will be a rats nest, no matter who wins. But I donít care. Iíll have the Gentlemanís Express to ride and thereís nothing I can do to improve any of the above. If weíre going to Hell in a Handbasket, I might as well enjoy the ride.
It beats the hell of of worrying about where Iím heading.
It started with a phone call. I was talking with a friend about the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Heís thinking about getting a small bike for running around the city and maybe doing some back road strafing. I had mentioned that I wouldnít mind getting one to ride to the Arctic Ocean. It would be a good bike to ride the Dempster Highway on.
After our conversation, I started thinking about the ride to Tuktuyaktuk, and how many miles it would be. I went to my favorite campground locator and started looking at possible places to stop, and that led me to sorting out what route I would take.
I want to ride first, to Colorado, then up to Rt.93 which will take me through Idaho and Montana, over the Canadian Border without changing its number, then through Banff and Jasper national Parks to the town of Jasper, Then Iíll take the Scenic Route to Alaska (Route 40), eventually making my way to the Dempster Highway to Inuvik and finally up to Tuk.
From there, I want to ride down to Dawson City, then over to Chicken, Alaska on the Top of the World Highway eventually getting to Fairbanks, then heading for home, making a big circle.
I spent a lot of time plotting possible routes and it looks like about a 12,000 mile ride. That really got the Trampís attention. Heís been fairly dormant, lately. But as I looked at both Google Maps and http://www.uscampgrounds.info/, be became , not just awake, but really interested. (The Tramp is a part of my personality. Sometimes I think Iím a bit schizoid, but it works for me). He wasnít quite so pushy after I looked at the weather and saw that it was -10ļ F (-23ļ C) in Tuktoyaktuk.
However; the Gentlemanís Express is nearing completion. Itís wearing Pirelli Scorpion tires (since I got them from Belfast, would they be Tyres?). They should be a good choice for this kind of adventure. Iíll have to change them partway through the trip, but thatís true of any tire I put on the bike.
Being realistic; I probably wonít be able to go until 2022. Itís going to take almost that long to pay down the debt I built up by buying and modifying the Roadster. But it gives me a goal to aim for. It would be a great trip and would check off a couple of Bucket List items.
I was wondering what I would focus on when I get the Gentlemanís Express finished. Now I have a target to shoot for.
Itís been crazy. As my dad used to say, ďI donít know whether to sh*t or go blindĒ. Thereís a lot of good and a lot of bad going on at the same time. Itís like the old joke, ďI have Good News and Bad News. Which do you want first?Ē Except even the good news requires explanation.
Iíll start with the weather. Itís November and it looks and feels like November. Itís very gloomy; lots of heavy overcast with rain. I had lights on all day long yesterday. I guess that the good part is that it wasnít as cold as it might have been, so we didnít get any snow. I was housebound all day. Todayís supposed to be more of the same.
Thatís normal for this time of year, but it sets the background for the day. Kind of like a dark and stormy night sets the background for stopping at a castle in a horror movie.
A friend called me yesterday with the news that sheís been diagnosed with Leukemia. She has to see an Oncologist this week. She was with me when I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer, so she knew Iíd understand what she was feeling. My cancer was very treatable and has been gone for several years, but I still remember the feelings of shock when I found out. Hopefully her Leukemia will be a type that will also be easily treatable.
At the same time, Joe was painting the parts for the Gentlemanís Express. He took pictures at every step and the paint came out beautiful. There was one glitch; the decals Iíd gotten for the gas tank wouldnít lay down properly. They would have been fine for a flat surface, but not for the curves of the gas tank. Joe called me and told me what was going on and I decided that the tank didnít need decals.
This is the third gas tank Iíve had custom painted, and I didnít have decals on either of the previous tanks. Back in 1996, when Derek did the paint for the 79, I liked the paint job so much, I would not mar it with any kind of decal. In fact, I kept the parts in my apartment for a month so I could just look at them and admire their beauty. Iím feeling the same way about the paint job that that Joeís doing. The photos look stunning. I bet the parts will look even better when I actually see them.
That would be plenty for most people to deal with, but I decided that yesterday would be a good day to refresh my email lists. So I have 43 people (so far) responding about which lists they want to be on.
Any one of the above is enough to make a day hectic. All three on the same day are a recipe for mental overload. I feel like Daffy Duck; ďWoo-hoo, woo-hoo, woo-hoo!!!Ē
Hmmm... Crusticle, the sticker solution could just come to you down the road, just not yet. Over the years I've seen countless nice fonts/scripts forming the words "Harley-Davidson". You could even go the airbrush route, once you determined on the best artist. Maybe have fun with a little word play?
Not having committed to a final design at this point, you've got plenty of time to study options. I've seen way to little "Big Daddy Roth", "Rat Fink" artwork of late. I used to subscribe to "Juxtapoz" art magazine, always enjoyed the wild creations they'd feature monthly. You could even go back into the world of "Heavy Metal" magazine. I loved them as a kid. Or, even Mad magazine. "What, me worry?"
Things were going well. Yesterday, I mailed out the Christmas Cards and even sent out a (very) little gift to Melia. I brought up the Christmas things. The little tree is set up and the wreath is on the front door and I got lights up along the porch railing.
Last night, Joe called and told me that my parts are done. that got my head running right about at Redline trying to figure out how to get up to Canton and pick up the parts. I tried to get hold of David, to see if he would be able to drive up there; but, being Black Friday, his shop was packed with customers. I looked online at car rentals and found a really cheap rental if I wait until Tuesday. I figured Iíd wait until after I talked with David before I did anything.
This morning, I figured that Iíd put up some more lights while I was waiting for David to return my phone call. I was making good progress and I was almost done with what I could do without help when I leaned against the incoming electric cable from the street.
I got a shock through my head and neck that almost knocked me off the ladder. That ended my task. I left the last couple of feet of lights hanging and put the ladders away and decided that Clarence (my Guardian Angel) had covered my butt once more and that I should do something other than putting up lights.
So I came back inside and started looking at cheap rental cars I found one close by that had a Ford Fiesta for reasonable money, so I booked it. I figured today would be a good day for a drive. I called David and he agreed to take me over to Budget. Then I called Joe and told him Iíd be at his place this afternoon.
Then, Budget called me. They donít have an econobox available. They have a luxury car or an SUV available for only double the price, but thatís it. So I cancelled.
The part that really sucks is that weíve got snow coming in for both Monday and Tuesday. I tried to find something for tomorrow, but most of the rental companies are closed on Sunday.
The Tuesday cheap rental is close to 20 miles away, so thatís out. I donít want to drive up to Canton in the snow, either. David is off work on Wednesday and Thursday, but Iím not sure if heíll be available to drive that far. If not, then hopefully, heíll be able to drive me to a rental place that does have a cheap ďtuna can on a roller skateĒ that I can drive up to Joeís house.
Well; maybe if I had gotten the car and went to Canton, some truck would have run over me or something equally disastrous would have happened. Because I didnít go, Iíll be fine. Thatís what Iím telling myself; but Iím having trouble believing it. Iíll get the parts when Iím meant to. I just have to accept that.