July 2018

sun july 1
Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the heat wave, so I decided to take a 30 mile bike ride. I haven’t ridden my bicycle for over a year, so I wasn’t really sure how far I’d get. The route was a dead-flat reclaimed railroad right-of-way, with an ice cream stand at the far end, and I made it there without too much trouble. Getting back was harder.  On hot days, I carry a washcloth to mop my brow, and by the time I got back, it stank.

Today was also Legalization Day for pot in Vermont (Hoorah!) and my bike route took me right past the site of a big stoner celebration, complete with EMTs on-call for heat exhaustion, and traffic control courtesy of Vermont’s finest. Lots of very mellow, happy campers in attendance but, unfortunately, for members only. Try to imagine the end of Prohibition, where alcohol is suddenly legal after decades of suppression, and 2000 people are gathered to celebrate. Now try to imagine the day after, when the grand tally for crime, traffic incidents, and disorderliness is … Zero.   The venue was low on parking space, but the neighbor next door was only too happy to lend a hay field at $5 per car. Who was that neighbor? The Mormon Church.

sat 7/7
I vividly recall that, on 7/7/77, I had just settled into an apartment in Albuquerque, and I phoned home from a pay phone down the street that night, and Wendy answered, saying “Hi! Happy seven seven seventy seven!”

I decided it’s time to do something about a deck looking North. You can’t step outside through the sliding door in the living room, because it’s 9 feet up from the ground, and there’s no step to step on. Safety first! At this point, all I know about what I want a deck to look like is that it better not keep me from backing up to the shop door. That pretty much narrowed down where the supports have to be, so I dug two holes, poured 17 bags of concrete , and filled them back up.
On the hottest 3 days of the year.

Digging holes is like backpacking and bloody murder: Use a tarp and leave no trace behind.

Digging holes is like backpacking and bloody murder:
Use a tarp and leave no trace behind.

Painting the baseboards. The paint is pretty much the same color as the primer.

Painting the baseboards.
The paint is pretty much the same color as the primer.

I dry-assembled c3pr today for the first time. Except for one part, it went together nicely.  Learned a lot.

I dry-assembled c3pr today for the first time.
Except for one part, it went together nicely.
Learned a lot.

fri july 13

Bucolic.

Vultures after a funeral.

Friday the thirteenth. What can go wrong?
About once a month, I go to an auction. There was one today in Panton, which is just about at the hairy limit of how far I’m willing to drive for a bargain. Honestly, this auction was kind of a dud. In the middle of dairy country, a farmer died and left behind everything he didn’t take with him. It was mostly junk and, it being an auction, it went for anywhere from pennies on the dollar to more than it was worth. Everything smelled like cow.
But in the middle of the lawn, ignored by the crowd, between the ’64 convertible muscle car and the tool shed, was a gem. A rusty motorcycle.
I remember last year, we ate lunch at a snack shack in New Hampshire with a biker chick who drove an ’82 goldwing, and I remember drooling over the fantasy of working on one. (A goldwing? A a biker chick? Hmm.) The bike at the auction was a ’78 GL1000 – Honda’s original goldwing. It’s older and bigger than my oldest, biggest bike. A water cooled, transverse mount, shaft drive, flat-four SOHC, and in pretty good shape, given that it doesn’t run. I bid on it, bought it for $275, and managed to get it home. I have no plans or time to work on this bike, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Ain't she a beauty?? I can't believe my good luck!!

Ain’t she a beauty?? I can’t believe my good luck!!

A couple years ago, I made a heavy-duty extension cord for the welder, and today I ran it as far as it could go.  I could get the welder on the second (but not the third) stair step, and had just enough electrode cable to weld the whole bracket.  Close only counts when you're close enough to get it done.

A couple years ago, I made a heavy-duty extension cord for the welder, and today I ran it as far as it could go.
I could get the welder onto the second (but not the third) stair step, and had just enough electrode cable to weld the whole bracket.
Close only counts when you’re close enough to get it done.

Darn Tough makes great socks, with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Every time I weld something, I burn holes in my socks and they tell me I can trade them in for a new pair.  But that just wouldn't be right.

Darn Tough makes great socks, with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Every time I weld something, I burn holes in my socks and they tell me I can trade them in for a new pair.
But that just wouldn’t be right.

wed july 18
At 6:40am, the phone rang. It was the steel guy. He’s going to be here in 15 minutes.
No problem. I was ready: I’d collected some clamps, chains, and a piece of angle iron, and I’d blown up the front tires on the tractor. I was pretty sure I was well-equipped to get a steel beam off of a truck and drag it into my back yard.
Fifteen minutes later, the truck rolled up, and the beams on the bed of the truck were laying on their side, so I couldn’t grab them, and all my chains and clamps were pretty much useless. Not a problem: the driver took a crowbar and levered them off the edge of the truck, and that was that. Brute force trumped technology.
The ‘drag it into my back yard’ part, though, worked perfectly. Let’s see him do That with a crowbar.

Like an ant carrying a piece of bread twice its size.

Like an ant carrying a piece of bread twice its size.

sat july 21
From the GL1000 Service manual, section 4-10:
“Move the rubber boot to expose the U-joint assembly. Remove the snap ring and push the U-joint assembly rearward.”
Sorry, but the U-joint assembly is going nowhere. And judging from the dents he left behind, it looks like the last guy who tried, didn’t budge it either.
So I took off the Final Drive gearbox instead, and now the U-joint assembly slides like butter.

sun july 22

This is why they call it a MOTORcycle.

This is why they call it a MOTORcycle.

wed july 25
The other day, the cat managed to tip over the container where we keep the 20# bag of kibble, and he scarfed down a little more than he could hold. Last night, he barfed it up on the rug. This morning, I walked out of the bedroom barefoot in my underwear, and I stepped right in it. Good morning!

sun july 29
I moved c3pr upstairs so I can plug it in to the electronics. Moving it and plugging it in were easy. Then electronics got involved.
(This is why old motorcycles are so relaxing: no electronics!)
It has been tough. If it hasn’t gone wrong, then I probably haven’t gotten to it yet.
Nothing worked on the first try.
Almost nothing worked on the second try.
But eventually, I got everything that needs to work, working. I feel really good.

Motor debug. Neat and tidy.

Motor debug. Neat and tidy.

tue july 31
This post started off with a bike ride to an ice cream stand and back.
I conclude with a motorcycle ride to Ben&Jerry’s and back. But barely.
I’d had a great day. I flush-trimmed the shelves and cut them to size. I cut 2″ off the spiral staircase. I mowed the orchard. I worked on c3pr and I came up with a great idea for the deck. It was a beautiful day, and I was hungry, so I got on the motorcycle and rode to Ben and Jerry’s. It was chuck full of people. The line to get a cone was about 45 minutes long, and I thought to myself: “There’s more than one place to get an ice cream cone between here and home,”  so I headed back to the parking lot. That’s about as far as I got, because … Somewhere between the motorcycle and the scoop shop (and back), I’d lost the key to the motorcycle. I frisked myself thoroughly. I scanned the ground. I retraced my steps. I talked to lost and found. I replayed it in my mind and I retraced my steps again. Definitely: I’d lost the key.
So I called Mary and guided her to the drawer with the spare key in it, and she agreed to drive down with it and save the day. I decided to keep looking, and walked slowly up the path, bifocals to the ground, and 2 ladies said to me: “Are you looking for a key?” and they led me right to it.
That won’t happen again.

One Response to July 2018

  1. Ole Dad says:

    So now you own three motorcycles. The Gold Wing sounds like a winner. How many miles does it have on the odometer? I’m not sure if Gary has his dads Gold Wing. It’s sounds like you are keeping busy with construction projects. Reading the news about the fires in California, one would think the whole state is burning. The fires are bad, but are mostly up north. Over a 1,000 homes are burned up as well as over a million acres of property went up in flames. Here in the west we are having record temperatures while the east coast is flooding. We are not affected. Ole Dad

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