It's been nearly two busy and in many ways frustrating months since my last blog. Google has taken over the blog site causing some problems with signing on, but it's all up and running again. The weather has improved dramatically. No longer do I have to check snow conditions before considering whether to take the bike somewhere.
I took my bike in for some work in mid-March, expecting that the down time would coincide with cold and snowy conditions. Little did I know that due to a backorder for a critical part my bike would sit in the dealer's garage for a couple of weeks in late March when we had unusually warm weather - great days for two wheeling - and I had no wheels.
Taking curves too aggressively on my cruiser last summer resulted in a serious muffler drag on concrete, which in turn bent the pipe and broke the complex and fairly expensive crossover pipe. It also ended up damaging one of the ports where the crossover connects with the rear slip-on muffler. I cobbled things together and rode a couple of months last fall but it was clear I couldn't go on that way any longer. For one thing, the crossover pipe also provides the structural stability for the rear muffler, which was seriously lacking for about a thousand miles late last year.
New crossover pipe - - sort of expensive. Two new slip-on mufflers - also kind of expensive and now louder than stock. But with the new air breather, carbeurator re-work, and freer breathing mufflers, there is a noticeable increase in performance, and two niggling problems with the stock bike have been eliminated. The stock bike recirculates crankcase oil mist through the breather to burn it in the combustion cycle. Problem is at certain speeds the system is overwhelmed and oil mist escapes from the breather housing, collecting on the rear exhaust pipe and somewhat on the right pant leg. This problem is totally eliminated. The second issue was a stutter or hesitation at steady low speeds. The carbeurator re-jetting took care of this completely.
Because of EPA regs stock bikes run lean and restricted. A breather system, carb (or fuel injection adjustment) and muffler replacement can make a motorcycle run noticeably better - just no way around it.
Spent two fun weekends in Wisconsin in April. On the 19th I had a slideshow and talk at the Delafield library talking about motorcycling opportunities in Wisconsin, based on my latest book. A week later I was at the Giant Motorcycle Swap Meet in Milwaukee, selling books and rubbing elbows with a convention hall full of other vendors selling a wide variety of motorcycle gear and parts. Also visited the Harley Museum again on the day prior to the meet - great fun.
I unfortunately had to take my truck to Wisconsin both times rather than ride because of the books, computer, and various displays I had to take with me.
Off to the Marshall, MI library tomorrow to do another talk and slide show.
Last Wednesday was another of those emotional days when riding with the Patriot Guard Riders. We stood honor at the funeral of a 23-year old young man from Nashville, MI, just back to civilian status after four years in the Marines, with two tours in Iraq. He and his girl friend went for a motorcycle ride last week and an inattentive driver, possibly under the influence of alcohol, pulled out in front of them, causing his death. Fortunately the passenger's physical injuries were minor, but her emotional injuries were no doubt great. What a waste! I am so angry that unthinking car drivers essentially get away with murder on a regular basis.
Lots of riding on the horizon in the next three months, including a long trip to the east coast, and another trip that'll take me west - perhaps all the way to California. All for the purpose of research for an upcoming book. Several shorter 2 and 3-day rides for the same purpose are also on the calendar.
I'm going to have to get new tires, and change both the engine and transmission oils before June's trip.
It's the riding season! Get Out and Ride Often and Ride Safe.