Sunday, June 10, 2012

Highway Profit Shakedown

I started thinking about this build about 3 yrs ago. I wanted to build a bike that was of the early 70's flavor. In 1969, Honda started selling the CB750 and it was a technological advancement in the motorcycle world. Many were sold to soldiers returning from Vietnam and as time passed these bikes started taking on a look that was as unique as the men that rode them.. Remember that the early 70's was a time when Magazines and movies were just starting to get the word out about this underworld society of people who were going against the grain.. The movie Easyriders came out the same year as the CB750.

Basic was my goal and it took a little more than two winters to get her on the road but on 10May I set out to see if she was road ready. I headed northwest into Kentucky and made it all of 50 miles when she started bucking like there was a major short in the ignition.. By the side of a cornfield I laid down beside my bike and wondered why I couldn't get this thing right.. After a few tokes and a surprise conversation with an old highschool friend, I decided to fix my bike. I have a clear glass fuel filter on the bike and something told me to take a look. Problem solved. I flushed the filter and she fired like she had found her master.After flushing that filter 6 more times on the side of the road I was finally done with that first tank of gas.. The only problem was that I was not at the gas station when I needed fuel. My first turn of luck showed up before the exhaust had cooled. An off duty trucker picked me up and took me to the gas station. I bought a gallon of water for $1.39 and paid the clerk for one gallon of gas. Water on the ground and gas in the jug we were back to the bike in 10 minutes. After showing my gratitude to my helper I was back on the road. No speedometer. No odometer. no tachometer. The only measure of time on this bike is the fuel level tube on the side of the tank. With a four gallon tank, time passes real slow. Rolling down the road I had the time to visually check all the nuts and bolts, adjust the carbs and listen to the exhaust tones. Every stop I would spend some time tightening nuts, adding locktite and adjusting the chain. 12 May found me at a friends bar outside of Omaha with the Highway Profit on the sidewalk. Next day was a short ride with some old friends to an undisclosed location. The picture above was taken there.An amazing place in the middle of nowhere surrounded by great people. 
The morning weather report was the deciding factor in the direction of my travels. I headed due south to see some friends that I had met in Sturgis a few yrs ago. Jane, Mo. is not a big town, hell It's not even a small village but it is the home of some great people. Good conversation, food, drink, new people and a side trip so they could adopt a new puppy. Seeing there reaction to pure moonshine was priceless. The Highway Profit was performing as I had hoped she would. I woke the next morning in a riverside cabin in the Ozarks and I knew that the day would be good. I met up later with my friends and we said our goodbyes. I had to get back to the Hills of Tennessee for the "Unofficial" beginning of Big Mountain Run.
The ride back to Tennessee was as good as they get.. Well, right up until the rain started.. It took very little time for me to learn that the pod air filters like to suck in rain water. Spit and sputter with 2nd gear being the hardest I could run.. I can proudly announce that I have geometrically designed a bike that will send a roostertail of rain water off the back of the front tire, over the headlight and into the riders face with maximum efficiency. I made it home in time to welcome some of the knarliest Dirtbag Hooligans I have the pleasure of calling my friends. Some riding through the Tennessee hills and then Tuesday morning we set out to head to our annual party. Rain slowed our progress so we got a room east of Knoxville. Wed. morning we headed to Wheels Through Time Museum. Mecca is what it should be called. BMR was as good as it gets. I won't go into detail but to say this., If you missed it you missed out. 
Shelly and I rode back to the house and the Highway profit did fine. My only complaint would be that I didn't have enough ground clearance on the Dragon and Cherahola Skyway. Scraping in the corners is fun until you don't want to do it. We got home, Shelly went to the beach and I headed North. I stopped off in Indianapolis to see some old friends. We had dinner and some great conversation. Many thanks to English Don and all the crew at Intensity cycles.. Early morning I set out to get past Indy before the morning rush. Wind in my hair and cars pulling up beside taking pictures of my bike. I decided to take secondary roads because I'm not a big fan of the Interstates. I was heading northwest and behind every tree I could see the clouds developing to the west. I ran as hard as I could push her to beat the storm but 2 miles out from Kankakee I found myself in a downpour. As I pulled into town I saw the "Bar and Shield". It was a motorcycle shop called Low Lifes.. I pulled in and dripping water all over the floor I told them what I was looking for. "I want a bar with food and our kind of people. A place I can ride out this storm". After a few laughs they gave me directions to their hangout, told me that the managers name was Bubba and that I would have a good time there.. 1pm and I walk into an empty bar.. After introductions Bubba told me to bring my bike into the bar. We couldn't get my long front end around the pooltable so she sat out in the rain.. As the regulars came in I was introduced to each of them. I cannot tell you all the fun we had but for the next 8 hrs of rain I had a wonderful time being with these people. Shooters in Kankakee is worth a visit if you have time.

North bound. Destination, Wisconsin. I ran like hell trying to make up some time and then I kind of fell into this easy groove. The chopper was running great. a light jacket and I hadn't had a helmet on my head in days. My sunburn from BMR was the only nuisance in my life but the memory of how I got that sunburn made it worth it.. Riding the backroads through Wisconsin I saw a sign that said "House on the Rocks". I followed the signs and ended up at a house built by Frank  Wright.. I had seen pictures of it before but it is amazing to see. I rode for a bit longer and found a room for the night because I knew I'd be camping for the weekend. In the morning I was talking to a guy because he had once owned a Norton and he felt compelled to tell me all about it.. We said goodbye and I started to push the chopper out into the parking lot to fire it up. As I looked down I noticed that the pin on the half link was half out of the chain. on further inspection, I found that the half link was actually broken.. "Hey Mr. Norton.... I need some help"... He drove me to the next town and at a farm equipment store I found exactly what I needed. 30minutes later and I'm rolling.. I pulled into Yuba, Wisconsin in the middle of the afternoon. I fell in love with the place before I got off the Highway Profit. A town of 90 people with three bars and a motorcycle event going on. It also helped that there were people there who knew me. This event was set up as a fundraiser for a highschool chopper class. "Teach"Baas and the good folks of S&S cycles had set up a wonderful party and disguised it as a charity fundraiser... These are some smart people..

Money was raised. Alcohol was consumed. Tires were roasted and somehow a young Lady came up missing. (she was later found having a good time). The bonfire was large and I woke up next to the chopper, next to the fire. Sunday morning pow wow at the host bar turned into a 3hr tour of the S&S facility in Viola. 

An amazing place where American Products are made. I stuck around until Monday afternoon and started on my return to the Hills of Tennessee. The chopper did a fine job on the backroads. I couldn't have asked for more. As I pulled onto the Parkway just south of Owensboro, Ky, just getting up to speed and then, BANG. My next sensation was a sharp pain in my ass. My chain had broke and got its last lick in on my Ass. Not 15 minutes later a KDOT pick up truck with three workers in it pull over to check on me. They each told me that they were riders and what kind of bikes they ride.. I had determined that I needed a 530 master link to get me back on the road. Take a look at what this guy had on his keychain. I can't make this shit up..
100 miles from home and now I'm rollin.. Oil is flying off the chain and I've got that sick feeling in my gut.. That chain must have cracked the case when it broke. I stopped a couple of times to add oil and got her home as quick as I could.

A little over three weeks and around 4200 miles. 12 states and a couple of time zones I think it is safe to say that "The Highway Profit" has had a proper Shakedown. I'm gonna head out to the shop and weld up that hole in the case and then I think its time to put that bike in the wind and go for a ride... Until next time. PEACE&GREASE

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