Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It Was Bound To Happen..

Rest in Peace My old friend.
early morning 10 Apr. 2013 - late night 14 Oct, 2015

This is not an obituary as much it is a celebration of Life..

She was born, might I even say conceived of a singular purpose. FREEDOM.
Though she lived what some consider a short life, she was destined to LIVE Completely.
For less than three years, She travelled freely from town to town. Making new friends and inspiring thought in others. Some would even turn there nose up as if she were known to be the town gutterslut. I've seen the look in a mans eye. The envy. The wander. The understanding. The appreciation. She effected all who noticed.

Today I received word from S&S Cycles, (The engine manufacturer). Their diagnosis was that the only thing salvageable was her front jug. Old Glory's heart would beat no more. 91,000 + miles. We could speculate her demise but it would serve no good purpose. Either the lifter or a cam bearing went. no telling which went first..

Old Glory was conceived of as part of a TV show that failed. The bike was built to ride the Pan American Hwy. I named her Ole Glory. My goal was to build a 100% American Made MoterSickle . I did. Not to toot her horn, {she had no horn) I found FREEDOM on that dirty girl..

I say Dirty Girl.. She truly was.. Even when she did get a washdown. The State of Tennessee were dicks and wanted a ton of paper on her to make her legit. Old Glory agreed to my suggestion that we just use the tag off of my old chopper.. Only one cop questioned it.. Somehow he knew that he was not looking at a 1976 Honda CB550. After an amazing story validated by Manufactures statements of Origin for the motor and frame he wrote me a $200 ticket for an expired drivers license. and the warning that I couldn't ride the bike without a drivers license and that he would be patrolling to the north.. He originally pulled me over because I had a plastic, hand written in sharpie, license plate.. I had lost the metal plate in florida. That South Dakota Trooper saved the county taxpayers a lot of money that day.

She never did complain much. and when she did It wasn't much to satisfy her. The biggest problems we had were the charging system and the connection between the engine and tranny.. Sure, we spent a lot of time together with tools in hand, but I never argued. I usually didn't have a schedule so we were able to meet new people. the old guy in texas that helped me half the day fixing my rear tire blowout. Them cool cats in western Carolina.. The Hooligans in Lexington KY that took me in like a full patch member when my charging system shit the bed.. Me and Old Glory have met a lot of people with a tool in hand.. The scheduled maintenance was another adventure all together.. I remember one time at an outside bar in florida. I rolled up and got a beer. my bike 10ft from the bar. that afternoon I changed all three sets of brake pads on my bike and partied with the bar crowd. after cleaning up, I proceeded to pull out my cook stove and cook dinner for the bartender and I. I cant make this shit up... we had clam chowder and shrimp ramen noodles.
there was a lot of maintenance in 91,000 miles.. oil changes, tires, brakes, chains, sprockets, shocks, luggage mounts, wheel bearings, neck bearings, rebuilding brake calipers, batteries, charging systems, wiring, primary chains, clutch discs, wiring , cables and a few other little things.

She enjoyed all the roads and the occasional off road rides.. Riding the prairie north of Newell, SD was a most enjoyable time for her.. She seemed to enjoy the life of a tractor with low rpm torque and first/second gear. She would bound over the ruts and rises of the open range with the cattle and bison.  She has enjoyed the backwoods in almost all the states. She has a soft spot for the high country of Montana, Idaho and Colorado during the warmth of summer and fall. Her preference was the gulf coast or the Right coast of Florida during the winter. The mid southeast in the spring and then follow the frostline up to the border.
 but she had no problem setting out in the cold either. on 20 Feb, 2014 we left florida attempting to ride all 48 states in 14days.. that day was one of those weird days when it snows in all 50 states.. fact . That was the beginning of Winter Storm Thor.. the coldest that we were in was 4degrees in Walcott, Iowa. I had to push her into a wash bay to warm the oil enough to get her started.
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Day 8 001.jpg
She was sure of foot, a bit top heavy when fully loaded and she couldn't handle much likker but seldom did she leave me stranded. I usually had what I needed to get her fixed and us down the road.. she threw a chain one afternoon in the middle of nowhere north central Nebraska.. This is the same day that I'm limping down the highway to retrieve the chain that just whipped the shit out of me in the rain... After inspecting the chain I come to the realization that I have just walked an eighth of a mile to pick up a no good chain. Walking back to my bike and the rain stops.. I push the bike down the road to the next driveway and park the bike next to a stack of round hay bales.. I start walking back towards the last town I had left. I knew it to be about 6 miles.. I made it about a half a mile before farmer Joe picked me up. He said that the swinging chain in my hand was what told him that I needed help.. he took me to the tractor supply, I got my chain and he rode me back to my bike. There are still good people out there..  I had everything I needed to fix her.. try cutting a 530 chain to length with a 6in. mill bastard file.. But I got her fixed.  and we rode east with the sun setting in my mirrors across the Nebraska plains.
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I'm not sure what the future holds for the rest of Old Glory. Do I give her a new soul.? do I scrap her and start over.? do I change my mode of transport.? I'm still in mourning and really just at a loss of what direction to head. A motor swap would be the quickest and most cost effective solution but I don't want to react and then wonder what might have been. Life without two wheels isn't an option.

I do want to take this time to thank you all for your kind words and support. You have smoothed the road for me.

until next time

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Greetings from the edge of the road..

In the background, Kid Rock is singing "Born Free". I'm shacked up in the garage apartment of a dear friend. Each morning I enjoy the sunrise over the Halifax river and I give thanks to my Creator.. Not because I'm a religious bloke but because I am thankful. Two months ago I was running a bike shop in the Dakota territory and planning for a cold winter. I had already dismissed the idea of being at biketoberfest. Things change and here I am.. From Deadwood to Omaha to check up on some friends. To the Ozarks for dinner and some awesome riding. To Ft. Campbell for a meeting of patriots and then on to NC. for a dinner date. I rolled South to meet up with a friend in north Georgia. We would leave in the morning. 435miles to Daytona.. 10hrs later I coasted my bike into Willies Tropical Tattoo.. The motor had quit two blocks before.. The motor had a huge hole in the rear cylinder rocker cover and broken metel was poking out of the hole..  Ben went for beer and I rolled out my bedroll under the stars.. We enjoyed the late evening  of cans and pipes. Music and conversation. We spoke of the day and what tomorrow had in store for us.. We talked about the last 80miles and how I had to press my knee against the carb to keep it from blowing off. The rear cylinder was exhausting through the carb because the exhaust valve wasn't exhausting anymore.. My motor was toast but she had gotten me to our destination.. Willie's Chopper time bike show would start in the morning..
I decided to not worry about the bike .. Let us enjoy the show. The people that I only get to see once a year. The motor would wait.. Willie's Chopper show is more than its name implies.. It is also a fundraiser for "The Veterans Support Fund". A non profit that I have worked with on several occasions.. Good people doing good things.. Check them out on the web.. A good time was had by all..
So, here I am in Daytona. Safe, warm, well fed and completely taken care of.. My motor is in Wisconsin being overhauled by its creator's at S&S Cycles.. I can't brag about that motor enough.. In 31months, she took me 91,000 miles on that 111 cubic inch beast.. It has been an amazing ride.. There isn't enough room here to tell you where she has taken me and I can't imagine the destinations that are yet to come..
Until next time,