Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I also got to try out my "new" camera. I made the leap from 35 mm to digital a couple of years ago. My first camera was bought for me as a Christmas present. Since then, I've had two progressively better cameras - both of which came into my possession as "hand-me-downs" from my Wife :). She buys a better camera, I get her old one.
My "new" camera is a Minolta DiMage Z2. I like it so far. Seems to function as well as my old Canon A630, but has a more powerful zoom. The Zoom really helps in the type of photography I like to do. Its much safer to shoot pictures of an old, falling down house from the road - as opposed to walking onto the property to get closer and risk getting shot at :)
I finally uploaded my pics from the trip to flickr, which you can access through the link on the right side of this page. Here's a couple of representative pictures to give you an idea:
We burned WAY too much gas on this trip... but it was good to get back out to an area we haven't visited in awhile - plus travel some roads that were completely new.
I'm on call tonight (grrrrrrrrr...), but tomorrow is BIKE DAY, and I get to work on the Goldwing Project.
Maybe.... just maybe, I'll get to shoot some paint tomorrow....
Friday, April 25, 2008
I set the valve clearance per the Honda Manual. So that should be one less thing to worry about come start up time. Did a partial clean up of the engine in prep for painting, but will do a more vigorous cleaning next weekend pre-paint. Took off the front brake stuff (calipers, mastercylinder, junction, etc.). I'm glad the brakes on the parts bike look really good - these look awful. Very rusty and whoever put them back on the bike switched the lines and bleeder fitting locations. Don't see how they could have bled the brakes this way??
Got a wild hair after starting to mess with the handlebars during removal of the brake stuff.... went on ebay and ordered some clubman bars. I REALLY dig they way these look, but I've never seen them on a goldwing before. I have no idea if they'll work or not, but I've got to try. If they don't work out I'll go with drag bars or superbike bars.
Here's a pic of clubman bars on a 750 Honda - Love the way they chance the whole front attitude of the bike.
No pics of my bike this time. I'm taking lots of them for my own reference, but I've decided that until I've got pics that show the bike as more than just a big ol' mess.... I'll keep them to myself. I'm getting a little closer every weekend to reaching the point where I can turn the corner and start making her look the way she does in my head.
It was massively delayed this season by the writer's strike, and last I heard it isn't coming back until JANUARY!!!! That sucks. The first couple of seasons, the main character's daughter was played by Elisha Cuthbert.... and she's the Girl Friday for this week:
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is a beauty, isn't it? Its not glossy, or shiney, or chrome laden.... but the lines and utility are awesome. I'd like to do a motorcycle project one day that's inspired by this bike, complete with old-school military theme. It would have to be based on a more modern v-twin, though.
I couldn't afford an Indian under pretty much any circumstances :)
Started goofing with Taylor, my daughter's cat. My girl has moved out on her own, but her fat cat had to stay here with us. Too set in her ways to adapt to life in a new place, I guess. This cat used to give us the cold shoulder.... but now that my daughter is gone, he's decided we aren't so bad :)
He actually sat still for this, as disgusted as he looks with the whole process.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
On the way home, we decided to detour through Grapevine. Hadn't been there in a while. They have a cool old downtown area, with lots of shops. Its near the Tarantula train, which usually makes runs between grapevine and the stockyards.
While we were there, we walked by a restaurant with lots of bikes outside. No shortage of motorcycles in Grapevine, that's for sure. Its a popular destination. I particularly liked this one:
One thing I noticed though, and thought about on the way home. I see lots of bikes riding around the country roads and highways north of Dallas. I also see lots of bikes in "town", which I consider the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area and suburbs. One thing I've noticed is I very seldom, if ever, see the really flashy custom bikes out actually riding around.....
I see them parked in front of bars. I see them parked in front of restaurants. I see them at "bike nights".... but I don't see them out actually being ridden.
Is it just me? The bike in the above picture was there in front of the cafe when we got there, and the same group of bikes was STILL there when we left a long time later. Do the people who can afford this type of "Bling" just ride their bikes for 10 minutes to get to a spot to be seen and then park them?
I heard a guy on the radio the other day talking about how he wouldn't ride his new Harley with a windshield even if he needed it - because it didn't look cool.
I think a windshield can lessen the attractiveness of a bike too... but it doesn't bother me enough to go without, and I CERTAINLY wouldn't let "coolness" interfere with my actual riding.
What do YOU think about this?
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
This part of a project is always the most frustrating for me, though. I'm still in the tear everything apart stage.... so at the end of the day the bike looks worse than when I started, even though I'm moving forward.
Decided that everything I want/need to do to the bike from this point can be done without actually pulling the engine, so I moved right to the valve work today. Here's the only pic I've had time to download:
From this point I pulled the cam shaft/rocker assemblies and the cylinder heads. Everything looks really good and so far the cam lobes, valves, etc have all checked acceptable. I'm still waiting on my gasket set to arrive (only ordered it a couple of days ago), so it will be next weekend at the earliest before I can start to put the engine back together. I also need to check the clutch to see if it needs overhauling, though I've got a feeling that its been done in the not too distant past.
Today was mainly a day of cleaning, lapping, and evaluating - since I didn't have to replace anything. I did notice that the wiring to my points needs to be redone - I'm surprised it didn't short out it was so exposed and worn. That's another benefit of checking things that you know are probably ok.... you accidentally find things that aren't ok :)
I'm ALMOST to the point where I can start actually cleaning, painting, and reassembling stuff.
Bersa Thunder 9MM Ultra Compact. Love it so far. Polymer frame and stainless slide.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I was surprised to see that I had seen the defense attorney before. Here's a picture of him:
All he was missing was the suspenders :)
Our Saturday running around was really good though. Tried out a new hole-in-the-wall cafe, and was really happy with it. Its called Lucy's Grill and its located in downtown Celina, Texas. We've ridden by this place a couple of times on our way to the great winding motorcycle roads to the north and west of there, but had never stopped before. Its a small place, and is very biker friendly.
The menu is typical for the area, but the food is way above average. I had the Bacon Cheeseburger, and my Wife had the Chicken Fried Steak. Both were excellent.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Beautiful old tree, and I'm sad to see it go. No damage to our place... just a lot of rain.
Instead, I'm going to limit myself to only working on the bike once a week. Maybe all day, maybe half a day, or maybe for just an hour or two. "Slow and Steady" will win this race.
Or, at least make me alot more cheerful when i eventually do cross the finish line :)
Today, was more tear down. I drained the radiator, and removed the side reservour. The hoses were reeeeeeaaaalllly tight on inlets and outlets. I was able to remove the water pump cover at the lower hose, but had to cut through the upper hose to get it off. No big deal, since I'm replaceing the hoses anyway.
The fan wiring connector was another bitch..... someone had pushed it back behind the heatshield and it wouldn't come out. Had to cut the wires and retrieve the connector for reattachment later. Again - not a big problem.
I read everything I could about pulling the engine. Decided I would go the extra mile now, and remove the carb rack by itself to make the engine pull easier. I'm most likely doing the engine pull solo.... so I need as smooth a pull as possible. I figure having the carb rack out will give me one less thing to get hung up on.
I was going to try to use some of the "tricks" I've read about when pulling the carb rack, but ended up going the straight-forward route. Removed the false tank framework completely. This allowed me to easily remove the air cleaner box and reach the throttle cables, and their adjustment nuts, easier. Here's the bike sans faux tank innards:
Once I did that, the carb removal was pretty straight forward. I used Randakks instructions - which were great (just like everything else this guy does!). Drained the bowls, snipped the fuel line at the pump 'cuz I couldn't get it off (sticky 'lil bastard). Choke cable was easy to get off, the "pull" cable for the throttle was another matter. Not that it was that hard, with the false tank and airbox out of the way... it's just that I've never messed with throttle cables before. All the instructions I read assumed I would know about such a basic thing.
Never over estimate me. :)
Here's the bike after removal of the carb rack:
And here's what my carb's look like on the workbench:
I did a lot of thinking about the carb rebuild. Read the sections in the original honda manual, the clymer manual, and a couple of walk-throughs online. I had originally planned to order a kit from Randakk and rebuild them myself, but after looking at all the options....
Seriously, life is too short. I'm doing this because I want a particular type of bike that is more unique than the norm found around here - and for recreation/relaxation. Looking at an exploded diagram of all those tiny little parts that have to work together in perfect harmony in order for my bike to "go", and then imagine myself having to try and figure out what I did wrong after it didn't?.... makes my sphincter twitch.
I'll leave it to the professionals. A couple hundred bucks ain't worth an ulcer. There's plenty left for me to do.
I finished the above in less time than I had allocated, so I went ahead and removed the exhaust headers, mufflers, and passenger pegs (which won't be going back on).
Next time, I'll be doing the final prep for engine pulling and possibly pulling the engine itself.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The Wife and I hoped on the Valk and road one of my favorite rides today. Up through Mckinney and over to Sanger, Texas - home of Babe's Chicken Dinner House.
Really cool place, and some of the best home-style cooking you'll ever get.
The trip there is a series of winding country roads that pass through some of the prettiest country anywhere. Lots of beautiful horse farms and hilly terrain. I'm planning to learn how to do custom maps in Google, so I can document some of the better rides in this area that I've found.
Here's a shot I couldn't resist taking on the way home - passing through Celina, Texas. Some stereotypes of Texas living aren't far from the mark!
Wasr10 7.62x39. Thirty round hi-cap magazine. Threaded muzzle w/compensator. This is a Romanian gun, that has been modified from single stack mags to high capacity mags. Just a little wiggle to the mag, but not too bad. These guns are prone to alot of annoying problems, but this one seems to have none. US made Tapco trigger group helps with trigger slap, fairly stable magazine lockup, no "cant" to the site or gas tube.
The stock finish was admittedly poor - as are most of these Romanian guns. Just some kind of oil over the rough wood. Metal finish wasn't too bad for a mass produced battle rifle. I sanded down the laminate stock and refinished. Looks and feels much nicer now.
Here she is before:
All stripped down for cleaning/refinishing:
and reassembled after stock refinishing:
Over all, the Wasr / ak47 is a reliable, durable, workhorse that should be in every gun enthusiasts collection. Its affordable, the ammo is cheap, the gun takes all sorts of abuse, and it's tons of fun to shoot.
I SERIOUSLY wanted to pick up a Mini14... but just couldn't swing it right now. Especially with the newly started motorcycle project.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Don't get me wrong. It was a cool truck, and I loved it. It was just time to move on to something else as a project. I've been thinking about what to take on as a project, and decided to try my hand at a motorcycle resto-mod.
My chosen victim?.... a 1975 Honda GL1000 Goldwing. '75 was the very first year that Honda offered the Goldwing for sale. It came "naked" without all the fairings, trunks, and saddlebags that most people think of when they hear "Goldwing". Here's what she looked like when i brought her home last week:
She's a Monet...Meaning that if you look at her from 30-50 feet away, she looks really good. Up close, though, she's a mess. Almost all the chrome shows surface rust, with alot of it bad enough to flake. The paint chipped and scratched. The seat is intact, but the vinyl is so brittle it cracks when its touched. Tires have good tread, but are so dry, they're scary. Brakes are dried out and non-functional. Lots of dirt/grime in the nooks and crannies... even some wood shavings around the sparkplugs (previous owner did woodworking as a hobby).
According to the previous owner, the bike was his riding project until a year or so ago when life (and kids) intervened and he decided to get rid of all his motorcycle stuff. The bike had not been started since he parked it, and it was having carb problems before he retired it.
I love this engine.... really wide and tough looking. Its basically a smaller version of the engine in my Valkyrie.