Friday, August 08, 2008

Got the Sporty Home

I finally made it home with the Sportster tonight. It was a very long day, 10am until very very close to 9pm round trip, so I'll tell you more later after I get some sleep.

Alright, so now it's tomorrow and I'm home from yet another trip. One of my brothers moved with his family over to Switzerland so we had to go and pick up his truck down in the southern part of the state. It's for sale and I want to get it checked over before I make a decision whether or not to buy it also. We made a side trip to Baden lake while down that-a-way and made it back home around three this afternoon.

Now about getting the Sportster, leaving yesterday morning after making a deposit in the bank, I headed up hwy 87 north towards Virginia. It's not a very exciting road to be on as it is just your basic two lane black top. Maybe I'm just thinking that because it's a road that I have been up and down several times. When reaching Reidsville North Carolina I caught the 29 north interstate all the way into Virginia. The road is a mix of concrete sections and asphalt sections which are highly maintained. Gotta watch your speed in Virginia though as multiple troopers and Sheriff cars are watching real close. Keeping on the 29 the road begins to climb and roll and the temperature starts cooling down. Turning off the air conditioner and using my defroster fan made for a nice comfortable cool ride. Staying on this route you pass many small quaint little towns and friendly people. The rolling hills through gorgeous country side with it's many shady spots gave me a thought of wow, Gods country is really beautiful when we don't mess it up with buildings on every inch. It's so dog gone pretty up there with the forest land and farms as well as the unclutteredness of massive buildings.
I was able to follow my directions fairly easily and the roads are marked clearly which helps reduce eye strain. Giving my contact a call at around eleven gave him assurance that I was on my way, I'd hate for him to wait around wondering if I would be coming or not. Most everyone who has tried to sell something can relate to waiting around a whole day waiting for somebody to show up and they don't. These days with cell phones and computers there just is not any reason to let someone know if your running behind or just plain not coming.
Letting it loose on the road was not an option hauling a trailer behind me. The trailer pulls easy making you have to check the mirrors to see it still back there, it's easy to forget because it is so light. Mine has two foot sides on it which in itself is fine except when certain Semis pass. There are ones that seem to push more air than others and make my trailer start to wag back and forth slightly. An un-nerving sight, I'd bet, for someone who's not pulled a trailer much but not really that big a deal. The trick is to just keep the throttle steady if being passed and keep off the brakes.
After a couple of hours on the road I needed a rest break and found a rest stop welcome center that climbed up a hill above the highway. The rest stops in Virginia are laid out so well as well as some of the best kept up I've run across in any of my travels. Virginia also has Waysides which are little picnic areas to pull off on. Nice little places with tables, trash cans and grilling spots like the old days when we were kids and mom made picnic baskets and lunch. After a quick stretch and look around at the mountains before me it was time to move onc; caught me a quick bite to eat in Hurt Virginia then took off up the road. Continuing on the 29 brought more pretty scenery for a long stretch until I made it to my cut off on VA53 which is a road with tight switch backs and narrow two lane. Some turns cut back so quick you can look at your own tail lights while making the turn. This outrageously pretty roadway leads you right up to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello where you can take tours. Wish I'd known that was there so I could have stopped in; definitely a place to go back to with the family or a riding group. Also, there is a Tavern right up the road from there and a nearby winery that offers tours and tasting.
Not long after Thomas Jefferson's home I called my contact and got final directions into his place. When I arrived, he met me at theend of his driveway with his dog and I could see the bike parked outside the garage. Looks good from where I sit so far. On closer inspection I can see life lines running to the battery. We talk a bit as I do the walk around, the crouch down and the questions and answer routine. I'm not disappointed in the least. There are the normal little things that I see for a thirty three year old motorcycle. But he was upfront about everything during our phone conversation days before so no real surprises. I meet his wife and son who come out to watch then we fire the bike up with its life line from the sons car. I was pleasantly surprised that she fired up because the owner had told me on the phone the carburetor needed either a rebuild or a cleaning cause she'd been sitting for around two years. That baby fired off and was shooting a mist of oil through the crank vent tube on the ground, which is not all uncommon for a bike that sits. These older Harley's all seem to collect oil in the crankcase even though they are dry sump systems. When ridden most everyday the oil won't collect as much but still does to some degree. That's another reason you don't check your oil level when the bike is cold. You need warm them up to get that crank case oil pumped back into the oil bag first. Otherwise if you check with it cold you might add oil only to find out now its got to much oil. I work the throttle through the ranges then hold her steady a few seconds, let off then rev up slowly, hold throttle up more then open wider quick then snap the throttle off. A few more throttle pulls and snap offs and I get the nice flame and pop from the drag pipes. A tad loud for me in my older status that I'll do something about later on. I hold my hands to each pipe and check for anything from the pipes that might be wet or dry. Looks fine so far. The owner points out the rear tire and that it does need replacing as I look at it. Yeah, not much tread left there alright. Front tire looks almost brand new though and the rims have been reworked with new spokes which is a nice plus. Overall, the bike looks better than most of its age probably due in large part to being kept in doors.
Some more good news are the extra parts that come with it. Two gas tanks, two carbs for parts, a set of older police hard saddle bags ( I can't wait to clean up and see how they will look on the bike) head light, rear fender to bob perhaps with a tombstone tail light and other assorted pieces. All and all a nice haul and our pre haggle on the phone made for a very, very nice deal. His wife, who in no way looked old enough to have two kids the ages they are happily went and got the title. The whole time we were looking at the bike she had this look of I hope he takes it on her face. The kind of concerned look from a wife who already worries about her husband enough because of his Fireman's job. I bet she would have knocked off another five hundred had it been up to her just to get me to take it. She actually thanked me for getting the bike and was only to happy to help her son get the extra parts into my truck. She wanted to move fast before I changed my mind. I had known that I was going to get that bike before I even left home otherwise I would not have driven for four hours to get it.
We loaded up the bike and strapped her down tight in my trailer. The hills around there home are very steep through the whole neighborhood which is in the mountains of course. Deer feed right beside the road while people walk by and work in their yards. A fantastic place to live I'm sure. I start off down the road going down hill then up one, around a curve then up and down a couple more. At the bottom of one hill I stop at the intersection then make a right and head up this very steep hill in second gear. Almost to the top of the hill and drinking from my water bottle when WHAM!!!. The most god awful sound you ever heard along with metal grinding against pavement. My heart jumped as I was almost afraid to look in the mirrors. The truck quit moving almost as suddenly as the noise happened. I hit the brakes and pushed in the clutch and looked in the mirror. To my relief the bike was still on the trailer and not on the pavement. Getting out I assessed the situation. Hm mm, the latch on the tilt mechanism of my trailer had come un-latched causing the trailer to tilt on the steepest of hills. The bike was now looking up at the sky but was still upright and fine only having rolled back to the edge of the trailer. Being on the hill there was no way I could right the trailer bed, hold the bike at the same time and fix the latch. Unstrapping the bike and getting it off the trailer was not an option by myself on that grade. I tried pushing the bike from the back to get the trailer bed to return to it's fixed position but the latch would not catch. My only option...get back in the truck and drag the trailer screeching and digging into the pavement up to the top of the hill. I put the truck in gear and began trying to pull but at first she would not budge. More gas, a bit of clutch smell and she began moving slowly up the grade making awful grinding sounds permeate the air. I got her over in the grass shoulder part way and the grinding sound stopped and the truck pulled easier on the forgiving grass and dirt. To the top of the hill we went, to my relief again, the bike stayed put.
A construction crew working on a house saw me but not a one came to offer a hand when I was on the hill trying to get that trailer latched. Thanks guys and I gave them a finger salute.
I got the bike back where I wanted it and the trailer bed back in its down position. To ease my nerves I put an extra strap on the trailer to make sure it stayed put if the latch did not hold.
I left and made it back down the mountains without any more problems. As the minutes then an hour passed by I felt at ease that the trailer and bike were going to both play nice the rest of the way home. And they did.
On the second half of the trip several small groups of bikes were on the road with me at various times. I did notice that only the Harley riders gave the wave,nod, smile or all the above when passing me. The sport bike riders just sat all smug and even if giving a glance over would not return a wave. Last week on the way home I saw a sport bike rider on the opposite side of the road slowing down as he looked to be running out of gas. It sounded that way to. So the next exit I turned around and went back to see if I could help. He was already gone, probably on reserve, but I road another mile heading away from home just to be sure but never saw him again.
Think I'll do that again for a sport bike rider? Don't know myself after the way they seem to act on the road this trip. Makes me wonder if they would stop if I was on the bike on the side of the road. Maybe I'll set that up and write about what happens.
The rest of the trip went fine and I made it home after four hundred and forty three miles in eleven hours. It was a long great day to be out especially in that very pretty Virginia countryside. Only wish I'd had someone along with me to enjoy the miles with.

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