Saturday, December 27, 2008

Same Billy, Different Message

I wasn't sure when I was going to sit down again and post anything. I never thought about quitting, it was more like a need to put things back in order so I could do the extra little things like this that I enjoy. It just took some time.

I'll try to catch up here a little bit. The biggest reason for stepping away from blogging for awhile was that I really started to dislike how connected I was becoming to "the computer." My work requires me to use one all day. My little family is connected to their games and such, and I began to feel that something was out of sorts in that too much of what we think or do revolves around our need to sit in front of a screen to be connected to whatever keeps us going. I wanted to get back to some sort of basics that include imagination and creativity. It was becoming too much. In short, I wanted to distance myself from computer use. I guess I achieved my goal.

Okay, so in that time, I dug into myself a bit and found that what was missing was a commitment to my spiritual health. I've spent a great deal of time working to improve myself, but I had no solid relationship with God. I established a friendship with a biker preacher, and a fire was lit under me to pick up my Bible and read it. I also found fellowship in a co-worker named Jim that has become a real friendship. These guys opened my eyes and have encouraged my growth, and I have found Christ as my savior, and my intention is to follow his path. I want to share the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ in a biker ministy. Pretty lofty goal huh? I know...that's why I'm gonna do it.

So, what else is up? Oh yeah, I got full upper dentures! I guess my beak wasn't intended to keep all of the chicklets, so my dentist and I decided to pluck them out. Ya see, no matter what the dentist did, my teeth rebelled by breaking. They just liked to chip and break. I'll tell you what...having no more pain is worth the price of all the work involved in getting fake chompers. I was one cool daddy when I went in, and they didn't have to put me under. I rode it out, then drove home on my own. All of the uppers pulled, plus one bottom tooth in one hour flat. The gal at the desk told me a few days later that my "remarkable" recovery was due to my positive attitude. It was a cool experience.

Now, in the motorbike world...I have another project in the works. As you recall, I am a bonified scooter nutjob. I was all into the "Mods and Rockers" history, but coming from a bikers background, I couldn't just switch sides and live on the Mod's side of the fence. No, no friend, I am a Rocker for real, so I went out and bought a bike that I could convert into a cafe' styled peg scraper so I could play both sides. One day I can wear the fishtail parka and slacks, the next day I'll wear my leather jacket and cuffed Levi's. I have the cake, and I'll eat it too!

What I found was a 1973 Honda 500 four. You remember those things? I realize that it isn't a Triumph or a BSA, but for the style of bike, and the price I paid, it'll do quite nicely. The first thing that I had to do, was to strip her down. My true friend Oilcan Kurt has dropped in now and then to lend a hand on the makeover, and what started out as a touring bike setup with a sweet Vetter Windjammer fairing and scroll-work sissy bar, now has an almost stock set-up. She's naked.

Not being an upholsterer didn't stop me from hacking the seat foam down to about an inch in the riders part of the seat, leaving the pillion stock. I stretched the fabric down super tight, and re-clipped it back in place. I also hooked up a rear shock lowering kit, dropping the rear end down about two inches. I then scored an ol' school replacement headlight bucket with internals to take the place of the plastic can that hid behind the fairing. A little wiring work will need to be done, but that ain't no thing. I also got some drop bars on the cheap, so I'll be throwing the stock handle bars in the scrap heap soon. (I hate em) I never will figure out why Honda routed the wires through the bars back then, cuz it's a pain now to dink with them.

Some of these plans will have to wait for a few days though. We still have some snow/slush piled up everywhere, and my shop tends to be only one degree warmer than outside, and I've found it uninspiring to hang out for too long out there. Hopefully the weather will warm up for awhile so I can ride. And yeah, I've still got my collection of scooters to buzz around on. My only hassle is the 1 1/2" thick ice that runs the length of my block that stops me from joyriding or commuting. Our little part of the country has had a real taste of Winter this year, and although I enjoy the beauty and the fact that we had a white Christmas, I have had no saddle time to speak of.

All in all, I want to say that I missed being in touch with the friends that I have here, but I didn't miss the feeling that the computer was a big part of my life. It's all about finding a balance, and I think that I have found it. It's in knowing that everything has a place and time, and in having one's priorities straight. I am who I am because of God, and for having accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I feel redirected, and reconnected in a different way now, and that will make doing things like riding and posting here a pleasure. It has made a difference in my life.

I have found that some folks shy away from a change like this, but in reality's just the same old me. I just don't do some of the things that I used to, or say things the way that I might have. I wear a cross on my cut now, and a patch on the back that says, "These are my church clothes." Once a biker, always a biker. I just have a different message now.

Have fun,

Friday, December 05, 2008

Coming Soon...

Hey, I'm still around. I've got some stuff to square away, then hopefully I'll be hanging out again with all of you guys.

Back soon...

Have fun,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Hot" To Get Going On My Next Project

I noticed on Scooter in the Sticks that Steve is recognizing the first signs of the change of seasons in his neck of the sticks. Well, right here in good ol' Port Angeles it is full-on Summer. We are cookin' in 80 plus temps, and the forecast is for hotter tomorrow. Not even my ride home from work cooled me down. I do like it though.

Well, my latest motorbike project is finally getting a little momentum behind it. My pal Paul, the lead motorcycle mechanic at Olympic Powersports is guiding me through the steps to restoring a 1978 GL1000 Gold Wing. Maybe not restoring as much as "rustoring" since we aren't doing a frame-up job on it. We will get it in good running order with some elbow grease, parts and cash though. I'm looking forward to the project, and can't wait to throw a leg over the saddle. (After it comes back from the upholstery shop.)

The one hitch in the gittalong is the application for lost title. The girl at the Vehicle Licensing desk told me that the vin number look-up showed a titleholder, and a leinholder. The title holder appears to have vanished, and the leinholder has since closed his business. I did however contact his daughter, and it looks as though he will sign-off on his portion of the affidavit.

The nutty part is that if I follow their guidelines, I will need to send the affidavit to the last known address of the registered owner by certified mail. If it is returned unopened, then I can turn it in to the gal at the licensing desk to be hopefully registered to me, but not as the titleholder. It seems that I will need to wait for 3 years in case the original dude decides to come out of the woodwork to reclaim it. That would suck. Oh, and I was told that the State Patrol will need to inspect it. They told me that they don't do inspections any more. What a mess.

I e-mailed Paul the other night throwing out the option that maybe we could look at one of his other Wing's that doesn't carry so much baggage. He has six of them. I have had my eye on one that I call Old Black. It has all the character that appeals to me in a beater motorcycle. If the title is clear and he hasn't become too attached to it, I may end up coming up sweet on the deal. I contacted Paul today to tell him to check out his e-mail box, then let me know whats-up.

And with that, when I know, I'll let you know.

Have fun,

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Rainy, Dark Highway That Brought Me Back

Yeah, I'm still around. Life has a way of finding its own priorities for you, and so I dealt with them. I never did stop riding though.

I felt like it was time to get back in the blogging saddle after an adventure in riding that I had last night. Sometimes you need a little nudge to get you moving in the right direction...

My family and I rolled out of town on sunny Wednesday to spend a few days on the beach at Kalaloch, about 100 miles from our doorstep. Since I was in need of a long ride, I loaded up the Big Ruckus and enjoyed the hot August putt to our yearly camping destination. Being that the weather usually doesn't play by the rules in a rainforest region, I packed my raingear just in case. Lately I've taken to wearing my Fieldsheer touring jacket with body armor. I totally abandonded the old school "mod" staple fishtail parka in favor of some serious new school ride-wear technology. I also wear an orange safety vest now too. Like my boss says, "Better to be seen, then flat."

My rainpants are basic fisherman's heavy duty pants, and I keep a light weight hooded hikers rain jacket in my tour pack for when the need arises. Well, the need arose at about 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

After having a real nice dinner, the mist off the Pacific Ocean started getting a little heavy. Not wanting to pull the rug out from anyone's good time, I was hesitant about pushing the issue of maybe bailing out and heading for home a day or two early. Then it started really getting wet.

I tossed the idea about pulling up stakes (literally) to my wife, and she agreed that the fun factor was pretty much gone. In an attempt to keep the trip alive, I went out to build a fire, and the rain said no. I was done. I asked my wife if she would help take the tent down, and in record time, we were packed. I ducked for cover to strip out of my wet clothes and change into dry duds and my raingear, and after pulling the cover off the scoot and saddling up, we were off. It was now 7:45 p.m.

Full-on darkness is about 9:00 p.m., and my goal was to be at Lake Crescent at dark. A bit like a cowboy's trust in his horse, I now feel like I have a riders relationship with my scooter. I trusted my steed to get me home. With my wife in the family mini-van with dozing kids in back, I lead us out of the campground, and headed toward home.

I think we rolled all the way to Forks, (approx. 40 miles) with no traffic behind us. I hung out at around 60 mph in the straight stretches, and backed off a bit in the sweepers. We made Forks in good time, and I stopped to check for any concerns from my wife. She asked why she couldn't see my brake light on the road. I told her that I wasn't using it. I tapped it so she could see that it does work. Now it was my mission to make the lake by dark.

There are sections of highway that run straight and long between Forks and Lake Crescent, and when the rain wasn't drumming down, I was able to roll at around 68 mph. The one thing that I wasn't prepared for though, was the moths and flying bugs made out of glue that live on this stretch. I remembered the saying that I used to use at the service station when washing the bug collection off tourist's windshields, "It won't have the guts to do that again." The whole front of the scooter, the windshield, my helmet and goggles, everything, was covered in a layer of bug guts. I started wishing for the hard rain again to wash some of this stuff off. Soon enough, we had made it to the lake.

Lake Crescent is a beautiful lake that resides in the Olympic National Park, and Highway 101 winds for 21 miles in a twisty path around its shores. It was now dark, and the drenching rains had returned. "Huh... visibility sucks," I thought to myself. I found a wide pull-off at around the halfway point, and stopped to let some traffic go by. I asked my bride to wipe off my goggles for me. I was having a hard time seeing through the water, guts and road grime that covered the lenses. My vision is bad as it is, I needed to see for the home stretch.

I wicked it up and headed for the ranch. The last few miles flew by in familiar territory, and I was thinking as we wound down our quick trip, that I really enjoyed this ride. I was tested in conditions that I don't usually ride in any more, and I did it off-the-cuff. No planning, no worrying, no nothing. I saddled up and rode the way I used to so many years ago. I was happy riding in the rain and darkness. My wife asked if I was stressed out at all. I told her that I was "far from stressed." "I was having a good time out there." It was this thought that compelled me to sit back down at this keyboard.

I've been working my rear-end off to achieve the highest levels of success in so many areas of my life, and having to be "on" so much of the time. Happiness is achieved and cherished, but I have to work for it as well. I didn't expect to gain so much joy in tearing a soggy camp down and hauling balls for home in the rain and darkness, but I did. Absolute flippin' joy. And I got to share it with my wife and kids. That made it even better.

I don't think I would have been back here anytime soon had I not had this experience, but I think I need to do this now. It feels right again...

Have fun,

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bring Me Another Convert...

I took some time away from the blogsite to square some stuff away. I basically needed to get refocused on home life, work life, and whatever extra stuff that is thrown in to make up my days. So a few things had to suffer, and this blog ended up being one of them. Stuff just piles up you know, and pretty soon you end up looking up at this huge pile of issues, and say, "Oh crap, I gotta get things figured out." So thats what I've been doing.

Now, where am I?

I don't know how things are in your town, but around here, scooters and small motorbikes are being scooped up left and right. If the trend of rising fuel costs continues, the local riding population will continue to grow with the fuel prices. The local motorcycle dealership is having a hard time keeping the 50cc scoots in stock, and the after-market parts and repair shop that my buddy owns is now bringing in a line of scooters as well. It blows my mind to think that the preferred local Harley repair house will now be selling scooters. I guess that day has come.

My Pa-in-law was looking into buying a cheap-ass scooter on-line for $699.00, and I told him that he was probably going to get boned in some form on the deal. I mentioned an ad in the classifieds for a 1985 Honda Elite 250 going for $1100.00. I didn't wait to see if my in-law was going to make the call, so I rang the dude up myself. The cat seemed real cool on the phone, and said to swing by in about an hour. I gave the old Corndog a ride to the dudes house in my pickup, and met Cliff out back washing his brand new Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic. No wonder he isn't riding the Elite anymore.

I was real pleased when Cliff pulled the cover off the Honda to unveil a very well kept ride. It had a fresh coat of metal flake blue paint, and everything just seemed to look nice. Old Corndog hesitated when Cliff offered up a test ride, but not me, I was on it, and gone in about two seconds. Since the starting procedure is just like my old Helix, I knew just what to do without being shown. And boy did this scoot want to get out and run!

I knew that this was the deal not to be missed, so I went directly to my in-laws house to show my mother-in-law the scooter, so she wouldn't have to come up with a mental picture when Corndog tried to describe to her what the scoot is, and looks like. A sly move, but it paid off.

After Corndog finally took a quick spin around the block, he told Cliff that he'd let him know the next day what his decision would be. About this time, Cliff's cell-phone is jangling, and he flips it open to speaker phone. The cat on the other end wants to know if the scooter is still for sale. Cliff says, "I'll call you back." And here we go down the road with no decision. Geez!

I told my father-in-law that he was a "dumbass" for not pulling the trigger on this deal. He was willing to gamble on an on-line purchase for a 49cc scooter with a max load rating of 165 lbs, and a top speed of next to zero, and then take his time to ponder a sure deal that will do well over the speed limit, while still saving on fuel. So yeah, I called him a "dumbass."

I dropped him off muttering swear words under my breath (loud enough to hear) and ran an errand, and by the time I got home, he was waiting in my back yard...the deal was done. Corndog bought the Elite 250, and has been happily riding almost non-stop since.

Another convert to the magical world of scootering. I've scored again, and am damned proud of it. I may have been gone from here for awhile, but I'm still getting my job done as far as preachin' the good word of scootering. You see...I've got The Secret.

Have fun,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome To Juneuary

Juneuary. That's what the folks around here are calling this month. I think its pretty much right on point considering the fact that we had Winter type weather warnings with a 2500 foot snow level yesterday, and 40 mph winds with rain and hail. Hey, no more talk about global warning for a few days!

My friend and fellow blogger/podcaster Dave Mangano was in town this past weekend to visit with his mother, and took some time to hang out with Geezer JayBee and myself. It was a pleasure to shoot the breeze with Dave and get caught up on what's going on in his neck of the woods back in Richmond Virgina. This is the best scootering time of the year where he lives, and we are apparently still struggling to break free of Old Man Winter's grip over here.

Dave took some photos of our scoots parked in his mom's driveway, and I think he took a shine to my "rat rod" influenced Vespa. I've yet to square my camera situation away, and who knows, maybe he will share a photo over on his blogsite. He can be found on my blogroll, or by tapping into

This was the first time that JayBee had seen my scooter in its new get-up, and admitted that the Vespa now has my character. He said that he didn't want to insult me by saying he "didn't like the color" when my 125GT was painted blue, so now that it wears red oxide primer and pin-stripes, he says that he really digs it. Who knows, maybe we can follow the same route with his P200E, and get a cool look going with it too. I have even drawn up a paint scheme incorporating the use of both gray and white primers, topped with some red pin-stripes. If he's into it, I'm all over it. Just think of my approach to what I want a scooter to look like as a mix of traditional Vespa styling, topped with some hardcore kustom kulture rat rod flavoring. I guess my leaning is more toward the Ed Roth, Robert Williams school of kool design.

More to come later on these boss too! (Maybe)

Have fun,

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Clearing Away The Fog

I almost started by saying that there wasn't much going on around here, but I caught it in time. On the contrary, there is a whole lot going on, and my head feels like it is in a constant fog from all of the junk that I have to think about all of the time. Thats why they call it "work," and not "fun."

My pal Oilcan Kurt is grinding away on the Simplex project, and I spent a few hours the other night heating ,beating and sanding on some fifty year old parts, and enjoyed every moment. On my side of the fence, I have been working at honing my pin-striping skills, and now realize that I have about a million miles to go before I can say that I don't suck. It is fun though to try to pull off some straight lines, and then run parallels and flares. Every now and then I surprise myself.

When not soaring with the seagulls at work, being dad and husband, I do get some time to bomb around on the Big Ruckus. It just seems like I don't do it as much as I used to. I do commute to work consistantly though. That will not change. And its good to see five scooters lined up at the fence every day, and know that I had a hand in putting riders on every one of them. And I'm still not done. I still "bang the drum" loudly to send the message of the beauty of two-wheeling to anyone wishing to hear it. It does not matter to me one bit what their personal reason for riding may be. I will continue to speak positively about riding scooters and motorbikes. I believe in the MSF courses, and encourage those that I speak to, to take the class. I speak about proper riding equipment. In a nutshell...I am still playing the role of "Scooter Evangelist," and it is working.

Now that I'm off the soapbox... On the lighter side, the weather has been real nice lately, and has given the family opportunities to get out and about. Yesterday we attended a car show at Seven Cedars Casino, and saw some sweet antiques, street rods, and hot rods of all kinds. Since my camera hasn't been repaired or replaced, I didn't come home with pictures. I did however get caught up with some patch holders that I haven't seen since I stepped away from the biker world. It was good to see these guys again. In my head I will always be on the fence wondering how things would be now if I had followed through on my dream of wearing their patch. I guess that is pretty remote dreaming now that I don't even own a Harley anymore. Dreaming is free though.

Now its time to get busy in the yard so I can sneak in some riding time this afternoon. Maybe a ride out to the Elwha bridge project will clear some of the fog from my head. We'll see...

Have fun,

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