Warranty Work & New Wheels for Road Glide + Other Stuff

After arriving back at home on Sunday night after our 450-mile motorcycle ride home from Daytona Beach and visits to Loco’s and Mulligan’s we began the process of sorting out and putting away all of our luggage and gear.  Rain suits needed to be properly dried out as nothing seemed to fully dry-out down in Florida, all of the various gloves, over-pants, heated gear and what not needed to go back in its proper place, our clothing needed to go into the wash and then it was time to decompress a bit.  No, the bike did not get washed immediately; that could wait until Monday night.

Monday – 

Back to work… and honestly, as much as I think about retirement I’m reminded that I really do enjoy doing what I do, the people I work with and believe our work is still very meaningful. But, all of that said, in the back of my mind I was thinking I should have taken another day off to catch up on things back at home.  Regardless, I made it through the day but knew I’d have a few things to do once I arrived at home, the most important being getting the Road Glide washed to remove three days of being constantly blasted by salt water mist carried off of wave tops by the non-stop 25mph winds we enjoyed in Daytona.

I moved the bike into the center bay and put it up on the J&S lift so I’d have good light and lots of room to work: it’s great having a drain in your garage!  As I got into it, I was amazed at how filthy the bike got. Moreover, how much damage the salt air did to the unprotected aluminum, copper and steel parts on the bike: the Ventilator wheel’s polished aluminum trim surfaces were trashed.  Washing the bike took a good hour, but it took another 2 hours with my small, hand-held “electric scrubber” to undue some of the damage to the wheels: there’s another 2 good hours left to go on just the wheels.  I have yet to figure out what to do about all of the smaller parts like nuts and bolts, copper washers on the brake system and shifter linkages, power outlet housings, etc, that are also showing signs of corrosion.

After getting the bike off the lift and back in its proper parking space I burned some mid-night oil and replaced the temporary DC power outlet I’d velcro’d to the front of the gas tank that provided power to my cell phone with the more permanent one I’d purchased off of eBay.  Hopefully, it will truly be waterproof: time will tell!

Tuesday –

After work my evening was consumed mostly by home-banking, getting my Daytona blog mostly written and other non-motorcycle stuff.  Well, I say that.  One of the things on my to-do list was to gather up all of the manuals, receipts and miscellaneous small parts and tools that I still had in the garage for the BMW R1100S and then mail them off to Andrew, the buyer as promised.  So, Tuesday night was something of a scavenger hunt.

What they’ll look like…

However, the big news for Tuesday was making the decision to go ahead and purchase a used set of chrome “Slicer” wheels from a private seller that I’d found on Craigslist. Seeing the beating my stock wheels took in Florida I was reminded why I’d swapped out the steel spoked wheels on the Wide Glide for chrome wheels so it was a no brainer, especially since the seller’s asking price was only $700.  Mind you, each of these wheels sell for $700 and the relatively new tires — if they’re still good — are worth about $300.  As for their history, the rims came off of a 2015 Road Glide Ultra CVO with about 11,000 miles of use and supported the exact same 130/80 x 16″ front & 180/65 x 17″ rear tires we have on our Road Glide Ultra. The tires were purportedly replaced just a few thousand miles ago and in good condition. Anyway, after confirming the wheels would be a direct swap I went ahead and closed a deal with the seller via IM.

The only other notable items was the a realization on Tuesday that our Harley-Davidson Finance account didn’t seem to exist.  A couple of phone calls and emails later over the course of a few days seemed to suggest something fell through the cracks; however, all  should be resolved: thanks y’all and y’all know who you are.

Wednesday – 

The big item on my checklist for Wednesday was making sure Killer Creek Harley-Davidson would be able to take in the Road Glide on Saturday to address some warranty issues; they included:

  1. A strange harmonic sine-wave sound above 50 mph that I suspect may be an overly tight drive belt based on a Service Bulletin.
  2. A sloppy front end which is probably something that can be adjusted out with a little more preloading on the steering head bearings.
  3. Some stalling and decel popping/backfiring which may need an ECU update.
  4. Infotainment system issues that can probably be resolved by a software update.
  5. An annoying rattle that is coming from the back-end of the bike; no idea what it might be as I’ve checked everything.
  6. A bent jiffy stand heel tang; it is what it is.
  7. Some type of overspray on the rear cylinder heat shield that I was not able to remove with conventional chemicals that I’ll let the dealer attack with more aggressive methods, e.g., superfine steel wool.

Not all that unusual for a new Harley, which is both reassuring but sad in that most of us who have bought new Harley’s before know to expect less than flawless products. So the plan is to drop the bike off on Friday afternoon so they can work the issues off by Sunday afternoon and we can pick it up on the way home from North Georgia.  Therefore, and in anticipation of dropping the bike, I spent a little time getting the Road Glide ready to go into the dealer by cleaning out the stuff that didn’t need to be on the bike during the service visit and I also finished-up the Daytona blog.

I also got it in my head on Wednesday– after reading some early reports from friends who headed down to Panama City Beach for Thunder Beach and just some beach time – that Debbie I really needed to get in some beach time as well.  The weather in Daytona was definitely not conducive to walks on the beach or anything else on the beach unless you were willing to be wind and salt water blasted, so we never scratched that itch. The Oysters at the Oyster Pub were also pretty disappointing and, well, there’s just something about a few of the places we like to frequent in Panama City Beach.

Debbie really liked the idea so we’re now watching the weather forecasts for Panama City Beach to see if we can’t find a weekend when they’re calling for sunny skies with light winds and temps in the 80’s so we can make an impromptu ride down on the Road Glide.

Thursday – 

Thursday wasn’t all that eventful, other than getting the care package for the BMW R1100S mailed off to Andrew and then going down to Mableton to pick up the used CVO wheels after work.

Nice guy and it was pretty much a win-win for both of us.  I got a set of really nice, lightly used chrome wheels for the Road Glide that will be easier to care for ½ price and he was able to get them out of his garage and make a few bucks to off-set the cost of his new wheels.

When I got them home and gave them a good look the rims were in excellent shape.  The front rims came with brake rotors that were in good shape, but the rear wheel would need the brake rotor, cush drive and pulley from the stock wheels.

The tires were a bit of a different story. The front tire looked to be in pretty good shape; however, the rear tire was starting to show early signs of cupping, something the stock Harley-Davidson / Dunlop D407 tires are notorious for.  I went through two sets of the D407s on Blue I, our 1st 2013 Road King CVO, and a set on Blue II, our 2nd 2013 Road King CVO.  I got smart and put the Metzler 888’s on Blue II and they’ve been great tires thus far.

Anyway, looking at the tires I knew I had three options:

  1. Just put them on the Road Glide and get as many miles out of them as I could before the noise and vibration from the rear tire cupping become intolerable.
  2. Get out my belt sander and knock down the ramps that were created by the uneven wear on the opposite side of the tread cuts; not exactly the best way to get a well-balanced tire since the cupping isn’t exactly symmetric in the 1st place.
  3. Just be happy with what I paid for the rims and buy a new set of Metzler 888’s for the new rims so the ride quality would be as good as new.

 

Still chewing on that one….

But I did start to give the rims a good going-over with some polishing compound that will be followed by a couple of coats of Zaino to ensure they don’t end up being mistreated by the salt air they’ll encounter on our future Florida trips.  That took me well into the evening.

Friday – 

The big item on Friday’s schedule was having Debbie meet me over at Killer Creek Harley-Davidson so I could get the Road Glide dropped off for the aforementioned maintenance items.  We targeted 3:00pm as our meet-up time as that would, in theory, get us back on the road and headed home before the traffic really got awful. It also would allow us to pick up and take home the stock exhaust mufflers that came off the Road Glide three weeks ago which CJ had stashed on her special shelf.  Not sure I’ll ever need them, but it seems a waste to chuck a perfectly new set of exhaust mufflers.

While I was at the store I went ahead and ordered a 2017 touring bike service manual for the new bike.  Holy smokes, it had an MSRP of $129.00!!  I think my last touring bike service manual for the 2013 Road Kings was $89.00.  Oh well, at least I was able to apply my 10% discount to the purchase and get that price knocked down a little bit.  Oh, and it had to be ordered… which was actually true for the last two manuals I purchased.  The irony here is, Harley-Davidson gives away full-color, high-gloss parts and accessory manuals that are more costly to produce than their service manuals by the truck load.  Yeah, well… I guess they’d rather have you buying parts that the service department needs to install than figuring out how to maintain your own bike.

We had a little bit of traffic to deal with in a couple of spots on the way home, but nothing that awful for a Friday afternoon.  Back at the house we tended to a few minor things before heading over to Loco Willy’s around 5:30pm to begin our Finally a Friday celebration.

When we arrived at Loco’s the bar was actually a bit empty; could it have been the cold temperature?  And, no…. I’m not talking about the 67*F outdoor air, I was referring to the temperature inside the restaurant which had to be close to 69*F since walking outside didn’t feel all that different.  Good thing Debbie and I both wore long sleeves and took jackets along, as we needed every bit of clothing we had. Deb and David – mostly David – was also bundled-up for most of the night.  So, in addition to being really chilled just sitting at the bar in what we call the tropical zone – where you aren’t being bombarded by cold air coming from the A/C ducts in the ceiling – we also found that the bar keeping staff was a bit cold too, which was really odd.  Now, to be fair, Brian nor Billy M. were working which definitely changes the vibe at Loco’s.  However, Christian and Lindsay were on hand along with two other part-time bar tenders whom we’ve found to be awesome. However, for whatever reason the bar keepers seemed to be spending more time interacting with each other than with the guests as the bar.  So, yeah… weird night where we ended up leaving early and just headed home to relax ahead of a full day on Saturday.

Saturday – 

As expected, the weather turned nasty Saturday with temps falling into the 50’s during the day and then heading down to the 40’s with a steady drizzle or light rain falling all day.   This is why I opted to drop the Road Glide off on Killer Creek on Friday afternoon instead of on our way to the mountains on Saturday: no sense in giving the shop an extra dirty bike to work on.

This allowed us to get a few things done on Saturday morning as well, which was nice.  I made a much-needed trip to Costso and had a few things I needed to do out in the garage, never mind getting our clothing together for a visit to our small resort in the mountains for the annual Halloween dance on Saturday night.  We weren’t wearing costumes, per se… just dressing up a bit more than we would for a night out at a club around the house but still had to make sure we had all of the bits and pieces needed to make those outfits work.

I think it was around 11:30am when we finally headed north, stopping at Applebee’s for a healthy lunch on our way. It was about 2:00pm when we finally arrived at the resort and after stopping to check in at the front office the owner, manager and our friend Jeff asked if we’d be willing to act as judges for the Halloween contest that night; suffices to say we were happy to do so.  Once we were down at the main parking lot we were a bit surprised at how few cars there were and then, once in side the sports bar, at how few people there were there.  However, it seemed like we knew quite a few of folks in the bar and that made for a very nice afternoon spent watching college football and visiting with friends before dinner at 6:00pm.

While I was watching football and multi-tasking on my computer we heard from the service folks at Killer Creek. Strangely enough, they called on Debbie’s phone number not the one that I’d given them. I have no idea how they ended up with her number but, thankfully, she had her phone with her which is rare.  The bottom line appeared to be, given the weather they wouldn’t really be able to do much with our Road Glide until Monday since several of the items would require road testing.  Therefore, and assuming nothing would require parts that had to be ordered, the bike should be ready to go by Tuesday or Wednesday.  I did detect a little push back on some of the things I had written up. However, I’m confident it will all get addressed as Melissa is definitely in our corner and the owner & GM, Dan, is a good guy too.

After dinner we headed to our hotel so we could freshen-up and get dressed for the evening. As mentioned, we weren’t doing costumes although a lot of folks would probably think I was in costume with my semi-formal kilt, tweed kilt jacket, vest with lack dress shirt and tie: it was a good look.  Debbie was, as always, looking amazing in one of her one-off dresses.  Once we arrived back at the resort we were amazed at how crowded it was, probably the largest turn out we’d ever encountered.  Jeff met me as we entered the lodge to give me my official pad and pen for recording contestant numbers and noted this wouldn’t be an easy job: the costumes were amazing!   We had a great time being judges as it forced me to get out and about to make sure I could see what everyone was wearing and it was, indeed, a challenge to narrow my list down to just the top 10 individual, couples or group costumes.  Beyond that, we just had a great time visiting with friends, dancing and of course having pizza at midnight.  We were out well past our bedtime, but, it was worth it!

Sunday –

We opted to skip breakfast at the resort and headed for home on Sunday morning, having slept in until around 9:00am.  I think we both had a short burst of energy in the morning that waned a bit after getting all of our weekend luggage unpacked and what not by noon time.  However, after a short nap I was able to get up and going for the afternoon and knock-out a few small chores around the house.

1st up on my list was getting a new task light installed over my bicycle & motorcycle workbench, noting I’d killed the last one by making the mistake of plugging a heat gun into what looked like an outlet. Yeah, well… it was actually just a plug for ganging other low-voltage, LED light fixtures and the current that the heat gun pulled pretty much “smoked” the light fixture’s electronics.  I opted to replace it with a more conventional light fixture and had that installed and wired-in less than ½ an hour: it actually took me longer to go and get the thing than it did to re-wire and install.

After that I spent the better part of the afternoon deep cleaning the second-hand rims I’d picked up on Thursday night.  Again, seeing how the salt air beat up the brand new stock rims on our Road Glide I didn’t want to risk seeing similar damage done to these new-to-us wheels.  As my defense against that and as a lesson learned I figured I’d remove the brake rotors, etc. so they could get a thorough cleaning and then a couple of coats of Zaino polish/wax to seal them from the elements.  Yup, that was the one thing on the new bike that didn’t get the Zaino treatment: the wheels.

I think it was close to 6:00pm by the time I had that done, during which time Debbie had woken up from her afternoon recovery nap and gone out shopping for some groceries.  As has become something of a habit for us, I deep-fried some hot wings and fries for a dinner at home: just perfect for a cold and wet fall evening!  After cleaning up the deep fryer and kitchen after dinner I was reminded that I needed to shut off the outside water feeding to our hose bibs as the temperatures were expected to drop below 32*F.  After that I listed a couple of excess parts from the motorcycle on eBay, part of a fall clean-out project that I’ve had on my list for a while.

Yup, it’s time to start clearing the house of all the “stuff” that’s been collected over the years that really no longer serves any purpose other than taking up space.  High on that list are the ping-pong table that has been sitting in the garage unused for several years where about this time every year Debbie and talk about getting it out but never do so: it just takes too much effort to back out the cars, fire up the kerosene heater and setting up the table for what amounts to about an hour of play.  Once again, if we only had a basement or an out building with a playroom.  On the bright side, we’re pretty sure we can “loan it” to the kids as they definitely have room for it in their unfinished basement.

Also high on the list of things that need to go are those extra motorcycles: the Honda F6B and the Road King CVO.  Of course, as soon as I say that I find myself with the Road Glide in the shop such that I “need” the Honda F6B for Monday’s morning commute.  And, well, I continue to struggle with the idea of parting ways with Blue II now that we’ve a long-term issue with the compensator fixed, new tires and a fresh tune that has the engine sound and power perfectly dialed-in.  Ugg…

Anyway, as always there’s a huge to list out there that just seems to keep getting longer that will keep us/me busy over the fall, winter and next spring:

  • Fall
    • Finishing a ceiling and bead-board siding repair in the garage 
    • Getting the Road King CVO sold
    • Getting the Honda F6B sold
    • Selling off all the extra motorcycle & bicycle parts 
    • Getting the fall yard work done for the season
    • Finishing the annual gutter cleaning
    • Repainting the upstairs hallway ceiling
  • Winter
    • Cleaning “stuff” out the house
    • Ripping out and replacing the shower stall in our master bath
    • Repainting the front guest bedroom
    • Repainting our master suite
    • Putting down new carpet upstairs
    • Repainting the bonus / exercise room over the garage
  • Spring
    • Finishing the backyard landscaping
    • Having the sink-hole damaged driveway repaired
    • Figuring out where to live when we retire
    • Etc….

 

Advertisements
Posted in Bloggishnish | Leave a comment

Biketoberfest 2017 at Daytona Beach, Florida

It was a busy week as we tried to make sure we had everything in order for our motorcycle trip down to Florida for Biketoberfest, the shortened Fall version of Spring Bike Week in Daytona Beach. We’ve been to both the Spring & Fall motorcycle rallies in past years, but skipped the Spring Rally just to give ourselves a break back in March. So, we were both looking forward to throwing our legs over the new Harley for a long road trip to: (a) see how the new full-size touring bike worked for us, and (b) just for the pure joy of riding.

Monday –

Monday was mundane where the only “must do” was to get home early enough to cut the lawn as it had been two weeks since I’d done so. As much as I’d like to think the lawns have gone dormant I know that’s not the case and that was proved out when I filled two bags with clippings on Monday night.

After getting the lawn done I had to sort out some issues with the new Harley’s integrated information and entertainment system, noting a lot of the interfaces and settings were anything but conventional or intuitive: makes you wonder who Harley had as their supplier / technology partner on the software and system design.

Last but not least was the weekly home banking activity where all the past week’s expenses needed to get logged into my financial management system, accounts reconciles and then bills paid that are due within the next week; oh, the joy!

Tuesday –

One of the more important things I’d need to take care of before we headed off on our round-trip ride to Daytona Beach was to perform as much of the new Harley’s 1,000-mile service as I could, which is to say just about everything other than adjusting and lubricating the steering head bearings. But, to do that first required stopping by my local Harley dealer to pick-up a filter, the necessary O-rings and my preferred Redline primary & transmission gear oils. I’d already picked up 4 quarts of Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin engine oil while out running some errands on Monday so I’d be all set to change out the fluid’s after work.

I’d hoped to find a smaller set of the “Get-a-Grip” handgrips or something similar to replace the oversized version of the same grip I’d bought at Killer Creek Harley-Davidson on Saturday. Sadly, they had proved to be too big on both Monday’s and Tuesday’s ride to work on the new Harley. Equally as sad, Hellbender Harley didn’t have much in the way of grips in stock so I used that as an excuse to take an extended lunch hour and ride over to Atlanta Harley-Davidson where I did finally find a set of grips that seemed like they’d do well. All that’s left to do with the two sets of grips that didn’t work out is put them out on eBay to see if I can recoup a few bucks from my errant purchases.

I also got it in my head over the weekend — after being reminded the new Harley still had a harsh ride once it was set to the factory-recommended spring pre-loading — to follow-up with Dan at Traxxion Dynamics on getting a set of Bitubo shocks on the bike before we went to Daytona. That would be a pretty quick turn in that I’d need to have them in hand on Wednesday afternoon so I could install them on Wednesday evening. Dan and I went back and forth on the pros and cons of using the stock spec 13” long shock vs. a shorter 11.9” model that would rob me of some suspension travel, but give me more stand over height. I thought on it and decided I’d rather deal with the longer shock than give up suspension travel.

Tuesday night was pretty much dedicated to doing the 1,000-mile service on the new bike which entailed an oil & oil filter change, transmission fluid change, primary case fluid change, checking the torque on the wheel nuts, belt tension, other fluid levels, the torque on other key bolts, putting a dab of lubricant on several moving parts and the like. The only thing I didn’t even try to tackle was the steering head service which I’ll have the folks at Killer Creek’s service department handle.

I had a short list of other things I needed to attend to which included painting the plugs that covered up the holes where the top case luggage rack had been installed, getting all our cold weather / heated gear together, getting our rain gear staged in the side case for quick & easy access and getting the bags out that all our street clothes would go in on Wednesday night.

Wednesday –

I had a hard time focusing on work and decided I’d do well to take the entire afternoon off so that I could work on the things that were clouding my mind vs. muddling through work with minimal effectiveness.

In addition to hitting the bank to make some deposits and pick up cash for the trip, I made the hour-long round-trip to Traxxion Dynamics to pick up the new shocks. Once I was back at home I quickly discovered once again, haste makes waste: the shocks were the wrong length. Yup, in going back and forth on the 301mm vs. 330mm I lead Dan down a path for the shorter shocks and that just wasn’t going to work. So, after installing them to allow for about a 1,000-foot test ride down the street in “low rider mode” the shocks came back off the bike and were packed up for their return to Traxxion Dynamics. As to whether they’d be replaced by Ohlin’s would depend on how the Harley handled the long road trip on the stock shocks. However, I decided I’d zero-out the spring pre-load and run the shocks at their lowest factory-spring tension just to see how that might feel on the trip.

As 5:30 approached we stepped out for a mid-week dinner at Loco Willy’s with David & Deb and to help celebrate our barkeeper Lindsay’s birthday. It was a good way to visit with friends whom we wouldn’t see over the weekend and grab a good dinner before heading home to do final packing and then get some rest.

The packing part went fine and I had us ready to go by 9:00pm. However, the sleeping part… that didn’t go so well. I may have gotten about 3 hours of sleep all told between 11:00pm and 2:00am, but was wide awake the rest of the night. Not unusual for any pre-trip departure, but annoying just the same.

Thursday –

Debbie had the alarm set for 4:30am given we’d need to be out of the house and on the road by 5:45am for our 6:00am meet-up with our friends Chuck & Julie at the BP gas station adjacent to the Interstate 75 on-ramp.

It was a pretty uneventful morning and we had ourselves up, packed, the bike loaded and were down the driveway right on time. We arrived at the BP station around 5:55am and were gassing up when Chuck & Julie arrived. We chatted a bit and conferred on our route – the somewhat slower but more scenic back way down the Golden Isle Parkway — before heading out at 6:10am, mindful that with each 5-minute delay in leaving we’d encounter an additional 5-minute back-up in traffic.

The weather was a cool and crisp feeling 48*F when we headed out but the skies were clear all the way down to the Florida state line. So, at least the first 6 hours would be uneventful and enjoyable from both a weather and traffic standpoint.

The Harley felt good but at 6:34am I hit the “Information” button on the right control pod to check the air temperature and nothing happened. I tapped it again and nothing, but then quickly realized none of the other Infotainment system controls were working. Our music was still playing and I could control of the volume, but that was about it. A short time later the information display came up but it remained screen-locked with 6:34am showing until we stopped for gas around 8:00am in Eastman, Georgia, about 150 miles into our trip.

After our leisurely rest stop we fired up the bikes and the Infotainment system was back up and working again; go figure. I’m wondering if it runs on Windows 10.

Our next stop was at 10:45am in Waycross for gas and then lunch at 11:00am when Applebee’s opened for business. Applebee’s in Waycross has become a key waypoint on our trips to Daytona in that it’s about the only “nice” place with a bar that serves somewhat healthy fare in a comfortable bar setting.

From Waycross, we made our way down Route 1 to the Folkston cut-off over to Kingsland, Georgia, where we’d pick up I-95 South just across the Florida state line. It added about 10 miles to the ride, but eliminated at least 15-20 minutes of small town street light stops on Route 1. As we made our way around the I-295 East beltway I could see we were headed into some heavy, but isolated rain squalls. We finally jumped off at an exit where we could take a short break to put on our rain gear and son-of-a-gun if it didn’t start to pour just after we merged back onto I295 East from the on-ramp: perfect timing. We were in the squall for a good 15 minutes, at which point I realized I had to get a shorter windscreen for the Road Glide since it was impossible to see through both a rain-soaked windscreen and a rain-soaked face shield or glasses! I ended up playing the part of the prairie dog by sitting up with my neck extended as much as possible so I could see over the windscreen for a good 10 of those 15 minutes when the rain was falling at its worst.

usflaglerWe stayed in our rain gear “just in case” and that paid off nicely as we went through two more patches of rain before arriving at Finn’s Rooftop in Flagler Beach, Florida at 2:30pm. Finn’s was, as always, a great place to begin our visit to Daytona Beach even with the 35 mph winds and partly cloudy skies. That really wouldn’t change for the duration of our visit.

In terms of the ride down on the new Road Glide, about the only issues we continue to have is a pulsing sound that’s not tied directly to road speed or engine noise other than becoming apparent around 50 mph where it’s most noticeable in 6th gear as the exhaust and engine noise are reduced.  The front end also feels a bit sloppy at times and the engine idle is very different, sometimes teetering on a stall.  In fact, the bike has stalled several times since taking delivery.  I’ll have to have these things and the Infotainment system looked at once we get back home.

After enjoying a little time off the bike and the ambiance of Finn’s Rooftop – which was pretty much ½ empty due to the weather – we got back on the bikes and headed towards Main Street in Daytona and our hotel, the Nautilus Inn, just a mile South of Main Street in Daytona Beach Shores. About the time we hit the city limits the skies began to open up again but from behind not ahead which is why it took us by surprise as the skies to the South of us were broken with sun shining through. No, those 35 mph winds pushed the rain to us from behind and we were pretty much soaked by the time we arrived at the hotel. Julie – bless her heart – passed Debbie her rain cape as Debbie had ditched her warmer top for a little string tied number at Finn’s.

It didn’t take us too long to get our bikes unloaded and our luggage moved into our rooms at the Nautilus Inn. I will say, we were really pleased with the hotel, especially for the reasonable cost per night. After gathering in the lobby to work out our plan for the evening – giving due consideration to the on and off again rain – I sent a note to our friend Misty who was in town for work and who had already planned on meeting us for dinner at the Oyster Pub. We invited her to bring her big warm six passenger truck by the hotel and drive us over to dinner so that we didn’t have to worry about dealing with the rain. Yes, yes… some of our friends would have asked for our biker cards based on us leaving our bikes at the hotel but I’d rather be warm and dry vs. wet and full of false pride.

As expected, the Oyster Pub had a light crowd so we had no problem getting in or getting a table in the front lounge area. Misty’s friend and fellow sales rep Ritchie joined us shortly after we arrived. We had a great time at The Pub, even if they – like just about every other bar in Daytona – water down their silver tequila. But looking past that, we had great company, a yummy salad and so-so chargrilled oysters noting we have been spoiled by the massive and delicious oysters at the Blind Pelican in New Orleans, so nothing now compares.

After dinner, we headed over to the Ocean Deck’s Tiki Bar where we pretty much spent the rest of the night… having an absolute ball! We always have a great time out any time with Chuck & Julie and/or with Misty as well: put them together in a place like the Tiki Bar and it’s an insane party. Ritchie was also a joy to be with: what a great guy he is! It’s probably fair to say we were the center of attention for a lot of folks in the bar that night. Is it any wonder why we always head to the Tiki Bar when we’re in Daytona! A great night of dancing and Tom-foolery to be sure.

As we left and headed for home the skies once again unloaded: thank goodness, we opted to hitch a ride with Misty!!!

Friday –

Friday ended up being a near-perfect day for riding with the wind still still blowing with lots of sunny skies and temps in the low 80’s and upper 70’s.

I was up around 6:00am and headed down to the lobby and breakfast room with my work laptop so I could knock out a few weekly reports, catch up on Email and make assignments without disturbing Debbie.  It was about an hour or so later when Debbie joined me after finishing up her morning exercises and Julie & Chuck were close on her heels.

The plan for the day was to head to Skips Western Wear to visit with Misty for a while before heading North on I-95 to Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona and Hooligan’s where he hoped we’d cross paths with our other friends who were down from Atlanta, Ryan, Jeanette and Jeff.  It was a little after 10:00am when we arrived and we probably spent the better part of an hour and a half at the store as Debbie tried on at least a dozen things Misty had picked out for her.  I believe we found 3 or 4 that were keepers and Julie also found a nice top and a couple of pairs of shorts.  Yeah, it’s hard to visit Skips when Misty’s there without finding one or two things for Miss Debbie!

I thought we’d be able to miss the traffic by heading to Rossmeyer’s via I-95 North but no such luck. For some reason there was no law enforcement support at the traffic lights and with the lights cycling per normal the exit ramps were backing up onto the Interstate: way to go Volusia County Sheriff’s Department!  After a few anxious moments, we finally made it to the Love’s truck stop parking lot where we gladly paid $5/each to park within a short walk of Hooligan’s and Rossmeyer’s.  We were able to walk into Hooligan’s and find seats at the bar with our barkeeper & friend from previous visits, Shannon.

We found Ryan, Jeanette, Jeff and Jeff’s friend just on the other side of the wall that separates the bar from the restaurant’s main seating area. We visited with them for a bit while making sure we didn’t lose our seats at the bar.  After a short stay, and given that none of us were hungry, Debbie & Julie headed off in one direction while Chuck & I headed off in another to do some exploring.  Chuck found a tip for his 2-into-1 exhaust pipe, but that was about it for everyone’s first walk around Rossmeyer’s.  I attempted to give some business to the J&M Sound System guys to no avail.

We returned to Hooligans’ for a late lunch around 1:30 and then began to work our way back towards Main Street by way of the scenic loop ride and Beach Street vendor area. Well, at least that was the plan.  Sadly, the scenic loop was impassable so with only about 1/2 of the ride available to us we were re-routed to US Route 1 which pushed us through the juggernaut at the Iron Horse and its neighboring bars.

After brief visits to the Beach Street and Main Street vendors and shops we headed to the Ocean Deck for dinner just to see what that was like.  We lucked out in that they were having a special on 12-ounce Rib Eye steaks so Chuck & I both had those while Debbie & Julie split the Salmon.  It was a really good meal and it was nice eating with a view of the beach and ocean vs. somewhere on a side street or inland.  After dinner, we headed back to the hotel so we could all get cleaned up for the evening which, in all likelihood, would be spent back at the Tiki Bar.

Debbie and Julie both were “dressed to kill” for the evening with some of the things they’d found earlier in the day. We heard from Misty and Ritchie who were already at the Tiki Bar as we were getting ready to head off for the evening so we started our night at the Tiki a bit earlier than usual.  It’s fair to say our night at the Tiki Bar was probably one of the most entertaining and interesting that we’ve ever had.  I’d try to describe it but it wouldn’t do it justice: suffices to say our group was the life of the party.

Left to right: Julie, Chuck, Ritchie, Misty & Debbie

It was probably around 10:30pm when we decided to head down to Main Street to see if anything was happening.  We made it all the way down to Boot Hill Saloon and while it was great people watching it just wasn’t all that compelling in terms of finding anywhere to simply hang out and enjoy a band or anything else.  We wandered back towards the East end of Main Street and found a pizza parlor where we could have a little snack before calling it a night.  I think we were all pretty tired by then after a great day.

Saturday –

We should have started out the day with our walk on the beach but as we saw on Friday, between the strong wind, high surf, mist blowing off the surf and all the dead seaweed that had been washed up on the beach it just wasn’t an attractive option.  That was really a huge disappointment as we really look forward to and enjoy our morning walks on the beach when we visit Daytona or Panama City Beach for the motorcycle rallies.

Breakfast at the hotel was the same fare every morning with sausage and eggs, an assortment of serials, yogurt and breads to include toaster waffles.  I opted for the toaster waffles as my make-shift sausage and egg muffin on Friday didn’t sit all that well.

The plan for the day was to hit the Speedway Vendor Midway and then head over to the Iron Horse Saloon for lunch.  After that we’d likely head over to the Cabbage Patch where Jeff, Ryan and Jeanette were staying so we could spend some time with them.

We headed out a little later than planned as Chuck was into a movie they were showing on the Hallmark channel; what was up with that!? Debbie explained it to me since she’s an avid Hallmark channel viewer but still… we were at Bike Week. Anyway, having learned to make my way around Daytona on the side streets that parallel the main thoroughfares we made an easy ride over to the Speedway on Bay Street with zero traffic. Shortly after arriving at the Speedway we heard from our friends that they’d be heading to the Speedway after they finished breakfast so that was good; at least we’d finally all be together.

Sadly, there really wasn’t much going on at the Speedway as there were just a handful of the larger vendors on hand and we had pretty much seen everything there was to see in just about 30 minutes.  I was hoping someone would have windscreens for sale, but no such luck.  To get something like that we’d have to head back to Destination Daytona.  While I really didn’t want to buy any of the windscreens they had up for sale at Harley or J&P (Klock Werks), I didn’t want to risk getting caught out in the rain for several hours with the very tall, stock screen on the Road Glide since I’d discovered that I couldn’t see through it when it rains.  So, our plan for the day was already getting modified with a return visit to Rossmeyer’s and,in all likelihood, Hooligan’s .

After seeing all there was to see and otherwise sitting around and cooling our heels for another hour without being able to get a status from our friends, we decided to head on over to the Iron Horse around 12:30 as we were all ready for lunch.  Per Murphy’s Law, about 10 minutes after we left the speedway we finally heard from our friends, “at the Speedway”.  Oh well, ships passing in the night, don’t you know.  We decided to stick with our plan and made our way over to the Iron Horse, again on the back roads for a relatively easy and traffic-free ride.

ironhorseThe Iron Horse was relatively quiet compared to most past Saturday afternoons where we could hardly move around.  I headed up to the overlook deck to find a place where we could stand / sit while Debbie, Julie & Chuck headed over to Nedderman’s for their always amazing Sirloin Tips.  Nedderman’s is a small drive-through restaurant in Mishawaka, Indiana that shuts down twice a year and heads to the Iron Horse to set up shop, making and selling some of the best Sirloin tips, taters, mushrooms, etc.  While the tips were good, the portion we received in our “large” wasn’t all that much larger than the normal servings our friends had. It was tasty, but mostly more mashed potatoes with a normal portion of steak and shroom’s.

The band that was playing was good, but not anything special; however, we still had a great time hanging and chilling for about an hour or so before we decided to move on… next destination being Destination Daytona as I really needed to pick up a windscreen that would work if we encountered rain on Sunday’s ride home.

We made our way to Rossmeyer’s via the Scenic Loop which took us north of Ormond Beach such that we were able to hop on I-95 South. This allowed us to exit at US Route 1 and end up right at the parking lot entrance to Hooligan’s where we were able to get the gal manning the gate to let us in and park in Hooligan’s lot.  We set-up camp at Hooligan’s for the afternoon.

From there I wandered over to J&M’s audio systems booth and asked what the chance was of getting a four-speaker system installed that afternoon. They suggested checking back at 4:30pm as they were currently ahead of schedule and might have an opening.  Next, I wandered down to J&P’s Klock Werk’s booth and talked about windscreens with “The Mailman” for a while. While I really needed a 12” tall screen, neither Harley nor Klock Werks made one.  So, looking like my only options were from Klock Werks I went and got our Road Glide and made my way back to the booth to have a few different screens trial fit before I made a final decision / purchase.  While I knew the Pro Tour screens provided the best wind protection, the darn thing was just way too tall for me which left me with only one real option: the 14” Sport Shield.  Thankfully they had one left in the light grey tint (most only sell the dark tint) so I went ahead and bought the 14” Sport Screen and had them ship my old screen home as part of the deal.  It wasn’t a high-five purchase as it worked out to about retail including tax.

We stayed at Hooligan’s until 4:30 to see if the J&M stereo installation window would open; sadly, it did not.  However, having stayed until 4:30 our friend Misty was able to make her way over and joined us for dinner at the bar, with Chuck and me taking turns shuttling her back and forth to her truck in the back 40 parking lot that they send cars and trucks to at Destination Daytona.  Oh yeah, and it had rained a couple of times while we were in Hooligan’s: good day to be camped out at a great bar!

Our friends Jeff, Ryan & Jeanette were back at the Cabbage Patch for the afternoon and would be headed to Main Street later in the night to see a friend’s band play at Main Street Station around 10:00pm.  As we considered our options for the evening I think the four of us were looking forward to making it an early night after two robust days and nights of self-indulgence and opted to pass on the Cabbage Patch and return to Main Street later that night.

Yup, we opted to quite while we were ahead and returned to our hotel around 8:30pm with an eye for an early get-up on Sunday for the 450-mile ride back home. I think it was the right call as I think we saw where our friends were still out and grabbing a midnight snack around 1:00am.

Sunday –

I had something of a fitful night since I fell asleep a bit too early on Saturday night.  Debbie, she was getting all the sleep she could and probably would have preferred to sleep in vs. being woken up at 6:00am for our 7:00am planned departure. That was about an hour earlier than is normal for us and would change-up our lunch stop since Applebee’s wouldn’t be open when we rolled through Waycross around 10:15am.

The four of us rolled-out of the Nautilus around 7:15am, pretty close to on schedule.  We made our way to I-95 via US Route 1 so we could avoid the construction zone near the Speedway.  We made a gas stop and then had to make one more stop to clear an issue with our Road Glide’s sound system, where the iPod was no longer being recognized by the system after leaving the gas stop.  We were able to get it resolved with a hard-restart and using the digital display buttons instead of the pod controls.

With that resolved we were on our way on what was a very uneventful trip and where the only time traffic was an issue was as we passed through downtown Atlanta on I-75 North.  We had to make an early stop for gas in Folkston as the mild 78*F temps we were enjoying in Daytona with moderate humidity had dropped to 73*F with very high humidity that was giving us all a bit of chill.  So, in addition to topping off the gas tanks, getting a little snack and taking a nature break we also added a little more clothing.

As expected, we passed through Waycross around 10:15am when none of the usual food stops were open, never mind being a bit too early for lunch.  We ended up stopping at the Dairy Queen (Chuck’s choice, but as good as anything else along the way) in Eastman, GA, for lunch around noon time. We hit one more gas stop before leaving town and that would give us enough fuel to make it home with just another 150 or so miles to go.  Again, the only traffic we encountered was in downtown Atlanta which added about 10 minutes to our trip.

Debbie and I had originally planned to just head home when we got to Marietta, but as we exited we realized we forgot to inform Chuck & Julie of the revised plan since they dutifully followed us onto the GA Route 5 off-ramp, assuming we were heading to Loco Willy’s for a post-ride visit.  No worries, as we’re always good with a visit to Loco’s and with a few minor route adjustments we were able to take a very back way to Loco’s that wasn’t much further than the normal exits in Marietta.  We had a really good time at Loco’s and were able to learn that our friends Ryan & Jeanette had done a Cannonball Run from Daytona to Marietta and were now over at Mulligan’s with our friends Bobby & Carrie Ann.

After Chuck & Julie headed home Debbie and I headed over to Mulligans to visit with our other friends for a short while before returning to Loco’s for dinner, then home to unpack and get ready for my return to work on Monday.

All-in-all, a really good trip to Daytona. The positives way outweighed the negatives.  We would have really liked to have joined up with our friends Jeff, Ryan & Jeanette while we were in Daytona but apparently this was one of those stories of two different rallies for all of us.  We also missed our walks on the beach on Friday and Saturday mornings, but with the weather being the way it was…  we’ll hope for better conditions in the Spring.  The new Harley has been great, with just a few nits that we’ll need to get addressed including that strange pulsing sound, the sloppy-feeling steering head, occasional stalling and backfires from the motor and the flakey Infotainment system.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tweaking the Road Glide

It’s been a busy couple weeks trying to get a new motorcycle quickly “dialed-in” before logging 1,200+ miles on a 4-day long, round trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, for Biketoberfest. As the old saying goes, haste makes waste and I proved it with a couple of hasty decisions and mis-steps during this particular “dialing-in” process.  Anyway, here’s the rundown on what’s been done to the new Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra we brought home on 30 September:

  • Brushed aluminum front forks upgraded to chrome
  • Stock saddle changed out for Tallboy to fix my riding position
  • Tour Pack moved-back 1.5″ with home-made relocation plate
  • Handlebars pulled-back to adjust for my riding position
  • Handgrips changed-out (twice; oops) to contoured grips
  • Rear view mirrors swapped out for better quality, lower profile ones
  • Custom Dynamics front turn signal LEDs added
  • Orange front turn signal covers swapped out for smoked grey ones
  • Centech AP-1 fuseblock added for wiring-in accessories**
  • H-D factory accessory switches added to fairing dash panel
  • Motolights added for safety & wired into accessory switches
  • Cira smart phone holder added to handlebars
  • Extra 12v DC outlet added for smart phone on bars
  • Power leads added for our heated gear; driver & passenger**
  • Color-matched saddlebag / fender filler strips added**
  • Long whip AM/FM antenna changed out for short model**
  • Chrome covers added to passenger foot board pans**
  • Stock mufflers changed-out for Reinhart Slip-On Mufflers

Some of these things (**) were mentioned in my prior blog entry, whereas others are mentioned here.  There are just a few things that I still need to address:

  • Rear shocks
  • Speakers & possibly the amp
  • Windscreen
  • Finding a cup holder for Debbie

Anyway, here are the gory details on what’s taken place during the past ten days as I worked to get the various changes made to the bike.

Monday

 

The big news on Monday was confirmation I’d have our Tallboy saddle by Wednesday and that was very good news! I needed the saddle in hand quickly so I could make sure I had my under-seat add-on fuse box located in a good place and to give us some time to ride the bike with this saddle to see if any tweaks to the padding or the position of the top case would be needed before heading to Daytona on the 19th.

Tuesday

I got confirmation on Tuesday that the parts I had coming from New Castle Harley would be arriving by Thursday; also great news! This would be the new hand grips, a shorter rubber antenna, the switches I needed to finish the Motolight installation, a little bling for Debbie’s foot boards and some color-matched panels that will fill the gap between the saddle bags and the rear fender.

Still in work was a solution for slip-on mufflers. I sent a note off to Steve Fullsac in Arizona to discuss his Milwaukee 8 systems and had given CJ a heads-up that I might need her assistance with the slip-ons. Debbie nor I are looking for “loud” exhaust on this bike, but we both want it to have a deeper, throaty tone than it does now. So, it could be Saturday before we have that solved and, if all else fails, our friend Chuck has an extra set of slip-ons he said he would let us borrow until we come up with our final solution.

I stopped back by our local Harley dealer and talked to David about the Cycle Dynamics lights after sharing emails with Larry at Custom Dynamics over the weekend and on Monday. Turns out our 2011 LEDs are not fully-compatible with the 2017 bike. However, the new 1157 Cycle Dynamics rounds where we saw the same issues on Saturday just needed to go through a calibration process to sync up all of the flashers and bulbs. So, after sharing this information and re-purchasing the same rounds I’d bought and returned on Sunday, I went home, popped them in and did the calibration process: bingo! They’re working just fine.  I also swapped out the stock orange turn signal covers for a pair of smoked-grey ones that I found on ebay for $7, shipped: what a deal and they’re identical to the Harley-Davidson branded ones, form-fit-function & quality.

Wednesday

I turned my attention to installing the Tallboy saddle that arrived on Wednesday. It will be great to have a better saddle for the Daytona trip next week.  I also have a solution close at hand for moving the top case back 1.5” to give Debbie the room I’m taking away from her by having the deeper saddle on the bike.

While I was putzing around with the top case I also decided to remove the top case rack since (a) we’ll never use it, and (b) I think it detracts from the appearance of the bike. Now I just need to figure out how to plug the holes in the lid left by removal of the rack.

On the exhaust system, our friend Chuck offered up a set of slip-ons he has sitting at the house to use on an interim basis so I’m not crunched to go out and buy “something now” instead of “the right thing” in a few weeks.  So, I’m mulling that over but I’ve kind of got in my mind what I think will work well on the new bike and can get a decent price on them this weekend, so we’ll see how that plays out.

On the shocks, I had an interesting Email exchange with Dan at Traxxion Dynamics based on a cost request to have our Ohlin shocks rebuilt and new, stronger springs for the Road Glide Ultra’s added weight. The cost was a bit staggering @ $175 per shock for the rebuilds and $100 per shock for springs.  Or, he noted that he could sell us a set of Bitubo WMD shocks for $500 that are as good or better than the Ohlins.  Hmmm, interesting but I tried that with the Road King CVO back in October 2013 and we ended up replacing the Bitubo’s with the Ohlins.  So, not sure what to do with that, even with the added incentive of being able “demo” the Bitubo’s for a few weeks.  Waiting to hear back from Dan on that…  but not exactly sure when I could even get up there to swap out shocks.  Also mulling over just putting the Ohlins on the new bike and seeing how they do “as is”.  The Road Glide is a little heavier than the Road King, but Debbie and I are a lot less heavy than we used to be when they were set-up for the Road King so it may be a wash and they may be a good fit: something to explore this weekend, which would still give me time to pay a visit to Traxxion next week if they seem under sprung.

Thursday

More parts arrived, this time from New Castle. I had mixed success with my new parts in that I’d ordered the wrong handgrips for my model-year Harley-Davidson so those will need to go back or get sold on ebay. The shorter antenna was a no-brainer and a welcome addition. The foot board pan covers were very easy to install and really dressed up the bike. The rear filler panels really look amazing and clean-up the back-end of the bike.

My real headaches began with the accessory switch kit. Installation wasn’t all that hard, but the instructions were awful: thank goodness for the Internet and discussion forums. I definitely need to get the service manual for my bike, as Harley has apparently decided to switch to a way of writing their installation instructions that eliminates a lot of the detail associated with the basic motorcycle vs. replicating it in the instructions, i.e., to remove the riser cover see manual. Anyway, after about an extra hour spent figuring out a few things I had the accessory kit installed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Motolights – which is what I bought the kit for – to interface with the kit. I must have wasted another hour on that before giving up and buttoning up the bike. But, the little buttons looked cool up there on the riser cover!

Friday

As I rode to work on the Road Glide I noticed my check engine light had stayed-on, most likely from throwing a code as the Oil Pressure, etc. were all fine. At lunch time I went out and pulled the trouble codes and there were a bunch. However, my guess was I’d done something while working on the accessory switch and Motolights installation that had tripped all those codes. I decided to clear the codes and see if any came back on when I next rode the bike… they didn’t. Simple fix; that’s why it’s good to know how to pull codes!

 

Friday night was a Loco’s night, but I don’t remember much about it. Suffices to say, I overachieved in dramatic fashion and had to be helped to the passenger seat of the truck so that Debbie could drive us home. Yeah, it was that kind of a night. I got nothing else to note, other than my friend David did give me a very nice bottle of tequila.

Saturday

Saturday morning began bright and early at 6:00am as I’d definitely gotten more than enough sleep having passed out around 9:00pm on Friday evening. The plan for the day included more work on the new Harley, specifically doing some farm boy engineering to move the top case back 1.6” to give Debbie back the separation room she lost when I put the new Tallboy saddle on the bike. There was also some hope that we’d get a tandem ride in before noon and the afternoon would be mostly consumed by a visit to Killer Creek Harley-Davidson and having slip-on mufflers installed so our Harley would sound like a Harley: the stock exhaust note of the Milwaukee 8 engine is pretty annoying, probably by design as it makes owners go out and spend a small fortune upgrading their exhaust!

I’d already picked up a sheet of 16-gauge steel for the adapter plate that would go between the top case and the top case mount to facilitate the relocation of the top case. It didn’t take me too long to get the plate made and drilled-up to facilitate the installation, but I needed to go to Lowes to get some additional hardware to make it all work.

Like all home projects, this one took longer than I expected it to. I also made some errors in judgement that basically reduced the first rack mount adapter plate to a “prototype” that will be replaced by a more refined, final version after our Daytona trip. My mistake was in not making a paper template and just going freestyle with my hole placement based rough measurements. The only “real” damage was having to create an oversized hole in the motorcycle’s factory top case rack. Again, I’ll clean it up with a final production model after we get back from Daytona.

 

On the bright side, it worked exactly as I expected it would: Debbie has her 1.5” of additional room in the passenger area and was very comfortable. Moreover, it’s one of those small changes that’s hard to see without having two nearly identical bikes parked next to each other.

While I had the top case off I also removed the top case luggage rack and plugged the holes with four black plastic, 3/8” automotive hole plugs. I still need to find some silver touch up paint that matches the color of our motorcycle to finish the job and then silicone seal the plugs into the lid so keep water from penetrating or the plugs from getting pushed out.

The weather pretty much killed-off our enthusiasm for a tandem ride and, well, I was definitely in a fog from Friday night. That gave me a bit more time to mess with the Motolights… to no avail. I think it was around 1:15pm when we were finally ready to saddle up and head over to Killer Creek. Our friend Chuck had texted from work to see where we were as he was going to meet up with us after leaving work at the airport around 2:00pm; we told him we’d most likely be at Killer Creek for a good part of the afternoon.

We had a great ride over to Killer Creek in Roswell, noting the bike was really feeling pretty comfy with the new saddle and with Debbie having more room. It was around 2:00pm when we arrived and about 2:30pm after we’d said our hello’s to Melissa and others whom we know at KCHD before we found and sat down with CJ to talk pipes. After CJ walked us through the back shop and let us listen to several different M8 bikes fitted with slip-ons we settled on the Reinharts.

Between my 10% new buyer discount and free installation I made it out with the new cans for under $600. I also picked up some new mirrors – basically the same style I had on our Road King, which I really like – a pair of handgrips and a cell phone mount: pretty much some essential gear for our upcoming Daytona trip.

CJ sent our bike back into the shop around 3:00pm and by 3:30 they had the new pipes on. They also installed a Klock Works demo windscreen for us to try out. The pipes sounded great, but the windscreen didn’t do anything well for us. At 14” it was too tall for me but also didn’t block much of the wind for Debbie; back to drawing board.

It was around 4:15pm after we’d finished doing our test rides and had our stock windscreen back on the bike, which was about the same time our friend Chuck arrived at Killer Creek. We visited with Melissa with him for a bit and then headed off to find a place to watch some college football. We initially headed for our neck of the woods, i.e., Twin Peaks or Loco Willy’s, but then decided to let Chuck pick a place that he likes closer to his neck of the woods. He took us over to Donovan’s at Town Lake, an Irish pub in a strip mall. We ended up having a great time and our barkeeper Christina was awesome. We snacked on some Irish nacho’s (corned beef, Wisconsin cheddar and lettuce over pub chips) and were joined a short while later by our friends Ryan & Jeanette. What started out as a short stop ended up being a 3 hour stay with dinner: we had their Shillelagh sandwich topped with a fried egg, same as Shenanigans in Dahlonega. It was very tasty. It was around 8:00pm when we finally said our goodbyes and headed towards home, opting to go on to Loco Willy’s to see if Deb and David were still there. I should note, I was “off line” since 3:00pm when my phones battery died, as I discovered that I’d also blown the fuse that controls the 12v DC charging ports on the Harley. When we arrived at Loco’s most of the regular Saturday dinner crowd was gone so we visited with Pam, Rex and Brian for a while and then headed home around 9:45pm.   It had been a great afternoon, perhaps one of the best just in terms of relaxing and visiting with a small group of friends.

I made the mistake of heading out to the garage after we arrived at home as I figured it wouldn’t take me long to install the new grips or the Cell Phone mount. Well, I was wrong about the grips. The right one was easy; however, the trigger switch on the left control pod didn’t want to come loose and that made getting the old grip cut-off the bike and the new grip installed a bit of a challenge. I finally got it all back together and didn’t break anything, but have learned that Harley is headed where all the car companies have gone: making the product just hard enough to work on that the average consumer will simply take it in for repairs and service. The Cell Phone mount ended out working well too; I’d just need to route a power supply that was close enough to keep it plugged in on trips so I could use the navigation, etc.

Sunday

It was another overcast morning and I was up and out in the garage early. I spent the better part of the morning trying to make my Motolights work on the new bike and eventually gave up and decided to see if they still worked on the Road King; nope. Sure enough, after installing them on the Road King they were still not wanting to play, which was strange. All the wiring seemed to be carrying current but the switch was not switching them on. I even bought a new relay to see if that would make a difference: nope. So, at this point I’m quite perplexed and as a last attempt I’ll abandon the Deutch connector and see if I can’t get them wired to the bike using a spice-in connector to an accessory switch. After that I think I’ll just send the harness back to Motolights for a quick check and/or have them send me a new one.

As the sun came up we were greeting with yet another cloudy day. We’d have a window of nice weather in the early afternoon but rain was forecast to come in by 3:00pm. The coolish temperatures and overcast skies did nothing to inspire a tandem ride, so I continued to putz around in the garage spending most of my time cleaning things up and sorting out a lot of my small parts boxes where things had gotten mixed up over time.

I think it was around 11:30pm when we finally saddled-up and headed out to grab some lunch at The Red Eyed Mule before spending the afternoon putting miles on the bike. My goal was to make sure Debbie was comfortable with her saddle and seating position by riding at least as long as we’d be on the bike for one of our Daytona legs, to see how the exhaust sounded and to get as close to 1,000 miles on the bike before I changed out all of the fluids on Tuesday night. Lunch at The Mule was great as always and we headed out on one of our favorite loops from the house: west to Cartersville over Lead Mountain and then North to Salcoa Road and the Pleasant Arbor into Reinhardt College. From there we headed pretty much strait home through Canton and Woodstock. As we got closer to Acworth I could see off in the distance that our rainy afternoon was arriving a little bit early. We made it to within 6 miles of home before the skies began to open. Thankfully, I opted to pull off and under the cover of a gas station overhang before the skies unloaded. We pulled out our rain gear and finished our ride, about ½ of which was in a torrential downpour whilst the other half was with about zero rain and sun breaking through the clouds.

We thought about headed down to Mulligans to join our friends, but once we were at home we decided to stay put. I took a break around 4:00pm to make my sweetie some Margaritas and then again at 6:00pm to make some hot wings and fries for dinner. It was really nice being at home… really nice.

That was about it for our weekend. Yes, mostly motorcycle stuff but there will be plenty of “good stuff” in next weekend’s update as we’ll be heading to Daytona Beach on Thursday!

Posted in Motorcycle / Equipment | Leave a comment

The First Week With The New Harley Road Glide Ultra

Monday

I rode our new Harley to work to see how it works as a “commuter” while exploring saddle and handlebar options with Killer Creek Harley Davidson (KCHD) parts guru CJ via Email.  Other than that, not much to write home about, so to speak.  In the evening it was bill paying and catching up on other “home work” as is the norm for every Monday evening on a work night.

Tuesday

I rode our 2013 Road King CVO ‘Blue’ to work to remind myself why I really like Blue; David M. at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) knocked it out of the park on the latest dyno tune.  I heard back from CJ but we really didn’t come up with a clear path forward on the saddles or handlebars. Lots of good suggestions, but none were a good fit for us as the Low Profiles come with a very small passenger saddle and Debbie’s really liking the large, comfy stock passenger saddle.  The Reach saddles also don’t work as they lower you but they also push you forward and I need to go back.  CJ’s logic on bars was figure out the saddle first then do the bars which makes sense.  So, still pondering as of Tuesday with our Daytona trip on 19 October looming.

After paying bills and getting all of my finances sorted out from the past two very expensive weeks, Tuesday night was spent giving the Road Glide its first real cleaning. The prep and wash it received ahead of delivery was good, but I had to lay my hands on the bike and give it my special treatment.  After about two hours on the J&S lift I had it pretty darn clean and ready to start receiving its first Zaino treatments.  As I was doing that I was also texting a gentleman who has a set of chrome CVO wheels for sale at a very attractive price. I’m somewhat torn on doing the bling thing on this new bike vs. leaving it aesthetically closer to stock as a “working man’s bike” with its very nice and coincidentally color coordinated black and polished aluminum wheels, etc.

As of right now I’m leaning towards keeping the more conservative black & polished stock wheels and may even go with the black-tipped Rinehart slip-on mufflers to carry that black and chrome/silver theme to the back-end of the bike.

Wednesday

I rode our new Harley to work again and stopped by Hellbender Harley a mere 5 minutes from my office to talk saddles and handlebars with the parts folks and our buddy Nick. Handlebar incompatibility with bars like the Road King Fat bar that we have on our 2013 CVO was, as I suspected, related to the “pin” used on Road Glide risers to streamline handlebar installation at the factory and that could be quickly and easily resolved by removing the pin. As for saddle options, after talking about what I felt I needed the parts crew suggested Harley’s Tallboy saddle and they just happened to have one in their demo saddle fleet.  We swapped out our Road Glide’s stock saddle for the Tallboy and son-of-a-gun if that didn’t work pretty well right out of the box for me. It felt like it replicated the riding position I have on Blue with the Low Profile saddle which seemed pretty bizarre since this is the saddle they developed for the really tall riders. Of course, it initially felt like it exacerbated the handlebar issue as the bars were already too high and too far forward on the stock saddle.  More to follow.

Once I was back at home I decided to check the various dimensions of the riding positions on both the Road King and Road Glide with a tape measure; wow, was that revealing. Turns out, the “massive looking” Road Glide Ultra with its top case only provides an additional 1″ of linear rider compartment room with the top case in the furthest back position: that was a huge surprise. So, how did they give the passenger all that extra room?  They shoved the driver 2″ closer to the gas tank compared to where a driver sits on the Road Kings and “special” versions of the Road Glide and Street Glide.  The Tallboy saddle put me in the exact same position as my Road King by giving back those 2″ and taking it away from the passenger.  So much for all of that generous room and I’m still waiting for Debbie to ride with me on the Tallboy saddle to see if that will work for her.  After all, the Road Glide Ultra is all about providing Debbie with a more comfortable ride than the Road King.

Thursday

I rode the new Harley to work again to confirm I wasn’t imagining the HUGE difference the Tallboy saddle made. No kidding, being 2″ further back transformed the very uncomfortable and unsettled feeling of the Road Glide into something that was nearly perfect in both comfort and ergonomics. Even the “mini-ape” style stock handlebars felt OK for short rides, but still far less than ideal as they were. Honestly, the Road Glide finally “felt great” for the first time since taking it home. I was now sitting “in” instead of on top of the bike and that made the center of gravity feel much more intuitive which translated to better and more predictable handling, better stability when stopped with my feet down and so on.  Even the stock bar position seemed to be less of an issue to the point where if I could safely re-adjust and roll the bars back about 1″ – 2″ I’d have my hand exactly where I needed them to be without spending $250 for a new set of bars.

Friday

Our original plan was to go off and log some big miles on the new bike but with temps in the 60’s and Debbie still recovering from a 24-hour care-giving session with her mother on Wednesday through Thursday morning she was in no shape to be up early and out for a day-long motorcycling adventure.  Instead, I let her sleep in while I did some work and on-line shopping for a few parts and accessories I “needed” to put on the new Harley:

  • Color-matched filler panels for the gap between the saddlebags and rear fender.
  • A shorter AM/FM antenna.
  • Accessory switches to control the Motolights I’d be transferring over from the Road King.
  • Chrome passenger foot board pans to clean up the appearance of the cheap-ass stock footboard pans.
  • Get-a-Grip handgrips for the bike.

I spent the balance of the morning pulling parts and accessories off of Blue since my current plan is to sell our beloved 2013 Road King CVO as it will no longer have a real purpose with the Road Glide at our disposal. So, having a bunch of sunk cost on a “garage queen” that just sits around waiting to be used for a ride to lunch or work every now and again isn’t really a smart move given the cost of insurance and the fact that these things depreciate like Range Rovers and Jaguars: at last check the high retail was about $22.5k with a low retail of $13.5K for an average retail of $18.5K.  Somehow buyers never do the math to understand what “average” means and assume the high number bikes are unicorns. Yeah, well.. with only 11k miles on the ODO and given the condition of our Road King CVO, it is a unicorn!  Anyway, as I said, there are a lot of accessories that can be moved over to the new bike — such as the $700 Motolights — and various other parts than I can sell after I put the stock parts back on the CVO, so all of those started to come off on Friday morning.

It was around 11:00am when Debbie pulled me away from the bike to go for a tandem bike ride, noting we’d need to be back by 2:00pm as I had a potential buyer for the BMW coming by to give it a look-see.  We were out on the tandem by 11:20am and had a really great day on the bike. The weather was ideal and both of us were feeling pretty good, despite both of us being a bit tired from a long-feeling work week and me having some lingering right leg issues after apparently doing some damage to a tendon last Saturday night whilst dancing at Johnny’s Hideaway.  Given the 2:00pm appointment for the BMW viewing we had to forego our every-other Friday lunch date at The Red Eyed Mule and had lunch at home instead.

Andrew arrived shortly after 2:00pm on his BMW K1200 with his wingman Paul on a Kawasaki Concours.  He gave the BMW a long look over and was ready to make an offer before even considering a ride. He’d apparently owned a 1999 model and just had a hankering to buy another one, as many BMW owners are apt to do, remembering that I had an ’04 BMW R1150RT in the stable alongside the ’03 BMW R1100S at one time.  I strongly encouraged him to take a ride on the bike before we talked price-to-sell and lead him on a nice 6 mile loop from the house.  After the ride he made his offer and I said I’d think on it for a bit.   Well, that bit was about 45 minutes and I decided to counter with just a small “upper” to his offer.  I think it was about two hours later that I heard back and he was “interested” in the offer and checking with bank on funds availability; it all sounded good but familiar as prior interested buyers had said the same thing only to have their spouses veto the purchase.

Debbie and I got cleaned up and headed over to Loco Willy’s for our Finally a Friday celebration around 5:30pm and found quite a few friends there from Lockheed when we arrived, along with the other usual suspects. We were having a grand time when I received a text from Andrew saying we had a deal. Moreover, he was anxious to close on the deal and collect the bike… really anxious. So, I left Loco’s and met him and Paul back at the house to sign-off the title and bill of sale, transfer funds and load all of the parts into Paul’s truck.  Andrew rode off on the bike shortly there after and that was that.  And no, no sellers remorse. I had a great 7 year run with the bike but since it was rarely ridden there was no point in holding on to it, nor was there a reason to hold-out for higher selling price: the market sets the value and I pretty much got market value and then some.  So, I’m good.  Just hoping it behaves for the new owner.  14-year old motorcycles have a way of suddenly acting up when they start to be treated differently.

With the deal done and the bike gone I headed back to Loco’s to resume our Finally a Friday celebration with something of a load lifted now that there was a little more room in the garage for the three remaining motorcycles.  After all, it was REALLY crowded in there with all four motorcycles jammed into just the one parking bay and I was constantly having to move bikes around to get “the right one” for any given moment out of the garage. For now, it’s just the three big bikes and at least one of those needs to go before too long and while I sometimes waiver, Blue is still the most likely.

Saturday

I think I feel asleep as soon as we arrived home on Saturday night, so around 9:00pm and that is never good because I only seem to get 4-5 hours of sleep a night and find myself waking up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep. Such as the case on Sunday morning when I woke up around 3:00am.  I spent a good bit of the time writing this blog update and then doing research on saddles and exhaust slip-ons for the new Harley as well as wavering on whether or not to just do the slip-ons or a full exhaust system, tune and dyno work.  The difference is about $1,300 once you add-in the $500 header, $400 for a tuner and another $400 for the dyno work vs. $400 – $700 for a set of slip-ons: yup, it all adds up quickly and I’m already getting post motorcycle upgrade fatigue with just the few minor tweaks I’ve been making. Seriously, the real winners in the motorcycle world are the aftermarket parts, accessories and shops that install all of that stuff for folks who don’t do their own wrenching.

I think it was around 3:00am when I wandered out to the garage and began to do some work on the new Harley.  First on my list was pulling off the gauge cluster that covered the handlebar riser so I could see what all was entailed with removing the indexing pin.  The gauges cluster came off with just the removal of two self-taping screws, a cover plate and disconnecting three connector plugs.  Imagine my surprise when the bars rolled back a couple of inches as I loosened the clamp bolts on the riser!  I’d wrongly assumed they were indexed without any fore-aft adjustment and it was good news that I’d be able to roll the bars back to get them both lower and closer to me without removing the index pin from the riser.

With that major accomplishment behind me I decided to swap out the black passenger foot board support bracket for a chrome one that I still had on hand from my failed effort to move Debbie to foot boards on Blue several years back as the black ones just looked very out-of-place along side  all of the other chrome bits on either side of the motor.  Those will go well with the chrome foot board pan covers I have coming for the bike.

As dawn arrived it brought with it a fine mist, cool temps and overcast skies which pretty much killed my ambitious plan for logging 370 miles on the new Harley with a trip up to Telico Plains for lunch and then a ride across the Cherohala Skyway to the Nantahala Outdoor Center before heading back home: about an 8-hour trip with a lunch stop.

Instead, we headed up to Dahlonega “the back way” for lunch at Shenanigans. There was something of a foggy mist in the air when we left the house around 9:00am.  After a quick stop at the bank to deposit the funds from the sale of the BMW as well as a check that came in from the gentleman who bought the Corbin saddle off the Honda F6B we headed on up the road to the mountains.  We went without our jackets which was only made possible by the big fairing and large windshield on the new Harley.  It was definitely borderline in terms of temp and the light mist and then heavier mist we encountered as we got closer to Dahlonega.

We arrived at Shenanigan’s just as they were opening for lunch at 11:00am and quickly made our way to the pub.  Debbie needed something warm and Angie (?) recommended a hot apple cider with spiced rum and caramel — it was amazing — and I did my usual, a Diet Coke and a sip of tequila.  We had a wonderful time visiting with Angie and one of the other gals who worked the still somewhat empty tables in the pub and defaulted to the Shillelagh sandwich for lunch, a club sandwich with black forest ham, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, and a special mayo.

After lunch we headed back home, but with our jackets and gloves on as it felt like the temps had actually dropped while we were eating.  I will say the new Harley was a dream to pilot through the twisties, far more confidence inspiring than either of our three prior Harley’s.  I’m guessing it’s the weight and downforce on the front fairing coupled with the somewhat higher center of gravity, but that’s just a guess. Regardless, it was a great ride and both the Tallboy saddle and pulled-back bars gave me a great riding position.  Sadly, I don’t think Debbie was as comfortable on the Tallboy as I was, so that’s still problematic.  Speaking of the Tallboy, since it was a demo saddle and I’d had it “checked-out” since Wednesday our destination was Hellbender so we could swap it back for the stock saddle to complete the demo process.

We rolled into Hellbender around 1:30pm, pulled off our demo seat and chatted with the parts folks and our friend Nick for a while about the saddle and “what’s next.  The Tallboy  was far-better than the original stock saddle but didn’t check all of the boxes for us.

  • The seat pan left a lot to be desired, just way too flimsy and poorly supported by the frame.  I’d have to either reinforce it with fiberglass or just use the pan as a mold for an entirely new fiberglass seat pan for the long-haul.
  • The durability and longevity of the materials used for the foundation and cover were also a bit questionable given the $350 price tag.
  • The front saddle’s foam was also a bit too soft for my needs and would need to be reworked with a firmer foam at some point.
  • Debbie just wasn’t feeling as good on the Tallboy as she was on the stock saddle; she could tell it was not as wide and definitely could tell she’d lost some separation between us. Comfort wise, she thought it was more firm but not too firm.

So, at this point we’re still looking for a better solution because sitting on the stock saddle took me back to being a very unhappy camper.  Just to bridge the gap until I can find “the right saddle” I may try to find a second-hand Tallboy to use for Daytona and/or do a quick Franken-saddle by butchering it and the stock one up to move the upper half of the passenger foam from the stock saddle to the Tallboy.  As for the foundation, I’d probably need to add a few bumpers to the underside of the saddle so the pan would actually sit on the frame along its entire length, not just at the nose channel, rear tang and apparently some part of the mid-section.  We’ll see..

In another bit of weirdness, before leaving Hellbender I wanted to give them a little business for the loan of the saddle and picked up a set of the Custom Dynamics 1157 LED turn signal rounds. Unfortunately, when I installed them in the bike the lights themselves did as there were supposed to and synced up with the flashing unit’s normal blinker tempo.  However, the indicators on the dash were doing double-time.  The good folks from the parts department at Hellbender didn’t have a solution so I returned the lights and they’re going to check into that.

We stopped in at Loco Willy’s on the way home to catch the last 1/2 of the Georgia – Vanderbilt football game and to visit with Christian and a few other friends who were there watching the games.  We didn’t stay long as we’d be coming back for dinner in just a few hours.

Once we arrived at home I found a large box propped up in front of the garage (thanks FedEx, good thing it wasn’t raining and that we have a low crime neighborhood) and I couldn’t think of what it could be.  Imagine my surprise when I realized it was the parts I’d ordered from the good folks in Tennessee on Friday morning for our Unnamed Accessory: yeah, it came that fast.  Now that’s exceeding customer expectation!!!

My second big surprise was finding the license plate and registration card for the new Harley in Saturday’s mail, a mere 8 days after purchasing the bike. I’d asked Melanie at Killer Creek Harley Davidson how long tags were taking since we’d be headed to Daytona on the 19th.  She said, 3-5 weeks was about the norm.  But, she said she’d see if she couldn’t expedite our plates so we’d have them before we left for Daytona: let’s just say my expectations were greatly exceeded. It took me no time to get the plates on the bike, as I hate riding around with a drive-out tag.

As for the rest of our day, there were a few things we had to do around the house and garage with the college football games going in the background.  I was running a little low on energy having been up for 14 hours but kept on pressing. Debbie was smarter and took a bit of a nap.  Around 5:30pm we headed to Loco’s for dinner and capped off a great day with a couple of Blizzards from Dairy Queen and both fell asleep watching the Alabama – Texas A&M game.

Sunday

Like Saturday, I was up a bit early… around 4:30am.  I spent the better part of the morning doing more homework on the slip-on exhaust systems.  I’ll probably talk to my tech at Atlanta Harley-Davidson, David M., before doing anything as at some point I’m guessing I’ll do the head pipe, induction and tuner to get the full juice from our Harley.  But, in the interim I’d like to do “something” to adjust the exhaust note and the top candidates are a Fullsac slip-on solution, the Rinehart Racing slip-0ns, the Rush Big Louie and the Kerker cans.  Vance & Hines would be nice, but they’ve priced themselves out of the market in my mind. They’re good and the quality can’t be beat, but they’re not $200 better than Rinehart or Kerker.

I also turned my attention back to those Custom Dynamics lights and did a little checking on the internet.  I discovered there’s a procedure that needs to be followed when installing LEDs on the newer Harley’s with the CANBUS systems that allows the bike’s CPU to “learn” how to sync up the turn signal flasher timing with the low-voltage LEDs.  I tried that at home on Sunday morning using some 6-year old Custom Dynamics LEDs and the procedure didn’t work.  So, I may live with the rapid flashing dash indicator for a while to see if our bike isn’t a slow learner.  If all else fails, I’ll stop by their truck at Daytona and let them sort it out with a new pair of lights.

As daylight arrived so did Tropical Storm Nate with rain and strong winds making it a stay-at-home-day for us.  No tandem riding and no motorcycling; instead, it was mostly a day that I spent in the garage working on motorcycles, e.g., installing the Motolights, Centech fuse block, leads for heated gear, saddle bag organizers and some bits and pieces that were needed for the “Unnamed Accessory” that arrived yesterday.  On Blue, in addition to donating a lot of parts to the new bike I also needed to swap out a few more parts to put her back to near stock ahead of her potential sale.  I struggle with selling either Blue or the recently acquired Honda F6B so it may be spring before I pull the trigger and list one (or both) on the classifieds.

We actually stayed-in for both lunch and dinner today, with me making hot wings, fries and margaritas for lunch and then Debbie whipped up some Caesar salads topped with stir fried chicken for dinner: yummy stuff!  Lots of football in the background with a lot of really good games, many of them going down to the wire which always makes them more interesting and enjoyable to watch.

Anyway, that’s about it.  We’ve got rain off and on all week which might make getting the motorcycle and related equipment ready for our Daytona trip on 19 – 22 October a bit of a challenge.  I’ll be anxiously awaiting the various parts that will hopefully begin to arrive this week so that the bike will be all squared away for your trip.

Posted in Bloggishnish, Motorcycle / Equipment | Leave a comment

And Then There Were Four, Motorcycles in the Garage That Is….

Midweek

Last week’s blog entry ended with me receiving a message at 10:30pm on Sunday from Melissa at Killer Creek Harley-Davidson confirming she’d been able secure a hold on the last remaining silver and black 2017 Road Glide Ultra in Georgia. All that remained was running some numbers and finalizing a sales contract which we did on Wednesday afternoon.

It was a great year-end close-out purchase where the actual cost of the motorcycle was not much more than the dealer invoice, or about 15% off MSRP with the dealer profit and another $500 that I agreed to cover for the cost of getting the motorcycle picked up from Savannah and delivered to Killer Creek by one of their porters. There were, of course, the various fees for freight, documentation and dealer prep which are all dubious but factor into new vehicle purchases and then Georgia’s nasty all-at-one/all-up-front ad valorem tax of $2,100 which you pay on new or even used vehicles. However, once all was said and done, the cost of the bike “out the door” was still less than the original MSRP and that ain’t bad.   So, after doing a quick consultation with a friend who had also done a similar deal not too long ago with Melissa and then getting Debbie to weigh in with a yea or ney, I called Melissa back and said let’s do it. With a token deposit made via the phone, it was game on!

Killer Creek’s porter made the 560 mile / 9 hour round trip to Savannah to collect the motorcycle from Savannah on Thursday and we did a little bit of celebrating with an impromptu mid-week dinner date at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth.  As usual, we were able to quickly find a couple seats at the bar where we’d go ahead and have our dinner.  Why the bar we’re always asked?  Because that’s where you meet the most interesting people!  True to form, we ran into some long-time friends from “back in the day” when Pretty Twisted was still busting out the tunes at various nightclubs and bars around town.  We miss the sound of that band with Jody rocking the vocals backed up by Tyler Porch on the guitar and 3rd set vocals with Joey on the drums and Doug on bass.  It was a beautiful thing and they had quite a loyal following.  Anyway, it was a real treat running into Anne & Jeremy who were out celebrating one of Anne’s kids birthday.  Later on we meet a lovely and fun-to-be with couple who joined as at the bar while they waited for a table to open up as they had their two pre-teen daughters along with them.  We had such a nice time chatting and Henry even stopped by to drape beads around everyone’s neck and give the girls shots.

I should probably mention that in the midst of all of this we also had a compressor go out on one of our 2-year old air conditioning units on Tuesday night.  Jim, our local Hammock technician, was over within an hour and confirmed the diagnosis I’d made: bad compressor.  The folks from Hammocks came out on Thursday at 9:30am and by a little after noon had the compressor replaced and the house back cooling again all covered under warranty: how nice was that!  It was actually pretty nice sleeping with the windows open and a fan going on Tuesday and Wednesday night!

Friday

On Friday I rode Blue over to the dealership shortly after lunch and arrived around 2:00pm to ink the deal with Eric – Melissa’s designated hitter – and their business manager. I also spent a few minutes with their parts manager CJ to make arrangements for having the brushed aluminum & stainless steel “lower forks” on the bike replaced with a set of “chrome lowers” as it was the one thing I never changed on our Wide Glide that always needed to be changed. It was a big “upper” to the cost and I’ll leave it at that: pure vanity.  See photos of pre- and post-chrome make-over, below.  Yeah, it looks a lot better!

20171008_170727

Eric gave me the official “new buyer” tour of the store and otherwise kept me entertained while we waited for Melanie, the business manager, to work through the paperwork. I think it was around 4:10pm when I was called in to begin the signing process and we may have set a record for that as I was out in about 10 minutes and headed on my way home on Blue: just an awesome buying experience in my mind.  It helps to know what you’re looking for.

Back at the house I threw on a kilt, collected Debbie and off to Loco Willy’s we went to celebrate Finally a Friday. It was a good night as always and, as always, my plan to be a tea totaler feel apart quickly.  However, we stayed sufficiently long enough and enjoyed some ribs with fries and slaw along with liberal amounts of Diet Coke such that by 8:30pm we were good to go. We stopped by Subourbon’s on the way home to see if some of our friends had gathered there to listen to the local rockabilly group Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho-DeVilles as hinted at earlier in the day.  No dice; however, we did run into Josh and his wife Becky, a fellow biker and co-worker and we had a nice time visiting with him while the band was setting up. We didn’t stay long, didn’t even have a cocktail… and headed home to call it a night.

Saturday

Saturday started out to be a perfect day.  I had a “hot buyer” for the BMW coming by at 9:00am to give it a look-see and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  We’d have one motorcycle going out the door about the same time the new one came in the door.  He showed up right on time, liked the way the bike looked and then we headed out for about a 6 mile ride with me leading on the Honda F6B and him on the BMW, noting that he’d actually ridden up on BMW R1200S, the follow-on to the R1100S.  When he left I didn’t have a good feeling that he’d buy the bike, so I tempered my enthusiasm.

With that out of the way I decided to knock out the yard work so that I’d have the afternoon free to run and errand before picking up the new Harley leaving a little afternoon time for our “first rides” as well as leaving Sunday wide open for riding.  We had something of a challenge in front of us as we really need to get at least 500 miles on the bike before we head to Daytona Beach on October 19th and, ideally, 1000 miles so that I can have the 1K service done before we make the trip. Otherwise, we’ll be looking to pull the bike into Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona for service on Friday morning: not ideal for a variety of reasons.

After finishing up the yard work, Debbie and I got cleaned up and headed over to The Red Eyed Mule to grab a little lunch before driving 40 minutes across the top end perimeter to Atlanta Kilts in Buford where I had a new tweed crail jacket and vest waiting for pick-up along my formal Prince Charlie jacket & vest which were in for some alterations. I also picked up yet another utility kilt, a tan one that I’d be wearing with my wood Pendleton shirts over the winter: it just seemed like a nice ensemble.

We finished up with Kathy at Atlanta Kilts about 20 after 1:00pm, which would put us at Killer Creek Harley Davidson around 2:00pm.  In theory, that would be perfect timing as the new bike was supposed to be out of service by 2:00pm after having the front lower fork sliders changed-out for the chrome forks.  Our friend Chuck had also mentioned wanting to come by and meet us but him time table kept on moving to the right such that by 2:45pm — with the bike now ready for pick-up — we just said pick another meeting place.  Anyway, the bike looked great and Eric posed with us beside it for the ubiquitous “new Harley owner” photo in front of the dealership.  Now, to be honest, Melissa should have been out there with us…. next visit, for sure!

NEW BIKE

We ended up meeting everyone at Twin Peaks where we’d be able to watch all of the college games on their 40+ big screen TVs while visiting with Chuck & Julie.  Much to our delight, our friends Ryan and Jeanette came along too!

Of course, I had to get there and I will be honest: the first ride on the new bike did not inspire confidence.  Remembering that we test rode Chuck’s Road Glide Ultra which had an aftermarket saddle and bars, the stock Road Glide Ultra’s seat had me sitting about 2″ too far forward for comfort. The plush seat was also too plush, the handlebars were too high and too far forward and the windscreen was too tall.  Yeah, it was going to take some work to dial this one in.  Well, time and money: uggg!  But, hey…. at least we got the color that we wanted!!

We had a great time at Twin Peaks, where we had the Georgia / Tennessee game in the background while otherwise snacking on appetizers and enjoying the good company.  As the early college games began to wind down and dinner time approached we offered up a change of venue: Loco Willy’s (how unusual) for dinner.  My ulterior motive was to get on home where Debbie could ditch her car and join me on the new motorcycle as I knew she was very anxious to see how it felt, after it was her motorcycle too!

By the time we went home and got back over to Loco’s our friends had taken up residence on one of the smaller tables as a party of five had somehow ended up taking the table for 10: really? Oh well, you go with the flow and make due.  We ended up with the six of us from Twin Peaks and were joined by friends Mike & Bettiann.  Somehow Debbie and I thought the other had ordered dinner and after seeing meal after meal come out we checked on our order: what order!  Whoops. The kitchen got our Loco Wrap to us quickly as the group was talking about heading down to Johnny’s Hideaway in Sandy Springs to do some dancing.

It was about a 20 minute ride from Loco’s over to Johnny’s Hideaway and it gave us our first chance to ride the big bike on the Interstate and with other bikes: it was a great ride!  Once we arrived at Johnny’s it was a shark fest in the parking lot with four Road Glide’s and an batwing Ultra Limited in the mix.

Our evening at Johnny’s was over-the-top, noting it was my first visit and only Debbie’s as her last had been nearly 30 years ago. They played 80’s and 90’s dance music and I’m pretty sure Debbie and or I were on the dance floor for 90% of the time we were at the club.  Amazingly, I’m not sure it was all that late when we left, perhaps 11:15.  I say that because we were at Loco Willy’s by 11:40pm where we joined Rex and Brian at the bar for a midnight breakfast sandwich!  It was a great way to wind up the evening as we continued to celebrate bringing the new, big Harley into the fold: it was the perfect ride for a cool fall evening…  a forerunner of future rides to be sure.

Sunday

The plan for the day was to take a short day trip on the new Harley to get some miles on the bike and to figure out what changes we might need to make before we headed to Daytona Beach on October 19th. We relaxed a bit on the breezeway as we gathered our thoughts and tried to get the cobwebs out from our epic afternoon and evening hanging with our Harley friends.

I think it was around 9:00am when I heard back from the gentleman who rode the BMW on Saturday with an offer to buy the bike; I said yes. His numbers were definitely in the range I was looking for and I was good with that. He said he’d be by with a downpayment and then complete the buy on Tuesday.  I told him I’d go ahead and hold the bike for him on his word and I’d work up the sales contract, etc. by Tuesday.

Yippie. The timing was perfect as the garage was really getting a bit too crowded with the three big bikes and the smaller BMW. In fact, I ran the front fender of the Honda into the back of the BMW while Debbie was chatting with me as I was maneuvering the Honda into it’s tucked-in parking position behind the BMW.  Yeah, that sucked.  I should be able to touch it up to where only I will see it, but it really make the point that the garage was just not big enough for four motorcycles, a truck and a car even with the three garage bays.

It was around 11:30am when we headed off on the new Harley towards Blue Ridge where we’d have lunch at Harvest on Main, a neat restaurant with an amazing menu. We found the place on one of our trips to Gatlinburg with David & Deb and breaking in Blue I.  The ride up on the new bike was a bit sobering as the “best ever” feeling I had on Saturday night’s trip over to Roswell was replaced by some second guessing on the wisdom of buying the big bike. The problem was hard to pin down, but it just felt like I was riding on top of of the bike instead of being settled into the bike.  The soft saddle made my butt sore and the high handlebars with the pushed forward riding position of the overstuffed saddle made my back and shoulders sore on the 90 minute rides to and from Blue Ridge.

Sadly, when we arrived in Blue Ridge I found that I had another text from the BMW buyer wherein he basically said, sorry… I can longer buy the bike as my financing feel through. Really, financing on a $5k motorcycle purchase when you already have two other much more expensive BMW’s sitting around in your garage?  I think what he meant to say was that he either (a) had a change of heart and took advantage of my willingness to take a verbal contract vs. doing the downpayment/pre-purchase agreement, or (b) his wife said no and, well, took advantage of our verbal contract.  Either way, I was still stuck with the BMW.

Even though I was troubled by the way the bike felt throughout our lunch, I will say that it was a lovely lunch date with my sweetie: she had the ground tuna burger and I had the 1/2 pound hotdog. Yeah, we should have probably shared the blackened salmon BLT!  After lunch I took Debbie next door to the House of Threads, a store that our friend Misty suggested a while back and one that we’d found some cute things for Debbie at in the past.  We found a very nice Miss Me sweater for Debbie that I can’t wait to see her wearing as the weather cools off: it’s stunning!  Well, OK. The sweater’s not stunning, Debbie just has the ability to make a lot of clothing look stunning.

We stopped by our friends Ryan & Jeanette’s home on our way home to try out a different saddle that someone thought might be a better fit than the stock one. Sadly, it wasn’t but at least we knew we could take a few similar saddles off our list: I didn’t new “lower” what I needed was “further back”. After grabbing a bite to eat and visiting with friends at Loco Willy’s on our way home, we finally rolled in to the house around 7:30, made our weekly phone call to my folks to see how they were doing (a great call, as always…) and then chilled while watching Sunday Night Football as I also worked to sort out which potential BMW buyers I needed to get back with, etc., and began my search for saddles, handlebars and windscreens for the new Harley.

So, other than loosing my mind with the purchase of two fairly expensive and big motorcycles over the course of three weeks, we’re doing fine.  I’m sure I’ll get the motorcycle situation sorted out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blue’s Back Home

After confirming the compensator repairs had been completed by our Tech, David, last Friday, Debbie took me over to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) on Tuesday afternoon to pick Blue up.

Kelly was still out and Joel was filling in for her at the service writer’s desk. Joel wasn’t able to find the repair ticket, but the job was invoiced in their system so he was able to get me paid out on my deductible and other portion of the repair that wasn’t covered by my Harley-Davidson Extended Service Plan (ESP).

I must say, when the porter fired-up and brought Blue out of the shop I was really impressed with the way she sounded, at least I assumed it was our Road King CVO that had been fired-up just watching the coming and going of people in the shop and at the service desk.  Sure enough, as the bike left the shop Blue came into view in the parking lot.

Regardless of any shortcomings that Blue may have, she still is one of the best-looking bikes Harley-Davidson has produced in a long time, at least to my senses. The styling is a crisp take on the classic Road King look with a boat load of chrome and one of the best blue paint schemes I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to believe that paint was a factory finish… albeit a one-at-a-time custom paint job by their CVO paint contractor.

After confirming to Debbie I’d be good-to-go with the bike for my ride back to the office and giving her a kiss goodbye I swung a leg over Blue and fired-up her motor for the first time after riding nothing but the Honda F6B for the past week; wow! What a contrast in technology between the silky-smooth running flat-six motor in the Honda and the not-exactly smooth-running V-twin motor in the Harley. It’s not that the differences are in and of themselves individually bad, but it speaks to how different these bikes are. As before, the Road King also felt really small compared to the Honda F6B with its massive fixed fairing and visually busy inner fairing and much larger saddle. Riding out of the parking lot was once again a challenge as the steering on the two bikes is so very different, the Honda being nearly effortless and intuitive whereas the Harley has to be actively countersteered and managed through the turns. It got a little more intuitive the longer I rode the bike but just so very different.

While underway I was reminded of a few other things that underscore what levels the playing field on the pros and cons of Blue vs. JB:

  • The Honda seems to envelope you in a cloud of radiator heat, raising the temperature you feel from your feet to your head as you ride about 10 degrees. It’s not as noticeable at certain speeds or when stopped and idling.
  • The Harley Road King gives you the knees in the breeze feel with no engine heat except at the right side of the rear cylinder where even on an 80* day you can feel your right calf and hamstring muscles being slow roasted.
  • The Honda’s exhaust note on hard acceleration is reminiscent of a Porsche 911 Super Carrera with a flat-six motor and at times it’s not the exhaust that you hear, it’s the mechanical sounds from the motor and transmission that seem to drone on. Of course, most people who ride Gold Wings wear ¾ or full face helmets so I’m guessing they don’t hear all of the things that I’m hearing while wearing just a ½ helmet.
  • The Harley’s exhaust note – at least to me – just an amazing thing that reminds me of a 1960’s muscle car’s exhaust and under most conditions / power levels completely masks any mechanical sounds.
  • The Honda is clearly a finely tuned machine that exhilarates as it soothes the senses.
  • The Harley is a vibrating, noisy beast that never lets you forget that you’re riding a motorcycle and that is what, at least to me, gives the Harley’s something that’s analogous to a soulful.

What does all of this mean? Well, I’m looking forward to adding the Road Glide Ultra to our stable so that we can ride it enough to understand if having that big Harley Shark Nose fairing will be a blessing or a curse on our average ride around town and, more importantly, the longer road trips that keep us at interstate speeds for several hours. In some respects, it felt great to be back in the wind on the Road King today, but that was just for a short trip on a lovely day. Will being sheltered from the wind on the Road Glide be more like the Honda F6B where I sometimes wish I had a lot more wind blast? Or, will it be a welcome relief during a long ride on a hot day? And, how about that extra room and all of the added creature comforts that come with the Road Glide? Yeah, that’s going to be interesting!

By the way, the total cost of the repair was $781 which included the $300 newer and more improved 2014 compensator, a $97 chain tensioner assembly, $119 in other parts, $229 in labor and $36 for the tax man of which my cost was the $50 deductible + another $13 for the “installation kit” that the Extended Service Plan (ESP) didn’t cover. Not that I’m keeping score, but on a pro-rated basis that means I’m $179 away from breaking even on the annualized cost of my ESP.   However, I did note that the iPod controller on Blue II is starting to act-up like the one did on Blue I and that would be a $350 warranty repair item, so we may be a little ahead by our ESP anniversary in November.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Great Weekend With A Surprise Ending: FLTRU Update

Dental Update: Hopefully one of the last!

On this past Wednesday I finally received my permanent crown, bringing me one step closer to being past through with my cracked tooth / root canal procedure.  There’s one more check-up visit next week to make sure the crown’s fit and my bite are all good-to-go for the long haul, after which I will hope this is all behind me.

Skipping the 2017 Southern Tandem Rally

It was a bit of an odd-feeling week in that we had originally planned to head to Salisbury, North Carolina on Thursday afternoon for the 2017 edition of the Southern Tandem Rally. However, as we continued to work our fall calendar we found there were several conflicts  beginning to develop and I also found with Debbie being out of the workforce and free to travel I’d been burning quite a bit of vacation time since April.  So, STR 2017 became one of the fall casualties along with the fall edition of Thunder Beach at Panama City Beach, Florida.  It was tough passing on STR as we always have a great time getting together with long-time tandem-cycling friends, never mind getting out on the triplet with our friend Lisa.  Thankfully, our other friends Eric & Linda were able to ride with Lisa on her big yellow triplet, as you can see from one of our friend Christen’s photos I’ve poached off of Facebook.

From left to right: Lisa, Linda, Eric, Betsy, Mark, Ryan, Christen Audrey.

Looking ahead to 2018, we know we’ll be attending the 20th edition of the Georgia Tandem Rally at Athens, Georgia in May but everything else is still “wet” in terms of our riding plans. Again, we have balance our cycling, motorcycling and other leisure time interests never mind home maintenance and family commitments against each other and that always requires some give and take.

Getting the BMW out on the used motorcycle market

I think it was Wednesday night when I finally listed my 2003 BMW R1100S for sale on Cycle Trader’s site.  I’ve never had much luck with Cycle Trader but will see what if any traffic it generates.  Thus far I’ve had one hacker attempt to get an Email address from me, i.e., Phishing, I’ve had a dealer offer to help sell the bike for a fee and have gotten two Cycle Trader leads, one from North Georgia and another from San Diego, California.  I’ve replied to them both but have not heard back so no idea if they were legit or just something Cycle Trader does to make clients feel better about the value of the Cycle Trader site.  My asking price is a little high just to hedge my bets against low-ballers and to make sure I have some negotiating room between my ask and “go no lower than” number as there is a point where the bike becomes a piece of artwork and is just taken off the road.  Lord knows, in 20 years it might be worth something.

Thursday:

The only real newsworthy item to come out of Thursday was a note back from Kelly at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta wherein she advised all of the parts needed to repair Blue’s failed compensator were now in hand. She also included a photo of Blue up on a work lift which implied David M. was already at work installing the new compensator, tensioner and other related parts that were the source of my more recent issues.  This was good news!  In fact, I somewhat expected to receive a call on Friday morning telling us we could come and collect Blue.  However, the call never came, nor did one on Saturday. In fact, I think it was around 4:00pm on Saturday when I called HDA to see what the story was on Blue. Turns out, Kelly was out of the shop since Thursday night and while the bike had been finished by David on Thursday, the call to let us know it was ready for pick-up fell through the cracks.  So, with any luck, we’ll go and get Blue this coming Tuesday afternoon after my dental appointment.

Friday:  

The Honda Has a Name, or at least a Persona

I thought I mentioned this in a previous blog entry but then realized it was just something I mentioned in a Facebook posting (which I always remove within 24-hours).  But, as I was working on the Honda F6B last weekend the big black bike finally revealed it’s persona to me: #007.

Sure enough, for whatever reason, Honda of Russellville serialized all of its signature series bikes and they use a three-digit numbering scheme such that our Honda F6B carries the number #007.  As a life-long Ian Fleming / James Bond novel reader and movie watcher 007 is synonymous with Bond, James Bond and it’s just a great fit for the bike.  For short, we’re simply calling the Honda “JB” as it’s a little less obvious than 007, Bond or James.  I even toyed with the idea of Jane Bond to allow for a more feminine touch but Debbie didn’t think much of that idea so we went back to JB.

The point of all this was to make it easier to reference the Honda without calling it the Honda F6B and hence forth I’ll be using JB in the same way we call our Harley Blue.  With that in mind, JB got a bath as did our tandem bicycle on Friday morning: both of them were sorely in need of a good cleaning.

With the bikes cleaned up and temps headed into the 80’s Debbie and I were able to get out for a very nice tandem ride from the house on Friday. We rode our mid-distance loop and even though we decided to take it at a comfortable pace we ended up with one of our faster average speeds for the year.  I’m guessing last Saturday’s workout at the Beautiful Backroads Century may have played into that.

Back at the house we changed from cycling clothes into motorcycling clothes, hopped on the Honda F6B, aka, JB, and made the short ride over to The Red Eyed Mule for our every-other-Friday lunch date and Jake’s Big Daddy burger.  Yes, it was delicious!

Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention we encountered quite a few people while we were out cycling and motorcycling who were conspicuously friendly and just thrilled to see us out enjoying ourselves.  It seemed like every motorist, the pedestrians and two cyclists whom we crossed paths with were all-smiles, made friendly and/or tongue-in-cheek comments or simply wanted to let us know it looked like we were having fun.  It truly lifted my spirits and warmed my heart as that’s rarely the norm of late.

Speaking of Selling Stuff: That Corbin Saddle

As mentioned last week, I also put a classified ad out on one of the Honda F6B discussion forums for the black snake-skin / Corbin dual heat touring saddle that came on our Honda when I purchased the bike.  It’s a very nice saddle, but just not a good fit for Debbie and me so we’re hopeful one of the interested buyers will pony up the cash to take it off our hands. If it doesn’t sell off that list, there’s always ebay.

Since I had a couple of interested parties, I finally used Friday afternoon to get the saddle cleaned-up and ready for sale.  I also had to make a box that would be big enough to ship the saddle. Thankfully, the box the stock saddle I purchased for the big Honda was larger than it needed to be and I was able to tear it apart and put it back together so it will accommodate the Corbin saddle.  Shipping will be about $100 for buyers in the Southeast, closer to $100 for the middle of the nation and $135 for the west coast.

I’m also about to see if I can find buyers for a few other parts that came off the Honda F6B when I took possession: they include the Clearview Shields windscreen, a pair of mini-footboards and a pair of highway pegs which also got cleaned up on Friday afternoon while I had the power washer out.

  

At 3:00pm I had to dial-in for a 7-day-a-week teleconference at work which sort of broke up the afternoon and gave me a good excuse to just chill out on the breezeway for a short while.   After that I went upstairs to check on Debbie who was both getting ready for our Finally a Friday celebration at Loco Willy’s and getting a few things together for a short, overnight trip to the mountains on Saturday and Saturday night.  I also had to figure out what I needed to bring, if only for Saturday night and the ride there and back.  Yes, I was going to see how ‘JB’ worked on an hour-and-a-half ride that was about 30% interstate, 45% two-lane highway and 25% curvy foothills roads while Debbie followed me up in her Honda Accord since JB didn’t have the ability to carry all of our “stuff”.

Debbie visiting with Brian but engrossed in a discussion.

Finally a Friday was a good time, as always.  We had David & Deb along with Billy & Dava with us at the bar and Brian & Lindsay took great care of us all.  Brian was still pumped from attending last weekend’s “Georgia 1/2 mile Shootout” at Heaven’s Landing Airport so he and I spent a lot of time talking car stuff.  Although the crowd seemed a bit thin when we first arrived by the time we headed home around 8:30pm the place had filled up with regulars quite nicely.

Saturday:

Our original plan was to drive over to Atlanta Kilts in Buford, Georgia, to pick up the Crail kilt jacket and vest I’d ordered back on July 1st.  The Crail jacket will give me something I can wear more-or-less as a suit vs. the very formal Price Charlie jacket which allows me to wear my tartan kilts for New Years events and the like instead of my tuxedo.  Of course, I’m thinking I still need to have another kilt made from a Black Isle tartan or similar plaid.

However, as we thought about the goal for Saturday — getting some down time — adding in an extra 2-hours of interstate driving wasn’t high on our list so we’ve deferred the visit for a week or so. Instead, we just went on to the mountains at 8:30am while traffic would be non-existent.

The ride up on JB was interesting.  The biggest challenge was not having a cruise control or anything like a throttle lock to help with maintaining speed and giving my throttle hand a break every now and again.  I’m thinking something like the relatively inexpensive Universal Motorcycle Cruise Control might be good enough for the rare, longer ride on JB.  As noted before, I’m still somewhat surprised at how much heat the radiators shed off down each side of the bike and something new: how much heat comes through the center tunnel of the bike at highway speeds.  Saddle comfort was good, but if we were going to take JB to Florida on a 4-5 hour ride (which we’re not) I’d have to have Marietta Upholstery put in a more firm foam material similar to what we did on Blue.  What else? The aftermarket National Cycles / VStream windscreen is still a bit marginal on cooler days and at interstate speeds, but fine as the temps warm up.  That was about it, otherwise it’s an amazing machine. It’s not exactly quiet, but all very different from the Harley’s various mechanical and exhaust sounds and, well, absolutely no vibration to speak of.  Just a very nice and relaxing ride.

Our day away in the mountains was everything we’d hoped it would be: very relaxing and so good to be able to visit with the folks whom we’ve met and see whenever we return. Many of the friends we’ve made spend a lot of weekends at the resort, while others are more like us and just pop up once every 3-4 weeks to decompress. The only major disruption of the day was having to take my 3:00pm daily conference call.

It think it was around 5:00pm when we headed out to have dinner away.  I’d hoped to stop at shop that specialized in cycling apparel to replace my now far-too-small bib shorts, but son-of-a-gun if they hadn’t gone out of business.  Imagine my disappointment, especially when most of the websites still indicated they were in business.  Oh well, on to Plan B.   Dinner was very nice and we had a great evening of dancing and visiting with friends.

Sunday:

I’ll be selfish and note I had a great start to my Sunday morning because it began with a long motorcycle ride.  Now, that said, it sure was lonely and I would have rather had Debbie on the bike with me instead of her following behind in her car.  However, as mentioned, there were some reasons why I wanted to take JB on a short trip and most of those things were accomplished.  With this trip I’d also burned through another tank of gas and with the Interstate and 55 mph highway riding vs. just stop-and-go commute riding the bike was able to get 38.4 mpg, up from 36.6 mpg on the first tank.  No other major new observations on the ride quality, etc. of JB, other than noting that it’s so refined it seems to lack soul.  The latter is the hallmark of a Harley, as each bike seems to have its own personality and soul; not so with the F6B.

We were back at home around 11:00am and we had ourselves sorted-out by 11:30 am.  After finishing lunch and doing a little work on a noisy front hub on the tandem we headed out once again for a loop ride from the house.  Given it was a little later in the day it ended up being a pretty darn warm ride for late September.  But, we needed to sweat-out some toxins so that was fine too.  It was just good to get out and spin our legs and like Friday’s ride, we actually had a pretty good pace.

It’s always a good weekend when we can get in a couple of rides on the tandem.  Again, somewhat disappointed we weren’t able to get up to Salisbury, North Carolina for the three days of riding with a lot of our friends at the Southern Tandem Rally, but then again it was nice not having to make the 5 hour drive home after the event as I had a lot of yard work to do back at home before returning to work on Monday.

Speaking of which, after “chilling” on the breezeway after our ride for a bit I changed into my yard care clothing and knocked out some shrub maintenance and then cut the lawn. As on Saturday, I had to take a break at 3:00pm for a conference call before finishing up the lawn.  It was around 6:30pm when Debbie had to leave to baby sit the three granddaughters while Wesley & Julie went out with an old friend who was in town.

I spent the better part of the evening getting the Corbin saddle ready for shipment to whichever buyer came in with the best offer on cost/shipping.  I also did a little work on a pair of Debbie’s western boots to give them something closer to their original distressed-look vs. a fresh coat of brown polish I’d applied a few years back. In hindsight, I should not have never messed with the finish on those boots. Hopefully she’ll like the revised appearance and will wear them a bit more often.

After that it was mostly working on the blog with one little exception: see below.  Debbie, she was busy with the girls until almost 11:00pm when she headed for home, arriving around 11:30pm and very much out of gas.  She headed to bed while I pushed on to get this blog done.

The 2017 FLTRU:  Yes, We Caught the Bus

There’s an old metaphor about dogs chasing cars where the rhetorical question that comes with every pursuit is, “OK, you caught it… now what are you going to do?  Yeah, well… I think we caught the motorcycle we inadvertently ended up chasing.  But, I honestly think it’ll be a good thing long term… it’s the near term that I need to sort out.

It was around 10:30 pm when Melissa from Killer Creek Harley-Davidson dropped me an Email to let me know she’d gotten off the phone with someone from the Harley-Davidson dealership down in Savannah a couple of hours earlier where I’d found one of the last remaining billet silver and vivid black 2017 Road Glide Ultra’s still on the showroom floor. The complete backstory on why we were now looking at and considering the acquisition of yet another motorcycle is in last week’s blog entry, so feel free to catch up if you missed that.

Anyway, to make an already long story short, Melissa asked them to put a hold on the bike pending her getting back to us to get some firm numbers and do a deal if that’s what was in the cards for us.  But, referring back to the comment above about “OK, now you’ve caught it… what are you going to do?”

At first I was elated and then I became very anxious I’d now gotten way ahead of the buying /selling cycle by having at least two too many motorcycles coming into the garage. And, to make the “jump” from Blue to the silver and black Road Glide was a one-way ticket as there are certain things I’ll need to do that will truly be the beginning of the end for Blue’s place in our stable.  Now, the thing about Blue is, she is and always has been more of a looker than a keeper: it’s purely a love affair with that beautiful blue CVO Road King. So, the smart money says, get over the vanity stuff and get on with a more practical motorcycle that suits your needs: that would be the Road Glide.

So, sure enough, there’s a billet silver and vivid black Road Glide Ultra / FLTRU in our future: thank you Melissa @ KCHD; you are awesome!  And, thank you to my Brother-From-Another-Mother Chuck who introduced us to Melissa after he recently traded a water-cooled Twin Cam 2016 Road Glide Ultra for the 2017 with the new water-cooled Milwaukee 8 four-value motor: that really made me take notice of the improvements that had been made.

Therefore, near term, we’re going to end up with four motorcycles sitting in the garage for a while.

  • The 2017 FLTRU will be added by the end of next week and it will become our primary weekend bike trip / road trip bike
  • The 2013 Honda F6B will at least for the time being remain my daily commuter bike noting that the FLTRU could easily replace the Honda for commuter duty.
  • Our 2013 FLHRSE5 “Blue” will probably end up on the bubble in that with the FLTRU at our disposal, riding Blue would be like riding our Wide Glide “because it’s there.”  That’s not a good thing, but…  she sure is a pretty bike.
  • The BMW R1100S had to go; period.  There’s just no reason to keep it as it’s not going to be ridden: I’m just well past riding sport bikes at this point in my life. The ONLY way it might stay in the family is if I can’t get what I think is fair money for it.  At which point it becomes garage art; who knows, it might actually be worth more in the future than it is today.

Anyway, if we pull off this acquisition there will be a lot to get done before we head down to Daytona on October 19th, including getting in the first 1,000 or so break-in miles on the FLTRU and I’m not sure how I’ll do that with just 18 days and two weekends after this coming Saturday.

Posted in Bloggishnish, Miscellaneous ramblings on Motorcycling, Motorcycle / Equipment, Motorcycling Events & Trips | Leave a comment