Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Twelve
(Mel Blanc .... Sylvester, Tweety, Hector Bulldog, Rooster 1953)
Day 62, Sunday April 4, 1999... Weather still stinks. Thunderstorms during the night, coupled with freezing temperatures, high winds and lots of water have made a mess of things. I have a lot of standing water in the yard, the sump pump, in the basement, is running almost full time. The trees are all covered with a quarter inch of ice. I tried to take a photo of it but because it is so gray out it would not photograph well. It is 27 f. (-2 C.) and only expected to warm into the mid 30s. It is not going to be a good day for riding again! And this weather is expected to keep up for the next week, although it will warm to the upper 50s by Wednesday. Somehow, over the years, I have developed an aversion to riding in the rain. There have been years when my only vehicle was a motorcycle and I had to ride in wet weather. There have been times when riding in the rain seemed entirely enjoyable. But a warm rain in the summer is much different than rain at freezing temperatures. No, I think the bikes will sit out this weather. Got little riding in last week and this might be another like it.
4:30 p.m. HAAAAa...... Clouds broke, sun popped out, and the temperature warmed into the lower 40s. The moment I saw the sun I was out kicking the Sportsman. It hadn't been run in a while and it took about 20 kicks to get it going. When it did start it spit and sputtered. I suspect the battery was low. Once she ran for a few minutes she evened out and we hit the road. Put about 40 km on it, just running around the area then came home, backed it in the garage, and fired up the Deco. Took it out for a 50 km putt. It was a bit cool out but it sure did feel good. Ran it up to 45-50 mph and the rear end felt a little squirrelly. Stopped at a convenience store and checked the air. The rear tire was about ten pounds down on air. Keeping the rear tire at the right pressure is so important on these bikes.
It was kind of nice doing another back to back comparison on them. So far I still prefer the Sportsman, but they are both fun to ride. When I got home I tried to figure out what is wrong with the lights on the Sportsman but I think I am going to have to pull the headlight bucket, windshield and the speedometer and see if I can figure out where the problem is. I wiggled the large group of wires that come from the kill switch and they started to work for a moment or two, then quit again, so it must be something in that mess of wires. I only wish Northern Sports were closer, as I would be over there in a heartbeat. I also still have to find out what is wrong with the speedometer on the Sportsman. If you recall both the Sportsman and Deco speedometers are out of order. Maybe I will go back out to the garage in a bit and fiddle some more.
Day 63, Monday April 5, 1999... Well, this weeks chapter is looking more appropriate each day. When I went to work this morning visibility was only about 200 feet. The fog was think, but the wind had died. On the way home I had to stop at a friend's and install a printer and clean up his computer. When I went in it was a bit foggy but the roads were dry. Imagine my surprise when I came out a couple hours later into a blizzard. A few inches of snow had already fallen. The wind was back up, blowing the snow around, and you would swear that November had come already. Maybe I missed summer?
Out where I live it wasn't quite so bad and we had less than an inch on the ground, but now (9:30p.m.) it has been snowing all evening and the weather report is for 5-6 inches by morning. That is way more than enough for April. The picture at the right is at 7:00 p.m. off my rear deck with the pond in the background. No riding tonight.
Day 64, Tuesday April 6, 1999... Anyone have a mop and some time on their hands??? We ended up getting, officially, 8 inches of snow. Some areas had as much as 15 inches. I figure mine was between 8 and 10 inches. I almost didn't make it out of my driveway and down the road to the highway this morning. I really missed the Ford F150 4X4. The little Festiva had trouble as the snow was very heavy and almost slush. By mid afternoon it had warmed to the mid 40s f. and the snow was melting fast. I had to go work a job tonight so I didn't get home until 7:30 p.m. Another long day and it certainly isn't over yet.
When I walked in the door tonight I heard running water in the basement. It did not sound good. Ran down the stairs and stepped into 3-4 inches of water. The drain was over flowing and I couldn't figure out what the problem was until I noticed something in the drain tank. A jar had fallen off a drain board and the cap was stuck in the drain plugging it completely. And with all the melting snow there was plenty of water being pumped into the basement from the sump pump. Lots of damage to paneling, books, boxes of "stuff" and it is a real mess. Things are floating all around the basement. I cleaned the drain and got the pump going, which helped a lot, unfortunately the pump seems to be located in the highest point in the basement. I worked at moping until I was closing in on heart attack territory then came upstairs and called Son #1. He is on his way over after work to help me clean. Also called State Farm Insurance and reported it. I would guess there is 5-10,000 dollars damage. It is going to be a long night.
We worked until after 1:00 a.m. but finally got down to the floor. Everything is dripping and things are definitely soaked.
Day 65, Wednesday April 7, 1999... Waited all day for the adjuster to call but they never did. The ice storm over the weekend was keeping them busy. There were a lot of claims for damage from ice falling from trees, falling trees and roof cave-ins. I now have books and "stuff" all over my house drying. At 3:00 I had to go to a meeting and didn't get home until 10:00 p.m.
Day 66, Thursday April 8, 1999... I have meetings starting at 7:00 a.m. until noon then I am hitting the road for Shawano Wisconsin, near Green Bay where we have a meeting on Friday. Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I missed riding while I waited for the Insurance adjuster, darn. Now the report for today and Friday is upper 50s f. and clear skies. And rather than riding I will be riding in a car. I'm not even driving this trip. I should be home later Friday night.
Day 67, Friday April 9, 1999... We had a great trip to Shawano. This is the first trip, in some years, that I rode along, instead of driving. We had a total of five people going and we went in two vehicles. I have been driving these same roads for thirty years and it is amazing the sights that I saw that had never been noticed before. Whole fields of old cars, incredible houses and farms, tractors and other "stuff", all that had never been noticed. When I drive I have a tendency to concentrate completely on the driving. That trait probably has saved me from bad situations many times over the years, but I have missed so very much of what is to be seen. I guess it is a worthwhile trade-off, but I think I will grab every opportunity to let someone else drive so that I can see the world as it goes by. Funny that it took me all these years to learn that simple lesson.
Another thought that comes to mind is that with the Urals we find ourselves slowing down and noticing much more than we would normally. I mostly ride at five to ten miles under whatever speed limit is appropriate, when in the country. By doing so we see so very much more of the world and the motorcycling experience is heightened.
Day 68, Saturday April 10, 1999... Slept in, did a little work, and at noon Judy came buy and picked me up. Here I am riding in a car again, a passenger. Off to the Tanger's Outlet Mall in North Branch Minnesota for some women's shoe shopping. Gosh, how I love going shopping for women's shoes. I get to sit around, or stand around, with a lost look on my face. I get to watch as someone tries on hundreds of different pairs in four different stores, battle the crowds, realize how much I need a good pair of "standing around" shoes as my feet get sore from standing around. But as with everything in life there are trade-offs. And the good things far outweigh the shopping. On my 220 miles of riding I got to see country that I have driven literally a thousand times, and saw many things I had never noticed. The chance to spend some time with a wonderful lady, and stopping for dinner at Cassidy's in Hinkley made for another great day.
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