Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Seven
"Waiting for Godot, or spring"
Day 34, Sunday February 28, 1999... Oh, my, did something I haven't done in a long time. I slept in until 7:00 a.m. Considering that I went to be at midnight I actually got a good, solid, seven hours of sleep. Overnight we had freezing drizzle and the roads were covered with ice. I had originally hoped to take the bike grocery shopping in the morning but no sense taking chances on ice covered roads. And once they start melting they will be a salty mess. Kind of looking like no riding today. Then about 9:00 my phone rang and it was a lady friend asking if she could come by. Did another thing that I haven't done in a long time... No not that... Sat on the couch and watched Lethal Weapon Four on Direct TV. Actually watched a whole movie without my hands on a computer keyboard while I did it. Then later I went off to the bank and grocery shopping. Roads were clear of ice by then but they were all water, mud and slush covered. Came home, cooked dinner, cleaned the house a bit, and finally sat down to work on web sites. Instead, I am going to do this entry, then go watch Alice In Wonderland on Television. I do have to pack the truck tonight as I will be on the road for the next three days. This actually did turn into a day of relaxation. Felt good.
As I will be on the road I may not post here until Wednesday evening. I will have my laptop with but I am not sure I will be firing it up much. I intend to take advantage of my time in hotel rooms to get a bit more relaxation in. I wish there were more here about my motorcycles, but the weather is not quite ready for daily riding yet. If the Sportsman were here it might be different. I don't think I am going to baby that bike at all. Hopefully it will be back next weekend.
Days 35-37, Mon Tues Weds March 1, 2, 3, 1999... On the road for three days in Wisconsin. Monday the ride down to Shawano, about 30 outside of Green Bay, was very pleasant. When I arrived the temperature was about 50 f. and I was thinking, "I should have ridden the bike". Of course a 600 mile round trip would be a pretty long jaunt in the middle of winter on a not yet broken in bike. By Tuesday I was glad that I hadn't ridden as it started to snow and the temperatures dropped to near Zero. All in all it was a very good trip. Stopped at the kilns and hardwood lumber yard in Marathon Wisconsin and was able to fix a couple of problems that have been sitting for a while. The plant in Shawano always keeps a dry-wipe chalkboard for me where they list all the jobs that I have to do when I get there. For once, when I left today, the board was completely empty. Accomplished all that I went down to do, which certainly gives one a nice feeling. The drive back started with snow falling but about 30 miles down the road the sky cleared and I had another nice driving day. The high-point came when I pulled over to the side of the road as a bald eagle glided silently over me at about 50 feet, then rose and circled over a river as I watched in awe. No matter how many times I see them they always take my breath away.
Called Marlow at Northern Sports today and he said the 14 amp alternator for the Sportsman came in and he should have the bike done by the weekend. The 35 amp alternator is still on backorder but at least I will have the bike back.
When I got home I started to check my e-mail when the phone rang. It was Son #1 and he was quite upset. He was standing in the street, on his cell phone, watching the fire department try to save his garage. Looks like it was a total loss and his 1969 Chevy Nova hot rod went up in flames inside of the garage. He has been putting all his extra money into that car for two years and it was just about done. Absolutely no insurance of course. Poor kid. I felt so very sorry for him. Hard to tell him that it was only a car... luckily it wasn't the house with wife and children. There have been a rash of fires in his neighborhood and they have mostly been arson. The investigators are returning in the morning.
Day 38, Thursday March 4, 1999... Not much motorcycling going on around here. Snowing again and temps in the teens. Had a meeting to go to tonight and didn't get home until late.
Day 39, Friday March 5, 1999... More snow. Only a couple of inches but enough to mess up the roads. Talked to Marlow today. He had the Sportsman done but when he started it up it was making a racket from the front of the timing cover. He said he had to tear it apart again to see what was wrong. Asked me to call him back in a couple of hours but I ended up in a meeting and didn't get a chance to call him until 6:00 p.m. and by then he was not at the shop. I will try again tomorrow.
Day 40, Saturday March 6, 1999... Today dawned sunny and bright, but cold, 5 degrees f. but a truly beautiful day. Hopefully it will warm up later in the day although the weather report says that the high should be about 26 f.. Sitting here catching up on my e-mail at 8:00 a.m. but soon I am going to go put the windshield for the Deco together and then shuffle out to the garage and install it. Sure wish I had a heated garage. The shop portion is insulated and I do have a couple of electric heaters in there but they would never be enough to heat the whole garage. Maybe by next year I can insulate it and put a gas furnace in there. I am planning on buying a new one for the house and maybe the old one would work in the garage. I don't like the idea of putting a wood stove in the garage. Way too many garage fires start around here from wood stove use.
Investigators did not come up with a "for sure" cause for Son #1's garage fire. They believe that it may have been intentional arson or children playing with matches. Car was a total loss.
3:20 p.m. Windshield is on and it looks very good. What should have been a half hour job turned into a 1.5 hour one. I now know what the dealers go through on set-up. I put the windshield together and took it out to the bike. Turns out that the adjusting slots on the framework are about a millimeter too small for the headlight bolts to go through. I remember that on the Sportsman Marlow drilled one spot wider. I ended up taking the brackets off, putting them in a vice and running a drill along the slots from both sides to widen them out. Then I mounted the windshield to the headlight and proceeded to put on the bottom struts. The ones that come with the windshield are drilled wrong so Ural America sends two other ones, but they are too short. On my sportsman I had to get longer ones in order to move the windshield back out of the front of the headlight. With the headlight shining directly on the windshield it works like a fibre optic wire. At night the entire edge of the windshield lights up. It is quite sharp looking but it is very distracting when riding the bike. I wanted this one mounted back a bit further and at a slightly softer angle to the wind, so it was off to L & M supply to buy two longer brackets. Then it was home to drill all the holes in the bracket to the right sizes. I also bent the brackets in a vise to get them the best fit I could get. They are much stronger than the supplied brackets. They are stainless steel so they don't look bad. I also mounted my license plate. Had to drill holes for that also, as the standard mounting holes are about an inch wider than a standard US state license plate.
Once the windshield was mounted we were off for a ride. Didn't go too far as it is quite cool riding, but had a great time. Even stopped at the car wash and rinsed off the bottom half of the bike to get rid of all the salt buildup. Sure felt good to be riding. I am going to run out and shoot a few more photos of the bike with windshield and probably go for another ride..
At 5:00 p.m. I marveled that it was still quite light outside and the sun was quite a way above the horizon. Winter is starting to go away. I had left the Deco in the driveway and I thought I should go out and put it in the garage. As I looked at it I knew that I had to at least run it around the block. The temperature was dropping quickly and it was about 15 degrees, so I buttoned up my coat, put on my hat and gloves and off I went. I quickly decided that just around the block wasn't enough so I went out to the highway to take it into Esko. That round trip would only be about 3 miles and at 15 degrees it could be enough. Of course that wasn't enough. I wasn't cold yet and a little ride, another couple miles up the highway wouldn't hurt anything.
As I was riding down the highway, with a smile on my face, a pickup truck pulled alongside, slowed to match my speed, and the guy in it was obviously checking out the bike. He finally waved and pulled away. By then my grin was ear to ear, and I decided to take a county road back into Esko. This would add about an extra five miles, but hey, I wasn't cold yet and the bike was purring perfectly. As I rode along thinking how great my life was right now, how much I enjoy riding, I realized that my legs were getting pretty cold. I only had a light pair of jeans on and they were certainly not "proper riding gear".
As I approached Esko the bike seemed to have a life of it's own, and it pulled onto the freeway entrance ramp. It ran along on the freeway, trying desperately to keep under the 50 mph break in speed. As cars whizzed by everyone looked, smiled and waved. I pulled off at the first exit, at Scanlon, about three miles later and ran back on County Road 61. I had been gone for over a half hour on my "ride around the block". When I arrived home I re-tightened all the bolts on the windshield and walked up to the house. The temperature on my outside thermometer was now at 10 degrees f. No wonder my legs were getting cold. But just the fact that I could ride at those kinds of temperatures was kind of exciting. This time of year, with all the sand sitting on the roadways most people wouldn't even think of taking a bike out for fear of having to drive on "marbles". Sand on the road is a great hazard for motorcycles, but not nearly as bad for a three wheeler.
Bye the time I walked in the house it was 6:05 p.m. and I was contemplating a relaxing evening at home alone. I had rented three movies and planned on just sitting and putting my brain in neutral. But, there was a message on my answering machine that I should call my friend Judy right away. I called her and she invited me to go to a play at one of the Duluth High Schools with her. Play starts at 7:00, so it was off for a quick shave, change of clothes and out the door. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat" at my old high school. I graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1968, at the old school, with is now the school board building. The play was going to be at the "new" school which was built in 1972. I have never been in the auditorium at the new school, and I haven't been at a Central High event since my graduation, so I said "yeah" and off I went. Threw one of the rented movies in the truck just in case she wanted to watch it. Of course after the play we sat at her place and watched "AntZ". It was a very well done, animated movie. "Cute" would be the descriptive word for this one. I was home by 11:00, and when I pulled the truck in the garage I just stood there for a few minutes, looking at the Deco, and contemplating life.
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