Thursday, July 31, 2008

5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1... We have Lift Off


The last couple of months has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. I remember getting my frame back from powder coating and being in absolute awe. I also remember being stood up twice and thinking I wasn't going to get my bike coated at all. My emotional state over the last couple of weeks have so diametrically opposed that I don't remember what it feels like to be just "OK". I can now understand how junkies can get hooked on drugs. Going from a completely seized engine to riding through the mountains at 140km/h is way too much to have happen in 3 days. It's like going from freezing cold to scorching hot. I think I've broken something.

So let's take some time to talk about my test run and engine break in. The manual says to drive your bike for 500 miles with as little load as possible. So I figure a ride with a 225lb man through a mountain pass would be ideal. The easy part was the ride from Tsawwassen to Hope. I was so nervous. The first thing to break was the speedometer. Great! How was I supposed to know how far I have gone? I had to switch my tank over to reserve quite early so I gassed up in Aldergrove. Almost 16 liters to fill up!

View Larger Map

I lost my tail light at Hope before getting n the Crowsnest Highway. That will cost me. Not to mention driving at night just got a little bit tougher. From Hope I drove up to the Tulameen River and turned around and retraced my route. Here are a few pictures:

Gassing Up at the East Gate 2
Princeton 2
Manning Park 2
Me and the Beemer
Bridal Falls
World's Biggest Gold Nugget

712kms later and she's running strong. The mixture is extremely lean and because I wasn't working the engine I was getting close to 60 miles per gallon. Boy was my engine hot. I'm going to take here into the shop and have the carburetors balanced.

I'm sore physically but I'm in good spirits. I was surrounded by some gorgeous scenery but all I could see were the streets of Europe. I am so close to that first beer in Plzen Czech Republic I can almost taste it. I have sworn off all beer until I get there (does whiskey count as beer?). It's like a fighter before fight night not having sex... no it's not, it's nothing like that.... It's like a porn star swearing off sex for a week.

To end this blog I will put out my hat and say if you want to buy me a beer click the PayPal Donate button up above and buy me a beer. I promise I I'll drink to your good health when I spend your money on a nice cold half liter of Czech Pilsner.

Buy me a Beer!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

You Only Live Twice


The dream lives on for another day. I torqued everything up last night and here's the result:

She's running again and she sounds a lot better than she did last time. There are a few things I noticed that I didn't care for. There seems to be fuel leaking from my carburetors and there's a high pitched squeaky sound coming from that area as well. Hopefully I can get the gremlins out of the machine tonight. The plan being to reassemble everything and take her for a small test drive. Tomorrow I want to take her for a real ride. Maybe out to Hope or Merrit, depending on how she feels underneath me. I only have a few more days before she goes on the plane so I better do some tests before. The last thing I would want to have happen is to break down in Bratislava!

I still need to mount the saddle bags and front headlight but I think it's more important to actually get things running properly before I do that. I realize now the mistakes I've made throughout this process and I will never repeat them again. In the future if I were to do something like this I would get the mechanical done prior to doing any cosmetic work. The disassembly and reassembly process is not that hard at all. There's an old saying, "Chrome won't get you home", and it fits this situation. Reliable is better than good-looking. You would think being good looking and unreliable my entire life I would know this but vanity always skews your judgment. I always want the shiny one!

So Dave and Jimmy are coming over tonight to give me a hand with some of the final assembly. I think after finding out that Lee has been fast tracked for the MVP award they have decided to get on their respective horses and get over to help. I'm sure it will be an evening of drinking and criticism but that's just to be expected from anyone that would stoop low enough to be my friend. I will keep the postings going all weekend and I'm going to do a few picture blogs from my mobile phone and see how well it works from the road.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I get by with a little help from my friends


Well we have a new front runner for MVP on this project. After reading my blog I got a call from an old friend Lee whom I haven't seen in years. He could feel the desperation in my writing so he had to call me up and offer his help. The help was very needed. I've basically come to the conclusion that if she doesn't start tonight I'm scratching the tour. I'll get on a plane to Frankfurt and take the train instead. How boring that will be.

So last night we put the cylinders and head back on. It's amazing how much faster things happen with two sets of hands. What took me two hours by myself was finished in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we couldn't 'button it up' because I didn't have a torque wrench. I'm getting one for tonight and I will torque everything down and give it another go. I think I may add some Loc-Tite to the equation. I can't afford to have anything come undone.

So please pray for me tonight. Make offerings to any pagan gods you may worship. If you're atheist... well become a believer for an evening. I mean seriously, praying to something you don't believe in isn't going to kill you is it?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Everytime I try to get out they PULL me back in!


Play the above video to see what I did last night and then read below:

So she started! Yay! I was worried. Boy does she run loud. sounds like the exhaust manifold isn't sealed. I'll have to take care of that right away. I ran her for a good 20 minutes before the engine seized. Boo!

I'm serious, the engine seized. I popped open the valve cover and I was missing one of my cam chain sprockets! She absolutely exploded. I had to pull off the head and the cylinders and then I spent the next 4 hours fishing metal out of my engine. Could anything else go wrong? Don't answer that.

I'm going to try and do another rebuild. I almost got the cylinders back on last night but I found I was short an arm. If anyone wants to come over and help I could use it. Gaskets be damned I'm going to reuse what I have and get her buttoned up. If she's not running by tomorrow I'm calling it quits. My psyche can't take the stress this project has tolled out on me. I'm an absolute basket case. I should have just bought a Beemer and not worried about a thing. What's wrong with me? I take something simple and complicate so much that it becomes almost impossible. It goes hand in hand with my inability to order off the menu when I go out.

"I'll have the lamb souvlaki, but instead of lamb could I get beef, and could the beef be a tenderloin, and instead of putting it on a stick could you grill it medium rare, and instead of the rice and Greek salad could I have a mashed potatoes with garlic, mushrooms, and macaroni salad?"

I'm hating life right now. You'll know where I am if you need me. Come by if you want to help me.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

When Life gives you Lemons - Make Lemon Drop Martinis


There's an old saying. Actually, it's not that old of a saying. Like not old testament old or even new testament old. More like Dianetics old (ref. if you are unaware of Dianetics google: operation clambake). One version of the saying goes like this:

"If life hands you lemons, make lemonade."

The version I prefer is a little more optimistic:

"If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Then, find someone who had life hand them potatoes and make vodka. Then make lemon drop martinis"


The moral of that saying? I'm drunk how would I know what the moral of the saying is. Needless to say I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to pretend like this never happened and I planned to fly the bike over myself anyways. I have learned a lot about air freight over the last couple of days. I know more about dangerous goods, IATA, and transporting items by air than most of the idiots at the freight forwarding companies. Right now I'm getting quote after quote for $1600 but I just found a guy yesterday that may be able to do it considerably cheaper.

Another option is to remove the engine and ship it separately from the frame. Then I would reassemble it once I got to Germany. Doesn't sound like fun but it may be an economical option.

As well, I'm starting to sell anything I don't need for the bike (like do you really need a front AND a back brake?) to offset the cost a bit. Plus, if I don't eat for the next two weeks that will save me a couple hundred bucks too.

Needless to say I'm going to finish my bike this weekend and I should be riding it all week. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be the guy in the Canada bike driving around Canada. That way people won't have any doubt where I'm from. Of course I will look like a geek here.

I'm starting to compile a list of people who... owe me money. Just kidding! I'm putting together a list of people who have lent their services or helped me in someway make this happen, even if it doesn't happen, I can't thank you enough.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dare to Dream


So I've been hit with some extremely bad news. The guy who was going to ship my bike for me can't do it anymore. So my $300 shipping bill looks like it's going to jump to $1700. After all this hard work I've done there is a good chance that I'm not going to be able to take my trip. I'm so effin depressed I could cry. All the time, sweat, and money for nothing. I'll never know what it feels like to be broken down in Bratislava. I'll never know what unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell tastes like out of a wooden keg. I won't get to surprise the entire village of Jadrtovac as I cruise into town on my Canada bike with 24 liters of Karlovacko Pivo (beer) strapped to the back seat.


This is a cruel joke. If this were an 80's movie we would have a bad guy challenging me to a race and everyone would come over and help finish the bike, and someone would be a rat and tell the bad guy what we were doing, and then we would show up at the race and they would try to disqualify us, and then Chuck Norris would kick the judges ass and we would be allowed to race, but the stakes would be raised to include my dying aunts corner store, and then we would lose the race, and the store, but someone would have sold the rights to the movie and made us twice as much money as the store was worth.

Unfortunately, I don't have a dying aunt and Chuck Norris is getting too old to kick anyone's ass. I guess I'll just finish the bike and try not to dream.


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Friday, July 4, 2008

Canada Day


Happy Canada Day everybody. And happy Independence Day to all of my American cousins.

So it's crunch time now. The bike is coming together and the cosmetic work is practically done. Take a look at the paint scheme.


The reassembly is coming together pretty good. I'm still a little worried about the electrical and the wiring harness. Oh... and a little thing called rebuilding an engine. You can't forget that. The rolling frame is put together and I just need to reattach the front forks and wheels to get it done. I have been making countless trips across the border to pick up little odds and ends that I have been buying on the Internet. And before you ask I am not declaring any of my purchases to the border guards. How do I get away with this? Well I always have a bag full of cheese, butter, eggs, and milk. Let me tell you, I went across the border 4 times last week so if you lactose intolerant do no come to my house under any circumstances.

I was very excited last night. I ordered a front cowling and windshield and I wasn't sure what it was going to look like in person. It's gorgeous! It's way bigger than it looked like in the pictures. I am so relieved. For $30 I was expecting something flimsy and small. God bless our Chinese sweatshops.

It's the fourth of July today and I have to stay home and work on my bike. I have spent so much time on this project that I have basically wasted half my summer.

Tomorrow I'm taking my engine into work so I can use the shop. It's a much better place to do this kind of work.

  • Clearcoat the paint
  • Reattach the front forks
  • Refill the fork oil
  • Attach the front wheel, fender, and brake.
  • Handlebar controls and handgrips.
  • Fabricate the rear cowling to accept new LED tail-light
  • Reattach the electrical
  • Rebuild the engine and install it.
  • Hope to hell she starts.
  • Test drive

Doesn't sound too bad does it? This is what the progress looks like so far


I'm so not going to make it. I feel like it's the last hour on Monster garage. My crew has abandoned me and Jesse James is going to walk into my carport and take my bike away to be crushed, after mocking me, and having his midget kick me.
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