Monday, April 20, 2009

A nice weekend...

Well... what a nice weekend that was. Saturday was not much of a riding day, but against all odds, I found a motorcycle shop whose service department did tires on the weekends. After dropping my Honey off at work, I decided to swing by Wheelsport Honda in Orleans, to see if I could organize a date to drop off the wheels. They being much closer than the folks out at Powersport, it seemed like a good idea. Their service person advised me that they could swap them out that day, while I waited. I couldn't believe my ears. What a stroke of luck!

So hurrying home, I put Baby up on the lift and proceded to remove her wheels. Loading them and the new Avons into the van, I sped back to the dealership where I was met by my sidekick Ben-Ben. We killed some time looking at the new rides and other sundry riding gear, until we were advised that the tires were done. We returned home to begin re-installing the wheels. It was a very good thing that Ben decided to give me a hand. It would have been pretty dicey swapping 'em out without having him there. We did some spot-cleaning while we were at it, getting to areas normally made inaccessible by the presence of wheels and tires (like the inside of the fork legs...). He also was kind enough to bring along 4 litres of Honda GN-4 10W40 oil, which he had won at a mini-rally he had attended.

We mounted the rear wheel first and she really filled the space back there well. That 200 tire looked great! Ben was a big help in wrestling the wheel into place, before torquing the axle down to 91ft/lbs. We then hung the front wheel and snugged up the axle, before quitting to go pick up my Honey at work. She was happy to see Ben-Ben as always and they chatted away as we made our way back home. I ordered a pizza on the way and upon returning, Ben finished torquing the axle nut to 67ft/lbs and the front caliper mounting bolts to 22ft/lbs. I spun the both front wheel and the rear wheel. Both turned effortlessly. A great job! I verfied the air pressure that the shop had inflated the tires to and adjusted it to meet the manufacturer's (Avon's) specifications. We cleaned up just in time for the pizza to show up.

I was tempted to take the bike out that evening, but it just didn't seem right to bring Baby out for a romp with new tires, when she was dusty and dirty from being parked outdoors all week. I told myself that I would wash her Sunday morning and then take her out for a little run, just to scuff up the new tires' surface and make 'em rideable...

Sunday morning, 0645hrs saw me with a cup of coffee, a bucket of soapy water and a commandeered luxury facecloth, washing down Baby. As I cleaned areas normally hidden by her seat and side covers, I couldn't help but feel good about getting this job done. I was fasting this morning, not counting the coffee of course. I wanted to get out and get in a walk before I did anything else. My arm and shoulder were sore and aching by the time I had finished washing and drying off the bike. My back was also joining the chorus of protesting body parts, due to the bending to reach obscure areas. A good walk would fix all that, get the blood flowing and loosen up all my joints.

My better half was soon ready and we drove out to the Rockcliffe Parkway, parking beyond the Aviation Museum, so we could then walk bak towards it. The air was brisk, the sun was out and it was very pleasant. We walked at a good pace, observing life around us and delighted in watching the odd Cessna or Beechcraft fluttering in for a landing. As we walked, I could feel my body loosening up. By the time we had reached the Museum and turned around for our return leg, I had a pretty healthy sweat going. I also noticed that my stomach was now making it's presence felt. "Feed me, you bastard!", it howled. Hmmmm.... It was eleven o'clock on a sunny Sunday morning. Where the Hell were we going to go for breakfast that wouldn't be absolutely packed???

I thought about the Elgin Street Diner. Great breakfasts, great crew... but a veritable zoo on any weekend day! Nope... What about Zack's? Says my better half: "Are you kidding me? They're right in the Market. Right where everyone else is going to be. Do you really think we'll get a seat there?" I thought on it for a spell before telling her that I was going to challenge conventional wisdom and we would try Zack's. We reached the van and headed out to the Market. As we both knew, there was a bit of a line-up, but within 10 minutes, we were comfortably seated and awaiting to order our breakfast. It was great. For as much as the Diner is our favorite place, Zack's never disappoints! Good food, good service and totally awesome mango-banana-pineapple smoothies! The best I've ever had, actually!!

The drive home was uneventful and I outlined the route I had envisioned for taking Baby out. I would retrace our steps down the Parkway, follow the Rideau Canal out to Hog's Back, before deaking acrosss the little bridge to Prince of Wales. Left on Prince of Wales and up to Hunt Club. From there I would take the River Road out to Manotick, prolly stop in at Timmie's, before taking Mitch Owens down to the Ramsayville Road.

Arriving home, I took my time getting dressed, thinking through what I wanted to wear so that I remained comfy and didn't wind up either sweating or freezing. By about 1330 I was on my way. Simply backing the bike down the driveway, I could feel the difference. As I snicked her into first and headed towards the 'chicane' at the end of our street, I could feel how effortlessly she dove into each curve. I would have to deliberately hold myself back until I got used to such a responsive front end. It was wonderful...

I followed my planned itinerary, stopping at the Ottawa Goodtime Centre (Kawasaki, Triumph, Ducati dealership) to have a little look around for some new boots and of course Powersports on Laser Drive, for the same reason. No such luck... One can of pop later, I was tipping the front end onto the River Road, heading out to Manotick. I love riding this road. It swoops and bends, and twists and turns. Up, down, all around. Before I knew it (and all too soon...), I was reining her in as we coasted to a stop in the Tim Horton's parking lot in Manotick. There were three different groups of riders there. I exchanged pleasanteries with all of them, as I walked amongst them sipping my Timmie's.

As I was getting ready to pitch my empty cup, another couple emerged from Tim's and the male rider approached Baby, eyes levelled at her tank badge. "Is that an 1800...?", he asked. "Yup...sure is", I replied. He called his better half over and they both complimented Baby on how she looked. "Yeah, I try to keep her looking good and working well. She's just trying out her new tires today...". We chatted for a bit and they asked if I was going on the Red Ride. I told them I knew about the Ride For Dad, the Ride For Sight and many others, but had not heard about the Red Ride.

They quickly brought me up to speed. The Red Ride is a ride which is carried out in support of our troops and their families, hence the 'Red'. There is one slated for May 16th this year, a Saturday, as I later found out. They invited me to meet them for breakfast at the Big Stop Restaurant in Arnprior. From there, our group would be leaving on the ride to CFB Petawawa. All proceeds from the ride will go towards providing family support services for the military families at CFB Petawawa. I told them that I would certainly make it a point to attend. In the meanwhile, I have posted some information on the Canadian VTX Riders' website as well.

They provided me with an e-mail address and a phone number, so hopefully we'll be able to connect and I'll be able to disseminate more information on this impending ride. It's certainly for a worthy cause.

I lit up Baby and we headed out of there, pulling into the driveway at 1730hrs. Wow! Where had the time gone? We were due to meet my daughter and her beau at the Turkish Village at 1800hrs. Timing or what? I quickly washed up and changed and we headed out for supper. We met up and spent an enjoyable time dining and chatting. So much going on in my little girl's world... Training, marches, home renovations prior to marketting properties, a looming deployment to Afghanistan in August... So much to do in so little time. I wish I could be of more help...

All in all, a very nice weekend. Now back at work, this week bringing the beginnig of our 'April Showers'. Won't be much for riding weather. Ah well... Perhaps we can always look towards the weekends.

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