Monday, September 21, 2009

What a great weekend... (2)

Sunday morning found me champing at the bit to get going. Over my first cup of coffee, I had gone online and sent Matt a message. I basically stated that I was up and about and ready whenever he was. Today I would rescue my daughter's trusty steed. 'Bike-nap' it, as I call it. While I waited to hear back from Matt, I had many other tasks calling for my attention. Laundry had to be caught up on and there was that nagging detail from the lattice work to see to. The last two sections which had to be cut and fited onto the 2 hinged, wooden frames at the end of the deck.

I threw the laundry in and went back up top to check for a response to my e-mail. It would be some time before Matt was inbound to the city. He had the poultry and the canine to tend to first of all. I had time to concentrate on the lattice work. By 1200hrs, I had finally finished and cleaned up the shop. I had also cycled the laundry to the dryer. I then went up top to check on Matt's progress. According to his message from 1100hrs, he had just to let the four-legged one out and he would be outta there. That meant that he should be arriving shortly. I got changed into my riding attire and finished just as the doorbell rang. Sure enough, it was him.

We took a leisurely drive through the backroads to Chesterville, then on to their homestead. Upon arriving I backed her out of the barn one final time. I told Matt I would touch base with him once I was safely home and that he could inform my daughter that I would of course, treat her bike as if it were my very own. I fired her up and we headed out for the 31. I had loaned my daughter the small windshield I had been running on Baby, initially. I had since realized that for long road trips, a full windshield was much more practical and efficient. It sat perched in front of me, not really accomplishing much of anything. The wind blast and noise when at speed, were pretty horrendous. I decided to remove it once I arrived home. She needed one that fit and actually did the job.

Taking my habitual route back became a different experience, while riding this new bike. She handled much differently than Baby. She was lighter, more nimble. I found myself being really cautious on the turns, not wanting to touch down those floorboards. On the straightaways, I pretty much let her take her head. She tracked along really good. Just before arriving home, I stopped into our local PetroCan to fill her up with fresh stuff. $6.00 later we were back out in traffic on Innes, threading our way through the Sunday shopping traffic.

Arriving home, I parked her in the middle of the driveway and gave her a while to cool down, before starting the process of bringing her back. I removed the windshield and brackets. I then ran the hose and broke out the Meguiar's Car Wash. I stopped into the computer room to fire off a message to Matt, informing him of our safe arrival. Then it was time to get down to business. I first soaked her bike down from stem to stern, concentrating on the hidden areas, like inside the fender wells and under the frame. After letting her sit for 10 minutes or so, I whacked the suds to her.

I find it better to concentrate on washing one section at a time. I break each side of the bike up into quadrants. Slowly, the glorious bike that I remembered from the Powersports showroom began to emerge. The wheels had the worse amount of deposits on them, though from what I couldn't tell you. It was sort of a sticky, waxy residue which required some amount of elbow grease to finally dispose of. Even when cleaned, there remained some galling that would require polishing to see it finally removed as well. After finishing with the rear fender and pipes, I stood back to admire the change. Now this was more like it! With the late afternoon sun striking her from the angle it was, she gleamed. Between the chrome and the gold-based metalflake burnt-orange paint, it was enough to hurt your eyes.

I spent the next 45 minutes wiping her down, noting areas which would require some chrome/metal polish and perhaps a coat of sealant applied afterwards. I had also noted that the left hand grip had a tendency to want to slide off the handlebar. I'd have to secure that with some 'death-grip' adhesive. There was an excessive amount of play in the clutch cable... I would set that right as well. The throttle assembly had to be taken apart and the sleeve and cables lubed with teflon. The throttle return springs on the carb body itself, also had to be lubed.

I had yet to disassemble the airbox for a visual inspection, or the side covers, to inspect and clean beneath them. The radiator cover had to be removed as well (Hm-mmm... they make chrome ones for her, don't they?), to ensure that no dirt remained trapped behind it. I have been eyeing her horn as well... Surely there has to be a better place to route that to. And maybe provide it with a classy chrome cover, perhaps? Her rear master cylinder still maintains that same, blah, stock, black tin cover. And a black plastic cap? Puh-leeeease... I sense a new chrome one in her future... The clutch and brake levers are the stock, dull aluminum ones. Tsk! Tsk! Chrome would look better. Ditto for her front master cylinder cover. Her rear turn signals are still those two ugly lumps of orange plastic... And that stock airbox? Girl, you got to do you some shoppin'...!!! I could go on and on (and I probably will, as time goes by...), but enough of that. She was now clean and dry and looking a thousand times better than she had just hours ago. It was time to take her out for a romp to Cumberland.

Closing up the shop, I flashed her up and took her back out onto Innes. Don't ask me why, but I have always gotten the feeling that bikes just run better when they're clean. She was certainly no exception. She was getting the eye from everyone that saw her, too. She really is a good looking bike, when she's all cleaned up. As we passed Trim Road and headed out into the country, I was able to admire the view from the cockpit. Her dash was different than Baby's. The speedo sat mounted on the tank itself, rather than being cradled between the handlebars. Sans windscreen, the wind blast actually felt really good, after working up a healthy sweat by washing and wiping her down. I kept our speed down as we trundled along. You tend to ride more conservatively when you have no protection up front. Common sense dictates it...

We turned North down Dunning and headed to Old Montreal Road, which would take us through the village of Cumberland. Again, old route, new feeling onboard my little girl's ride. It was a real joy. I remember thinking how days like this were nothing short of a gift. Montreal Road is always a treat to ride. It twists and turns, rises and drops. It's just a pretty ride. All too soon, we were back at Trim Road and I had to turn left and climb the hill which would bring us back to Innes. It was just a short romp, just enough to blow the last remaining droplets out of hidden places.

She ran like a champ, all the way home. As we pulled back into the driveway, she was still wanting to idle poorly. I took advantage of her being fully warmed up, to re-adjust the idle speed. It took me all of a second to find the thumbwheel, located just below the airbox on her starboard side. One minor adjustment later and she was now idling smoothly. I shut her down and went inside to brief Matt. I had been searching for my billfold, which contained my insurance and registration for Baby. I went through the entire house at least twice. No luck. I had sent Matt an e-mail before taking the princess out, asking him to check his car and property to see if I hadn't left it out there. Sure enough, I had...

I tucked 'The Princess' as I now call her, into the garage and secured it. It was a little after 1800hrs and I was outbound with Baby to Chesterville, once more. As the sun set, you could feel the heat being stolen by the shadows, as they lengthened and covered the countryside. Gone now are those balmy evenings where even a t-shirt would be too much clothing to bear. Traffic was light and we made good time travelling down there. I stopped just long enough to collect my wayward paperwork and thank him again for his help. And then we were off again. Even in the time it took to do the turnaround, the air had chilled even more. I decided to stop at Tim's on the way out from Chesterville.

Pulling into their parking lot, I decided that a small double double would not be out of place. I also took the time to zip the liner back into my helmet and swap my light leather VTX gloves for my heavier rain gauntlets. I also cleaned the windshield, as we had collected more than our share of insects on the way down. I had every intention of remaining toasty and comfy on the ride back. Notably since getting cold had a tendency to aggravate the pain in my shoulder. By the time I headed back onto the road, I was just fine. I switched on the passing lamps when I turned onto John Quinn Road, 'cause that there is deer country. I wanted to be able to spot 'eye-shine' from a long, long ways away. I maintained our speed at around 80kmh and kept a vigilant lookout for critters.

By 2015hrs we were pulling into the driveway for the last time. It had been a superlative day, with plenty of great riding and many accomplishments. I looked at Baby's windshield after she was tucked in and I knew I had one more remaining task before I could call it a day. There's no way I could let her spend the night looking like that and I had no intention of cleaning her off in the early morning. Some 20 minutes later, she looked her regular pristine self again and I was ready for my jammies.

I sent off one last e-mail to Matt, informing him that all was well. Before trudging up the wooden hill, I checked in one last time with the shop. There sat two of the most gorgeous bikes I knew of, nose to tail. I had me a garage full of awesome. I felt much better knowing that my daughter's bike would no longer be a source of concern. Either for her or for myself. Let's face it, she has much more pressing matters to concentrate on. I'm just glad I can help her to do that.

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