And a happy “potato potato potato” to you my friends!
Coming home from a poker run last night, I was just cruisin’ along groovin’ to the sound of my motor and it struck me how technology has progressed to the point that it has allowed us to ride motorcycles that are so damned EASY to maintain! The bike I now ride is a 1999 Road King Classic that I’ve owned and ridden for twenty years, and she has given me absolutely NO problems except for an engineering mistake centered around the fact that it was the first year for Harley’s Twin-Cam 88 engine... and even THAT didn’t leave me stranded on a roadside. Of course I had the problem corrected ten years ago when it finally (but expectedly) occurred and I STILL think “the corporation” should have paid for that, but oh well... I’ve thought a LOT of things that SHOULD have happened in my life didn’t, and some things that shouldn’t have, did. But getting back to it, these days all ya really gotta do to keep it rolling down the road is to change your oil regularly, keep the tires right, take care of the battery, brakes, and plugs when necessary... and that’s about it!
In my early days when I was raising a family and restoring an old abandoned house, I was also often strapped for cash, so I was forced to rely on a motorcycle for daily transportation (to work etc.) and not just to be using it for pleasure. Some of those bikes were often held together with duct tape and bungee cords... and that was back in the days when motorcycles were engineered to be constantly and vigorously maintained with a little more, uh... ya might say “attention to detail”.
One cool thing about those days though, was that many items meant for cars, trucks, and even tractors could be substituted for the “stock” bike parts in a pinch. Back then I was living in a small farm town with no bike shop around for miles and miles, so I ended up using chain purchased from the local “John Deer” dealer as my drive chain. My points were usually those that were designed for Chevy “small blocks”, and my regulator was originally manufactured for a Volkswagen “Beetle” that I had found in a local junkyard. My headlight and taillight bulbs, and even my gas caps, were often intended for automobiles, trucks, and various farm machinery. Now it’s a whole different ballgame regarding points, chains, regulators, and many other forms of what is now obsolete “parts”, but at least ya didn’t HAVE to patronize a dealership for everything ya needed.
Aside from utilizing weird sources for parts, bike magazines featured full-page advertisements from after-market suppliers offering so MANY various custom (and far cheaper) replacement parts to keep your scoot looking good and chugging on down the road. By the way, speaking of chugging... my initial “potato” reference was in regard to the fact that Harley Davidson once tried to “trademark” that specific sound to keep competitors from copying the (then) distinctive rumble that a Harley engine makes LOL! And they almost got away with it!! But moving on...
I’m writing this in mid-June, and we here in my area have often been subjected to rain for days and days in a row lately... so much so that sometimes it’s seemed that building an ark might not be a bad idea. My yard is usually too squishy to mow, the sump-pump in my basement has been running almost constantly, and when the sun DOES break out occasionally, I run to jump on the scoot to take advantage of the sunshine before it starts raining again! But if nothing else, I really DO thank God often that I’ve made it well into retirement and that I usually don’t have to even go out into the rain if I don’t wanna. Many local farmers are bitching about what will undoubtedly be the expected crop-loss this year (particularly the corn and soybeans) due to all the rain. By the time you read this, we’ll all know how that turned out.
With August comes the “Dog Days” of summer. Most people think that they’re called that because that’s when dogs are known to be lazier due to the heat... they’ll lay around and pant a lot more. But actually it refers to the prominence of the “Dog” star Sirius (in the “Canis Major” constellation), which shows itself most clearly from early July to mid to late August... the dates have moved around a bit throughout history, just as our view of the constellations themselves have shifted over time due to “our” position moving around in the universe. In fact, I’ve often thought that if some sea-farer who really knew his shit in ancient days regarding “sailing by the stars” was suddenly brought to today’s times, he wouldn’t know where the hell he was if he looked up at the night sky! But enough with all that...
As I sit here, I’m struck by the fact that though I put a bunch of miles on the bike yesterday (one of those unusually beautiful days), I ended up dozing off in my living room chair and slept through most of the day today! Sorta like, “WTF? Is THIS what aging is all about? Am I getting too old to get off the porch every now and then for more than a few hours without spending a whole day recuperating?” Then I consign myself to the fact that whatever happens, happens... I’ll know when and if I should hang up the key to the scoot, unless I just go ahead and give it to my son Ben (I gave my Shovelhead to Jason years ago). Since Ben has his own bike for now, I’ll probably end up being one of those old guys with a bike in his garage that he hasn’t ridden for years. And if that happens... so be it. At least she’ll stay clean for more than a day or two (as if THAT has ever mattered LOL!)
Since I slept the day away today, I’ll probably be awake all night tossing and turning. Eventually I’ll turn the tube on like I often do when I can’t sleep, and I’ll end up watching whatever the hell is on that’s even remotely interesting, or I’ll dive into something I’ve recorded in the past. Hell, I might even crack open up a book (something I rarely do these days for some reason). In any event, y’all ride safe and...
I’ll be yapping at ya next month,