Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Nice Day for a Ride and a Little Excitement!!!

I wanted to get a little ride in today before the weekend comes and the road is full of tourists. I plotted out a 175 mile loop north up to Lake Superior.

I left home and headed west on County Road (CR) M. I gassed up in Cable and turned north on hwy 63. Just south of Drummond, I caught Forest road (FR) 35, north bound. FR 35 is a great twisty road. It's too bad it's posted 45 MPH, but I've been startled by Deer crossing the road a couple of times on it, so I guess it's best to hold it down a bit!

At the north end of FR 35 I turned onto CR H, and followed that to CR E. I took CR E north to US 2. Along E, there were big fields of Alfalfa. The air smelled like sweet summer perfume!

When I crossed over US 2, CR E became Ino(eye-know) Road, or FR 236. It's another awesome road through the north woods. It also is posted 45MPH, but it's do-able faster.
At CR C, I turned north towards Cornucopia. In Corny, I stopped for a quick bottle of apple juice, and I was back on my way. I pulled into the wayside on the east edge of town. The little park looks out onto Lake Superior.

Out of Cornucopia, I went east on hwy 13. I followed that to Bayfield. Bayfield is a small tourist town that has ferry boat service out to Madeline Island. The area is also a big destination for sea kayakers.

Hwy 13 runs through Washburn and Ashland. The Chequamegon Bay was all red from recent storms and rain.

I took 13 out of Ashland down to Mellen, and CR GG towards Clam Lake. GG is yet another north woods gem! From Clam Lake I turned onto CR M and headed for home. I did stop at the dam at the start of the Namekagon River. It's possible to canoe or kayak all the way to the Gulf of Mexico from here. The Namekagon flows into the St. Croix, which flows into the Mississippi.
Headed towards the Gulf.....

So, where was the excitement? I walked into the house to find Nancy mopping up a huge flood. The washing machine that we bought in January after we moved in, decided to overfill and spill all over the floor. I helped her get the water up and dry the floor. I thought everything was good until I went downstairs! There was water in about a quarter of the basement!!!

The Whirlpool repair people will be here next Friday!
It's got to be better tonight!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Picture or Four for George.

Here you go George, it's the mystery cat, Orangie... He's usually NEVER seen by strangers. You got lucky when you caught even a glimpse of him. He doesn't like his picture taken and is giving me the Evil Eye! He was a true feral cat that started hanging around our home when we lived in Prescott, WI. It took years for him to trust us enough to let us pet him. It's only been the last 2 years that I've even dared to pick him up without the fear of loosing a finger. I'm still trying to get him to be OK with me rubbing his belly... he's getting there, but only for a minute or so.
He had super bad frost bite on his ears about 3 years ago and that's when he started to live inside full time. Now, I don't think he'd go out if I left the door open. He sees wildlife in the back yard, growls at it and backs away from the patio door. He's turned into a real cuddler at night, and will spend hours in my lap if I sit there and let him.

Here he his with frost bite!!!! FYI, he's all better now as you can see in the above pictures. And here's one Nancy took... Me on the left and George on the right.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

So Long, George!

After staying up way too late last night and talking about all things motorcycle, everyone was up by 6:30 this morning. Nancy fixed a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, melon, oranges, and toast. She made coffee, but we were so busy gabbing, that no one drank any!
Too soon it was time and George way on his way west. Just before he left, a Fox walked into the back yard looking for food. George went out to his bike and got his camera. I'm sure he'll post a picture later tonight, but here's a couple from the other day.
I got a picture of his new rear tire. I've seen snow tires with less tread! These things are chunky.
George packed his camera and was ready to leave. He rolled out of the garage, we said our good byes and he was off! So long George, ride safe!

A Fellow Blogger comes to Visit!

(posted after midnight) This was Friday..... I've been tracking the progress of George F as he makes his way from New Jersey to Alaska. I'd seen on his blog, Riding the USA, that he was going to be stopping in Cameron, WI to put tires on his Yamaha Super Tenere. I followed his progress on his blog. He has a SPOT tracking device and a map on his blog, so it shows his current location. When he was about and hour and a half out from Scramblers Cycle in Cameron, I left home and headed that way.
I pulled into the parking lot to find a guy standing in the lot taking pictures of all the old motorcycles scattered around. I pulled up next to him and said, "you must be George". I think he recognized the green Ninja, because he sad, "you must be Erik". With the introductions out of the way, I got off the bike and we went inside the shop and watched Kevin, the shop owner, mount up a set of Heidenau tires on George's bike.
Kevin, the owner of Scrambler Cycle, on the left..... and George, on the right.

After talking to George for a while about his bike and his plans, I invited him to ride the 90 miles up to my place for the evening. He accepted the offer, and after settling up with Kevin, we headed north. We made a quick stop for gas and made it to my place around dinner time. After meeting Nancy and the cats, the 3 of us went out for a typical "Friday night fish fry". We ate at the Sawmill Saloon in Seeley, WI. It's about 12 miles down the road. I, of course, forgot to bring my camera to get a group picture or even a food picture. I know Nancy got a picture of the 2 of us looking a highway maps. I'm sure George will post pictures on his blog. After diner, we went back home and spent the rest of the night sharing riding stories. I'm up too late and I think George is probably blogging now, or will be in the morning. I'll get a picture of the 2 or 3 of us in the morning!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zx-14 New Chain, Sprockets and Tires... Part 2.

I finished everything up today, and the bike is ready to ride!
I got the rear tire mounted without a problem. John, plenty of lube is the key! I didn't have to wrestle it or fight it at all. It went on for me just like the guy at the cycle show. It wasn't all easy though The rear tire didn't want to balance without 1.25 ounces of weight. I tried turning the rim inside the tire 90 degrees each time. Some positions were worse yet, almost 2 ounces off. I chose the position that required the least weight.
The chain went on with no problems. The tool I bought worked just like it should. After lubing up the master link and slipping the O-rings on it, I pressed the master link side plate on. I switched the tool parts from press to rivet and pressed on the exposed mater link pins to give them a mushroomed head. Both the directions for the tool and the chain said that the chain would now be as solid and dependable as a factory riveted link.
The rest of the re-assembly was just the reverse of yesterday. I did take the tank cover off so I could check the air filter. Just like the last time, 15,000 miles ago, the filter was filthy. I ordered a new one.

Here's a few pictures of the new nickel silver chain/sprocket set.

My wore out Michelin PilotRoad2 tires with 11,548 miles on them. Rear tread wear indicator. Cupped front. The front was starting to cup and the rear had quite a flat spot in the center. It looked like it was starting to wear funny, almost like it was cupping like the front tire.
There's now 29,653 miles on the Ninja.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zx-14 New Chain, Sprockets and Tires.... Part 1

It has been raining the last couple of days and today too. I decided to start working on the big green ninja, getting it ready for my next road trip, Oregon.
I started by taking off the front wheel and changing out the tire for a fresh, 120/70zr-17, Michelin PilotRoad2. The first step was to remove the front fender and the 4 bolts holding on the 2 front brake calipers. I don't have the "correct" front axle nut tool, so I improvise. I have a Craftsman, 1/2" drive spark plug socket that has a perfect size hex head for the job. I stick a short 1/2 to 3/8 adapter inside, then follow that with a short 3/8 extension, then the ratchet. It works slick.

Once the wheel was off, I assembled the Cyclehill tire changer. My buddy, John, had a steel base made so we can bolt the changer to it and park a truck on it, rather than drill holes in the garage floor and bolt it down. We went "halfs" on it a couple of years ago. This will be my 4th set of tires that I've mounted with it. I think John has mounted 3 sets. Today was the first time the drive on base has been tested. So far, so good!!

I started by breaking the bead loose on both sides of the rim.

Then mounting the wheel in the changer.

Using plenty of lube and the dismount end of the bar, take off one side.. then the other.

Once the old tire was off, I spent a little time cleaning the side of the rim where the bead seats. Mounting the new tire went pretty slick. Some tire lube makes things go easier. Make sure the direction arrow on the new tire is going the correct way! The mount bar is just laying on the rim while I took the picture. It does NOT touch the brake rotor in normal use.

After the tire was mounted, I filled it with air to seat the bead and put it on the balancer. What you don't see is, when I first put it on the balancer, I still had the 3/4 ounce (21gr.) of weights on the rim from when the old tire was balanced. That weight ended up being in the "light" spot on the rim.... Not Good! So I took it off the balancer, broke the beads loose and spun the rim inside the tire 1/2 turn. I re-seated the bead, filled the tire and set up to balance it again. Much better this time. It only took 1/4 of an ounce (7gr.) to balance it. Many tire manufactures mark the tire with a dot, and the dot is to be aligned with the valve stem. PilotRoad2 tires do not have a mark.

I mounted the wheel back on the forks and torqued everything to specs.

On to the rear end..
I didn't get very many in progress pictures. My hands were too greasy to think about touching the camera! I started with taking off the left side lower fairing, and then the clutch slave cylinder, and the sprocket cover. I used a cold chisel to flatten out the bent up side of the lock washer on the sprocket nut. I loosened the right side exhaust so I could slip a steel bar over the swing arm and through the tire. That held the chain/sprocket in place so I could muscle off the front sprocket nut with a 24" breaker bar. I got out a grinding wheel and mounted it in my Dremel tool. I took a deep breath and started grinding on the head of a rivet on the old chain. No turning back now! I used my new chain tool to push out the pin and break the chain. Pretty slick!

The sprockets didn't look too bad, but I could see wear was starting to change the shape of the "U" between the sprocket teeth. The chain, on the other hand, had a number of very stiff links, while most of it was still very flexible. There are 30,000 miles on it. It probably would have been OK for another 10,000 miles, but why push it. I plan to do another 10,000 miles or more on it this summer.

With the chain removed, I broke the bead on the rear tire and dismounted it. I cleaned up the rim so it's ready for the new tire.
That's as far as I got today. Tomorrow, I'll mount a new 190/55zr-17, balance it, put on the new chain and rivet it, and re-assemble everything.