31 May 2007 – Farewell, my friend

Today was a weird day. It started off by my builders informing me that their floor leaked and that my insulation was full of water. Shit!!! I had to pull off all the plastic that Scott and I put up, and will instead have to install mesh so that the insulation can breathe. Double Shit!

After I got that great news, I went to the dermatologist to get a few spots zapped on my face. Now I look like I sat through a nuclear blast. I can always be in sci-fi movies if I need a few bucks.

On my way home from the dermatologist I got a call from our department office manager. A good friend of mine — former student, colleague and friend, Chuck Buckley, had a heart attack Monday night and passed away. 59 years old. The nicest guy you could ever hope to meet. It’s awful news. I’ll be going to the service tomorrow night and the burial on Monday. My thoughts were about Chuck the rest of the day. I wish I would have had a chance to tell him how much I liked him. There’s a lesson in this for us all. Don’t wait until somebody is sick or dies before you tell them how special they are to you. Having nice things said about you at your funeral is nice, but I’d rather the person hear it while they’re still alive.

I spent the rest of the day finishing the N-S wall. It’s complete, including the top cap and staining. Monday I’ll start the E-W wall. That wall is much shorter and should only take me a week to complete. That’s good because I have 2 bikes coming in the 3rd week of June for services. I’ve got 2 more weeks to finish my yard stuff, then I’ll be back teaching and wrenching.

Above:  Chalk up one complete wall. Is that a straight wall or what? Meanwhile, the rafters are on the shed. Tomorrow it starts getting a deck on the 2nd floor and T111 siding.

I’ve estimated that it will take me another 25K to finish everything once the building is up! I wasn’t counting on that much $$$. Time to sell some stuff. The ’74 Sport has gotta go, but I don’t have time to screw with it right now.

Tonight I’ll relax with Suzi. I think I’ll tell her I love her while I’m at it.

I went to install the frame sliders on the ole M900 only to remember that Speedymoto model I had won’t work on pre-2001 Monsters. Grrrrrrr…

DT Tip of the Day – Appreciate your health while it lasts. Nothing else matters without it, and we tend to take it for granted.  

30 May 2007 – A Rain Day

After my post office run this morning I worked a few hours at the office then had lunch with Brad. It rained today, so no work on the property. That’s okay because we desperately needed the rain. I finished the day by adding a few new products — Sato Rearsets and an Impact Driver kit for removing stuck fasteners. I also added the Monstrack mirrors to the closeout page. I went back to bar-end mirrors on the ole’ M900.

Tonight was a low-key affair at the local Duck meet. Steve, Mark, Suzi and Me had a quick bite to eat and then chatted for about an hour. I’m trying to plan a beach ride this weekend, but my old beach route is still washed out from Hurricane Ivan from 3 years ago. I wonder how long it will take to fully recover from that hurricane.

Tomorrow I’ll start the day with another Post Office run, then head to a meet with a dermatologist to see if I have any skin problems that need attention. Then it’s back to the wall and more fun. My order of frame sliders came in today, so I may take a break and treat the S2R to the frame sliders I’ve been promising for the past few months.  The shop is toast until I finish the wall. I’ve got my carpentry tools all mixed with my motorcycle tools – true chaos. I’m on schedule to completely finish the wall by the end of next week. Then I’ll be pressing the builders to finish the damn shed.

I got a call from my friend Charlie, the owner of Pit-Bull stands. He asked me if I knew the problem with using a rear stand on the 1098. Evidently Ducati sourced the hub from 2 different vendors, one of which used a stepped approach to the left side of the hub – meaning on some 1098 models you’ll need 2 different sized pins — one for lifting from the left side and another for lifting from the right side. That’s how the 748-998 series was, but my 1098 has a single ID from the left side to the right side so I’m okay.

Movie quote of the day – “Fat guy in a little coat”.

DT Tip of the Day – “I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to diagnose every problem over an email. Some problems have to be resolved by your own skills and/or a trusty mechanic. While message boards can provide useful information, they can also send you down dark alleys and one way streets.

29 May 2007 – Walls going up

I had a relaxing day working on the wall today. I need another day and the N/S portion of the wall will be 100% complete. The builders managed to get up the walls of the first floor, so at least the building is taking shape. The humidity was way up, and I was sweating like a pig. I was physically drained by 2:30 and called it quits. Whew.


 Above:  I’m weary of walls.. Things are beginning to take shape after a few weeks of construction.  

I watched the UK race during lunch today. What a wet-fest. It takes a whole different set of skills to ride in the wet. Some riders just can’t do it. I’ve never ridden in the wet on the track, but I’ve ridden in downpours on the street that were so hard that cars were pulled off. If you’re on the right bike, it can be fun.

The only DT business this week is adding Sato rearsets to the website and adding a few shop aids. It’s nice to get caught up on the inventory and have some time to assess the products I sell. I rarely get time to reflect on that. I stocked out of a few things over the weekend… Some styles of brake pads, Corsa Velocita Flying-D Clutch covers, black slave cylinders and red oil fill plugs.  I got the red fill plugs and slaves in today, and the rest is on order. The lag time getting things from the West coast sucks. I’m starting to request that my vendors ship to me USPS. USPS priority mail is 1/2 the time from the West Coast to me, and is cheaper to boot.

Ken, thanks for the comment to yesterday’s DD. How are you liking the steering damper?

DT Tip of the Day – I’m awful when it comes to coming up with a list of modifications for any of my bikes. If I was more organized, I’d come up with a prioritized list of modifications that I’d like to perform, separating aesthetic ones from functional ones. Spend your hard-earned desmo dollars wisely, for fuel costs are eating into your disposable income and wages always lag such cost of living increases.

Movie Quote of the Day – “Remember, remember the 5th of November!”… from a brilliant movie that most people fail to understand at first watch.

28 May 2007 – A Quiet Memorial Day

Today was a good day. I started with some yard work and then got cleaned up for our little get-together. Brad and Carol (ST2, H-D FLTCUIHTLVXM, ST1300), Scott and Kelly (DRZ, Gran Canyon) and Mark and Shelly (ST4S, 999) came over and ate with us and shared some conversation. It’s no coincidence that most of my friends ride. I don’t really hang out with my work colleagues, and my Army buddies are spread too far and wide. That leaves my motorcycle friends. I find most have the same general temperament as I do, and, of course, we can relate to trips we’ve taken and places we’ve seen.

This is the first summer in about a decade that I haven’t taken a motorcycle trip of more than 2 thousand miles, Last year’s 7000+ 2 week trip burnt me out so much on motorcycling that I needed a hiatus. I use my new building as an excuse, but the fact is I needed a year off. I told Brad, my perennial touring buddy, that next year’s trip is planned — a trip to the John Wayne Museum in Winterset Iowa. A short 1200 miles each way. The trip would make my Dad proud. He loved John Wayne. I got the idea from seeing a promo on the Western channel.

Another week of no wrenching. Ahhh. The only thing I’ll do bike-wise is do a few mods to the old M900. If I’m up to it, the MTS1000 goes into the shop to get the heads torn off for a warranty rework.

I hope you had a restful Memorial Day. It’s much more than just a day off to me. As a Vet, I appreciate all I have and the chance to enjoy things provided by those that we’re willing to answer the call of duty. As soldiers, we don’t get to pick the wars we get involved in. I know everyone wishes wars were as clear-cut as WWII. Then we knew the bad guys were and the country was united behind the effort. There hasn’t been a “just” war to unite the will of the citizenry since then. Few Americans have had to make sacrifices since WWII, and the average American isn’t touched by what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mark came over tonight with his Mom. His Mom asked me if I ever talked to Mark about his experiences in Desert Storm. I said no, probably for the same reason I don’t talk about my experiences in Iraq with him. Service is a uniquely personal thing. I don’t discuss it with Suzi or my friends. The only time I discuss it is when I’m in the company of those I was overseas with.

DT Tip of the Day – Magazine reviews almost universally suck. They are either conducted by racers who learn to write or by writers with a clear bias. Few magazines test bikes enough to make their reviews relevant for the average rider. I have yet to meet a Ducati (or any other bike for that matter) that doesn’t need modifications to make the bike suit me. Most test mules are stock bikes that have been flogged by other bike magazine testers, and I’ve seen them in such a state of mis-tune and mis-adjustment that you wonder what the manufacturers were thinking. I just read the lastest 6-way comparo of liter class sportbikes in RRW. RRW has never liked twins much, preferring the power delivery of the inline 4s. The 1098 finished at the bottom of the heap with the MV F5 in just about every quantitative and qualitative assessment. You know what… I’ve ridden every other bike in their test except for the F5, and the 1098 is the one I’d rather own. If riding was about magazine tests, I’d be trading bikes every time a new magazine issue comes out. I pick a bike because of its appeal to me, which includes performance and feel. I have yet to regret any Ducati I’ve purchased. I read magazine reviews with this in mind. I don’t expect Ducati to win the magazine comparisons, and would be surprised if they did. If their bikes were marketed to the masses, we probably wouldn’t own one.

27 May 2007 – A Good Sunday

WSB Results Spoiler below

Mark and Scott met me at the house this morning and we met Tony and Steve at the breakfast place. There were 3 Monsters, a Cagiva-Duck and a Beemer for the ride today through Blackwater. The weather was perfect and we had a good time. When we got back Mark stayed behind and we installed the Sato rearsets on Suzi’s S2R. It took almost 2 hours to figure it out. They look good, but I’ll reserve judgement until I ride the bike. 

Above:  5 bikes, a few twisty roads, and friends who’ve been riding together for over a decade. Now that’s the forumla for a good ride.

 Mark and I swapped Monsters today, riding Suzi’s S2R and my M900. Mark dragged the sidestand on the M900. I guess he liked the bike. I gave him the opportunity to ride the Monsters to see if he liked the experience enough to purchase one. What can I say, I’m a bad influence. I love Monsters, particularly in hot weather. Another reason I like them is that it slows me down. Riding a Monster gives the sensation of going faster than you actually are. The next trip through Blackwater will be aboard the Sport Classic. No more water-cooler desmos until the fall for me. I’m staying away from Blackwater for a few weeks. Time to enjoy the few other destinations we can go on locally.  

 Above:  I don’t know what hit my foot, but half it was still attached to my shoe when I got back home. Yuck….

Troy had a great first race today. It’s a shame the weather spoiled his chance at getting a double. Bayliss rules in the wet. It’s a shame that speedvision didn’t show the race. Next weekend is Mugello MotoGP, one of my favorite tracks. I hope Ducati rolls out the tricolor desmosedici for the race like they did last year.

That’s about it for the night. I’m relaxing while watching Chisum. I love John Wayne movies. Encore Westerns is having a marathon of JH movies.

DT Tip of the Day – The ego is a fragile thing. I’ve gone on solo rides and had a great time, only to go on group rides over the same roads and have a bad time. Riding fast is always relative. There will always be faster riders, and faster bikes. My goal for any ride is to ride to have a good time. Sometimes I need to ride a little faster to get rid of some frustration or dissolve some adrenelin.  My goal is to ride fast enough to have a good time. At the same time, I practice technique. Riding smooth beats riding fast, but I’ve found that the former leads to the latter. Either way, you’re definition of a good ride should be defined by you and not somebody else. If you’re on a group ride and aren’t having fun, talk to the group organizers. If the group is large enough it can split up into fast and small groups. Or the leaders can offer to have different rides to locations that are more destination bound than speed bound. Life is too short to have bad rides. Ride your way, get better doing it and enjoy being a motorcyclist.  

26 May 2007 – The GC leaves the DT stables

The big news for the day is that Scott’s Gran Canyon left. I’m free of customer bikes. Scott and his Dad came and picked it up this afternoon. Whew!!!

Above:  Scott is all smiles as he loads his GC for its journey home. Live long and prosper Scott and Gran Canyon.

I had a relaxing day. I worked the yard for a few hours and ran some errands with Suzi. Tonight I rolled her S2R out and rode it over to the workshop next to the M900. Tomorrow both will get a workout in Blackwater. Scott is coming over on his GC and Brad may show up as well. Meet time is 0800 at the Bagelheads on 9 Mile Rd.

Suzi is hitting the beach with her sister tomorrow afternoon, so I’m free to do some work on the wall and in the house when I get back from our ride. 

Bayliss took superpole today, with Ducatis 1st, 4th and 7th on the grid.  Haga and Toseland are right there on the front row too. It’s going to be tough to eat points out of Toseland’s lead. I hate to cheer for crashes, so I’ll just hope for a Toseland breakdown.

I’ve spent some time organizing the inventory in the showroom. It looks good. I also uncovered another product I’ve been sitting on for some time — spring hook pullers. Not exactly a earth-shattering product, but it’s saved me getting knocked out more than once.

Not much else going on around the home of DT.  I’m in stasis mode until the construction is over. I don’t know how the rest of you are faring, but we’re in the middle of one heck of a drought again this year. We’re at 1/4 the average rainfall, and keeping the lawn alive is getting more difficult by the day.  

The more I try to follow World events, the more I just want to lock myself up in my workshop and ignore it all. Why can’t we all just get along and ride. Between the Communists, the radicals, the religious zealots and other locos I’ll be lucky if I can get in the rest of my lifetime of riding before it all goes to shit. Damn…. 

DT Tip of the Day – Motivation and dedication are more important than God-given talents when it comes to wrenching skills. 10 years ago I could do little more change the oil in a motorcycle. If I can learn to do it, anybody can.

25 May 2007 – A Plethora of Activities

I started today by filling some orders, then stopped by the office. The final exams weren’t all back yet from the branch campus, so I couldn’t grade them. I decided to head home and work on the wall some more. I did that until lunchtime, then put both Scott’s and my Gran Canyons back together. Once that was done, I reorganized the inventory and cleaned the showroom up. It was a mess. The inventory is really crowding out the bikes. The new building will be complete in the nick of time.

Tonight I debugged one of my webpage frame files that was corrupted. You should find that my main window loads much faster. Between debugging the website and doing the ads for two new products, tonight was shot. I put up the ads for the 1098 dzus kit and the 851/888 fairing fastener kit. They’re minor products, but they should be very cost effective for most Ducatisti.

WSB is this weekend. It will be busy for me. Tomorrow I have a lot of house projects to complete, Sunday is a ride/work in the yard day and Monday we’re having a cookout. Sounds like a good plan to kill a 3 day weekend.

The builders got all set to start putting up walls tomorrow. I should have a few pics tomorrow of the Great Wall. I’m taking these pictures more as a time capsule as anything.

DT Tip of the Day – Most of us perform maintenance right before an important ride. That isn’t the time to be doing anything more than topping off your oil. After any maintenance/modification, you should perform a series of check rides, and then reinspect fasteners.

24 May 2007- Successes

Ah, an evening in my easy chair. Today was a good day. I finished my DT business stuff from 0500-0900 and then worked in the yard for a few hours. I sank another 5 posts, and completed the wall up to where the posts end. I’m a good 2/3 complete on the North-South wall. While I was working on the wall, the builders tar-papered over the insulation and then put down the 3/4″ treated plywood decking. They’ll start building the walls tomorrow.

Above:  My insulation is now protected. The builders pose for a snapshot in the middle of their workday. 

After I finished in the yard, I got cleaned up and moseyed over to the workshop. I’ve been mentally dreading taking on the Gran Canyon again, but it wasn’t going to fix itself. I spent an hour removing the fairing and tanks and traced the fuel pump lines. All looked in order. Then I checked the fuel pump relay again — it checked out — again. Then I hooked the ECU up to my software to diagnose things. The software couldn’t get a link to the fuel pump – no surprise there. It also had a stored error code for a bad Lambda sensor. That would have concerned me if the Gran Canyon EVEN HAD A LAMBDA SENSOR! Then I lifted the ECU and swapped the relays beneath it — still nothing. Then I walked over to the showroom and tore apart my own Gran Canyon and borrowed the ECU and relays. I put them in Scott’s Gran Canyon – still nothing. That completed the entire gamut of what I knew it could possibly be. Then it was time to start over, rechecking everything I already checked. I started with the sidestand switch, wiring differently the three wire arrangement — bingo. The fuel pumped charged and the bike fired right up. What should have taken me 15 minutes to fix took me 4 hours. I still have the mess of the fairing to put back together and some final checks, but the bike is ready to flog. Whew! My Gran Canyon is pissed, to say the least.

In between stints on the GC today, I removed the Nissin clutch master cylinder on the M900 and installed the Goldline Brembo master cylinder. The clutch pull isn’t much better than with the Nissin, but I won’t know until Sunday. I had frame sliders to install on the M900, but I sold them to a customer. A fresh batch is on the way to me from Speedymoto.

Above:  My M900 and the ever-present Gran Canyon occupy my lifts. 

Tomorrow is an office day. I have to start prepping my summer courses, and do some other paperwork. Suzi only has to work 1/2 day, so I’ll come home and spend some time with her. This weekend it’s time for more yardwork and house chores. Sunday I’ll relax and do a local ride. We’re having a cookout on Memorial Day for the gang. 

DT Tip of the Day – Troubleshooting takes patience and a determination not to quit. I’ve yet to fail fixing any Ducati I’ve set out to conquer, but it takes a mental and physical toll. Pick your fights carefully, and know what you’re getting yourself into before you start by reading manuals and writeups on the process.

Movie Quote of the Day – “You can keep what you kill!”

23 May 2007 – I hate fiberglass insulation

Today was spent working on a 20×40 foot foundation. Scott came over and we tackled the insulation job. In the morning we stapled the moisture barrier to the underside of the foundation. Scott crawled on his back with the electric stapler while I held the sheeting in position. That sucked, but not as bad as the afternoon. Because the floor joists are spaced only 10 inches apart, the insulation strips had to be cut. We both donned long sleeve shirts to keep the fiberglass fibers at bay while we placed the insulation hangers between the joists and then stuffed the insulation into place. It wouldn’t have been a bad job if it wasn’t for the sun. It was cooking hot. Mark popped by on his 999 to say hi, but I was too tired and sweaty to notice his brand new Sato rearsets. Shame on me. By the time we finished, it was all we could do to crawl into the house, stuffed our nasty clothes into the washing machines and disappear into our respective bathrooms.

Tonight we went out for dinner with Mark and Shelly. Scott tagged along and then rode home in the dark aboard his DR-Z. Scott, many thanks. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Tomorrow will be spent split between the wall and the Gran Canyon. I’ll let the yard kick my ass in the morning, and then retreat to air conditioning in the workshop while me and the Gran Canyon have it out.

A few new minor products to roll out this week. One is a simple “Y” connector to eliminate the charcoal canister on modern Ducks. You just attach the vent and overflow lines and ditch the canister. The washers came in for my fastener replacement kit for 851/888 models. Pretty minor stuff, but it will solve a few minor issues for Ducatisti.

I got an email from my powercard rep. They are almost ready to roll out a powercard for the 02-sensored bikes. I’ll believe it when I see them, but it is a much needed product. I look forward to getting one to test. My rep also told me that one of my customers was emailing them with tech support help because the 998 I installed the powercard was having issues. I wish customers would contact me if they have any problems. I haven’t heard a peep since the customer picked up the bike last winter. I stand behind my work, but I’m not a mind-reader.

I read the first reviews of the hyper-motard. Looks like a seriously fun bike. Kind of a cross between a monster and a multistrada. No, I don’t want one, but it’s a neat idea for a bike.

Thanks for the comments about the discussion I had with the Gran Canyon yesterday. No I’m not crazy, but I do see things through Ducati-colored glasses.

DT Tip of the Day – Now that the summer is upon most of us, the temptation hits to shed some riding gear to ride cooler. Don’t do it. If it’s too hot to ride in proper gear, don’t ride.

22 May 2007 – I’m shagged out after a long squock

Ah, it’s nice to sit down. What a long day. It started at 0345 with the sensation of Mo licking my face. Obviously, she can’t tell time. Once I’ve woken up I can never get back to sleep, so I rolled out of bed. At 0400 I was in the workshop making CF brackets for my LCD voltmeter kit. At 0430 I was in the showroom packing boxes, which I finished at 0700. Then I grabbed some breakfast, headed to the PO to drop off the boxes, then to Home Depot to purchase the stuff to insulate the floor of the new building. I worked on the wall for a few hours, but I just didn’t have any energy today. After sinking 3 posts I said screw it, and cleaned up. I put the Gran Canyon on lift 2 and sat down and stared at it. The following conversation then took place:

 LT – “What’s up GC?”

GC – “Not much. You?”

LT – “Not much. So what’s up with you breaking down”

GC – “Dunno, but don’t worry, you’ll fix it”

LT – “How about a few hints?”

GC – “That would be telling, and besides I’m an inanimate object and I can’t talk”.

LT – “Then if you’re not talking, who is?”

GC – “I’m your inner conscience, you little shit.”

LT – “Do tell. Then tell me if I’ll live long and prosper.”

GC – “How the hell would I know? I’m your conscience, not a prognosticator.”

LT – “You’re no help at all”

GC – “If you were a real mechanic, you wouldn’t need any help.”

LT – “I’m better off digging postholes.”

So, my little pow-wow with the GC wasn’t fruitful, but it killed some time. Later in the afternoon I showed the inspector the foundation and got his blessing. Of course, he rode too… A Victory, but lusts after a Hayabusa.

Dan also popped by this afternoon and made a quick tour of the property. As usual, he was late to an appointment, so the visit was brief. It was nice to see him though. Since he moved away, I only see him a few times each year.

Mo’s blood work results came back today. She has an inflamed colon and some disease to her small intestine. Poor Mo. She’s now on low doses of Prednisone to see if that helps. We already have her on excellent food, so I hope the steroid helps her. Poor Skid Mo.

I offloaded the insulation and stuff from the truck as the sun was setting, grabbed some dinner with Suzi and printed out the few orders that came in today. I’ve got my plan for tackling the insulation tomorrow. Shaggy has volunteered to help me, which will take the load off doing the insulation. Shaggy, I have to make a run to the post office, so I’ll be back the house by 0830.

I know it’s hard to believe, by Tombstone is on the tellie again… “I’m your huckleberry”

I had to put off two service requests today because of the construction. I hate passing up money, but right now the construction is job number one.

After dealing with fiberglass all day tomorrow, Thursday I plan on relaxing in the shed with the Gran Canyon. Well, relaxing as much as I can possibly stand to relax.

The Speedymoto Frame sliders are now up on the website and replaced the defunct Cyclecat sliders. Long live suppliers that manage to supply.

DT Tip of the Day - There is no such thing as a one-stop Ducati aftermarket source. You’ll have to make a few stops to source all the parts you’ll need for a service. I prefer to source from enthusiasts who are willing to answer questions. California Cycleworks, Speedymoto, and a good dealer like BCM make my short list of preferred vendors.