Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week fifteen
Day 83, Sunday April 25, 1999... Another beautiful day. I have several computer projects that I have to have done by tomorrow so I am not sure how much riding I am going to get in today, although I am sure that I will need a break. It is really a shame to work indoors but I absolutely have to get these things done. We shall see what happens. If I even take the bike around the block it will meet a milestone. It will have the first 1,000 km on the clock.
Now have 1,000km on the Deco. My resolution to work on my projects lasted until 11:00 a.m. when I went for the first ride of the day. Took the Deco about 40km then came home and switched bikes and took the Sportsman, then another stop at home to switch again. They both felt so good that I really wanted to ride them at the same time, but couldn't find a way to do that. Son #1's car broke down today and he needed a ride so I hopped in the car, went to his job, picked him up and took him home to Wisconsin. As I returned home the weather was still so very nice, about 75 f. that I had to take the Sportsman out for another ride.
This time I headed to the nearest dirt road. The roads in Northern Minnesota are only about half paved, so a trip on dirt roads can easily become an all day excursion. Mostly cruising along at 15-20 mph to make sure that I didn't miss any sights. I was gone for about an hour and a half and covered quite a bit of ground. What a pleasure it is to just lazily jaunt along, taking in all the sights, sounds, smells and truly enjoying the ride. Again I found myself laughing out loud as I rode along. Every thing was perfect in the world. The Sportsman was running nicely, the weather was perfect and I was feeling so very good about life. I could only hope, and wish, that the entire summer would be like this...
Day 84, Monday April 26, 1999... Long work day, then I have a meeting of the Board of Directors of Lake Superior Writers at my house this evening. Between work and the meeting I did manage to get in another short ride on the Deco. Sure felt good.
Day 85, Tuesday April 27, 1999... Oh no... Here are photos. I just posted these quickly, and I have to jump in the car as I am late for work. Text to follow later today... But you get the picture...
Well, it finally happened... Left home this morning at 5:45 a.m.. By the time I got to work it was 8:45. The three hours, for the 30 mile trip, was because of the sitting on the side of the road time, and the waiting for the wrecker time, and the drive the car to work time.
16 miles from home, approaching a stop sign, the bike just stopped running. Pulled to the side of the road. There was headlight, and everything else seemed to be working except the neutral light. No spark. Took the kill switch apart, seemed to be ok. Took front cover off and all the ignition wires, screws and everything seemed solid. Fiddled with every wire I could find and everything seemed ok. Electric start spun the bike over just fine, seemed to be getting fuel, just no spark.
After a half hour of fiddling I called a wrecker, and fiddled for another half hour while waiting for it to arrive.
I also found out why the horn has never worked. There is no horn. Nada, nothing, no horn, must never have been there.
1:00 p.m. Called Marlow and had a nice chat. He thinks the diodes in the ignition system might have failed. Wants me to check to make sure there is 12 volts going into it, then replace the diodes. Luckily there are full instructions for doing this right here on the NARMA site at: http://www.narma.org/narma/tech/tech10.htm I really don't care to do this kind of stuff but I will have to jump in on it as it is a lot easier than borrowing a truck, or truck and trailer, and driving 220 miles to have him fix it. Sure wish there were a dealer in Duluth. I am very envious of you folks who live near a dealer, especially those near Wagner's, Cheek, Colonial, or some of the other wonderful Ural dealers.
Bad part of this is that tonight was the first "Last Tuesday" European bike meets at Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake for the year where people were actually bringing bikes. I was really pumped to be there, but the wind is out of my sails and I will have to wait another month.
Several people gave me suggestions of what it might be, but it seemed to always come back to the ignition or neutral switch.
6:00 p.m. When I got home from work I threw some dinner in the oven, and went to check my e-mail. Phone rang, and it was Derek Smith, the trusty Ural Electrical Tech Support guy. This was driving him crazy, and once he reads this he will be even crazier. He was positive that it was fuse #2 in the fuse box, insisted that I run right out and check it out. Well... <chuckle> He wasn't right!! Fuses are fine.
7:30 p.m. Derek was wrong but he was oh so close... I will never ride again without a cheap electrical test light in the toolkit. Touched in in end of the second fuse, just as Derek said, then touched the out end of the fuse. Good circuit. Hm, now what? Touched it to the end of the red wire coming from the fuse box and the light lit brightly. Then went down about an inch and tried poking the probe into the wire. Dead... At first I thought I was not in but I probed and probed. Finally I unscrewed the connector and moved the wire over. Still nothing. Hm.. The end of the wire looked to be covered with corrosion. I pulled it out a bit, scraped it off and tightened it back down. NEUTRAL LIGHT!!! Started the bike on the first kick. Giggled the wires to make it go out and it didn't. Wiggled wires all over the bike. Still running. Sat down, put it in gear, and rode around the driveway a bit. Still running... With a bit more confidence I rode it around the neighborhood. Works fine and is back to purring perfectly. This fiddling fix cost me $54.00 USd for a tow truck. Live and learn, eh?
Oh yeah, and the horn. It does appear that there was never one there. There are no marks on the bracket at all. Marlow offered to send me one but I figured this would be a good time to put one of those very high output ones from the parts store on this bike. I always like to throw those flatulent type horns away and install real ones on anyway. A good horn has saved me from injury more than a few times.
Gosh I'm happy. Derek really was right, just a centimeter off...
Day 86, Wednesday April 28, 1999... Worked then attended the Northern Minnesota Book Awards banquet. It was interesting, the speakers were very good and I enjoyed myself.
Day 87, Thursday April 29, 1999... A long day at work and near the end of the day I started to come down with flu symptoms. Yuck... After work I had to go chat with a client, the artist Jan Hartley, about her web site. Then it was off to a new customers to try to eradicate a virus. Turns out that they had a brand new one, the "pkg1365" virus. Kind of made a mess but wasn't too awfully destructive. It was so new that it hasn't yet been picked up on the virus sites so I had to remove it manually. Luckily it left traces all through windows of what it had done and I was able to clean and repair their computer in a couple of hours. But again, it was late when I got home and I didn't have a chance to go for a ride.
It was quite warm today so I took lunch at Chester Park where I sat on the rocks in the middle of Chester creek. I eat lunch here most every day. It is my place to get my thoughts together and set my visions in the reality of a gentle place in the middle of a complex world. As you can see from the photo it is a very special place and only a mile from work.
Day 88, Friday April 30, 1999... Well, I had an interesting day. Yesterday I started to get sick with flu type stuff late in the afternoon. I left work at 5:00 p.m. then had to go work a couple other jobs as I got sicker and sicker. It was about 8:00 p.m. when I got home and by then I could barely function. Usually when I get home I check the garage for packages. All the package carries have instructions to leave packages in the garage.
This morning I slept in and called in sick at work. Took a nap in the morning and then by afternoon I was already getting stir crazy but feeling just a little better. Went to the garage to get something and almost tripped over two packages. It was like Christmas. One from Ural America and one from Sovietski Collection catalog store. Opened the Ural box first and it was my 35 amp alternator for the Sportsman. How cool... I had been waiting for it since November. Five months but it finally arrived. No speedometers yet but I am told that one of them should be here soon.
Then I opened the Sovietski box. They sent a bunch of catalogs to include with the registration package for the rally, the most cool Russian biker T-shirt. It shows three bikes on choppers coming out of the Kremlin. Way cool. And they sent a KGB badge. Very fancy gold, red and blue pin on badge. And then there was a little box. It was taped shut so I wasn't sure I wanted to open it but my curiosity finally caught up with me. To my amazement it was a pocket watch with "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" in English. I opened it up and it was carved and very fancy on the face. Then I noticed that all the writing on the papers that came with it were in Cyrillic. Obviously a Russian attempt to capitalize on a US saying. Bad part is that I own a pocket watch collection. I wanted so badly to add it to my collection but they donated it to be raffled off and that it will be. All in all really great stuff and more great additions to the rally stock for Christina to give away. She did the soliciting of Sovietski and it seems to have paid off. A bit Huzzah to her!!
I finally decided, that sick or not, I had to go for a ride. I fired up the Sportsman and as it was idling I noticed the fuse box in the same place as the one on the Deco. Got to thinking if the wiring could have such a simple screw up on the Deco, maybe the reason I have no neutral light or turn signals on the Sportsman were for the same reason. Shut the bike off and removed the fuse cover. Checked the fuses and they all looked good. Checked the wires on the right side (exit) of the box and they all seemed tight and not corroded. Then looked at the ones on the left and they seemed fine. Took my screwdriver and pushed on them a bit to make sure they were ok. Funny thing... The top fuse had two wires, a yellow one and a red one on top and there was a third hidden red wire behind them and it was just hanging there, stuck in place by the insulation on the other wires. The wire was not touching the metal of the fuse box at all. Took me a while to fiddle three wires back into the connector but finally got it and tightened everything down. Everything worked!!!!!!! Then fired up the bike and went for a little ride. I guess it was about 100km before I got back home. The bike has never run so well. I wonder if that wire had anything to do with the reason the bike never charged and the lights kept going out????? It could have been loose forever. For the first time since I got the bike the turn signals were bright, and flashed at a steady rate. They have always slowed down when I slowed the bike. This is a miracle!!! I am oh so pleased, but now I am going to hold off just a little on putting the 35 amp on. I will wait at least until I get the light bar and spotlight that I want to mount on the bike.Photo is of the Sportsman at the top of the Spirit Mountain Ski Resort with Spirit Valley and the St. Louis River in the background.
Never even touched the Deco today. The Sportsman felt so good. Tomorrow I have to go work a job in the afternoon then at 4:00 I am going to Christal's and we are probably going to catch dinner and a movie. I may just take the Deco. I feel that now that I am starting to understand the electricals just a little I can be a bit more confident in riding the bikes.
Day 89, Saturday May 1, 1999... It is now 1:00 a.m. and I have just been updating the Minnesota Moto Guzzi Site, and doing some clean up work on the NARMA site and adding to this page. It is time for bed. Plan for today is to till the gardens in the morning, check out the speedometers on both Urals, then work for a customer and dinner and movie with Christal. Looks like it is going to be a busy, but nice day. Temperatures are supposed to be near 80 f. I had 85 f. (30 c.) on my deck yesterday. Above normal for the Duluth area. Of course it was cooler by the lake.
After all the sleep earlier in the morning yesterday I couldn't get to sleep, and didn't finally fall off until 4:00 a.m.. Got up at 7:30 so didn't get much sleep. And I am writing this at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning so it was another long day. But it was a good one. Took both Urals out of the garage this morning and scrubbed them down. This it was off to work on a customer's computer, the to Christal's house at 4:00 p.m. I took the Sportsman, and Christal was so excited to go for a ride that I couldn't hold her back and had to take her. <grin> We went up the North Shore of Lake Superior to visit some friends, then to the Scenic Cafe for a wonderful dinner. Did some riding around and she had a smile on her face the whole time. Photo on right shows her at Kitchee Gammi Park with a 1,000 foot ore carrier on the horizon.
Afterwards we rented a movie and stayed up late chatting. I didn't get home until 2:00 a.m. but had one of the nicest evenings I have had in a long time.
Tomorrow is the "Blessing of the Bikes" at an area church. Should be quite a few bikes there. I will be taking the Sportsman but I just wish there were a way to take both bikes. They sure could use a blessing...
Sunday 3:00 p.m. Went to the Blessing of the Bikes, great food, good friends... I will post more about it in a couple of days. Didn't even get time to set up a week 16 page yet. I am out of here now though until at least Tuesday night. Just got word that our server at our Shawano Wisconsin (near Geen Bay) died today. I have to hop in the car and make the six hour drive down there. Soooo.... "On the Road Again" is going to become my theme song...
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