Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Seventeen
Day 96, Sunday May 9, 1999... And relaxing is what I am doing best this weekend. I told you several days ago that this could be the beginning of a life-long romance and it is. There is not a doubt in my mind. We are both totally hooked.
The weather was beautiful, about 80 f. and sunny so we took out the paddle wheel pedal boat and cruised around the lake. She was mostly the engine and I worked the rudder. That woman walks, runs and is in way too good of health so she did most of the pedaling. We both got a bit sun-burned but we had another very relaxing time. (don't I look relaxed in the below photo?)
It was hard to leave there, and even harder to part from Christal when we got back to my Son's house in Superior.
When I got home I never even unpacked the car, but ran in the house to check to make sure everything was ok, grabbed the Sportsman key, and pulled it out of the garage. Fired it up on the first kick, no kidding!!! And motored off to Wal-Mart to pick up some windshield wiper blades for Christal's car. Really it was just an excuse to go for a ride. Rode around the area for a couple of hours before returning home. When I did walk in the house the phone was ringing. It was Christal. It turns out that she has to be in Minneapolis at 8:00 a.m. for a meeting and we decided that she should stay at my house so that she could leave from there, a half hour closer to Minneapolis. Truth is that we just couldn't stand to be apart. That must be a sign of something, eh?
Day 97, Monday May 10, 1999... High winds, 32 f. and off and on rain. Not a good day, and probably signals the beginning of the spring rainy season. Here that just means that we get rain during the day for about three weeks but only every few days and for only a few days. But the cold was unexpected and with the high winds it is a miserable day. I had planned on riding but it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
Christal had to leave by 5:00 a.m. so we were up and about early. With the lousy weather I decided to change here wipers forgetting that all my tools were now at Son #1's house. It took me about 20 minutes of wrestling with the little end clips before I got the job done. And she certainly was glad that I took the time to do it in the morning because she drove home from Minneapolis in a downpour later in the day.
Day 98, Tuesday May 11, 1999... Same as yesterday, rainy, cold, and windy. The Festiva had a hard time getting to 70 mph on the freeway running into the wind uphill. I have just lost my desire to ride in this kind of weather.
Day 99, Wednesday May 12, 1999... Weather is holding out on us. 35 mph winds again, off and on rain, and brrrrrr cold. Not a good day for bike riding. After work today I was to pick Christal up at 5:30 to come out to my house for dinner and a movie. I received a call from her receptionist at Christal Center at noon telling me that I had to be there at 4:30 instead. So at 4:15 I snuck out of work and made my way to her place of business. In case you are not up on this, Christal owns a "Wellness Center" where they have holistic medicine, therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and all those kinds of things, which before this I knew little about. The only things I knew were what I had typed when I set up her web site some time ago.
When I arrived she was with a client but she had told her receptionist to interrupt her when I got there. She came out, gave me a hug, took my hand and led me to the Hydrotherapy room. She had the lights off, candles burning and the tub filled. I had polio when young and have had many surgeries on my legs. Over the years I have learned to live with pain and I almost always have some pain, and when the weather is bad it sometimes becomes almost unbearable. But I soldier through without drugs of any type. She knows this, and that hydrotherapy is the best treatment for this. Her tub is a whirlpool type which circulates the water, which is not the same as a Jacuzzi type. I couldn't get her to join me in the tub, but oh well... <grin> I lay in the hot water, soaking in the sensations, and thinking again about how blessed I was.
Later we picked up Chinese carry-out and went out to my house where we had another wonderful evening.
Day 100, Thursday May 13, 1999... Back to bikes... The day was another miserable one, but I couldn't hold out any longer. When I got home the wind was still howling at 35 mph. This is what we around Lake Superior call a "Nordeaster", or a brisk wind out of the Northeast. A winter one can be brutal, and one November, in the 1970s it brought down the oar carrier the Edmund Fitzgerald. The sky had cleared a bit, but it was only 43 f. (6 c.), but I ran in the house, grabbed a jacket and pulled the Deco out of the garage. Went out for a nice spin around the area. About a half hour later I returned home. The Deco had run so very smoothly, but the wind was terrible. Against the wind I had a hard time getting it up to the 50 mph area. I put the Deco in the garage and pulled out the Sportsman and fired it up. It started on the first kick again. This is getting to be awesome!
I let it warm a bit then motored away from home towards Cloquet. The first thing I noticed was that the Sportsman seems to have a lot less torque steer than the Deco. Another thing that I found interesting was that, against the wind, the Sportsman held its own much better than the Deco. The Deco struggled to get to 50 mph against the wind and the Sportsman just kept pulling up to about 60 mph with little or no problem. A 35 mph (56 kph) headwind is not easy to overcome yet the Sportsman had no problem with it. My Festiva has trouble against that kind of wind also and I suspect it mostly has to do with the final drive gearing on the Sportsman being different than the Deco.
It was cold riding but I had a great ride. Many smiles, many waves, thumbs up and an hour later I was home. I had stopped at Wal-Mart and there was an old car show going on in the parking lot, as I cruised the outside of the row of cars virtually every owner either waved or gave a thumbs up. That is heady stuff coming from a bunch of motorheads. I was quite taken with my ride. I seem to be loving the Sportsman more and more each day. The Deco is nice, smooth, classy and wonderful, but the Sportsman is more me.
Spent the rest of the night, until after midnight, working on the "Worldwide Excelsior Henderson Owners Club" web site. I will be bringing it up sometime this weekend. There is a temporary site there at: http://www.narma.org/bigx . They have started to deliver bikes now and all of a sudden the temporary site has had about 4,000 hits and I have been getting a constant stream of e-mails from new owners wondering when it will be up. So it became a very high priority for me. It is going to be a blast doing that one, and waiting for one to arrive in 2000 for me.
Day 101, Friday May 14, 1999... Worked, then went home and worked. Christal came over later in the evening and we had another nice evening.
Day 102, Saturday May 15, 1999... Son #1 came by and picked up the Moto Guzzi. He plans on finishing the last few things before the thing is back on the road. It really is an awesome looking bike. Hopefully he can figure out what is wrong with the transmission.
Christal and I went for a ride to get some lunch. She sure is comfortable in the chair, acting like she has lived there all of her life. The only thing that gives her away as a newbie is that she has a smile on her face every instant that she is riding. We went to the Hong Kong Restaurant in Cloquet and had a wonderful Chinese lunch and rode the country roads back. Stopping to look at the 1960 Crestliner boat that I have had my eye on for over a year and had a very nice ride, in spite of the 49 f. temperature, cloudy skies, threatening rain and brisk wind.
Christal had to go work for a while so I plunged into tilling the gardens, mowing the lawn, picking rocks for the waterfall, and digging a ditch. All went well until the lawn mower quit halfway through the lawn. I believe the rings are bad. Lots of soot on the plug. I guess I will be out looking at lawn mowers this week.
Tonight we are going to cook Halibut, asparagus, salad and watch a couple of movies. Things are looking pretty good in the romance department, the bikes are running great, and all is right with the world. Aaron had the Guzzi in the back of his pickup, parked in front of the auto parts store where he works, and he got a $4,500 offer for it from someone who came in to ask about it. I told him that if the guy was serious to take the money. We can always get another bike...
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