Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Twenty

"Mighty Like a Mouse"

Day 123, Sunday June 6 1999... We had a wonderful day at the lake.  Slept late, spent an hour or two taking photos, moving furniture around, then hit the water for a long swimming break.  The water was comfortably warm, and it felt good to be in a lake for the first time this year.

When I got home I fired up the new MTD 12.5 hp garden tractor and attacked the lawn.   For the first time in many years I felt victorious over my lawn.  I have a full acre to mow, with lots of trees and gardens, so it takes quite an effort with a small lawn mower and trimmer.  This was much better.

Managed to put in a 100 km ride on the Deco. Again it ran great.  As I was riding along I marveled at how long it has been since I have had any real problems.  I have to discount the episode where the Deco came home on a flatbed.  That was just the matter of a loose wire, and once I found it I was able to repair it with little effort.   Both bikes have been running great.  The only problems I have are that both of them jump out of third gear every once in a while.  That could have been fixed already if I just took a little effort to go at it, but adjusting the transmission seems daunting to me, whereas everyone assures me that it isn't nearly as bad as brain surgery, I still have had trouble getting myself to do it.  I still have two bikes with no speedometers though.  I have been waiting for quite some time for them, but who needs one anyway?  I just watch to make sure that all traffic around me is passing me and I know I am moving at the right speed.  Not a problem.

Both bikes are now a pleasure to ride.  The Sportsman engine seems to have loosened up considerably at around 5000km and now seems to have gobs of power.  Hills that I used to have to shift down for it now climbs effortlessly in fourth gear.  The Deco is only at about 1100km as I have been riding the Sportsman way too much and it has plenty of go in each gear, but I do notice that it doesn't have the power when climbing hills.  I suspect that will also change once there are some significant miles on the bike.

Day 124, Monday June 7 1999...  Another beautiful day.   Rode the Sportsman to work today, had meetings at lunch, meetings after work and then it was home to play with my gardens.  Got a bunch more planting done, and even did a bit of weeding.  Just before sunset I fired up the Deco and put another 100km on it.

Day 125, Tuesday June 8 1999...  Again, a beautiful day.   Decided to ride the Deco to work today.  Even at 50 mph it is much smoother than the Sportsman, although it seems to have a lot more torque steer than the Earles Fork equipped Sportsman.  Had another lunch meeting so I let everyone else car pool and I took off on the bike.  After work I went home with the intention of getting some web site work done but instead I went for a ride.  Are you surprised?  Getting home a while later I was feeling a bit guilty that I had neglected my work that I decided that I had to go searching out late night greenhouses to buy some more garden plants.  So, off I went again, still on the Deco.  After hitting a couple of real greenhouses I ended up at Wal-Mart.  Seems these bikes just seem to gravitate there.  Might have something to do with the fact that it is so near the beginnings of so many good riding roads...

Took another 50km way home.  Of course I am only about six miles from the place but you do understand I hope...

When I finally arrived home I planted a flock of flowers, and a gaggle of vegetables, then decided that I needed gas for the bike and the garden tractor, so I just had to hop on the bike again and head out for the gas station.  Amazing how these rides just keep piling one on another.

Oh, and I almost forgot a couple of interesting things...  I stopped at the Harley shop on my way home from work to pick up a present for Christal and to ask about my Super Glide that is on order.  Seems the bike should be coming in around September, but I have really lost my excitement for it.  Maybe that will change when it gets here.

I bought Christal her own pair of goggles, with interchangeable lenses.  I am sure she will be surprised and get a lot of use out of them!

When I left the Harley shop I thought about taking the regular way home, but couldn't.   I headed a bit north and then to the South towards my house on a road that I travel maybe once a year.  Riding along I all of a sudden noticed a bike with a sidecar coming the other way.  It was Mike Switzer on his Tourist.  We waved, pulled over and chatter for a good twenty minutes or so.  Kind of amazing how these bikes seek their own...

Day 126, Wednesday June 9 1999... Weather predicted thunderstorms, cold 40 f. temperatures and miserable weather.  When will I learn?   I drove the car for the first time in quite a while, only to sit at work staring out the window at mostly clear skies with 75 f. temps!  Darn, shucks, gosh, golly...

Had lunch meeting again.  This is getting to be a habit.

Day 127, Thursday June 10 1999...  Work, lunch, work, then home to ride.  I did about 50km on the Sportsman and then switched bikes and did another 80km on the Deco.  All-in-all a good evening

samovar1a.jpg (17149 bytes)Day 128, Friday June 11 1999...   Christal and I had a birthday party to go to.  As we were leaving the lady showed us her garage, which was set up for a rummage sale for the next day.  I took a quick look in, with little interest, as I usually hate those things.   Then Christal said something that caught my ear. "You picked that up in Russia, didn't you?" I almost shouted "Russia?"

samovar2a.jpg (21638 bytes)It was a (not sure of spelling) Russian Samovar(sp?)! The most incredible stainless steel tea maker I have ever seen. It is very intricate, and only missing the small teapot that sits on top of it. The price was right, so I bought it from her. I may have it mounted on the front of the hack. It will make a great hood ornament, although almost as big as the rig, (well, maybe not quite that big).





Day 129, Saturday June 12 1999...   Had to work for Trudy Carlson this morning.  She writes books on Suicide issues.  I do all the lay up work on her books and the computer work for her publishing company business, Benline Press, and group homes that she and her husband own.  Then it was home to work in the yard and wait for Christal to come over.

We took the Sportsman to dinner at the local Chinese restaurant, then off to see Star Wars Episode 1.  I was just a bit disappointed in the movie.   Wonderful graphics and special effects but the story could have been written by any advertising executive in the country.  Then it was home, where I checked my e-mail while Christal took a little nap.  At 10:00 p.m. I woke her up and asked if she wanted to go for a night-time ride.  She did, so we put jackets on and saddled up the Deco.  I took the back roads over to the top of Thompson Hill, which overlooks almost the entire city.

The air was warm but as we dropped into low spots it was probably in the 40's.  Quite a contrast when the tops of the hills were probably close to 70 degrees f.  I always love that feeling of the changing temperatures.  The smells were awesome also.  You could tell as you passed houses that had mowed today, farms with animals, the smells of the pine trees and all the other aromas make for some incredible sensations.

We sat at the top of the hill for a while just watching the city lights.   The bridges over the bay were lit up and they are an incredible sight.  Then we decided to take the west end of the Skyline Parkway back.  It is a dirt road which winds along the top of Spirit Mountain through hardwood forests whose trees frame the road.  It is one of my favorite places and I suspect it will now be Christal's.   Very few locals even know that it exists as the city has never developed it and they close it down from October 31st to May 1st.  There are no houses and unless you are just out for a ride you would have no reason to go there.  There is one pull-off on the road and when I pulled in there about 6 cars were sitting there.  You could hear giggling coming from a couple of the cars and CB sounds coming from a couple others.   I can only guess what the giggling was all about but the CB radio noise I do believe I know about.  The big game amongst local high school age kids is now "CB tag". On Saturday nights hundreds of kids, in their CB equipped cars, scatter throughout the city.  Then one group of kids becomes the main base.   They give hints, based on what they can see from their location, about where they are and the other kids try to find them.  Seems they have a very good time, and there is little alcohol or other drug use, amongst this crowd.  They are just out having some good clean fun.  You have to admire kids these days...

We got off the bike and walked to the barricade wall and sat on it for quite a while.  It was so very peaceful up there, overlooking the West side of the city.  The stars filled the sky and the lights of the city spread out below us.   It just doesn't get better than this.

Next week

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