Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week 25
Day 150, Sunday July 4 1999... Took a ride through Canal Park again this morning. Tourists like swarms of locust. But locust with money bringing prosperity to our fair city. Without the tourist we would really be in poor shape. In the late 70s the Iron mining industry hit the skids and it has been downhill for them ever since. Our entire economy died and in 1979 we were the second most depressed city in the United States. Soon after we got a new mayor who really believed that tourism could bring prosperity back to Duluth and Superior. He was right, sort of. We now are booming again and there are plenty of jobs. The problem is that most of them are low paying service industry type jobs. We are still losing population but the tourism money is rebuilding the city and now we are starting to attract some high paying jobs in high tech industries. The old air base, that was closed back in the late 70s is now thriving with the Northwest Airlines Service Center and Maintenance Base. Cirrus Aircraft have also built a new plant for producing the first truly new private aircraft to come along in a long time. They recently delivered their first planes and are ramping up to full production. Jobs, other than service industry are just now starting to come back here. Run down old warehouses are now high end hotels or restaurants, theatre is growing, the Minnesota Ballet is thriving, the Symphony has become one of the best in the country, and all those things ran through my mind as I watched the kids frolicking in the fountains. The Moms and Pops leading their flocks, and couples walking along holding hands. Duluth is in its prime.
It is an interesting weather day. Thunderstorms all around but it seemed that everywhere I rode the sun was shining. Finally decided to head for home and cruising along Old Highway 61, (as in Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited") I noticed a Harley coming up behind me. The shape of the bike and rider looked familiar to me. It was Bob Talarico and his wife Carol. They pulled along side of me and said they were on their way to "Randy's". When we rode as a club Bob was President, I was Road Captain and Randy became President after Bob and a few of us other old timers dropped off. When we got to Randy's, which is only a mile or so from my house, another old club member was there. Gary now lives in Winona Minnesota and was up for the weekend. Ended up riding with them to the Stage Stop Restaurant in Carlton for breakfast. Gary has a 113 cubic inch S&S engine in his Harley FLH, Bob and Carol were on their Heritage, and Randy has a FatBoy. My Sportsman looked a bit odd nestled amongst them going down the road, but it sure felt good to be riding with club members again. Once you are in a club you are never truly out. These are as much my brothers as my real brother. We have known each other for many years and experienced much of life together. What was really strange was how we have changed. We joked that now that all the yuppies are becoming bikers we bikers are becoming yuppies. Bob is now retired, made a bunch of money in owning real estate, had on a flowered Hawaiian shirt under his leathers, and we sat and compared cell phones. I guess we are all finally growing up a bit.
As we were leaving the restaurant I ran into a couple that I knew. They asked which bike was mine and I told them "The strange green one". They said, "oh, we were admiring that one". When we went outside they were absolutely ga-ga over the Sportsman and didn't give the Harley's a second glance. My little green Frog, sitting amongst about $75,000 worth of custom Harleys was the one thing that attracted attention. What more can I say?
Christal was having company from out of town so I spent the rest of the day doing my usual thing. I weeded, washed more clothes, rode the Deco, worked on web sites, rode the Sportsman, unpacked boxes of door prizes for the rally, rode the Deco, adjusted the reverse lever on the Deco, rode the Deco. By then end of the night I had ridden each bike at least a half dozen times. The last ride of the day was to the land that we are still hoping to acquire. Just at dusk I stood there with a light rain starting, sitting on the Deco, overlooking the pond and had a nice talk with God about what the future might hold for me, and Christal. The smells of the pine forest, the croaking of a bull frog, the sounds of the birds immersed me in what is right and natural about this country. And the greatness that is Gods universe. A wonderful way to cap a great day.
Day 150, Monday July 5 1999... Today is a holiday from work so I stayed up late last night working on web sites, and this morning I slept in until 8:00. When I popped up from bed I looked out the window and spent the next 20 minutes just watching my two chipmunks working very hard at emptying one of my bird feeders. They are a hoot to watch, so very ambitious and so un-afraid of me. I also watched as a bunny came to feed at the bottom of one of the feeders. I sure do love my critters.
It is now 10:30 and all I have done is relax. Haven't done a productive thing yet today and it is beginning to look like I won't. That is the good news. I am going to ride, ride, ride. The sun is shining and I am going to cook some breakfast and go for a spin on the Deco. We had lots of rain during the night but we are now entering our summer. If it rains at all it usually rains at night. We always have enough rain to keep everything green but from now on out almost all of our days will be 70s-80s f. and sunny. This is heaven this time of year.
Dodged rain drops all afternoon and evening but had a great time. Christal came by and we went to dinner at Blackwoods then for a nice long ride. Ended up over at the land that we are hoping to buy. We stayed over there for quite a while, just watching nature at her best. The bullfrogs were croaking, the birds were chirping, and the wind was rattling the leaves of the trees. It was land at peace with itself. We also went over to the river that runs through the land and watched as it flowed swiftly through its channel. The heavy rains of the two previous days had swollen it many times its normal depth. This is a river that is usually one to two feet deep, but now it was rushing at what must have been five or six feet. To think that this may possibly be ours some day kind of left us speechless and we just held hands and watched the show.
Day 151, Tuesday July 6, 1999... Rode the Deco to work today and again it was just perfect. Smooth as silk and at 50 mph it is not much more than idling. Had a lunch meeting so had to ride there and after work I had good intentions about going right home and working on web sites, but... The weather was just too perfect. 78 f. and just a light wind. Took the long way home, which too me an hour, and when I got home I went in the house, sat at my desk, and said, "what for"? Ran back outside and jumped back on the bike and off I went. Just putted around the area but covered a lot of ground and didn't get home until after 8:30. Then I had to work and didn't finally give up for the night until midnight.
Day 152, Wednesday July 7 1999... Took the Sportsman this morning. Temp was about 60 f. on the way in and it seemed like everyone wanted to wave at me. At lunch I met Christal at Little Angie's Mexican place in Canal Park and truly enjoyed the ride there and back. Took the long way home again and did the same thing. Walked in the house, sat at the keyboard and said, "no way". Ran out, fired the Sportsman back up and off I rode, getting home at 8:00 p.m.. I did ride a ways on the river trail that we will be using for the "Sportsman's Ride" at the Rally. It is a dirt trail that follows the Cloquet river for about 20 miles. It is not extremely challenging unless you get off the main trail. Had a good ride and now I am just sitting here catching up on the diary while I wait for Christal to come by. I did leave the Sportsman out in the driveway though. I'm hoping that she will get here early enough so that we can take a trip over to the dam on the Cloquet River in Carlton. With all the rain we had it should be about the best example of nature's power around. Some places North of here had 6 inches of rain in seven hours on Monday.
Argh, she never made it over. Company dropped in on here before she could escape, so I spent a little time making some adjustments on the Sportsman. The mirrors were out of adjustment, a few bolts were loose, and I finally found why I have had a vibration in the bike for the last week or so. Looks like I have a bearing going out on the front wheel. I believe there is a Timken bearing available that fits so I will have to see if I can find the part number and get Son #1 to pick me up a set. Should be pretty easy putting them in, seeing as I have done it once before.
Day 153, Thursday July 8, 1999... Rain... This looks to be a rainy, long, cold day. Only 50 f. (10 c.) foggy, and generally ugly. Very unusual July weather. Drove the car to work today and did not regret it. It rained off and on all day and evening.
Day 154, Friday July 9, 1999... Day started off rainy so I didn't ride the bike, but it got amazingly better by noon and by the time I got home I had to go for a ride. The Sportsman needs a bearing on the front wheel so I took the Deco. I probably won't get to putting a bearing in until next weekend. Had a very pleasant ride though.
Day 155 Saturday July 10, 1999... Had to work a job for Benline Press then came home and mowed most of the lawn. Washed several loads of clothes, then went for a ride on the Deco. Came home, started to work on the computer when my phone rang. Christal and her sons had gone strawberry picking and were at Gordy's Hi Hat restaurant and wanted me to join them. So, off I went, had the most wonderful chocolate shake. UDF was in full swing and everyone was admiring the Deco. When I had pulled in there were three Harleys sitting in the lot. When the guys left they gathered around my bike and it looked like they were more than interested in it. And they looked familiar to me, so I went outside to chat with them. Turned out that, of the three, two of them were certified Harley mechanics. One used to work at the local Harley dealer, and the other one works at Blackstone Motorcycles. They are a Harley shop and they also have the local dealership for Titan Motorcycles. Last year they were thinking about becoming a Ural dealer, so he was very interested in my Deco. We chatted for at least 10 minutes and I did my best presentation of why they should become a dealer. It turns out that the reason they didn't take a dealership was because they talked to a couple of present dealers and the dealers told them horror stories of problems with new bikes, right out of the box. I did explain to them that the bikes have change considerably since the early imports and that they now have a 3 year warranty. I think they got a completely different picture from me. I am going to stop by there and chat with them, and invite them to the rally.
Later I went by Christals and we went to the movie "Tea with Mussolini", it was a very good movie. The best part for me was the old Moto Guzzi sidecar rig. There are also several BMW rigs in the movie, so it was a hit with me.
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