Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Five
"God Does Have a Sense of Humor"
Day 21, Sunday February 14, 1999... I was on the road to Minneapolis at 7:30 this morning. It was a beautiful day for a ride. Listening to a book on tape, "The Bone is Pointed", a mystery, the trip went quite fast. Minneapolis is about 140 miles South and because the speed limit all the way is 70 mph, it only takes a couple of hours. The International Cycle Show was at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and it was a very good show, with most major manufacturers represented. Of special interest to me was the Moto Guzzi Bassa in pearl white. It is Moto Guzzi's new cruiser style bike. I am the administrator of the Moto Guzzi Internet ListServe for the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club and these bikes have a special place in my heart. This I found especially attractive because it seem to me to be a modern iteration of my 1971 MG Ambassador.
I didn't find a Ural in the place, but I did get to see the Enfields. They had four bikes on the floor, one with a sidecar, a military version, a plain one and a Special. They are very nice bikes and it certainly would be fun to have the military version sitting next to the Sportsman. They would make a good looking pair. They did seem a bit rough around the edges but for $3,000-$4,000 USd they are a relatively inexpensive way to get mounted up on a classic bike.
While at the show I did fall in love with the Nortons, especially the "Adventurer". Classic styling in a very nice package. Very few other bikes at the show tripped my trigger. Now that everyone has a cruiser I just can't get interested in them, at least other than the Moto Guzzi. I did renew my AMA membership at the show. I had let it lapse about five years ago so I figured it was about time to join again. They do so much good for bikers rights, that I really feel the need to support them.
The only thing I bought at the show was a pair of Thinsulate gauntlet gloves from a discount house. They were only $20 so I couldn't pass them up.
I was at the show for only about two hours, made a lot of great contacts, and even put the NARMA name down to receive information about setting up a booth next year. We shall have to see what the price is. I suspect it might be too expensive for us but it would be a good way to get our name out to the public and maybe develop more interest for these strange motorcycles. I left at noon and headed home, with one stop, at Hinkley. They have a White Castle there, so I stopped and picked up a sack of their cheeseburgers. It is something that I love once in a while and there are no White Castles in Duluth. Arrived home about 2:00, just in time for the end of the Daytona 500. Turned out that my favorite, Dale Jarrett, had crashed and was out of the race. It was some incredible racing but it really didn't interest me. I started looking for an excuse for a ride.
Finally decided to head to the office to start a couple of programs running on the network while no one was logged on. Sundays are the best time to get those kinds of things done. The Deco fired up on the fifth kick. It was 39 f. (4 C.) when I left. The sun was shining and it was one of those warm, clear winter days that are the best part of winter in Minnesota. I had a great ride and as I pulled up in front of the office a van pulled across the street. I had noticed it behind me for several miles and it made every turn I did. Turned out to be a man that is a manager at one of the large paper mills in the area. I have know him for about 12 years but haven't seen him in a couple. And he had his wife with. She reminded me that I had done a television commercial with her just before Christmas. I didn't realize that they were man and wife until she reminded me about the commercial. Of course they had to ask about the bike. More UDF, but the nicest kind. Went in, did my job, and left an hour later.
The ride home was good except the bike jumped out of third gear going up a long grade. Fourth gear was too high, second too low, and I couldn't keep it in third. I do have to try to adjust that when I get some time. After that grade I had it in third several times with no problem. Go figure..
My $20 gloves were wonderful. Much warmer than the gloves I usually use. These are my first ever gauntlet style gloves, and I can't imagine how I did without them all these years. The fact that the wind doesn't go up your coat sleeve is wonderful. Sometimes I just plain never think to change.
It was a great ride, and of course I had to take the long way around, and it turned into a 70 km ride. Lots of thumbs up from cage drivers and passengers. All in all a great motorcycle day...
Day 22, Monday February 15, 1999... I actually thought about riding to work this morning. I checked the temperature and it was just slightly below freezing. Then I turned on the television and the weather person said there was thick fog and freezing roads at the top of Spirit Mountain. I guess it is just not yet time to start riding to work other than on a Sunday afternoon. Stopped at the grocery store on the way in to pick up my usual breakfast bagels and diet coke, and as I was dating the check I realized that today was my birthday. I guess I am going to have to go for a birthday ride when I get home from work. Another good excuse for a ride...
The folks at work even had a cake for me. Of course they have a cake for everyone's birthday, but it does make one feel a bit special... And they forced me to eat two pieces, twisted my arm they did...
No riding tonight. Not unless one would think that riding in freezing rain and snow, 50 mph winds and ice covered roads, constitutes a good time. Came home tonight and worked on Historic Preservation stuff. Weather was even too lousy to try to find a dinner partner. Oh well, there is always next year..
Day 23, Tuesday February 16, 1999... Looks like I might get the chance to ride in snow this evening. We have about five inches on the ground right now and another three to five expected today. Not the best riding weather but I may have to go around the block a few times this evening. After all, I have to move the bike to get the snow blower out.
When will things ever work out the way I have them planned? Ended up working from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the office. About eight inches of snow in the driveway when I got home and it is going to stay there for a while. I was just too beat to get blower or bike out. G'nite my friends...
Day 24, Wednesday February 17, 1999... Today dawned bright and sunny. So far I have no jobs to work tonight, and there is just a possibility that I will get a ride in. Are we taking bets??? Not on your life...
Today I am experimenting with new types of graphics for the internet. The below graphic is of me riding in the snow tonight, if it works. It will not work with all browsers but if you have Netscape 4 or IE 4 with the Shockwave plug-in it should load. This is just an experiment so if you can't see it please forgive me. It is a ".swf" file and only 5k in size... Very small, quickly loading applets that seem to be setting a standard for internet graphics. If you need the Shockwave plug in you can download it at: http://www.macromedia.com . This new graphic file format also is "scaleable". Try sizing your browser window to a smaller size and notice that the image shrinks with your screen size. Other types of graphics are static in size. Image number two is a bit more complex and is a 23k image is swf format.
Hit your "back" button to return here Click here to view image #1 Click here to view image #2
Sorry for getting sidetracked but after all this web site stuff is my business and a big part of my life. I am thinking about scrapping all of my web design programs and moving on to all Macromedia products and I am therefore doing a lot of experimenting. Let me know what browser you are using and if they worked or not.
Good grief. There are getting to be too many photos on this page. Hope it doesn't take all day for it to load. I almost forgot that I had a dentist's appointment for this afternoon at 2:20. Had to leave work about 1:45 and head for the home ground as my dentist is only a mile from my house. Turned into a fiasco. My dentist of many years died last year of cancer and I had to find a new dentist as I had been neglecting my teeth for quite a while while I hoped he would get better. After trying several dentist that I didn't find I was comfortable with I settled on a lady dentist named Melanie. She is wonderful. Very gentle, kind, and truly seems to care about the patient. I was scheduled to have four teeth filled so for one of the few times in my life I had Novocain administered. Usually I just let them drill away, but four was a little much. On the third tooth, when she was done filling it, she asked me to bite down. Of course with both the top and bottoms numbed completely from Novocain I couldn't tell when the teeth were touching and I bit too hard and cracked the new filling. Oops... She then had to drill out that one, and re-fill it. Then when she took the clamp off it cracked in another spot. Back to the drawing board, re-fill and the third time it worked. Having the same tooth drilled and filled three times in one sitting is an experience I really don't care to ever do again. Plus the other three teeth that were worked on made it a miserable two hours in the chair.
By the time I got home it was 4:30. It had snowed about five inches total, so we didn't get as much as was expected. I was feeling a little miserable and all I could think about was getting in the house and relaxing. Pulled the truck in the garage, looked at the snow blower, then the bike just sitting there all charged up and ready to go and it started calling to me. Finally I opened the other garage door and fired up the bike. I kicked it a dozen times with no success so I hit the electric start and it fired on the first turn. I left it idling as I went in to change clothes.
When I came back out I jumped on, hit the gear selector, pulled it out into the driveway, got off and ran back to the house for the camera. The snow was a light powder and the bike drove right through it with no problem. At the end of the driveway the snow plow had piled up an area about 10 feet long and about 10-12 inches deep. It was much more compacted and I wondered how the bike would go through it with only one wheel drive. Not a problem. Got up enough steam to just blast through it. And it sure felt good doing it.
Ended up going for a ride just around the neighborhood. The roads were snow covered and the bike never missed a beat. The highway was heavily salted and full of slush and muck so I decided to not take it out of our little enclosed neighborhood. Rode around for a little while then came home and put the bike away. Once more it was out with the camera to go check the snow depth with a ruler. It was about 4-5 inches on the flat of the driveway and 10" to 12" at the end. For a one wheel drive bike this thing didn't even spin the wheel attacking it. Winter riding is really a blast! And I can't think of any vehicle that it could be more fun on.
Buttoned up the garage with a major grin on my face, then realized that I had forgotten all about blowing out the driveway. Got out the shovel and did the porch and sidewalks then fired the blower and did the driveway. While walking behind the blower, every time I turned towards the garage and I saw the Deco, I would think about summer riding, winter riding, riding, riding... I felt very content by the time I went in the house.
Day 24, Thursday February 18, 1999... Heard from Jerry Gardner at Ural America. The 35 amp alternators are still on back order. They are going to send me a 14 amp standard one to get me going, then when the 35 amp ones come in they will send one of those. He said it may be two months before they come in, so at least this will get me back on the road. I can't wait to get the bike back, so I was even excited to hear that the 14 would be shipped.
Day 25, Friday February 19, 1999... Argh,,,, Computer went over the hill. Hard drive crashed. I'm actually writing this Sunday. Went for a ride Friday evening just around the neighborhood in the snow. Weather is very nice but the roads are very sloppy. Just felt good to go around the block. In my computer frustration I ordered a new one for home. It is a Micron 450Mhz, 13 gig drive, 128meg memory, DVD, 19" monitor, 16meg Video RAM, Zip Drive, new HP scanner, huge sound and all the bells and whistles. I am doing more multimedia stuff for the web so I figured it would be money well spent. Hopefully it will pay for itself in a short time. (note: I ended up changing my order to make it a PIII 500)
Day 26, Saturday February 20, 1999... Computer was still down and I had to work for customers all day today so didn't get a chance to ride. Did replace the hard drive in the P200 that I have now, and tonight I was able to get it back up and running. Managed to salvage most of my files from the old drive and am just getting back to normal.
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