Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week Eight
"The Lion in Winter" or "The Ural in Winter"
Day 41, Sunday March 7, 1999... 7:00 a.m., Oh, my, ten below zero this morning, sun is shining and it looks like another good day for a ride, well, except for the temperature. With the sun shining it should warm up quite quickly. After breakfast I am going to put on my boots and coat and go for a walk in the woods. There is only about 8 or 10 inches of snow on the ground so the going shouldn't be too bad. I shall go looking for signs of spring. The pussy willows should be starting to come out and that is usually the first sign. I also want to mark a couple of June berry (serviceberry) bushes that I am going to move out of the woods and replant next to my pond. I know that one of the plants is on the other side of a swampy area so I want to scout it while the swamp is frozen.
1:00 p.m... Had to take back rental movies and visit Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. It had warmed to about 25 degrees, so I bundled up and off I went. The sun was shining, the wind was very light, and the roads were dry. It felt great to be out riding. As I went around a tight right hand curve, with my body hung out over the hack, a local squad car was going the other way. He sure gave me one of the weirdest looks I have ever seen. I could picture what was going through his mind, "is this guy crazy?", "is that illegal?", "is he speeding?", "what the heck is it?". What was going through my mind was, "I hope he didn't have his radar on", "I hope he doesn't think this is illegal", "yes, my insurance is in order", "hope he is not turning around". It was a 30mph zone, but a very nice, tight, wide curve and it feels oh so good at about 40. I couldn't help myself. I plead guilty. I was speeding, on a URAL!!! Never would have happened with the Sportsman. I am so paranoid of lifting the hack wheel that I wouldn't even try something like that. But this was good...
Got to Wal-Mart and as I put the bike in reverse, to back into a parking spot, the engine started to rev higher and higher. I blipped the throttle a couple of times, reached down and pulled on the cables but finally I had to hit the kill switch. I pushed it back into the parking spot and fiddled with the cables, idle adjusters, slapped the carbs, put my hands around them, then tried it again. Started right up but immediately started to rev higher and higher. Shut her down again and stared at it for a moment. Decided that this must be my first ever experience with carburetor freezing. I have been winter riding since I was a teenager and this was the first time. The bike was parked with the sun shining on both carbs. It was cold out but I thought that might be enough to warm them so I loosened all my riding clothes and headed into the store. About a half our later I emerged, filled the trunk with all my "stuff", confidently put on my riding gear, and started the bike. She fired right up and I had no problem all the way home. I did go straight home this time as I didn't want to take a chance on it happening again. Must have been the combination of temperature and humidity in the air. If anyone knows a trick for clearing this please let me know...
I had a dinner party to go to this evening so I got ready, then picked up Lisa. It was just a small dinner at some friends house but we had a wonderful time. The house is a large, timberpeg type home, on the side of the hill, overlooking Duluth harbor and Lake Superior. An incredible view, great food, and wonderful company. What more could a person ask for in life? Our hosts, Frank and Janet, served sautéed shrimp over rice, with asparagus. Just the right combination of spices to make it a marvelous culinary experience. And they served Ben & Jerry's and Hagen Daz for desert. A perfect evening.
Day 42, Monday March 8, 1999... I thought about riding the bike to work for the first time this year but as I watched the weather report while getting ready I quickly changed my mind. We are expecting another 3-4 inches of snow by mid afternoon. I do have to call Marlow this afternoon and see where we are at with the Sportsman. I really was hopeful that it would be done this weekend but now we shall have to wait and see. My lease is up on the truck on Thursday so it has to go back. I have decided to hold off buying a new vehicle for just a bit. It is not like I have no vehicles around. I am going to call my trusty auto mechanic today and see if he would like a two month project. I want to drop off the 67 Chevy "small window" pick up and have him do a brake job, replace brake hoses, anything rubber on the suspension, tune it up, and rebuild the three speed manual transmission. Then when he is done I am going to drop it off at my favorite body shop and have them replace the rusted floor panels, cab corner, and rocker panels, sand the hole thing and paint it. Then it will be off to the upholstery shop to freshen the interior. I've decided that I want to turn this truck into a Ural hauler. I may even think about dropping a V-8 into it. Right now it has a six cylinder truck engine that has plenty of power and torque for most applications, but if I start to tow a trailer around I may soon be looking at a small block V-8. It would be fun to paint it in some kind of blue/cream scheme to match the Deco. Or make it OD Green to match the Sportsman. It really is a cool old pickup and it will make a wonderful tow vehicle. I have been out looking at new trucks but the more I think about it, a few thousand dollars spent on the Chevy might be money better spent. Then I would consider a new "car" in the fall, instead of a pickup.
I still have my 93 Ford Festiva to drive around, although it will never impress a date... but then summer is coming and the Deco would... <grin>
9:30 p.m. -- Snow, snooooooowww, SNOW!!! Arch!! Middle of a minor blizzard. We are only expecting 8 inches of snow tonight and there are high winds blowing it around.
Talked to Marlow today. Turns out that the Sportsman saga is still continuing. He spent four hours trying to track down what was wrong with it that would cause it to not start. Turns out that after tracking the entire electrical system, it came back to the kill switch. It was stuck open and must be replaced. Now he has to order it. I may never see this bike again. Did anyone take bets on when it would be back? Sure glad I have the Deco, otherwise I would be going really nuts.
Day 43 Tuesday March 9, 1999... Winter is very much still with us. In the city there was about 5-8 inches (13-20 cm) of snow. Where I live, about 20 miles South of Duluth, we seem to have had between 10-12 inches (25-30.5 cm). I shoveled enough off the porch to get the door open, and shoveled a path to the garage. Fired up the 4X4 Ford SuperCab and blasted on down the road. One other vehicle had gone out before me but because I was driving this beast I couldn't just follow his tracks, and had to blaze my own trial. It is a ball driving in this kind of snow. I did manage to get sideways a few times, on purpose. Some years ago I campaigned a 4X4 car, an AMC Eagle SX4, in SCCA on-road and off-road racing. So I have had my time behind the wheel of a four wheel drive in extreme circumstances, and I love it. I am sure that the next person to come down the road will wonder what kind of idiot left the tracks. I giggled until I hit the freeway and got mixed up in the 40mph traffic.
The photo on the right is of my deck, outside of my back door. I shoveled up to a point, snapped a photo with the shovel for depth reference, then finished up. That is not pile up snow, but just the depth of what was on my deck this morning. I sure hope winter ends soon.
My new computer is on its way and the last I heard it was stuck in Des Moines Iowa in the midst of this blizzard. Did I mention that I was getting a new computer at home? The main computer I use there actually belongs to Owens Forest Products. It really is needed down at the office, and my other computers at home are not up to the web site design things that I do. So I bit the bullet and bought a new computer. It is a Micron PIII 500, with 128 meg memory, 13.5 gig drive, 16 meg video RAM, 19 inch Trinitron monitor, DVD CD ROM, Iomega Zip Drive, HP 4100 USB flatbed scanner. It is a monster and cost way more than I wanted to pay. My business will be reimbursing me for it so it won't take a big bite out of my personal money, but then it is all my personal money in the long run. I guess I will have to work even more hours to pay for it. The Trinitron monitor and the scanner threw the thing way out of my budget, but I do need the scanner, and the Trinitron is going to be oh so nice. I am going to be spoiled now...
When I get home from work tonight, which do you suppose will come out of the garage first, the Deco or the snow blower? I'm afraid that this much snow may be a bit much for her though. But there is only one way to find out. If she gets stuck the snow blower will make short work of getting her out.
Day 44, Wednesday March 10, 1999... Today was one of those days when one would have been better off staying in bed. I finally decided that I needed even a couple of hours off. A perfect day with temperatures running into the low 40s f. and I had a dentist's appointment at 10:30 out in Esko, and a meeting at 11:30 in Duluth. So I decided to take the rest of the day off, go to the dentist, my meeting then home to go motorcycle riding. Dentist was a drilling experience, then the meeting went very well. When I came out of the meeting there was a call on my cell phone. Turned out one of the computers at the office had crashed, so it was back to the office. Unrepairable! Argh, the only computer up to the job it needed to do was at my house. So it was out to the house, worked on configuring that computer until after 10:00 p.m. Never relaxed, never rode.
Day 45, Thursday March 11, 1999... Another beautiful day and I am not able to enjoy it. Worked until 4:00 then went over to drop off the truck. Hated to see it go back to the dealer, but the lease was up, and I just want to try to make it through the summer with no truck payment. Their shuttle was very busy and I needed a ride home. Didn't get there until after 6:30 and by the time I ate dinner it was dark and only 10 degrees f., so no ride today. Worked on my new company web site until 11:00. Yesterday's meeting was an incorporation meeting. New company will be "InRed LLC". Should be fun...
Day 46, Friday March 12, 1999... Finally did it. Had meetings this morning, then a pizza party at work to celebrate reaching a milestone, and I did it. Yes I did... I took the afternoon off. I am at home right now and it is 1:20 p.m. and as soon as I type this I am going to go to the Deco and go for a ride. Later...
4:00 p.m.. ... Chuckle, giggle, chuckle, giggle... What a hoot!! Temperature warmed to about 45 degrees, still a foot or more of snow on the ground but the roads were mostly dry, although I did get the bike pretty messy going through areas where snow melt was streaming across the roads. Sure felt good to be riding. The bike purred. Put about 35km on it first to the video store, then I went on a quest for a kit for fixing a cellular phone antenna on the Festiva. Went to the local NAPA auto parts store and they didn't have the right stuff. The guy suggested that I go to an auto glass business across town. I looked at him and said, "thank you, another excuse to ride!" Then at the auto glass place they said they could use the same glue that they use for mirrors, but they didn't know if it had to be conducting, and it would have to be cleaned perfectly smooth, and then they suggested, "The cellular phone place across town might have something." I was on a roll and if I worked it right I could just run from business to business all afternoon, except the cellular phone company had the proper repair kit. Darn. Finally headed off for home but when I got to my road the bike went right by again. I am not sure why it doesn't seem to want to turn there and nothing I can do can convince it that it has to. After a few more miles of running around the area she finally went home. She had run like a kitten, and the only low spot was when I came out of the auto parts store and tried to start the bike. Kicked it and kicked it with nothing. Sounded dead. I hit the electric start and she turned over but didn't fire. I shut it down and checked all the wire connections. Everything looked fine...????? Until I looked at the kill switch. When I was in the store someone must have stopped by to click it open. I know that I would NEVER have forgotten and left it on. Couldn't happen. Had to be some outside influence. When this happens I do have to wonder why it takes me so long to figure it out. Every so often this happens with the bike. Makes one feel a bit less than adequate... Started on the first kick once I reset the switch.
I was sitting at home later in the evening fiddling with the computer when I decided that I really needed to get out. There was a 50s/60s dance at the local high school so I put on my jacket and headed out. I have never been one to participate in this kind of thing but I just needed something to do. A couple of my neighbors were there so I chatted with them for a bit. All of the neighbors that I have met are wonderful, nice folks so it was nice seeing them. Most of the time I sat there at a table by myself watching the band and the people dancing. There were probably only 50 people there but they seemed to be having a good time. I enjoyed it until the slow dancing started. The combination of the words of the music, and the happy, in love, couples dancing, gave me one of those maudlin moments that were almost overwhelming. Sometimes being single and living alone can be hard. And this weekend all of my favorite ladies, whom I like to share things with, were out of town. It is times like that when I really envy those of you that are married. After a bit of watching the melancholy was setting in so it was time to cut and run.
Day 47, Saturday March 13, 1999... Today dawned warm and sunny and I went for a ride about noon. I rode about 100km at about 40 f. and I didn't forget the kill switch once. Stopped at the local Harley Shop checking on my Super Glide order. Looks like it is scheduled to arrive in August or September. Then I stopped over at the Local UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) dealer to check on the Excelsior-Hendersons. He ended up with the dealership but still has no bikes. He tells me they have had a problem with component suppliers and are running behind on production. He is truly excited about them and he was also excited to hear that I am going to be starting the "Worldwide Excelsior-Henderson Owners Club". I am ordering one for delivery in the spring of 2000. Don't have a clue how I am going to pay for it, but it is another of those gotta-have-it kind of things.
The UDF (Ural Delay Factor) was in full swing today. Practically emptied the Harley dealer's showroom of people to come out and look over the Deco. Same thing happened at the UJM dealer and every other place I stopped. I originally left home to go take some DVD movies back to the local video rental store. But once again the bike just didn't want to go home. This things sure is long legged compared to the Sportsman. The Sportsman likes to go for short hops, but the Deco just wants to go, go, go... She dragged me all over the countryside. Saw one other bike on the roads, a Harley FLH. It was heartwarming to know that I am not the only one around that rides at these temperatures. You could see the spring fever starting to build though. There were probably 30 people in the Harley Dealer and at least that many at the UJM dealer. He also sells boats so some of them were there checking out the boats. It was a great day for riding and I was certainly dressed for the weather this time. Never even got cold.
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