Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Into the New Year

I like sitting by the door at Ernie's and watching the sunset.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

...and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cold Night in Bridgeport

This morning I was out in the cold. It was 27 degrees Fahrenheit and I was in a nice warm car. I was turning from Petaluma Hill Road onto East Cotati Ave., on my way for a hot cup of coffee. That’s when I saw a guy on an Electra Glide heading in the other direction. I knew he was cold and I began to reflect on times when I have been riding in the cold.
The attached photo is in Bridgeport, California. Bridgeport is on Hwy 395, which runs through some of the most beautiful and wild territory these United States. It’s harsh country and sparsely populated.

My friend Greg and I arrived about midnight and the temperature was in the high twenties. As you can see from the photo I did not have a very warm jacket and you can tell from the color of my nose that I am cold.

Oddly enough this photo was taken outside of a bar.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

San Quentin Toy Run, The Little Girl

As we walked to the toy drop off, I saw her; she was about four or five years old. She saw the box I was carrying, which had a princess outfit in it. I can still see the look on her face, she imagined herself a princess wearing the shimmery dress and the tiara and shoes with diamonds and rubies. She imagined herself special and wonderful.
Her mother saw this too and knew that she would not be a princess. Her mother knew that her daughter’s life would be very different than the dreams of a little girl. Her mother picked her up and turned her away to distract her from the coming disappointment.
I was supposed to take the presents to the community center where the presents would be distributed to the children. So I did not walk over to the little girl and give it to her. I didn’t think fast enough. I didn’t think well enough and the opportunity was gone. Why didn’t I just walk over and say, “This is for you.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Waking Up the Sleepy Twin Cam

I just finished an installation of S&S Cycles’ gear drive cam shafts on my 2004 Electra Glide Standard. So far I am highly pleased with the results. The engine which was a little sleepy has had a wakeup call. Acceleration is up and the exhaust note is much crisper.
Harley Davidson’s Twin Cam engine was introduced for the 1999 model year. As the name implies, the engine has two cams with two lobes each, the earlier Evolution engine has a single cam with four lobes.
The Twin Cam engine uses chains to drive the cams. Think bicycle chain, on a bicycle the chain droops and when you start to pedal, the chain snaps tight. The action is the same on the chains driving the cams, so Harley Davidson added little nylon pads that are spring loaded and push on the chains to keep them taunt. This system is not the best for accurate cam timing.
The tensioner pads are also a weak point in the system. The nylon pads wear as the chains run over them and it is nearly impossible to tell how much they are worn without pulling the engine apart. Allowing the tensioner to wear out means metal on metal contact and metal particles inside the engine, not good.
S&S Cycle manufactures a gear drive replacement for Harley Davidson’s Twin Cam engines. The gear drive replacement provides increased performance by more precise cam timing and by eliminating much of the parasitic drag that is part and parcel of the old chain system.
The replacement cams, which because they are gear driven run backwards as compared to chain driven cams, are ground with a slightly higher lift and longer duration. This appears to me to move torque further up in the RPM band where it is most appreciated. With increased performance and no worries about tension pad debris or metal shavings contaminating the oil, I think this was money well spent.

Harley Davidson should have done gear drive cams in the first place.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Hatt's Toy Run

We left the 881, and headed for San Quentin where we dropped off our toys.

Then we headed west to the Woodacre and the Papermill Creek Saloon.

As the fog receeded we arrived in Point Reyes Station.
We ended at The Viking in Novato. Barbeque, music, cold beer. We partied till late, the fog was rolling back in and it was getting cold. We bundled up, defrosted our glasses and headed for home.

Hatt's San Quentin Toy Run

When Marie and I Left for San Rafael it was 37 degrees, cool and brisk, a little damp with some fog. We met our friends, Sherri and Gary, Scott and Rebecca and Tony and Erica at Bobby's Cafe for breakfast.
Hatt's toy run leaves for the 881 club at 11:oo am. There was good turn out and lots of interesting bikes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where I Live

This is Sonoma Mountain. It is my backyard. It is fall on Sonoma Mountain. The sun is low in the sky during fall and the vineyards are lit from behind. This makes the leaves, which are now yellow, red and gold, glow as though lit from within.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is chip seal. Several of my favorite local roads have been resurfaced with it. The County says it's cheaper than regular asphalt repaving.
Cheaper indeed? Cheaper for whom? Will I be expecting a tax rebate for the money the county saved by using the cheaper chip seal method? Bet not. All of us tax payers got charged full boat. We were charged for Premium and got Regular.
Chip seal is a method for resurfacing a road in which hot oil is spread on the road surface and then loose rock is spread on the oil. This is supposed to glue the rocks to the roadway making a like new road surface. Bull!
The oil flows onto the road surface and follows that surface. If there are holes the holes are transferred to the new road surface. There is no flattening of bumps and there are voids where the rock didn't stick.
But my number one favorite thing about chip seal, the rocks pinging off my painted fenders. Oh Yea!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Size Matters

I got hit by a big bug, just above my sun glasses. That got me thinking about the size of bugs. Sure, there have been enough movies about giant bugs threatening the world. I remember Them, about giant ants the size of a front loader and The Beginning of the End, about grasshoppers the size of a Greyhound Bus.

Really big bugs would be scary, but what if things were just slightly different. Most animals come in regular and large. A cat in large would just be like a lion or a tiger. A huge chicken would be like an ostrich. But imagine a preying mantis the size of a dog. I think I would buy a really good full coverage helmet to make sure one didn't try to chew my head off. Down boy, sit, stay. You're a good mantis, yes you are!

But there are some very small animals that are very aggressive. We don't really give them much thought because they are so small they pose no threat. Imagine a Chihuahua the size of a goat. That would be a vicious beast, not to mention scary looking, all buggy eyed with pointy teeth.

How about humming birds the size of pigeons...

It Wouldn't Be Safe to Go Outside

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have a really hard time trying to take photos while riding. I have to pull out the camera without dropping it, or loosing my gloves. Then I have to turn it on and try to take a decent photo without crashing. The camera also has a small idiosyncrasy. When I pull it out it somehow switches to movie mode. I push the button and get a small, unwanted movie.
Here is an interesting one of Marie. I intended to get a shot of her riding along, but what I got was a very short movie of what happens when a hornet flies down a woman's blouse.

She Floats Like a Butterfly Gets Stung by the Bee

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feather River Ride, Day Two

Morning comes cold, around freezing and it's overcast. Great weather for a motorcycle ride, we just bundle up, saddle up and ride a few blocks for a good breakfast. By the time we leave the restaurant its 41 degrees, and warming.
Our route took us south through some of the great high county of the Sierra. We backtracked into the Feather River Canyon then east to Quincy. Then its meandering Hwy 89 to Truckee. The ride was quite cool but I was comfortable. The engines love the cold air and ran with gusto. We stop in Truckee for a Mexican Coffee a place called The Bar of America. Then we rode around the west side of Lake Tahoe.
Marie and I had to head home, so we split from the group and took Highway 50 west. David and Lynn stayed in Tahoe. Gary, Sherri, Scott and Rebecca rode to their cabin near Arnold via Hwy 88 over Carson Pass (follow the red line on the map).
Marie and I hit Hwy 80 in Sacramento and got home at about 11pm.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feather River Ride, Day One

Finally, a get-a-way. Every October, Marie and I, go with a bunch of friends on a trip up the Feather River Canyon. At the end of the first day we stay in Chester. In days past we stayed at a little bed and breakfast in Crescent Mills, but unfortunately that place has closed.

Feather River Canyon is like riding in some one's model railroad. The highway and railroad cross each other and the river on bridges and through tunnels. There are dams for power and the water supply. It just looks like something that someone would have on their basement model train layout.
Marie rode her Sportster this year and I rode my Electra Glide, everyone else was two up. Scott rode his Evo with Rebecca. He put on his old seat and I helped him install a detachable backrest as a favor to Rebecca. Gary and Sherri rode their Electra Glide Ultra and David and Lynn rode their Yamaha.
Riding in the Sierra is beautiful but colder in October. The leaves have changed to golden and at times they fall around you as you ride. The daytime temperatures were around 60 degrees but at night and in the morning it's around freezing. Makes the ride to breakfast, brisk, very brisk.

We stay in Chester at a motel and restaurant called The Timber House. The restaurant is built out of huge logs cut end on. They have done a great job of modernizing the decor and the food is very good. The steaks are cooked just right and taste like a good steak should.

Good friends, good ride, good food, what's better than that?