Monday, February 18, 2013

Motorcycle trailer, hitch

2003 Yamaha RoadStar, 1602cc, 57000 miles. I bought it in August 2009 with 23300 miles.

I bought some saddlebags from Tsukayu and installed them a couple years ago.   What a pain in the ass.  The saddle bags are great....very large, sturdy, durable, but installation sucked.  On some other models they have model specific brackets which makes installation easy and simple, only takes about 5 minutes.  It took a couple days to do these.  

Today, it didn't take too long to remove them, which is necessary for hitch installation.  HitchDoc provided the hitch, made in Jackson, MN.  BTW I bought my first motorcycle from a guy in Jackson.  I bought the hitch from a guy in MI, but I'm sure it shipped from Jackson, since it arrived the next day via UPS.  The MI guy offered free shipping.....

All along this process I've been wondering if the hitch goes against the fender under the backrest bracket or over it.  Some measuring tells me it goes over it.  

Oddly enough, a couple of my mounting bolts are stripped, I knew this and had put nuts on the inside of the fender to hold them tight.  That was fun.  Fun to remove, as well.  I do believe that the threads in the fender are ok, just the bolts are buggered.  I need slightly longer bolts anyway, so I don't mind replacing them.  I hope that the replacements are better...I may put nuts on the inside anyway, just in case.....and thread locker too.  

When I put the bags on, I also put lights on the bags.  Now I get to redo all that.  :(  I had put plugs on the end of the cords powering the bag lights, but the plugs were a little too large to be easily removable from the underseat area.  That's not so bad, it's workable.  Somehow, some way I spliced a wire into the wrong side of the plug, so I had to cut them, which means I'll have to resplice them.  Dumb.  

I think I'll find smaller plugs and remedy that splice situation.  I think I'll also change the lights somewhat, change them to LEDs.

Do you want pics?  Too bad, I don't have any right now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Carnival Breeze shore

Carnival Breeze shore excursions

But first, a word about engine room fires.  You may have heard that another Carnival ship has suffered an engine room fire.  I don't know what causes these things to happen, a short, sabotage, etc.  5 days of substandard restrooms, no ventilation, not much'd be difficult to remain positive, sleeping on deck to stay cool, taking the stairs everywhere etc.  I'm glad our ship did not catch fire, and I hope to never experience that.

We went on a few side trips:  The cruise went to St Thomas, so we took the ferry to St John to see Paige and John.  Paige drove us around the island, showed us the sights, went to a nice spot for lunch.

The next day we went to Antigua, we boarded a catamaran and circled the island, we didn't really see the middle of the island at all.  After the snorkeling the rum punch was poured freely.  :)

Tortola and Nassau will be in the next post, I guess.  I don't want to bore my audience or overwhelm Uncle Google with all these pics.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Motorcycle Trailer build

Since we desire to haul a lot of crap when we go on a vacation, we decided to get a trailer to pull behind my motorcycle.  

A nicer way of phrasing it might be:  since I'm a fat bastard, my clothes take up a lot of space, more than my saddle bags can handle.  Therefore, I need a wagon.

There are lots of them, ready made, ready to go.  They are also very expensive and that's just too easy for me.  Sometimes it sucks being a diy sort of guy, enjoying building stuff is nice, but also exhausting.  

Here's what I'm doing.  I bought a trailer frame from Harbor Freight, got it on sale with a 20% coupon, $177.  It's red except for the rims, which are white.  Our bikes are blue and black, so I've decided to paint the exposed parts of the frame black.  Why not paint all of the frame black?  Lazy.  No, actually I figger if a passing motorist sees a flash of red in the all the black, it maybe the saving aspect.  I've got a can of black paint that was new in the 90's, I used some of it on our repurposed pipe hand rail last summer.

Isn't it cute?  40" wide, 48" long.  You can see that the fenders are black already, too.  I wonder if I'll want a longer tongue, sort of like that guy from Kiss.  No, no not that kind of tongue.

I sanded the red paint with 150 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper.  2/3 of a sheet folded into thirds, only took one side to sand 2 sides of the front and back pieces, 2 sides of the side pieces and 3 sides of the tongue piece.  The axle comes black, but that paint is already scuffed, so I'll sand it and paint it too.  I clean the sanding dust off with a rag soaked with alcohol and will brush  the paint on with a cheap disposable bristley brush.  The paint has been in the garage since 1995, so it'll take a few minutes to warm up, I don't know if I'll get the paint applied tonight or not.  

I plan to tape some paper on top of the table saw and will use some small bits of wood to hold the steel above the paper.  I'll probably apply 2 coats and between coats will put the brush in a plastic sack, wrap it up good, and put it in the freezer.  This keeps the brush usable for both coats without cleaning. 

Sanded and tags taped.  It might have been easier and faster to unrivet them, but we'll never know now, will we?

Why not use a spray can?  Several reasons.  

  1. It's winter, and I don't want to do that much spraying in the goes all over and the furnace would suck some in.
  2. I'd have to buy a couple cans while I already possess this 3/4th gallon of gloss black.  I'll lose more paint to the skin on top of the paint than I'll use on the steel.
  3. I think brushing puts a better coat on the item.  If it were round or intricate, I'd be spraying it
Why wipe the steel with alcohol?  It cleans off the dust, it cleans off any other dirt, oil, grease, wax, other goobers or snot.  Alcohol is cheaper than xylol or lacquer thinner, doesn't leave a film like paint thinner would, and is safer to use in the house than those first couple.  MEK and acetone would also work, but they also stink and are dangerous to use.  Also more expensive.

yep, another coat is in order.  This pic was taken when the paint was very fresh, it'll level out some, but not that much, of course.  It'll be a couple days before I assemble the pieces, but stay tuned for bearings.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

space management

Winter space management....maybe you wonder what the hell I'm referring to when I post it on FB.  

Plain and simple:  always doing a proper job of snow removal so that you have your entire driveway and sidewalk all season.  

I've seen people shoveling and shoveling and shoveling at the end of their driveway until they have a 5 foot high bank on either side of the driveway.  How are they going to see when they're backing out?  

They can't see you, and they can't see the kid walking his squirrel, either.  

And they don't have anywhere to put the next round of snow when it comes.

There's a fine art to snow blowing, much like there's an art to filling a wagon with silage.  Some of the same rules apply, although I'm sure the blower on the chopper had more velocity.  

Fresh wind driven snow and freshly cut chopper driven silage are both uncomfortable to get down your shirt and pants, but the snow just makes you wet and cold, not itchy.

I saw a kid today running a large snowblower, he had taken a pass down the middle, swerving over to the left side, as you stand at the garage looking down the driveway.  Then he took off again from the garage down the middle, straight, this time.  His 3 passes didn't meet anywhere, so I don't know if he was going for artistic, or if he was new to the art, or if he was just goofing off.

I learned pretty quickly here at home the best way to blow my driveway...and for the record, I've never purchased a snow blower, this one was given to us by Val's sister.  It's a Montgomery Wards Snow King, 7hp, 22" cut.  Maybe I can find some pics.

I know I have a pic of the snowblower in use, cutting thru snow as high as the spout.  *sigh* Between 2 computer crashes, a ext hard drive failure, and having 2 ext hard drives in use in 2 different rooms, pic management is difficult.

So anyway, the point to this whole post is to be vigilant with your space, don't be lazy and let the snow pile up and cramp your parking or cut down your visibility.  you have a whole yard, blow that shit out of the end of the driveway into the main yard.  Spread it out, is what I'm saying here.  

I also want to mention that the with the ownership of a snowblower comes great responsibility.  You are now responsible for any and all elderly or crippled neighbors' snow.  If you don't take care of them, this makes you a bad person.  

For several years I took care of the old lady to the north's driveway and occasionally did the sidewalk.  In the spring she always paid me, and I always protested the payment, because it wasn't enough.  j/k...I did it w/o the expectation of being paid.  If there was only a little, I let her take care of it.  But if there was a lot...I did it for her.  

Our neighbor to the East nearly always runs his unit all the way down the sidewalk to the street, clearing our sidewalk.  If I get there before him, I clear his sidewalk.  AND one year when he broke his foot in May, I mowed his front yard all summer.  Be neighborly...Do it, you'll feel better.