Timpanogos Harley-Davidson

Today is the first official full day of vacation. I know I should really count yesterday since that is when we left Arizona but since that did not occur until after the baseball game and technically I am classifying going to the Diamondbacks as work (I love my job if that’s the case), then today would truly be the first full day of vacation.

And since this is my blog and my life I feel like I am empowered to define things however I want to. Wow, that sounded kind of like the time I got a new ball and decided I got to make the rules to the game or else I would take my ball and go home. That didn’t work out too well as the ball went flat and we all had to go anyways so hopefully this time that attitude will work better.

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The Million Mile Ride

The Harley-Davidson Owners Group has come up with a concept they declared Million Mile Monday. They set aside June 30, 2008 as a day to get everyone out on their bikes. The goal was to collectively try and accumulate one-million miles worldwide. The miles could be pretty much anything. Some would use their bikes to commute while others had planned a long journey that would incorporate this date into their plan. At the end of the day members were invited to log into the H.O.G. web site and enter their miles. It is a cool idea really. What better way to remind people how great it is to ride a motorcycle than to get them out on the road. Hopefully it would also increase the total number of riders on the road for at least a day. This should in turn make other drivers more aware that the motorcycle population is not a niche market but is much more mainstream than they had previously imagined. Perhaps then drivers would be more conscientious than they have been in the past.

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That One in the Nursery is Mine

After getting the call that my new wheels had arrived for my Harley-Davidson 2005 Softail Night Train, I made arrangements to have them installed. I dropped the bike off at Chandler Harley-Davidson on March 6. It was two wheels so I just assumed that the bike would be done either that day or the morning thereafter. Now what was that saying about never “assume” anything? Yeah, I seemed to have forgotten that. Maybe I was being unrealistic. Maybe I am being impatient. Maybe I just have no clue how long it actually takes to install a couple of wheels. No matter what the reason, it wasn’t done. Instead I got a call this morning saying that the bike was ready to be picked up. All that was left to do was have it washed.

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They’re Here!

Oh how time flies when you are having fun! I had ordered a new set of wheels five days ago with the assumption that it could take up to two weeks for the wheels to arrive. Today when I got home from work there was a message on my answering machine from Chandler Harley-Davidson saying that my wheels had arrived. Even before the message finished playing I had grabbed the keys and headed for the door. I wanted to get down to the dealership to check out the wheels and schedule an appointment to have them installed.

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The Wheels of Fortune

“With this modification now complete I think my work for 2008 is done.” I wrote these words just two short weeks ago and already I am contradicting myself. I did truly believe that once I put the new forks on my bike that I would be done for the year. After all, the things left on my list were pretty high-dollar changes and I didn’t expect I would be dealing with them. Instead, a series of events occurred that have allowed me to change my mind and do one last set of changes to my Night Train.

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A Fork in the Road

The Night Train is really starting a transformation. The nuts and bolts swap were subtle but noticeable. The hand control changes were anything but subtle but again the look just seemed to work. There is definitely something to be said for chrome controls. If you are looking for something that will get noticed, that will do it. The problem with changing out the controls is that it makes the brushed metal fork legs really stand out and I don’t mean in a good way. It was pretty clear that I was going to need to make a change to the forks but I was really facing a dilemma as to what direction I wanted to go with this conversion.

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Who’s In Control?

After a week of replacing nuts and bolts I have about had enough of that. It is time to turn my attention to some other part of the bike that doesn’t require so many iterations with a wrench. As I said earlier, I am trying to keep the blacked out parts black and replace the other parts with chrome to get the bike to stand out. Today though I decided to deviate from that theme slightly. On the 2005 Night Train the hand controls are black on the chrome handlebars. Initially I planned on leaving them black but the more I look at them I think I want to move to a set of chrome controls.

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This Is Nuts and Bolts!

Now that I have established the story behind the Night Train I can now talk a little more about the bike. As a follow up I should mention that Trina was a little less than thrilled with the idea of me having a bike but she has slowly warmed up to it.

There was a minor setback when I took her on her first ride. We decided to go visit my brother to show him the bike (he is a bigger motorcycle guy than I am and for the record a much better rider). I slightly underestimated the length of the ride when I mentioned it to Trina. I thought it was maybe 4-5 miles. It ended up being over 100 miles round trip as we went to his work, his wife Darlene’s work and ultimately their house in North Phoenix (Trina swears it was south Flagstaff).

This might not have been totally bad except the Night Train Badlander seat is really designed for 1 since the rear seat is approximately 7 inches wide and maybe 1.5 inches thick. It was days before Trina could comfortably sit again. The good news is that the next year for my birthday she bought me a new and much more comfortable seat. She still has not gotten back on the bike to see whether it is more comfortable for her and that was 2 years ago.

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The Saga of the Night Train

This saga actually began in late August 2004. At that time Trina and I were preparing to send our second daughter to college. There had been some discussion that perhaps it was time for us to get another car. We had one teenage driver and would soon have a second one. Trina was driving a relatively new Chevrolet Suburban and I was driving a 1996 Camaro Z-28. Looking over insurance quotes there was absolutely no way we could afford to let the kids drive the Camaro even if both daughters had a good student discount. Besides, I was a teenager once (Trina argues that I still act like a teenager and that’s not a good thing) and I know what kind of trouble you can get into when you have a car that has a speedometer than goes to 140 miles per hour. I think they put that number on there just to tempt you.

That meant that the kids would drive the Suburban. This was not a situation that either Trina or the girls found particularly appealing. Trina didn’t like the idea of the girls driving around in her leather encrusted, chromed out, cool ride. The girls on the other hand didn’t want to be caught dead driving around in a SMAV*. They therefore determined that the best course of action was to get another car. One that was at the same time safe yet cool enough to be seen in by your friends.

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