Saturday 12 October 2019

It never gets old

Enjoying the fall colours, that is.

I’ve circled the sun more times than I care to count and every year I am still awed by the wonderful show Mother Nature puts on for us in the fall.

This year the colours have seemed especially vivid and, given a 13-degree, sunny day, there was nothing to do but take a ride to enjoy them before the inevitable autumn winds and rain turn this particular palette to drab gray.

With no destination in mind I simply followed my nose and explored an area I don’t know too well, west and north of Calabogie.

The little jog south to Ompah took me to a dead-end at Norcan Lake and the Mountain Chute hydro dam.

On that stretch I came upon a coyote, just standing on the edge of the road eating a sandwich. True. I expect some workers in the area must have tossed the remains of a lunch out the window and he found it. I watched him eat while I slowly tried to get my camera out, but before I could an oncoming car spooked him and off he went, sandwich and all, into the woods. You’ll have to settle for this image instead.

After that interesting little interlude I backtracked and swung west and then north to Griffith on  Centennial Lake Road. The roads in that area are narrow and twisty as they meander through and around dozens of lakes and swamps. And although they are rough in places it was a good opportunity to let the horses out and enjoy some spirited riding.  Fortunately I encountered very few other vehicles so it was a great run for 30 or 40 kilometers.

However, once I hit Hwy 41 that all changed. From there it was pretty much a straight shot into Renfrew and very busy. Few places to pass and lots of traffic demanded a more sedate pace. Which wasn’t entirely a bad thing as I had a chance to sightsee and enjoy the views as the highway skirted Mount St. Patrick and the highlands.

It was a great day, and I now have a nice little 215 km loop that I can do again, although next time I’ll skip the Mountain Chute dead-end.

Friday 4 October 2019


I suppose back in the early 80s these bikes were considered cool with their pullback bars and sit-up-and-beg stepped seats, but in truth they’re an ergonomic nightmare in stock trim – especially for a 6-footer.

So flat bars were the first change but I had trouble finding a seat option that didn’t involve cutting and welding a new frame loop in place for a different type seat - and I hate the idea of chopping up old motorcycles. But I finally found one that uses the stock seat pan but a different shaped foam and replacement cover.

Fortunately the seat pan was still in great shape and all it needed was a shot of paint.

Then I put on the new foam and cover.

And voila. It’s been too cold to ride (7C is too cold – I’m a wimp.) so I’ve only had a chance to sit on it in the drive, but it’s sure a lot more comfortable and doesn’t feel nearly as cramped. And I think it looks better too.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Back at 'er

I know I haven’t been spending much time online lately, (with one exception: but I have excuses.

We had some nuptials in the family in September and they happened at our house. So many, many hours were spent trying to pretty up the joint for the big event. And we were away for a while on an Alaska cruise out of Vancouver, visiting Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Then there’s golf, riding, and … etc. Let’s just say I was busy enjoying our all-too-brief summer.

But now with the cooler weather and turning leaves it’s time to refocus on projects that have been neglected for the past few months, the main one being the second Kawasaki.

Since I last posted an update the new bearing and seals arrived and were installed with minimal fuss. The engine was put back in the frame, with maximum fuss (!). And then all the odd bits like carbs, battery box, starter, exhaust system, etc., etc. were reinstalled. Much to my surprise I remembered how most of it fit together and had to refer to the shop manual only rarely. (When all else fails, RTFM - it’s a guy thing.) Even more surprising, I had no random parts left over.

It seems to run fine just up and down our lane, but a proper road test is still required. Since I have neither license nor insurance for it the logistics have still to be worked out. But I’m optimistic!

It’ll be nice to get it done.