Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Ya know, somebody once said, “For evil to triumph, all it takes is for good men to do nothing.” Reggie says if that’s the case, evil must have triumphed a lot around here lately! Actually, I did finish several projects that have been hangin’ around for months, so now I have enough room in the shop to get another few projects started that can hang around for months!
I’m buildin’ a custom FXR from scratch for a buddy of mine, an’ it’s been livin’ here for nearly a year. All the big stuff is here, but the small stuff is killin’ me. He’s got an S&S Super Stock motor an’ a no-name Chinese 5-speed tranny that seems to defy every attempt to hang a date on it. When I try to order parts, it’s like Johnny Cash’s Psychobilly Cadillac: “It’s a ’49, ’50, ’51…” You get the picture… Spacers, races, pulleys an’ clutch parts all laugh at my attempts to integrate them into the great society of rotatin’ gears an’ chains. I hate to say it, but I think some Chinese kid is laughin’ his pre-teen ass off. “Yeah, kid, go ahead an’ laugh. You’ll never get above the dollar an hour mark, an’ this kinda behavior is why!”
I want to get this FXR done as quick as I can, so I can get back to workin’ on my Sporty chopper an’ my hot rod Ford, but I don’t want to turn it loose ‘til it’s right an’ everything fits an’ works perfect. Hell, even the weather isn’t cooperatin’!
We’ve been havin’ a heat wave here in Madtown with temps over 100 degrees, an’ to make matters worse, the mice ate the wires in my cooler, built condos in the cooler pads, an’ used the bottom tank for a latrine. I thought I’d gotten rid of ’em a while back, but I guess this new pack of enemy insurgents fled back across the border into “Mousistan” just before I got to ’em.
For those of ya back East who’ve never seen a swamp cooler, it’s a devious torture device imported from Taiwan that’s supposed to evaporate water inside an’ blow cool air out the front. Mostly, though, they just throw water all over whatever you’re workin’ on an’ give you sneezin’ fits when they blow an entire winter’s worth of pollen, mold an’ mouse crap in your face. You’re supposed to change the cooler pads every year, but since they’re almost two bucks each, an’ there’s three of ’em, I try to squeeze an extra year or two out of ’em.
As hot as it may be, I’ve got a lot to finish before we leave for Sturgis. I wanted to get my ol’ Shovelhead roadworthy, since I just got it runnin’ in time for the Sacramento Easyriders Show in January. The other day I lit her up an’ let her warm up, enjoyin’ the glorious noise only a Shovelhead makes, an’ when she was warm enough I dropped her in gear an’ she jumped right out from under me. Fortunately, we were in the gravel an’ she just slid over on her side without any damage to paint or anything major. Just a clutch lever an’ the outer primary.
Unfortunately, my “prepper” neighbor was out trimmin’ his perfectly manicured grape vines an’ saw the whole thing go down.
“Are you OK?” he panted, after runnin’ full steam for the entire 50 feet between us. By the time he got to the scene of the accident, he was shakin’ like a dog passin’ peach pits from the effort.
“Yeah,” I assured him, “I’m OK, but could ya point those shears at the ground? The way you’re shakin’, I may get a second bellybutton, or worse.”
The Shovel was sittin’ on her side stand, a small trickle of oil runnin’ out of the hole the gravel punched in the primary. He looked it over, an’ with a snicker, asked about Harleys leakin’ oil. I told him, “Old Harleys are like dogs; they mark their spot, bite ya when ya kick ’em, an’ love ridin’ in the truck.” He kinda chuckled, an’ I knew if I didn’t get rid of him he’d still be there when my twisted knee stiffened up an’ I couldn’t kick him in the ass if I felt the necessity.
“So…” I asked him, “How was your week in the survival bunker? Did the kids enjoy it?” referrin’ to his voluntary sequester after the explodin’ zombie gopher apocalypse of last month. I think I hit a nerve…
He cringed at the question, an’ replied, “It was… Uh… I… Uh… Gotta go. See ya!” and headed for home, the shears held at Port Arms like an M-16.
My knee was startin’ to give out by the time I got the Shovel on the air table, but I still laughed all the way into the shop.
When I went to pull the clutch apart, everything came out in one piece like the discs an’ steels were super-glued together! I pried ’em apart with a screwdriver, an’ they were actually vacuum sealed because the surfaces were so slick an’ oily. New discs and cleaned steels fixed the problem, an’ now she’s ready to rock ’n’ roll like a prom queen. Sturgis, here we come!


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