"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
June 2012 - Issue #29
IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
IT'S BEEN A WHILE… - Sometimes, life gets in the way…
YOSEMITE RUN 2012 - Riding Harleys for a week in Yosemite. WOW!!!
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE - Progress has been slow.
BRIT BIKE PAINTINGS - Check these out. Very nice.
WEIRD STUFF - It probably made sense when they did it…
ANOTHER NAME CHANGE? - Is it A.C. or Andy?
IT'S BEEN A WHILE
I like to try to publish an issue of BRIT IRON at least once per month, early on it was almost weekly. But, life has a way of buggering things up, from time to time. Mostly lately, my "other job", which is selling commercial real estate, has by necessity taken priority. Specifically, I'm in the Mobile Home Park Business, that is to say that I, with the company that I work for, CCI Real Estate, buy, sell, manage, consult and even own and operate Mobile Home Parks (MHPs).
BAD TO GOOD
MHPs represent different things to different people. Some think of "trailer trash", tornadoes wiping them out (why do they always hit MHPs?), or half-drunk rednecks in 'wife-beater' tank tops being interviewed on the news (they're not all like that, many are quite nice). Good news: we're the ones who take bad parks and turn them into nice parks, and the nice ones into winners. And they are amazingly good investments.
Investors today are struggling to find safe places for their money that will not only preserve it, but hopefully grow it. MHPs are, in my view, probably the best investment available today for most investors. They offer high returns, stable rents, ease of management, low turnover, and hefty profits upon resale (if done right).
BUSINESS IS JUMPING
My business is absolutely popping right now, and I owe it to myself, my family, my colleagues and my clients to make the most of it. It's been taking more of my time lately than usual, and something had to go. Unfortunately, as much fun as I have building my website, and writing these newsletters to you all, I've had to dial back my activities here, at least for a while. A guy's gotta' make a living, right? But, don't worry, I'm not abandoning my passion here, and I will continue to grow the site and send out these newsletters, it just may be at a slower pace for a while. Hope you don't mind.
YOSEMITE RUN 2012
ME AND MY DYNA
As you probably know, my love for motorcycles, and riding, extends beyond my Classic British Bike passion. I also own a 2008 Harley-Davidson Dyna which I ride every chance I get. I fell into a group of guys who, among other things, do a one-week camping/riding trip to Yosemite National Forest each summer in June. It's invitation-only and I got invited 3 years ago. Then I got invited back last year, and apparently I haven't done anything too unmentionable because I got invited back again this year.
10 GUYS, 10 BIKES, AND A CHASE TRUCK
This year, there were a total of 10 guys going, and our beloved (and much-needed) chase truck. One guy, Scott, who organizes the trip each year, got stuck with Chase Truck Duty. He put his bike on the trailer, along with all our crap in the truck, and he drove up to Yosemite, while all us cool guys got to ride. Of course, the day we left, Sunday June 17, it was 105 degrees in the shade, and we were taking the long way. Normally you can take a direct route from the Bay Area and be in Yosemite in about 3-1/2 hours. Not us, no sir. For us, it's all about the ride. Instead of heading due-east through Tracy, we went south from San Jose to Gilroy, east through Pacheco Pass (Hwy 152), across the Central Valley on Highways 33 & 140 through Merced, Snelling, then up to the booming metropolis of Hornitos (Spanish for "The Little Oven"). From there it was up to Coulterville, then into Yosemite.
WHAT A RIDE!
This route normally takes about 6 hours, but we had one bike in our group that broke down 4 times on the way up. So, it took 9 hours. And, it gets a lot hotter when you're standing still. Anyway, we made it up, got our cabins in Yosemite Lakes, and had one helluva week camping, riding, drinking (only at night after all the riding was through) and laughing a lot.
YOSEMITE IS AMAZING!
Now my third year on this junket, I'm still amazed at the unrivaled natural beauty of this place. The rivers, canyons, lakes, waterfalls, trees, mountains, the wildlife, and the stunning views…no wonder the place is filled with foreigners who come from all over the world just to see it! More Americans should make it a point to see it. I can't begin to describe the magnificence of it all. Glacier Point is the ultimate Yosemite site, in my opinion. You over look the entire Yosemite Valley with Half Dome right across the canyon, waterfalls, old glaciers, and a sheer drop over over 3000 feet to the bottom of the Valley. It's breathtaking, literally and figuratively. At almost 8,000, the air is a little thinner up there. Fortunately, my Harley is fuel injected so it never missed a beat. My 57-year-old body, however, was breathing a little heavy. But it was all worth it.
Unfortunately, the poor guy whose bike broke down 4 times on the way up, was in for more thrills as his bike continued to give him trouble throughout the week. Funny, when I ride with my Brit Bike buddies, breakdowns are not only commonplace, but expected, and indeed part of the fun. Not that we didn't have fun, and we all stopped every time, but it's not the same, somehow. Finally on Friday, we rode into Jamestown Harley to see if he could trade his bike in for a new one (actually a very nice used one). Unfortunately, it didn't happen, and he attempted to limp home from there, only to break down again, forcing him to rent a U-Haul to get it home. Ah…motorcycles, huh? All part of the fun.
YOUTUBE VIDEO COMING SOON
I filmed most of the riding and stuff with my Helmet Cam, and now I just need to go through the tons of great riding footage and edit it down to a nice YouTube video. When I do, I will send you the link so you can see it too.
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE
Project Royal Clone is what I call my latest Classic Brit Bike Project. I'm completed refurbishing and restoring my '79 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special and customizing it to look like the ultra-rare '81 T140LE Bonneville Royal Wedding. They are distinctive in that they have a blacked-out engine and front end, and a silver frame, not to mention a special tank & badging. I'm not going to build one that would fool an expert, and that's not my purpose. I just really like the looks of the Royal Wedding, and I want one. There were only about 200 made, so even if I could find one, and afford to buy it, I wouldn't dare ride it. Silly, huh?
So, my silver powdercoated frame is all together, with wheels, brakes suspension, etc. in place. I've started on the wiring harness (brand new Lucas). The engine is being finished up at Rabers as we speak. I had it completely balanced & blueprinted, dynamically balancing the crank, new bearings, bushings, seals, pistons & rings, and Mega Cycle cams with R-grind lifters. It's 90% assembled, but since the new cam has higher lift, they need to "clay" my cylinders to check the piston-to-valve clearance. They literally put soft clay in the valve pockets of the piston crowns, then assemble the top end and run it through a few strokes. They they take the head off and see just how close the valves get to the pistons.
WON'T BE LONG NOW
I expect to have it all back to me in a week or so, then the pressure will be back on me. My busy work schedule as prevented me from doing all the prep work I thought I'd have done by now. I've got to get back on it so that I'll be ready to pop that engine in, when it arrives. Should be the smoothest, best-running Bonneville I've ever built. Looking forward to it. And…it will look really cool!
One of the really nice things about doing a website and newsletter like this is that it allows me to meet lots of interesting, talented people who dig the same kind of stuff that I do. One such acquaintance, and a regular subscriber to BRIT IRON, is a Brit himself, John Lowerson, of
Nottingham, England. Hey, that's where Robin Hood is from. John is a very talented watercolor artist and he loves painting pictures of Classic British Motorcycles. I've seen several of his paintings, and I like them very much. This is just one sample. Check out his page on Flickr to see more:
And/or you can email him direct at John.Lowerson@ntlworld.com
Make sure and tell John you heard about him on Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And if you do something cool, art or otherwise, that pertains to old Brit Bikes, drop me a line and I'll try to publish your work for everyone to enjoy. Thanks.
I like to buy my fresh seafood from the local Asian Market. It's the best. But most of the stuff on the shelves is completely foreign to me. While waiting in line with my salmon steaks one day, I looked over and saw this snack pack direct from China. "EVERYONE SAYS GOOD GOOD EAT". I don't think that's true. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "Good Good Eat". I guess this is just one example of the interesting, and sometimes troubling state of affairs we find ourselves in, today. China is now making almost every consumer product we buy. Some are pretty good, many are just crap, and a few are just plain weird. I guess some big marketing maven in China really thinks we talk that way. Fascinating…and weird.
ANOTHER NAME CHANGE?
Those of you who actually follow BRIT IRON regularly may recall that a few issues back I announced that I would be going by "A.C." instead of "Andy". I've never been particularly crazy about my name anyway & I got a bug in my bonnet to change things up. There is certainly a proper time to do such things. Like when I moved from Hanford to San Jose in 1977 to start my career in Real Estate. No one knew me in the Bay Area, it would have been easy to introduce myself as A.C., but alas I didn't think of it. When I moved to Pleasanton in the 90's, that would have been a good time to make the change, but again, I didn't. More recently, when I joined the BSA Owners Club and started this website. But instead I continued to introduce myself to the world as "Andy". Now 57 years down the pike, I'm pretty well known in certain circles as...Andy. Then of course there is my professional career in real estate. It certainly doesn't make sense to create any confusion there. So, after knocking around with this A.C.-thing, and introducing myself around as such, I came to 3 conclusions:
1.) You can introduce yourself as anyone, and as long as you don't act funny about it, they'll just call you that, from now on. That part of it is simple.
2.) It takes extra energy and dedicated brainpower to manage a life where different groups call you by a different name. I had to decide not to change my name for real estate, but only for the bike stuff.
3.) It's all a big pain in the ass! What was I thinking? I have only so much time left and I don't want to spend any of it wastefully. Going through the massive effort that it would take really isn't worth it to me, in retrospect. So, I won't be changing my name to A.C. after all...
"Live life, love life. Focus on the past only long enough to glean whatever lessons you need, then leave it behind. Live in the day, with your eyes on the future."
PLEASE READ MY COLUMN ON EXAMINER.COM
As you may know, I'm now a Motorcycle Correspondent for the Bay Area for Examiner.com. I've written several articles on bikes so far. I get rated by the number of people who read my articles and give back good feedback. Please, if you get the chance, please visit my page on Examiner.com, and tell your friends about it. Here's the link:
And please pass it along to your friends...
Hope you enjoyed this issue of "BRIT IRON" as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please tell your friends about it, and my website, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And please urge them to subscribe to this e-zine. It is my hope that the right people will discover this website & tell the right people, who will then pass it along to more of the right people, and...well, you get the idea.
Thanks for all your interest & support,
PS: I'd love to hear from you, get your comments, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. Please contact me.
And above all, enjoy the ride...