New White Dress

Keep in mind that it hasn’t been buffed out yet.

I found out the biggest difference between a one -hundred dollar HVLP gun and a six-hundred dollar HVLP paint gun is that the lid will fly off the hundred dollar one during your last base coat and splatter all over one of your side panels.

So the paint booth stays up one more day and I’ll be sanding and repainting at least one piece tomorrow night. Guess I’ll go ahead and shoot the touring trunk while I’m at it, but I’m not planning on it turning out too well since it’s currently coated in black bed liner. Worth a try, though.

Triumph Rocket Paint Job

Painting a batch of motorcycle parts is more complicated than just sanding them down, masking, and spraying.

With a slick base and clear coat, any speck of dust floating by is going to ruin my paint job like a tiny kamakazi crashing a miniature zero into my tank, fenders, or saddle bags.

I contemplated long and hard about where to do the painting, discarding the idea of using the garage right off the bat due to all the busted sheetrock and insulation hanging from the ceiling. Not to mention the contractors passing through constantly as they renovate the kitchen.

Robin’s workshop was also out of the question since there’s too much stuff in there to worry about covering.

So I decided to build a temporary paint booth.

An eight by eight by eight two-by-four frame with 6 mil plastic sheathing and a few AC filters and floor fan for exhaust and ventilation should do the trick.

I also rigged up some Lazy Susans to spin the parts on while I paint them.

Almost ready for sanding and final wipe-down, then up with the plastic (I’ll probably use a whole roll of Gorilla tape) and on with the paint late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Including the Kitchen Sink

Okay, friends, I know I’ve been abnormally silent on the interwebs lately, but I have excuses.

Presented for your consideration, here is our old kitchen sink:

I think this may be the last surviving bright yellow sink circa 1978, and it may be worth millions to an archeologist several thousand years from now…if they can find it in whatever landfill it’s headed for.

The kitchen and dining room has been gutted, and we are preparing meals in the bar for the next five weeks. I’m not sure how we’ll get a thanksgiving turkey done in a 1 CF microwave.

As if a major renovation wasn’t enough, here is BB’s current state:

Last Saturday I determined that I would pull the tank and adjust the fuel sensor float so she didn’t indicate low fuel at half a tank. Then I decided, as long as I have the tank off, I might as well see how hard it is to remove the fenders and have the whole mess painted a nice glossy white. The R3 Classic cherry and cream (or blood and bone, as I call it) two-tone job has just gotten old.

By the time I had the fenders and side panels off I was very greasy and tired. Monday morning I degreased and cleaned all the parts and started hauling them around town to find someone who could finish them for me. The first estimate was $1,800.00. For a plain white paint job with no emblems to remove, no masking, and no body work needed.

The others all refused, saying they only work on cars (i.e, crash repairs where the big insurance money is).

My brother has a painter he recommends in Tyler who had provided an un-seen estimate of under $500.00, but I wasn’t keen on spending two hundred dollars in fuel driving out there and back twice, plus having to leave them at someone’s shop who might not finish them for a couple of weeks.

At the end of the day I bought some white and clear coat, reducer, and catalyst, and a nice new HVLP gun. I also picked up loads of scotchbright, masking tape, and some strange new combination of naptha and thinner for cleanup purposes.

Now I have to build a temporary paint booth and filtered ventilation system.

Paint goes on early Saturday Morning and reassembly is scheduled for Sunday. BB will no longer be “Blood and Bone” so I’ll have to change her name. Perhaps a contest is in order.

Pray for me if you’re in church.

T-Shirt Bags, Banana Peels of the Air Currents

I have long hair and love Three Dog Night tunes.

That’s as close to a tree-hugging-hippie-enviro-nazi as I get, but these plastic t-shirt bags are a threat to all humanity and must go.

I got a call from the fine folks at Eurosport Cycle this morning letting me know the parts I ordered had arrived and were awaiting pick-up at the shop.

At lunch I saddled up and headed out from my Las Colinas office complex to the edge of Fort Worth, not without incident.

Traveling along SH 121 somewhere around Haltom City, I observed a t-shirt grocery bag floating like a little helium balloon on a thermal about twenty feet above the highway. It drifted in slow motion as I approached at a leisurely rate of 65 mph, only five above the speed limit.

When you approach airborne objects on a motorcycle, they always seem to be moving very slowly until the second before you cross paths with them. In that last second they suddenly appear to accelerate into sonic barrier-breaching velocity and go whizzing past (if you’re lucky) in the blink of an eye.

The plastic grocery bag followed this evident natural law to the “t” (no pun intended), but it didn’t go whizzing past. Instead, it expertly caught a tricky downdraft and descended like lightening, darting directly into my startled oncoming eyes.

It smacked straight into my face, and stuck there as if it were freshly hung wall paper covered in paste. I swore at it, and it responded with a hearty “screw you!” and continued to stay right where it had landed.

Somehow, in a wickedly sardonic combination of physics, the shapes and totality of sunglasses, half-helmet, visor, and facial features all worked together to defeat my attempts to dislodge the antagonistic plastic bag by turning my head and nodding first up, then down. I was totally blind to the four lanes of heavy Friday lunch time traffic and had been transformed into a 65mph wheeled missile toting a payload of meat and bone by less than a micron of petroleum by product.

I grabbed at the bag with my gloved hand and pulled it away from my face. Releasing it back into the wild I returned my attention to the road and the cement truck that I was rapidly approaching.

I applied pressure to the brake lever and began a rapid warm-up of the front disks, glanced quickly behind me to see if any vehicles were overtaking me (there were none, but there was a Ford Focus with it’s wipers flapping to dislodge a t-shirt back from its windshield) and swerved into the left lane.

With a sigh of relief I continued on my way, reminded once again that it’s not just mobile phone yacking cagers that are a threat when riding.

Things that would be merely a nuisance in an automobile can often become the equivalent of a bullet when you’re in the wind with nothing between you and your environment except a few microns of leather, textiles, and a brain bucket.

Talimena Again

Preparations are underway for another weekend jaunt from Talihina, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas in the Ouachita National Forest. It’s a moderately technical ride that is perfect for cruisers, and my Triumph Rocket III lays into its curves, inclines, and declines just as her designers intended.

If you’ve never ridden this little 50 mile stretch along the Ozark Peaks of Rich Mountain and the Winding Stair think of it as a nice chunk of the Dragon’s Tail teleported to straddle the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas. There are great areas to camp or lodge at either end.

I’ve stayed in the lodge at Queen Wilhelmena State Park just above Mena, Arkansas for a romantic weekend with my wife, and I’ve spent a wide-awake night with a .45 under my pillow in a one man tent while the wind and insects howled at me from inches away as I wondered whether a black bear would be stumbling into my site during a fire ban a few weeks ago.

I never realized how much comfort there is in a campfire until I had to do without one in black bear country.

I’ve also stayed at the Whip-Poor-Will Cabins in Broken Bow just north of Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma at the other end of the Talimena Scenic Byway.

By far the cheapest was the tent camping site at Queen Wilhelmena State Park; I got site #34 for one night at the dirt-cheap price of $14.00.

The cabin at Whip-Poor-Will was $129.00, and the Queen’s Suite at the QW Lodge was around the same if I remember accurately.

For our next visit we’ll be sharing a two story cabin at Mountaineer Cabins in Broken Bow right across from the Beaver’s Bend State Park entrance. This will be my first bit of extended “canyon carving” on the dark side. Fortunately I have lots of space for first aid supplies since I just installed a brand new set of Mutazu MU panniers.

They’re white…and the surprise is the rest of the Triumph will be painted to match soon.