Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day...? January 22, 2011

There's a lot of sittin on curbs during gas breaks.

...and finally, NEW ORLEANS !!!  Perfect temperature and hospitality from Ed, our buddy Pete's dad.

He was as good at being a tour guide as he was at hosting our motley crew.

Mike cooked up a great breakfast.  The unending love from Herald, our trusty iron skillet.

The morning coffee session is heightened with the chicory flavor of New Orleans

Did I mention the perfect weather??

And the fabulous presence of Tig.  She just happened to be passing through on her own cross country adventure.

Ed found her a helmet for our unladen ride through downtown.

Sunlight strobing through sprawling oak trees and spanish moss, above ground cemetaries, romantic front porch balconies, and streetcars--perfect. 

Beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde

Sunset thoughts overlooking the Mississippi river bridge.

Bourbin street

Tank's cousin Dale.  He picked me up the night before and we rode through empty New Olreans streets.  It was the first time that the young generation of Tankersleys have ever ridden together.  I guess we're carrying it on.  My grandma and pa moved to New Orleans from Tennessee on a Harley with saddlebags and $100. 

The next day, he escorted us out of town.  From a long distance relative to a good friend. 

Map session in a motel the morning Slim left.  Deciding our destiny.  It was a sad break up, because we love Slim.  He's so good to us.  We had ridden west from New Orleans through the cajun country bayous.   We had an amazing seafood dinner as our last meal, slept, and then watched Big Slim blast off into the bitter cold that seems to hunt us.  He made it all the way home that day.  Perspective...It had taken us over a week to get to this spot.  1700 Harley Street Glider--fast.

Slim took our winter gear back to Knoxville to alleviate the burden of carrying warm gear.  How badly we need it one more day, oh well.  Mike's friends Teresa and Luke took us in at their beautiful Houston apartment.  They are amazing people incredible hosts.   This is Theresa and her friend Amanda.   

We grilled up burgers in the magical Big Green Egg.  Tasty

Dinner number 1.  Number 2 is in the works.  Mike is fixing up some deep dish pizzas in Herald (the iron skillet).
We are staying in Houston again tonight because both of our headlights blew while cruising at the mighty speeds of 65-70mph.  Too many volts are going to the light.  So our hunt now is to find new bulbs and voltage regulators.  For our machines, that's no easy grab.  We also wisely left with no extra points either.  We would like to remedy all of this before we cross the border.  The idea is to leave tomorrow to get to Corpus Christi and stay at Luke and Teresa's beachfront condo to wait for the parts.  I sure hate when that happens!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 4 comes to an end

An amazing day of riding!!  We left Selma and continued southward, missing an evil looking rain storm.  The day turned into a fine day of riding.  The sun was blazing a warm 62 degrees and for the south, the heat was gone.  We passed through sleepy little towns and got into Live Oak trees with hanging spanish moss over cemetaries that scream of the deep south.  The spirits were high as we made mile after easy mile.  Tomorrow, New Orleans!!! 

 Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Home of my wonderful Aunt Lynn and Uncle Don.    We haven't been gone that long, but its so nice to see familiar faces.  They bought us pizza and had beds for us in their nice house.  They even gave our bikes a garage.
Mike finally got his taillight fixed, and I think some loose ignition wires were the culprit of my bike's dying. 

Night 3--Selma, AL
(Random History)

The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights ended three weeks--and three events--that represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. Two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a "symbolic" march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., weighed the right of mobility against the right to march and ruled in favor of the demonstrators. "The law is clear that the right to petition one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups...," said Judge Johnson, "and these rights may be exercised by marching, even along public highways." On Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months after the last of the three marches, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965--the best possible redress of grievances.

Life On The Road

Guntersville Lake State Park, Alabama.  It was again a cold, cold day of riding.  Slow progress due to the short time we could stand being on the bikes.  We pulled into this park which seems like a game reserve.  We saw so many deer, geese, ducks, and a fox.  We camped right nest to the lake and gave it our best shot at building a fire will wet wood.  We emptied Tim's trailer and filled it with wood.  I wish I had a picture of Mike and I riding the barrel to the wood grove to gather the wood.
For all those skeptics of our iron skillet, you've never eaten food as good as we made for dinner and breakfast.  It was unbelievable. 

THese pictures are almost impossible to keep in order.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 2...

The sun is out!
Jessica, or J-Mamma i like to call her, is a great life line.  Anything you might need, she's on it.  Big thanks to Miss J  and Shane for the hopitality of a warm house and food.  It was awefully cold that day and the day after.    --tank

One Eye Rises to the early realization of dry throat thirst from a sleep-deprived rest due to scrambled details mixed with love poured into one stepping foot onto the start of a long road.  Sliding into the local Java shop to find massive support from so many angles, the details start to settle to the bottom of my empty cup.  Wrapped in endless scarves, we bring the bikes to life a file away from the love slung by waving hands. 

The cold begins immediately, but not before the game of riding my way through fogged goggles.  Knoxville to Chattanooga.  Sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky.  Snow covered both sides, ice chuncks piled in the median, the chill seeping its way into even the warmest parts.  The temperature -- 19 degrees.

The 350's reality is stalling at red lights with tough kick starting high compression, rigged kickstand too far back, oil leaking out of the top end, and no taillight.  Meanwhile, my reality is my goggles dripping from liquifying breath from my scarf, tank bag falling off, and my bike dying at random due to an unknown cause. 

Tim and his trailer ran pick warm and solid.  His Harley roared its authority, its speakers sung its chords, and his electricity warmed his gear.  Unasked, he quickly came to the rescue with his heated gloves when we were broken by the cold.  He rode behind us the entire way making sure we didn't fall apart and that other people respected our space.  Slim is a blessing. 

Motorcycles, January...whose idea was this?


First Stop- Chattanooga!!! A Kinky Success

 Pre-trip scrambles to pack the pile into a form to fit tomorrows departure.  That's right, the day before.The plan is to meet at 11am at Java Coffee Shop for what turned out to be a nice gathering of loved ones and even more laughs.  Luckily no parking tickets. Thanks Knoxville for the love and support. 

 The temperature was 19 degrees at the take off at noon-ish.  It warmed up to about 45 degrees but not till about 3pm, just it time for the temps to plummet.  It was a frosty time for sure.  It was a shakey first run.  There are some kinks for sure.  This above picture is the pull off the time my bike quit.

Made It !! Our first beer out of town.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This is not the proper way to pull your bike off the hydraulic lift.  I stepped on the lift pedal which shot up the lift while backing off the bike
The newst road block besides the snow, ice, and Mike's flu -- Mike's want-to-be 6 volt electrical system.  The headlight is about as good as a candle in the rain.

The Barillarros to the rescue again.  Mike B welded some nice pieces onto my rack to keep the saddlebags off the exhaust.  I just did the grinding of the sharp edges.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Needle in a Haystack

So you need a part?  Try the Morristown Motorcycle Salvage.


 Can you find Mike?

 Needle found!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Springs and Things

You know that whole "18 days and counting" thing?  Well, we were just joking.  Its the first day of the new year and that would put us at leaving tomorrow.  This is what our bikes look like today.  BUT, they could theoretically be running today!  We'll see if the the devil will pop out to stomp on our efforts.  One engine at a time, we attempt to reassemble all the tiny pieces into their extemely specific homes.  Washers, gaskets, o-rings, nuts, bolts, springs, and so many other things.  These machines are the culmination of so many minds collectively evolving so that we can hit the road.  Its coming.  Once these things are running, we have to break them in and finish gathering our gear, documents, last minute things...and then throw away the half that won't fit.  Then the road is ours. 
3 guys, 1carburator
Success!!!!!  Mike's bike cranked and sounded like a humble champion.  But the devil was not far behind.  Oil was not being fed up to the top end which could blow the newly rebuilt engine.  Will a simple call to an authority in XL's, we found that a tach drive, a small gear, that Mike was advised to leave out for weight was the missing link in feeding the oil up. This is a simple fix and a great relief.    -tank
Dave, the XL Authority. 
Think she'll hold?