Sunday, July 29, 2012

555 - #1 Review 2008

555.   The idea was born, built, and launched from right here in Knoxville, Tennessee.  There was an art show presenting the bikes to a town that either supported the effort or sat back in their corner naysaying, and then they pulled the throttle in 2008, heading for Portland, Oregon.
 So, back to the salvage yards, barns, and junk piles to hunt for treasure.
A trip of this sort is bound to bring out characters of a different sort...our friends.  The funny part is that not all of the crew even knew much of motorcycles.  There is a computer engineer, bicycle and woodshop owner, hydro-engineer, carpenters, an architect, and a cook.  This ragtag crew gathered and got it together, some by the skin of there teeth.

Leaving the Time Warp Tea Room.  Though, at the take off one of the bikes started popping fuses that sent the crew back to the sidewalk.  A mile later a few in the back of the group took and wrong turn...a perfect beginning.

Its incredible to get a group together, its difficult to make time to take a cross country trip, and its hard to resurrect an old machine for under $500...its a miracle to make it all happen at the same time.  However, there are no guarantees.  They blew an engine before leaving Tennessee.

But, therein lies the magic of humanity and the encapsulation of the spirit of adventure.  Suddenly you are camping out in beautiful TN fields and tearing out engines in barns, faced with the extreme hospitality of those whom you may never have met otherwise.
Johnny Walker

You rest in spots otherwise unknown...
...and find random things in cracks otherwise left undiscovered.

There's a lot of sitting around...
...but not much laundry.
Somewhere in there, another engine had to come out and torn apart.  Luckily, the magic continued, and a piston for a 1969 450 got traked down in that tiny town.

Feat kept the computer side running, giving folks back home some good belly laughs as they stayed tuned into the junk olympics.  The blog can be found on the 555 website:
In a small town in Oklahoma, they were accused of robbing a feed store where Dic Awkward and Double Ringer were trying to buy bailing wire to mount a found cow skull.  Their new friend, Ray Red Corn, helped come to the rescue.  He happened to be a congressman for the Osage Nation where they curently were.  He not only vouched for them, but fed and housed them.

Ray Red Corn and the gang

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Feat conveniently got a flat tire as a huge storm chased their tails.  It was one of the fastest changes in history.  Then they found some much needed hospitality when they got shuffled into a welding barn to get away from what could easily have been a tornado.

The sleeping arrangements are of little concern, yet longed for daily...even if it is in the bucket of a bulldozer (below).

MacGyver is the spirit guide. 
To some its a cattle trough, to others, its Spa Day.

Tank came out for a spin with the guys for a few days, from Pagosa Springs, CO to Moab, Utah.  Upon my first moment trying to ride with them, I found that my battery had died, leaving me sitting in their dust.  I fit in immediately with that move, also with spinding time a the hospital when Dic's eye flammed up. 


The boys made it, and they picked up some things along the way, things like friendships and experience, the things you yearn for when you hit the road.  Below is quoted from the 555 blog site.

"We rolled/crawled/pushed/trailored into Portland Thursday night after a hellish last day.. Mt. Hood basically killed us all.
CT's bike broke the timing chain and shredded the engine about 70 miles east of Portland almost to the top of the pass on 26 on Mt Hood. Dic's bike ran like such crap that he and CT ditched their bikes in the woods and hitched to the next town where Feat was broken down with power issues. All of this is occurring in 35 degree rain by the way....not pleasant. So eventually, all of us were together at the Mt Hood Inn calling the Portland boys for help with trailors for CT's/Dic's/Feat's bikes and the other 4 limped in on various #'s of cyclinders/missing shifters/wet carbs/bad electrics...etc....etc...etc...Many thanks to Tom who sent the word out for us and to Bret who came and got us!!!! You guys rule.
The boys from the welcomed us with open arms that night at the Sandy Hut. Needless to say we all got DRUNK in about 2 minutes.
Beaulahland threw us a party Friday night where we all got DRUNK again.
Pistol and CT flew back to Knoxville today and DR leaves tomorrow. Dic is undecided as to how he'll return. Pearl and Feat have decided to go for it and pull the throttle and ride these chariots BACK TO KNOXVILLE....."