A ride story

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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:57 am
Location: Salem, NH
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A ride story


Post by DanM » Sat Jun 25, 2005 10:45 pm

Although i have posted mostly question on the Pan board, my first antique is a 45" flatty.

When I got it in 1990, it was an unfinshed bobber/chop with a 63G motor in it. As I started to learn about 45's- for example the rear drum and sprocket was huge, and I found from Sarafan I needed 2 rods for the rear brake- so I figured out it had a big twin drum on it, and no belcrank. Lots to learn. After I got into it, I went to some antique meets and went the restoration route.

In 1996 I rode from Massachusetts to the Davenport Iowa meet, solo. About 1400 miles, all on the interstate. Took about 12 hours a day for 3 days. Seemed like it should have gone faster, but I was running nearly wide open at most times- 31 tooth motor sprocket. You know, when you get in the draft of a tractor trailer, you can almost close the throttle and be pulled along as long as you get in close!

Got my first flat in Pennsylvania. Wasn't on the side of the road 15 minutes when a guy and his wife going on vacation with a bike in a trailer pulled over. Loaded me up, and drove me around off the next exit until we found a bike shop. Turns out I knocked the valve stem off with a cable lock I had on the lower rear stay. Well, got the rear wheel off, and this guy with about 100 junk small Hondas in his yard and such had a tube, and I was out of there in an hour.

Now I'm on the Ohio turnpike and I get the funny feeling again, and I get over to the side. In the middle of nowhere. About 15 miles from the last toll both, and no idea where the next anything is. Well I figure this is the way to Davenport and all those guys will see me and stop. It starts to get dark, and no cops, no nothing. I'm planning to hide the bike in the weeds and get the rear wheel off, and am trying to decide to go forward or backwards with the wheel. A hiway service truck pulls over at this point. Some one at the next toll mentioned they saw me, and he came out. But, he can't touch anything, and I can't put the bike in the truck. He can only use his radio to help me. We decide to call a wrecker. It's near dark at this point. He leaves. A tow truck comes a while later. I get the rear wheel back on. He is a super nice guy and experienced. He gets moving blankets out of his truck and we wrap the bike. He uses two nylon straps on the lift and picks up the bike. I'm picturing it swinging, but he extended the rack used to pick up a car by the wheels, and using two more straps through the wheels, he secures the bike. Up in the cab and he asks me "where to?" I ask him what's around- he mentions a Honda shop and I ask if I have a hotel or something. Well, as you know, Davenport is on the Labor day week end. What happens in Illinois on Labor day? First, everyone is taking their kid to college, then there is the little matter of Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg weekend. Hotel room? He calls his wife on the radio and asks her to call around. We drive for I can't remember but it was a way up the road. She calls back having found possibly the last available room in the state. He takes me to the hotel. We get back to the part about fixing the flat and where a bike shop might be. He says- let me take the wheel and I'll do it in my shop and bring it back in the morning. He lends me a floor jack off the truck- I didn't have the rear stand yet, and this is how I did it at home. On the side of the road I had lifted the thing onto a rock. In the morning I use the pool, and got a nice break, but I wanted to make the dirt track race at 6 pm that night in Davenport, and also wanted my wheel back- if you know what I mean. Well, around 10 he shows up with the wheel. He tells me the tube put in by the first fix got pinched- he talc'ed the new one and was sure it was good. He waited while I remounted the wheel and got his jack back.

Well, I took off and rode like a madman. At a gas station a guy on a sporty wanted to ride with me, as he was going to the meet also. I made it to the meet around 5 pm, pulled in and was looking for a spot to stop and put up my tent. FIRST guy I see is a friend from the club that flew out to the meet and rented a car!
The races were awesome as I had hoped. There are 500 vendors or more at Davenport and it blew away everything I'd ever seen except a Carlisle car meet. It took more than a day to see everything. I bought a tube or two and tire irons.
I have never had another flat in 10,000 more miles on that bike.
Since then, I got a set of '47 WL cases from Bills Custom cycle in Bloomsberg Pa, he rebuilt my lower end and set it up in the new cases. NOW I have a nice '47 WL.


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Re: A ride story


Post by Jack_Hester » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:04 am

Dan -

Mighty fine story! Hope to measure up to that one, next year. I'm hoping to be heading out of N. Carolina on my WLA, from Chicago to the West coast, on Route 66. Then, a big right-hand loop around the U.S. to Montana for a couple of days stop, there. Then, a zig-zag back across the upper part and back down N.Y. state to home. Big plans. I used to do this fairly regular on my 76 FLH. Never on a 45. So, I hope it has all the same drive that made my earlier trips so great. Thanks for the details.


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