I wanted to make a writeup of some of the other preparations:
We had tires mounted at RideNow Powersports in Gainesville, FL. They will price match any of the big online stores AND install it for free. I’d like to take a moment here to thank Warren and Travis there for putting up with me calling to order $2 worth of parts over the phone a hundred times over the course of getting this bike roadworthy.
We rebuilt the front forks. (the seals were completely shot)
Ha-mes made and installed a female usb port so I could charge my phone. I’ve shown several people the little board where he soldered all the little electronic components to make it work, simply because I found it so fascinating.
They also got a tachometer installed, so that hopefully I don’t blow this engine as well.
Thermostat, gear oil, fuel filter were replaced. Cables were lubricated. Brake fluid topped off. Sarge scored me a humongous battery (the largest that would fit). Plus probably a dozen other little things that we did to it.
I’d really like to also take a moment, to, again, thank Sarge and Ha-mes for the ridiculous amount of time, work, and love that they put into getting this bike running as amazingly as it is. As well as for largely accepting arepas, pizzas, tools and other things I was getting rid of, (and very little cash) as payment.
The old windshield that was on the Shadow previously broke. We had another one lying around from a different bike, less any of the gear to mount it. We were originally planning to make something to mount it, to the point that Sarge and I were at home depot in Miami looking for hardware and metal. With no luck finding a used windshield and feeling uneasy about ghetto-rigging the windshield on, I bit the bullet and paid something like $130 for the proper mounting brackets for it. I bought them at Cycle Gear in North Miami Beach, FL. I’ve always bought gear there, particularly helmets and the like. They always have ridiculous sales on some stuff. Hopefully the brackets come in before the day I’m planning to start the trip.
I made the mistake of deciding on making metal saddlebag boxes. I have a very good friend in Miami who is a welder, and after talking to him for some time it seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately he decided on aluminum sheets that are much thicker than I probably really need, which cost me a small fortune. To add insult to injury, while a good guy, he’s among the flakiest of people I know. We went together to buy this metal something like last December. He still hasn’t finished them. Or started them. I’m very pessimistic that they will get done in time for my trip, and so it looks like I’ll be stuck bungee-cording a random assortment of sports bags to the bike as my storage solution.
Another struggle was the speedometer cable breaking in Gainesville shortly after we got the bike running. We ordered a new cable but it hadn’t arrived at RideNow before we had to leave for Miami. Fortunately I managed to get an old roomate to pick it up, as well as lucking out with an old buddy of mine being Miami bound from Gainesville being able to bring it down for me. Oddly enough, the “cable assembly” came without a screw necessary to attach it to the bike. I hope I can score it from a motorcycle shop in Miami without having to wait for it to come in.
Originally I was supposed to get my worldly belongings down to just one trunk box of sentimental items plus whatever came on the motorcycle. Though I failed on this endeavor at its fullest extent, I made a lot of progress in getting rid of things, with only a few boxes left. Even if I didn’t quite get down to one box, the pile is nonetheless small enough to be proud of. I could get into a long winded philosophical rant on my view of burying oneself in “things” and my motivation for getting rid of almost everything, but I’ll save that for a later entry.