Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The weekend….

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. It’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just that you had a picture in your head of how things would go, and it just doesn’t work out that way.

This past weekend was one of those for me.

As most of you know, I had a pretty busy weekend planned. A lot happened, a lot got done, but just not what I’d planned to do, in the way I'd planned it.

The bike was the first surprise. I mentioned over the weekend that it’s been giving me trouble recently. What I failed to mention was that it nearly caught fire the last time I attempted to start it.

I’d thought the battery was low after sitting over the winter months, so when it still didn’t start after charging it, I assumed it simply needed a new battery. Well, that didn’t turn out to be the problem. After installing the new battery, (which by the way, involves removing the seat, as well as a bunch of electronic and plastic components) and reattaching everything I turned the key on and thumbed the starter.

All it did was ‘grunt’, again I assumed the new battery simply needed a charge, so I slipped the charger on it and went back to disassembling the truck bed while the charger did its thing.

I knew I had two small areas of concern on the truck bed, but, like everything else this weekend, as I was pulling off the ‘fender wells’ I found this, this, and oh yeah this… all additional work I didn’t need at this point.

So after discovering yet another 6 or 7 hours of sheet metal work I decided that maybe, just maybe I should fire up the scooter and take a ride (it was after all about 93 degrees, with a heat index of 97), so once again I turned the key and pressed the starter. All it did was grunt, and being more than a little frustrated at this point, I kept hitting the starter… until that is, I noticed a fairly sizeable plume of smoke drifting out from the side covers!

I turned of the key, quickly pulled the side covers (for what it’s worth I was sweating so bad at this point I could have extinguished a fire with my t-shirt) and found a secondary ground wire with the insulation totally melted off, so much for getting my face in the wind. Sunday at this point is feeling like a bit of a disaster.

About the time I went in the house to grab a cold beer and feel sorry for myself, hey I was feeling like I deserved a decent pity party about now, who shows up but Nina, our ‘adopted’ daughter freshly back from the ‘islands’. She always has a way of lifting my sprits, and within 20 minutes we're all laughing, I’m burning her a backup DVD of her photos, and Maryan and I are getting the details on what seems to have been a great trip for her!!

Any time I need a ‘peaceful happy place’ now I can just check out these photos of her working vacation:


We had a great late lunch, corn on the cob, ribs, fresh salad all courtesy of my wife and her incredible ‘grill skills’. After lunch I went back out to the shop for a little bit, as I wanted to try one last thing with the bike. I clipped off the wire that had burned and taped off the end. Then I proceeded to find the ‘bike end’ of the battery ground cable, disassemble and cleaned it, and then reassembled everything. I took a deep breath, clicked the key to the start position, and hit the starter… She turned over and fired up like she was brand new!! (I went by the dealership today and ordered a new ground cable just to be safe) … It finally looks like I might just get some riding in soon!!

So with a win under my belt, and on the brink of dehydration, I decided to call it a day and head back in the house for a shower, some clean clothes and of course a cold one. Maryan and Nina were headed to the video store and it looked like we’d be watching movies and chillin’ for a while. Which is exactly what we did, in fact we got so relaxed we all fell asleep! When I woke up, Maryan had gone to bed and Nina was still asleep on the couch.

As I was locking up for the evening, she woke up and was making motions like she was going to head home, I offered her the spare room, and we were all asleep again in about 10 minutes!

I got up Monday morning with a real agenda. I wanted to get the truck out of the garage (it’s not ‘mobile’ so it needs ‘help’, as in ‘pushers’ to move it) and get the truck bed floor inside. I’ve got a whole bunch of parts in route and need to finish up the bed and get it in primer so I can get to work on the ‘rest’ of the truck.

So I sorted out the parts I have so far, put all of the interior components (carpet, door panels, weather stripping, dash pad, seat covers and so on, in the cab and sorted out all the other exterior pieces and stacked them neatly in one corner of the shop. (All of this had been stacked on the back of the truck where the bed used to be). All of this again on a day with temps in the low 90’s and a heat index close to 100… Is it possible I’m getting to old for this stuff???

Once I had everything ready, the folks I’d been expecting, started calling to tell me they wouldn’t be able to come over (I actually think they were the smart ones!!! It was way to hot!) … As I went inside to cool off and see if I could actually hold that pity party I’d been planning on Sunday… another wonderful thing happened.

Nina and Maryan offered to help me move the truck out, and set up the bed floor in the shop. The three of us managed to get the bed off the stands and on its side, Nina held it up while Maryan and I pushed the truck out. We could have gotten it a little better ‘placed’ if we’d had a crew, but, we got it outside and that’s what mattered!!

Then we got the bed inside, back up on the stands (I took this picture tonight and you can see the truck in the background) and I was ready to begin the final clean up on it. With all of that done, I called it a day, cleaned up the tools and went inside to cool off and relax.

I got home from work tonight, had some dinner and went out to have at the bed floor. It had rust in both rear corners that needed to be cut out and patched. I cut out both corners and you can see that it looked even worse underneath. I managed to get a patch made for one side, and weld it in place before the rain and thunderstorms started. I actually thought about cutting out the second one in the rain, as that cool rain would have felt good, but thought better of it when the lightning started. I figured that about the last place you want to be is standing on wet metal in a thunderstorm!

So while things didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, this weekend has to go down as one of the best 4th’s ever. Family, friends, good food, good beer, great conversation, movies and power tools… (and the bike is fixed!!) does it get any better than this??

Thanks again for reading… I hope you're enjoying my little restoration journey… If all goes according to plan (which it probably won’t) I should have some pics of the bed reassembly and the ‘blocking’ process to make sure everything is completely smooth later in the week.


Kim said...

Sounds like you made progess and had fun at the same time! Good job!

Bill said...

Thanks Kim... It really went pretty well, all things considered... maybe 'Cindy' will cool things down here a little before this weekend!

Firehawk said...


Must be good to get your bike fixed. Nothing like the wind in your face, huh?

Your truck bed looked like it got eaten right up by the rust monster. That'll be a lot of work, but it sounds like you had a good vacation. Good food, friends, and a relaxing time--that's about all you can ask for.

Trevor Record said...

Nearly caught fire? Yowza!

Aw, Nina is a very pretty girl!

Master of None said...

Consider yourself lucky this weekend. We had a visit from a lightning bolt that fried two televisions and knocked out our cable (INTERNET :() and placed me at Circuit City on Monday to buy a TV that was definitely not in this month's budget.

erin said...

The only "good thing" about the heat has been the evening storms.. They've been incredible to watch and listen to... especially from the Ridge..

You make me want to learn how to do all this stuff...

Cylithria™ said...

Wow Bill, it sounds like you got alot done and had a wonderful time with family and friends!! Hopefully the heat will abade and you can get some of the stuff done without sweating yourself away!!! Have a great week and tell Maryann I said hiya!

Beth said...

I wish I knew more about this kind of thing, but the pictures really help. I'm back from Maine and catching up on my "reading."

Bill said...

Firehawk, it doesn't get much better than that!! It was a real nice surprise to have the bike problem be so easily resolved... now if would stop rainin long enough for me to get in the wind!

Trevor - Yeah she is (I think the step-son was nuts).. and as nice inside as she is out!

Master of None - Been there, done that! And we're having some major weather at the moment as the leftovers from 'Cindy' make their way though tonight. I'm glad you came out of the 'hit' with only some minor damage!!

Erin - I love watching storms run up the Ridge!! I can only imagine how spectacular it all must be this evening!! Stay safe!

Cyli - I'll be 'sweating away' until November!! I'll be sure to let Maryan know you said 'Hi' :) Nice to see you're back btw!!

Knitter - Glad to have you back.. I'll be posting a lot more pics as this project moves forward... so stay tuned!