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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

SAN BERNARDINO TO THE END AND JAY LENO'S GARAGE

SATURDAY 22nd



John Huegel is 76 years old and still rides motocross fast. His modem is 5 years old and is slow. So most of Saturday morning was spent updating the blog. Meanwhile Marcus and John were busying themselves solving the issue with Old Harry. What was ailing him?

















Turned out to be diesel jelly in the petrol tank. Back in May Marcus had inadvertently filled the tank with diesel and although immediately noticed and drained and flushed the residue had turned into a gel and was blocking the outlet filter on the petcock.

The front cylinder carburettor is higher than the rear so when working hard the flow of petrol would starve at the front cylinder first, weaken the mixture, run hot and burn out the plug.

All these problems are easy to solve when you know the cause.




After lunch, I did what I did 50 years ago. Cleaned my motorcycle ready for a ride out on Sunday. But before I did I filmed her as she was after 2,400 miles. You can see the mess here:

HJO AFTER 2,400 MILES SPRAYING OIL EVERYWHERE

And you can see where most of the oil was sprayed by watching this video:

HARVEY'S JEANS AFTER RIDING HJO

After cleaning her I videoed again to show her in all her glory.

HJO AFTER CLEANING

We puttered around doing Saturday things whilst HJO dried off and then... she wouldn't start. Then she'd run on one cylinder only. It's got to be water and probably the magneto. So after the usual faffing about I managed to get the high tension pickup off the front, from behind the exhaust pipe, where there is 10 thou clearance, stuff in an air line and blast it. Sorted that out. Boom, both cylinders.

HJO drying in the sun.



John's wife is incapacitated so his daughter Jill came over every day to look after us. Thanks Jill.



John was keen to go to a local motocross event in Pampona, yes, the famous dragstrip, but in the rush both Marcus and I forgot to turn off our petcocks.

This event was put on by Red Bull and was, as with things American, quite amazing. Along a two hundred meter track two bikes race horizontally whilst the sand ramps and bumps send them vertically. The result is entertaining and exciting with many races decided by a photo finish.

Look closely and you can see two red attired motocrossers in the air.




Another restaurant meal and to bed in our luxury motor home or RV (recreational vehicle) as described out here. They take their recreation seriously.

SUNDAY 23rd

And now for the big day. After months of organising, miles of riding, gallons of oil and petrol burning we only have another hour to go. What can possibly go wrong?

We enjoyed another of John's English breakfasts, and then, when getting HJO fired up, I noticed oil on the floor, only it wasn't. It was petrol with some oil washed off the bike as it dripped down. I gingerly cranked her over hoping all would be well and it appeared to be. So I kicked her into life and all seemed fine.

Marcus followed and Old Harry, just to be cantankerous, spewed oil and petrol on the driveway in such copious volumes I thought he'd holed his crankcase.

So now a mad rush. It was pretty obvious that by leaving the petcock on, Old Harry had taken litres of petrol into his belly and it had to be drained and flushed and refilled with oil.

Our timing was now in jeopardy. Ann had flown 5,500 miles to meet us at the end of Route 66 and I didn't want to be late. The plan was to leave at 09.00 to give us two hours for a one hour journey along Interstate 10 to junction 1A which is only yards from Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, the end of the route. At least, that was my end. More of that anon.

So, we wait patiently as Old Harry gets the finest treatment and then we are ready again. Ross is going to navigate, using Google, and we are going to follow, to keep it simple. What could possibly go wrong?


???!!!No, the other way...------<<<<< no >>>> Oh sh*t, I give up, OK, trundle north, trundle south, trundle around in a circle and back again.

We arrive, eventually, in the afternoon, at the end of Interstate 10 and come off at junction 1A, delighted to be getting there and who should be waiting on the off-ramp but Bill Easter (Vincent owner). He had timed our expected arrival having been tipped of by John that we'd actually left and had to wait an extra hour and a half. But there we were, almost there.

He followed us along to the end of Santa Monica Blvd and out onto Ocean Avenue. No sight of Ann or Bruno. On towards the Santa Monica pier and park Ross in the taxi rank as nowhere else to move. Get both bikes lined up on the pier for the photo but Ross has to stay with the truck so luckily Bill takes the photo. 


But still no sign of Ann and Bruno.

Nothing for it but to get the truck parked up and the bikes put away at which point Marcus says it would be easier for him to ride back with Bill to his place. So off he goes.

Still no sign of Ann and Bruno so I lead Ross around in circles to the Sears car park where we had made a reservation to park the truck. Load HJO and r e l a x. 

We had made a reservation in The Lobster restaurant and I am wondering if Ann and Bruno are in there oblivious to our arrival.

So I ring Bruno. "Where are you Bruno?" "On the pier Dad, at the bottom of the slope." They had been waiting on the pier just 50 yards from us but we had not gone down as they had expected.

Oh well, all's well that ends well. The lunch in The Lobster was excellent, the view lovely and the prices moderate.

Bill Easter is the local section organiser for The Vincent Owners Club and had organised a reception meeting at his house for us. So in the afternoon we joined them all for a very convivial get together.

Bill's house is worth a description. From the outside it looks like most other houses in the street but around the back you notice the garage has a two storey extension. The bottom filled with bikes and cars and upstairs organised into a meeting room with a bar and accommodation at the end. Great way to live Bill.

Sunday evening was a drive in the rain up to Burbank. Over an hour in the truck navigating to our Motel for the night next door to Jay Leno's Garage.

MONDAY 22nd

We'd chosen a motel just two miles from Jay's garage to ensure that now't could go wrong, but Marcus didn't want to take the chance. Our appointment was for 10.00 o'clock and we didn't want to be early or late. So Old Harry went around in the truck and only I rode.

Arriving at 10.00, Jim, one of the managers of the garage, was waiting at the unmarked entrance, and he let us all in. Nondescript buildings holding probably the world's best collection of working and worked vehicles.  We were all amiably received by Jim and he started to show us around when Jay turned up. He wasn't expected and had only arrived home at 04.00 am that morning but had come down to meet us intrepid Series A bikers. And what a pleasant experience it all was. We'd been told he was a real bloke, no pretensions, passionate about his hobby and allround good guy, and it's all true.

He engaged with us all and to show off his kickstarting skills picked on his easiest, a four cylinder Ace circa 1920s. Fuel on, a gentle tickle, stroke the kickstarter and she fires.

Here we all are with one of his favourite bikes. A jet bike with a Bell Ranger helicopter engine giving 350bhp and 475 ft lbs torque. Bruno, Ross, Harvey, Jay, Ann, Marcus.






Here I am looking at what I think is the best project there. A Rolls Royce Merlin Spitfire engine in a period chassis. Now that is a real "muscle car."




I am rather partial to the Spitfire and always wanted to fly in one. This year that happened too. Ann bought us tickets for both of us to go fly. You can see me here:

HARVEY FLYING IN A  SPITFIRE

 I wonder if I can get one of these pistons in my Vincent?




Before we left Jay obliged us with a photo behind HJO. From the left, Ross, Ann, Harvey, Jay, Marcus.




On leaving HJO behaved perfectly and started, one kick. Jay stood by the ramp to catch me if I fell odd but no such drama. You can see the finale here:

VINCENT HJO LEAVING JAY LENO'S GARAGE

And that was that. A fitting end to a great adventure.

Thanks for following and thanks to:

Ross Laney, The real hero, driving 5,000 miles in a truck smelling of petrol. Thanks Mate.
Robert Watson, Vancouver, for bringing the bike together
John McDougal, the late, for rebuilding the engine
John Irene Ulver for hospitality along the way in Washington State
Josh Bogage for hospitality in Montana
Denni Delzer for hospitality in North Dakota
Rick and Linda Schunk for hospitality in Minneapolis
Glenn Shriver for hospitality in Chicago
Frank Jeske for entertaining us along the way
John and Jill Huegel for hospitality
Bill Easter for greeting us and putting on the reception
Jany Leno for a great visit to your garage.

Happy days

Harvey

Foot note

Do you think Ann would ride pillion on this Indian Trike?



Can you see me?




Does my bum look big in this?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

OATLAND TO SAN BERNARDINO

Upgetting this morning was a leisurely affair. It has been almost everyday so far. Breakfast offered is coffee and banana tasting muffins, but as Eric is a fruit man and Marcus and I are tea men our host had to run around a bit. Soon after Marcus is readying Harry for an injection of the new spark plugs and out of the truck she came and nearly onto the floor again. Sliding backwards down the ramp Marcus lost his balance and fell off the bike. Eric meanwhile was so strong he held the bike up so no damage to the bike. No damage to Marcus either so all was well. Thank you Eric.

Once down Buddy appeared, offered help, then whisked Marcus back to his workshop to get the right spanner, wrench to our overseas friends. 



New plugs, a bump down the track and off he went again.

Last night I ran out of words to describe Quinntopia, so here is a picture. On the right is Eric taking a photo using 5” x 4” film. The old way. He has done it all the way along 66.


Here is another picture of me and a cactus. Impressive size.


Whilst Marcus was mechanicking, ably helped by Buddy, Ross and I took a walk down the track through Oatman suburbia. We bumped into Russ, the local handyman. His house is a “fixer upper” aptly describing the methodology applied. He lost his mining job when the local mine closed down two years ago and now makes a living going around fixing up things.


Up close he’s weathered, as they all are in the sun. The conversation, discussing life, the universe and everything, goes like this.


Harvey, “So how many people live in Oatman?”

Russ, “150 abouts, sometimes  more, but if we get any trouble with anyone we all club together and buy them a ticket out of town, anywhere they want to go but out of here. We look after each other round here.”

Harvey,  “Have you ever lynched anyone?”

Russ, “nah… but there are a few bodies down some of the mines.”

Harvey, “Really?”

Russ, “Yeah, but if you weight them down with a stone, send a bag of lime down on top and flood some water down there it stops the smell coming up.”

Harvey, “You ever smelt any dead bodies?”

Russ, “Sure.”

The conversation went on about fixing up things and then Buddy came by again. Miners all have a uniform look. White beards, weatherbeaten bodies and baseball caps.



With Harry fit and well again we departed Quinntopia, seventh wonder of Oatman, voted best place to stay by the burros (little native donkeys), according to Jim Quinn the owner.

Riding down the track in gear was going to be a problem as the first gear is so high so we free wheeled down to the town and parked waiting for Ross to get out, turn around and follow us. Immediately there were tourists finding us the most interesting thing in town, snapping away and asking “what is that man.”

With Ross behind us we bump started off down the hill and opened them up to give the tourists an impressive roar as we departed. 

A little ways on the road splits and we took the old road down the mountains to the Colorado river. Along the way Marcus shot off. Following along around a bend I saw him videoing me coming by. So I did the same for him. You can see the result here:


A lovely ride and one of the best of the trip. Easy going, no traffic, downhill, lovely scenery, near the end of the trip and California ahead.

At the bottom we crossed the Colorado and into California to be greeted with a vehicle inspection station. All vehicles have to stop and are inspected. Not sure if they let Volkswagens in any more after the diesel scandal.

Climbing up the valley side to get onto the Mojave desert plateau Old Harry’s made to work hard. He doesn’t like it and at the top starts to protest by phuttering and eventually phutters away to f all again. Enough’s enough so unceremoniously he’s ridden up the ramp, successfully this time, tied down and left to sulk.

So it is now down to me to lead the way. Off again along the interstate to the next bit of remaining old road we follow it along to a town whereupon Ross leads the way down one Route 66 and I lead the way down the other Route 66. Each part of town vying for the trade it brings. Meeting up at the other end of town the Route disappears back up to the Interstate or to somewhere else. In confusion, as we often are, we take the road to somewhere else. It felt wrong, being wider than normal, and the sun on our back instead of left side gave us a clue but we motored on enjoying the scenery. Another clue was sign saying “Welcome to Nevada” which I thought strange, but there again, it’s all strange out here. Finally Ross got a signal and his map reloaded and sure enough we had gone north up the Colorado valley. So nothing for it but to turn around and go back. So I turned and whilst waiting for Ross practiced slowing the tickover right down to clockwork speed by adjusting the advance and retard right back retarded. This was so I could impress Jay Leno when we entered his garage.

We motored back down some 15 miles to the Interstate and then got going again westwards. But something was not feeling right. After a thousand or so miles you get to know a bike, it’s foibles, preferred running speed, vibrations and such like. There was a feeling coming up that the drive train was graunching; maybe the gearbox was coming loose and twisting in the frame. After a few miles I’d concluded that at the next stop I’d go over the whole thing looking for trouble when I spotted it staring at me. I’d left her fully retarded and she was overheating and doing all sorts of nasty things to our lovely motor. Fully advance again she surged forward feeling happy. When we did stop we had well and truly blued the exhaust pipes but otherwise she was ok. 

It was now a case of press on. Sod the side trip to Amboy, we’ve had an invite from John Huegel in San Bernardino, who lives just three miles from Route 66, and he has a workshop. The thought of a day’s rest for me and a day on the tools for Marcus beckoned. So we pressed on with HJO performing brilliantly, for an old girl, and me enjoying the joy of getting somewhere. There is something magical about cracking off the miles. In fits of enthusiasm we started running at seventy five miles an hour until I got the “hang on Harvey” from Ross, struggling to maintain sight of me from the truck.

Arriving at John’s house he pulled out his spare house from the fourth garage along the side of his yard. I’m not joking, look:


That’s Marcus in the middle with his arms outstretched.

Bloody enormous but wonderful too. Plenty of room inside, as in awesome, US or, impressive, UK and all the mod cons you could wish for. And for the motorheads: 6mpg, 500hp, Cummings diesel, 150gal fuel tank.

Apart from cruising America he uses it for his hobby, motocross. For the uninitiated, riding very fast motorcycles over the desert hills and bouncing twenty feet into the air and landing and doing it all over again and again. He’s seventy six and still out there doing it. Way to go man. It is not the pace of life that bothers these people, it is the sudden stop at the end.

The thing about Vincents, apart from the motorcycles, is the club. 2,000 plus members all over the world it’s just one big family. Turn up anywhere, wet, bedraggled with a broken bike and they take you in like you are their brother. Marcus has been a member for over fifty years and is the International Representative on the management committee.  He calls these dropins, "visiting his flock."

After a hearty meal to bed. Tomorrow brings fixing Old Harry and de oiling HJO.

Happy days


Harvey 


Thursday, 20 October 2016

KINGMAN TO OATMAN ARIZONA

After yesterday we were keen to get started on Old Harry and awoke at the crack of dawn, took a pee and went back to bed for a bit more.

Marcus got going, eventually, and worked some more on the ignition system. He has two, so plenty to occupy him. Before starting we tested the spark plugs whilst up in the truck and leaning close to the front cylinder open spark plug hole I got showered with neat petrol as he kicked her over. The spark plug was three inches below, connected. Wow, we jumped back and Ross promptly got out of the truck. Cautious man Ross.

The petrol had been on all night and flooded the cylinder. So we got Old Harry out and set up for a proper going over.

When you work on a bike continuously it pays to get organised. Note the umbilical cord of electrics so Marcus can put the headlamp on the ground. 

After a couple of hours fitting up the coil ignition in conjunction with the magneto ignition we were about ready to start when we wondered if there was any petrol in the sump. A quick out with the drain plug and out came dilute oil. So we drained it all out and refilled with new oil. We have plenty. So feeling confident that things should work out Marcus kicked him and he awoke. Back on song.

We finally got going about midday and headed out for Kingman along the old road. Back past where we finished filming last night and off across the desert over some decent tarmac and all in very good spirits. A steady fifty for a few miles then up the pace to sixty. 






Twenty miles down the road Marcus slows and eventually stops. Not good.

“What’s up boy.” I enquire in proper Cornish, “Not going well at all, something wrong, I’ve had enough.” 

So we get out the ramp for Marcus to load her up and 


he fell off coming up. Tired, dispirited and no longer the older brother who can do anything he faltered half way up and toppled over. We put the ramp back to make room and rolled Harry back upright. Not much damage, just battle scars, so he restarted and came up purposefully with no trouble. Bit of a damper though.

We pressed on with me leading the way along some of the best examples of what 66 was all about. Mile after miles of serene desert. At Kingman we stopped and looked for spark plugs and found them so off again up to Oatman over the Sitgreaves pass.

In the early years during the 30s many vehicles were so underpowered that getting up the hill towards Sitgreaves pass was too much, so they went up in reverse as the gear was lower. There is a passage about it in The Grapes of Wrath. I have a reverse gear on my Honda Goldwing and asked Robert Watson and Dan Smith if it would be possible to fit one to a Series A Rapide. Robert said, "Don’t be daft,” But Dan, ever the engineer said, “Sure, easy.” So last year Dan set to. By designing a bigger Burman gearbox casing he was able to get a secondary layshaft below the primary one. The A Rapide is great for that having a separate gearbox. So Dan just makes the patterns, then the sandcasting moulds, then cast a new gearbox and machined it up.  All the standard internals are used and the secondary layshaft picks up drive from the input gear and sends it back to the output gear, behind the final sprocket, and in the process reverses the direction. All I have to do is disengage the gearbox lever, refit it backwards, and take off. Dan promised to have it ready for April this year to test out but we didn’t get it in until just before we set out from Vancouver so it was untested.

Typical Dan it worked right out of the box, so to speak. We managed to get some drone video of me going up the hill in reverse. Take a look here:



At the top of the pass we met a cyclist doing an impressive 65 miles a day from Chicago. When asked if he knew of any accommodation in Oatman, it was getting late and I have no lights, he rang his landlord for the night and enquired if there was any room in the inn. Sure, come right on in. 

Before setting off downhill we got the shot.


On getting into Oatman, an original mining community in the hills, there was no sign of a sign indicating accommodation, just the cyclist waiting patiently in the middle of the street. So we stopped, and so did the rest of the tiny town's folk. "Is that a Vincent?" came the incredulous enquiry from Buddy, an impish miner gadding about in front of me squealing in delight. "I never thought I'd ever see one. I've read all about them. I have a motorcycle, had is since new, a Kawasaki copy of the A10 BSA from the 1960s. Got a book on Vincents. Read it three times." We could hardly stop him and didn't want to. He was so obviously enjoying himself.

The main street was stopped, there was no traffic anyway, and we just hung about waiting for something to happen. And it did. A dune buggy roared up and greeted the cyclist and us with "follow me." So off we went up a dirt road to a         . I'll leave it blank until I can invent some words to describe it.

Here is a picture of Ross in our Motel in Seligman this morning. Note the block construction.


Note the balustrade made out of plumbing pipes.


Here is a picture of Ross in our abode for the night in Oatman. Note the decor, the Cow's head.


Here is a panoramic picture of the centre of the building showing, well, everything. Full to bursting with interesting stuff.


"Sixty dollars each for the night includes dinner and breakfast and if you pay me now I'll go into town and get the dinner." Whereupon he disappears and reappears with food from the takeaway. We all sit outside enjoying the evening and talking Route 66. 

Buddy came back and we pictured him on HJO. He was excited man. Made his year.


His story: 71 years old, lives on benefits of 250 dollars a week, goes gold ming up in Alaska in the summer and back to Oatman for the winter. Has fifty pounds of gold in the safe deposit box. Work that out.


Here is Jim Quinn, our landlord for the night, with our cyclist Rick. Behind is the Dune Buggy and HJO.


Much cheered and in good spirits we go to bed.

Happy days

Harvey


ARIZONA DESERT



Before we begin todays adventures I forgot to mention a flypast yesterday. We were overtaken by a Victory behemoth. They out-Harley Harley. Ridden by a well dressed young man with his even more elegantly attired lady on the back. The bike looked something like this culled from the internet.


They blew by with nary a glance. Ignorant gits I thought. Fancy passing motorcycling history like that.

Further down the road they had parked up and as we passed, the lady on the back was photographing us for all she was worth. Ah, not so I thought, at least they recognise that they are passing something of interest.

Further along they re passed us. She photographing away and he, on cruise control, was videoing and photographing with his right hand too. Like a mobile film set. Obviously motorcycling connoisseurs I now thought.

It takes an awesome ego to ride a Victory like that but nothing can outdo the ego trip of a lifetime - two brothers, two Series A Vincents, en Route 66. We dream on.

This morning's start was delayed. A fire alongside Interstate 40, the only way out of town, had completely smoked the visibility and a lorry had crashed and killed someone. So we waited for the every-five-minutes news bulletins to tell us when all was clear. And when it was we cleared off.

Navigating whilst driving a 30 foot truck along a road that does not officially exist is difficult at the best of times but to herd two motorcyclists along at the same time, who have differing opinions about which is the right way, or, to be more precise, the way they'd like to go, is not akin to herding cats, it is far more imprecise as you can't even see them having gone off in the other direction. How Ross copes is amazing us, and especially his wife! But round in circles we go, down dead ends, Roads Closed, and others that just peter out.

Not long into the ride Old Harry starts to cough and splutter and then goes onto one lung. So we stop and tinker. Plugs were deduced as the culprit. On again. A little later the asthmatic attack occurs again so we stop and tinker a bit more. He's obviously having an off day today. On again and when Harry is on song we roar along. And when he is not we phut phut along.

Cresting a hill he decides he's had enough for today thank you and phutters to f all. 

So the truck comes up alongside for sunshade and work begins. Condenser, plug and carburettor are all worked on to varying degrees of intensity. 


The front carburettor float chamber comes off for inspection and a good blow through. Nothing particular awry.


We may come from opposite ends of the spanner but we do work together on the same bolt occasionally.




Finally, two hours later, a clean up with Swarfega, our wives delight, and we are off again. And so is Harry, he's having a really off day, but Marcus pushes him on wheezing and puphutting until we get to the bit we've been waiting for.

Two years ago Ross took a picture of me, sans Vincent, avec beard.


This year Ross took a picture of me, with brother Marcus and two Vincents.


Off we ride into the Arizona desert with full petrol tanks and full of hope for Harry to behave.


On a particularly straight to the horizon stretch we stop to practice with the drone and video. Reasonably successful and we'll post some onto YouTube when I've caught up with editing.

But Old Harry didn't want to join in. He's playing tricks on Marcus and no letting him know what's ailing him and placebos don't work. Night had dropped on us and the only option was to go back, not too far, to Seligman for the night. Moderate motel, cracking German restaurant, good cheer. Tomorrow brings another day.

Loading could have been interesting without an engine to push Harry up but Ross worked a double pulley block arrangement and he was dragged up without protest.

An observation whilst travelling along the Interstate is the number of tyre treads left lying around. Great sections of lorry rubber waiting to be bounced over. Not nice.




Talking of lorry tyres I was a tyre fitter once and was fascinated by the inflation arrangement on the trailer wheels. The two schrader filling valves are extended and connect into the axel. On discussing this with the drivers I discover that the engine has a compressor and air is piped to the rear of the trailer and into both axels where it feeds directly into the tyres. So if one gets a leak it is constantly topped up and the driver is warned by a little flashing light. All to prevent tyres overheating and shredding their tread. Ingenious, and very interesting if you used to be a tyre fitter. Sorry about that but I am sure that at least one of my readers will be interested.

A funny thing happened on the way to the restaurant. We met a manboy practicing with his lasso. "Can you catch Marcus?" I enquired, "Sure he replied," and proceeded to do so. He didn't try to get the rope over his head, he went for the legs and sure enough he threw the loop so that Marcus stepped in it and on pulling tight he had him


Flagstaff to not very much further. Shortest distance so far but some great bits of road and Oatman and the rest of the desert to come.


Tomorrow we have to sort out Old Harry. So off to Kingman, population 28,000 and, we hope, some auto stores with new spark plugs and thingies to restore him to health.

On we go.

Harvey with black fingers.

Vincent Owners Corner

Old Harry is number 20 something and HJO 500 is number 70 of the 78 made. Working on the carburettor today is was noticeable the difference between the engines. You can't get the float bowl off Old Harry without taking off half the rear cylinder exhaust valve spring. Not impossible under the tank but not a doddle either.

On my A the angle of the exhaust valve hair spring has been turned a few degress to allow more space to get at the float bowl. 

They were all prototypes really and everything was sorted out good and proper with the Series B. But the A has a charm about it. A bit like Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg.



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

GALLUP TO FLAGSTAFF WITH OUR FIRST BREAKDOWN


























Gallup was our stop for last night and we chose the biggest but oldest hotel in town. El Rancho, built in 1929 during the heyday of cowboy filming in the area. An agglomeration of buildings jumbled together.



Inside it was oldy worldy charming with horns everywhere and film nostalgia.



The bikes were parked up behind the van.



As I uncovered them an itinerant sidled up and admired them. The conversation went like this.

Itinerant, "Hi, nice bikes. Are they old? From the 1950s?"

Harvey, "Hello, no, from the 1930s, pre war."

Itinerant, "It's great to see these old machines."

Harvey, "Yes. Where are you from?"

Itinerant, "The reservation."

Harvey, "Are you an Indian."

Indian, "Yes, native American FBI."

Harvey, "FBI?"

Indian, "Full Blooded Indian."

Harvey, "What's it like living on the reservation?"

Indian, "Shit man, the nearest trading post is 10 miles away."

Harvey, "What do you do?"

Indian, "Just walking around. My wife died in 2006 and I took to drinking and then lost my job so I'm just walking around."

Harvey, "Is that all you have, on your back?" (His back pack was a simple Indian blanket.)

Indian, "Yes."

Harvey, "Getting cold at nights now?"

Indian, "Yes."

After a few more smiles and nods of appreciation he shuffled off and left me to it.

Most men live lives of quiet desperation and die with the song still in their hearts. (With apologies to David Thoreau.)



The next admirers where from the hotel and Marcus regaled them with our daring do.

We wanted to gallop out of Gallup but it was not to be. We stopstarted out way out main street USA past the billboards and enticements to stop the Route 66 travellers from travelling by. As we got out of town the 66 was in good order and we made good time. And then it goes to pot as usual. Missed turnings, dead ends, no signs.

At one stop I decided that my clutch cable needed adjustment so set to. Removing my cardboard oil catchment rig from behind the petrol pipe I exposed the adjuster on the Burman Gearbox and made the adjustment. Putting back the cardboard oil catcher past the petrol pipe all seamed well as I set off.

Oh the joy of a perfect machine. Now the clutch could be completely disengaged I could get into gear without graunching and selecting neutral was simple. Going up the road I was contemplating how everything was working as near to perfection as Vincent had ever envisaged when she went onto one cylinder as a way of getting her revenge. Struggling on hoping she'd fire up on two I slowed down until Ross was near enough to see. "Harvey, stop, there's petrol pouring out" he shouted down the intercom. So I stopped and sure enough the flood of petrol was frightening. The pipe had come off.

So we put it back on again and bump started down the hill so as to not risk backfiring and setting fire to the lot.

On again and some of the scenery was worth stopping for and admiring.



And on into the distance. Two brothers, two Vincents, living the dream.








Stopping at the next petrol station we are greeted with this biker. His scarf has skull teeth on it and he lines them up with his mouth. When he talks the teeth wobble up and down. Scary.













And now for our first real breakdown. Marcus kept going onto one cylinder so we pull off and he set to. Now Marcus and I are from opposite ends of the spanner. He can't wait for his bike to breakdown so he can exercise his skills and get it going again. I can't wait for it to breakdown and use that as an excuse for divorce and go back to a modern bike.



So whilst he is working away, ably assisted by Ross, who was apprenticed to Gomm Developments who built the Brabham F1 racing cars back in the 60s, I took a siesta in the back of the truck on the air bed. This is the way to travel.

It turned out to be debris in the petrol tank blocking the feed to the carburettors so after sleuthing the cause and effecting a cure we were off again to Flagstaff. Only twenty miles to go and the road surface near the town was smooth and treelined. A fitting end to the days travel.

Next door to the Motel was a tire shop and outside was a Snap On tool van. We took a look inside. Full to the brim with tools it delighted Marcus just looking at them. I know what he will be dreaming about tonight.



Tomorrow the Arizona desert and hills to Oatman.

Happy days

Harvey and the A team.

Vincent Owners Corner

How to get an A twin started and lift the rear stand when you are 5'3"7/8" tall with 27" legs.

Youtube video: Vincent A twin rear stand lifting with 27" legs.