The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

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My wife, who is a wonderful an understanding person has talked me into leaving even earlier on my trip. The day job has been kind of nuts, lots of hours and a pretty involves service project over the last two weeks. The kind of project that eats up your days and weekends, one of which was a long weekend. Seeing as we are sort of a new company, I didn’t feel like soaking the customer or my boss with the day where I would be earning essentially 2 1/2 times my wage. So I and the guys I was working with opted to flip the holiday day for a day off to be taken at a later date. My later date looks to be June 10th. This gives me essentially three extra days to explore some of the southern Midwest. It also means that instead of being roughly 15 days from departure I’m only 12. Which of course fills me with anticipation and a little anxiety. But that’s really just the OCD part of my brain kicking in. Most to because I have set dates for places I need to be at and throwing three extra days in there changes things up quite a bit. I can cover a lot of real estate in three days.

Originally my plan had been to take on a fair bit of old Route 66 South out of Chicago and take a hard right down around Kansas City, that I do a firm push on the interstate out to Colorado. Of course with three extra days, I can do a couple of things. I can take it little easier as far as my days go. Though those of you that know me know how that’s going to turn out. And in that way of thinking I’ve decided to head south of Colorado Springs initially and check out the mountains there and if all goes well I’ll be in Mesa Verde National Park checking out the cave dwellings on day four. The park looks suitably impressive with lots of road to cover (all at 40 mph) so that’s going to be a full day with probable camping in the park. In fact this trip camp he looks to be a lot more prevalent for me than on any other trip. It will be interesting to see how a full day on the bike intersects with a full night on a sleeping pad.

So this morning I was able to finally put my current service project to bed and finish it off just before noon. My plan for this week was to install my new Oxford heated grips and my new Barkbuster hand guards on my Strom. I was going to do this come hell or high water. Of course I had to choose a day where we hit 31 Celsius and about 85% humidity. There really is no spring here in Toronto, you go from freezing cold, to uncomfortably cold, to I’m melting. At any time spent with the bike is still a good time.

So the first thing was I had to remove the existing heated grips. Which of course meant I had to to cut all my cable ties that were holding the current wiring set up together. Then as with all things Strom, there’s a certain amount of what we later call the Tupperware that needs to be removed. Though because I was really just running wires it was only the side panels that need to come off or be opened up. And thanks to the wiring for my GPS unit cradle, I needed to lift my gas tank to keep the wires neat and out-of-the-way.

So that’s what that first picture is. It’s my old grips cut free and hanging. All in all and really just because I’m fairly thorough about how I like to run my wires, it took about 2 1/2 hours to mount everything. The Barkbusters were fairly straightforward and I really like the mechanism they use to lock the bar end sections in place. Now I’ve got a nice rigid Aluminum bar in place across both knuckles, I realize how inconsequential the stock hand guards really are. Still they for the most part did their job with a few mods by yours truly over the years.

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Looking at this picture, I realize I have a lot of electronics on the front of my bike. So for the curious, I’ve got a Spot tracker GEN three (worth the money because it gives them a starting place to look for your body), my ZUMO 1190 GPS (were still getting to know each other), and of course a new control block for my Oxford heated grips. I do like that this new unit has five power settings.

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And here you can see the new Storm grips. They’re slightly larger than the standard Barkbuster covers and we’ll have to see how well they keep the wind and rain off my gloves. Relatively speaking that is.

Tomorrow, I’m going to change my oil and filter. Then it’s just some light chain maintenance and making sure everything on the bike it’s tight prior to leaving and the Strom is pretty much ready to roll. The loose nut behind the handlebars is a whole other matter.

As always, you can purchase either one of my thrillers Devil’s Gambit and Reliance on Amazon in either trade paperback or for the Kindle.

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