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Archive for July, 2021

Many of today’s technology-driven, electrification, and social media-obsessed adults don’t relate as much as I do to the joy of the wind in your face on a petrol-propelled motorcycle.

Their loss in my opinion.

But, for those who get it, they know that Harley-Davidson enthusiasts like to get together, get to know each other and do a lot of riding.

For those of us who live in Oregon, we clearly know that we have some of the best riding in all of the U.S., which means this year we get to share this gem of a state at a National H.O.G.® motorcycle rally.

I’m talking about the Oregon Volcanoes H.O.G. Touring Rally happening September 11-15th. For those unfamiliar with Oregon, it’s a perfect time of year for riding, with mild temperatures, little chance of rain, and the foliage season begins. Adding to that, the Pacific Northwest is increasingly known for its craft beer, coffee shops, vibrant music and food scenes which is reason by itself to visit the state.

The last time there was a National H.O.G. Rally — that was started out hosted in Oregon — was back in 2017 for the Lewis and Clark; The Expedition Returns. That ride basically followed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s 1805 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage, from Seaside, Oregon to St. Charles, Missouri. If you want a little sample of that adventure, I detailed the adventure HERE.  If you’re looking for even more information about Lewis and Clark, visit the National Geographic site dedicated to their journey HERE.

50 Rides, One Nation

It’s been my experience after attending a few National H.O.G. events, they are a class act.  The local dealers often host evening events and the route information and swag are of high quality.  In addition, the H.O.G. planners (Bill Davis • Rally Coordinator) make it very simple to participate and have a great experience!

At present, the Oregon Volcanoes Touring Rally has 190+ H.O.G. Members and guests registered.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a “group ride” where a couple hundred bikes depart simultaneously every day with a ride captain.  Riders are free to forge their own departure times and routes (with solid guidance on scenic location stops and daily endpoint events) while riding at your own pace.

The ‘Volcanoes’ rally will start on the eastside of Portland, OR with a ride along the Columbia River Highway to the scenic Multnomah Falls viewpoint. Traveling a little farther and it’s a picturesque view of Mount Hood, the first of eight volcanos on this ride. The tour will then head north to an active stratovolcano, Mount St. Helens in Washington State, at a viewpoint which is also one of the stops for the 10 Rides for ‘21 H.O.G. challenge.

Mount St. Helens Loop

You might recall that the 10 Rides for ’21 is an annual H.O.G. member challenge featuring 10 great destinations throughout the country, along with a recommended scenic route for each. At this rally, riders will also have the option of picking up one of the 50 Rides, 1 Nation H.O.G. challenge on the Columbia River Highway at the Vista House in Corbett, OR. That’s two H.O.G. challenge stops completed, in less than 100 miles into your rally! The tour will loop back around to the westside of Portland for the first night on the road with a hosted event at Paradise Harley-Davidson.

On day-2, the tour will pass through the Opal Creek Wilderness and have spectacular views of Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters and Mount Bachelor to the eastern side of the mountains ending in Bend, OR for a hosted party and meal.

On day-3, the tour takes the route west towards the coast and the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean and the coastal community of Coos Bay. The tour will ride by Newbury and Mount Mazama Volcanos.

On day-4, the tour will ride by the Mount McLoughlin volcano and will visit Klamath Falls before ending the rally with a hosted meal, party and closing ceremony in Medford, OR.

There will be a total of five hosted stops planned at Harley-Davidson dealerships along the tour route. Check out the H.O.G. website if you’ve yet to register and want to join the tour HERE.

It should be a great Oregon tour, with a side trip into Washington and a riding route that provides twists and turns and follows many of the region’s noteworthy volcanos.

Photos courtesy H.O.G. and Harley-Davidson

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Harley-Davidson reported better than expected quarterly profit today. Below are some of the highlights:

  • Q2 had a profit of $206 million, GAAP diluted EPS of $1.33, up $1.93 over Q2 2020
  • Q2 H-D, Inc. total revenue up 77 percent over Q2 2020; Revenue from Harley’s motorcycles and related products nearly doubled to $1.3 billion
    North America Q2 retail sales up 43% over Q2 2020 and up 5% over Q2 2019 and Worldwide sales were up 24%.
  • Delivered strong Motorcycles and Related Products (Motorcycles) segment gross margin and operating margin driven by product portfolio adjustments
  • Delivered Financial Services segment Q2 2021 operating income growth of $90 million over Q2 2020 driven by a lower provision for credit losses

Announcements in Q2 2021:

  • The MOCO launched the standalone brand LiveWire and introduced LiveWire ONE™ – a new more “price friendly” electric motorcycle
  • Rolled out the Sportster® S, a new Sportster motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform
  • Launched H-D1™ Marketplace, an online destination for pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles in North America and enhanced by the Harley-Davidson Certified™ program.

The Motorcycle Industry Council reports that the demand for motorcycles continues to surge as new motorcycle sales climbed 37% in the first three months of the year. Year-to-date sales of dual-purpose motorcycles were up the most, by 47 percent. Off-highway sales were up 45.4 percent. Scooter sales rose 34.6 percent. And on-highway motorcycle sales increased 31.4 percent. The results are an indicator of continued and growing interest in riding among new and returning riders.

In other, somewhat more important news: Oreo announced a new “Protection Program,” it’s discreet packaging so you can hide them from the kids.  The spines make the Oreos look like: A cookbook . . . or a package of frozen vegetables!  Next up will be . . . the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner’s manual . . . as a pack of t-shirts . . . so you always take it along on the next road trip!

Photos courtesy Harley-Davidson and Oreo

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We all love our rides, but what about the dealers?

If you wander into the forums, they are full of comments ranging from the good, the bad and even the ugly.

Dealers stared into the teeth of COVID-19, mixed it up with the motor company’s revenue declines, layoffs, reduced bike inventory to bolster prices, which was followed by several dealers closing down including some Bar & Shield Circle of Achievement Award dealers, permanently.

We all know it’s been a tough 14-months and that includes every Harley-Davidson dealer along with their employees.

Adding to all of this, was corporate Harley-Davidson throwing out more strategy changes (“wired”) than I change my socks.  And when corporate management dictate the “We know what is best in/for your showroom” requirements — you know how it goes, all the risers need to be symmetrical, with the right merchandise on each one, perfectly priced, labeled, and “faced” toward the customer — the dealership owner has the choice to largely accept them or not.  If they don’t accept them, then the “widget guys” from Milwaukee can say … “No soup for you!

That’s when those inspirational corporate quotes like: “You’re here by the grace of your lineage” start to sound like marketing for the early Pilgrims.

But, I’ve digressed.

Be it clothing, parts or motorcycles, Paradise Harley-Davidson, has continued to provide what customers want. From the owner to the staff folding t-shirts and everyone in-between, they are part of our Northwest motorcycle community and they interact with us on a daily basis, selling the experience of coming to the dealership as much as of riding itself.

17-Year Anniversary Celebration

You might not recall, but it was not long ago when Harley-Davidson management forced, via franchise contracts, that dealers significantly upgrade or move and open up large “mega stores” on an interstate exit.  The corporate ethos was larger is better and location, location, location!  This mandate alone had a lot to do with dealers selling or going under in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

The Paradise dealership has its roots grounded in Beaverton, Oregon, a small 7,000-square-foot store.  The store was mandated by its franchise “relationship” with Harley-Davidson to upgrade, however, they were in a very tight geographic footprint on SW Farmington Road.  If you lived or traveled through the heart of Beaverton you know that it meant only one thing — relocating to a new store. The then current owner determined that a new store was way too much to take on and decided to sell the dealership.

Slo-mo ‘Glider’ Wheelie (Note: Hosted on my Google site)

At the time, Ed Wallace who previously was with PACCAR, where he was a General Manager in the Kenworth Truck division was now one of America’s most successful and decorated Harley-Davidson dealers.  Wallace purchased the Tacoma dealership (Destination Harley-Davidson) in partnership with son, Ed Jr., and daughter, Christy, in 1995.  The Tacoma facility went from 7,000 to 50,000 square feet and is located just off I-5. Then in 1997, he acquired the Harley outlet in Silverdale, Washington. Christy was the majority owner of the Silverdale store and planned every detail of the expansion. Going from a 3,000-square-foot converted gas station on Silverdale Way to the newly constructed 20,000-square-foot $3 million building.

Having success in developing the motorcycle business and constructing large, multi-million dollar facilities, Ed Sr., purchased the Beaverton Harley dealer in 1999, and moved it to a new 30,000-square-foot Tigard facility, which Ed Wallace, Jr. managed.  Ed Jr., married his sweetheart from the Tacoma area and after 3+ years of running the Tigard facility, wanted to return to Tacoma.  As I recall, Ed Sr., had fully retired from the business by then, and Ed Jr., put the Tigard dealership on the market when Mike Durbin stepped in and bought it in 2004.  The name was changed to Paradise Harley-Davidson and the rest as they say is history.

Bike wash and Durbin in the Dunk Tank

On a local level, I like supporting small(er) businesses, vs. the mega-destination dealers i.e. Timpanogos in Lindon, Utah, which is one of the largest dealerships in the U.S. at 58,000 square-feet.  In my opinion, Paradise H-D has a loyal following and always a great place to visit, as they have something going on all the time. I’ve enjoyed and been working with Mel in the parts department since the good ‘ol Beaverton days! The staff gets to know the people that bought from them and for service you are never just a number that they need to get through the system! Don’t get me wrong, I still swallow HARD at some of the service pricing, but my personal experiences are of good people, good service and being treated fairly.

This past weekend Paradise H-D celebrated their 17th Anniversary.  I stopped to partake along with a few hundred or more other enthusiasts. They put on a great social event with a beer garden, live music, dunk tank, bikini bike wash, games, door prizes and more for their clientele.  What I really like is that no one talks about what you do for a living. They talk about what and where you ride.

Congrats Paradise H-D on 17-years as a standout dealership!

Glider movie and Photos taken by the author except for logo photos courtesy of Paradise H-D.

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I posted previously about our ride to Ely, Nev. and touring the “Loneliest Road” enroute to the Road Glide National Rally: HERE.

After a taste of authentic Americana on the Gold Rush–era highway that is part of the West’s last frontier, US Route 50, the group settled into base camp — the Carson Valley Inn & Casino.  We registered, set the A/C on high and searched through our bags of swag in preparation for the multi-day Road Glide National Rally (“Sharkweek XI”).

Lake Tahoe

The next morning was an abundance of gorgeous scenery and twisty roads in all directions around the ‘Jewel of the Sierra’ — the emerald clear waters and pine-forested slopes of Lake Tahoe.  We had plenty of time and decided to ride around the entire lake. We started for South Lake Tahoe, then headed northeast in a clockwise route for a tour of the lake. In this direction, you’re closer to the lake and won’t need to cross traffic when pulling over.

Mono Lake

From South Lake, we hopped on CA-89 North, then finally, onto HWY 28. The temperature was perfect in the high 70’s. The lake loop was a nice mix of sweeping turns and straightaways interspersed with views of the lake and mountains; and we appreciated the straight sections with incredibly blue water. The only downside was the amount of traffic in and around Lake Tahoe. Since the pandemic waned and California reopened the traffic and parking challenges seemed exceptionally poor on this trip.

Yosemite National Park Entrance Lineup

The next day was Yosemite National Park. From Minden, Nev. the farm scenery doesn’t abate until you are well past Gardnerville, but improves quickly as we headed south on US 395 toward Mono Lake. Topaz Lake covers the state line next to the highway as you cross into California.

The next real town is Bridgeport, with a population of 464 people and the Mono county seat.  It’s also where the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) is located and I recall from a previous ride in this area that some members of our posse shared a long night of refreshments with military personnel and a jukebox!

Continuing along US 395 we climb up and over several mountains.  It’s one of the more scenic places in the state and to the west is the Sierra Nevada range that forms a nearly impassable barrier to cross. At about 8000′ feet and on the way down there is a pull off spot called Mono Lake Vista Point which offers a great view of Mono Lake and the entire Mono basin (“Mono” means “beautiful” in Piute). The lake is twice as salty as the ocean, and the water is so alkaline that no fish can live in the water, but it is home to some plants and animals that are not found anywhere on Earth.

As you reach Lake’s south shore at Lee Vining, you’ll want to connect with Route 120, the turn-off for Yosemite National Park. The road starts at the Big Oak Flat entrance, elevation 4,872 feet and dramatically climbs above the Valley to an elevation of 9,945 feet above sea level with breathtaking views.

Yosemite National Park

It’s a great ride even if you don’t have reservations and go into the park. We knew that the National Park Service announced a day-use reservation system that was in place for the summer due to COVID-19 and staffing shortages that were creating operational hurdles.  There were hurdles all right.  Everyone’s dying to get into Yosemite!  We had reservations and thought we were special, but it took over an hour to get processed into the park.

Arriving at “Yosemite East” is the highest (9,945 feet above sea level) motorcycling pass in California. To be clear, there are five entrances into the Park, and the road to each of them offers unique sights. Our eastern gateway to Yosemite with the rock formations was awesome, followed by pristine alpine lakes, meadows awash with wild flowers and granite expanses.

Yosemite National Park

We rode through high-elevation — Tuolumne Meadows at 8,600 feet and at Olmsted Point, along the Tioga Road, which looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east — and from a very different angle. You might not immediately recognize Half Dome from this location, but it is one of the most prominent peaks you can see.

We finally arrived in the main area of Yosemite after seeing smooth granite domes and craggy peaks — “craggy” started to describe my demeanor after a couple hours of being patient in RV traffic and delays of rehabilitation on the road surface. There are no areas of solitude unless you explore the wilderness on foot and I’m not sure even then that a whole community of people wouldn’t be following you into the “wild” taking selfies!

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a famous location, being the first land in the country set aside for public enjoyment by President Lincoln during the Civil War (which was the founding legislation for the National Park Service). And, far more people spend their time cavorting in and around Yosemite Valley than make the winding drive in/out on Hwy 120.

Back on the road after a pause in Yosemite’s Valley we could see a build-up of cumulus clouds and it wasn’t too long until we heard the rumble of thunder.  It’s generally known that if you hear a rumble of thunder, a thunderstorm is within 10 miles, but we were making great progress back out through the park and thought we’d likely “outrun” any storm by pressing on.

The “wet” arrived!

As we rode toward the east entrance there were flashes of lightning and before I could do any mathematical calculation of dividing the number of seconds by five to get an estimate of the distance, there was another flash, then another as the skies opened with a downpour of water mixed with hail!

“I want to be out riding in the rain,” said no one on a motorcycle!

The Posse

Doused with wetness, we pulled off the road and kept a wary eye on the lightning flashes across the sky while putting on rain gear. The temperature dropped more than ten degrees and the thunderstorm produced intense rainfall with more hail, which led to some localized flooding on the roadway. As we rode on the storm dissipated a bit, but never stopped delivering us the wet stuff.  Riding SR120 in the rain as it drops quickly in elevation to Lee Vining was a new experience and we needed a break and to get some fuel. Refueling at the local Chevron station set a new record for the cost to fill my Harley-Davidson at $5.899/gallon, but the mini-stop was worth it!

‘Glider’ Lineup

The thunderstorm followed us as the heavy rain and traffic created that white milky substance you often see on the roads as a result of fresh rain on oil-soaked roads. In Bridgeport, we stopped for a while under an abandoned gas station awning during another intense shower and when it let up a bit we rode in a misty rain soaked road straight through to the Carson Valley Inn & Casino. The late afternoon was much too wet and it was a welcome relief to arrive back in the high 80’s and dry out a bit.  Many ‘Gliders’ were caught in that storm and it was the talk of several groups during dinner.

The next day, Battle Born Harley-Davidson hosted a BBQ with refreshments for the 200+ riders that attended the Road Glide National Rally.  The group lined up the motorcycles for a “selfie” and proceeded to buy up the inventory of t-shirts.  We took a step back in time and visited the old west town that’s famous for 1859’s Comstock Lode silver ore discovery — Virginia City — and took in the sights, and culture.

In 2020, the RoadGlide.org (37,000+ members) became a non-profit and that evening was their annual raffle event which can generate significant donations for a good cause. It was reported that the group generated a new record of $3,200 and delivered a check for that amount to the Boys and Girls Club of Carson Valley.  Awesome, just straight up awesome!

Sharkweek XI Raffle

I also want to provide a huge shout-out to Butt Buffers seat cushions.  Given the high temperatures on this trip, I had been thinking about buying a seat cushion to improve air flow.  My Mustang leather seat got too sticky and sweaty on this trip. Fortunately, the Butt Buffers Pebble Polymer model that I won during the raffle offered up all of the benefits of a seat cushion with a super-comfortable ride, it also provided significant air-flow. It’s a really well made and great product, which I used for 500+ miles during my return trip home.  Many, many thanks to Peter for the donation to Sharkweek!

I departed for Oregon very early the next morning, needing to ride 580 miles.  It was perfect riding temperatures with cool, crisp air departing Minden. From Susanville I took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  I rode toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward Mount Shasta.  I like riding this route. The road is good and traffic is moving quickly for a two-lane road and although some parts of it are burned down from forest fires, it has varied and interesting scenery.  I was all about miles today so, there was no time to tour Lassen Volcanic National Park.

On this road trip, there were a lot of hot miles and even more smiles. The things I like about SharkWeek are the people, seeing friends, meeting new friends, the rides, not talking about work, and the gorgeous scenery across Idaho, Nevada and California.

I hope everyone had blue skies and tailwinds for their ride home.

Road Glide National Rally 2022 (Sharkweek XII –  August 1-5, 2022)
Road Glide Org

Photos taken by author except Sharkweek logo and Road Glide line up courtesy of Ron Cushing a.k.a “Stray Mutt”

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U.S. Route 50 — NV Hwy 50 — “The Loneliest Road in America”

I’m referring to U.S. Route 50, a black ribbon that stretches more than 3,000 miles across the country, from Ocean City, Maryland, to West Sacramento, California.

It’s called “The Loneliest Road in America” for a reason and when you enter Nevada at the Utah state line it travels across 500 miles of Great Basin Desert.

This was our early summer road trip along the historic Pony Express Trail en route to the Road Glide National Rally (aka: “Sharkweek“).

Pony Express Trail

The RoadGlide.org is a community dedicated to all Harley-Davidson Road Glide owners and enthusiasts.  It’s an awesome group of people that like to discuss performance, builds, accessories, mods, specs, troubleshooting, maintenance, and much more.

The like minded gather every year in a different location to experience the roads of the local area and celebrate the ‘Glider’ camaraderie. I was granted grandfather rights to the club having previously owned a Road Glide (aka: Brownshark), but they are a most welcoming group to any rider. Besides, that tradition of featuring a bonfire of anything other than Road Glides stacked, burned and melted together amid cheering crowds is long gone!

It had been eight years since I last attended a Sharkweek event. My first was in 2013 at St. George, Utah for number III, but this was number XI and on the west coast near beautiful Lake Tahoe in Minden, Nev.  The host hotel was the Carson Valley Inn & Casino.

Hotel Nevada – Ely, NV

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

We departed a day prior of the now infamous June 26th heat dome that enveloped the Pacific Northwest, driving temperatures to extreme levels — in Salem, Ore., about half-hour southwest of Portland, it reached 117 degrees.  We’re unaccustomed to that type of oppressive summer heat, but the group headed east for Boise, Idaho anyway where temperatures were a bit cooler and only slightly above 100 degrees.  We headed to The Reef for dinner where the patio is great, the food is tasty, dual bars so the lines are short and there is always a good band playing. Stop in there if you ever have an opportunity.

The next day we rode out early en route to Twin Falls and were passed by just about everyone scooting along I-84 well in excess of the posted 80 MPH speed limit except for an occasional semi. We continued south on US-93 into Nevada where the temperatures continued their relentless rise, but when we finally stopped at Hotel Nevada in Ely, Nev., we were met with cooler weather.  Go figure!

Established in 1929, the Hotel Nevada became Ely’s premiere dining and lodging destination. It is an historic property with a lot of charm down to stars in the sidewalk to celebrate those who had stayed there from Jimmy Stewart to President Lyndon Johnson. We were worn down a bit from the heat so the fact that the room was small and the bathroom even smaller didn’t matter when ready to sleep.  The lobby is a casino which other than the clouds of cigarette smoke was not a big deal and we enjoyed the free breakfast in the lobby at the Denny’s restaurant before departing on the Gold Rush–era highway that is part of the West’s last frontier.

Nevada Highway 50 — America’s Loneliest Road

America’s Loneliest Highway — crosses by or through several communities, a handful of mountain ranges, a national park, and one reservoir, where wild horses roam free. There’s life, yes, but not something familiar for many. It’s a place where the lines between an ‘ol John Wayne Western movie and everyday life blur, and where ghost towns bleed into semi-living ones.

We had our official “survival guide” passport book and proceeded to collect stamps from the various businesses and which the governor of Nevada will supposedly sign if at least five businesses stamped our passports. The 287 mile-stretch of U.S. 50, running from Ely to Fernley, Nev., passes nine towns, two abandoned mining camps, a gas pump and the occasional coyote.

Sage Brush Ocean — Nevada Hwy 50

We passed a number of “Loneliest Road” signs along this black ribbon where the occasional business on the Route displayed a “I Survived Route 50” sign in a window covered with layers of dirt and grime. We rode through more than a dozen mountain ranges as we traversed the state, climbing up into the red rock heights, then dipping down into the patchy desert of the hot valley floor.

So this was it. I wondered, when first reading about Route 50, why a AAA official was so concerned about anyone traveling it and why Time Magazine wouldn’t recommend it. The journey does require a specific skill set: sitting for a very long time on a hot motorcycle saddle, knowing where the next gas station is amid the desert’s FM fuzz and more importantly, knowing how to be alone inside your head. Way inside being the operative word there in a vast “sagebrush ocean”.

The posse was adventurous, had too many Gatorade drinks and survived the Route 50 experience.  Not just tourists, but rugged participants that rode away with stamps and bragging rights of our achievement along with the real-deal memories.

We finally came to rest at base-camp in Minden, Nev., at the Carson Valley Inn & Casino and picked up our registration packet and incredibly nice bag of swag for the multi-day Road Glide National Rally (“Sharkweek XI”).

Next up is our rides in the area at Yosemite National Park via Tioga Road (Highway 120) and around Lake Tahoe before returning home through Lassen National Park.

Photos taken by the author.

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It must’ve been an old dude who said it — “Artifacts are the starting fluid of memory.

Eight feet from my gear closet, just across from the work bench, stands a Chinese rollaway tool chest, Craftsman vintage 1990. It replaced my dented-in and rusty red Craftsman box that I’d been toting around since visiting a Sears & Roebuck store back in the day, and outgrew.

Vintage 1980’s Craftsman Tool Box

The big, black beast was a minimalist purchase as my tools started ending up in various cardboard boxes.

I imagine your Chinese “steel box” holds a million memories. I know mine does!  An early photo of my son standing next to our Red ’65 Vette project, which is taped up in its permanently opened lid next to cross-cut saw blades clinging to rare-earth magnets. There is an assortment of bailing wire and zip-ties, nails and screws along with wire cutters, crescent wrenches, utility blades, socket sets, wrenches, Hex (Allen) wrenches, Torx bits, pliers, hammers and one-off speciality tools.

Motorcycle maintenance is a true art form and if you’re like me, working on motorcycles can be as much fun as riding them.  In addition, there are lots and I mean a lot of stickers from the vendors who awarded them during my many event wanderings which cover the paint scratches, along with a dinged-up motorcycle license plate from a distant state. Some days, I wonder whether that ‘ol work chest is mostly a repository for artifacts, but sliding open its ball-bearing drawers reveals row upon gleaming row of repair tools.

1990’s Craftsman Tool Chest

Some of those stickers on the “steel box” are memories. Like the Bananen Bar sticker from Amsterdam which was certainly a unique travel experience.  The tools are memories too. That whittled wooden stick—a fork-seal tool for an unlamented Yamaha YZ—is as likely to be used again in my row of sockets. My level—a nearly unusable, Victorian-age contraption that is nonetheless lovely to look at—sits alongside a Fluke 77 meter from my electronic days.

Although I’m the only guy on earth who knows where everything is in that rollaway, I couldn’t tell you on a bet. At this point it’s a matter of feel, like dead reckoning through a place you’ve been before but don’t entirely recall. My memory is fading just like my left ear hearing, but when I get close to my tool chest, I just rely on my sense of how I do things. Reach in and…oh. There it is.

No matter what area of your Harley needs working on––from the wheels to the clutch to the brakes to the drivetrain––it almost always requires a special tool.

Honestly, I never was a great wrench. I can hold my own with many items, but when I CAN do it, turns to I CAN’T, without some expensive zinc-coated factory wrench or proprietary type tool, I roll the old-girl toward a dealer stat, hoping to leave as few “Harley $$ Units” as possible. Did I tell you that Duct tape and a multi-tool is my best friend?!

Although order drives any repair process, for me it relies not some much on tech charts, but on rhythm and flow. With a wrench in one hand and a couple of sockets in my other, I just reach in…oh. There it is.

Photos taken by the author.

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