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.
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.
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.
Do you think Ann would ride pillion on this Indian Trike?
Can you see me?
Does my bum look big in this?