Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Healing Hester Update Part 3

There are few words to describe the level of frustration I’ve felt throughout this ordeal.  I suppose I should just be happy that I have a fixable option and that I’m physically able to exercise it.  I’ve stated repeatedly that I know how fortunate I am, but despite rumors to the contrary, I’m human and at my age, easily frustrated.

Despite dealing with delays and finding parts, the old girl is coming along.  I had new tires mounted and actually cleaned the front wheel.  I have to confess that the rear wheel is as dirty as it was the day of the accident.  Nobody can see it and the bearings are in great shape.  I would love to do a chrome exchange, and brighten up the front end a bit, but I’ve decided to stick to the approach I took when I first bought Hester and focus on comfort over cool.  Just having a Harley is cool enough and I have two, one of which is the coolest Harley made; the Road Glide.

The chrome front fork sliders are back on with Progressive Monotubes inside and topped off with edge cut cowbells just under the fairing.  I mounted the rear wheel and with little else to do until a reassemble, started cleaning those hard to reach spots along the frame and engine.  Despite getting dirty and losing and finding tools, nuts, and bolts, I kinda like doing this stuff.  I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get from doing it myself.  I’ve always done my own oil and standard preventive maintenance, but there’s something about stripping a bike down to the frame, reassembling, and then successfully firing up the motor and riding her again that I find especially satisfying.  Granted, I’m a long way from that level of satisfaction, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure it’s not an approaching train.

I dropped off all of Hester’s body parts except one at a painter last week.  I’m sticking to the same Scarlett Red paint scheme, but am adding a pearlescent cover coat to give her a special glow in the sunlight.  She’ll be one of a kind when I’m done.  The painter was referred by a Road Glide Forum friend who works at a local independent shop.  I didn’t know this painter from Adam, but when I saw his work at the paint facility in his home, I was impressed.  He’s a real artist.  Hester must be a boring job for him.

The one part I didn’t drop off is the one I need painted first; yet another degree of frustration.  I’ve been seeking an inner fairing for weeks now.  The inner fairing is where the gauges are mounted, it’s the dash, if you will.  I stated above that where Hester is concerned, I’ve focused on comfort (gel padded seat, plush suspension, easy reach handlebars) over cool (chrome, custom airbrushed paint, spikes).  Another element that falls under the auspices of comfort is sound.  I suppose that could fall under the cool category for some, but since it can't be seen and essentially no one else reaps the benefit of it, sound and entertainment is comfort to me.  On the Harley Road Glide, the stereo speakers are mounted under the inner fairing in a small space that leads me to believe that sound was an afterthought to the Harley-Davidson designers.  I decided that since I had to replace the cracked up inner fairing, I might as well look for one that could accommodate more or better speakers.  I had no idea what a pain in the ass that would be.  Harley changed the Road Glide in 2015 and in doing so, created a totally new front end.  This would be of little consequence to me except for the fact that aftermarket manufacturers pretty much quit making cool parts for the "old" Road Glide, choosing to focus on the newer models.  I actually found exactly what I wanted at a terrific price and ordered it, only to be disappointed with the absolute lack of quality.  This thing was crap with surface blemishes, cracks, and misshaped holes for the speakers.  The seller made good on the deal and I wasn't charged for the part. It's boxed and sitting in my garage and I'm still waiting on a prepaid return label.  I'm not paying to ship a three cubic foot box to California.

I found another fairing with different speaker arrangement and ordered it.  After a week, I still had not received any shipping/tracking data from the seller, which was uncommon with all the recent parts I've purchased.  I pestered the seller and learned that they didn't have the part to ship because they didn't stock the part.  Like most custom shops, they just have parts drop shipped from the manufacturer.  I made a few calls and learned that the manufacturer had discontinued this part a year ago and had none in stock.  This was the last piece I needed to get parts out to paint and then reassemble afterward, and yet I was once again at a dead end.  The shop worked with me and scoured the builder world to help me find what I needed.  As of this writing, the fairing is supposed to be on its way directly to my painter.  What sucks is this is the key part to Hester's recovery and with the inner fairing installed, I can reconnect the gauges, the stereo, and the ganglia of wires and then start the bike to reassure myself that I got it all right.  The idea was to accomplish this step and let the painter finish the other body parts while I'm on my Outback trip.  There is a LOT that can go wrong and getting past this key step would go a long way to giving me peace of mind while I'm gone.

I leave two weeks from today.  It's not looking good.