Saturday, October 31, 2009

15 days!!!!

15 days smoke free!! We are going to beat this! Is it getting easier? Not really, I think if anything it's gotten a little harder. The cravings seem to be a little stronger, but nothing that can't be dealt with. The things I've noticed though are I no longer cough and hack when I get up in the mornings. That one happened amazingly fast, within a week the smokers cough was gone, I don't miss it one bit! The other thing is smell, my sense of smell is improving dramatically, everything smells stronger and it's easier to identify different odors. My sense of taste however, is slower to improve. I have noticed two things though, coffee tastes much better now, I loved coffee before, but it's even better now and Mountain Dew now tastes awful, I don't even touch it now, lol!

On to obligatory motorcycle content! With the colder months setting in I decided to get a windshield mounted on my Vulcan 900. Now I'm not a fan of windshields, for me personally part of my love of the ride is the wind and being in and a part of it. With being said, if adding a shield can extend my road time for the year, I'll gladly use one. Several months ago I was given a shield by a friend, he bought it for his Vulcan 1600 but it wasn't what he wanted so I ended up with it. No mounting hardware, just a shield. We have no idea what it came off of, but we know know it's from a Vulcan by the emblem.

With a little research it appears this shield came from an '05 or earlier Vulcan as Kawi changed the logo in '06. Since it came with no mounting hardware the challenge was to figure that out. The bottom mounts were close to the stock light bar mounts, but that put it too low and the bottom of the shield was hitting the blinkers.

As you can see in the pic above, the stock shield brackets were too wide as well. I didn't want to use spacers so I took it to work, removed the brackets from the shield and fired up our press brake. I tightened up the bend a bit, drilled some new holes just above the factory ones and the bottom mount is done.

Now the top mount doesn't line up with anything, except maybe the handle bars, hmmmm...maybe I can make this work.
After a quick trip to the hardware store for a couple 1" clamps with rubber isolators, a piece of 1/4" all-thread, and some nuts and washers, the top mount was done.

The finished product-

I did this at the shop I work at and had about a 15 mile ride home, it was 40 degrees, a 20mph wind, and raining, a good test. It's very solid and works well although there is some buffeting at the top of my head, but not too bad. It kept the rain completely off my upper body, except for some on my helmet. The wind pressure on my upper body was completely gone, now that was different, in cold weather that will be very welcome, but the shield will come off this spring as I would just as soon feel the wind.
Some may call my mounting set-up redneck, I prefer creative, lol! I searched for some mounts, but at $100 for a mount set up I'd rather save some cash and build my own. I've got a grand total a $5 in this windshield and mount set-up, it works well and doesn't look too bad. I can live with that. It looks like my Vulcan 900 has become my winter solo ride as my wife hates cold and refuses to ride in it.
Ride safe!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 3

So far, so good. Today will be my 3rd day as a non-smoker. So far I can say it's not as hard as I thought it would be, of course there are moments, like when I'm having my coffee in the morning or right after a good meal, but so far the cravings have been dismissed with relative ease. The only "crutch" I'm using is Tic-Tacs and Werther's hard candy. I'm trying to stay away from junk food and snacks, I refuse to trade smoking for weight gain. Just to make it easier to see what happens, I weighed myself on my last day as a smoker. I tipped the scales at 199 lbs, less than what I thought I weighed, but more than what I want to weigh considering I'm only 5'8".

I really feel good about beating this addiction, I know I can do it, it's not nearly as hard as I thought it'd be. However I may think differently when I have to deal with a bunch of idiots at work tomorrow, lol!

My wife is hanging in there too, although it's not as easy for her. She's had a couple really tough moments and is very edgy, but she's tough and is hanging in there. It looks as though the weather may cooperate today so we'll have to go ride.

Ride safe!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A new beginning....

Today is the day, the 1st day in a new chapter in my a non-smoker. Smoking became a daily addiction for me at the age of 14, 29 years ago. Why quit now? I'm tired of it, I'm feeling the health impact, I have no endurance, I run out of breath quick, the cough is starting, I'm tired of being broke. Don't let anyone kid you, smoking is an expensive damn habit, it always has been, especially since the liars club decided to try and tax it out of existence. My wife smokes too, so double the numbers. Several years ago she was diagnosed with high blood pressure and has done very well in her dedication to her medication as well as quitting things that are part of the cause. She's managed to cut down on her smoking considerably and is going to quit with me! The real numbers, just over $4300 a year spent on smokes, between my wife and I. Now that's one hell of a yearly bike trip!!

So far so good, I'm about 2.5 hrs into my 1st day as a non-smoker. Do I want a smoke? You'd better believe it! Will I have a smoke? Hell no! I'm tired of it and I'm ready for a new chapter in life. Usually by this time in my day I've already smoked half of a pack. This will be an hour by hour, day by day fight that I intend to win!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Winter is coming.......

As much as I hate to say it, winter is definitely on it's way. With highs in the 40's and lows in the 30's it's most assuredly an indicator that colder times are ahead. Time to winterize the bikes? Absolutely not!! I've managed to pick up some decent cold riding gear and will ride any chance I get over the coming winter, about the only thing that stops me is snow and ice covered roads. Fortunately, here in Kansas we've had some mild winters in the past and I'm hoping for another one.

So what does one do with the extra down time in the winter? You plan a trip, that's what! In September of '08 we were fortunate to be able to take a 5 day trip on bikes to Arkansas and enjoy the roads and scenery that the Ozarks has to offer. It was an absolutely incredible feeling for those 5 days to be able to do nothing but ride and explore. Each day we looked forward to getting up early and hitting the road and just riding, no real schedule, no real destination, just riding. '09 wasn't as cooperative, between family, work, and the economy a trip just wasn't in the cards this year. However next year one thing will change it up a bit, we'll officially be "empty nesters". Our youngest son was 1st, he joined the Navy and is now well into his adventure, our oldest son will be finishing college next May and then onto his life. My wife and I decided that we would treat ourselves to a bike trip.

The next question was, "Where to?" and "How long?" Now, my wife is Korean, there are many things in America that she hasn't seen, even though she's been here with me for the past 19 years. Between both of us working and raising a family there was never the time or the money for extravagant family vacations. A weekend here, a weekend there, was about the extent of it, our '08 trip to Arkansas was the closest thing to a family vacation we've had since a family reunion in the Black Hills in '97. My wife has always wanted to go to the mountains, I mean real mountains, so our trip heads for Colorado first! It's a good days ride to Ft. Collins so that where we head 1st, hopefully in July of '10. From there we'll meander south by southwest traveling whatever roads we feel like while riding to such places as Mt. Evans, Pikes Peak, and Royal Gorge. The rough plan is to spend a week in Colorado and as long as we're heading southwest we may as well make the ride to the Grand Canyon. From there we'll make our way east through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and back home to Kansas. We'll have 18 days to complete our journey and it'll cover around 3000 miles. Since saving money is always a concern we've decided to mix staying in motels and camping. We are so excited for this trip!

Now onto the more difficult question. How to fund this trip? Even with saving some back from our weekly(or should I say weakly, lol!) checks it won't be enough to cover the trip. I'm also putting in as much overtime as my boss will allow(not alot in this economy), and taking on cash and weekend projects. Either way we're determined to make this trip a reality!

How determined one might ask. Determined enough that I am considering giving up one of the most enjoyable bad habits I have left, smoking. To some, it may sound idiotic that I would call it enjoyable, but the truth is, I do enjoy it. I like the smell, the taste, how satisfying it seems after a good meal. I know it can kill me, I know and feel what it's doing to me right now. I'm in decent shape, my line of work is physically demanding every day, I've been doing it for 20 years. Facts are facts though, I have very little endurance anymore and I run out of gas quickly. The "cough" has started. A couple years ago I tried the medication method of quitting, Chantix and then Zyban. With Chantix the side affects were hell, I constantly felt bloated and had extreme heartburn 24/7. Zyban on the other hand did absolutely nothing, zero, zip, nada. The only way I'm going to quit is cold turkey, make up my mind and just do it. The money side is also a motivator to quit. Smoking costs me just over $2000 a year, now that's a chunk-o-change!

Anyhow, enough rambling for now.

Ride safe!!