...I woke up around 2:30, got myself going, and went for a bacon mofo. After eating it, I set in to work on the Suzuki.
I took off the wheels, and discovered that some half-assed would-be mechanic (probably my brother) had not bothered to replace the freakin' cotter pins when he took the wheels off; what he had done was to torque down the bolts extra-tight. On the one hand, the wheels didn't come off; on the other hand, WTF, a cotter pin costs pennies.
Anyway, then I took the tires off the rims. I really had to work for it, not having a proper set of tire spoons, and the old rubber was not cooperating one whit. But I emerged victorious and didn't have to destroy the tires to remove them; and while waiting for the UPS truck to come, I set about doing some cleaning. As long as I had the rear wheel off, there were things which had not been very accessible while it was on, so I took the opportunity to do some cleaning.
I began worrying about UPS coming; I even came in and checked the tracker to make sure it was still "out for delivery"--it was--and then resumed cleaning.
But there came a point at which I heard the rattle of a diesel engine, and I said, "There he is!" The guy stopped at the foot of the driveway and tooted the horn; I got up as he came up the driveway with the package I was expecting.
"I had a lot of faith in you guys," I told him. "I tore all this apart with the expectation that these parts would come!" Heh.
I read the instructions and then set about reassembly. I did the rear tire first; I wiped down the rim with laquer thinner (already out because I was cleaning some old greasy gunk off the bike) and applied the adhesive rim strip.
The first bead went on easily, of course, but I had the devil's own time getting the other side on. Realizing that I had never done this with a motorcycle tire before--the last time I'd screwed around with this kind of work was a bicycle tire some time in the 1970s--I came inside and hit Google for installing motorcycle tires.
I found this YouTube video, which has far too much preliminary guck but did teach me how the fuck to install a motorcycle tire without $5,000 worth of machinery:
Using that guy's method, eventually I got it on, and proudly filled it with air--
I had punctured the inner tube when I installed the tire. Moral: NEVER USE SCREWDRIVERS. *sigh*
Sighing, I tabled the rear tire for a moment and decided I'd assemble the front. Cleaned the rim with laquer thinner, got the inner tube into the tire, lubed it with soapy water, and I didn't even need to use tools to get it on--both beads went on easy as you please. I cheerfully filled it with air and put it on the motorcycle.
Realizing that--having punctured the BRAND F-ING NEW inner tube in the back--I was going to have to patch it, I went across the street to ask my neighbor to watch the house while I went to the hardware store for a patch kit--more on this in a moment--and then hied myself to Ace Hardware for an inner tube patch kit and a pair of real tire spoons.
They had the patch kit; the guy had never even heard of tire spoons. *sigh* So much for the "helpful hardware man".
Bought cork gasket material of the correct thickness while I was at it--I need it for the fuel valve--paid, and hurried home.
Resolving not to use screwdrivers, I cast about for an acceptable substitute, and realized that I had a pair of pliers--regular old pliers--which could do the job handily. I unscrewed the bolt holding them together and found myself with a perfect acceptable pair of tire spoons, and with surprisingly little effort I had the tire back off the rear rim in about 30 seconds. I put my hand on the ground to lever myself up, and it came down on the rim strip for the front rim that I hadn't actually installed before I put it together.
Took the inner tube inside, stuck it in the sink, found the leak--one hole, near the valve, but not so close that it was not repairable, thank God!--and then went back outside to fix it.
Once the patch was on, I reassembled it. It went together a lot easier this time; well, considering that it was now the third time I had put a motorcycle tire on its rim, it should have been getting easier to do! Practice makes perfect!
Inflated it to 30 PSI and it held pressure. I decided to see if it would leak at all before putting it on the bike, so I leaned it against the Escort and took the front tire off the motorcycle again.
Removing the tire from the rim--this was the fourth time I'd removed a tire from a rim today!--went pretty smoothly. Pulled everything off, re-wiped the rim with laquer thinner, and installed the rim strip. Put the tire back on--number four!--and had it back together in pretty quick order. Filled it to 30 PSI and stuck it back on the motorcycle.
I checked the rear tire; it had leaked down to about 20 PSI. Well, I've got some Slime tire sealant left over from when the tractor needed it; I can dump that into the tire when I'm ready to take it for a ride, and get that dealt with. The air's no longer hissing out as fast as I put it in, so that ought to do fine; I put the rear tire on.
The sun was setting, and I was tired, so I decided not to go any further tonight. I put everything away; after that I checked the front tire and it was holding pressure.
I sat on the bike and let it roll down the driveway on its new tires. It felt pretty good.
The chain has a fair bit of slop in it; I'll have to tighten it a bit. The chain adjusters, though, are pretty close to their limit. Still, I might be able to knock one link out of the chain, and get away with fixing the problem that way, at least temporarily. I expect a new chain will be in order sooner or later, but it's not critical.
The only part that I am waiting for now is the battery, and I don't need that to start the bike or to ride it around the yard. Heh.
That was probably the biggest task I had to accomplish--replacing the tires--and now it's mostly a matter of making adjustments and fixing minor things. I have everything I need, except the battery, and it's now just a matter of time and effort. Hoody hoo.
* * *
As for my neighbor--
Turns out his wife died earlier this year. When I asked him where she was, he said, "She left. I haven't seen her! People keep telling me she died...."
It's not terribly surprising that a guy who's married to a woman for forty, fifty years would get a bit loopy after she died. God, what a sad thing that is. That's such a damn shame--but I can't blame him for reacting that way. I was expecting Mom to die sooner or later (she was nearly 84 when she died; I mean come on) and it still hit me like a runaway locomotive. I don't know if my neighbor's wife was having health trouble or what; I knew he had gone to the hospital a couple times with congestive heart failure but she seemed to be doing okay.
Anyway, so I'm going to go over there the next time I see him outside and have a longer chat with him. Jesus.
* * *
Other than having to install both tires twice, and the bad news from my neighbor, it's been a pretty good day. I slept like a log (mainly because it's so cool outside) and I woke up in a pretty fair dinkum mood.
The Bible study group last night was amazing; it was amazing because of how I felt while I was there. For one thing, I had two or three moments of real joy, where I was glad to be there, where I was happy. Thinking about it, I realized it was partly because I'd found a place where I actually belong--I don't feel like an outsider there, even though I don't really know those people very well yet.
That is amazing. That is just flat amazing.
One of them brought this incredible chipotle chicken salad. It tasted so very, very good, and I told him that I'd have to demand a copy of the recipe from him.
...but then around midnight the old gut sounded the "warp core breach" alarm, and it was--shall we say--less than pleasant. So I don't think I want the recipe for that stuff after all.
I'm going to have to think of something to bring. Maybe a batch of brownies....