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Photo Courtesy of MJRPhoto.net
I must apologize for taking SO long to write up a recap on this event, but I have two good excuses:

1) Some of the photos used in this post I had to wait to get from Mike at MJRPhoto.net (be sure to check out his site for a lot more shots), and...

2) I'm lazy.

But, the good news is I'm here now and committed to letting everyone know just how great this event was.

Friday Night

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Group Photo (courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Friday was the biggest day for folks getting into town.  Bobby and I met in Clifton Park and took the long way up, arriving in Lake George just before dinner time.  While checking into my motel, I saw Dave and the NJ crew rolling in with members from Long Island and the Hudson Valley as well.  We had a quick meet and greet in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry where we hung up the banner, distributed t-shirts for those who bought them and checked out everyone's bikes.  This would turn out to be a rather small sampling of the number of people who would eventually show up.

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Dinner at King Neptunes (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After the little schmooze session, it was off to King Neptune's to hang out and get some food and beer, and we all had plenty of both.  We more or less took over the back patio, forcing quiet couples to find someplace else to be all cute and crap.  After the sun went down, and we were still waiting for our food, Dave decided things were a little chilly outside so he carefully constructed a pile of napkins next to his chair and lit them on fire.

While we were there, more and more people strolled in, some expected and some not - one of them being a friend I hadn't seen to spoken to in years whom I knew from working at Gil's Garage when we were in high school and college.  Small world.

Eventually, the last two to show up that night were Rich and Drew, the former being my roommate for the weekend.  They had a late start and refused to take the slab in - kudos to them.

At this point, I walked Bobby back to my room to get his gear which was locked inside.  He lived in Saratoga so wasn't staying over in the Village.  The bar had emptied out and it was just 5 of us left when I took off, and I considered just heading to bed in preparation for the next day, but I decided to go back and have one more beer before calling it a night.

Well, let's just say that Rich was able ensure the night ended with Irish car bombs.  We were a bit hurting the next morning!  Everyone else having left, he and I ended up closing the place that night.

Saturday

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Getting ready to ride (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Today was about RIDING.  Well, first it was about breakfast with Drew and Rich at the Pancake house, but after that it was about RIDING.  I don't know where everyone came from, but we had a TON of bikes show up Saturday morning, including Hammer and Liz who are more or less Hudson Valley Buelling Royalty.  Everyone kind of walked around and got to know each other for a while and decided on which ride they wanted to do.  In an effort to avoid a massive parade session through the mountains, Dave and I encouraged people to form small groups and ride that way.  We ended up having two separate groups that did the Big Lake Loop (myself leading one, and Dave leading the other) with about 7 or 8 bikes in each.  A little more than I wanted to lead, but we were blessed with having good riders who were ok with doing some miles that day.  I think there were at least another 7 or 8 bikes that did some of the shorter rides, and more still who just decided to hang around town.  Mike and I estimated afterwards that we probably had around 25 bikes show up - not bad!

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Our first gas stop in Ft. Ticonderoga
Everyone seemed to really enjoy the rides on Saturday, my group included, which was good news considering I hadn't pre-ridden any of the routes after making the route sheets.

Despite some slow moving cars and getting us a little lost, we had a great morning with picturesque scenery and fantastic roads.  The route took us through Keene Valley on our way to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, which is some of the prettiest roadside views in the entire Adirondack park.

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Our ride group at a stop just before Whiteface. Not pictured is Drew who took off ahead to test out the range on his communicator, and Mike who took the photo (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After a quick stop to pee, it was a short 13-mile ride to the summit.  I felt a little guilty that it was a $10 toll to get up to the top, but once there it was clear that it was worth it and the guys seemed to agree.  We actually had caught up to Dave's group here, but wouldn't see them until we were back in town that night.

I have a few good shots from Whiteface, so I'll just put a little gallery here for your viewing pleasure:
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Riding down Whiteface (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
From here we took a quick ride down the mountain and into the next town for lunch at an A&W and a much-needed extended break, but not before Mike hung back to get this great shot of us heading down the mountain.

From here it was a lot of great scenery, slow drivers mixed in among some fantastic roads and a gas stop here and there.  The grand finale of the ride was hitting Rt 8 between Brant Lake and Lake George, and then also having a second shot at Rt 9N into the the village, which was ruined by a slow driver that morning.  Not so this time!

We made it back into town around dinner time after 280 miles or so.  Most of our larger group decided on dinner at the Adirondack Brew Pub, but a smaller group of us elected to get some Pizza at Capri instead and met up with them later.  Turns out this was a good decision as the food and service seemed to be sub-par at the Brew Pub.

But that wasn't going to ruin our day as there was beer to be drunk and crap to give away.  Dave had scored some "sponsorships" for this shindig and had a t-shirt, two gas cards, a battery tender and the banner to give away.

Back to Neptune's for a long-drawn out bullshit session and bragging about stories of awesome rides and fantastic crashes.  It was an earlier night than expected for all, but a fantastic time none-the-less.

Sunday

Sunday was another morning started at the Pancake House, but we managed to have a much larger group this time.  After that we all hung out in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry long enough to say goodbye and get people set up on good routes to head home.  Everyone had pretty much taken off by noon save for Rich, Drew and I.  We headed back to our room, packed the bikes up and I rode with the two of them through VT into Bennington since it was more or less on my way home, anyway.

Overall, I don't think we could have been happier with how this event turned out.  We had perfect weather, no squids, no wrecks, no tickets (but a close call!), or breakdowns.

I want to give special thanks to those from the Hudson Valley crew to planted the seed for this idea.  Thanks to Dave for doing so much of the legwork on getting the word out and supplying t-shirts, banners and bonfires.  Thank to Mike from MJRPhoto.net for taking time out of his ride to get some really great shots.  Last but not least, a big thanks to everyone who was able to make it and make this a really great time for everyone.

There seemed to be a strong sentiment to do this again next year, so stay tuned!

For now, I need to go scrape all of the bugs off the bike...
 
Bear with me on this post as I'm trying out a new app to be able to do this entirely from my phone...
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Together for the last time...
Last weekend was my last ride on the Buell. I left around 9:00am and headed for Maryland to drop it off to David, the new owner. The first half of the ride was very bittersweet, thinking of all of the memories on the S3T and how much I would miss it.

The second half, however, reminded me of all the reasons I decided to buy the Sprint, haha. I was feeling much better about my decision once I got to my destination, despite any affinity I still have for the Buell.

Once I arrived to David's house, the riding didn't stop. Out of his impressive collection of now 11 motorcycles, among them were three which he so graciously allowed me to sample.

I apologize for the lack of photos, I did take some but they are gone from my phone for some reason.

The first was a Triumph Thruxton - classically cool looking machine that was almost alarmingly heavy-handling, but I'll be damned if the noise that came out of those twin arrow mufflers wasn't a hoot, making the bike a blast to ride.
Next up (I'm doing these out of order intentionally) was likely one of the rarest bikes I've ridden to date - a 1997 Moto Guzzi V1100 Sport. It handles just like what you'd expect a 90's era hand built Italian sportbike should(well, that is), with a tractor of an engine mounted the wrong way, tossing you off the side of the bike every time you blipped the throttle. Totally cool
The last, but certainly not least sampling was David's mint and tastefully carbon-ized Buell S1. I've never ridden a bike that was such a kick to the chest as this one and I loved it. So much, in fact, that at the moment an example of one is the strongest contender for an eventual second bike in my garage. More importantly, it also affirmed in my mind that I like it as a tuber better than my S3, another tid bit that helped to comfort my decision to sell it in the first place.
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Nice toilet paper!
After riding it was a night of Russian beer, home made margaritas, lamb chops, bratwurst and Star Trek. A good and very late night.
The next day was a wake up to blueberry waffles made by David's girlfriend (I always seem to eat well on Buell trips...), some quick goodbyes and off to the airport to get the rental car and drive home. Washington DC, as it turns out, is a giant PITA to get out of if you're heading north. I think my GPS overheated!
So now, with the Buell but a memory taking up the empty space and disconnected battery tender lead in my garage, my attention is turned entirely to the shiny, new bit of English engineering, and I have a few new things for it.
First up is I wired up the GPS to the bike permanently on the switched power source that was originally intended for the factory heated grips.
Next was the install of some GenMar bar risers (I got mine off of eBay). An inch higher doesn't feel like much sitting on the bike, but going down the road it helped with wrist pressure a lot. As an added bonus, it moved my head just enough to get it into smooth air, so I may not need to do anything with the windscreen.
Skipping around a bit, last week I installed my Tank Slapper tank protector - it's as invisible as anything could be and offers much more protection than a typical tank guard. Install took a few tries just to get it positioned well, but the process itself was very easy.
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Look carefully, it's there
The biggest change to the bike was mounting my Givi top case. Yes, it's very ugly, but it's equally as useful in both cargo capacity and a makeshift backrest for the misses. The model I have is a bit dated, but it holds 2 full face helmets or my work laptop perfectly.
Besides that, I did the first service as well as adjusting the throttle and clutch cables which has made shifting and braking much smoother.
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Quick mock up, all geared up for a long trip.
That's all for now - a couple other goodies on the way that I'll post up once I have them.
 
I never imagined this would be so hard.

Yes, I've known all along how attached I am to my Buell and that given the choice I'd rather keep it, but I'm getting way more upset over the though of selling it than I had imagined.

The buyer lives in Maryland and the plan is to ride it down to him tomorrow and rent a car to come home on Sunday.  Today I have been working on the Buell a little - changed the oil, put the tail bag and tank bag on and got the GPS back on it for the trip.  Spending this quality time with it all while knowing that it will soon be gone from my life is really taking its toll on my mood.

I don't know the reason.  I've long said that the S3T has been my most favorite bike; that if I was forced to choose one bike I've already owned to keep for the rest of my life, the S3T would be it without even thinking about it.  Even with the shiny, new Triumph in my garage, I think I still feel that way.  Maybe it's because I popped my REAL long-distance touring cherry with the Buell.  Maybe it's because for whatever intrinsic reason it just has the most personality of any bike I've ridden.  Maybe it's just simply because it's so god damned good looking.  Whatever the reason, I've really bonded with it in the short time I've owned it, and while I know it's just a machine there's a very real and significant attachment to it.

I'm sure this will all be easier, merely a memory once I'm back home and the Sprint is the only bike in my garage - out of sight, out of mind.  But that's of little condolence at the moment.  I know that it's going to a very good home, a genuine Buell and Tuber enthusiast, a guy who buys bikes and pretty much doesn't sell them.  It still doesn't make me feel better about it.

Maybe getting another Buell in the garage will be the ticket - perhaps that X1 Cafe Racer project I've been thinking about?

What it all comes down to is that the Sprint is a better bike in nearly every regard (except weight, lol), but I just haven't bonded with it yet.  Now, I know it's unreasonable to bond with a new bike in the week I've owned it, but that doesn't change where my head is at.  I'm sure some garage time and lots of miles will change that, but until then I'm just going to feel a little empty, I guess.  I suppose I should start planning for lots of both in the coming months.

Or maybe I should just tear up this guy's check and tell him I'm not coming.
 
Look at that - two days in a row.  Aren't you just a bunch of lucky bastards.

Last night mostly followed the nights prior - got home from work and mostly lived in the garage.  I ended up running out to my local Harley Dealership to get the gasket that was missing from my kit.  At about $6 out the door, I'm not going to make a stink about it to the guy I got the gasket kit from.  Al at American Sport Bike has been more than fantastic in the past in providing parts and information that it's really nothing. 

Before the sun was down, the rear cylinder was all buttoned up and I installed and torqued down the new front isolator.  I also installed the new ASB front motor mount, though I left the bolts going to the head loose as I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to come up with the air cleaner support bracket yet, and it may end up tieing into those bolts somehow.  BUT, what that does mean is, for the first frickin' time since November, the engine is 100% supported by the frame of the bike and NOT by a hydraulic jack.  BEHOLD...
After that it was off to my neighbor's to hang out and drink his scotch while I watched him grill.  Then back to the garage where I disassembled and cleaned the throttle body and intake, but not before totally marring up the mating surfaces.  A little file job and we were back in business.  I'm not certain the fuel injectors are sitting 100% correct, but it matches the pictures in the service manual so I'm going with it for now.  If I turn the key and fuel is spraying everywhere or it's running leaner than hell I'll know I did something incorrectly.

Uhhh... what's left...  My notes say to install the intake, exhaust, top motor mount, tie bars, air cleaner, fabricate an air cleaner bracket, hook up all fuel lines and electrical connections, install fuel filter, breather setup, gas tank, fairings, set the static timing and change the oil.  I *think* I can have this wrapped up this weekend...
 
Been putting in mucho hours on the S3T recently, trying like hell to get it all done as soon as possible and enjoy this incredible weather we're having.  I'm really kicking myself that this is my only bike right now...
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In any event, progress has been slower than I'd like, but steady none-the-less.  A few nights ago my intent was to have the cylinders and pistons installed, but the base gaskets turned out to be stuck on better than those boogers under your desk and I was only able to clean one off, though I did manage to gap and install all of the rings on the pistons.

The next night I got to where I wanted to be the night before, finished the base gasket-ectomy and installed the pistons and cylinders on the bottom end.  Those snap rings for the piston pins aren't so bad once you get the hang of it, though having a third hand might have helped some.

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Which bring us to last night.  There was a lot of work for the sake of work (ok, ok, and to make sure I don't blow the engine to bits when I start it).  On the agenda was measing the valve-to-piston clearance and the squish band clearance (yes, "squish" is a real technical term, no joke).  This involves slapping a bunch of clay and soft metal on the piston top and pretty much assembling the entire top end, rotating the engine and then taking it all apart and seeing if you broke anything.  It's a lot of work, but I feel better knowing that everything is as it should be considering I was little worried the slightly-off markings on the cam gears had me worried that the cam timing wasn't spot on. 

After wiping the pistons clean, I got both heads installed and the entire rocker assembly done on the front head.  Turns out my gasket kit was missing a gasket so the rear cylinder can't go any further until I get a replacement.  The work went easy for the most part, the only hardship was getting the pushrod tube base gaskets to sit nice, but once I cleaned the oil off of everything they behaved.

I'm crossing my fingers that I can have this things done by the weekend.  Here's to hope and change.

 
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Gearbox cover installed
Believe it or not, this is what progress looks like.  Yeah, I know I'm missing the bits that go suck-squeeze-bang-blow, but before I started it was even more apart than this.  After smearing some assembly lube on the cams and oil pump drive gear, I timed them all up and reinstalled them.  I pressed in a new seal for the timing hole, installed the cam sensor, new gasket for the gearcase cover and also removed the lifters to soak in some oil and re-gasketed the pushrod tube bases.

I don't think it will take more than two afternoons to wrap this all up, with the only time hangup being getting the jugs to a machinist to hone and measure and make sure I'm still in spec for roundness.  If not, no biggie - it just means a bore job and new pistons.  Figuring on new rings anyway, so at least those wouldn't be extra as well.

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Sweet dreams.
Meanwhile, the other bike, my Buell 1125CR, has officially been sold.  It will hibernate in my garage until spring when the new owner, a fellow BadWeBber, can come get it.  We're finally getting some cold and snow up here in the Northeast, so it doesn't seem like finding a nice day to get it to his place 45 minutes north of me is going to happen anytime soon.

I will miss the 1125 terribly, but in all honesty I just wasn't riding it enough to justify keeping it - perhaps only a few hundred miles a year.  The S3T is just so much more comfortable that there are only rare occasions where I'd prefer not to take it, and those were typically only because I knew the 1125 needed to be ridden.  It will be odd only having one bike again - I've been a multiple-motorcycle household (fitting as many as 4 bikes plus a car in my one-car garage) for the past 5 years.  If the S3T breaks (like it is now), I'll have no backup.

I'll cross my fingers that a I can afford to buy and build the X1 project I have in my head sometime soon.

 
Well, the ADK Buell Rally is really starting to take form, and it's shaping up to have a much better turn out than I was expecting.  Seems Dave has been pimping the event all over and we've got something like 15 people already slated to attend with a pile of others who are on the fence as of yet.  This is a good thing - We've been lacking a good Buell event in the Northeast with the exception of the Headless Horseman ride at the end of October, so something earlier the season will be welcomed.

I've updated the event page with some ride route ideas - most of them should be ok but a couple will need to be scouted as the effects of Hurricane Irene may have some sections of road a little more broken up than we'd like.  There is also a preliminary itinerary.  The whole weekend will be rather laid back, with rides going in all directions depending on who wants to go where, but we want to ensure we all know where and when to meet in the mornings and again for dinner.

Speaking of dinner, I'm working with Dave on coming up with places to eat each evening.  With a group as large as this is turning out to be, we'll need to be more organized than originally thought.

In other parts of the Buell World, I found a header for the S3 to run with my new Pro-Series Supertrapp muffler.  The prices on these have gotten a little out of hand for some reason, so when a fellow BadWeBber offered me one he had at a good price I decided to go ahead and get it.  I'm hoping to have the cylinders honed and measured in the next couple weeks and bike back together before we get too deep into March.  Wish me luck.
 
see my gallery for more photos
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Poughkeepsie Train Station
Driving 65 miles to the train station at 4:30am in a snow storm doesn't sound like a great idea, but it was necessary in order to get to New York City on a reasonable budget for the day.  Minus the fact that we're in the middle of drunk-driver prime time, I was navigating the slippery snow covered roads while dodging deer which would think nothing of getting all up in my grill in a rear-wheel drive sports car.  I've gathered that you've already assumed that just by reading this I made it safe and sound, and you'd be right.

I got to the train station with plenty of time to spare.  From here it was an uneventful ride to Grand Central Terminal as the sun rose over the Hudson Valley.  A 30-minute brisk walk in the snow through Manhattan over to Javits completed the commute to the show.

Now, as this post is rather lengthly, I've used my fancy-schmancy newbie blog-writing prowess to put this little "read more" link right here, so if you want to read on, click it and you'll be as happy as a clam.