Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apr 27 2010 – The new Gold Standard Tires have arrived!

You may recall I’d placed an order for new tires all around right after the busted tire incident? Hard as it is for me to not mention the vendor’s name, as of today they still haven’t shipped.

I’ve already vented more than enough about them and their flaky way of getting your business so I won’t belabor that any further, suffice it to say I placed an order for yet another set of tires, this time with ScooterTrap in Orlando, FL. My order to them was via email on April 19th, they shipped the next day, and I received them yesterday.

At present I’ve made arrangements for Bay Area Yamaha Cycles to mount and balance them as soon as they arrive. Before doing so I have to remove the 2nd front wheel which hopefully won’t require too much of a balancing act…

Today being typical of Oregon’s coastal springtime, our weather has erupted into one of the hardest rain storms I’ve seen outside of the tropics. All of the gutters on the house have been defeated and water is pouring off the roof as if they didn’t exist.
Red Dog is huddling under her cover waiting it out and I’m stuck in the house doing the same. Of course with this weather, our satellite system is down so no Internet service. You sort of get accustomed to that after awhile. Country living; bring it on!

But wait, Wow! Typical of our locale, the rain stopped about 2 minutes ago and the sun is now shining! Dare I go outside and have at it?
Nah, I don’t think so…It looks like rain...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010 I did a really silly thing yesterday….

Sometimes just sitting around begins to get to me so yesterday I decided to have a closer look at Red Dog’s busted tire & rim. Using my trusty Sears & Roebuck floor jack I lifted her up and removed the tire & rim. The damaged area just didn’t look all that bad so I tried pumping air into it but it kept leaking out about as fast as I could fill it. I admit to being easily entertained but after awhile the novelty began to wear off and I decided it might be time to try something different.

Right about then it occurred to me that tubeless tires need to be seated tightly against the rim before they can hold air so I held the wheel with my chest pressing down against the tire and the busted part on the lowest side next to the pavement. This seemed to help but try as I might I still couldn’t put enough pressure to seat the tire. Or so I thought… Anyway I figured it was time to pay a visit to my buddy Franklin’s automotive repair shop and try out his new tire changing gear.

Just as I was climbing into my truck I felt the first drops of rain begin to sprinkle so out came Red Dog’s new but as yet untried cover from Beverly Bay. The fit is excellent although they don’t rate the cover as being waterproof, rather it’s “water resistant”. That works for me as the waterproof rated covers tend to be really bulky; not exactly a good touring feature.
Besides, it was only going to be on there for a short time while we looked at the tire. Right? 
Arriving at Franklin’s shop I found him hard at it chasing down some mysterious problem in a Chevy. He broke away for a few minutes and after a lot of messing around trying to downsize his tire changer to fit Red Dog’s little 12” wheel we managed to get the tire off. It had a nasty 2” long split right where it seats against the rim which spelled the end for it so into the recycle bin it went. Bummer!

After visiting with Franklin I headed back home with the now tireless rim and it wasn’t until I got there it struck me that Red Dog was still sitting on the jack in the driveway and there she’d stay until the new tires arrived! If I’d been thinking I’d have put the flat tire back on so I could at least roll her back into the garage…duh.

Some days are like that, nothing to do but just sit around…

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Red Dog & Bella Rosa..Still waiting for those #!%X tires!

After hitting that damn rock and busting Red Dog’s left front tire it seems the whole planet’s been on hold. As soon as I got home from that little escapade I ordered a complete set of tires all around so I’d have fresh rubber for this summer’s ride. The on-line store whom I shall refrain from mentioning by name had indicated on their web site the tires were “available” and would ship in one or two days. Na├»ve as I sometimes am I took that to mean I’d be looking at them in a week or so.

Hah! What a joke, it seems that’s their way of saying “We don’t actually have them but they’re “available” somewhere on planet earth so we’ll order up a set for you and as soon as they arrive we’ll ship them right out in a day or two.” After ten days passed I called to see where they were and that’s when they let the cat out of the bag regarding their ‘policy’. Last I heard I was told to look for them around the 21st or 22nd of this month, just a tad longer than what I’d expected. Like nearly a month longer. And that’s only if they receive them from the US distributor who needs to receive them from the manufacturer in Europe. Phooee!

So, with all this time on my hands I think maybe I’ll trailer the Ducati up north to Rich’s Custom Seats and have some mods done.

What’s the Ducati you ask? Hmm….well it’s just another Italian bike but with only two wheels, not three, and you have to shift it, that sort of thing. I’ve owned it (her?) since new in 2007 but haven’t ridden her much as it’s not that comfortable for me, sort of like Red Dog before her new seat.

Ducati is a small Italian firm best known for their many successes on the Grand Prix racing circuit.
Like many manufacturers who race they also build bikes for street riding and occasionally touring. You remember the old axe, "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday"?

My 2007 model ST3s is just such an item and I couldn’t resist buying her the moment I first laid eyes on her.

At the time I had visions of riding across America on this glorious red Italian beauty drawing long looks of admiration from men and sly sideways heated glances from beautiful young nubile-like ladies...

Fantasy is everything, eh?