Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just like old times

With the imminent arrival of the Portland 555 guys to Knoxville via Johnny Walker's farm in Monterrey, I decided the only decent thing to ride to the party was my original 555 bike.....Phily Joe Special (1974 Honda CL450). The fact that it wasn't running as of 2 days ago necessitated my own private wrench party in the basement on Sunday night. I'm pretty sure Pearl was doing the same thing over in his garage, but I don't think he took pics. Anyway, last year in Portland I had discovered Phily Joe's electrical/charging problems had been the result of the chain cutting all of the wires going to the stator/alternator. My "fix" was on the street in front of Face's apt in the evening before our big Beulehland party and included using electrical tape to splice in some extra wire to bridge the huge gap left by the chain slashing and wrapped it all in duct tape. Not the best solution of course, but I just wanted to ride to the party. I always intended to get home (or break down on the way home) and actually solder the connections or get new wires.
Fast forward 1 year.....not once have I even looked at the wires. I've just kept riding it around town with Sneaky Pistol's ever impressive mantra of "Hey..Yo...I'll get around to it" (spoken with a accent somewhere between Rocky Balboa, Tony Soprano, and Emeril Lagasi).

As you can imagine, about a month ago Phily Joe barely got me home and I promptly parked her and rode some other bikes around. But alas, the grand arrival of the Portland 555 gave me the kick in the ass I needed to work on Phily Joe and get her running again. See you on the road!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What is the 555?

Whoa, a deep philosophical question for this crew and one that doesn't necessarily have an answer. I like what one of the 555 copycats, Cryin' Eyes, said when asked by a Knoxville writer "Why are you guys seeing the Knox555 as inspiration instead of the bad examples they so obviously are?"

To which Cryin'Eyes replied: "We have spent years doing stupid stuff as fast as possible but the Knoxville guys turned that whole concept upside down by showing us that stupid stuff can be done much, much slower and be equally fun."

Speaking for myself, the 'doing stupid things slowly' was a by-product of something more altruistic and rational. More accurately this whole thing came about as a big equalizer. It's no fun riding distance when one rider is at a woeful disadvantage in the cc or the reliability department. In our case, we simply defaulted to the lowest denominator which was Chocolate Thunder's Honda CL450 which was bought for $100 and an offer for a punch in the neck from the seller for even considering riding it across country.

It was an interesting concept. In the day and age of $25,000 adventure bikes, deep pockets and everyone striving to be Ewan McGregor in the Long Way Around, could seven guys (one who had no previous motorcycle experience) spend three weeks traveling large for around $2,000 including the bike, gear, fuel, food, beer and umm.....more beer. Obviously, they can...and did....and will do again. So by default we were regulated to taking the Slow Way Around, which to state the obvious, gives you time to take more of everything in.
I've traveled in different levels of comfort and luxury but nothing comes close to the experience of traveling cheap and slow. - Erock

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wow. That about sums it up. 24 hours after Germ blew his cheater bike up, some guys in the Idaho Vintage Motorcycle Club found him a free, yes, FREE CB200 to run into the ground. 555pdx is learning what we learned on our trip and that is that if you throw yourself out there into the unknown, lower your guard a bit and allow yourself to be a bit vulnerable, people will show you their good side. Here's to the IVMC. http://idahovintagemotorcycleclub.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

Just as important, if you look closely at this photo, you'll see that all present have a beer in their hands. Ah, the universal language of beer. Where would the 555 be with out it?

Reminding me a bit like this commercial from my youth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLrTPrp-fW8 ,Germ attempted to fool The 555 and has paid the price. You see, Germ left pdx on a Honda XL 500. While abiding by the first two rules (his bike is at the top end of the cc allotment [but non-the-less it makes it] and we trust that he didn't invest more than $500 into it) Germ attempted to fool mother nature by riding a bike that failed the third and really, most critical rule. A quick check of Al Gore's biggest contribution to mankind and one finds that the Honda XL500 that Germ was riding was introduced in the very futuristic year of 1979. It's no wonder, really, that his bike shit the bed. The 555 is not surprized.
Although I'm sure he dosn't think so at the momment, Germ's a lucky man. Had he shown up in Knoxville on a bike made in 1979, he would have been shuned, ridiculed and made to sleep outside with our dog Otis who's breath and general stench could make even someone named 'Germ" retch. However, if at this early stage of the game, he's successfull of locating a real bike and is able to pilot it to Knoxville, it's zero to hero and a couch for the Germ! Go Germ!
Check back for more updates on the pdx555 - Erock

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The new book in the growing stacks of the 555 library is a book sent to us by Pearl's friend and mentor, Captain Insano. I'm not going to subject you to a review of this book but in a nut shell, Lois Pryce rides an underpowered bike from Alaska to the southern most tip on South America, something that every respectable 555er has dreamt of doing. This is a good book, one worth reading. Also, her site is worth visiting www.loisontheloose.com

I'm not giving anything away by saying that in the beginning of book she meets and falls for a guy named Austin. Well, come to find out that Austin is Austin Vince of Mondo Enduro...the Mondo Enduro. We are already huge fans of Mondo Eunduro and now these two motorcycling powerhouses are an item. The small world of motorcycling.

If you are not familiar with Austin's work, you need to be. He and the rest of Mondo are as badass as they come. www.mondoenduro.com

Stay tuned for an announcement concerning these two, the States, the 555 (of course), hillbilly music and a possible visit.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

If you see this strangely grotesque He/She out on the lonesome highways in the coming weeks, you've just spotted a 555 copycat. Some folks out in Portland, who primarily ride with the SFRC, picked up our thread as we embarked on our trip last year and became big supporters of the 555. Really, about the only thing they did for us was to get us absolutely loaded as we rolled (well, choking, coughing, spitting, pushing, limping, some with only first gear...), into pdx and then The Sandy Hut. Whisky flowed and so did stories. Come to think of it, that's all we really wanted from them, but I digress.

So this, our year off, is the year of the pdx 555 and they leave town today, headed for Knoxville and some alcohol fueled paybacks. If you see a pack of leather clad types rolling 200 - 500 cc machines in the general direction of Knoxville, give them the thumbs up, shake your fist at them, give 'em the finger, whatever.

You can see their site at http://www.motonw.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

Somewhere out there there are seven riders iching to hit the road again. Actually, it's the dusty trail that beckons them this time. In 2010, the 555 plan to head out on old, shitknuckle beaters to traverse the country and then the length of Baja, all on unpaved roads if all possible. The rules of the trail will be the same as the original 555 and bikes like this one will be pressed into service for the event. Hopefully, with more time that we had last time to work out the bugs, these steeds will be more faithful than some of the bikes on the last trip...but somehow, I doubt it. Bah, come hell or high water, or both, we'll ride these things to the Pacific and then some. Check back for updates as we bring this blog up to spead. - Erock

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Test of The 555 on blogger

Maybe this will allow all of us to blog about the 555.