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March 17, 2003

happy st. patrick's day.
You can bet I'll celebrate tonight by cracking open a Heineken, which, as we all know, comes in a green bottle. See how festive I am?

the bandit gets a time-out.
I finally got around to actually checking the valve clearances on the Bandit yesterday, now that I've figured out where the alternator is. I gave up on the "valve timing plug" and just removed the whole damn clutch cover, therefore making my life about fifteen times easier.

In keeping with the Bandit's fine tradition of doing absolutely everything possible bass-ackward, the Top Dead Center indicators are not, in fact, on the side of the alternator (like this, say). Instead, there are little grooves on the -- wait for it -- ends of the camshafts. When both grooves are pointed outward, you can check both the intake and exhaust valves for the #1 cylinder, the intake valves for #2, and the exhaust valves for #3. Then you turn the crankshaft so that the grooves point inward, and check the rest of the valves. I might have the cylinders backwards for the position of the grooves. Who knows?

It's a little mystery.

Mark took one look at me doing this and decided to take his Bandit to a dealer for a valve check. See? Learn from my mistakes, people. Don't let me check valves in vain.

At any rate, I checked all the valves -- breaking a .004" feeler gauge in the process -- and pushed the Bandit back into the garage. Approximately .5 seconds later, 400 pounds of Bandit punched me full-on in the leg. The sidestand must not have been down fully -- all I can think of -- and the damn thing fell over on me.

It missed the SVS by about 3 inches, proving that there is a god -- of motorcycles, at least.

I got the SVS out of the way and tried to lift the Bandit. With no fuel tank or seat, it was impossible to get any sort of leverage, so flat on its side it rested. And still rests. And will continue to rest while it thinks about what it's done...or until one of my neighbors comes home to help me lift it.

Meanwhile, I have a very impressive bruise. The bike hit me right above the knee on both legs, but the brunt of it hit my right leg. There's a nice purple and green bruise there now, stretching about 4" up my leg and a few inches wide. I actually did try to take a picture, but bruises don't seem to photograph well. I'm somewhat disappointed about this.

daytona 200. i think.
Saturday night was Tony's birthday party, which was also our first Skull Party of 2003. For those of you who weren't around during the Skull Parties of 2002, it's really just a fancy way of saying that we drink rum out of skull shaped glasses and watch motorcycle racing.

I'm pretty sure we watched the Daytona 200, in addition to the SuperSport and SuperStock. Or maybe we just talked about the latter. I really have no idea; I was busy with the Skull. In fact, I remember there being an interesting ending to the Daytona 200, but I couldn't begin to tell you who won. Hrm. As you can tell, it was a fun party.

I think.