Go Somewhere

Typically I wake up to Jack hollering “Mama.”  I drag myself out from under the covers and try to get presentable for the day.  Jack pretty much destroys the bathroom on a daily basis as I get ready to go to work.  He feels the need to empty every drawer in the bathroom as if he may find something new this time.  I finish that up and move on to coffee.  While the coffee is making, I play a little guitar as Jack runs around getting into anything he sees.  The guitar thing gets old for Jack pretty quick so we always end up rocking on the front porch listening to some tunes until Cindy’s folks get there to watch the little dude.  Tomorrow morning will be different for me.  I have my bike loaded down with only the things I have to have, ready to head out for a long weekend trip to the mountains with my brother and Big Al.  

I usually get a little uptight right before we leave for our little adventures because of all the unforeseen things that may or may not happen along the way.  The distance seems so far until you get going.  Like anything else in life the first mile is the hardest to get under your belt.  Once you get on down the road a piece you begin to settle in to the sound of the wind and the bumps in the road.  You realize everything will not only be okay but will be something worth living.  

The reason I tell you this is that I think we all need to get away with our guy friends (girl friends if you're of the female variety).  The fact of the matter is males and females are different.  Guys will act different when it is just other guys around.  I’m sure girls are the same.  You build tighter bonds with your friends when you go somewhere different for a few days.  There will be memories that you create that will last you forever.  Going away also makes you appreciate home and the people back there that miss you when you're gone.  So pick you something to do, get some people together and go be as ridiculous as you want to be.  

68' Ducati 250 single (part 1)

Every year Barber puts on a vintage bike festival.  I’ve been going the past few years and love every second of it.  This is basically where people of all different ages from all over the country come together to camp out and bring their old motorcycles to show, ride, talk about, race, and just enjoy the bikes.  They have a swap meet with tons of old motorcycle parts for sale or trade.  They have motorcycle races all weekend.  Watching these guys fly around the track is reason enough to check it out.  There are motorcycles everywhere.  You’ll see cafe racers, bobbers, old motocross bikes, and even some Harley’s.  You can hear the guys on the two-stroke motors well before you see them coming.  There are motorcycles lined up and down the road for what seems like forever.  I usually wind up eating fish tacos at some point from this Mexican food truck that is always there.  Not to mention the track itself.  The place is surrounded by bright green, well manicured grass.  Trees put in just the right place to catch some shade from the Alabama heat.  And, for some reason, the sky just seems bluer at Barber.  


They have a part of the track specifically set up for cafe racer type bikes to congregate that they call Ace Corner.  Up at the top of the hill you can see turn 17 as the old bikes fly by screaming like they still have something to prove.  There is no way for me to accurately describe to you how cool this is.  You really need to go see for yourself.  Last year I’m sitting up there with Pops and I ask him “man, don’t you just want to do that so bad?”  He replied, “no, not really.”  My brain can’t understand that for some reason.  


So after sitting a while we decide to check out the swap meet area where my buddy Ray is working trying to sell some stuff.  Ray is probably the best mechanic I will ever know.  He works on anything from Ferrari’s to old Triumph’s.  I met Ray through Bill Mitchell of Mitchell Classics.  Bill always had about 3 vintage Ducati race bikes he kept that Ray raced.  I am a pretty big fan of Ducati and a bit of an old soul so naturally I always wanted one of the bikes.  Lo and behold Ray has one with a blown motor for sale.  It would have probably have been in my best interest to leave it be.  I sometimes do things that aren’t in my best interest.    


I mulled the idea over for a few days but eventually gave in to the fact that the bike would be my next purchase.  The bike is so light weight Caleb (my brother) and I loaded it up in the back of the Green Bean (Honda Element).  Ray told us that the bike would run but made a sound that made him think something was wrong with the crank.  He suggested I try to get it to run to hear it for  myself.  So that was the plan.  I took it home and drained all of the old gas out of it, got the battery charged up, fixed the clutch cable, and few other little things.  You have to push start the bike because of it being a race bike- the kickstarter was removed.  We decided that the hill at the top of my neighborhood was a good place to get the bike rolling.  So, we loaded the bike up and pushed it down the hill.  We would get a rumble and a sputter from the exhaust occasionally but that’s about it.  This was still enough to keep us pushing.  We were pouring sweat, like Strickland’s do, trying to get this thing to pull its own weight.  After several attempts I finally felt it pull.  We were convinced that the next try was it.  Little did we know the engine had just completely locked up.  We decided that pulling the bike behind the car was a lot easier way to get it running.  After dragging the thing around the neighborhood I realized that the back tire was not going to move.


The following Monday I called Ray to give him the news.  He gave me a couple of numbers of some guys to contact.  I also called a few of my buddies that I thought may have some insight.  The problem with an old bevel driven Ducati race bike is that there aren’t many people that know much about them and the ones that do are not cheap.  At this point I was kind of clueless as to my next move.  Fortunately for me, Ray called me and told me that he had decided he was going to help me rebuild the bike from top to bottom.  With Ray this involves going through every nut and bolt.  Needless to say I was excited to get this news.  My next step was to completely tear the bike down.

This is how it started.