February 05, 2005

Still Alive! - Trained Pigs and Crazy Aussies

Posted by DaveSmith

The bike is mostly fixed and is headed for Christchurch.

I completed the lap round Australia and I've got some good stories to post. Not enough time right now but I've got a few emails asking if I'm alive. I've done about 13,000 miles or 21,000k. The bike hasn't stranded me yet, but it's tried awfullly hard.

I finished my lap back at the shop I bought the bike from and picked up the leaky tank (the one that pissed fuel as I rode between a bush fire). The "fixed" tank started leaking again after 50k (roughly 30 miles). A bit of work was done on the bike and 2nd gear was said to be fine although it was still fucked.

I need to thank Ian Gowanloch and Bob Brown for fixing up most of the problems with my bike. My duct tape, zip ties and bailing wire got me around but it needed help.

Ian Gowanloch gave me a proper Italian headlight at his old shop -- Gowanloch Ducati in Sydney Australia. He said c'mon over to my house and I'll fix 2nd gear.

2nd gear wasn't shimmed correctly so it toasted the gear. So while doing that, he took a look at other parts. The gear selector was fucked and wasn't assembled correctly (completely ungreased and rusty) so he fixed that and replaced a part. The clutch plates were fucked so he replaced those. They weren't Ducati parts and they didn't hold up. Not that I'm saying anything that is factory Ducati won't fail.

The piston had been hitting the head but the bottom end seems to be okay, so he added another shim to raise the top end so that won't happen again. Then replaced the alternator which died. The 4 month old gel celled battery won't hold a charge so he replaced that. And the coil. And the regulator. And he did a bit of welding to fix the broken frame where the regulator bolts onto. He shimmed the bevelgears correctly and replaced the bevelshaft. Now when the engine is running all you hear is tappets clicking instead of incorrectly shimmed parts pounding themselves.

He also put on a Conti pipe, changed the exhaust flange that I left a trail of broken nubs around Australia with, replaced the ignition switch so I have a Ducati key instead of the Honda one, replaced the chain, fixed the oil leaks and swapped the carb for another Delorto that doesn't leak. He also offered me the super rare tach drive I want but I declined. I think I'm forgetting a few things in there.

Ian and his wife Georgia fed me and shared some great Italian and Australian wine with me. I'm a slob and don't know anything about wine but it tasted good. He wouldn't take any payment. I'll have some pictures of me with one of Georgia's trained pigs up soon.

I left his house and went to Melbourne to ship my bike to New Zealand. On the way to Melbourne the carb started acting up again, so I went to Bob Brown's shop. Bob Brown being the guy that built a 4 valve Ducati 851cc out of a 650cc Pantah and nearly won at Daytona. Ducati borrowed and dismantled his bike and later released their 4 valve 851 bikes.

Bob pullled off the head and the exhaust valve had never been seated correctly. He was surprised it made it around Australia. I asked if it was because I had the header pipe wired in for a while after I toasted the exhaust flange, but Bob said nope, that wasn't it. The valve made contact with about one sixth of the seat. He ground in the valve and put on a brand spankin' new Amal carb. It's a completely different bike now. It runs and idles well. Bob also fed and housed me and he also won't charge me. He also told me to fuck off if I talked about this so nobody tell him.

Bob runs the Melbourne Desmo Centre which was impossible for me to pronounce correctly when I'd answer the phone. After I had my head wacked open a few years ago, the neurosurgeon made me say, "Methodist Episcopal" which I couldn't pronounce correctly. It was like that again but the non-stop scotch was doing that.

Crazy Australians. I've got credit cards so I could pay both Ian and Bob. It'd just mean extra work in Japan.

Bob and I spent last night at Ralph and Mary's house where we almost polished off a fifth of Wild Turkey. Ralph and Mary rode round South America on a purple BMW motorcycle. Then 2 hours sleep before we had to get my bike to the dock this morning. It's on it's way to Christchurch. I leave on the 18th.

My original tank should show up at Bob's shop so I'll bring it as a carry-on I reckon. It's been fixed twice by Phil so I hope it holds up.

Spammers have found my site and Movable Type (the software I use for this) makes it easy for them to leave spam as comments. I'd like to keep it so people don't have to log-in to leave comments. I'm all for anonymous comments. Any ideas?

(this entry is closed for comments)

Posted by DaveSmith at February 5, 2005 11:46 PM

since you know far more about 'puters than i'll ever know, i have abso****inglutely no suggestions for your spammers.....i'm only glad that i'm able to comment occasionally....keep the posts coming....dad'n

Posted by: the old man at February 6, 2005 03:05 AM

the only problem with free stuff is thatlose your discount! who's the Bozo who built that motor in the first place? jeez

Posted by: bob b at February 6, 2005 10:01 AM

Hurry up and post the pics of the trained pigs!

Posted by: Gina at February 6, 2005 10:33 AM

Lessee.... here are a couple more things we can try:

Moving the comments in-line (instead of in a pop-up window)

Forcing a "preview" before post.

What hasn't worked so far...

IP banning
Renaming scripts (spammers keep updating their scripts to match)
Closing off older entries (well, it kind of works because it's less entries to clean out, especially if it's a flood), but that locks off the old entries for valid comments also.

Other options:

MT Blacklist plugin- but it's been abused by adding "grudge" bans and spam can still slip through.

And some other measures are discussed at:


Posted by: deeann at February 6, 2005 12:43 PM

Try some French wine next.
This is not spam.

Posted by: Josh M at February 6, 2005 05:34 PM

Hi Dave...I thought the the wanker down south had ripped you off. There are a lot of Aussies out there that will do just that. Enough said ... In NZ you should have a better time. The No 8 fencing wire is made right and is used by farmers for a lot of different "fixes":-) Alex and I went to NZ for January and have been back now for a week or so. While you are in Christchurch, go into the city to Columbo Street to a Arm Disposal Shop. In this shop they are selling an Ex Swiss Army Ducati 450 bike and looks similar to yours. Approx 1970 vintage. Still in its army colors though. I would bet that it is in better condition than your was in Australia.
Did you price how much it was to fly the bike over to NZ? What was the cost of sending it by ship? When you travel down the Sth Island West Coast make sure that you use insect repellant for the mossies. I hope that you have a good trip in NZ and I am looking forward to moving back there in less than 3 years.
PS While in ChCh visit the Britten Show Room just in behind the Cathedral in the square. Take your camera and the guy will take a pic of you sitting on the "Cardinal" Britten No 1 and he will tell you the story of the other 9 bikes. (I think Britten No 4 won Daytona a few times).

Posted by: Brendan at February 6, 2005 06:16 PM

Man oh man, Ian Gowanloch sure deserves a cool refreshing beverages for all that. THAT was awesome.

The only way I was able to deal with comment spam on Meathenge was to upgrade to the newest version (gotta pay). Then I paid them to upgrade Meathenge (gotta pay). I force people to register at typekey.com and I have to allow each poster (just once). It greatly slowed the comments, but I get NO spam.

What my sister did (the one who installed this copy of MT for Dave) was upgrade to the newest MT and then install the newest Blacklist. She does VERY little admin now for Comment Spam. I do none.

It's a fricken nightmare, I know and it sucks. Had we known this before, we could have installed the new one. I had my comments locked down for a month before I was able use them again. I shut them down by adding a blank space in the IP banning area. This banned ALL IP addresses. Sad, but I was able sleep at night.


Posted by: Dr. Biggles at February 8, 2005 04:58 AM

Pigs? What are they trained to do? Are those pigs big movie stars like Arnold of Green Acres? Or do they beg for ciggys door-to-door like they usual type?

Posted by: And if so, do they wear hats? at February 8, 2005 06:42 AM

-THE- usual type, of pig I mean.

Posted by: mmmmm spam at February 8, 2005 08:29 AM

How ya going buddy, you have only left my house 8 hours ago, I have already saved about $600 bucks for your scotch, beer and food exspences, I am now on valium to overcome our short but sweet meeting. Dave....... the speach you gave at the Victorian Ducati Owners meeting was a big hit, you impressed everyone except the 2 new members who are devout mormons who only came along because they heard we were a god fearing buch of misfits who don,t swear much.........I apoligised for you being there, they were a nice couple and when they asked what I do for a living I told them I was the Madam at the brothel I ran...... true story.
..... Seriously, love you Dave, it has been good fun , I am a bit thirsty but you have not left me much in the fridge .........Americans...xxxxxxxxx............ The Bobster

Posted by: Bob Brown at February 9, 2005 08:10 PM

I added some links to this story, so now you can find The Wonder Pigs. They aren't "mooching for ciggy" pigs (or me mooching for work on my bike).

I haven't met any unfriendly Aussies and Ian and Bob more than made up for the "work" done on my bike from the Aussie I bought it from. It really is a completely different bike. It's got a ton of more power, so instead of replacing my front tire in NZ, I'll just wheelie through the South Island.

It cost me $1,000 to ship my bike to Christchurch through Get Routed. For Americans, that's pronounced "Get Rooted" which a polite way of saying "Get fucked". That includes NZ registration and insurance. Since I don't have a carnet, I need to pay an extra (but refundable) $330 for that. A carnet is a piece of paper that says I'm not bringing in my bike to sell. I didn't think NZ wanted one. Unprepared, like I always am.

Carol Darbyshire, from the Lawrence of Arabia list, sent me some good email. In NZ in March, the race between TE Lawrence on his Brough Superior and the Bristol fighter plane will be recreated. Both aren't reliable (much like a 40 year old Ducati single) so I hope it happens. I plan on being there but the reliability issue raises its head there again.

I don't remember much of my Ducati Club talk because Bob kept me chock full o' booze. I didn't have a black eye the next morning, so I didn't get punched out. It must've been okay.

Stock up, Bob. I'll be back in a week to drink you out of house and home before heading off to Christchurch. Maybe mormons haven't heard the free use of "fuck wit".

Thanks Mister Biggles (and DeeAnn!) about the spam problem. I saw a 70s Charger today with a hemi six. I saw another good one a few weeks ago with the "Six pack" logo. 6 carbs on a slant six. Didn't get to look under the hood however. They didn't fuck them up here in the 70s like they did to the American ones. If I could afford it, I'd send you one Guy.

If you're mormon, please excuse my potty mouth.

Posted by: Dave at February 9, 2005 11:07 PM

I am SO in love with the pigs...

Mormons? Not so much...

Posted by: kellye at February 10, 2005 04:36 AM

I can't believe those genius sow can bowl. My only suggestion would be the addition of some of those plastic bubble blowing pipes. (As if they aren't sophisticated enough.)

Posted by: Marletta at February 10, 2005 05:43 AM

Those pigs put poor Miss Patsy to shame! She's a little older and I'm sure much more tempermental, but I'd bet money she'd outdrink those other pigs anyday of the week! She does love her beer.....
please post the piggie pics soon!

Posted by: cary at February 10, 2005 12:50 PM

Fantastic, one country down...a few more to go. Dave, I love that you made friends with motorheads. If I could only find a few Vincent folk here in the states that were so generous, I could afford to have some work done. Do not forget to watch Lord of the Rings, so you can go to all the places in the movie(geez I am such a geek). On second thought, be safe, and healthy and keep us posted on the price of petrol compared to scotch. Always a tough decision.

Posted by: samueljohn at February 12, 2005 08:59 AM

that's a bummer about your idiot doc back here in sactown but good news about your insurance..i'm sure you'll find a sympathetic doc in NZ...keep the old man posted & take care...O...just remember, anytime you wanna come home, just click your heels 3 times and buy an airline ticket.....dad

Posted by: the old man at February 12, 2005 05:23 PM

these bike repair stories certainly wet my appetite for future adventures in South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa... ifins you gots trained pigs in Australia, what'll they have in Berma or Pakistan? Let's hear more aboot yer love life!

Posted by: hellahal at February 14, 2005 02:46 AM

So What`s doin without the bike..taking the Bus?? getting out!!!It summer down there so ya better be out enjoying it(hecka cold here in nippon)...NZ will probably be your last chance to see real beach--we just have concrete here instead of sand in japan...yep lots of concrete,ramen,sake and vending machines full of beer..Our wedding party is April 16th the menu is nomihodai(all you can drink)for 2 hours at benimaru`s(red flag resturant)...

Posted by: jay at February 16, 2005 02:15 PM

So that's the haps yo? You still alive? I'm living vicariously through your adventures down under. Don't leave a brother hangin'.

Posted by: Uncle Chuckles at February 17, 2005 11:25 AM