March 20, 2005

I think I left the coffee pot on...

Posted by DaveSmith

My hot car! Combined with free Ducati motorbike repairs and free shipment from Christchurch to Melbourne.

As I said, but it didn't seem like it got any attention based on the email hubbub, Phil (Road and Race) is a nice guy, but I don't think he should be a mechanic. The many oil leaks started on the second day which describe the exacting standards the bike was built to. And from what I've heard, when he sells you something that isn't as described, he doesn't have a problem with returns. I'm not saying don't buy parts from him (that's another shop in Australia). Like everyone said in Australia, "Buy parts from him, just don't let him work on anything". I'm sure he's still pissed at me though but if I see him, I'll offer him a beer.

I didn't rev the hell out of the engine. It spent most of it's time in 4th or 5th at wide open throttle. Good for about 95 k an hour, although the plate Ian Gowanloch put in the engine to keep the piston from hitting the top end slowed the bike down to about 90k. You notice the difference on a slow bike.

Bob Brown, the crazy motorcycle engineering genius at Melbourne Desmo Center, said he'd fix the bike if I got it to him. And Dave Milligan from Get Routed said he'd ship the bike from Christchurch to Melbourne for free. So if anyone out there wants work done on their Ducatis, talk to Bob Brown. He works on the old stuff and the new stuff, and since Ducati ripped off some of his ideas for their bikes, you know he's good.

And if you're shipping your bike to or from Australia, New Zealand, the Isle of Man and soon to be Canada, look up Dave and tell him Dave Smith sent you.

Bob has the busiest shop I've seen and he works alone. There were 30 bikes in there, plus a couple engines, when I showed up. It's better if you go there, because he'll tell you what to do and explain what the problems are. But I think he'll take shipments. Maybe if I talk him up enough, he'll start working on singles on a regular basis again. Although most people don't ride them, they just collect them. No web page for Bob though, but I'll make a page of helpful links for other nuts to use with his address and phone number.

Enough about that, I hope.

Here's a bitching shot of my Nissan Bluebird for the next month that I'm in New Zealand. I bought it from Laura Ruhl and Johny Varsami, a German couple at a place that caters to tourists buying and selling cars. They just provide the space, not the buying and selling. I paid NZ$500 and told Laura and Johny that if I sold it for more in Auckland, I'd send them half of what I got. The car was in Christchurch and I'm in Amberely. It's about 50k away (an hour) and Laura and Johny didn't want to spend their last night in New Zealand by following me back to Nigel's house. I could've hitch-hiked into town, but I didn't. I thought of something crazy instead.

I wanted something that I couldn't buy in the US, but there weren't any Fiat Unos for sale and the late-1970s Valiant Charger with the hemi slant six engine with the 6 Pack of carbs was too much money. I came super close to buying a Wolseley (a rebadged Austin 1800 which is a Mini with a larger body so they overheat in hot climates) or a Hillman Hunter. Maybe I should've got a Honda City to fit with the micro bike theme. No point in buying a motorbike, as it's going to be winter here soon and it'd be harder for me to sell.

1969 Wolseley that didn't sell at NZ$800

1973 Hillman Hunter that did sell for NZ $700

Notice the 1968 Suzuki 50cc? Nigel Marx lent me his 1986? Honda VFR 750 (Interceptor in the States) but that wouldn't fit in the back seat. So I borrowed his Suzuki and put that in the back seat. It fit no problem, although I did break the mirror because I'm an idiot.

Hard to tell it's in the car.

I thought I got a picture of Valentine, the German hitch-hiker that I picked up, but it didn't come out. He fit in the backseat under the front wheel of the Suzuki. I should check the pictures more often and put the digital part of the digital camera to good use.

So my plan is still Blenheim for the WWI airplane show, then up to the North Island to drink beer with the local punk rockers. My Kentucky moonshine should've shown up by then, and I still have the banjo. Plus, Marletta, the last girlfriend who still insists she wants to ride round the world with me, sent me some Marshmallow Peeps and a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Well, 5 beers since she drank one of them.

I'm off to Japan for about 3 weeks. I'll apply for jobs and return to California. Once you're over 30, it's hard to get a work visa in most countries. Although Japan doesn't care. But in Japan, they have to hire you outside of the country. So I'll find a job in Japan (and do the paperwork in California) or I'll find a job in California or maybe Oregon for 12-14 months while I save up and figure out how to make it across from Asia to Europe in time for the 2006 Motogiro.

My credit card debt now equals my savings, and I don't want to put myself deep in debt while I find a job in Japan. Just hoping for $3,000 in debt overall when I find a job.

Don't worry, Chris. I'm not planning on kicking those hippies out of my apartment -- I have a place to stay while I'm in Sacramento. I'll bounce around staying on the couches of all my ex-girlfriends until they gang up and kill me by kicking my shins.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes and the donations. Ivan sent me $30 to buy a pair of pants with and Amy Monkeybutt sent me another batch of cash. Do all of you Grass Valley people know each other? Actually, I'm sure Amy Monkeybutt, or her family, knows Ivan. Grass Valley motorcyclists have to know each other.

Soriano, Bob B (not the Aussie Bob B who'll be working on my bike), Jay & Chikae Onyskin, and John Romano sent me cash too. I'll spend it all on fuel, a mirror, and a pair of pants and not the Guinness on my birthday, which was followed up by buying me a couple more pints on St Paddys Day.

--Uncle Monkeypoo

(this entry is closed for comments)

Posted by DaveSmith at March 20, 2005 03:37 PM

You know that, don't you?

Posted by: UR An Idiot at March 20, 2005 07:29 PM

it took me a moment to figure out the picture of the 50cc Suzi in the back seat of the car... well done! good Luck in the land of the rising sun.

Posted by: bob b at March 21, 2005 09:34 AM

Yo, Dave... Should've tried the trip on that as50... about as fast, more reliable, and I woulda bought it from ya when ya got back to The States... ;)

I've been enjoying the posts now I'm out of the hospital (new hip at age 42...) hope to riding again myself, soon...

Posted by: Rob Heyden at March 22, 2005 02:04 PM

Hi Dave! I am back to Germany. The next morning I wanted to change my booking to stay three weeks longer and earn some money with fruit pickung, but they wanted 800 bucks, because I didn't have a six-month-ticket!!! That's as much as I would have earned with the fruits ;( ...

So have fun with you new car!!!!


Posted by: Johny at March 22, 2005 11:19 PM

Dave, now I would have chosen the Wolseley, as it reminds me of my old MG 1100, Austin America bodied hunk. Good for four and a cooler of beer, as I remember. Funny suspension, though. So the Duc is back in OZ, and you're on four wheels now. Japan should be good, although I wanted more pics of the strange NZ people. Keep it coming, where ever you are, so that I can catch up to you. The Comet is screaming to go now.

Posted by: samueljohn at March 25, 2005 11:51 PM

Hi Dave,

I've just read some of your site for the first time and I think you should change your title to

"Mooching around the world on a Ducati I neither know how to ride nor maintain"

I see you have whined about something on most pages and even had a go at me; I decided since you've had your say I would have mine.

Following are couple of points which I will use to substantiate my suggested title, this will be followed by some assumptions I have made and then suggestions on what I think you should do.

Firstly you "were" only just a guest - you arrived later than you said you would, incidentally I don't care why you were late I've heard you piss and moan about the bike and really I think it is a strategy to get people to take pity on you! But more on that later. The fact is you turned up during end of year exams for the kidís school and my wifeís university, a time when I want stability in the household. I told you this when you arrived and if you felt uncomfortable why didn't you leave? Maybe it was the free board, food, beer and access to a computer of which upon my return was running on batteries and wouldn't charge (did you spill one of my beers on it:-) actually I don't mind the mooching it was just the fact that you whined about it later.

You seemed to have found people to help you all around Australia (which is a trait of Australians we generally try to help) but then you have gone and blown it by whining about them, you mention you have had to go back and fix stuff that other people have "fixed" for you. But when you were here you couldn't even check your tappets? I see you "kind of indirectly" suggested I forgot to tighten your exhaust flange nut... you bolted all that up yourself (although it did come loose so I guess you didn't:-)

Speaking of flange nut how often did/didn't you check these sorts of things on your ride? This is basic preventative maintenance. Considering it happened in Darwin the initial tightening must have got you to Cooktown - back to Cairns - general running around - then to Darwin before it stripped the thread...I'm assuming at this point you don't check much on your bike lets consider the chain you broke. This broke when you were turning, this tells me your chain was too loose. When you leaned over the chain moved sideways on the sprocket and the side of the chain rode up on the teeth increasing the effective outer diameter of the sprocket thus getting really tight all of a sudden:-) (this is common amongst mechanically challenged bone heads like you).

The oil leaks.....This is a keep getting oil leaks and don't know why! You told me you ride at "wide open throttle" everywhere (you even mention it on your site), at high revvs the crank case pressure increases, not too hard to work out but more likely you are probably over filling the sump with oil. Also I wonder how hot he poor old bike is getting, when you were here I saw you sitting at the lights with the bike screaming (high revs) and you didn't shut it down? Later I quizzed you on it and you said it does it all the time. Yeah there was fault there but you didn't have to let it
keep revving. I think you have made things a lot worse for yourself because you are so stupid. Take the above for instance, who knows what damage was occuring and all you have to do is shut the engine down and work out why it does it (shouldn't be too hard for someone who regularly goes back and fixes thing that other people fix)

Lets talk about over revving for a moment (excluding the above mentioned where the bike would scream it's arse off at the lights). You have mentioned you don't over rev the bike (piston story) yet you ride at wide open throttle, So how do you make a bike rev faster than with a wide open throttle? (excluding a larger carbie or cam neither of which you would know how to fit) As revs increase so does vibration! Basically at full throttle you are pretty much assured full vibration (well in most cases) yet you are wondering why things are falling off your bike.

One part I also don't get is if you had to ride at full throttle then why didn't you either A) just ride a bit slower or B) change the gearing (do you know where the back wheel is)? It's your bike now you can do what you want with it (or should do what you want with it)

And all this whining about Phil I don't think it would have mattered who built the bike you still would have found a way to f><k it (could be a warning in here) like you did my computer, the MHR in Sydney and you even broke the mirror off the Suzuki, you di<kHead why didn't you take them off? I guess your inconsiderate (like leaving the car on the other side of melbourne), stupid or both!

If you like to play the victim (and it seems to be working for you) then that's your decision, but this constant whining about the bikes fault wears thin when you apply logic! I suggest you read the book on maintenance and learn to fix "your bike" yourself (being an adult and all you probably could take responsibility for yourself and your actions) And remember this is actually your dream trip around the world(should be at you expense) for the rest of us... we stay at home and save up until we can afford to go (boring.. but we don't free load)

Regards Pat.

PS: After all is said and done your level of competency and range of experience/knowledge leaves you ill prepared for this calibre of journey - your problem not ours stop whining and deal with it!

Posted by: Pat at March 26, 2005 10:45 AM

go to india and buy a Royal Enfield brand new for next to nothing. being an ancient british bike design u have to tinker with it all the time/tighten everything regulairly but at least it won't self destruct. the adventure will be managing to get the proper export permits for it. tons of people have done this already/blogged it.. then driven all the way back to EU through Iran.

Posted by: Shatner at March 26, 2005 01:20 PM

it should be also noted said people were cockmasters and had boring blogs. so u should easily slAyz0r them

Posted by: Shatner at March 26, 2005 01:22 PM

I went back and read your posts to see what you said to piss Pat off but I couldn't find where you disparaged him in any way...Maybe he feels you weren't properly appreciative of his generosity and didn't have enough good things to say about him and his family...if that's the case, you should thank him again and be sure to point out how much you appreciate his frankness in spelling out your shortcomings.....come to think of it, from re-reading your posts, it seems like the entire population of Australia turned out to cheer you on and lend helping hands throughout your trek...Even the fellow who re-built(?) and misrepresented the "Duck" and overcharged the 'dumb' Yank didn't get really bad-mouthed, at least, not in my estimation...David Smith

Posted by: the Ol Man.... at March 27, 2005 06:15 AM

Hi dave,
I see you are getting some critism from certain quarters.........I agree with your father,s comments.... I also went back and checked about "Pat" and it clearly states that he helped you pull the head off and that YOU tightened the exhaust nut up.Plain reading from a simpleton like me who still cannot shim desmo,s in the dark like some claim to. As for the other crap Phil and Pat rave on about over revving, they clearly don,t understand the mechanics of your bike, ie it is so underpowered and overgeared the only way to get it going is to use lots of throttle. For those reading this.. I had fixed this bike and test rode it and the only way to get it to go forward was to use lots of throttle, like I reckon it has only about 15 HP so it is struggling.
I cut my teeth on Ducati singles, mine never leaked oil and you can,t over rev them in the higher gears because they simply do not have the engine hp. {normal gearing of course}I always rode mine around with plenty of throttle and if you had a head wind or going up a hill, take a would be quicker,if you had both at the same time, god help you.
Dave, if you want me to take this further let me know....ok, I hate bullshit from people who think they are experts.
Bob Brown.....Australia.(40 years Ducati experience)

Posted by: Bob Brown at March 27, 2005 10:16 PM

Sorry for spelling mistake in letter just sent........I knew I should have completed 4th grade.Mum was right again.

Posted by: Bob Brown at March 27, 2005 10:26 PM

Not that I would know anything related to the high-revving, under-geared, rattle-apart Italian singles. I do know a bit about English thumping singles, and low HP and general running of 50 year-old machines, and people that claim to be experts and those that actually fix things. I have the feeling that little old Dave just did not genuflect enough to those "generous" Australian folk.
I have to say that I though Dave was being very generous with his comments regarding the various mechanics working to keep him running. I think that he was more than fair to all of the incompetent fixes people volunteered. One thing is certain, old machines break. And when they are fixed, they break again. Just the nature of the beast. For Phil and Pat to get defensive over some overly fair assessments, is a little much. If they were working for me, they would be on the unemployment line long ago. "Take pride in your work and back it up", a simple way to live by.
Dave, it looks like were headed to a meeting in the Mid-east. Name the place, the Comet is loaded.

Posted by: samueljohn at March 28, 2005 05:45 AM

Howdy Folks!

I've been away for a while mooching off Kiwis (thanks Nigel, Matt, Doug and Dave - will post about that later). I've still got another 2 weeks of Kiwi mooching before I get over to do some Japanese mooching.

Pat, I'm not sure what I said that pissed you off. If I noticed that something was wrong with your computer (or if I spilled one of your beers on it), I would've said something. I always take credit for my fuck-ups, I pay for them, and I make my mistakes public. If it came across that I went back over things that you had fixed, that isn't true.

I was answering your comments bit by bit, but Bob Brown's comment explains things mechanical so I deleted that part.

I enjoyed this comment: "After all is said and done your level of competency and range of experience/knowledge leaves you ill prepared for this calibre of journey - your problem not ours stop whining and deal with it!".

I am dealing with it, and I post about it so other people can read about it if they feel so inclined.

It should be pretty obvious that this entire trip is ill prepared. I'm going to countries where I don't know people and not taking a "cruise ship" sort of way of doing it. It's on an old bike and I never used to walk up to strangers and start talking.

I think people reading this site would be either friends of mine wondering if I'm alive and other old bike nuts that know the problems with old bikes which is what Samueljohn wrote.

I like hearing stories about cables breaking, bolts coming loose and Lucas failure. It's even better when it happens in the rain at night and someone has to push their bike for miles. It's sympathy with what's going on with that person but I don't mean to play the victim and it's not meant to sound like I'm whining -- part of the fun is having an old bike and the problems it has.

And this isn't sarcastic, but I _LIKE_ getting criticism, so thank you very much for your comments. Although when I repay you for me drinking your beers by mailing you a 12-pack of American canoe beer, that will be sarcastic. I hope you and your wife like Pabst Blue Ribbon!

I don't know how to build a Ducati single bottom end YET, but I have built an engine just to see if I could. That engine is still running but a Chrysler slant six is hard to get wrong. I'm no mechanic but I'm not entirely useless around moving metal bits.

And once again, thank you for the support I've been getting from complete strangers. Last week I started a Brough Superior and fought in tanks in the two World Wars (once on Saturday and twice on Sunday).


Posted by: Dave Smith at March 28, 2005 04:45 PM

Oh yeah, I didn't mean to say that Phil overcharged me for being an American. It's just a warning that I heard around Australia (although not as often as I heard don't let Phil work on your bike). Everything came to a head when the bike died.

Posted by: Dave Smith at March 28, 2005 05:07 PM

Hi Dave,
Forget to mention to you that Ian Gowanloch rang me about your engine dying.....he has kindly offered to you all the necessary parts to fix your motor......what a guy, obivously you did not spill beer on HIS keyboard.You impressed me when you went back up to Ian,s property to work your debt off after he fixed your engine and in particular when he said "fuck" off and don,t worry about owe me nothing........Bob Brown

Posted by: Bob Brown at March 28, 2005 09:17 PM

Well, now that Pat has had his little rant... First off, if you have only run into one jerk out of an entire country, that's pretty good and really speaks quite well of Austrailia. But it's bound to happen.

Secondly, it is clear that this guy is one of these annoying and childish people that pepper the internet with the belief that if anyone states anything negative, they are whining. To people like this, anyone who relates legitimate complaints about anything (particularly when they are backed up with facts) that they don't like, can simply be dismissed as "whining." Makes it easier for them to feel superior and is clearly meant to obtain an emotional response - I suspect usually with the intent of making people respond illogically so that they can completely dismiss them, either publicly or privately, or both. It can never be "I don't think your complaints are justified because..." Nope - scream "whiner."

I am not going to go back and re-read all of the posts (I don't think this guy is worth that much of my time), but as others have said that have actually done this, I don't recall anything that should illicit this kind of response from him.

Furthermore, I really like the notion that no one who does this kind of trip (even if it is only one country)should take advantage of offers for free places to stay. That would either make them exceptionally wealthy or exceptionally stupid in financial matters. However, I really would like it if, in fact, you were the first and only person to accept these invitations. That would make this trip pretty damn funny. And if he feels this way, why the hell did he ever offer a place to stay in the first place? And yeah, sorry the trip around the danged *continent* was taking a little bit longer than anticipated so showed up a bit late... Gees - were you going to the prom? If the timing was that much of a hassle and disruption, turn him away at the door with an apology. That's what I'd do, anyway.

Finally, I think one of the most revealing things about this guy's post is that he schizophrenically moves from using cute smiley emoticons to calling you dickhead. Yeah, look, I am all pal-sy and halfway kidding around with you, but I really, really think you are a stupid dickhead.

I sort of feel cheated from the amount of time it took to read his post and write this up. Not sure he's really worth it.

Posted by: Lurch at March 29, 2005 03:20 AM

awesome post and replies here.In genral if ya a yank some folks are gonna try get as much as they can from korea they laugh at ya and in japan they just smile back which implys "sucker".yep-i`ll suck down this water down draft beer for 10 bucks,no prob--thank you very much.maybe why that`s english teachers charge an arm and leg here japan to get back at being "sucker`d"..but then one of my students said she paid $100.00 for a pair of used jeans.When ya get here will take ya downtown and watch the isreali`s sucker the young teens with fake silver(it is said the isreali`s own the black market here in japan).i guess what i`m saying dave what comes around goes around.ya go out unexpierenced to get some expierence--things get fubar and ya go apeshit.but hey that`s gaining expierence--somebody`s always gonna give ya shit.See ya soon---jay

Posted by: jay at March 29, 2005 01:39 PM

Hi Dave. I am not quite sure who this wanker Pat is or if he works/wanks for Phil BUT in any case the bike that you bought from Phil was built to transport you around Australia, NZ, Japan, Korea etc etc. Having said THAT, The condition of the bike that you paid over $Aus9000 for when it arrived in Brisbane - only 600 miles away from Phil - was shit. You ordered a bike with electronic ignition and got points that needed adjusting every 5 minutes and a 40 yo condensor, the generator was rewound to give you a 12v+ charging for the battery (and we know how good that was) the carb couldn't even hold the main jet. The horn fell off within the first day of riding and the locks on the panniers fell off. The speedo registered wrongly and some of the bolts that held on the sprocket cover were stripped and then there was the fuel tank saga a few weeks later. Why wasn't the tank rubber mounted Phil?
When I took you for a ride to Mt Glorious and over the top you cruised the Duc at only 55mph and I lost you as you slowed down in the hills. When you were with me, at know time did you over rev the engine. (I would have heard it.)
As far as not knowing much about mechanics - all you had to know was how to maintain the bike and NOT have to know how to strip it down to the bare frame on the side of the road. The chain should have been adjusted every 1000 miles and lubed often but I do hove that you have learnt from your mistakes.
As far as bludging, when you stayed with me you offered to buy food and I declined the offer. I gave you a few beers but only a few because I do not drink much. I did NOT have a problem with you staying with ME (I am a generous KIWI and NOT whinging/whining Australian).

Look after yourself Dave...Regards Brendan

Posted by: Brendan at March 29, 2005 08:37 PM

Ha! I know shit all about mechanics, 'cept maybe a bicycle but I do know about cruisin around the country and crashing at people's houses, as well as letting folks crash at my place...and I think I know Dave well enough through years of head knocking insults and crashing on people's floors together, that I know: 1. if you invite people into your house, you should not get pissed off if they say "yes," 2. Dave is potty AND box trained, & 3. Even when Dave is forced to sleep in a van because some crazy fat fake lesbian hates him cuz he doesnt think she's pretty he is still a good house guest. Sure, if you decide to set fire to your living room, Dave with throw in a chord of firewood, but I've yet heard of an instance where Dave abused the privledge of being sheltered as a traveler. I mean, the guy talks shit and has trashed a rental car here and there, but he seems to be pretty kind to strangers. Whatever...I stick up for Dave Smith, Ed Hunter no longer works at Statenet, the world will implode any moment.

Posted by: Soriano at March 30, 2005 06:43 PM

yeah, ill stick up for Dave, good guy... but he DIDNT manage to bludge a bed at my place... i suspected he had appaling personal habits, and didnt want my wife to have to clean up after him........
However, he can drive a tank, and is good for helping put together rocket launchers..
I did notice the slack little bastard skulked off at the end of the airshow without getting me blindly drunk in repayment for my truly excellent hospitality... which in retrospect was a favour...
Take care Dave, yopur welcome back here anytime.

Posted by: Dave Lochead at March 31, 2005 02:26 PM

P.S. anyone who is foolish enough to ride a 250 single Ducati around the world deserves all the shit that god can dish out... especially when i saw what you spent on it!.. a cheap Pantah would have been a better bet surely?..

By the way, my SAAB (yes, you were in it when it broke, so i hold you responsible) is back and it only cost $60 to fix... if only the other crap vehicles I own were as cheap to put right.......

Posted by: Dave Lochead at March 31, 2005 03:06 PM