Vermort 9

Pull up a stool and grab a drink on me, this is going to be less of a ride report and more of a trip report. I'm sure I'll miss some important details but this is the rundown of my weekend as I remember it.

5:00pm on Thursday rolls around and I head out from the office. I took the bike that day and about a kilometer from work it started running like shit, lots of backfiring and misfires. When I got on it to ride it home I had the same problem. I stayed off the highway and limped back to the parents house so that I could load the bike on my parents pick'em up truck in order to take it to Vermort. No time to check out the problem, I had to pack my shit, pick up Brett and get on the road, I figure we had about a 13-15 hour trip ahead of us.

By the time we were packed up, gassed (sp?) up and on the road it was approaching 8:00pm. The drive down was pretty uneventful, not much traffic to speak of going through Canada. We crossed over into Maine at Calais around 1:00 (thus ending day 1), there was one other car at the border and it was pulling away by the time we were leaving. No problems crossing over, one guy asked the standard questions and a couple other customs officers poked around the back of the truck where our stuff was packed. 5 minutes tops and we were on our way. The plan was to take the 9 to Bangor and then follow some MapQuest directions to Colchester, VT, unfortunately we missed the turnoff for the 9 and ended up looping a little further north than planned. No big deal, the roads were empty and well maintained so we made some pretty decent time. We saw about 10 deer on the side of the road during the drive, which made me think of TL and Roger, but being in the truck makes one a lot less nervous about encountering wildlife.

We rolled into Colchester at about 9:00am Friday morning and drove around for about an hour looking for Ken's house. We weren't in a hurry since we didn't know if Ken was going to be working that day, so we grabbed a bite to eat and called Ken, leaving him a message that we were in town. After breakfast we started asking around and finally found someone who knew where Ken's street was, so off we went. Before getting there we got a call back from Ken, he was at home and confirmed the directions we were given and within 10 minutes we were pulling into Ken's driveway.


I hope the taste of the PBR doesn’t spill over in to the real beer.

It was good to finally meet Ken IRL, I never seem to be disappointed when I meet a regular from RMH, hell of a nice guy, can't say enough. We retired to the back yard and grabbed a couple cold beverages, being careful not to grab a PBR out of the cooler (yes, it was still about mid morning at this time, but Brett and I hadn't slept since Thursday, so  for us it was just really, really late the previous night). Since we've sat down for drinks at this point in the story, it only seems fair that I grab another round for the group. After a couple beer Brett decided to give the PBR a taste, having never had it before, unfortunately the camera wasn't ready to capture the look on his face, sorry Bob, it wasn't one of sheer delight.

Later in the day Karen showed up, the other host to this most excellent gathering, beautiful inside and out and a real pleasure to meet. Later in the day a few more arrived, at this time I'd be hard pressed to remember who showed up when, but I do remember expecting to see Bep by around 3:00pm, he was leaving from Ottawa at around 10:00am and said that it would be about a 5 hour trip. I was starting to wonder when 5 and then 6 rolled around. Then at about 6:30 we got a call from Bep, he was in town and was looking for Ken's, Ken started giving him directions when Bep said that he thought Adrian was just pulling into the same parking lot. Sure enough, Adrian and Lumberjack pulled in and guided Bep the rest of the way to the Ken's.

A few early arrivals:Bear, Banker Bob, Jason, Nick, Ken, Karen, Jeff, Brett and BillG.

Ken, the Banker, Bear and Jason

BillG, Bear, Jeff and the Banker

Homebrew, Yo!Adrian, Lumberjack, Ken and Bep.

Backyard bikes.

At this point it was time to head to Nectar's for some fries and gravy, I believe we had the following people at Ken's: Ken and Karen, Jason (tenant of Ken's), Homebrew, Yo!Adrian, Bep, Lumberjack, Nick, Jeff, Banker Bob, Bear, Brett and myself, and we hooked up with Android and Effie, as well as Terry and Maddy at the restaurant. There may have been a few others that had arrived at this point, but my memory is failing me. We filled up on fries and gravy and headed back to Ken's. It didn't take long for people to figure out that they should let Bep ride in the rear of the pack, not because of any exception skill at bringing up the rear (insert Vermont joke here) or any lack of skill in riding with a pack, but simply because of the fumes. That Triumph burns a hell of a lot of oil, 2 quarts during a 5 hour ride to be precise.

Once we were back at the house we sat down for some lie swapping, some drinking and some sleeping. Brett and I had been up for about 40 hours at this point and there was no LMS award for event, so I called it a night.

Another round of drinks is in order as I try to remember what my Saturday was like.

We had pitched the tent the day before and the evening was quite warm, so sleeping in the tent wasn't too bad. I brought a pillow but no pad to go under me, I think I'll be picking one up before the next outing.

I forgot to mention that the day before we had unloaded my bike and gave it a quick run around the block, no problem at all, no backfires (I don't count the few when decelerating at the moment), no misfires, things looked good.  It wasn't until I started the bike up for the trip to Nectar's that the problem I had the day before showed up again, so I got of the bike and took the truck in.

So, we're back to Saturday morning, I think I also forgot to mention that Bill had shown up as well, and stayed up fairly late with Karen, so he was still in bed until about noon. The morning was spent trying to figure out why my bike was running like crap, no wait, that wasn't in the morning, that was still Friday night, the weekend is a bit of a blur in case you hadn't figured that out. With a small group of advisors we poked a prodded, checking for loose connections, pulling the timing cover off and looking for excessive arching at the points, checking the plugs, etc. At some point Bear pointed out that a bolt under the seat was grounding out a wire, he mentioned it a few more times as well as we looked over other possibilites. After a while we decided to listen to Bear, sure enough, a bolt under the seat had rubbed the insulation off a wire attached to one of the coils and it was intermittently grounding out. I moved the bolt to a different location (it slides back and forth under the seat, so this wasn't difficult, and then fired the bike up for a quick test run. This is what reminded me that it was Friday night still, remember, I hadn't slept since in over 36 hours at this point. It was dark out, so I know it was Friday night, the bike ran great, no problems at all, I was all set to join a group of people heading to Windsor the next day.

Now we're back to Saturday, confused yet? How about another drink, it always helps me to think clearer. I'd guess it would be around 9:00am when a group of us were going to head over to the Bankers and then take the 100 mile trip through the back roads to Windsor. We get around the first turn from Ken's house, no more than a few hundred feet, when Bep has to stop, apparently a broken spoke punctured his back tire, looks like he wouldn't be making this ride. We continued on, Ken, Bear, Homebrew, Nick, Jeff, Lumberjack, Adrian (I think), and myself, my apologies if I missed anyone. I had two problems on the way there, the bike stalled at one point but started up again without too much trouble, and then it died, died dead, nothing. I rolled it into a parking lot and gave it a quick look over. Fortunately it's a pretty simple setup and it took less than a minute to find the broken wire coming off the battery. We did a quick fix, crimped the bare wire to an extra ground connection I had and we were on our way again. The ride to Bob's was great, nice twisty and hilly back roads. Once we got to Bob's we were going to seperate, with one group going to Windsor (Bob, Nick, Jeff and myself) and the rest going for a bite to eat and then returning to Ken's.

At least I made it from Ken’s to the Bankers in one piece

Bear looking for loose pieces as we wait for the Banker

The Bankers hide-a-way

The ride started out great, I'm sure Bob was going a lot slower than he would have liked on account of me on the Triumph, but it was still a very brisk pace for me and that old bike. I would guess we were about 5 + miles from Bob's when I started hearing a bad noise coming from the engine, since I haven't had this engine apart since I got it, and it's over 30 years old, I didn't want to take any chances, I pulled over and told the guys to continue on without me and that I would return to Ken's to figure out the problem. Jeff offered to go back with me and offered me his cell phone, but it was too nice a day for a ride to make anyone miss out, and I was sure it would be an uneventful ride back. To be on the safe side, we used one of the phones to call Brett, who had my phone, so that he could come and meet me at the interstate and we could load the bike up from there. I wasn't too disappointed about turning around, I was getting the impression that I may have been holding them up a bit, the old Triumph doesn't corner and brake like their bikes and I didn't want them thinking that it would have been a great ride if they could have opened it up a bit more.

Broke down in the country side

Managed to coast into the only garage for miles to call for the pickup

I should have taken the dead frog where we pulled over, belly up with his big ole tongue hanging out, as a bad omen. I turned around, got about a mile from where we had just stopped and the bike died. I coasted for a few hundred feet and saw a small tire shop on the side of what was basically a pretty empty stretch of road. I rolled it in and went inside, the guys there, a father and son pair, where more than willing to let me use their phone, even though it was long distance. Brett and the fellas had decided to stop for a bite to eat and left the phone in the truck, so it took a while to get them, but eventually I did and I gave them direction to where they could come and get me. They were leaving Bep at the bike shop where he was having a new tire put on his wheel.

It seemed like about 45 minutes before Brett and Jason showed up in the truck, but with no watch and sitting in the middle of bum-fuck Vermont (insert Vermont joke here) it may not have been that long. They finally arrived, after one call to confirm the location, and we loaded the bike and headed back to the bike shop to pick up Bep.

After getting Bep, now we had 4 of us in the pickup so I hopped in the back and layed down to avoid any hassles from the police, we headed back to Ken's and unloaded the bike. This was the beginning of our afternoon of wrenching. The first order of business was mounting Bep's wheel back on his bike, fairly basic job, and with Bear's help he lined it up using the old rope trick.

Time for some wrenching

Late 60’s Triumph and you only have 2 tool bags on that thing?

Once that was done we decided to see if we could track down the problem with my bike. Our first thought was the oil pump, if it wasn't blown apart and flying all over the inside of the cover then we could at least check to see if it was pushing oil through the system. But before anything, we had to start the bike up to try to see if we could determine where the noise was coming from, the bike started and the noise was load and clear, but it sounded like it was coming from all over, Bear stepped up with the broom handle/stethescope and tried to narrow  it down, but didn't have much luck. He thought it might be coming from the primary side, so we started on the other side. <g>

I disconnected the oil line from the rocker box and kicked the bike over, didn't look like any oil was getting through, not a good thing at all. We pulled the gear shift lever off, then the points cover, points plate, auto-advance mechanism, and cover. This gave us access to the oil pump, which runs off the intake cam. I kicked over the bike a couple times and oil came out through the appropriate hole, so the pump seemed to be working, but this didn't confirm that all the passage ways into the engine were clear for the oil to run through. So I could be looking at a blocked oil line somewhere, which doesn't tell us what's making the noise, but could have contributed to it.

Bolt holding the stator and rotor, shouldn’t that be screwed in?

Once again it looks like the riding to wrenching ratio is going to take a turn for the worse.

We put that side back together and took off the primary inspection cover. Immidiately we saw what we thought to be the problem, the bolt holding the rotor and stator in place was just sitting there, it had backed out and was sitting loose. This had the be the problem, we pulled the primary cover off to look for damage but everything looked good, so we but the bolt back in and decided to start it up to see if this was the cause, the bike ran for about 2-3 seconds, making the same noise as before, then the worse happened. The engine seized, the bike stopped, and hearts sunk. The bolt for the stator was a red herring, the bolt was sitting between the stator and the inspection cover, the stator doesn't move, so while the bolt may jiggle around a little, it couldn't have been the noise we were hearing.

It was at this point that I realized that there would be no more riding this season, I put all the covers back on and we loaded the bike up into the truck. I'll have to pull the engine apart, something I was somewhat planning on for this winter anyway, but still, I wasn't impressed. Having been working on the bike for a couple hours, I decided it was time to wash the hands and head out back for some beers and sociallizing, there's more to these meets than that bikes, and if I couldn't enjoy the bike I would definately enjoy the rest.

Time to forget about the bike and have a beer.

You know, if it wasn't for us old Triumph riders, you guys wouldn't have any use for those tools you bring along. <g>

The day was still fairly young, mid afternoon I'd say, lots of people around at this point, and a good amount of drinking left to do. Banker Bob and tailgunner returned with a majority of the Windsor crew, although Allen was absent at this point, I'll let someone else relay that story, and by 7:00 I would guess that just about everyone was at Ken's. Some new RMHer's that I met that day, if not the day before, include Wildflower, Randy, Ken and Karen, Pauline (of Len and Pauline), Homebrew, Yo!Adrian, Lumberjack, Android and Effie, Bill, Bill and Catherine, Bob's wife (can't recall her name), Blueflake and Ina, and LESDL. It was also great to see the familiar faces, Bob, Steve Tuttle, TL, Allen, Nick, Jeff, Len, Hawgeye, Don, Terry and Maddy, and of course my brother, who lives 15 hours away, so it made this trip a little extra nice since I got to see family. I sincerely apoligize if I've left someone out. The meal that evening was incredible, we ran into a little rain during the meal but it didn't last terribly long.

Assorted Netscum and bikes

Allen-1’s arrival

Nothing to see

More beer was consumed and lots of lies were told, at one point in the night the Banker ended up with a huge shit eating grin on his face, I can imagine that birthday shopping at the Banker household isn't very difficult, especially with all the horses and cows around. All in all, even with the possibility of a major engine repair coming up, Saturday was a great day, the best I've had in a long time.

Sunday morning came up on us and I arose with only a minimal hangover. The morning consisted of packing everything up and wiping down the bikes. Some overnight rain left all the bikes and chairs wet, but the rain did little to dampen everyone's spirits. Tents were packed, saddle bags were filled, coffee was consumed and eventually we were ready to mount up and had out for some breakfast at Libby's. Nick pulled away from the pack before we hit the restaurant to head home to honking, waving and some silent wishes that I hope we hook up again soon.

Assorted Netscum and bikes

Allen-1’s arrival

Nothing to see

Sunday morning

Famous porn star, Randy Bone

Allen-1’s billet barge :-)

Adrian’s Road Glide and Bep’s Smoke Glide

The infamous “Moose Killer”

Tenting was all the rage this year

Assorted Netscum

Assorted Netscum

Getting ready for the ride to Breakfast at Libby’s

The netscum arrive at Libby’s...

...and wait for our tables.

The lovely hostess has saddled up

View from the chase truck, a view I’m getting sick of. <g>

Group photo, hey wait, get that camera strap out of the way

That’s better.

Yo! Name that Asshole (tm)

Time to eat.

There were 27 of us for breakfast, based on the number of seats they were holding for us. The parking lot had a few hot rods there to occupy our time while we waited (a short wait) for our table. One of the employees was nice enough to take group shots using everyone's cameras, nothing worse than taking a group photo to bring home and show the SO and have her ask were you are. OK, there's lots of things that are worse, but I digress.

Table 1...


..and 3

Mrs. Banker and Brett after a hardy meal.

The meal was great and company was even better. After the meal there was a lot of back slapping and hand shaking in the parking lot as everyone got ready to head in every direction on the compass. The Banker was available for all our belt doing-up needs. It was around 11am if I were to guess, so Brett and I hopped in the truck and headed to the hot rod show that had been in town all weekend. The show was great, all pre '49 vehicles and none of this "restored to original condition" crap. Lot's of '32s, several chopped 5 window coupes (my favorite) and a few flathead V-8's, also my favorite (if anyone's got one sittin' around their back yard that they don't want, just let me know).

We headed out of the hot rod show at about 2:00pm, just as it started to rain, perfect timing. We fueled up and started heading back to Nova Scotia. About an hour out of Burlington we decided to stop for a bite to eat, we went to a little coffee shop in Vermont's capital. The service was slow, we had to sit at the counter, which I don't find condusive to conversation, and the atmosphere seemed to drag the energy out of me. The food was alright but I felt worn out by the time I got out of there. BTW, we found where the people who move to Vermont for  civil liberties reasons work, at the diners.  At both Libby's and this place we got a full taste of Vermort's unique culture.

The drive back was a nice one, there's no interstate to go from east to west, and vice versa, that far north, so it was small roads, nice and twisty with lots of scenery. It took us through lots of small towns and empty roadways. If I remember correctly, it was getting dark by the time we reached I-95, and 2112 playing on the radio carried us the 30 miles north to Bangor. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then hopped on the 9 up to Calais and from there it was Canadian highways to Halifax. We rolled in around 4am and my head finally hit the pillow at 4:30 Monday morning. Brett was all thanks for taking him down with me and although he isn't on RMH and doesn't ride, yet, I imagine it'll be hard to keep him from the next Vermort that I head down to.

This weekend I finally got the basement cleaned up enough to get the bike wheeled in. I pulled the oil bag and drained the gas to try and keep down the smell so that ML doesn't make me drag it back outside. So now I've got my little work area setup, tools, stereo, bike...I've still got some work to do, build a workbench, get some better lighting, pick up a few more tools and I'll be all set. Tomorrow, if I get a chance, I'll start pulling the engine apart to see if I can find out what's going on inside that sum-bitch.

Well, if you made it this far you deserve another drink. Thanks for listening.

Ride Reports