The Softail on the lift at High Country Harley Davidson

Yesterday, I went up to visit the Harley in the shop. Sort of like visiting a friend in rehab—one feels badly that the friend has fallen apart and still loves him or her dearly.

Justin, the service manager at High Country Harley Davidson, took me back. The bike’s up on the lift, chest opened up to the world.

A series of mechanical catastrophes—the plating on the cams is worn right off, the lifters are making noise, and the crankshaft isn’t perfectly true any more, so the flywheels are cocked at a small angle, which will only get worse.

Left to right: the cam chest showing the crank shaft; the stock cam plate, on the back of which are mounted the cams. Finally, the worn cam lobes, which should be shiny chrome.

It was probably the heat. Truth be told, it could have been my fault—keeping up the speed during those first hot days across Wyoming and Idaho. Or perhaps Harley’s factory parts aren’t of the highest quality and, now that my bike has some miles and is hot-rodded for power, those weaknesses are showing up under stress.

In any case, the prognosis is two weeks of recovery, concluded by a hefty bill.

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  1. Motorcycle touring as a commentary on life, Pirsig captured it like no other. I should take the book on the Chase, if only there was time to read.

    Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his “novelistic autobigraphy,” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.

    His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, “after a period of failing health.”

    Pirsig wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled “An Inquiry Into Values”) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

    Enlarge this image
    Author Robert Pirsig works on a motorcycle in 1975.
    William Morrow/HarperCollins
    Zen was published in 1974, after being rejected by 121 publishing houses. “The book is brilliant beyond belief,” wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. “It is probably a work of ge

    Liked by 1 person

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