October 22 - 23, 2005
By Tom Hart
A small band of SoCal members made the trip to Santa Barbara this year, Hakan M. ‘47 HD Bobber, Craig Dillamm‘76 HD, Dave “Sportster” Cook , Dave Williams on a new Road King, Mike Menezes ‘56 Triumph, me ‘39 Chief and the lovely Irma keeping track of all of us on the back of Craig’s bike.
I started my day by waiting for the sun to show up. That never happened so I took off anyway, unenlightened. I made the 55 mile ride to Craig’s garage drenched by what the weatherman called a “marine layer”, I prefer to it call rain. The weather stayed cool and a little drier for most of the ride to Carpinteria, but the marine layer returned that evening leaving puddles of marine juice all over the place. The ride home on Sunday was much better insofar as the weather was concerned with lots of sunshine after leaving the coastal area. Personally, I had a heck of a (good) time thanks again to old iron, great scenery and the company good friends, no matter what the weather conditions were like, or what tribulations I make note of later.
The ride up (and back) took us through Moorpark, Fillmore,
Santa Paula, Ojai, Montecito, Carpinteria and . It was very interesting to see how the personality of the landscape had been changed by the recent fires. We made the regular lunch stop just outside of Ojai before continuing on to Santa Barbara , the Pier and refreshments. After riding around Santa Barbara Santa Barbarafor a few minutes (totally lost), we were finely able to make our way to the Pier only after asking directions from various transients. We used the directions given to us by a guy we spotted sucking down suds on a bus bench because it was clear to us that this was a guy who could show us the way to a bar. We found the Pier and Bar and had a couple relaxing lemon aids before our next stop at the Motel 6 in Carpinteria. More relaxing at the motel before heading out to the Palms Restaurant for a surf and/or turf dinners. Very nice. Santa Barbara
As is my custom, I will now embark on a trail (and tale) of facts, near facts, myths, lies, embellishments and just plain old ragging to further complicate the life of this rides unfortunate one, me. As almost everyone is aware, old Chiefs never die they just lay down and go to sleep for awhile and my Chief is no exception. However my bad boy went into a coma rather than just a nap. Naturally this could only happen after the Chief got me a long, long, long way from home and with no trouble truck in sight. The Chief had been acting up for most of the day. I should have paid more attention to the symptoms of its illness like any good physician or a student of the “Homer School of Maintenance”. It was hard to start (a Ralph Krogh Vincent specialty), using lots of fuel (a normal big block issue), unable to generate enough juice to light up one lousy 6 volt light similar to any Lucas “Prince of Darkness” electrical part, oil pouring out of the rear most push rod housing like it was a Tom Lovejoy machine, loss of uphill power like a Kevin Spear JD, and a horn that didn’t work so I couldn’t warn other motorist that I also had a braking problem like a Homer Knapp beast. The only thing it didn’t do was smoke (issues Vaughn Bandonian and
deal with regularly). When I evaluated all of the above symptoms, I realized that maybe the only problem was that my bike had been hanging around a lot of bad influences, or caught something awful from one or more of these other guys bikes. I guess a lack of maintenance really wasn’t an issue after all. Phil Shore
On the positive side, I did look cool in my half chaps which kept me dry and warm. I thank Ken “The Bolt Man” King for the legging protection idea. After all, isn’t looking cool just as important as anything else we do on or with motorcycles, even during the total melt down of one’s equipment. Think about it Timmy G, you know I’m right.
Sunday morning started with an IHOP senior breakfast special. Dave Cook was old enough for all of us to qualify for the senior special. After breakfast we walked back to the motel and fired up the machines for the ride home. Everyone except me that is. No amount of kicking, pushing, sweating, or cussing was going to lite a fire in the Chief’s burner this day. A quick look inside the distributor cap revealed the ugly truth. The coil’s solid lead nipple inside the distributor cap was gone, completely worn away. That allowed the rotor to rise on the camshaft and nearly destroy the two spark plug prongs inside the cap. The only thing left was a small amount of a gold color dust spattered inside the distributor housing. A check of the local auto parts stores failed to produce the needed Studebaker repair parts. Not good, not good at all. How the Chief ever made it as far as it did is beyond me.
The main group departed Carpinteria for the ride home after calling me a tow truck, “Hey dude, you a tow truck, see ya later”. Very funny guys, I’m still laughing. HA! HA! I called my wife to meet me half way at Craig’s place in Chatsworth. I relaxed by the pool, waiting for my tow when a thought came to mind. Why not do something? So I did something with some things and stuff I found here and there and before you could say gee whiz the Chief fired up. I cancelled the tow, my wife (her response, not her) and caught up with the group just as they arrived in Chatsworth. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ll supply pictures of my field repaired parts at a later time if my truthfulness is an issue. And once again, a good time was had by all. End of story.
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