Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Poem

First of all, I hope everyone had a great holiday and will have a happy and safe New Years. Santa came in style at the Tanner household as usual. He brought all kinds of good stuff for kids and adults alike. Highlights of my Christmas loot are a sweet pair of sneakers from my lovely wife, an ipod clock radio for my garage, and some $$$ towards my wheel/engine fund (still haven't decided).
It's been a good year, and God has blessed us abundantly. I know it's been a while since my last post, so hopefully I still have someone interested enough to read my drivel. I look forward to catching up on your blogs as well. I came across this poem that my wife had me write for her for an English assignment a couple semesters back. I wrote it in about 5 minutes with no preparation so it's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it does express some of the feelings that riding my Harley evokes in me. Hope you enjoy it.

Eighty chrome spokes spinning like saw blades,
melting into the pavement.
Forty-one millimeter forks gripping the disc in its place.
Beefy ape hanger handlebars give a menacing profile.
The single blazing headlight casts a cold cyclopsian stare.

The pungent smell of exhaust
as eighty-eight cubic inches of hell raising history come to life.
The low clean lines of the fat tank and ample fenders
curve down into the frame which houses the heart of the beast.
Like an outlaw adorned with skulls casting sinister stares,
it evokes trepidation in all who it encounters.
Chrome adornments give this American masterpiece an eye catching glimmer.

Like temptation, lust, even addiction,
once you are in its grasp you become its prisoner.
You live to ride, you ride to live.
The saddle creaks under you,
like that of a cowboy in the old west.

Nostalgia and patriotism envelope me,
calling to mind those who have given their lives at home and on foreign soil
so that I might ride free.

Humility grips my soul.
Pride drives me on.
The bar and shield beckon me,
like the stars and stripes over a soldiers casket.

This is my motorcycle, this is my Harley.

By the way...she got an A+!!!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Not too long after I got my Harley on Christmas Eve 2005, I came across Just like any kid at Christmas I wanted to learn about how my new toy worked, but didn't want to screw up anything with a price tag this big. The guys on this forum have helped me immensely over the last 3 years. I learned so much about how my bike worked before I ever turned a wrench. Since getting the bike, I have performed 90% of my own mods. This is coming from a person who has minimal background working on cars. Before buying my Harley I owned a Honda 750 for two years. The biggest mod I did on that was switching out the exhaust. The knowledge I have gained from HDforums gave me the confidence to do things myself. It also helped me decide which mods may be out of my reach.
Since that fateful Christmas Eve in 2005, I can honestly say I have increased my knowledge about these bikes 1000%. Being an active participant on the forum has also paid dividends. I have saved a lot of money by not having to buy parts twice or by not buying things that don't work because I have read others reviews.
All the guys and gals on the forums are more than willing to lend a helping hand with whatever questions I've had, no matter how ludicrous it may be. My wife can attest to the fact that I enjoy my time reading the forums, and I try to pass on as much knowledge as I can. Not only is the forum good for information, if you like bikes (and I do) then you can see pictures of all kinds of Harleys.
So anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to the folks over on and let any of the visitors to my blog know of a great site that is full of information and helpful people. No matter if you have a Sporty, Dyna, Softail, or Bagger if you have questions, someone over there has the answer.

P.S. - if you come visit at the forum, my username is WARG.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

DISNEYWORLD...week in review

We went, we rode airplanes, buses, the monorail, trains, and boats. We went on jungle cruises, pirate ships, rockin' rollercoasters, haunted houses, and saw all kinds of shows. We chased down characters from every movie Disney has put out since Steam Boat Willy. We ate all the fried, baked, sugared, buttered, iced, frosted, and greasy food they had. And we did so with a 10 month old, a 21 month old, a 2 year old and a 5 year old that all had their own agendas.

Thank God we are home safe and my boys are in their own, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tis The Season...

I mentioned in a previous post that Christmas is my favorite time of year. I also mentioned that I would post some pics of my yard decorations when I got them put out. Well, today was the day. My wife and I climbed in the attic, took out all those boxes of decorations, and put back in boxes of Halloween decorations and baby clothes. It's a never ending cycle of pulling stuff out and putting stuff back in around here. However, Christmas is big in our home. Not only for the spiritual significance it has for our family, but also because my wife and I are like big kids around the holidays and now that we have two little ones, it just compounds the joy and anticipation. I actually look forward to hanging lights and decorating the house.

To make matters worse, we are also Disney junkies and are making our annual (sometimes we miss a year) pilgrimage to Walt Disney World next weekend. My oldest son is two and this will be his second trip. We always go as a family including grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncles, and cousins. We are also taking a friend and riding buddy and his family this year. Not only that but we are meeting friends there that have as many in their group as we do. So it should be fun. We are tying two of our favorite things together, Christmas and Disney.

Anyway, since Thanksgiving is passed and the Christmas season has officially began, I wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and all the blessings you can handle.

Here is the real reason you read the post, the pics of the yard art:

Every yard needs an inflatable Santa, mine just happens to ride a motorcycle!!!
An overview of my yard:
The only snow I'll see this Christmas:
Mickey and Minnie, obviously:
Donald, complete with Santa hat and a scowl (this is my favorite):
Goofy, sporting the German helmet and some mini-apes:
I did the artwork myself, so forgive me for any technical inaccuracies.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Klock Is Ticking

I am always looking for ways to "customize" my Harley and, as mentioned previously, more is less for me. I love the style of the guys at Klock Werks. The seem to preserve the OEM look but add smoother, cleaner lines that lend a certain minimalist style to their bikes. In a previous post I stated that a set wheels is on my short list of mods. Well, I will probably go with a couple of these guys fenders as well. Not 100% sure about swapping front fenders, but I love the stretched rear fender with the recessed license plate holder. They are not cheap, but they are made of heavy duty material and they bolt up without modification. I probably won't go this route until I decide to get a paint job. The wheels will definitely come first. So if you like clean lines and smooth style, Klock Werks may have something to spruce up your scooter.

Below are links to the front and rear fenders I am considering:

Front Fender
Rear Fender

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Shield Or Not To Shield...That Is The Question

Well, as you can probably tell by looking at my bike, I don't use a windshield of any type. Now I know what your going to say, and trust me, I've already heard it from all my buddies. Windshields cut down on fatique, they keep you warmer on cold rides, they keep you more dry in a rain storm, etc., etc., etc. Anyway, as I've said before I am very much a less is more type of guy when it comes to my motorcycle. So, I have not been able to bring myself to put one on yet. I know there are nice detachable options out there that come right off in 30 seconds. I just can't seem to part with the $$$ to buy one.

I have put some miles on without the windshield and have faired pretty well. I have ridden 700 miles in a day, and 400-500 miles in a day several times. During these trips, all my friends had windshields and I was no more fatigued than they were. Actually, the most beneficial thing I've found on long trips is the rider backrest I have and a well packed duffle bag I can lean back on. Of course I have reconsidered my stance on this since we have spoken about taking a trip from Texas to the Grand Canyon. That trip is about 20 hours one-way, and I would imagine eating sand in the desert for several hours would be no fun. Of course, this is not an ego thing, and this is completely personal preference, so to each his own. Who knows, I may spring for it if the situation dictates, but for now I will just floss the bugs out of my teeth and keep grinning.

Here's a pic of my bike packed for the road. Also, since Mike's ACE was such a hit, here's another shot. This one's free, you gotta pay for the rest.

Also, here's an upclose pic of my backrest. I got if from for about $100. It's perfect because it fits my stock seat which means I didn't have to buy a new one. They make them for all different models and they're made specifically to fit stock seats. I'm trying to get Mike to buy one, but he has resisted so far. The only thing I wish it had is a quick detach feature, but I only use my stock seat for trips or riding 2up anyway, so not a big deal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's My Favorite Time Of Year!!!

Christmas time...that is. I love Christmas. We do it up big in our house. I actually look forward to decorating for Christmas. Yep, hanging lights and all. I'll post pics of my yard decorations when I get'em out. You guys will get a kick out of them. Anyway, even though this is a bit premature, I am already getting excited about the Big Texas Toy Run. It is one of the only events that my wife actually rides with me because the speed limit is within her 40 mph threshold. It's also a great excuse to ride with friends, see a ton of bikes and help a good cause. This toy run is (supposedly) the bigest in the country. There are three meeting areas, downtown Fort Worth, downtown Dallas, and downtown Grapevine, TX. There were approximately 80,000 bikes present at the last one we attended. They usually raise over $100,000.00 in cash and over $1 million worth of toys. Here are some pics of us and our friends and family at the 2006 Big Texas Toy Run. Couldn't go last year because of work, so I am doubly pumped this year.

The view from downtown Fort Worth, TX.

This is the worst part, altough the engine heat does keep you warm.

Me and my two babies.

Mike and his 1999 Honda ACE.

Jeremy and Brittany on the 2005 Road King.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Is it really worth it...

...changing my own oil? Like I mentioned previously I like to do a lot of my own service and mods if I can. I change my own fluids most of the time because I can, and because $300 for an oil change (and a few other adjustments) is hard to justify. So, back in September I was prepping my bike for a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue (pics to come later) and I changed my engine oil and filter. Well anyone that has changed the oil on one of these bike knows how messy that can be. I loosened the filter and proceeded to drown the area around the filter with old oil. I tried diverting the oil with cardboard and was not successful. I decided not to wash the bike, just detail it and clean all the oil I could off. When I got to Fayetteville, I found some oil on the filter. I cleaned it off and kept a close check on my oil level (as always) and it never dropped. So this tells me it was the old oil running off the hot crankcase. Well I got home and washed it and have only ridden twice since then (I am ashamed). I rode this morning and was messing around the bike and found some of the old oil on the plate behind the voltage regulator directly below the filter (an area that is almost impossible to get to in a normal wash). I went over this thing with a fine tooth comb and am confident it is not leaking. Plus this oil was old and gritty like it had been there for a bit. So, I spent the next hour taking the regulator and back plate off and cleaning old oil off the two plugs, the back plate and all the other stuff down there. I guess I am too anal about this stuff, but I only have one bike and it's gotta last me for several years and lots of miles. Anyway, this brings me back to my original question, is changing my own oil, or doing my own mods, really worth it?

Hmmm, heck yeah!!!! Because not only did I save money, I now know exactly how the voltage regulator and all the wiring and other parts are all connected and feel a little more educated about how it's put together. I little time is not too much to sacrifice, especially since it doesn't cost $80/hour.

This is in no way meant to say that not doing your own stuff is wrong or bad or anything. I certainly use the dealer or indy shop for work on things I don't feel comfortable doing. Everyone is free to make their own choice. I will be using the dealer at my 10,000 mile service to do all the adjustments except change fluids. They don't carry the type of oil I use.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Decisions are the worst...and the best.

Decisions are one of the reasons behind my purchasing a Harley. I had a Honda first and it was a great bike. This is in no way a knock on metric bikes. I just felt like the Harley offered more options for mods and making the bike my own. I enjoy tinkering with the bike in the garage almost as much as riding it. I also like the way a Harley has all the fasteners exposed and looks like a guy can sit in his garage and take it apart and put it back together again with just a few common tools. I believe Indian Larry referred to it as the "mechanicalness" of the bike. Anyway, I have really gotten hands on with my scooter which gives me a sense of pride and I feel better knowing how things work. Nothing on my bike is what you would call "custom" I guess, but I have added my own twist here and there. Here's couple parts I had powder coated:
The horn cover was selling for about $125.00 on ebay. I bought the horn cover for about $30, I think. Then I had it powder coated for $15.00. I already had the gas cap medallion wich I mounted to the cover by drilling a hole through the horn cover and then attaching a short bolt to the back of the medallion with JB Weld. I then attached the medallion with a nut and loctite. The air cleaner cover is the stocky which I powder coated for about $10 and bought the skull insert for it. Not a customization per say, but it balances out the horn cover and adds a little contrast from the chrome. Below is a before pic of the horn cover:
Now, the decision I am faced with is what to do next? I want to save painting for last. It'll be kind of like getting a new bike after a few years and I still like my factory paint. So, it comes down to wheels or engine work. After mulling it over, I am leaning towards wheels. I found these for a good price from So far, they have been very helpful.
They are DNA Mammoth 52 fat spoke wheels. The spokes are 3/8" and I think they would look killer on the fatty. I am thinking about 18" diameter which is bigger than stock, but not too big that it requires modifying the front fender. I can get the wheels a little less expensive than engine work, and I figure with only 8500 miles, I may as well give the stock 88" a little more run before having it cracked open to put in more ponies. Anyway, if this is the biggest dilemma I have in life I guess I'll be okay.
Feel free to post any opinions, I can take it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Well, my blog will be slow for awhile because I am working a lot (aren't we all). My industry is directly related to the weather so an extremely active hurricane season has my schedule very full. I will probably use the blog to chronicle road trips, vacations, mods, and the general evolution of my motorcycle. I will start today with what it looked like from the beginning and post some pictures chronologically showing it's progression.

The early days, pretty much bone stock.

Before long I added new exhaust from Porker Performance, the Screamin Eagle Air Cleaner Kit and a Power Commander III USB and a solo seat.

The stock handlebars were killing my back so I went with the 12.5" apes from Drag Specialties. I may go up to 16" in the future, but there are other things I want to do first. This pic also shows one of my favorite add-ons, the black engine guard. It was a risk (going away from the chrome) but I wanted the contrast the black brings. Plus I added some HD Skull covers and the HD Diamond plate boards, grips, and pegs (didn't want to many skulls and I like the industrial look of the diamond plate).

This brings us to the current state. I of course, skipped A LOT of stuff, but most of the high spots have been covered. The pic below shows the Cycle Supply chrome controls, the chrome front end, and the lowered rear end. I also powder coated my air cleaner cover and air wing horn cover gloss black. You'll also notice my turn signals are moved to the forks. I'll post some pics and info on that mod at a later date, it only cost about $10 and totally cleaned up my handlebars.

Well, that's all for now. My bike is a work in progress. I am down to the last BIG THREE, wheels, paint, and engine build (in no particular order). It may take a while to do these things due to expense, but I'm in no hurry. Thanks to my buddies Jeremy and Mike for helping me do 99% of the modifications in our garages. The few labor hours I pay for the better.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Maiden Voyage...

Since this is my first blog, I won't be too long winded. My wife got me into this since she has been dominating the computer lately working on her own blog. A friend in college once told me that every great man in history has kept a personal journal. Well, I don't keep a personal journal so maybe that explains a few things, but I thought this might be the next best thing. Anyway, my postings will probably deal mostly with motorcycle stuff, trips, modifications, and maybe a rant or two. So I'm looking forward to putting my thoughts down, no matter how jumbled and incoherent they may be. Below is my bike, it's a 2006 Fatboy that my wife bought for me on Christmas Eve 2005. Who says Santa doesn't exist.