Saturday, April 5, 2008

Out of Hibernation

The spring sun brakes through the cloud cover and warmes our faces by midday. That is all the encouragement we need. With fully charged battery in hand, I make my way to the shed. I slide back the door, and with care, remove the shroud that has protected Jade through the long cold winter.

First, a visual inspection is in order. Poor Jade is in dire need of a bath. Due to our difficulty last November she was put to bed for the winter without a decent wash. Other than the grime, she seems intact. I slide the battery in, and connected the terminals. With only a bit of apprehension, I flip the kill switch to on, twist the key in the ignition, press the start button and give the throttle a twist. The engine groans only a bit, but you can tell Jade is nearly awake from her sleep. A bit more coaxing and a little more choke and she roars to life. My heart leaps with joy, and my skin prickles with excitement just to hear the sound of that engine.

We roll out, and down the ramp and in the bright sunlight, begin a more thorough inspection. A twist of the nuts and bolts reveals that all is tight and secure. All fluid levels are still OK. Andy and I speak about a few concerns we had last season. With our summer vacation to Colorado on our minds, we talk about the suspension and the loads we will carry. Jade’s suspension isn’t as superior as that of the Vulcan, but there are options available to us. We remove the seat once more and inspect the shock for the preload adjustment. We discover that the shock is at the manufacture preset or 3. We test a few of the other settings, and I decide to move from 3 to 5, which stiffens the suspension just a bit. I’ll be testing this setting on the road in the months to come and adjust as needed to my satisfaction. Here are a few photos I got from this great website that helps us wrench our own 650. VSTAR Custom

With tools stored, we both survey our environment. Mud, snow, and puddles surround us. Andy and I look at each other and without another word; he slides the Vulcan out too. Then we mount, twist the throttles for effect, and slip and slide our way to solid pavement. A short one mile ride gets our “engines” fired too, and we roll home with the firm belief that with this symbolic ride, winter’s grip has just been broken.

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