Author Archives: Jim Harriger

Vista Hermosa and Etla, Oaxaca

We took a car to Vista Her­mosa and Etla yes­ter­day. Here’s a few of the images we cap­tured:

and now, for something completely different…

On Sat­ur­day Jan­u­ary 19th, I helped a bud­dy get his (unique) motor­cy­cle down to Down­town HD in Ren­ton for a Vin­tage Bike show. Focus was on dirt bikes, and motor­crossers, but all sorts of inter­est­ing things came out of the wood­work. Here are a few of the pic­tures I took. Grab a tasty bev­er­age for a nice stroll down memory’s pit lane here.

ready to head for the show


brag stick­er on a Pen­ton-Was­sel tri­als bike


Ducati swingarm detail


Ducati Scram­bler


Bul­ta­co Pur­sang, in the frozen fog


an Aer­ma­c­chi-harley 350 Road Rac­er


exhaust detail on a Tri­umph 500cc Moto-cross­er


a Hoda­ka Super Rat — my first bike


CJ-Framed Hon­da 4-stro­ker


a Pen­ton 125 Six-Days


a 1955 Maico tai­fun 400. just wow.


Hoda­ka Super Wom­bat


with wom­bat

any­one who would like larg­er ver­sions of these, or any­thing else that was there that I might have on film (so to speak), please just let me know. rub­ber side down!



Back from the wilderness…

Hi Gang! It’s been two years since I post­ed here, and near­ly that long since i had rid­den an event until the 13th of Jan­u­ary, 2013. No excus­es, just a hec­tic life, spiced up with a man­gled left knee in August of 2012, that has kept me off the loop and out of the sec­tions.

Rode the first PST event of the year, the Plas­tered Pur­ple Pen­guin, at Marysville. Two sto­ries dom­i­nat­ed the day: my ten­der left knee, which it turned out, acquit­ted itself quite well, and the bit­ter­ly cold weath­er, and accom­pa­ny­ing frozen tun­dra. In many sec­tions, the line was pol­ished smooth due to the action of tri­als tires on frozen dirt. Very chal­leng­ing. But my knee and I sur­vived, I didn’t take home last place, and I had fun, so there will be more events in my future, and more post­ings here.


Nearly ready for paint, prep, and parts-gathering

Well, with a few days off over the hol­days, I’ve got­ten the 305 Dream to the point where I don’t believe there is any­thing unsal­vagable here, and it won’t take an exor­bi­tant amount of mon­ey to put this thing back on the road in nice shape. The last few hours of work have been to get the frame stripped of all oth­er parts, so I can start clean­ing it and get­ting it ready for blast­ing and paint. Here’s the parts that will be going out for paint, plus the tank, once it’s clean inside.

swingarm, front fend­er, frame

front fork, side­stand and foot­peg mount

I have a large list of parts I need (sent off to cyclepsy­cho to see what he might have), and a cou­ple of unsolved prob­lems. I am as yet, unable to remove the steer­ing head nut from the top of the stem. I think I man­aged to move it with a pipewrench, so I gave it anoth­er soak­ing in Kroil and will try again lat­er. I still have one pis­ton with the rings firm­ly stuck in their grooves. and last­ly, I broke off a screw in the bot­tom of the fork (it holds a chrome cov­er in place over the front swing­ing arm and shock). I then tried to drill it out, but the drill wan­dered off course, so now I have a hole through the screw at an angle, and it goes through the threads part­way down. Grrrr… I’ll have to spend some qual­i­ty time with the dremel tool and see how bad off the threads are when I’m done.

the screw that got the best of me that day.



But over­all, pret­ty smooth­ly so far. at this point, it’s about get­ting the frame and paint­ed parts cleaned and repaint­ed, clean­ing out the bot­tom end of the motor, hav­ing the cylin­ders honed (bored if they don’t clean up well at std. size), and the start clean­ing and re-assem­bling.

mean­while, it all waits in a tidy pile. More pics lat­er.





The engine begins to reveal it’s secrets

Well, I now have the engine out of the frame, and the cylin­der head and both side cas­es off. The news isn’t all bad. Most of the engine looks in fine shape inter­nal­ly, as you can see here:

obvi­ous­ly, this engine has been sealed up, and has the low mileage indi­cat­ed by the odome­ter (5129).




There was a lit­tle bit of sludge in the bot­tom of the side case on this side, but noth­ing dra­mat­ic. remov­ing the cylin­der head, how­ev­er, revealed a whole ‘nuther pic­ture:

obvi­ous­ly, the left cylin­der (on the right in this pic­ture) had some water in it for a while.




and look­ing at the cylin­der head, we can see why:

if you expand the pic­ture and look close­ly, you’ll see that the exhaust valve on the left cylin­der (again, right side in the pic­ture) is slight­ly open. so water vapor got in through the exhaust pipe, con­densed into a pud­dle, which then evap­o­rat­ed and rust­ed the cylin­der.


still, noth­ing here looks unsal­vagable. the cylin­ders are cur­rent­ly soak­ing in Kroil, hope­ful­ly, i can beat the pis­tons out pret­ty soon and see what kind of shape the cylin­der walls will clean up into.


thanks for read­ing. more as i dis­cov­er it!



Part way through disassembly…

Well, I am part way through the dis­as­se­bly of our Hon­da 305 Dream project. Some has gpne pret­ty smooth­ly, a few bits are being obsti­nate. One of the easy parts was the cool alu­mini­um carb cov­er:

the carb cov­er is intact and in decent shape.

the right hand engine cov­er is being obsti­nate, the screws are rust­ed and only 4 have bro­ken loose so far, and i’m puttin’ the hurt on my impact dri­ver bit. I did get the alter­na­tor cov­er off, and what i found wasn’t real­ly good news:

uh-oh, i think we’ve had some water in here…

After I saw this, I did drain the oil and there was near­ly a quart in the engine, so it hasn’t been *emp­ty* for all these years, but it might not be re-build­able. soon, i’ll get the engine out and apart and we’ll see.

Here’s the pile of parts that have come off so far:

head­ers, seat, bat­tery hold­er, etc. not in per­fect shape, but usable.


So the chal­lenges right now are: how to get the frozen rear brake back­ing plate out of the rear hub, and how to get the foot­pegs off so i can take the engine out of the frame. Sug­ges­tions are wel­come, as always!



Getting It Home

We have friends, very help­ful friends. The kind who have bots that cruise Craigslist for inter­est­ing motor­cy­cles for sale. And then post the best ones to mail­ing lists with a plain­tive “Who’s going to buy this one?” append­ed. Yeah, those guys. So on a not so sun­ny Sun­day we went off to look at a Hon­da 305 Dream.

This is what we found in Sil­vana. It’s com­plete except for mir­rors, a bro­ken tail light lens, and a cou­ple of miss­ing badges. The pipes are wrong. The motor doesn’t turn, the rear wheel is frozen but the trans­mis­sion snicks nice­ly and the body parts are all present and account­ed for with no major dents or holes. Oh, and it came with a love­ly lit­tle flower on the han­dle bars.

It doesn't have mirrors but there's a nice flower on the handle bars.

The new toy. 1966 Hon­da 305 Dream.

So we got it loaded up on the back of the Defend­er. It got com­pli­cat­ed because we didn’t think about the non-fold­ing foot pegs. We had it half way up there and real­ized that we had to get the spare tire off of the back door. (But I love the hitch rail car­ri­er. No trail­er to back up next to this guy’s boat.)

just a little tighter

Loaded up and almost ready to trav­el.

Once home we had tha prob­lem of how to get a non-rolling bike off the rail and into the shop. Uh, yeah, we’ve got a trac­tor for that.

tractors - not just for manure!

This is how we (don’t) roll down here on the farm.

And there it is. Tucked in between the cut-offs box and the com­pres­sor wait­ing it’s turn.

new home

Warm and dry.

The engine num­ber is: CA 77E — 1004102. The body num­ber is: CA78 1004074. I tried to get a pic­ture  but there’s no way with­out start­ing dis­as­sem­bly and we can’t do that just yet.

CA 77E - 1004102

Engine Num­ber (roll-over)

There’s a lit­tle water here.


Bare­ly 5k on the clock.

Bonus: Jim got it on the lift Mon­day night. But it’s going to have to wait a week or two for any more atten­tion. The “Great Rover Heater Motor Fail­ure Right Before Win­ter Starts of 2011” has to be fixed first.

waiting patiently

On the Lift

Event Report: Walker Valley, October 3, 2010

Anoth­er Sun­day in the Pacif­ic North­west, it looks like so many of it’s brethren, damp, over­cast, and dark. But it’s not rain­ing, so it’s not as bad as it could be. I put the rest of my gear (cof­fee, lunch, the few near­ly for­got­ten items) in the truck, snug down the tie downs on the bike, and head for Walk­er Val­ley ORV. Today is our last offi­cial club event of the year; our sched­ule hav­ing been abbre­vi­at­ed by our dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting per­mits and per­mis­sion to hold events in the region.

90 min­utes finds me pulling into the park­ing area, find­ing about 15 – 20 folks already there, unload­ing, bull­shit­ting, get­ting ready, ya know: the stuff rid­ers do when they’re get­ting ready to ride! I sign up for the Advanced class and get the bike ready, tak­ing a few min­utes to put a few neces­si­ties into a day pack: extra water, snack bars, ener­gy goo, and a liter of extra pre­mix. Our loop today will take us 3.5 miles up the moun­tain, through three loops of sec­tions, and back down to the park­ing area. We have per­mis­sion to ride, but not to park up there, appar­ent­ly. Gary, the co-mar­shall today, tells me that we’ll be doing group check, so I want to make sure I have every­thing I need with me, don’t want to be a drag on my rid­ing bud­dies.

Head­ing out for a bit of prac­tice, I note that my left knee is com­plain­ing on mod­er­ate bend­ing under load. Hmm, not too good, I’ll have to be care­full of that today. Oth­er than that, things felt good, if a bit rusty. I head back to the truck, top the fuel tank up to the very top, and go look­ing for my lit­tle pill box that has the sodi­um naprox­en and ibupro­fen in it. Rum­mage, Rum­mage, Rum­mage, crap! left it at home. At that moment, they sig­nal the rid­ers meet­ing. Oh well, i’ll sponge some off of some­one lat­er. We get our instruc­tions, find our groups, mud­dle around for a few min­utes when one of our num­ber arrives a bit late, and head up the moun­tain.

A pleas­ant mean­der up the moun­tain finds us at sec­tion 1: a twisty, tech­ni­cal lit­tle job­bie with a tru­ly unfor­tu­nate­ly placed 24” high stump right after a sharp uphill right hand u-turn. That pret­ty much set the tone for the day: Not a lot of awe-inspir­ing obsta­cles for the Advanced class (a few expert lines looked a bit more, er, puck­er-induc­ing), but tight turns and tricky obsta­cles strung togeth­er. Sec­tion 6 was a bit of an excep­tion to that, more lat­er. I strug­gled get­ting my rhythm for most of the first loop, then start­ed to loosen up a bit. My knee was still com­plain­ing, but it turned out that walk­ing the sec­tions was the hard­est part, after the first loop, when we cut down on the stum­bling around, it felt bet­ter. I was still very care­ful not to stress it lat­er­al­ly at all, but it didn’t hin­der me too much.

And then there was sec­tion 6: We’ve all seen then “over the log, turn, over the log again, turn, over the log…” sec­tions, often with some oth­er lit­tle gim­mick throw in: water, rocks, mud, you name it. Well this sec­tion didn’t rely on any gim­micks: the log is the thing. around 48” in diam­e­ter and a cou­ple of tricky approach­es, oh, and yes, here an added twist: an absolute root-infest­ed off-cam­ber climb to the exit. Many of us found our attempts to scale the log sum­mar­i­ly reject­ed mul­ti­ple times, In one observed case, plug­ging the exhaust of the bike ques­tion so tight­ly that the bike wouldn’t start! many egos, and a few fend­ers were abused in that sec­tion. I final­ly man­aged to strug­gle through with a ‘3’ on my last attempt, and was ecsta­t­ic with that!

We final­ly get the sec­tions fin­ished, with only a mod­er­ate num­ber of cuts, bruis­es, and com­plete­ly cramped fore­arms, gath­er our packs and head down the moun­tain. I’ve been keep­ing an eye on fuel in my bike, and knew I’d be close to get­ting back to camp. Sure enough, about ½ mile from the pits, bwaaaaaaaaaaaa…. urp. I fum­ble for reserve, get it run­ning, and wob­ble in. Count­ing the score tells the tale: a rough event: 82 points with only 3 cleans on the day. But it was good enough for 3rd, and only 3 points off of 2nd (which makes the last ‘5’ in Sec­tion 10, from just a bit too much front brake on a easy part of the sec­tion, real­ly annoy­ing. I was on a clean, which would’ve giv­en me 2nd place clean­ly!) oh well, that’s the way it goes.

Thanks to Gary and Jon for all their work, as well as the efforts of oth­er club mem­bers to get us per­mis­sion to use this area. It was a cool event, thanks!


Day 8: The Scooters of Oaxaca

A few days ago, I gave you a taste of the motor­cy­cle scene here in Oax­a­ca, at least those that are pressed into worka­day ser­vice. Today we look at scoot­ers here in Oax­a­ca, a species per­haps even more numer­ous than the work­ing motor­cy­cle.

Frist off: in the above-men­tioned dri­v­el, I men­tioned that every man­u­fac­tur­er here in Mex­i­co has a copy, with greater or less­er fideli­ty, of the ubiq­ui­tous Hon­da CG-125 Car­go, and then failed to pro­vide a pic­ture of such. So here­with, over­sight reme­died, the Hon­da CG-125, in Domi­noes deliv­ery regalia:

Hon­da Car­go

Now with the scoot­ers. Actu­al­ly we’ll start with a sub-species of scoot­er, the step-through. The most com­mon type scene around Oax­a­ca is the Ita­li­ka, a par­tic­u­lar­ly rough exam­ple I found on Inde­pen­de­cia this morn­ing:

Ita­li­ka Step-through

There are, of course, the Hon­da 90 and 110cc units in abun­dance, here seen in per­son­al trans­port form:

Hon­da Step-through

and the local-made copies, ita­likas, i believe. We see them here again, press-ganged into ser­vice of the evil Domi­noes:

Deliv­ery Vehi­cles

and now for some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, before we get to the con­ven­tion­al scoot­ers, is a WTF moment. I have no earth­ly idea what ser­vice this lit­tle beast­ie per­forms, but it’s here near the Zoco­lo every day, and it’s back tires are worn smooth, from on-road use, i pre­sume:

who knows?

A fair­ly large local user of scoot­ers as trans­port are the police. Here we see two of Oaxaca’s finest arriv­ing at the sta­tion aboard their fire-breath­ing Hon­da Elite 125:

Hon­da Elite 125

Anoth­er pop­u­lar brand of local­ly-made scoot­er is the Ven­to, here seen trans­port­ing a local busi­ness­man on his dai­ly errands:


but some of the local folks have a more fine­ly honed sense of style and are will­ing to part with the seri­ous dough (by local stan­dards) to show it off. To wit, a clas­sic Ves­pa:


in con­trast to the clas­sic ves­pa above, here we see an old­er scoot­er, logos (and gloss) long since lost to the rav­ages of time and blaz­ing sun. I think this is an old­er Ita­li­ka:

Old Ita­li­ka

Speak­ing of fine­ly honed sense of style, this gent obvi­ous­ly has it goin’ on: newish ita­li­ka 150 scoot, board shorts, UNAM Pumas shirt, shades, beis­bol cap, and iPod:

Which brings us to a few scoots that are obvi­ous­ly objects of some enthu­si­as­tic focus of their own­ers. First we have the Rizla Gilera, com­plete with LeoVince pipe and RaceTech stick­ers:

And then a pair of mex­i­can car­bel­la Kon­cepts:

and in the “ideas above it’s sta­tion depart­ment”, the Ita­li­ka that wants to a Kawasa­ki when it grows up:

And to fin­ish off, it’s not a scoot­er, but it gives a great idea of the demands that these folks put on their trans­porta­tion on a reg­u­lar basis. Car? who needs a stinkin’ car?

well, that wraps it up for today. We’ll see what tomor­row brings. Keep the rub­ber side down and keep those feet up!

Oaxaca Day 3: the utility motorcycles

There are a lot of motor­cy­cles in Oax­a­ca, and the vast major­i­ty are work­ing motor­cy­cles, not recre­ation­al rides. Here are a few of the bikes I spot­ted today, includ­ing a few brands you prob­a­bly haven’t seen in the US.

Every man­u­fac­tur­er rep­re­sent­ed in Mex­i­co has a 125 sin­gle, they are the work­hors­es of the city couri­er and deliv­ery rid­er scene here. This lit­tle blue Bajaj ‘Wind 125’ is a rel­a­tive­ly new a clean exam­ple:


And these are Vento’s DS-styled work­horse, called the ‘work­man’:


Saw this blue BMW whizz by today and what a bit sur­prised; BMW’s are not a com­mon sight here in oax­a­ca, this is an expen­sive motor­cy­cle here:


Obvi­ous­ly this Ven­to 200 cruis­er has aspi­ra­tions above it’s cur­rent lot in life:

stick­ers are cheap here.

Here’s some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, a Suzu­ki TS185 two-stroke, with a lit­tle added style via a cus­tom tank paint job:


This is Yamaha’s lit­tle 125, called a Pul­sar, I think. This par­tic­u­lar one appears to have been draft­ed into gov­er­ment ser­vice:


This is one of the local­ly man­u­fac­tured knock-offs of the Hon­da CG125 car­go:


and this is anoth­er of the local knock-offs. This par­tic­u­lar exam­ple is pret­ty typ­i­cal of the con­di­tion you see on the street. If you look care­ful­ly, you’ll see that it has no bezel or glass over the instru­ments any longer.
Obvi­ous­ly, Hon­da real­ly hit the nail on the head with the CG125, every­one makes a copy now!


And this is the pin­na­cle of local­ly made bikes, an Ita­li­ka EX200. a 200cc air-cooled sin­gle, wrapped in swoopy body­work and snazzy exhaust cans!


well, that’s all for today, folks. might not be a post tomor­row, as it’s Inde­pen­dence day down here, and we’ll be down­town tomor­row evening for the fire­works and cel­e­brat­ing! Viva Mex­i­co!

enjoy, y’all!