I recently took a trip from LA north up the coast, mostly on US1 aka the PCH. I rode to San Francisco, then to Sacramento, then over to the coast and back down again. The trusty “Interceptor” was a champ, not one problem…
Category Archives: road trip
Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I am now set up at the new shop in Cypress Park, CA. It is about 10 mins from Hollywood, at the interchange of the 110 and the 5 highways. The trip out went well, with a 3 vehicle convoy from CT. A 26′ haul hauling all the machinery, parts and materials, and a 18′ haul loaded with 5 bikes and towing the ’72 dodge charger. Third vehicle was a fiat driven by my roommate Alfredo. The trucks were somewhat speed limited, so the trip took about 4 days, and consumed several thousand dollars worth of fuel.
In this new shop, I will only be doing complete motorcycle fabrication, and some engine building. I may or may not resume leather and knife making here. I already have several frame jobs for a local shop in the works as well. Please do not contact me for general motorcycle mechanics, such as wiring, troubleshooting, or small welding jobs. I decided that after almost a decade of doing those types of jobs at the CT shop, that it is simply not worth the effort, financially or psychologically. I am still selling my “leaf spring kickstands”, so please contact me if interested. They are in their 5th generation, and are better than ever. Price is still $375 plus $15 shipping.
I have several bikes out here that are currently for sale, “Daddy go Hard”, “Knucklegame”, and “Interceptor”. The bike “Flash in the Pan” is also for sale by its last owner, located in CT. It has very few miles on it and looks/runs like new. The Interceptor is heavily discounted since it has been my daily rider for a while now. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries. Visit easternfabrications.com for pictures.
The CT shop is currently occupied by a new tenant, so do not go there looking for me! I will be back in CT at some point this summer, but not sure on dates yet. If anyone knows of any good shows in the LA area, I’d love to hear. Id like to get the bikes out to as many local events as possible.
I am back in frozen CT after another CA adventure. This latest trip lasted a little over a month, and culminated with finding a great shop space. The move west will happen as soon as I settle some business here, and pack up the critical tools and furniture from the current shop.
Once again, this latest scouting mission would not have been possible without the help of a few good people, namely John, Brooke, Agatha, Steg, and of course Candice and my dad. Without their generosity and input, this move would not have been possible. From storing the bikes, giving Fre and I places to stay, educating us on the ins and outs of LA, and holding down the CT shop while I was gone, I owe them a huge thanks.
Here are a few random shots from the trip:
The trusty “Interceptor” was my chosen transportation out there. I rode it relentlessly, and it performed perfectly.
Getting used to the riding in LA is somewhat terrifying. I don’t think I have ever ridden in a place with such bad drivers. Maybe bad isn’t the right word, more like intentionally careless. I witnessed at least 5 accidents, all of which occurred right around me! Not bad ones, but slow, casual smash ups. People out there drive as if cars are disposable, and as if occasionally wrecking your car is just a way of life. The average speed is not really any faster than other cities, but the awareness just isn’t there. I phones are looked at more than windshields, literally. Riding a high powered bike through the mess is an exercise in restraint for me. Its hard to exploit the occasional stretch of open road, because at every intersection there is some brain-dead housewife or teenager just waiting to ambush you. Making direct eye contact as you approach does seemingly nothing. On a bike, you just don’t exist in Los Angeles.
The good news (at least from an east coast perspective) is that you have quite a few privileges that cars don’t, namely being able to park almost anywhere, ride between cars, and cut to the front of traffic lines. Come to think of it, I was amazed by how few people were riding bikes, despite the weather being above 60 every single day.
Luckily motorcycles were not the only vehicle I got to play with during my visit. My friend Jackson invited Fre and I go flying with him in a helicopter, specifically an “R44 Raven 2”. It is a cool little amalgamation of aluminum, plastic, and a fuel injected flat 4. We flew out of an airstrip in Camarillo, and just flew around the surrounding area for about an hour. Jackson practiced landings, which was probably the most entertaining part for me. here is captain-jackson giving her once-over.
Fre looked a bit skeptical….
I also spent an entire day exploring the “Angeles National Forest”, a great spot not far from the new shop location. The main road that winds through it is amazing; an endless series of smooth turns and switchbacks. Unfortunately the “Interceptor” lacked the range necessary to get from one end to the other, so I made a decision a ways in to turn back. I little extra fuel in a jug should get me through it next time.
Thats all for now. Next up: the drive out
Posting this for Matt Olsen from Carls Cycle Supply. This is a contest he is having. I did about half of the cannonball with Matt a few years ago and it was a blast.
Things are in a state of flux at Efab these days. I am relocating to Los Angeles CA, first seasonally, perhaps permanently. The fate of the Branford, CT shop is uncertain at this time. Without boring everyone with my reasons for moving, let me show you what I will be driving out there: my dream car!
Every once in a while I do a car project, and I have a very progressive plan for this one! Ever since I was a kid I looked at the Dodge Charger as the quintessential muscle car. Not based on any particular feature, just the overall design. In particular, the 1971-1974 years. Of course everyone wants the 1968-1970, due mostly to the fact that it has been made famous in so many great movies (bullet, fast and furious, blade, dukes of hazard, etc). I like to be different, and I like the fact that in the later years, the design got a little sleazier.
Of course, I am not going to simply buy a car and drive it stock, its just not me. Also, it doesn’t really make sense, environmentally or financially, to drive a car that gets 10 miles per gallon on a regular basis. How can I have my cake and eat it too?
What engine can I put in here that will solve all my problems? I need lots of horsepower and torque, ease of maintenance, decent fuel economy, and low emissions. How about a turbo-diesel?
Modern diesel engines are not what they used to be. They are smooth running, reliable, quiet, have the ability to run a wide variety of fuels (bio-diesels), and make freakish amounts of power.
I am in the process of educating myself on the wide world of diesels now. I have never owned a diesel, or even seen one taken apart. I have a lot to learn before I can make an educated decision on where to begin, but for now I have another task: prep the charger for its cross country drive.
Here she is the day I bought her, coming home from Long Island on the ferry.
As soon as it got to the shop I dove in. Anyone who has ever tried to restore an old car knows the pain I am talking about. Is it safe? what parts are about to fail? Is it going to catch on fire? how is the motor and trans? So many questions, and only one way to find out- start exploring.
One thing that was immediately obvious- the suspension was not up to par. I knew it would have to be upgraded, not only for the trip out west, but also for the heavier engine that will eventually be installed. A phone call to Firmfeel Inc (a mopar suspension specialist) got me several new key components. New heavy duty leaf springs and torsion bars, heavy duty tie rods, rebuilt heavy duty steering box, giant sway bars, a full poly bushing kit, and new stiff shocks. Once these components were installed, it completely changed the way the car drove. Thanks Firmfeel!
Next was the engine, and luckily I have a good friend (Ralph at Kehl Tech), who builds race engines for a living, and is dam good at it. He said the motor sounded good (its a small block 360), but suggested we rebuild the carb, which was a good guess because there was a lot of old gas residue gumming it up, as well as many mismatched parts.
Accessory belts were badly misaligned, so some new brackets had to be made as well. The coil was mounted sideways, so that was relocated too.
Next step was the wiring. As you can imagine, a lot of morons had been inside this car since it left the factory, and it seemed as if every one of them added their own special touches to the electrical system! My god, butt connectors, wires that had melted, electrical tape, stereo components that didnt work, old fuses, new fuses, wires with no fuse at all, and breakers that randomly pop. With my trusty test light I went at it, and after a week I had removed about 40ft of wire that didnt do anything, repaired several melted wires, got 3 non-functioning gauges to work, installed brighter headlights, and got all the critical running lights working. Of course all of this will get redone again when the new motor transplant happens, but it should survive the trip out now.
I cant be seen driving an orange car, and it isnt the original paint anyway, so a quicky repaint was in order. Spay bomb time!
I ripped off the old rotten vinyl roof covering, and molded the pitted metal underneath. I never liked those vinyl roofs anyway. The chromed trim and bumpers were in decent shape, but a scotch brightening session gave them a nice matte finish, similar to stainless steel.
I am leaving next month, so I am driving the car daily to (hopefully) bring any other problems to light before the big push west. Stay tuned for more updates, and remember, not all choppers have 2 wheels!
sorry about the lack of posts, but i have been on the road for what seems like forever! Left Branford 3 weeks ago in a budget rent-a-truck bound for Cali, with a few stops along the way. Michael Lichter was the first stop, in Boulder CO, for photo session with the Speed Fetus and Iron Triangle.
Next up was the Artistry in Iron show in Las Vegas. I was invited this year- an honor to say the least. Here are a bunch of pics in no particular order…
more coming soon……