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Thread: Powerplus or Bust, Eh?

  1. #1

    Default Powerplus or Bust, Eh?

    Part 1:

    I've been looking for a bike with cannonball potential, that I can afford, for I think about 3 years now. A few months ago this Kijiji ad showed up cross-posted on the AdvRider forum:



    I swapped a few emails with the guy (you-all know him as c.o. or Cory). He sent me a bunch of pictures, and we settled on a price. I told him I wouldn't be able to pick it up for a month or so because of work, he said no problem, and he didn't even want a deposit to hold it. My kind of guy. I finally got a week off, a hard thing to do during the spring outage season, so I hitch the trailer up to Clifford the Big Red Dodge, called my side-kick Paul (local Pawn Shop Owner/Operator) to help with the driving, and headed north. Cory lives in British Columbia and I live in Nebraska, so we're about 1500 miles apart, for a 3,000 mile round trip. Oh well, at least I would get to visit my daughter in Fargo/Moorhead.

    My biggest worry was bringing it back across the border in to the USA. I did some internet research and found that a vehicle that is at least 21 years old doesn't have to meet the EPA requirements, and if it's at least 25 years old it doesn't have to meet the DOT requirements. No problem, this one's 98 years old. Here's a good link: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-personal-use

    The one potential problem was that everything I read said that I had to have proof of ownership in the form of a title and registration, and the old injun had neither. I decided that I needed to talk to a real live person, so I started calling border stations. We all know how hard it is to get a real person when calling a government phone number, but persistence pays off and I managed to get through to Border Officer at two stations, the big one at Roosville, Montana, and a tiny one at Whitlash, Montana. The nice lady at Whitlash was very helpful, she said that a bill of sale should be fine if there's no title, and she explained that I might have to fill out some DOT and EPA forms but it shouldn't be a problem because the bike is so old. Cool. Just what I wanted to hear. The she said "but you're not crossing here are you?" I said that yes, I probably would. She said "oh, I don't think you want to cross here, we're way out on a gravel road!" I said that's no problem, I live on a gravel road. "Yes, but we're a long way from anything. You'll want to cross at one of the big border stations at Roosville or Sweetwater, so you should call them too." OK, well, crossing at Roosville would save me some time, so I called them up, and battled my way through the phone menus again.The kid at Roosville really didn't want to talk to me, wouldn't give me a straight answer, and was rude and evasive in the typical fashion of his generation. He said I would need proof of ownership and he didn't think a bill of sale would qualify. Fine. Thanks for your time. I decided to cross at Whitalsh no matter how long it took.

    So Paul and I set out in Clifford the Big Red Dodge. We spent a night with my daughter and her husband and the next night in a run-down (cheap) motel in Havre, MT. On the way to Havre, Clifford rolled over 250,000 miles, so it is officially broken in:



    I think Paul was a little surprised that I picked that little roach mote in Havre, but I don't like to spend too much money just for a place to sleep. When the wife is along it's a different story, off course. Here's a picture of Paul pointing out that the broken shutters had been repaired with toilet paper:



    It didn't bother me a bit. By the way, Havre has an interesting network of tunnels under it that the bootleggers built during the prohibition. You can get a tour.

    We decided to cross into Canada at the Widhorse Station, since it's on a paved road and has such a cool name. We got up early and were second in line for the Wildhorse crossing before they opened:





    And then we were in Canada.



    More to come in Part 2. Be patient, I will include the build in this thread.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Shaky Jake; 05-01-2014 at 01:37 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Part 2:

    Paul had never been to Banff, so we went up around and over the mountains. We ran into a little of this:



    but nothing too serious. It made for fabulous scenery:





    And then there we were:



    So the only thing left to do was do the deal (Cory on the left, yours-truly on the right):



    drink a toast:



    and load up:





    The engine is in baskets, I mean boxes, in the back of the cab, where it will be more secure.

    More to come in Part 3.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lamoille County, Vermont
    Posts
    1,147

    Default

    Love the pictures.

    And the sign "Trespassers will be violated."

    Mine says "If you can read this, you're range."* I need another sign below that which says "Actually, he is better than that."

    Cheers and thanks for posting. This thread made my day!

    Cheers,

    Sirhr

    * Pisten-bully can confirm this... as can DanM.

  4. #4

    Default Powerplus or Bust, Eh? Part 3

    So it was off to Whitlash, to bring the old gal into the US of A. I was pretty sure that they were going to ask me why I drove past the two largest border crossings between Canada and Montana, to go to the second smallest border crossing between Canada and Montana. My plan was to tell them the truth; that it was because of the nice lady on the phone. Here is a picture of the Whitlash Port of Entry:



    The lady was right, it was way out on a gravel road. According to the internet, less than three people a day cross at Whitlash. I think we may have woke the guy up, because it took him a while to respond after I pushed the button. He listened to my story and, as I predicted, asked me why I came to Whitlash rather than Roosville or Sweetwater. I told him about the nice lady at Whitlash and the rude kid at Roosville. He must know that nice lady because he believed me. He looked our stuff over, chatted with us a while, and sent us on our way. Nice guy. All told, it only took about 20 minutes.

    The gravel road got worse on the US side. It took us over two hours to go 60 miles. The route was not well marked, and even the GPS lady in my phone got confused a couple of times. Here is my favorite sign:



    On the way home we almost lost the top of the trailer in some 60 mph crosswinds across Montana. Luckily my son-in-law had some plywood and screws and we were able to make repairs at their house:



    We topped it off that night with Moscow Mules with my daughter and son-in-law:



    and were home the next day.

    My plan now is to repair this bike into a cannonball machine. I want have it ready for 2016 when it is 100 years old. I'll continue to document the build on this thread, that's why I started this thread in the "Member Bike Builds" category. I hope that's OK.

    I've been working on motorcycles since 1970, when I was 11 years old, but the oldest one up to now has been (only) 50 years old, so this is going to be a challenge for me. It won't be a restoration, more of a repair. I do need some parts, the most significant of them being a transmission. If you have any leads you can be my best friend.

    Please, speak up if you have any comments, suggestions, criticisms, or help to offer. I welcome and appreciate it.

    I travel for a living but I have summers off, and usually the winter off too. I won't get a good start on this until the spring outage season ends in early June. And I have an old Triumph to finish up and get off of the rack so I can put the Indian up on it.

    More to come.

    Thanks for your time.
    Last edited by Shaky Jake; 05-01-2014 at 02:05 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sirhrmechanic View Post
    Love the pictures.

    And the sign "Trespassers will be violated."

    ...
    Yes - I was glad we glad we called ahead.

    BTW - One of the best parts is that I made a new friend in Canada!
    Last edited by Shaky Jake; 05-01-2014 at 02:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lamoille County, Vermont
    Posts
    1,147

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    That's one of the things I loved about your travelogue... because I made a similar trip in to northern Canada (up on the shores of Lake Huron)... in December 2010 or so... to buy my Knuck. 2 days of driving each way into some horrible snow squalls. But the result was my dream EL and meeting a guy who is still a friend and whose bike (he owned it for some 40 years) I treasure.

    My experience at customs was similar. I'd called in advance and other than the customs guys all wanting to ride it and joking that they needed to impound it until Spring so they could check out its road-worthiness... Customs was a walk. If it's made in USA... it comes back to USA no charge.

    So your posts were not only fun to read, but brought back good memories. Again, thanks!

    Cheers and look forward to your build.

    Sirhr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Queensland/Australia
    Posts
    95

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    The project for sale in this ad http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/bbo...Indian-Project has a gearbox but the bike shouldn't have one. While it is now sold it might pay you to follow up on it, maybe the new owner will go original and will then have a gearbox to spare.

    Cheers
    Steve
    1914 P&M
    1915 Indian (project)
    1930 M50 Panther
    1958 M35sport Panther

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by panthersteve View Post
    The project for sale in this ad http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/bbo...Indian-Project has a gearbox but the bike shouldn't have one. While it is now sold it might pay you to follow up on it, maybe the new owner will go original and will then have a gearbox to spare.

    Cheers
    Steve
    Thanks for the tip Steve. I PM'd the seller, we'll see what happens.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    217

    Default

    Great story! Dale

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    High in the B.C. Rockies....
    Posts
    5,353

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    That turned out to be a pretty darn good story there Shaky! It was a pleasure meeting you and Paul and I hope to cross paths again sometime. I'm also going to be paying close attention to your build. I know you're going to do a good job.
    Cory Othen
    Membership#10953

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