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~   Me   ~

My name is Chuck. I live on the west shore of Michigan, a little less than a mile inland of Lake Michigan in the Village of Douglas. Been here since '86, living in a house that's 150 years old despite having been built by people who clearly had no clue what they were up to and may have been under the influence of debilitating substances while they were about it. I love my house, but I got married in 2002. Moved about a mile to the south end of town. I can hear the big lake better from my new abode, being about a half mile closer, plus it generally stays a good 5° cooler. Summer temps seldom top the lower 80's and winter stays mild, unless the big lake freezes over.

Douglas and its neighbor to the north, Saugatuck, are situated on opposite sides of the Kalamazoo river, sharing the harbor and the tourists. We're a highly favored summer destination for rich Chicago people, or FIP's, as we call them. @#%*#&!! Illinois People (trying to keep it PG-13). The two towns are protected from the weather by a line of dunes to the west, sometimes approaching three hundred feet in height. We're about nine miles down the shoreline south of Holland, and about seventy miles north of the Indiana state line. We have many (many) art galleries and the Chicago Art Institute's Ox Bow fine arts camp on the old channel, adjacent to the dune covered ghost town of Singapore. Check out some of the local pics on the menu. It's a pretty place.

I make a living designing and building automated equipment that tests turbine engine fuel system components, mostly for aircraft. My most recent creation is used to calibrate YF16 afterburners, which have enjoyed a sudden surge in popularity since our prez decided to do Act II in Iraq. I do everything from designing and machining the parts to writing the program. Heavy emphasis on AutoCAD, Visual Basic, and database programming. About the best job I could dream of, within the parameters of working for the man, which I no longer wish to do. Dilemma.

I am, by pure chance, an avid motorcyclist. A friend kept trying to sell me a '72 Honda CL350 Scrambler back in the '70s. I kept telling him I had no use for motorcycles, but one day he called to announce his barn had fallen on my car. He proposed trading the Honda for the flattened Renault. I suddenly found I had an interest after all. Wound up being better transportation than even an un-flattened Renault.

I rode that poor 350 to hell and back in the woods and dunes. Only a Gold Wing could have handled worse off road, but I didn't know any better. Just figured I wasn't very good at it. Progressed up through an '81 XL500, then maniacally rode an '83 CR480 for a decade and a half. What an incredible machine. Taught the meaning of the phrase 'never say die'. Lent new meaning to the phrase 'when in doubt, gas it', and revealed a few situations where it wasn't valid with that much eager horsepower.

I felt nothing but contempt for street bikers during that period, but it occurred me the street bikes themselves might have some potential in the cheap traveling department. Bought an '82 GL650 Silver Wing, a truly piss poor motorcycle, then an '84 V65 Sabre. The Sabre, a natural and wonderful traveler, was the catalyst (with the help of Old Grandad) for many noteworthy stories. Amazingly, I survived. Mostly intact even. I think I beat some long odds to do it, though.

Well. That CL350 was well over 300,000 miles of motorcycling ago. I still have the '84 Sabre, now with over 110K on it and once again my current ride after putting over 150K on an '85 I bought for a spare in '87. I'd have bought some spare legs, too, if they'd been available. Odds were in favor of needing them.

I've been nearly everywhere in this country that a motorcycle can take you, including Alaska, and a number of places most would say they can't. Sabres handle wonderfully in the dirt. Not something you'd expect from a 600lb muscle bike.

Hanging at Sturgis, hoping to see a Zundapp KS601.
       Your host, enjoying a prime spot in the shade at the Sturgis rally.

Marriage has shortened my annual three or four week tours to one or two weeks. My little rides are mostly focused on the North West these days. Been hitting Sturgis since '82. I think I've missed it four times since then. Makes a good starting spot for points west.

Unfortunately it's not the Sturgis of old. A bunch of profiling lawyers and yuppies, all looking bad in their Motor Clothes, have replaced the gangs and wild people. Where people hid their trailers if they didn't have the balls to ride, now they brag about what they paid for them. Where there were no cops in sight, gangs of them now roam the streets looking for trouble and, of course, imagining some if they can't actually find any. Oh well.

Zündapp KS601
A friend who rides Beemers got flagged down one day by a guy who offered him a couple of German motorcycles for free. The price seemed reasonable to Bill and he came into possession of a basically complete if somewhat rusty and bird shit encrusted '57 Zundapp KS601, with most of another for spare parts. I saw. I lusted. I eventually gained ownership.

The bike was so damned cool. Plunger suspension, shaft drive. And the same year as me! Although I have since determined it was probably a leftover '56 stamped '57 by the dealer. Makes no difference. I love it. What a metamorphosis. I find that 28 HP suits me just fine for mellow cruising, down from 122 (while everybody else is going up past 180 horse!). Even hope to ride it to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America's Blackhawk chapter fall motorcycle meet in Davenport Iowa some day, just across the river from my home town of Moline Illinois.

I bought my first Dodge Power Wagon in '77, a basket case '68 WM300. It persisted as a basket case for a number of years. Also in '77, I bought my '65 W200. In '81, the '68 WM300 was elevated to the status of spare parts by my purchase of the '65 WM300, featured on these pages, which itself is slowly degrading to spare parts if I don't intercede pretty damned soon.

Somewhere in all of this I bought a '64 D100. The intention was to use the nice body on the '65 W200, which I am finally getting around to, sort of. It's currently undergoing a slow frame off restoration. It has always had a 225 leaning tower of power, and still will, albeit line honed and balanced. This is what happens when you have the machine work done by an old schoolmate who now makes a living building racing engines. I may even go all out and put one of the old Holley progressive two barrels on it, but I don't know. I like my one holer Carter quite a bit.

There's a Dana 60 with a Sure-Grip in the rear, from the era when that referred to the clutch type Dana posi. Got the standard 3000lb 44 in the front. The light duty 44 pinions are a bit marginal in the strength department, but this one has a Gleason Torsen in it, the good old Torsen with the 9.5:1 torque bias ratio. I'll put up with the strength issue unless I happen to find a 60 with a Torsen, about as likely as winning the lottery. I know of no differential that does the job so seamlessly and completely. Currently has 4.88's, but I'm going back to 4.10's. I'm also replacing the New Process 435 with a 540 five speed that has the same U-joint yokes the W200 came with. A comment on the strength of the W200's drive train considering the tranny came out of a school bus, which I lived in for awhile. Yet another story.

The 38.5 15 Gumbo Mudders, alas, shall be retired to the basement. Mud is hell on a truck, and it's nearly impossible to find a good mud hole in Michigan anymore, unless it's got bleachers running down both sides. Not my style. The truck will instead receive its first set of good radial snowies (always had bias plys), and I'll pray for genuine Michigan winters once again.

This truck is certainly not unstickable, but if it goes down, it does it on an even keel with all four rotating together. It will nearly always back out after struggling to a halt going in, and even if it fails, observers are never left unimpressed. The old W200 ain't so fast, but it's surprisingly certain. I'll get some pictures of it on the site sometime, when it's past the stage of just collecting leaves and crap.

You are visitor since April 19, 2004.

Last updated 04-19-04

Zundapp KS601 Drive Line