The showers of May have passed. But by last weekend, the heat of summer had slipped into Virginia. But not before I took my Harley 48 out Saturday morning for a long ride. I've been wanting to see how it handles on the open road besides the 30 minute commute it takes every weekday. It didn't disappoint.
After topping off my 2.2gal peanut gas tank, I left town on interstate 66. It was mid morning, temps around the 80s, with a bit of wind in the air, just enough to keep me cool in my new mesh jacket and textile/mesh pants. My destination - Front Royal, VA, about 60 miles from my starting point. Most of it would be on 66.
The ride on 66 was excellent. Traffic westbound was light to medium. The bike felt great and sounded great. With the 48, your posture is different than if you're using ape hanger handlebars or on a crotch rocket. The handlebar is short and straight, the seat sits low, forcing you to lean forward, and causing your boot heels to angle about 45 degrees from the road. In my opinion, the 48 is similar in looks to a bobber style bike, with the exception to the fenders, seat, smaller tank and a few other features.
As you can imagine, the 48 is not very comfortable for long rides. This forced posture will take it's toll on the back and shoulders. But for my ride, I felt fine by the time I turned off 66 and rode the rest of the 5 miles or so to Front Royal. My gas indicator light had yet to come on, so I kept riding towards Flint Hill after passing through FR. At 65 mi the light had yet to come on. I pulled over to check Gas Buddy for the nearest pit stop. FR was about 5 miles back but Flint Hill was southbound about 4 miles away. The indicator light came on as soon as I started rolling again, so the highway miles were definitely an improvement to my city miles per gallon. In Flint, I had used 1.4gal out of the 2.2 tank and traveling 70 miles. So I could have pushed it for another 20 miles (90 mi total) or so before it would start to chug along. Normally, I'm running to the gas station when it hits 60 miles with mostly city driving or I'll end up pushing the bike by the time it hits 70. I made a mental note to get a gas canister that I could throw in my side bag for the next ride.
I made it back to Front Royal and stopped by Soul Mountain Grill & Cafe to get lunch. Great service with a simple but pleasant atmosphere. I had a Soul Burger with a couple sides that didn't break the bank.
After lunch I walked around the small historic city center and checked out some of the shops. The whole time I was in town, you could see and hear different biker groups passing through.
The ride back home was just as nice except for a little congestion around the 495 beltway. Aside from a little fatigue in the hands and my back, it was a great ride. I'll see how I do on a longer one next time.
Total miles round trip = 130mi
It took back to back weekends along with every weekday in between, but I was able to finally finish laying down all the engineered hardwood floor from Lumber Liquidators. The color is gunstock oak and is 3/8" thick and 3" wide. Schon is the manufacturer.
It took 8 boxes to finish a roughly 300 sq ft area. I included about 10% for waste. I had about 20 sq ft left over.
I had to use a below grade engineered hardwood. This variety wasn't a click and go version, so it took more time to glue all the slats together. After a little planning I was able to come up with a random arrangement so all the joints were far enough apart. You don't want the joints lining up too close otherwise the slats are not able to stay locked in overtime.
It went pretty smooth until I got closer to the stairway. Then it was pretty obvious the framers hadn't made a square landing. But I was able to adjust. Unfortunately, being a novice, that would come back to haunt me when the stairs were recapped.
Nothing says you're almost done with a remodel, like being ready to paint. Unfortunately I tend to forget about what's left to do, such as: flooring, baseboards, trim, stairs, and a backsplash tile job that's still waiting in the wings.
But after consulting with B, the project designer, I narrowed the colors down to a couple I thought would work well together. The plan would involve the largest wall being an accent wall and the rest of the basement being a more neutral color. I'm going with a traditional flat white ceiling and semi-gloss white for all the trim/doors.
So I picked exclusive plum for the accent wall and emerging taupe for all the other walls.
What color does taupe look like? The name reminds me of the crayons that no one liked.
Even after painting the walls, I was still on the fence. (I had tried a few sample spots, I still wasn't sure) But I knew once it dried I'd get see the final look. And the choices turned out great. Living in a room with two colors is a first for me. Looking forward to seeing how all the furniture will look once it's finished.
For those that notice what appears to be an outlet directly above the electric heater, that's actually a blank cover. I removed the receptical after realizing the space heater was going to be too long to fit between the outlets.
Next up - finishing the flooring!
I still haven't picked out paint colors yet, but I didn't want that to hold up my project. So I decide to go ahead with tiling the floor in my side room and in front of the exterior door. I needed a lower tile floor in front of the exterior door, since the hardwood floor obstructs the door from opening. (Thanks dry core and hardwood =p !) The tile will allow for heavy traffic between the outside and my storage room as well.
Lowes always has a great selection of unique tiles, including the ones shown in the pics. They were manufactured by Ivetta, they're named "black slate" (although they definitely have a gray look more than black. They're 6x24" and come in several different patterns. They're porcelain and have a slight texture to them. I didn't want smooth tiles and these have just enough to help avoid being slippery when wet.
Tiling the floor took a couple days since there was a lot of cutting along the walls and door frame. My floor wasn't exactly level either so I recommend a floor leveling compound if it's really offset.
I can't describe how much I like these now that I've installed them. They just make the room look better than if I'd use smaller tile or large square ones. These just flow better into the room that's about 6x8' and give me a feeling that the room is bigger for some reason.
I learned a few valuable lessons with the mortar mix. Never mix more than you think you can use in a couple hours. I was slowed down by several uneven spots in my floor and had to reapply a little mortar to the backs of the tiles. So I ended up with wasting some mortar since it set up too quickly in my bucket.
After a day, I added the grout. My god, the only thing I hated was having to get clean water over and over as I cleaned the excess grout off. Even that was starting to take too long. I would fill in the spaces, clean off areas with grout that setup, and then have to hurry with new buckets of water. By the time I finished the last few tiles, the grout was getting to hard to use any more. But I made it with a little more muscle and sweat.
After I finished the grout, I wet the floor with a damp mop a couple times a day, for 3 days, to make sure it dried slowly. And finally, a week later, I added grout sealer to make sure they kept their color and resist staining.
I can see installing the baseboard is going to be a challenge though. Check out the floor transition from the Dri-core to the tile so close to the door. I'll need to adjust the baseboard trim for the 1 inch drop down to the tile. Otherwise I'll end up with a taller baseboard on the right side of the door and a shorter one over the tile on the left side of the door. I have some theories on how that's done but we'll cross that threshold after I finish the flooring.