For those of you that have met me in person, you’ve probably noted that I limp a bit. And for those of you who’ve had the misfortune of seeing my attempts at wrenching, I sooner or later drop everything in my hands, wrenches included. Back in the 60s the school sent me for a whole bunch of tests that I later got to read through, including the notation that I scored low enough on the tests of dexterity and coordination to borderline qualify for a Cerebral Palsy (CP) diagnosis, but the doctor didn’t give me that diagnosis because she thought it would stigmatize me. Would have been nice to know, but probably a good thing because I would have been a major “behavior problem” in any institution or “sheltered sweatshop”.

Then about a quarter century ago I got MS and had my short career as a paraplegic. Standard medical advice at the time was to pick out my three wheel ‘lectric scooter and big ‘ol van with a lift, and I actually had one of the top rated rehab med specialists turn a DOT Waiver exam into a counseling session to convince me to get some more college credits and become another “Suzy Social Worker”. Of course, I went AMA and hack’d my R100GS, drove truck for another two decades,  and got a couple hot rod wheelchairs that made even the fastest runners jealous. Then, the MS went into remission and I could pass for a TAB (temporarily able bodied, a gimp term) again and find all kinds of other useful uses for sidecars.

Then, I made the mistake of taking on this…

DSC_1493Without proper “weaponry”. I was smart enough to use a hand operated “powerpull” come-along to lift the box off, but I had to stand on a chair to do it and reach out at maximum extension with one arm to work the “powerpull” while using the other arm to try to steady the box, all the while twisted at the torso. Result: Some pulled lower back muscles and a couple days of self imposed “light duty”. After them couple days I get cocky again and tear up those same soft tissues, and it’s a couple more days of sorta “light duty”.

So a couple days ago I go to install the new brake hoses, a thankless task that involves bending tubing, crawling underneath to test fit, repeat until it sorta fits, then get up again to get wrenches, then repeat because Ford couldn’t make up their mind if they preferred inch or metric. Add in some TV antenna installation with attendant additional overreaching, and no wonder my lower back was sore in the morning. But this time the MS and the rather worn due to MS foot dragging “ball joint” in my hip decided to get in on the act too. So like a Chevy Cruze diesel trying to figure out how much fuel and air it should let you feed it and what gear it should be in at the same time with marginal success,  The stressed soft tissue tries to stabilize the sloppy fitting hip further stressing itself, and when it cries out in pain, the muscles all down my gimpy leg, in the absence of a “control signal” from the brain that MS is blocking, decides to go into a spasm… Quite the negative feedback loop going there!

So I’m back on light duty, and have now finally admitted that I need to do some adapting, but not defeat. It’s amazing what a determined gearhead can do… A few miles south of me a guy with no legs not only runs a shortline railroad, but he’s the locomotive engineer too. Rode up to the Post Office yesterday to see if I can ride the F800S comfortably (I can’t, I’ll try the R65LS next ride), and the retired Boilermaker Business Agent with the yardful of old trucks and tractors has transferred from his wheelchair to a tractor and is using a hook attachment on the tractor’s loader… To unload more old iron for his “collection”! As they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”…

So I’m in the market for a cycle lift, better jacks, and even a car hoist if I could find an affordable one that would fit in my concrete floor and ceiling 8′ tall garage. And automatics don’t sound so bad anymore, provided it’s an automated manual with paddle shifters I can play with. And being on light duty, I violated my self imposed “restrictions” and put the R100GS up on it’s centerstand in the living room so I can fix the gearbox leaks and other minor maladies so I can reattach it to the ‘hack… Which reminds me that I should order another one from Motorvation before they do a price increase, and I could have a lot more easily gotten the GS up with a couple hydraulic jacks or lifting from above with the “cherry picker” I should buy too.

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Heck, I need some motivation to finally fix the slipping clutch on this hack’d airhead, and no hefting up on the centerstand required!

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