The Online Buying Orgy!

I'm Lazy... and Busy!

Rather than riding all over town to find stuff I need, I usually just go on Ebay and buy stuff. That way I can do my research and ordering when I have time, usually about 2am!

There is good and bad points though. Most stuff is coming from the US, or China and Hong Kong. So I'm paying a lot in shipping, and duties, but I'm at least finding what I need. Except I'm usually not in town when the package finally gets here! The first day back then is spent driving to the post office, the UPS warehouse, the FedEX place, Puralator, finding all my stuff.

I'll break some of this into other posts, but here's a quick list:

  • Motorcycle Parts and Upgrades

  • Motorcycle Accessories (fuzzy dice vs. spark plugs?)

  • Helmet, Jacket, other Motorcycle Clothing

  • Camping stuff

  • Cameras and related Stuff

  • Laptops and Stuff

  • Military Surplus gear (folding shovel, pup tent, camelbak)

  • Materials for making stuff (velcro, zippers, Denier)

  • And A Sewing Machine

Yeah, I bought a sewing machine. Its pretty awesome actually!

Ebay rocks for this kind of thing. There is a guy on Ebay that sells fully refurbished antique Singer (and other brand) sewing machines. Mine is cast iron, is glossy piano black, and even has some awesome gold leaf artwork on it. None of that really matters, but what does matter is it sews through pretty much everything! Sews through several layers of canvas, leather, jeans, etc. Fingers be ware!

I bought the sewing machine for about $200, because I planned to make lots of my own gear. For example, a pair of motorcycle riding pants would run me about $150 or so. All the luggage packs for the bike could run $100 each. And I like to be able to customize things!

In my family are several sewing machines, including 2 uncles who are now retired from the furnature business. So I could have asked them to help me out. Having my own lets me jump right into a project when the inspiration hits me, and I can do more "prototyping" kind of stuff. Do a quick test, come back and redo it, etc.

I've already made sleeping bag, decided to make it a bit bigger, both longer and wider, and I made it from a waterproof Denier material. Denier is incredibly tough... its what my motorcycle jacket is made from! I'm calling it bear proof, but I don't plan on actually testing that! When I made the sleeping bag, I sewed padding into the bottom of it, so I can actually just throw it right on the ground, and just go to sleep. I do have a tent, but I'm also planning on making a "rain fly" that goes over just my upper body part of the sleeping bag, so I can sleep on the ground, with out setting up the whole tent. The water will just run off the sleeping bag. And the insulation I used is one of those space age something or other fibers that has "95% the R value, wet vs. dry". So if you do get wet, you still stay mostly warm. Nice feature I think.

Its kind of tough to plan for my trip. I'll be trying to stay out of the cold climates as much as possible, but you just never know. In Canada we often see snow in May. I'll be heading up to Alaska in late August. Then South America is backwards, climate wise, so summer is winter. Did you know there are more penguins in South America than there are on Antartica? (I read that somewhere, hope its true!)

Pop Quiz time! Why do Polar Bears not eat Penguins? (Answer will be at the end of this post, unless I forget!)

I really wanted to buy an Army folding cot to sleep on. I liked the idea of being up off the ground. They're kind of heavy, but weight on a motorcycle isn't quite as much an issue. The cost of buying a cot online, and having it shipped was pretty expensive, so I decided I'd just build one. The next problem, a military style cot, when it folds up, is still about 4 feet long. Perfect for in the back of a Hummer, but too big to fit on the motorcycle! So I wasted a lot of time, and paper, trying to design a bed I could fold up to no longer than 3 feet long. That's still pretty big, but seemed worth while. I even bought some conduit and a bender, to make the frame. Conduit bends fairly easily, is not too heavy, and fairly strong if its not too long. Figured it was a good starting point. Eventually I gave up entirely on the folding bed idea.

So I bought an air mattress instead! Have you checked out air mattress lately, I mean the good ones, not the $3 one you can float in the pool with. They're kinda expensive, and... heavy! Never even occured to me they'd be heavy, I mean, AIR... seems light right?

Another project for the sewing machine was to put some zippers down the legs of some Carhartt work pants. Carhartt makes a great pair of bib overall work pants, made out of a really heavy duty cotton canvas type material.

The only problem with the Carhartts is I can't put them on over the Fox racing boots. It goes like this... Boots off, jacket off, pants on, bib straps over shoulders, then push the pant legs up as high as I can get them, because the Fox boots go up to almost my knees. Get boots buckled up (they are almost like snow ski boots) then slide pants legs back down over boots... stop for a break, hard work! then adjust the bib overalls, then put on jacket, then back pack, then try to swing leg over the too tall seat of the motorcycle.

Simple Fix! I "unstitched" the pants down the outter seam, and put in a 30" long zipper, and now putting the pants is actually easy! I don't have to take the boots off, just step into the pants, and then zip up the legs. Brilliant! Next I'll take some of the left over Denier fabric from the sleeping bag, and sew a set of chaps right to the Carhartts, and maybe some padding... try to guess where my "contact" pattern will be with the ground!

I'm also going to sew some of the Denier to a couple pair of regular jeans. They won't have the protection of full motorcycle pants, but its a good compromise I think. And I do have knee pads to wear too. Knees and ankles are areas I read about a lot of injuries in the motorcycle blogs...

I decided making a good jacket was beyond my area of expertise, so I bought a black TourMaster jacket. Its also made from Denier 1000 fabric, so its light weight, and nearly as good as leather, and its got a removable winter liner. I'm still finding pockets 2 months after I bought it! I also got a set of body armor, which includes a full upper set, which covers chest, spine, shoulders, and elbows, and a set of knee and ankle pads.

And finally, I got a new helmet, because after storing my fancy Shoei helmet for the last 20 years, it was falling apart inside. That was sad, really, because I always knew I'd buy another bike, so everytime I moved, I'd be extra careful not to drop the helmet, it was always in its bag so it never got scratched. And then it deteriorates instead! Grrrr! I found a cool Flat Black helmet with a "roost shield" like the motorcross guys have, but its still got a full face shield and visor.

Pop Quiz Answer!
"Why do Polar Bears not eat Penguins?"
They probably would, except Polar Bears are only in the Northern half of the world, and Penguins are only in the Southen half of the world.

Ok, that's all for this post, don't worry, more to come!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2012-06-22