Rolling Thunder, part 1

If you’re looking for quilting, embroidery, cooking or gardening, I’m sorry. Not today 🙂

This is something completely different! Regular readers will know that the Husband and I have a large and beautiful touring motorbike called the Scarlett Thunderbolt (familiarly known as Miss Scarlett). Here she is, in all her glory, a Honda ST1300, also known as the Pan-European.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.02.02 pm

The glamorous Miss Scarlett, in her travelling gear

Recently, we fitted a towbar to her, to enable us to pull a small trailer. This will increase our travel range by letting us carry a tent and other camping equipment. It means Miss Scarlett will not be able to hustle her bustle quite so nimbly, but we’ve done a test run, and once we’re rolling, she really doesn’t seem to notice.

We looked around for a long time, hoping to find something both robust and compact. We found one, but… Well, see for yourself. Not only was the paint job seriously tasteless (yes, that is a bare backside at the back end of the trailer!), it was also badly applied and extensively dinged up. It wasn’t a hard decision to change all that.

The trailer, before

Rusty, battered and seriously tacky

I’ve been spending significant amounts of time wearing old work clothes and large red chemical-proof gloves and safety glasses. I’ve already gone through a litre and a half of corrosive gel paint stripper. There are three or four layers of paint on the trailer, and to get the best possible result, we’re taking it back to bare metal so we can treat the rust, fill and sand back to a decent flat finish. Man, is that paint hard to remove! There’s a lot to do still… We’ve got the back, the lid and one side stripped and sanded, with the other side and the front and draw bar still to go. The Husband has been off for 4 days, but is back at work tomorrow, so I’m on my own with this one. A couple of hours a day should see it done by the end of the week.

Once it’s bare and all the residue sanded off and the dings filled (if we can still be bothered by that time!), it’ll get a rust retarding undercoat. On top of that will go a red and charcoal paint job to match the bike, along with a matte silver swoosh on the side. We’ve had the red paint mixed specially to match Miss Scarlett. I’ve got a big job to do there with masking tape – I think I’ll have to make a paper template for the curve and work from that so I keep it smooth. We’re hoping to take the trailer away with us when we go up to Far North Queensland for a bit of a holiday in late October.

And the title of this post? Well, the bike’s the Scarlett Thunderbolt. What comes after a thunderbolt? Rolling Thunder, of course!

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34 thoughts on “Rolling Thunder, part 1

  1. Your energy never fails to amaze me. I’d rather have knitted a giant sock to cover the whole trailer than strip and repaint it. More power to you!

    • katechiconi says:

      As I can’t knit a sock or anything more elaborate than a scarf, I’ll stick to what I can do! If Miss Scarlett is going to shake her tailfeathers, I want them to do her credit! 🙂

  2. anne54 says:

    I am also blown away by your energy, Kate! You have to add a little quilted touch somewhere. A flag maybe? Miss Scarlett is a beautiful creature and sitting on her must be an exhilarating experience. Enjoy the travels. x x x

    • katechiconi says:

      A flag’s not a bad idea! Not to fly while we’re moving, as we’d lose it pdq once we’re up at Warp Factor 4. But maybe something to hang up at the tent… The Pilot will have to approve the idea, I’m just the Navigator and Quartermaster!

  3. EllaDee says:

    You do love a deadline… this October? No doubt though Miss Scarlett and Rolling Thunder will be a beautiful rig to behold ☇

    • katechiconi says:

      Truly, it shouldn’t be a problem. We have only 2 sides left to strip and sand, and as you can see, it’s not a big trailer so the painting (famous last words) shouldn’t take too long. John has two more 4-day off shifts between now and then, and I’m just pottering along stripping a bit, sanding a bit as my back holds out 🙂

  4. well well well, who knew! We had our first long ride and overnighter (with friends) this weekend, and it was all good, but having a TRAILER could change everything….

    • katechiconi says:

      That trailer takes a large 2 room tent, a double bed stretcher and its inflatable mattress, bedding, folding chairs, a jerrycan of fuel, another of water, a gas bottle, a camping stove and some basic cooking and eating equipment. Inside the lid we have a folding solar panel for recharging stuff. On the front there’s a tray to hold either a small car fridge run from a motorbike battery, or a chiller. Clothes, etc, go in the motorbike panniers, top box and tank pack. We’ll be away for a week. The trailer is rated for 700kg, but we don’t load it up that much as too much extra weight cramps Miss Scarlett’s style…

  5. knettycraft says:

    Looking forward to see it in full beauty!

  6. Wow!! Very impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing it all done. This makes me smile for some reason. 😉

  7. Sounds like she will be beautiful on the road.

  8. Kathy D says:

    You are one amazing Lady!!! What other talents have you been keeping from us? Miss Scarlett is beautiful, can’t wait to see her “tail feathers”.

  9. Conor Bofin says:

    Enjoy that Kate. I love the concept. I’d drive it to France and tow back lots of wine.
    Best,
    C

    • katechiconi says:

      … and cheese, and sausages, and patisserie. Sadly, we don’t have a handy France to drive to, so will have to content ourselves with mountain ranges, rainforest, waterfalls and amazing views over the Coral Sea. Oh, the hardship…

  10. dayphoto says:

    You are a multi-talented person! I can hardly wait to see the end result!

    Linda

  11. tialys says:

    Well, I leave you alone for a minute and you’re off on another tangent. A lot of work but it will be worth it in the end – I assume you got a bargain.

    • katechiconi says:

      It was certainly cheaper than buying a new one, and being steel, is less flimsy than all the plastic and fibreglass ones which were the alternative in our price bracket. Worth the work, I assure you.

  12. Magpie Sue says:

    What a project! I, too, am slightly amazed at your proposed timeline. I hope the rest of the work goes smoothly and the final paint job lives up to your hope and expectations. I’m looking forward to seeing Miss Scarlett’s refurbished tail feathers. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      I reckon I have another 2 days of stripping and sanding, and then we’ll be ready for priming. I have a month and a half to get it done, which seems quite manageable to me…

  13. kathyreeves says:

    Ufda! No wonder you are tired these days, but it will be so nice when finished.

    • katechiconi says:

      Having been hard at it again this morning for another 3 hours, my thinking is that unless I keep moving, I’ll start thinking of any feeble excuse to stop… And yes, it will be lovely to have a trailer that I don’t cringe about every time I look at it, let alone hitching it up to Miss Scarlett 🙂

  14. Wow! You can attach a towball to a motorbike? I never knew that.
    Wow wow! That bare butt is seriously tacky. Good riddance!

    • katechiconi says:

      You can indeed! Towing a trailer causes higher than usual wear and tear on the rear tyre, but for a week’s holiday away, it’s the perfect option.
      As for the original paint job; not only was it tacky, but really badly done, lots of drips and bumps and raised edges. Which is why it needed stripping…

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