Flitting (and riding)

I love that word.

It so beautifully describes the butterfly motion of darting from one thing to another. Which is what I’ve been doing the last week or so, only less beautifully and gracefully 🙂

We’ve been spending some fun time with ST motorbike-owners-club friends from south east Queensland, who are passing through Mackay with their caravan and their Honda ST1300 on the back of the ute. Now that’s a sweet setup! Deep envy, to have both their big motorbike and their caravan along! We’ve done a couple of half day rides with them around the local sights, which has reassured me that I can cope and my back won’t fall apart under the strain when our own time comes to do the big ride south for the bike rally later this year in October. No lavish Miz Lizzie caravan comfort on this trip, it’ll be Rolling Thunder towed behind the Scarlett Thunderbolt, and a tent for a few nights.

We had part of the back yard landscaped and a hard surface put down. We can now get Miz Lizzie under cover without the need for 25-point reversing to get her between the posts of the patio roof. Straight in, bish-bosh, no messing about. Bliss! We can use our new turning circle to get the car in and out in similar style. I have a hard, dry surface to stand on when I hang out the laundry instead of being ankle deep in wet grass and green ants. It will not turn back into a swamp the next time we get a serious amount of rain. Oh my word yes, I love that new surface! And the Husband, let’s face it, is not heartbroken about having less grass to cut…

A few days before the work commenced, Sir Horace and Lady Laetitia Bush Stone-Curlew went off somewhere for several days. We rejoiced in a slightly guilty fashion, but it was very pleasant to have quiet nights, unbroken by their harsh screams. We thought they’d moved on, finding the modest bustle of our back yard insufficiently tranquil for raising this year’s family. Regrettably, they have now returned from their vacation and are back in their original spot, glaring at me every time I set foot outside the back door, and in full song at night. Oh well. At least we didn’t drive them off with the landscaping work…

I’ve been doing some secret sewing for a friend who is visiting from the States. As it’s a secret, I won’t be posting photos till she has it, around the end of the month, but it’s fun, pretty and useful, so I hope she likes it. I’m sure if she doesn’t, she won’t feel compelled to tell me so!

And finally, I’ve got the Blue Hour quilt two thirds assembled, just one big seam and the binding to go, so I’ll be able to do my ‘tah-dah’ post for that soon. And yes, start thinking about my own! I haven’t forgotten that I also have the Sea Glass quilt to sandwich and start quilting, but it’s a big job and as usual, I’m procrastinating furiously…

So while there’s been scant news from Chiconia recently, as you can see, I have not been idle!

Rolling Thunder part 6: Get the motor running…

Head out on the highway / Lookin’ for adventure / And whatever comes our way…

I don’t think I was exactly Born to be Wild, but I couldn’t resist the lyrics in this instance. And yes, I admit it, I may be slightly reliving my lost youth…

thunder-and-lightningSo, we’re packed, and ready to go. I think Miss Scarlett looks rather handsome with her follower, don’t you? I still need to do some touch up work when we get back, but the job is good enough for this trip.

I’ll be checking in while we’re away, and there are bound to be some nice photos I can share with you. First stop Townsville for a day and a half, then on to Atherton in FNQ.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a bit more Steppenwolf:

I like smoke and lightning / Heavy metal thunder / Racin’ with the wind. But observing the speed limit at all times, of course!


Rolling Thunder part 5

More spraying. More taping. More masking. More spraying.

After the third and final coat of black, the next job was the silver swoosh up either side. Leaving the first mask in place, I created and taped around a template and then masked off the black that needed to be protected when I sprayed the silver. It took 3 hours in all to tape the swoosh top outline and then mask off the rest on both sides. I gave my back a break after that lot… I’d started at 6.30am, when it was cool, there was good light but no wind for the final black spray. By the time that coat was dry and I’d finished the masking it was 11.30am, the sun was high, the temperature was 28°C/82°F and the wind had risen, making further spraying impossible for the time being. So I took my extremely hot and bothered self inside for a period of recuperation.

After lunch, it was time to start the silver. The wind was intermittent, so I sprayed and waited and sprayed and waited. And next morning, after the final silver coat, here’s how it looks. The silver calls itself ‘chrome’, and it does have a good sheen and reflectivity, but it’s definitely not a chrome finish!  Still, it looks pretty OK.


There’s a fair bit of adhesive residue to clean off before I can attack it with the clear lacquer. That’s the problem when you have to leave the tape on for a while. Hmm. Wonder what would be best for that, without making a mess of the new paintwork. Time to consult Mr Google, unless anyone out there has a good suggestion?


There were a couple of small patches of over-spray to clear up/spray over. A couple of places on the swoosh where I hadn’t bashed the tape down hard enough so there’s a minute bit of black creeping through, and the same for silver. But having taken care of the worst bits, I’m not anal enough to get in there with a teeny weeny paintbrush and take care of the tiny stuff. I’m also not totally in love with the shape of the top edge of the curve, but see comment above! It’s fine…

We have 10 days to go before our trip. Before anything else, I have to remask the rear lights; I took off the old tape, which was getting very thickly caked in paint, just to make sure it still would come off! I have to do at least 3 coats of clear lacquer over everything. Then it’ll be time to restore the hardware: catches, handles, registration plate, etc. I’ve resprayed the tray that sits at the front of the trailer and holds the cooler; that needs bolting back on too. We’re running a strip of hi-vis reflective tape around the back of the trailer – in red, of course! – and above the mudguards on the wheel arches. Hopefully it’ll make us even easier to see in the event that we reluctantly have to ride at night.

In the home stretch now. It’s good to know I can still do this stuff, but perhaps not too often…


Rolling Thunder part 4

It’s been a bit of a grind, this job.


First coat of red. Everything that’s not red will be black

We got the first coat of red paint on, and it was immediately apparent it was too dark. Still, having had two cans of it mixed, I put it all on. We tried again, a brighter red. Yikes! It was almost fluorescent, and didn’t get any better as it cured. Third time lucky. This time we went to a paint specialist rather than an automotive parts store to get the paint mixed. It’s still not a perfect match for the bike, but it’s a whole lot better than the other two.  The motorbike is what’s called a ‘candy colour’: silver undercoat, multiple layers of transparent red dye, a coat of gold flecked lacquer and a final coat of clear lacquer. The colour is lively, it shifts in different light, the layers of dye give it a depth and richness that can’t be achieved with a flat colour, and the gold fleck gives it the final brilliance. I’m not a spraying specialist, and I wasn’t going there… So we’ve gone with a sort of intermediate, neither the brightest nor the darkest.


Paper masking. Not very flexible…

Once the multiple layers of red paint were dry, I took the template I’d made of the curve we want for the silver swoosh on the side, applied it to the side and masked off the curve with flexible blue masking tape. Over that went wide regular masking tape and paper on one side, plastic dropsheet the other. Paper’s easier to manage but not very flexible, the plastic flaps more and is hard to peel tape off if you want to reposition. Just thought you might like to know, in the unlikely event you’re ever mad enough to take on a project like this yourself….


Red paintwork safely covered while we spray the black.

On with the black, on top, at the front, the draw-bar and up the sides as far as the masked swoosh line. Two black coats later, I’m thinking a third coat might be a good idea to make it more hard-wearing. The lid will take all the weather, and the front and draw-bar will get a lot of stone-chip action, even with the clear lacquer we’ll be adding as the final coat.

Still, after a fairly gruelling day, I can confidently say we’ll be ready in time for our holiday!

Rolling Thunder part 3

Finally, the weather gave us a window of opportunity.

trailer-undercoatedWith the Husband off work for a few days, we scrambled into our work clothes and got cracking whenever the wind dropped enough to ensure the paint hit the trailer instead of blowing away. No more big red gloves this time, thank heavens, they’re incredibly hot and your hands end up in a puddle inside them. No, this time, it was the thin Nitrile gloves that doctors use, to protect us from rusty sanding dust, methylated spirits and finally, primer. And goggles and breathing masks, before you ask! OK, the hands still ended up in a puddle, but at least I could feel what I was doing and scratch my nose without poking myself in the eye!

undercoat-with-sky-to-matchSo, Rolling Thunder now has a couple of handsome coats of grey primer, and is safe from the salty seaside air of Mackay. The next step is the first coat of several in the red we’ve had mixed to match Miss Scarlett. After that, I need to make the template and mask for the curved line that features on the side. I have the stretchy masking tape that will curve, so that’s OK, but scaling up the curve I want from the drawing we’re working from could be, um, interesting. However, the skies are once again threatening, so I may have to do some work under cover in the garage for the next stage.

4½ weeks till we go on our motorbike camping trip to Townsville and Atherton. If we can keep up this momentum, all will be well 🙂

Cue pencils, scissors, butcher’s paper and masking tape…