Every motohead worth a freshly oiled Twin Air filter has experienced this: You walk into your garage. You scan the area with the vision of a hungry wolf. You
dance lightly around the edges of your pride and think,
“What the heck happened?”
The garage is a nightmare. There’s a machine on the
stand. It’s devoid of wheels, suspension and the subframe,
and piles of parts are in mounds like a wolf blew chunks
after a bad meal. Tools are scattered randomly—and not
just a few T-handles or the occasional 8mm end wrench.
No, it’s more like a 40-foot Demogorgon sneezed and
tossed your toolbox like it was confetti. Nearly every
drawer in the roll-away is open, and the ones that remain
shut are, in my case, known to contain some crucial imple-
ments, such as a hacksaw with a blade that won’t cut a
sausage, pipe wrenches handed down from my dad that
can attack major plumbing drama and every odd tool that
fits nothing more current than an AJS Stormer.
Tubes of grease, empty cans of contact cleaner and
rags plugged with mung that may have come off an AW
Maico muffler are stuck to objects with reckless abandon.
Paper towels soiled with some form of crude oil paint the
floor and look like mold spores the size of ashtrays. I see
at least 10 screwdrivers littered like spent shells. All of the
handles are filthy, their ends in various state of bentness—
dull and good for nothing unless you want to stab meat.
Oddly, there’s a body-surfing foam board laying near
the YZ250F skeleton on the stand, a rolled-up Horizon’s
Unlimited jersey and old gloves littered about looking like
hands ready to grasp a fork tube or the neck of a chicken.
I’m spooked. My haven appears to have been ravaged by
a tribe of lunatics,
and it takes me a
while to put the
back in when I
remember that my
little brother and I
were working on his bike—the YZ250F. We are in the process of taking a beaten-to-a-pulp machine (that is 10 years
old) and making it a trail-worthy steed. It is possible that
we consumed a few beverages that hindered our ability
to take a sensible approach to tackling this job. So, now I
start the cleanse.
I locate some empty plastic coffee cans and start putting nuts and bolts in them. In the end, I fill two 25-ounce
jugs with the fasteners. I sweep the crusty old MX gloves
into a pile. All of them appear to have been used to change
the oil in a Buick while it was running. I find four hammers:
two big claw jobs, one plastic bouncer and a gnarly mallet.
I set them by the toolbox. Their relevance to the job is a
mystery. Maybe Tipper wanted to erect some wooden edifice, as that’s his trade. Then I notice a punch sticking out
of the swingarm axle like an arrow. I guess we were trying
to remove it for servicing.
Over an hour later, I’ve stacked the tools into piles and
located the suspension, tank, seat and plastic. I detect
the handlebars hiding under the workbench and locate the
wheels, which were covered by my gear bag. I start put-
ting the wrenches
back in their allotted
spaces. Oddly, they
are sizes that really
don’t fit anything
on Tip’s bike. Two
9s, five 13s and
a 23mm wrench
are mixed with a vast number of sockets, ratchets and a
breaker bar with an American 1 5/16 socket that looks like
it was used on an oil rig. Three different pairs of snap-ring
pliers, a tool used to remove broken sprinkler fittings and
an impact screwdriver are also among the oddities.
Finally, I organize the parts for the machine, meter out
the hardware and point it towards its intended home. I fit
up the fork, the shock, the wheels and the bars.
And then, simply because I felt like I fell face first in
mind fugue, I call my brother.
“Hey, brah!” Tip snorted. “Sorry if I left your place looking a little ragged. You bowed out at 8 with a migraine,
so I figured I’d bust out some tools and get that sucker
torn down for inspection. I passed out on the body board,
totally pooped. I ditched early to get to work. You around
tonight? Let’s slam it hard and stitch that wagon together!”
With that, I called my other brother and asked him
who Tip’s real father was, then I started working on his
“Paper towels soiled with some form of crude oil paint the floor and look like mold spores
the size of ashtrays.”
By Tom Webb