Bonnie's Back Pages

Bright Moments

Two-Wheeled Humor  Some funny stories to tickle your funny bone, and a sudden and unexpected appearance by Lucas, the Prince of Darkness.

Lucas - Loose Unsoldered Connections and Splices

Wrenching the Bonnie

The Bonnie Ref  The Hyperlink Junkie's Illustrated Field Guide to the 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R is a treasure trove of useful information for owners of '69 Triumphs and the 650 unit twins in general. Have a look before you have another wrenching experience!

Hermit's Triumph 650 Parts Lists You've never seen parts lists like these for your classic Triumph. Two dozen unique, illustrated, and hyper-linked views of parts which include information such as size, specs, orientations, torque settings, etc.

How many nipples does a Bonnie have? We've got you covered.

Hermit's Classic Triumph Technotes Handy tips and illustrations on how to keep your classic Triumph motorcycle in good fettle. Includes a technique for conquering the Triumph center stand Super-Spring.

Classic Triumph Motorcycle Special Tools

Classic Triumph Motorcycle Special Tools Sooner or later you're going to need some of these! A complete catalogue of factory and custom tools to work on your vintage Triumph.

One tool you really don't need Breaker - Breaker... Save your money.

Resources

Web Resources for your Brit-Iron

Classic British MC Links
All Brit-Iron all the time. Just for you, Hermit has compiled a list of over 200 verified links to British motorcycle parts, service, clubs, accessories, dealers, and info.

Books

Classic Triumph Annotated Book List Annotated list of books on vintage Triumph motorcycles and online sources to procure them. Also includes British motorcycle books of general interest and, what the heck, a list of BSA motorcycle books too. Reviews and annotations gleaned from the BritIron mailing list.

Service Resources

Smith's Instruments Repair Resources What? Your Smith's tach and speedo are on the fritz again? Whether you want to go the Do-It-Yourself route, or simply empty your wallet, here are some resources that may help.

Coming up - A timely tip on opening up your Smiths speedo can using only a concrete block. Very nice Bardfark, very nice! This is what's getting you the big bucks here!

Back in the Day

I incrementally broke my mother into the idea of two-wheeled motorized transportation: first with Joe Bickly's Lambretta moped and then a '65 Honda Sport 50.

After that I was home free with the '51 Triumph Thunderbird and finally with a brand new 1966 Triumph Bonnie off the showroom floor of Free State Cycle.
First Triumph, First Bonnies

Bonnie, Found in Barn!

Once, a redheaded girl named Bonnie became attached to me. Another army brat, she'd lived in France. Claimed she spoke French and could teach me how. She'd sing "C'est si bon!" as she pushed me on the playground swings. Summer of '51, Dundalk, Maryland.

When it was time for Bonnie to leave, she kissed me goodbye in the stairwell, probably tenderly. And said we might meet again someday.

Well, I never crossed paths with that Bonnie girl again, but there were a few other Bonnies. Here's the latest. Found her in a barn: Frank's Brit-Barn - Re-kindling the Romance

Travels with Bonnie

2017

Snow (and salt) flew early in Fall 2017, so the end-of-season run to Burke Mountain on Remembrance/Veterans Day didn't happen.

Mileage for 2017 closed at 4,755 miles - a bit short of average, but not bad considering the volume of other projects that clogged up my summer calendar.

 
Mountain Biking in the Greens
Vermont's Green Mountains are a mecca for hikers and bikers. On my second trip down to the Greens this summer (that would be the one where it didn't rain all the time) I ran across this mountain bike.

2016

Last Ride of the Season (Itinerary) Some years the last ride is a retroactive surprise; our hope for "just one more ride" are dashed. Devastating.

And then there are years like this, when - with snow on the way - even as we surf a wave of warm, sunny November afternoon exhilaration, we already know this is the last time out of the barn before winter. Bitter and sweet.

October 16th, Burke Mountain, Vermont (18 photos) This year marked the Third Annual Burke Mountain Under the Wire Run. Due to scheduling conflicts it wasn't possible to make the trip on Veterans' Day as is customary. Instead, LA and I saddled on down on October the 6th, a glorious Indian Summer day. Missed the added excitement of the chained off toll road, not to mention snow and ice, but it was a great day up on the mountain.

Saint Etienne de Bolton, Quebec (23 photos)
While riding along the Quebec/Vermont border in July I veered north up to the small, bucolic villiage of Saint Etienne de Bolton, and took these photos there.

2015

July 25th, NEK Vermont (19 photos)
A winding ramble down The Gravel from Troy to Lowell to Eden Vermont. Features views of the forboding mountains of asbestos mine tailings along Mines Road, and a trio of fire engine finds.
Burke Mountain (elevation 3,770 feet, prominence 1,600 feet)
Burke Mountain in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom offers skiing, mountain biking, and hiking, and a toll road that goes nearly to the top. Really great way to reach the peak, but keep your eyes on the road!
No ice on the toll road for this year's Second Annual Burke Mountain Under the Wire Run. Here's the iPod pics.

2014

Fall 2014 Ride Calendar
Gotta get out there and enjoy these waning days of the riding season here during the most beautiful season of the year.
Burke Mountain (elevation 3,770 feet, prominence 1,600 feet)
The First Annual Burke Mountain Under the Wire Run. November 11th, 2014. The toll road to the peak was closed for the season, but Bonnie and I just slipped under the wire.
Half-way up, the toll road was covered with snow and ice so I had to abandon Bonnie and press forward on foot. Needless to say I had the peak all to myself that day and I grabbed these pics for you.
Three Ponds (25 photos)
A return visit to the ponds east of Lake Willoughby on a stunning fall day during peak colors. One of the last of many special rides shared with Bob, RIP. Includes gorgeous photos taken from the Brownington observation tower.
Orleans/Barton/Irasburg
A baker's dozen of photos taken during July around the countryside between Orleans, Barton, and Irasburg, Vermont.
Bonnie Journal 2014
The riding and the wrenching. The agony and the thrill of maintaining the Bonnie.

2013

Fall 2013 Ride Calendar
Weather conditions, routes, and notes on rides taken during October and November 2013.
Thousand Islands NY, September (62 photos)
Photos of Fall 2013 trip across Northern Vermont, Grand Isle, and upstate New York to the Thousand Islands where I met up with my brother Greg and his good fishing buddies Guy and Bill. There I made a sentimental journey on Murray Isle.
Kancamagus Scenic Highway (14 photos, map)
The Kancamagus Scenic Highway snakes it's way up and over the Kancamagus gap, through gorgeous park land between Lincoln and Conway NH. This is not the way the crow flies! On a day like this the "Kank" is filled to over-flowing with campers, bikers, and day-trippers.
Ponds East of Lake Willoughby (15 photos)
Here are a few photos of several of the many ponds east of Lake Willoughby, including Long Pond, Newark Pond, and Bald Hill Pond.

Past Travels

Rural Eastern Townships QC and Northeast Kingdom VT
This scenic trip takes you through just over a hundred miles of rural Quebec and Vermont, all on ashphalt. We started in Ayer's Cliff, but you can begin anywhere around the circle. The observation tower in Saint Malo and Seymour Lake are of special interest. Takes two-and-a-half to four hours, depending on how often you stop and how fast you go. Hopefully often, and not very.

Graveyard Shift

Graveyard Shift
"I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
swooping down from heaven to carry me home."
Richard Thompson
1952 Vincent Black Lightning When you want to stop and stretch your legs it's hard to find a more peaceful place than a country cemetery.

Country cemeteries are nearly always situated in scenic locations, the stories they tell are universal and limited only by our imaginations, and they provide us an opportunity to reflect upon our own mortality and look beyond ourselves.

Roadside Attractions

Stanstead Granite Quarries
A few photos of the Stanstead Granite Quarries Company granite quarry, located in Beebe, Quebec. The photos lead off with a nice shot of the Bonnie in her completely original state.
A might fine looking motocycle, that Bonnie.
Abandoned and Vacant Houses
I just can't resist an abandoned house. Who lived there? Why did they leave? Where did they go? What was left behind?
Open your eyes and ears. Listen closely and you might hear faint whispers of the hopes, fears and dreams of lives come and gone.



Abandoned Montauk Radar Site
What could be better than an abandoned house? How about an abandoned radar site and a little time travel?

Back in the sixties I spent 3 years stationed at the 773rd USAF Radar Squadron, Montauk Point, Long Island, New York. I worked as part of the team of technicians who maintained the site's FPS-35, then the US Air Force's state-of-the-art long-range search radar set.

The site had formally served as Camp Hero during World War 2. The US Army created an extensive system of underground bunkers there, home to heavy artillery for coastal defense.

Just like the WW2 heavy artillery, the FPS-35 had its day and became obsolete. Eventually the site was given over to the New York State Parks Service, which incorporated it into the Montauk State Park. Today the enormous FPS-35 sail no longer turns under 600 horse powers of electric motors, but it still remains atop its concrete, five-story tower: a rusting monument to obsolescence.

And a challenge to trespassers.

During the summer of 2013 I met up with several other former members of the 773rd for a nostalgic return to the old radar site.

Disclaimer: We hereby disavow any knowledge of 'The Montauk Project'. Rumors and conspiracy theories abound, but Our Lips Are Sealed.

Rallies and Shows

Montreal CVMG Monthly Meeting
2013 July Meeting, Stanbridge Est
A whole lot of Brit - Iron!

British Invasion Car Show
2012 British Invasion Stowe Vermont

Montreal CVMG Ormstown Rally
2007 Ormstown Rally

Montreal CVMG Ormstown Rally
2006 Ormstown Rally

Fave Photos

Foliage
Three photos of Bonnie and maxed out automn foliage. Taken on Chemin McShane, just outside of Stanstead QC.
Miscellaneous Faves
Dramatic photos of Bonnie with special lighting provided by sunsets, clouds, mist, and fog.

The Snow Bonnie

Flashback to December 2006 - with the tantelizing aroma of roasting turkeys filling the air everywhere, Bonnie and I get out for a 68 mile ramble on Christmas Day! We even saw Santa Claus up on Herrick Hill.

 

Favorite Destinations




Big Falls VT (35 photos)
Going around Lake Memphremagog is one of my favorite rides. I never tire of the counter-clockwise route. It produces unique and wonderful views on both sides of the border from some of the most scenic gravel roads around.

The 78-82 mile circuit includes one of my all-time favorite destinations: Big Falls VT. Big Falls is situated on the Missisquoi River just outside North Troy. North Troy is pretty much exactly half-way around Lake Memphremagog from Magog QC.

North Troy is also the home of Paddie's Snack Bar. Paddie's is the real thing, an experience not to be missed.

Fitch Bay Views (42 photos)
Some photos on a ride from Georgeville to Fitch Bay to Cedarville to Beebe. Features a stop at one of my favorite destinations - a certain hilltop with truly spectacular views of Fitch Bay and Lake Memphremagog.

Only dedicated back-road riders are likely to stumble upon this spot. The road is marked "Cul de Sac" at one end and appears as a seriously eroded farm road with lots of exposed ledge and mud holes at the other. Not recommended for passenger cars!

Although views from here are great year-round, they are, of course, most spectacular during the Fall, as on this October 2003 ride.

Lake Willoughby (27 photos and map)
Lake Willoughby is truly one of the major jewels in the crown of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Here are photos of the Lake during summer and fall as well as detailed descriptions of several ways to get to it from Derby VT and return by way of Island Pond.

Bonnie at the Castle

2018

January 2018, Winter Maintenance Part I (11 photos)
This winter Bonnie will receive new oil lines, fuel lines, primary chain, throttle cables, etc. as well as all the regular routine maintenance and lubrication.
February 2018, Winter Maintenance Part 2 (16 photos)
Dismantling transmission and gearbox after discovering GOLD in the outer gearbox cover.

Includes photos showing range of motion of gearshift quadrant in degrees as well as the use of several special purpose clutch tools.
February 2018, Winter Maintenance Part 3 (12 photos)
Removing engine from frame for a trip to the machine shop and repair to shorn thrust washer locator peg. Also presents the rare opportunity to shine up the bottom side as well as the top. (But how will I know which side to keep up?)
Fabricating an Engine Base (7 photos)
To facilitate the installation of two gearbox bearings in the casing I fabricated this engine base for use on a hydraulic press.
Installing a Podtronics beneath the Battery Carrier (8 photos)
I used a couple of tie-wraps to fasten a Podtronics regulator/rectifier beneath Bonnie's battery carrier.
Gear Oil & Yellow Metals
Some background info on yellow metals and GL5 gear oil products and some sinetific research.
Assembling the Triumph Unit 650 Gearbox: Hancox Method
A photo-illustrated, step-by-step description of Hughie Hancox's method of assembling the gearbox components.
Camplate & Quadrant Indexing.
A photo-illustrated description of indexing the gearbox camplate and quadrant in first gear, fourth gear, and neutral between 2nd & 3rd.
Triumph Unit 650 Gearbox Assembly: Three Methods Side-by-Side
Assembling the Triumph unit construction 650 gearbox according to the Triumph workshop manual, Haynes, and Hughie Hancox.

2016

January 2016, Top End Tear-Down (15 photos)
Leaking pushrod tube seals caused Bonnie to get pretty crudded up during the season. Fixing that meant pulling off the head so logically it was the right time to refresh the top end.

 
April 2016, Gearbox & Transmission Work (14 photos)
Having finally obtained a brand new, high quality mainshaft, it was time to delve once more into the gearbox. In addition to installing the new mainshaft, I replaced both needle roller bearings, the only ones not renewed last year. Last year's clutch and transmission re-build was holding up wonderfully.

 
May 2016, Top End Re-Assembly (21 photos)
Putting it all back together after an .080" overbore, new pistons and rings, and valve work. Soon to be on the road again.

 

2015

2015 Teardown (15 photos)
As well receiving new electrical wiring, Bonnie's transmission and gearbox are getting a going-over.

Extracting the clutch center was quite a job, and the reason for that was apparent when it finally let go: the half-moon key fixing the clutch center to the mainshaft was in two pieces.

2015 Teardown, Part 2: Gearbox Blues
While the new wiring system and transmission are working great, problems plague the gearbox.
Classic Triumph Motorcycle Gearbox Animation (front)
Watch 1969 classic Triumph Bonneville 650 gears shift up and down through four speeds and neutral. Shows shifter forks, gear cluster, and camplate. Educational. Entertaining. (Be patient - takes a few moments to load)
Front View Animation
Rear View Animation
More Gearbox Stuff
The Triumph Gearbox Quadrant & Camplate Indexing Training Simulator. Photos, drawings, and mock-ups illustrate shifting gears.

2006

New Wiring Harness - 2006
Some photos of Bonnie's new reproduction cloth-covered wiring harness in 2006.
Powdercoating - 2006
Bonnie's frame and tinware return from the powder coating spa. Resplendent!

2005

Original Wiring Harness - 2005
A few photos showing wiring connections and routing of Bonnie's original 1969 wiring harness. (Note: while the wiring harness is original, condenser location is not).
Engine Removal using Chain Hoist - 2004
Removing and replacing the engine from/in the frame of a 1969 Triumph T120R using a chain hoist to do the heavy lifting.
Reassembly - Winter 2004
Reassembling Bonnie after painting her cylinder block, frame, and tinware. Very shiny!