5. Keep the Camera Charged. Always.This first tip is a little more related to blogging but we've said since day one that our blog is a tool to get us to ride more. And so far, that's working. I know of lots of blogs that don't include photos, but that's just not our style. We feel like the photos help to convey our meaning and keep us from reading like a technical manual. Not to mention, since Scott and I share the responsibility of writing for our blog, the photos allow us to go back and see what we actually did and in what order. Otherwise every post I wrote would inevitably have at least one mention of "the little round thingy" or "that tool with the threads at the end." So for us, keeping our camera charged helps us to get more work done, which equates to more ride time.
4. Think Outside of the Box (or Garage)The most awesome purchase we've made this summer wasn't for riding or for our blog. It was a canopy that we purchased for an upcoming camping trip. In the middle of August, when our garage was an oven and working outside felt even hotter, our canopy was a lifesaver. When we replaced the timing chain in our Grizzly, we set the canopy up in our driveway so we could work in the shade but still feel the breeze. You can read more about that here. If you're a suburban mechanic like us, we HIGHLY recommend you pick on of these guys up.
3. Don't Be Afraid of a Little DIYThis is definitely a motto I think should apply to all ATV enthusiasts. Don't get me wrong, we are all about doing things safely and doing them correctly the first time. But when it comes to maintenance and repairs there are a lot of people out there who assume that everything needs to go to a dealership or that there is only one way of doing something. While we're not above admitting when something is over our head, if we went to a dealership for all of our repairs, we probably wouldn't be able to afford to ride. We try to do as much maintenance as we can on our own. What's that? You want to know our proudest DIY moments? Well that's a toss up. While working on an ATV for a friend, we had to order a custom thread repair kit. When it came in wrong and we didn't have time to order a new kit, we were forced to improvise. (Read more about that here.) After that first experience welding aluminum, we were anxious to try it again. It wasn't long before Scott had a project for us -- he ripped off my worn out skid plate and whipped me up another. Though we had some trouble working with the aluminum the second time, we're still just as excited about all the other possibilities this new skill gives us. You can read more about my new skid plate here.
2. Keep a Clean Work Area (and House!)It feels weird saying this (maybe because we're in our late twenties and just seemed to have figured it out) but keeping a clean house and clean work area make a huge difference when it comes to both working and playing. For one, being vigilant about cleaning up after each project makes it easier for us to find the tools we need and allows us to set up for the next project more quickly. In addition, keeping up with household chores makes us feel like we have more free time to work on maintaining our toys. And anyways, after a long muddy day, who really wants to come home to laundry on the floor and a sink full of dishes? Not us. And because I know at least one guy out there is gonna go all, "Why would I WANT to do dishes" on me....
(Confused by the reference above? Clear things up here.)And the number one thing we've learned so far...
1. Don't Start Working at 5 and Expect the Sun to Stay up for YouI have so many examples for this one, I don't know where to start. In fact, I think 80% of our projects get started later than we want and a good 95% take more work than we expect. But I feel it wouldn't be right if I didn't provide you with some specific examples. For the sake of word count, I'll limit it to three:
- That time we thought we needed to adjust the valves in the Grizzly but really needed a new timing chain
- Speaking of the Grizzly, pulling the valve cover off took so long, that we ended up writing a whole post about stuck bolts
- And we always think we can do an oil change after work but almost always end up finishing in the dark