When a Northern Illinois District Court judge denied Snow’s federal habeas petition right before Christmas, she also summarily denied his request to appeal the decision to a higher court by issuing a denial of Snow’s Certificate of Appealability (COA) at the same time.
The Exoneration Project immediately appealed the denial of the COA, and was granted the right to appeal to the Seventh Circuit on February 18th. The order explicitly states:
We find that Snow has made a substantial showing of the denial of his right to
(1) the effective assistance of trial counsel with respect to evidence about Danny Martinez and Carlos Lunda, and
(2) due process under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).
We also find that the district court’s procedural default determination is debatable.
In order to obtain a COA under § 2253(c), a habeas prisoner must make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, a demonstration that, under Barefoot, includes showing that reasonable jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner or that the issues presented were “‘adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.'”
Further, in order to obtain a certificate of appealability when dismissal is based on procedural grounds, a petitioner must show, “at least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.
We are very excited to be able to present Jamie’s case to the Seventh Circuit.
We currently do not have definitive timelines for the procedures, but will keep you posted updated.
Even though the judge ordered photos of the crime scene, it seems when it “came down to the wire” the state objected to a series of photos being scanned.
The big question is “Why?”
I get it. It’s a lawyer thing. The State Representative is there to protect the State. But I can’t help but think it goes a little deeper than that. We must wonder why they will not open the file. What do they have to hide? What are they protecting the State “from?” And if Jamie Snow is guilty, why not just open all of the discovery?
Instead, they take it to the judge because that’s what lawyers have to do.
So here we are.
The Exoneration Project necessarily filed a motion to scan the photos. McLean County filed a response that Jamie Snow does not have a right to those photos under the current order.
Why doesn’t Jamie Snow have the right to his entire file? All photos, all police reports, EVERYTHING. Why are they so defensive? Ironic, isn’t it?
If you are so inclined, below are links to both motions, along with select quotes.
“However, on April 26, 2016, while the State and counsel for Mr. Snow were reviewing photographs at BPD. the State objected to counsel scanning some photographs in BPD’s possession, including close-up photographs of a red car in the parking lot of the gas station, and photographs showing a dark car that appeared to be in a garage.”
A recent Ground Report article by Bruce Fischer outlines a discussion involving McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers in reference to the DNA testing issue in Jamie Snow’s case.
Definitely worth the read…screenshots and all.
He still doesn’t answer the question, “Why not test the DNA?”
“Jason Chambers manages to rattle off a series of falsehoods all within a single post consisting of 5 sentences. Those falsehoods, along with others seen in the screenshots.
Here is a snippet taken from the screenshots at the link:
Facebook Poster: “If the DNA test cost the state NOTHING and can prove one way or the other why not have it done? I have to agree test the DNA I really do not see any issue not to.”
Chamber’s response: “There is nothing they want tested which would prove innocence at this point. They are requesting one thing to be tested which already was tested. It is not like a sex assault case where they are requesting a sex assault kit be tested to prove exactly whose DNA was involved in a rape. They want to argue that because someone else’s DNA was in the gas station, it must have been someone else, and that is simply not that case.”
Injustice Anywhere, an organization working to correct wrongful convictions, has launched a petition asking McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers to allow DNA testing in the Jamie Snow case.
Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted in 2000, of a 1991 “cold case” murder and armed robbery of a gas station attendant in Bloomington, Illinois. Snow is an innocent man who remains in prison while DNA evidence goes untested in his case, even though not one shred of physical evidence has ever linked Snow to the crime.
For nearly 8 years the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) has fought DNA testing in this case, despite the fact that the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project has agreed to pay for ALL DNA testing at NO COST to McLean County tax payers. The petition simply asks Jason Chambers to allow the Exoneration Project to pay for the DNA testing. There is absolutely no logical reason for Chambers to continue blocking the tests. There is no doubt that if this crime had occurred today, that the state would test every single piece of physical evidence collected from the crime scene.
The Injustice Anywhere petition provides detailed information about the Jamie Snow case and also includes an audio message from Snow. Please take a moment to read the petition and listen to Snow’s audio recording. You can click on this link to view the petition: Support DNA Testing for Jamie Snow
I hope you’re still hangin’ in there, bro! I’ve been pretty busy and we have indeed made some progress! I did find out the the back rest I previously mentioned is actually set up for a slightly larger CB750 and is waaaay too damn wide to fit your CX. However, on the brighter side I do have a stock rear chrome luggage rack. This rack was actually made for this model bike and mounts the rear turn signals to it. I have included a picture of it mounted on the bike and I looks really great! Now if Tammy slides backwards on acceleration, the worst that will happen is an imprint on her ass that resembles either a mini barbecue grill or a xylophone. That’s wrong, isn’t it? I lost my “filter” years ago soooooo. I think Rhonda stole it. However, this rack actually has the two forward ends of the tubing frame open with plastic collars inside them. Being a very old school scooter tramp, I know these are actually bushings. These bushings are inserted into the tubes to put pressure on another component. A loop style backrest! The backrest has a forward facing padded rest mounted to a round tube frame with the two lower legs facing rearward opposite the back rest side. These two rearward tubes slide directly into the forward facing tubes of the rear rack. Somewhat like a trombone action. A really clever design. It may take awhile but they are out there and I shall find one. Of course the other option is that, being the crafty bastard that I am, I’ll just fabricate one! Anyway, the picture will show you how good it looks with just the rack mounted.
Now for some exciting stuff. I have the old gal stripped of all the electrical wiring, handle bar cables and controls, headlight, horn, front brake controls and caliper, carburetors, fuel tank, seat, and radiator. Pictures are included of everything in plastic containers. I use plastic containers because they don’t get soaked with water or fluids or get that nasty ass musty smell from growing mold like cardboard does. Not to mention that it protects the parts much better. Everything you see in the boxes will be disassembled and completely cleaned and then reassembled. I included two pictures of the headlight bucket with the dirty wiring followed by another picture of the same wiring cleaned with Simple Green. I will definitely be cleaning out that headlight bucket and coating it with rust converter. That is some cool shit man. Spray it on rust and when the rust turns black, it is no longer oxidized! Gotta wear a mask with some of this stuff otherwise it will try to do the same thing to your lungs. I mean, who wants to sound like that 75 year old truck stop waitress who smells like the ash tray on your table, right??? To my previous point, everything including the wiring harness will be cleaned. First, I soak the brass connectors (just the connector) in brown vinegar. Brown vinegar has a 5% acetic acid concentration and is the best thing I know of for cleaning brass or copper safely. You can toss a practically black penny into it and over night it will come out looking like new! One has to be patient since the acid concentration is only 5% so the harness connectors will sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours and will get a light wire brushing when done to make them shiny again. Green corrosion on old harness connectors is not our friend. Its kind of like a sinus infection, just a different shade of green. I put that in there for Rhonda. I can hear her gagging even as I type 🙂 Yeah, she proof reads my letters. After that, (cleaning the harness, not Rhonda gagging) I generally hang the harness from one end or from the middle, depending on how long it is and then spray it down with Simple Green, followed by light nylon brush scrubbing, followed by a wipe down rinse with a rag soaked in clean water, followed by a drying wipe down and finished with a wipe down of WD40. Makes them look almost factory new. The key to making an old bike look good is cleanliness and shine. I’ve seen bikes that had great paint on the fender and tank and there was this ugly nasty ass wiring harness looking like it laid in the mud just before they put it on. I mean WTF??? Do the whole job! Another thing I think is really lame are so many guys are taking an old bike and just spraying the entire thing with a coat of primer and calling it a custom bobber, then asking $1500 for it. Somehow, a motorcycle tire painted primer gray just ain’t stylin’ and it tells me someone has probably been sniffing the spray paint to get their stylin’ ideas.
I still have more tear down to do, but as I said previously, I want to set the valves and since I don’t have an engine stand I will do that on the bike. That is the next step and I’ll send pictures with my next letter. I leave both wheels on the bike when I do engine work so it is more stable than placing a motorcycle jack under the engine and removing the front end. Not many things suck worse than having your scooter fall over putting some nice cracks in that pretty cracked aluminum or on that gray covered cranium. Worse if one of those pieces happens to be the edge of the cylinder head. Removing the valve covers will also tell me if there is much sludge in the engine. If so I’ll clean the oil passages and check the oil pump, but as the oil I drained out of it was nice and kind of the color of pale root beer, I expect it will be fairly clean inside. It was running nicely when I went to look at it so I think we’re golden on that one. I know it will be somewhat boring but I will send before and after pictures of components as I clean and restore each one. Cleaning ain’t exactly exciting but I really enjoy taking something from dirty and dingy to a clean and, in the case of wiring, colorful as new condition. It is such an important step in making an old vehicle look great. Generally what makes a bike, or any vehicle for that matter, that’s been sitting for a while look so crappy is the layer upon layer of dust and corrosion that has accumulated as it sat for what has been usually years. One of the first things I do when I bring a bike home is give it a good thorough washing all over and then hose to motor down with WD40. WD40 makes it look really clean and shiny right away, but the reason I do that is to soften up and old grease and oil that have collected dust/dirt and become as hard as wood pecker lips! Old grease impregnated with road dirt can be damn near impossible to remove without breaking out the ol scraper.
I have created a list of what you asked for. You may be in a place right now where you don’t have many choices, but out here you do, so as you think of things just let me know and I shall add it to the list. Once it is met I mark it done, just like this:
Stock handlebars – done
Stock seat – done
Black wall tires – done
Small fairing, w/radio (silverwing) – planned
Tank logo w/ Illinois Innocence Project and place for release date – planned
Tank color – ?
That should work to keep us “aligned” so when you sit your ass on it for the first time, you can truthfully say “It’s exactly the way I imagined it!” We can do that.
Well, I did finish the Miami bike. I put a little over one hundred miles on it to make sure it was actually complete and working well and then it went to a guy in the mountains of NC, up close to Boone. Really pretty up there and close to the Blue Ridge parkway. I traded him for an unfinished Yamaha XS650 chopper. Construction wise it’s 95% done but wiring, a few simple part fabrications like the headlight mount and rear fender fit up and final paint. I plan for it to be the last bike I build and I wanted to go back to my youthful roots and build an original wild ride. It has a hellaciously long springer on the front and is so low it’ll probably scrape speed bumps even at a crawl 🙂 Don’t know yet but I may have to get that frame up out of the grass for highway ridin’! I included pictures of both the finished CX and the chop. It will be awhile before I do much to it. I have to clean and set the Goldwing’s carbs and then degree wheel the point timing to the camshafts to get it to run correctly. The old Wings are very touchy but not impossible to work on. When set up correctly they are one of the best motors on the market. Most good for well over 200,000 miles if well maintained. Yep, no joke, 5 zeros in that last number. The newer models (1500 cc size) are known to do double that. There is actually a bike mechanic in Dubuque, Iowa who has worked at the local Honda shop for decades. Rides his Wing to work, even in the winter. The bike has over 450,000 documented miles on it and was so impressive the local news did a story on it along with the local paper. I personally saw the bike and it looks like new! F**kin kewl!
I manage my time in segments for the sake of consistency. It works like this. I’ll take somewhere in the neighborhood of one or two nights after work to restore the CX’s wiring harnesses, using the method I mentioned earlier. Then depending on where we are with the project, let’s say I’m waiting on carburetor parts and gaskets for the CX, I may move to the Nighthawk engine and spend two nights cleaning it and getting it ready for paint when warm weather returns. I would really like to have all of our bikes done with the new chopper almost complete by this time next year. Farming out the paint save WEEKS of time on each bike and I am glad to do it. I’ll paint the engines or, for your CX clean to original engine silver if that is what you’d like. the Nighthawk engine will be gloss black for certain.
One really cool thing I did see on your CX is a balanced air ride stock front suspension! The 1980 I just traded did not have that. It may have been a 1981 CX500 first. In one of the pictures you can see me pointing to a hose connecting the two upper fork tubes with one of the tubes having a Schrader valve (fancy correct name for the typical valve used in tire valve stems and most devices inflatable with air) as an air input. This allows you to stiffen the front suspension for tighter handling on curvy roads. My green bike has a valve on each tube so they have to be checked individually.
I’ll keep sending updates and you keep replying so we can get this bad boy done! You’ll be amazed at how good parts will look once I get them clean. Next month I’ll be looking at getting the frame of your CX and my Nighthawk “powdered” and that is really exciting, because once that is done we begin the process of turning them back into “road warriors”. The local shop powders in black all the time so they will just hang both frames with existing contracts, which cuts down on the cost. I think that is very cool. They love to do motorcycle parts and I’m (now we’re) glad 🙂
By the way, we are including a color chart for you to look at. Black would be a good color if you want the innocence logo to be in the blue w/light blue color scheme, but if you want orange then by God that’s what it will be!
Well that’s about it for now, my friend. Keep the faith and I hope I am giving you some things to envision rather than just laying in bed staring at the ceiling.
All my best
What a rack! (Sorry, Tam, not you, the bike!) I know, so wrong on so many levels…
Naked as a J bird! Well, almost
Parts is parts and they gotta be taken care of. Some of this is worth some bucks. Carbs routinely sell for $200 needing a full rebuild (Hence they get their own tote 🙂
Air ride! This’ll keep your bike on the road and your nuts off the tank.
Dirty to clean. That entire headlight bucket interior will be rust converted black when done. I don’t know who the sadistic bastard was who decided all the front end electrical connectors should go inside the headlight bucket instead of an actual electrical box to be protected from the weather but when he gets to heaven, I think Jesus may give him a real hard time before letting him in. These are no fun and the edge of the bucket ain’t very forgiving either!
The finished CX “Miami”
The “Miami’s” replacement.
Take a look at these and if you like one or even a combination of two for a tank color let me know. Just use the letter row/number column to communicate a choice.
As always, I hope this letter finds you and the rest of the family well. I’m doing my best to stay busy and remain focused on the positive. It’s been such a long time since I was stuck in my cell without a job assignment, so it’s taking some time to get used to it. But I’ll make it, I’m sure of that.
I have to say, I wasn’t sure about the fringed handlebar covers until you described what they meant to you – “True freedom in motion.!! YES!! I don’t think it’s a bit corny at all. I’ll remember this conversation the first time I see them flying in the wind.
I’m gonna have to say yes to the back rest for Tammy. Even though yesterday she said she wasn’t sure if she’ll want to ride with me. She’s not sure she’d “Trust Me.” I guess I’ll have to pass “Her Test” before she’ll get on the bike J! There are a few things I don’t think, no matter how long I’m in here, I won’t forget how to do. Driving a car or riding a bike is a couple of them. I’m gonna guess the gear pattern is one up, four down, or is it reversed?
Do bikes also have to pass a state emissions test? I know that was a pain the ass in Florida. I always bought my trucks old enough that they’d be exempt from the emissions testing. I was wondering what’s the helmet laws there in NC and TN? Rhonda sent a letter with a picture of you guys on your bike and you both had on helmets. So is that by choice or is it the law? I’ve never really cared for them too much myself. But I’ve also never banged my head off the pavement at 65 mph.
You truly must have a great amount of patience to be able to break these bikes down and build them back up. My dad was a mechanic all his life with his own shop. I tried working for him a half a dozen times over the years, but I just didn’t have the patience for all the wrench turning.
Your description of trying to find and fix the coolant leak you had going is exactly what would of drove me CRAZY!! Although, after my experience the last 15+ years, I might have the patience now to do that sort of work.
I do like both the colors you have picked, so that’s good with me. I noticed there isn’t a fender on the back. Will you put on or leave it off? I guess it really wouldn’t matter unless you were riding on a wet road.
I’m not sure if you told me before or not, but what exactly is a quality systems auditor? I know Rhonda said you have to travel a lot, but what do you do?
Well Rex, I guess I’ll end this here, and get it on its way. Thanks for the pictures and the updates. I feel like I can actually see it all coming together.
Again, I hope all is well out there with you guys. Be safe and take care. Write when you can!
PS: I was wondering if you get a lot of snow in the Carolina’s or can you ride year round?
I hope you’re hangin’ in there like a hair in a biscuit!
I got a stock seat and handlebars put on it as you requested. They look good together. I also picked up a set of fringed leather handlebar covers. I put those on so you could see them in the picture. If you don’t like em’ they are as easy to remove as untying a shoe! I have them on two of my bikes. It gives them an old school appeal. I also like glancing at that fringe flying in the wind when your running down the road. It’s like looking at true freedom in motion. Nothing holding it down or constraining it, just the fluid motion of leather strips riding on the wind. Corny I know but that’s why I love riding a motorcycle. Just me, the bike and the wind…well unless Rhonda is riding back saddle.
Hey I also realized I actually have an old 70’s style round tube back rest/sissy bar that will fit your bike. It is actually in excellent condition and even has all the brackets to mount it to the bike. The back pad is nice too. I put it up in the garage to keep it from getting dusty or messed up and almost forgot I had it! If you want to go for an old 70’s stock look that would be the icing on the cake. Not to mention…trying to be considerate of Tammy…you won’t have to buy that T-shirt which has written on the back “If You Can Read This the Bitch Fell Off”! For some reason I can picture Kathy laughing and calling me an asshole. 🙂 She was quite the character. We had a love-hate relationship. We both loved liquor and we both hated being without it! So, I’ll put that back rest on the bike before I tear it down so you can see how it looks and if you like it we’ll add it when we build it back up. I can’t think of anything I would be putting it on so there ya have it. They are also great for tying your travel bag to if you are gonna take a road trip.
I am almost finished with the “Miami” bike. I put the decals on it and put a clear coat the tank tonight. Once it cures I need to reassemble the fill cap and petcock to it. Then I’ll bolt it back on and fill it with fuel and it’s ready for the road. I have license and insurance on it already. Being it’s 35 years old, it doesn’t require state inspection! Even if it did, it would pass. I’ve put my booger hooks on every single nut and bolt that holds the old sucker together. It had a small coolant leak that was driving me crazy but I finally found it. The leak was at the base of the water pump, which is located underneath the carburetors. Every time I tried to seal it and failed, I had to remove the battery, unbolt the air box and remove the carbs and throttle cables. Lots of fun there…if you like juggling porcupines… but it appears I have it sealed now. I had it running for about a half hour last night and saw no evidence of any coolant seeping. Sometimes it’s those simple things that make me feel as though I occasionally suffer a severe case of cranial rectal inversion. Is that why they say it’s the simple things that make life worth living? I hope so because those particular situations sure as hell rarely leave one with a sense of accomplishment. It’s more along the lines of “finally, you sorry rat bastard!” But perhaps I go too far.
As soon as I get the tank back on it and move it out of the “work area” I will begin tearing down your bike. I am looking forward to doing that. I plan to do the engine work before I drop it down out of the frame. I enjoy the wrench work a helluva lot more than paint and body work. I know it needs the valves adjusted and I plan to pull the large engine covers off both the front and the rear of the engine. I will of course send pictures. These things were engineered by masters of design. It will be so much easier to do while it’s hanging from the main frame as opposed to sitting on blocks. I want to see what the valve train chains look like as well as the clutch packs. I think that would be a good idea considering it has 39,000 miles on it, which for a Honda is nothing, but it’s always a good idea to see what needs to be tightened or replaced, if you want it to go to 139,000 miles 🙂 I found a complete gasket set for it at a super price so I am also considering pulling the cylinder heads but before I go to that extent, I’m going to run my bore scope into the cylinder heads to look at the pistons. The valves can actually be easily seen by removing the carburetors and I can run the scope through the same ports. If it looks good and only needs the valves shimmed…well, you know the old saying…”if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Most of these old Hondas and especially these sideways V twins only need adjustments to keep them purring. The reason I’m doing the mechanicals first is so we don’t have to do it after the paint work and mess all that up.
I’ve decided to work both your bike and my Nighthawk at the same time. I will be doing just the mechanical work on them. I have decided to “farm out” the paint work. If black is agreeable to you for the frame and rear swing arm, I am going to have them powder coated. There is a local shop that will media blast and powder coat for a very good price. Powder coating is awesome. Hard as diamond and very shiny. Let me know what you think about that. I was also going to ask how you felt about having the engine gloss black with burnt orange valve covers and one of two other accents on the engine, like the water pipe that runs along the side. I am including a picture of two paint caps for color reference.
So I thought I’d tell an old gear head joke.
There was this penguin who had a nice old Cadillac. He loved the car. One day he headed toward town and the old Caddy was makin a weird noise. The penguin decided to go directly to his mechanic and get it looked at. He gets to the garage and the mechanic says he’ll take a look but it’ll be about an hour. The penguin says, “No problem I’ll just stroll around town for a little while”. As he’s waddling down the sidewalk he sees an ice cream parlor. He says to himself, ” Man, I haven’t had ice cream in years!” He goes inside and looks at all the flavors and realized how much he loves vanilla ice cream. He gets a huge bowl of it, sticks his little beak in it and wolfs it all down. He returns to the garage an hour later to see his mechanic. The penguin says “So, what’s goin on?” His mechanic says “Well, it looks like you blew a seal!” The penguin replies “Nope, just had a bowl of ice cream.”
It was good to hear from you, and I’m really excited about the project. I’ll answer as best I can your questions.
I love the bike! I’d take it just as it is, and ride with the biggest damn smile on my face that you ever did see. 🙂
I’m not sure about the color yet. I’d probably go for the regular factory style handlebars. I think for sure I’ll need a full length seat so I can take Tam with me when I ride.
She said she’d be scared to ride with me, but I don’t know why. I started riding mini bikes and motorcycles when I was 5.
I had a Honda 125 when I was like 8 or 9 years old. I had to get on it by standing on a milk crate. I’d take off from a dead stop, ride for as long as I wanted, and then just have to stop and fall over. :). So I think the only thing she’ll have to worry about is my laughing uncontrollably on my first ride out of sheer joy!
I love the plan of a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I didn’t realize it was that long. How many states does it go through? I would one day like to do a cross country ride. My Dad and I used to talk about doing that. No maps, no real desitination except head West. If I ever the chance Rex, I’m gonna do it.
I’m looking at the pictures of the bike and I wonder is there any way a small fairing would fit on there? Not like a huge Goldwing type thing, just a small one, big enough to hold a radio and a couple of speakers? I’d love to be able to ride with some music…?
I have this dream of one day returning to Florida to visit.
The last time I was there, I remember heading North out of St. Pete across the Howard Franklin Bridge. I remember looking back at the city I called home and wondering to myself if I would ever see it again.
So now my dream is to head back across that bridge one day. This time heading South with the song, “Take the Long Way Home” blasting out of the speakers of whatever I’m in or on.
I’ve got some other ideas I’ll run by you later on and if you think it’s even possible. I think the black wall tires you already have will look great on it. I’m also sending a logo that I really like.
Instead of saying Illinois Innocence Project, it could say across the top “Free Jamie Snow” and at the bottom we’ll put the date I’m set free? What do you think?
Ok, I guess for now I’ll end this here and get it in the mail. I hope all is well out there with you and the family. Tell Rhonda I said hi.
Rhonda says ya’ll had a great visit! That’s awesome. Everyone was so excited to meet you and now you know what some more of the family looks like. Well, if the face to face didn’t scare you off I guess nothing will! Don’t worry about me; I’m adorable which is why I’m married to a hot chick. She walked me through the protocol so when I can get up there I’ll know what to do when I come in. I have no idea right now when that time might be but I have added visiting you to my bucket list!
As far as being reckless, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t in their younger years. Every Pennsylvania state trooper out of the barracks in my home town knew me by name. My bad habits were fast loud cars and all the associated nasty behavior that come with it. Racing, drinking, etc. I’m an old married 63 year old now but back then a “juvenile delinquent” like me is who you kept your daughters away from. The family pet too, if I was on my motorcycle. Just kidding…I had my own dog. I paid so many fines the District Magistrate knew my car by sound. Her name was Donna Combs. She even said once,” I heard you drive by my house last night. That was you wasn’t it?” It was me. Apparently, having the only Camaro with straight Thrush mufflers, made me unique. In an over regulated state like PA, you are actually breaking the law if you modify your car in any way at all. Loud pipes then equaled altered exhaust which carried a nifty $50 fine…and that was in 1975!
Moving right along, attached please find pictures of your bike!
I hope you like it. It’s a CX500C very much like the one I am just finishing and just slightly smaller than the green bike I sent pictures of before. She’s got 39,000 miles on her but for these Hondas that’s nothing. She started right up when I went to look her over. These are the bikes Honda made into the long distant Silverwing Interstates, back in the 80’s, because of the smoothness of the engine. I love these sideways V-twins because they do a “torque roll” like a car with a V8 engine, when you rev it up! This old gal is super solid with a good tank and nice mechanicals. It runs smooth and the only thing the engine does need is a valve adjustment. No biggie. I’ll be going over the motor to make sure it doesn’t leak and everything that needs to work actually does. The valves are set up just like a car with overhead rocker arms. I will be rebuilding the carbs which is also easy to do…well, since I have a manual specific to the model it is. Considering I’ve done two sets in the last two years that’s a piece of cake. I already have two brand new black wall tires and rear brake shoes for it.
Right now it is fairly bare bones, as you can see in the pictures. As it sets, it is a very good place to start. All the main pieces you need are there and with it basically down to the frame you can do all kinds of different things. I should have the “Miami” bike (as I’ve come to call it since it’s ocean mist blue) done completely in less than three weeks. As soon as it is, I will start tearing yours down for reworking. Rhonda is going to be the “historian”, taking pictures as we progress, and we’ll be sending update pictures and notes with my letters.
So now it’s up to you to make some decisions! Naturally you don’t have to decide them all at once.
What color or colors do you think you might like?
Do you have any designs you like? (flames, graphics, etc.)
What style of handlebars? (Ape hangers, straight drag bars, pull backs)
Handlebar styles to choose from.
Rise tends to indicate the height of your hand position from where the bar mounts to the upper triple clamp.
Ape hanger handlebars with 14” rise
Drag style handlebars with 4 inch “dogbone” risers
Standard rise (about 6”) handlebars
What style seat? (single solo, full length factory style two up)
Solo seat on my “tail dragger”
Full length two up (riders)
What style frame?
Bobber (cut off right behind the seat like my green bike
Full length (will have to be for a full length two up seat)
What style tires? (white wall or black wall)
There ya go, just a few simple questions! Naturally, you don’t have to answer them right away.
Let’s start with the basic question, since that’s the one I need to start the rebuild from the ground up. What style frame would you like, bobber or full length? Once I know that I can make some suggestions on how we should set her up.
There you have it, the beginning! If you wish let me know what items I can send to help you make decisions. Pictures of the military bike and the Miami bike show a bobbed frame versus a full length frame and a solo seat versus a full length seat. They should help you decide the style. After that, I can send some color patches to help you decide what color you might like.
I hope you find this exciting because I’m wound up tighter than an eight day clock! I have no idea what the hell that means but my dad always said it when he was wired for 480. He always said that when someone else was freaked out. My dad was one of those guys who would do shit like test an electrical circuit by lightly touching it with his fingers. He did it one day in the furnace room when the blower motor wouldn’t kick on. Unfortunately, it, being a steam generating coal furnace, had sweated a puddle of condensation. Dad had been standing in it when he touched the wires. Dad used a test light after that. Amazing that he didn’t end up drooling in his cereal with some of the shit he did like that. He worked as a service technician for the PA Gas & Water Company and was a trained electrician. I think that was his moment of over confidence followed directly by his moment of humility. He was a cool guy and thought Rhonda was the best thing that ever happened to me. He started drooling in his cereal shortly after that statement. Mom loves Rhonda too.
Mom is in her late 80’s and still runs around like a B-B in a rubber room. Wide open throttle. They celebrate her birthday every year by removing another buckle off her straight jacket. Just kidding. She would kick my ass if she heard me say that. I used to prank call her. She’d answer the phone and I would say shit like “Is this the lady who dances topless at birthday parties?” There would be a moment of silence…and I could hear the wheels turning…followed by a “You little bastard, talking to your mother like that!” and then she’d laugh so hard she’d snort! Gotta have some fun. She too loves Rhonda to pieces.
OK back to bike stuff and some questions you asked me. The longest distance I’ve ridden at one time is about two hundred miles. I have not ridden across country like many of my friends but one of these days soon I plan to ride the 8 hours to PA to see an old friend of mine. I ride to work every day if it isn’t raining in the morning. I don’t care if I get wet riding home. When I lived in Dubuque, Iowa a group of us got together every Thursday after work and rode for about 150 miles. We’d ride somewhere and eat dinner/supper and then ride home. Sometimes I didn’t get back until about 9:00 and I’d have all these little bug wings sticking on my vest. Rhonda would almost gag when I told her it was free protein and that I’d been eating em’ for 50 miles! Since moving to NC, I really like to get up in the “twisties” of the Blue Ridge Parkway. When you get out, WE HAVE GOT TO RIDE THE PARKWAY. It is amazing. I’ll take a few days of vacation and we can ride it through several states…none of which are Illinois!
You asked me why the military (green) bike doesn’t have a front fender. I wanted it to have a little chopper “flavor”. It makes the front end look longer and “back in the day” the chopper rarely had a front fender as to accent that long front stretch. Yep, when the road is wet I get a free shower! I got away with leaving the fender off because it actually has a fork bridge. That is the part that keeps your front forks from flexing. You need that when riding fast so the steering stays solid. The CX500 like yours and my Miami bike actually use the front fender as a fork bridge so we need to either leave the front fender on or fabricate a fork bridge to run between the forks using the fender mounting holes. I see some guys take the front fender off on these old 500s and don’t bridge the forks. All I can think is “it’s just a matter of time” and they’ll look soooo cool ricocheting off a damned pine tree. Ignorance ain’t bliss in building scooters. Scooter is my favorite term for a motorcycle. I refer to myself and other riders as scooter tramps. Another old school term which tends to raise eyebrows with some folks. When I get that reaction I want to say “Well, I could have said motorcycle whore!”
OK Jamie I’m closing for now. Want to get this letter to you so you can get back to me with what you want. I am really ready to get started on this! I know there will probably be some lag time between our communications but that’s OK. I am also rebuilding my 1985 Nighthawk at the same time so I’ll just move back and forth between them. Attached are the pictures of different styles I mentioned.