|Royal Enfield Interceptor with a very big cannon.|
Al has me beat.
He attached a photo of his sharp looking Royal Enfield Interceptor with a gigantic cannon that perfectly evokes Royal Enfield's "Made Like a Gun" logo.
"The guns are in a cemetery in Skaneateles, N.Y. only several miles from my home. They are Civil War vintage and stand guard at a Civil War monument," he wrote. Al even asked a fellow enthusiast, a Civil War re-enactor, about the cannons.
But first a little bit about his Royal Enfield Interceptor, which Al incongruously calls "the pig bike."
That's because it was a "barnyard" find.
"Jammer, our golden retreiver, couldn't stop sniffing," when it came home, Al wrote:
"Other than its rusty fuel tank and the 1974 inspection certificate I left on the headlight ear, you would never guess this bike was in pieces and covered with pig dirt in some barn.
"I've made some upgrades and modifications from stock. I had to put on lower bars because I always felt like I was 'hanging on' with the stock desert racer bars. I installed a Lucas 6CA contact plate to allow for accurate timing. A roadworthy Mixa horn and relay. And most important an Enfield India twin leading shoe front brake.
"The bike is an incredibly well engineered from a mechanic's standpoint. It is easy to work on. It handles very well on the road and feels like it can go all day at any speed.
"She still has some bugs to work out. The engine has a tendency to stall when stopping and idling. The carbs have been resleeved and it made virtually no difference. I am very suspect of the quality of the resleeve work. I have come so far and am so close to having an incredible motorcycle that I cannot give up now.
"I plan to install new rings and hone the cylinders (there is no measurable cylinder wear after 11,000 miles!). After that work is done I will have to try a set of Amal Premiers. If she isn't reliable at that point I will have to give up and get back to riding my neglected '69 Bonneville."
About the cannons: Al contacted Alan Hodge, raf940 on the BritBike.com forums, a Civil War reenactor. Here's what Alan wrote:
"They arrived in the village on Aug. 13, 1897, almost two years after the completion of the monument. They were a gift of the federal government, with the freight ($39.40) paid by the local Grand Army of the Republic post. First placed on limestone stands to match the monument, they were later mounted on authentic wheeled carriages...
"Specifically, our two resident cannons are 30-pound Parrott Guns. The tube of each gun is 11 feet long and weighs 4,200 pounds. Too heavy to be moved during a battle (each requires a team of eight horses), these were siege guns, wheeled into emplacements and brought to bear on fortifications.
"They take their name from their inventor and manufacturer, Robert Parker Parrott, the superintendent of the West Point Foundry... You can see the identifying initials RPP and WPF engraved on the muzzle face of each gun.
"Even without the initials, the Parrott gun is easily recognized by the thick band of iron wrapped around its breech. This reinforcing band, at the point of greatest force, enabled the gun to be made of iron, rather than bronze. The Parrott gun could thus be manufactured quickly and cheaply. It was a boon to the Union.
"The West Point Foundry made 10-, 20- and 30-pound Parrotts... Brother, you should be standing in ranks near the full-sized Civil War artillery pieces when they go off; you can feel the shock wave. There's an artillery group in South Carolina that has a 20-pound Parrott named Satan. It raises the dirt for about 50 feet in front of the muzzle when they fire that rascal."
Reading that description, Al commented: "the fierceness of this weapon is truly awesome."
But, then, so is that Interceptor