As mentioned already, we were unsure of what the best route and most expedicious fix for the leaking head gaskets might be. I decided not to try machining these complicated and, in our timescale, irreplaceable parts. The other choice at hand was to use some high temp copper RTV goop. One problem with it is that it wants 24 hours to set up, but we didn't even have 12...
The next day was a long, hot trip (279 miles) to Spirit Lake, IA, home of (the latest incarnation of) Indian Motorcycles, which was recently purchased by Victory/Polaris. In the morning, the bike fired up easily and sounded good, with no detectable leaks around the head/cylinder joint. Off we went!
...for seven miles. On the far side of Anamosa, I could already hear, through my helmet and earplugs, the death rattle coming from the left cylinder (the right seemed to continue on just fine). Before I could find a nice, paved parking lot to pull into, the left head gasket really let go, and I felt something on my left shin. I looked down, and what I saw was FIRE! It was coming out from the head/cylinder joint!
I stopped the engine and got off onto a dirt shoulder. I opened my tail bag and got out my "magic" wrench. (It has a 60 degree cranked head and allows one to almost always remove the bottom head nut from its stud without also removing the exhaust system and the floorboard.) I checked the tightness of all the nuts, but they were snug. The head had to come off, so I also got out a tire iron.
The tire iron allows wiggling the head, which must be done as the nuts are backed out a little at a time. I was able to get the head off before it was cool enough to hold. I scraped off the remnants of the RTV and the burned gasket. By this time, most of the bikes had passed and the checkpoint crew came by. Then the sag wagon, known as The Reaper, pulled up. I spent another 45 minutes with an emery board trying to clean up the head's surface and then installing another gasket, but when I fired it up, it was already leaking badly... So the bike and I ended up on the wagon.
There are a couple advantages to being towed home. Air conditioning is one of them. Another is company and conversation. We even got to the Mason HD Dealer in time to have some lunch. BTW, apparently, it is bad luck to mention the word lunch before actually arriving and getting it. We were nearly there when I mentioned that we might be in time for it, and was immediately shushed, but not five seconds later did we have to stop for a bike on the side of the road. (We still all made it in time for a burger or hot dog.)
Needless to say, that hardly replaced the disapointment of not finishing out the day on two wheels.