Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Peter Gunn

The Missus and I have been watching Peter Gunn re-runs late afternoons and evenings along with old Perry Mason episodes. Kind of funny that the best things we can find on television are shows that are 60 years old. Of course it's pretty obvious that people our age are the target audience judging by the commercials - AARP, bladder control, cooking and household gadgets, and other worthless crap that if you buy now, you'll get two of whatever it is they're hawking. However, the upside is that the old shows didn't have as many commercials, so you actually get more programming every hour. The other thing is that even if I watched them when I was a kid, I can't remember any of them so they're as good as new to me now. I would like to see the old Lee Marvin series M Squad that was on about the same time as Peter Gunn brought back. Better still would be some new programming that was half ass decent with about half the commercials.

Nice shot of my new lake - supposed to be a farm field but it's now covered in several inches of water. It started raining Monday afternoon like Hell wouldn't have it and has continued on and off for 24 hours plus. Weatherman was saying still more to come over night. The house is dry but everything in all the outbuildings was dripping from the humidity. I went out into the shop and there was fog hanging in the air. I opened up the doors and let it "dry " out a bit while there was a pause in the rain but I didn't want to uncover any of my machine tools as long as they were dry so I bailed out. It was warm though, 65 degrees. 

I was supposed to take my car in for service yesterday but there were several road closings due to flooding. Maybe work on the taxes a bit more today. I can only take so much tax prep at a time. I sit down and start running numbers and I always come back to the same thing. My life, along with every other working stiff, would be so much better if the feds would just keep their hand out of my pocket. I'm willing to do my fair share but I just read the other day that 40 cents out of every dollar the feds collect is spent on the interest of what the knuckleheads in Washington have borrowed over the years. One article I read said they haven't paid off the debt from WWI yet. It'd be nice if they got this squared away and we all got a 40 percent break on our taxes - like that'll ever happen. They're currently borrowing money at the rate of one million dollars per minute.

I've got a couple of jobs I'm tinkering with while waiting for the weather to calm down. Nothing that counts for much but I'm keeping my feet moving.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I got the garage door fixed. Menard's had the parts in stock - new spring and winder. Had a little trouble figuring out which spring to buy. The instruction book I had from the original installation said I need a green spring but the guy at Menard's said you can't go by that anymore. Instead of a green one, I got an orange one. Matched up by coil diameter and length so I got that and a new winder. Cost me about $70.00. Looking back, I should have just got a new spring from the jump and been done with it. Installation was easy enough, though, and it's working like it should. Plus the timing was right for the 11% rebate this week. 

Got quite a few things lined up for the next couple of weeks. Hope to spend some time in the shop, though. Maybe get some seeds going for the garden. I do have to read a few chapters in my textbook for school. We got a couple of gears made last week by the way. So things are progressing there. Anyway, lots going on, nothing real important in the big picture, so I'll just keep plugging away.

Have a good week.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Inspiration & Consternation

Pretty good day on Friday. Went out to breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky, then headed for Indy. Stopped at Trader Joe's, then went to the Fairgrounds for the bike show.

 Motus up close and personal. This is the first one of these I've seen in the flesh and there was two of them to ogle and drool over.

Old Jawa on the back of an International truck. Since I've got plenty of old bikes, I was admiring the old truck a little bit more.

Early Harley road racer - KR 750. If I was wealthy, I'd have one.

Indian - cool, but not KR cool.

I've got one of these little Harleys- only the street version.

New Harley - I could live with something like this.

Wild-ass chopper like you used to see at the shows. 

900 Kaw - they had several bikes with identical paint set up to race. Not real keen on the red engine parts but theirs is done and mine's not. 

One of the prettiest bikes at the show - 650 Ninja. I really like the color. It looks even better in person. They also had one of the new 400 Ninjas on the floor. Seems all the major manufacturers are turning out some nice small bikes now. Good for rookies, those small in stature, old farts like me, and people just looking for a fun ride.

I also got a chance to check out the Zero brand of electric bikes. One of the models only weighed 287 pounds. I bet that would be an absolute blast in the dirt or just fartin' around on the farm. Lots of torque, light weight, quick acceleration. Go play for a couple of hours, plug it in overnight and go play again tomorrow. The salesman said they have a quick charging set-up as well as an adaptor if you have access to a charging station like they use for the Teslas. The guy says they have them at the Lafayette dealership if I want to test ride one. Might take him up on that when the weather clears up.

I didn't venture into the other part of the pavilion for the boat and RV show. I'm not really into any of that. Plus, I've got about all the camping and outdoorsy stuff I'll ever need. What I need to do this year is to start getting out there and do a bit of it. I would like to take a bike trip. There was an outfit there that was promoting a bike trip in Alaska. They ship your bike up there and they have day trips of roughly 150 to 250 miles per day. I don't have too much in the way of details but I'm going to look into it. I've only got four more states on my list. Time to get it done.

I went to the gym Saturday morning and then went out to see what was wrong with the garage door. The door didn't want to work quite right Friday when I went to open it but I managed to get the car out. I fiddled with it a bit and everything seemed to be working again but I reset the limit switches on the opener and reprogrammed a spare remote control. I ran it up and down a couple of times but it screwed up again about the time I was going to pull the car in. 

This is the door that got damaged when the barn went down a few years ago. The torsion spring has a nylon tube inside it that got bent and I had to fool around with the spring itself but it's been working. When it malfunctions, it will go part way up and then bind. The opener senses the excess force required so it will drop out or it will let go with a bang and then the cables will come off the drums. I decided to quit fighting it and I'm going to invest in a new spring and winder. Meanwhile, while I was working on the door it started snowing again. Beautiful big flakes one day after the remains of a foot of snow had all melted off.

Pretty, but between the snow and the garage door, I can see why people buy condos down South.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter Time

I've been going through some of the photos of late - partly for the family history, partly because it needs to be done. This one was taken a few years back as you can see from the time stamp. Nothing much has changed around here in the intervening years, however. Same tractor, same pickup truck same operator in the same coveralls. The wife has a different rig from the one in the photo and it stays in the new barn instead of out in the weather. But otherwise, looks just like me plowing snow this past week. If I ever get a new truck, I'm planning on getting a snow blade for it. Realistically, however, as little as I use the old Allis, it'll probably be serviceable as long as I live here. I would like to have a bucket loader on the front end. It would help with snow removal, but more importantly, it would be able to lift things that I can't.

Since it warmed up a bit yesterday I went out to the shop to work on a couple of things. I made this little wooden piece for a buddy of mine. Fortunately I had a piece of hardwood in the kindling box, so all I had to do was rip it and then cut it to length, etc. You would think I've about got all the tools I need but I don't have a 3/8 countersink bit anymore. I've got a few others but I'll have to make a note of that and get another one.

Supposed to be warm again today and get some rain as well. That should get the rest of the snow off the roads at least. Of course, it'll freeze up again and create more pot holes. If you want to make millions, just figure out a way to pave the roads with a layer of blacktop impervious to water and you'll be set.

If you're putting together your calendar for the year, check out the link to The 520 Chain CafĂ©. He's got his annual list of events up for 2018 - mostly geared to cyclists but nothing wrong with that. There's a bike show in Indy this weekend I'm considering, since the snow scared me off of the big Chicago show. There's also a swap meet coming up soon in Lebanon. 

In addition to thinking motorcycles, I'm starting to think about the garden. It's about time to decide what I'm going to plant this summer and get some seeds started. The way things are going with the stock market and politics, might be a good idea to expand this season. Even if things stumble along like they have been, I'm sure the prices are going to continue to climb.  Never a bad idea to invest in some healthy veggies for yourself and your family. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BSA Plan

High pipes on the BSA - I like it. Maybe shorten up the head pipes a bit and then roll up an aluminum reverse cone "mega" with some type of insert to quiet it down a bit.

Add a Corbin saddle and Bob's your uncle. Lots of choices of colors and patterns but black all around would probably be my choice. The perforated leather on the actual saddle surface might be nice. Since the bike's one of the last of the line, it's an oil in frame just like the Triumph shown in the photo. I'm not sure how the seat would line up with our tank but I could make a seat similar in style with the back part painted and then get the saddle upholstered. Then get the tank, seat and sidecovers all painted in a nice color that would go well with the grey paint on the frame.

New sidecovers with the European style tank, throw away the airbox type filter and replace it with a couple of individual air filters and it could be a real nice looking bike. And everything could be put back stock if one was so inclined.

This one is going on the list for the upcoming year. As soon as I finish the motorbike, I'm going to commence to commencin' on the sidecovers Surly designed. I'll get his input on the high pipes and seat, paint, etc. Time for this one to be back on the road.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Gear Fix

These were both found at The Industrialist - nice photo blog of manufacturing and transportation subjects. It's hard to get good pictures of the electric arc welding process due to the brightness of the arc. You almost have to have something blocking the arc itself otherwise the only thing you see is the arc and everything else is underexposed. Someplace I've got a pretty decent shot of me welding at the last weld shop I worked at prior to starting my teaching career. I set the camera up on a tripod after everyone had left on a Saturday afternoon and used the self timer to capture a shot of me welding something on the bench. I'm planning on printing some old negatives from my Mom's collection one of these evenings soon. If I get a chance before hand, I'll see if I can dig out that negative and make a print.

I consulted with Surly and he agreed with my diagnosis about the gear cutting problem. He also offered a suggestion as to what we can do to make a gear using our limited equipment set-up. Always good to have a Journeyman Machinist on call. I've got an item I'd like to make for the little Harley motors. I need to have him take a look at the one I've got for a sample and see what he suggests. Step two would be to take it to school and see if we could make a few of them on the CNC machines.

The Missus came up with a bunch more family history stuff for her clan. Looks like I'm not done with that after all. More typing and research in the works but since I fixed the chair it's a lot more comfortable sitting and typing at least.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hoodoo Men

Never saw Junior Wells but I did catch Stevie Ray once.

Surly and I got a chance to see both of these run at Daytona. Some definite hoodoo magic from both Dr. John Wittner and John Britten. The Battle of the Twins was something to see - and hear. It was even better walking around in a tee shirt when it was cold and snowy up North.

The snow kind of fizzled around here the other day. Came down hard for a bit but we only got 3-4" more. North of me they got that 12" they were talking about. It warmed up here while the snow was coming down. Wet, heavy snow - the kind that takes the fun out of shoveling. Being out on the tractor was rather enjoyable though. After I got everything cleaned up, got another 1/2" or so later that day. Just enough that I needed to shovel so I could get the steps and sidewalk down to bare concrete again. Old people break hips, you know.

I canceled out the trip to the motorcycle show. Didn't feel like fighting all that snow and slush, plus they were forecasting some more snow Saturday evening - 4-5". I did make it to the gym yesterday and worked out a bit. Did my normal bag routine and then worked with one of the boxers on some things. Talented kid and a hard worker but he needs some individual attention to go to the next level. He's fun to work with - real coachable and appreciative of the attention. I see him going to the nationals - maybe even farther. He's got the drive but he's 16 years old. A lot can happen in the next few years to de-rail him, but I told him to save me a seat in the front row when he makes it to the Olympics. Gonna take some real hoodoo for that to happen but you never know.

Supposed to warm up a bit towards the middle of the week - planning on getting out in the shop and working on the motorbike. I'm putting my plan of attack together. I've got some physical fitness goals I want to achieve - so getting the weight where it needs to be is a priority. I'm down to within three pounds of my goal but looking at my belly, I'm thinking I need to revise that at least five pounds lower. I'm going to start putting in some time on the bike trainer at least two days per week. A bit of strength training and a couple of days at the boxing gym should set me right. My running buddy wants me to do some Yoga with her. I was set to start when the back left town on me. I think Yoga would help loosen me up a bit. Next time I see her at the gym, we'll get something set up and I'll give it a try.

In addition to a regular fitness schedule, I want to be sure I get out into the shop and get some jobs finished up this year. I've got several that could be done without a lot of bother so I'm planning on picking a couple of the easy ones off the list and see where that takes me. Keep the schedule loosey-goosey but stay busy. Cuzzin Ricky and I want to expand our area this year. Maybe Sprint Week in Pennsylvania. Maybe a trip to Alaska. Maybe a train trip to California and Nevada. I've still got four more states to see to complete the list of 50. I want to get at least one this year. Need to get after it. As my old pal Joey used to say: "Daylight's a burnin'."