Tuesday, December 11, 2018


At the Moto GP a few years ago. Johnny trying on the adventure bike for size. Wished we would've been able to do an adventure ride together. He would've been 64 today if the cancer hadn't have got him.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fire Extinguishers & Bazooka Power

Surly passed this one along to me. Not quite what I've got in mind but pretty darn close, especially as far as chassis and suspension goes. I'm going to get out in the shop today and try to get a little bit done. Since it's been rather cold and I'm still a bit sore I haven't done much on the projects the last few days but I've gotten a bunch of little piddly things done around the place. 

I checked all the fire extinguishers for the Kidde recall. I have three of them that have been recalled, so I got that taken care of. I've got a bunch of extinguishers around the place. Three in the house, four in the shop, two in the new barn, and one in each of the daily drivers. I should probably get one and keep it on the tractor or someplace handy in the big barn as well. As a guy who has done some dumb things over the years, my last post being a fine example, I'd rather be prepared for a fire than scrambling around trying to figure out how to put it out once I started it.

I sharpened up the blades on the lawn mower and finished preparing it so it'll be ready for spring. I fired it up and let it idle in the shop while I was opening the up the big barn. About the time I pulled it out the carbon monoxide alarm went off. So in addition to having the fire extinguisher situation well in hand, I know the CO alarm works and it has a fresh battery. The one in the house had an error message showing when I checked it recently. I installed a new battery but still no go. Apparently they only have a 10 year life span and then they self destruct. I've got it replaced already, however. So I'm up to snuff on the smoke and CO alarms and I'm good on the fire extinguishers, or will be as soon as the replacements arrive.

Went to the fights last night - Bazooka Joe's pro debut. His opponent has had a bunch of MMA but not much actual boxing experience and it showed. He threw a lot of "haymakers" and tried to get inside on Joe and then tie up. Joe missed a few opportunities to counter but stung him with some decent jabs in the first round. The second round Joe connected with a big right hand and wobbled the guy. Joe continued to put pressure on him from that point forward, his opponent went down, both myself and the referee calling it a slip, but the guy stayed down. Joe won the bout by TKO late in the second round. I'm not sure what he's going to do next. There aren't a lot of pro fights in the area but he definitely wants to fight again. It's good to see his hard work and persistence paying off. Congrats to Joe and his bazooka power.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Stupid Hurts

Didn't make it to Indy the other day. I managed to drop the SV while loading it into the back of my truck and beat it and myself up a bit.

I have a retaining wall not quite 2' high where I park my truck, so I backed in and put the ramp on the tailgate. I left a little gap so I could get a little bit of a run up the ramp, making the ramp a bridge spanning about 18". With the trucked parked in front of the wall the tailgate was only about a foot off the ground. However, the ground there is still a bit soft from the well drilling job and there was a bit of icy/snow on the ground. No way I could push it up the ramp easily so I figured I'd just hop on and ride it up. Not like I haven't done that plenty of times. All was going well until I goosed the throttle a bit, the rear wheel spun and slipped off the ramp. The front wheel was in the truck already but the bike tipped sideways when I was trying to find something solid to put my foot on. I went down on my back like a sack of potatoes and the bike hit hard enough to break off the front turn signal and crack some plastic. I called Cuzzin Rick and had him come over to give me a hand getting the bike off the truck. We went out to breakfast instead of Indy and then I went to get checked out since I was sore as all hell and I felt something pop in my chest when I went down. Bad deal all the way around.

Other than I'm still a bit sore, the doc said nothing was broken. I was lucky I didn't hit my head on anything at least - I've done that way more times than I should have over the years. I got the you're getting too old for that stuff speech from the Missus, actually a bit more than that, and that hurt also.

Not sure what I'm going to do with the bike now. I probably lost half the trade in value when it went down. I'll check it over real well in a few days and then see about what it would cost to get it fixed versus trading it in as is, if that's even an option. Maybe make some side rails for the ramp also.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Today Might Be the Day

Cuzzin Ricky and I are heading to Indy today to see about buying a Royal Enfield. The dealer told me when he called the other day the one he had on the floor had the hard bags and they had mounted a wider handlebar. It's the same color as the one in the photo, should look just about like this. We're planning on going to the Speedway Museum after the bike shop to check out the Hoosier Thunder exhibit after that. New bike or not, should be a good day.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Carb Adaptor

I finished the carb adaptor by installing three 8-32 set screws to secure it to the carb. Really pleased with how it came out. Actually, I like the photo as well. If I had cleaned up the background first it would be a pretty neat photo. Might be a good subject for black & white. Maybe I should keep a record of this project with a film camera with some thought given to composure and lighting instead of just the quickie shots I take with my little digital.

I usually keep my zip ties on top of the socket tray in my top box. Since they're in a plastic container I can easily move them out of the way if need be and the rest of the time they're real handy - until the plastic container gives it up and I've got a couple hundred zip ties on top of all my sockets. I had a short shipping tube I was getting ready to toss out when it occurred to me I could make a little rack for the zip ties out of it. I cut down into a scrap 1x4 with two hole saws - one a bit larger than the OD and one a bit smaller than the ID of the tube and I ended up with the tubes fitting in the pockets nice and snug. I cut the board off after the photo and plugged the hole from the pilot bit and there we are. I haven't decided yet whether to hang it on the wall or off the side of the tool box yet but I'll make something up in the next day or so.

This was what I was referring to in my last post - having the time to tinker around out in the shop with no real deadline or pressure. Just do things as I please and finally have the shop fixed up where all the tools are readily at hand so I can just do the work rather than doing work before I can do the work. Pretty happy of late. I've been jumping from woodworking, machining, welding and some mechanical work and it's all easy to do. The hardest thing now is walking between a couple of buildings. Life is good.

Speaking of which, I got a call from the bike shop in Indy the other day about the Royal Enfield Himalayan. I'm going to run down there this week with my SV in the back of the truck and see about making a deal. Sounded pretty promising price-wise over the phone. I've been riding for over 50 years and I've only had one new bike in my life and that was 50 years ago. I'm thinking it's about time. I'll post the outcome of the trip later in the week. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Life History - Sort Of

I was thinking while I was priming the trim pieces down the basement yesterday that maybe, just maybe, project work in the future will go as smoothly as this operation did. This wasn't a big job certainly, but I was able to get it done with no interruptions or headaches - just a nice enjoyable project, working at a leisurely pace.

Ever since I moved to the country it seems that I've always been at least one step behind.  When I moved in here I was back in college to get my Tech Ed degree. I already had my vocational stuff but I was afraid of getting laid off again and since I was in a comprehensive high school instead of a vocational school, I wanted to make sure I could teach whatever they wanted me to teach and I'd be marketable if I decided to leave or they laid me off.

While still taking night classes, we moved to the old farmhouse only a couple of miles away from work. We're both real happy here but while going to school I was putting in a lot of miles and time commuting to college. Additionally, I no longer had a nice workshop. I was renting out my old place to Surly which meant I didn't have to move all my tools and rolling stock to the farm right away - good thing because I didn't have a decent building to put anything. I sold my Cutlass and my Ducati because I didn't have a decent place to keep them and kept most of the project bikes even though I didn't have any place to work on them.

It took some work but I got one of the outbuildings fixed up for a shop and then had a place to work again. I started the boxing gym with my buddy Jimmy ten years ago which took up quite a bit of my time. I was no longer going to night school, so I replaced one time eater with another. Finally got around to tearing the old barn down and working towards replacing it. Things were going well with the Building Trades class taking care of most of the construction. At least until the big storm came along and blew it down. So then it was on me to take care of it.

After the barn was finished I was still pretty busy but going along pretty well until I had the heart attack. That was a bit of a setback. Thankfully, however, that worked out alright but then the Missus broke her shoulder and the beginnings of her cancer was starting to make itself known. I retired from the high school after the heart attack and went to work for the college as a lab tech since there weren't any openings in the Weld Shop and as soon as I did that, they needed me to teach welding. So I've been working as a lab tech and an adjunct for seven years now. For a few semesters I was working almost full time between the two jobs.

I stepped down from having any official association with the boxing gym when the wife was going through chemotherapy and I'm just a volunteer coach now. I still try to make it in most days the gym is open to work out and I help work corners at tournaments as I'm able but mostly I come and go as I please. I've only got two more weeks to work at the college and I'll be off until March and I'm really looking forward to being off. I'm not complaining here. Other than the medical issues and dealing with the big blow from Mother Nature, things have been pretty good.

I do a lot more around the house than I used to due to the wife's condition but that's OK. All part of the deal. But now that I'm real close to being permanently retired, I see now that I can do more of the fun stuff I like to do without burning the candle at both ends. So hopefully, I can just tinker, travel, ride my bicycle and just enjoy myself for a few years now. I'm starting to slow down a bit but I'm fortunate to be able to have done as much as I've have so far in life and I want to do a lot more yet. Like fixing my bib overalls and making carb adaptors - doing what I like, when I want to do it. I even made a batch of cookies last night. I think I'll be able to get the hang of this retirement thing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

All Aboard On The Tool Board.

It's cold out there. We got a high of about 24 yesterday and maybe single digits last night. I stayed out of the shop yesterday other than to grab some tools so I could work down the basement. I finally got around to hanging up the tool board behind the little lathe I picked up last year.

Here's a shot of it after I finished it up a while back. Probably should have a photo of the finished installation  - maybe after I get the lathe dialed in and everything is functional. I won't even hazard a guess as to when that will be but since it's so bloody cold I'll be spending more time down the basement from now until springtime. 

When I finished the toolboard installation it was still relatively early so I thought I'd prime the shop door trim. Except I didn't have any paint down the basement. No real hurry on that operation but maybe this evening I'll get that done. I've got a plastic model kit I want to work on one of these days - '62 Chevy Impala like I used to have. My brother from a different mother got it for me for Christmas I think it's been two years ago now. I bought paint and glue so I can make it look like my old car. As soon as the trim boards come off the horses, I'll get started on it. Time to get back in my routine of hitting the basement workshop after dinner. Much better than sitting in the recliner in front of the television.