Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blow Up The TV

The song seems to fit my mood and the weather of late. Both have been good and I've been eating a few peaches from the tree in the front yard - hard to beat that. 

School started this week. I'm teaching two classes this eight weeks - beginning stick welding - nothing too tough there. I've been getting out on the bicycle a bit in the evening but I'm going to have to start a little earlier. The days are starting to get noticeably shorter now. I stopped last evening about two miles from the house to turn on the taillight even though I was home by 7:30.

I got a little work done on the sidecar axle mounts. Coincidentally, while out on the bike ride I stopped to take a look at a Harley factory sidecar rig that was parked down the road from me. I was eyeballing the lead and toe-in on the sidecar wheel and if I could see if the bike was leaning in or out noticeably. I couldn't really tell much but I'm pretty sure I've got mine figured out as soon as I solve a little right triangle geometry problem. I need to get a couple of new bearings for the sidecar wheel and I'm going to order a couple of lights that slip-fit into the tubing for extra tail and brake lights. It's bad enough dealing with all the drunks in the county but when you throw in all the fools that are texting while driving, definitely the more lights the better.

Turn off the TV, get outside and enjoy the weather. Winter will be here before you know it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bike Shopping

Photo From Here

I went to Indy yesterday to check with a financial guy about a couple of my retirement things, so I made a point of going to the Stutz building to see the Stutz Black Hawk Special replica. Unfortunately, the car room is only open by appointment or on the first Friday of the Month in the evenings.  There were some other cars on display in the building like the Auburn here:

Pretty neat old building as well.Looks like I'm going to have to plan another trip down that way if I'm ever going to see the Stutz racer.

I stopped at several motorcycle dealerships along the way. A place close to home has a Kaw Versys with bags that looks like it would be a nice bike to commute or take a day trip on. I looked at some Triumphs - a Thruxton would be real cool but I'd be happy with the new 2017 Bonnie. Both of those are more money than I want to spend, however. The KTM dealer had mostly dirt bikes but no 690. The BMW shop in Indy didn't have the model I was considering, so no luck there either. 

The Kawasaki dealer had two Versys on the floor, both were 2015 models. The one with the bags was in white, which wouldn't be my first choice. The 2016 comes in an orange that looks pretty nice from what I could tell from the photos on the Kawasaki website. I've got my SV 650 on loan to Surly right now. When he brings it back I'll ride down and see what kind of a deal I can strike on the Kawasaki. I should probably check and see what Honda has and see if the local Harley shop has one of the 750 Street models in stock. Or, as little as I ride, just keep working on the rolling stock I've already got.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm Coping

Pretty productive day yesterday by my standards - some household chores, cut some grass, picked up a prescription for the Missus, got a haircut, and then cut and coped the tubing for the sidecar. It's ready to tack weld now. The windscreen is off my old vintage racer. It's an EMGO that's still available. I'll bend up a piece of tube or flat to fit inside it and then get some tabs or holes drilled to fasten it depending on what I make the supporting structure out of. I think I've got a piece of wood cut to fit the screen that I used when I was making the racer fairing that I can use as a pattern once again. 

I need to design the mounts for the wheel. The wheel needs to have some toe-in. If I get real creative, I can weld the axle bosses on a plate and then set them up on the mill and bore them at an angle. I was thinking about making things real complicated by building in a bunch of adjustment but maybe a little more thinking on the front end and I won't have to engineer in a bunch of adjustability. When I get the wheel mounted up I'll be able to get the height set so I can make the mounts to fasten it to the 900 frame. 

So far, so good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sidecar Start

Been a busy couple of days with not much to show for it - seems to be more and more common around here - but I got a lot accomplished just the same. It rained all day Monday and rained a bunch. Too wet to go out and do anything so I tackled a clean-up job inside. Made a pretty big dent in it but I've got a long way to go yet. One of these days I'm going to have to downsize. I'm trying to get a little bit ahead of the game. 

Took the Veloster in yesterday for an oil change and my spare tire kit. I didn't realize the car came with no spare tire until I saw something on the news about it. It came with a 12v air pump and a can of Slime. I suppose that's OK if you run over a nail but any big road hazard and you're going to be in trouble. The kit fits in the well in the trunk and it has a jack, handle, lug wrench, and a small combination wrench - should be everything necessary to fix a flat. When I come home from night school, I'd rather not be farting around along the side of either the state highway or one of the country roads any longer than necessary. I've got a flashlight in the car but it wouldn't hurt to get an extra light and a reflector also. It gets real dark out there at night.

I got some tubing for the sidecar project as you can see in the photo. It wasn't really a priority but I was going by the guy's shop and he wasn't busy, so the time was right. I'll get everything cut to length and coped, then run it up to school with me one of these days and weld it together. I've been moving right along on the VW but I want to get some more headway on the 900 as well. Besides, I'd rather fabricate than turn wrenches.

I need to get my syllabus posted, cut some more grass and tackle a couple more of the little piddly things around here before school starts next week. Only working two days per week again this semester - as it should be! Not really looking forward to going back to work but I do have a couple more things I want to buy before I quit. I'll see what the financial guy has to say when I meet with him later this week. He might have a different opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Peoria TT

I finally made it to the Peoria TT. It was looking a bit dicey on Friday with all the rain they were having but they posted an update on Saturday that was promising so Surly and I headed west - about a three hour trip across corn country. 

We wandered around a bit to check the place out and see what the vendors were selling and came across this Triumph. Surly noticed his generator had a sticker on it from a once local bike shop, so we walked around to see what the guy was selling. Turns out it was Dan Schmitt from Team Chicago. He used to do a motorcycle show on the local PBS station that I watched every week. As soon as the guy found out I was a fan he autographed  a flyer and gave Surly and I each a dvd of his past shows. When I was looking for the link, I found a schedule and apparently, he's still going strong and his show is available on Saturday mornings. I'll have to look for that this weekend. Don't know what the show is like now but it used to be a real low buck production of motorcycle racing coverage as well as things of general interest to bikers. The best thing about it was it was coming from a guy who was a racer himself so he had some decent insights and he knew what he was talking about.

The show opened up with a couple of laps by the Motor Maids of Illinois. I didn't realize the Motor Maids were still around. Good for them.

And, of course, the thing that makes it a Tourist Trophy instead of just a flat track race, the jump. The Peoria TT is the longest consecutively running motorcycle dirt race, or some such nonsense. This was the 68th running, so they've been doing it a long time. And they do it well. The grounds were well cared for, plenty of porta-pots and reasonable prices on concessions. The races all went off close to the scheduled times and the racing was good. 

The bikes are all motocross based machines of about 450cc displacement. Not my favorites, but nobody's fault but my own that I missed the days of the Triumph, BSA, Matchless and Norton twins or the 600cc Rotax powered machines. However, I heard over the loudspeaker that the AMA will be adding a twin class next year as well as another TT to the schedule. That sounds pretty exciting. 

The races were all good. In addition to the GNC1 and GNC2 classes, they had a couple of pee-wee events. The little guys are always fun to watch. The winner of the GNC2 class is from Philpot, Ky which is not too far from where my grandmother was born and raised. She had an older sister that married a Philpot so Hayden Gillam and I have a connection in an eight degrees of Kevin Bacon separation kind of way. GNC1 was won by Henry Wiles for the 12th consecutive year! And he made it look easy. I watched Jared Mees chasing him down the straightaway on one of the restarts and Wiles bike didn't seem any faster but he sure went around the corners faster. He was gaining a second or two on the field with every lap. If it wasn't for a couple of stoppages due to crashes, he probably would have lapped the entire field.

So there's another one off the bucket list. They have a trials event there in October that I wouldn't mind seeing and if there is going to be a twins class next year, I definitely want to go back for that.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Here's a couple of more shots from the bomber flight. I'm not exactly sure where we were when I took this picture but the pattern of the trees is kind of neat. Of course, it's even neater when you have the wing of a B-17 included in the photograph.

I didn't have anything to show for scale in the photo of the tire and wheel but I'm guessing it's about 42" tall. Just a single tire up front on each side and a single one in the rear as well.There's nothing in the rear of the plane other than a canvas tarp to close the off the wheel while the plane is in flight. The tail gunner would have had to crawl around the wheel and landing gear to get into position. Rather primitive to say the least.

Speaking of primitive, I finished up the patch panel on the VW. I couldn't find my sanding block when I was working the Bondo, so I'll have to put the finishing touch on it at a later date. Of course, when I was putting the tools away and cleaning up I came across it. Like always. I've got a few trim holes to weld up yet and I'll probably ding it up a bit while finishing the mechanicals, so I'll go over the whole car and try to get everything as straight as I can just prior to painting. It's not looking too shabby as it is, however. 

I'm not planning on installing the running boards so I put a piece of aluminum flat stock in the channel where the running board would normally mount. I got that fit up but I need to buy/make some 6mm studs to fasten it on. It's bolted now but I have some metric acorn nuts I'm planning on using for the finish job. Should look good with the shiny aluminum along the bottom edge of the car.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kevin's Hat Trick

My buddy Kevin completed the hat trick of Cleopatra's Needles by visiting the third one in Central Park.We saw the other two in Paris and London. The one above has just undergone a thorough cleaning, so he got there at a good time. You can't really tell from this photo but at the base of the obelisk are lobster claws sticking out. I'm not sure of the significance of that but I'm sure Kevin will be able to tell me.

I read Washington's Monument by John Steele Gordon earlier this year that describes the building of the Washington Monument but also covers a general history of obelisks, including Cleopatra's Needles. I didn't realize the significance of the one's in Paris and London at the time of our visit or I would have paid a little more attention. But like Kevin, now that I've seen the other two, I'd like to visit NYC for the third along with the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station and a few other spots.

In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away around the shack. I finished up the trim on the fly rafters and I replaced the one roof sheet that had been damaged when the barn came down during construction. Obviously it would have been easier to replace when the roof was down low as in the photo, but I didn't have the replacement sheet at that time. I've got one little piece of trim around one of the roll up doors that still needs installation. It'll only take about five minutes to install it but I need to go buy a piece for that to happen - but it will & soon. They want me to come in a do a little work in the lab at the college. Not sure how long that will take but I'll be on the clock, and if nothing else, I can use the money to start a travel fund for a trip to NYC.