Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Went to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 with Cuzzin Ricky on Sunday. We parked at the airport and took a shuttle bus to the track. We got there just before all the festivities began and then met up with another cousin of ours to watch the race. The racing was good, weather was good, but boy was the place crowded. We headed out after the race to catch the shuttle bus and the line for the bus was about a half mile long it seemed. 

As we were fighting the crowd to get to the end of the line, our cousin from out of state trips on a barricade and goes down face first onto 16th Street. He gets up with some help from myself and others in the crowd and when we get to the end of the line he pulls up his pant leg to check his leg and he's got a big gash on his shin. He and Rick get out of line to get him into the shade and seek medical help and he goes down again when he trips over the curb. Rick finds a State Trooper who calls for medical help, the EMTs take one look at the gash and say he needs stitches, so we all go for an ambulance ride. He got about a dozen staples in his shin bone and a good looking over. Nothing broken, however, just beat up a bit. So after about a 4 hour visit at the hospital, we catch a cab back to the airport and come on home. Long day.

That's going to be it for me and the 500. I might go down for practice days or qualifications again but not the race. Too many people and too much of a hassle (even without a side trip to the hospital). That's why I quit going to the Brickyard. For years I'd listen to the 500 on the radio while working in the shop on a bike project. Before I moved to the country, I had a little black and white television in the garage I'd turn on with the sound off. I'd listen to the radio and if something big happened, I'd check out the TV for the replay. No crowds, no weather worries and only a short walk into the house to use the bathroom or get a cold beer. I'm a big race fan but I think I'll stick to attending the open wheel races on the small tracks and work in a bike race once in a while - just too old for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". It was a damn fine race and a really exciting finish, however. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More VW

I got the big MIG sorted and was progressing rather smartly until the switch on the gun became intermittent. I took the gun apart and the switch looked good but one of the wires feeding it looked like it might have been the cause. Rather than waste a bunch of time troubleshooting the thing, I thought I'd just put on the new gun that I picked up about 20 years ago. After about a two hour search, I found it about three feet away from the welding machine. Since it's a Tweco gun, I was looking for it in a yellow box. Instead, it wasn't in a box but was under some other cables and cords blending in - perfect camouflage. Obviously didn't save any time there, but I got it swapped out and everything is working as it should be except that I need some contact tips. I'm running .024" wire and all I've got are .035" tips. I'll pick up some tips, a spare insulator and gas cup next week some time. Probably should get a small roll of .035" wire while I'm at it and then get in the habit of removing the wire from the machine when not in use and throw it in a plastic bag with some of the vapor stuff to keep it from rusting.

The new floor pans come in two pieces on the Super rather than the one piece for the regular Beetle. They also don't meet in the middle, hence the extra piece of metal you can see welded in in the top photo. They also don't have the exact same contour as the regular Beetle. When I swapped out the pans for Cuzzin Rick's Dune Buggy project, I kept the seat mounts thinking I could use them on mine. I had already made some up but I hadn't put the "ears" on them for the track on the bottom of the seat to lock into. Now that I've got the floor pretty well tacked together, it looks like I'll be better off using my homemade mounts. They fit the floor much better, they look good, even though they won't be seen much, and I can probably use the pieces off the stock mounts for the track saving me some work there. 

I was a little disappointed in not being able to finish the passenger side floor due to the welding machine malfunction but that's what I was looking to find out. Hopefully, it won't be too much longer and I'll have everything up and running likes it's supposed to be. It'd be nice if I could get to a place where all I had was normal maintenance on the tools and equipment, rather than having to fix something before I can fix something. I'm afraid I'm a little spoiled having the school shop at my disposal all those years. Of course, I had to maintain all of that equipment plus a lot of other stuff as well. But it was nice being able to work on the VW yesterday without any interruptions or worrying about what some dumb-ass high school kid was up to while I was inside the car.

All I had was Lotty the "straw boss" looking on. She doesn't say much but gets into things like a high school kid does.

Enjoy your holiday and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bug Stuff

I got the couple of spots on the VW I was working on smoothed out. As long as you don't look too close it's OK. I'm planning on finishing up the floor pan on the passenger side next. I drug my big MIG welder out the other night to see about getting it fired up and running. Its been a long time since I've used it. I put the small wire from my 110V MIG on it to see how or if it's going to weld. I pulled the trigger to feed the wire through and it sounded a bit hinkey, like maybe the contactor wasn't snapping in all the way. I'm going to try and do a little welding sometime over the weekend. If it's a no-go, I'll use my little MIG to get the pan and seat mount finished up, then see what's what with the big welder.

I went through some of the parts boxes to see where I'm at on things. I'm going to need a few things yet but I've got plenty of stuff to get started with. I need to design a dash for it. The Super Beetles had a funky dash in them unlike the regular Beetles with the all metal dashboards.

I posted this one a few years back (but no link). Gorgeous metal work right there. The Super Beetle has most everything in the speedometer - all the idiot lights, high beam and turn signal indicators - so just one big gauge in the center. I'm planning on rewiring it racecar style with a push button starter and a couple of other switches for the lights and horn. I should probably make provisions for a radio someplace. Maybe hanging down below like the box in the photo. I'll keep thinking about a design while I'm working on the floor pans. I've got an idea in my mind but I'm not sure how to build it. I need to drag out my Ron Fournier books and get a little inspiration.

Photo From Here NSFW
Or find myself an Italian panel beater to show me the ropes. Them Eye-Ties had it going on.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Business as Usual

I've been pretty busy of late but not so busy I didn't have time to stop and smell the flowers, or at least pause long enough to admire their beauty, since iris aren't fragrant. The roses, on the other hand, certainly are.

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to Indy for qualifications last weekend. It's amazing to see a car go by at about 230 mph. Looks to be a fast race as long as the weather cooperates. Looking like rain on the horizon for Sunday, that'd be a shame for the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Auto Racing.

Had to go to the dentist for a broken tooth. The fix was easy but the tooth next to it needs some more work so I'll be going back soon. Always something. While I was up that way I went by Harbor Freight and picked up some blades for my chop saw and a new sanding pad, then went to the welding supply and got a bottle of argon. From there it was off to the cemeteries and the Dead Relatives Tour. Usually Rick and I do it together but since I was going to be up that way, figured I could handle it solo. Since it was about 90 degrees when I got home yesterday, I got the covers off the AC units and got those up and running. All that pretty much shot the whole day in the ass. 

I've about got these two spots finished on the VW. Seems odd to have holes rusted through the body up high like this. The spot on the side was caused by water coming in from the vent. The spot up higher must have been caused by a leak around the rear window but maybe it's from the vent also. I've got everything welded up behind the bondo but I need to do a little further checking to make sure it's not going to happen again. I'm not much of a bodyman but I've got a friend of mine that I used to work with who taught the trade. He's also retired now. When and if it looks like I might be getting close to paint, I'll have him come down and give it a going over. My reason for jumping onto this project was to see if I could find all of my tools and get them all tuned up and dialed in so they'd be ready whenever I want to use them. Actually, the body work will be just about completed after I finish this up. I've got a spot on the drivers side right behind the door that needs a patch but that'll be about it for the exterior. I've still got a ways to go on the floor pans but that'll come, along with all the mechanical work that still remains.

I drug home a few chickens the other day. I had to do some more work on the pen first. A fox or something dug under the fence and got the last batch even though I had the wire buried in the dirt a few inches deep. Now I've got concrete blocks buried along the outside of the fence. I'm hoping that'll keep the varmints out and the chickens safe. I've got corrugated sheet metal around the bottom of the fence that comes up not quite 2' high. I'm thinking about adding one more sheet higher around the perimeter for some added insurance. I've got them inside the coop for the time being. Burying those blocks pointed out to me that I should start getting some more exercise as well. I was doing a bit of huffing and puffing out there.

I've still got a bit of vacation time remaining. There's a few other things I want to get done before I start summer classes at the college but pretty happy with how things have been going as of late. As always, steady by jerks.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bunch of Education Things

Haven't been posting too much about education things of late - just don't need to get myself all worked up. However, as always, there are a lot of good things happening that never get enough press. First up:

Book shelf built by my replacement at the high school and his talented scholars. Laminated wood rather than metal. I don't know the story behind it but it sure looks good.

Surly sent me a link to a fundraiser site for Worth Motorcycle Company. Worth is taking at risk kids and involving them in motorcycle restoration. Here's the money quote:

"The kids Worth works with really struggle in the classroom — which is okay. Everyone doesn't thrive in a classroom. What is not okay is refusing to provide alternative routes to success via, for example, vocational training. This is one of the things Worth looks to achieve with this sort of experiential training: facilitate a path to success for those who struggle within more traditional learning environments."

What a concept. Maybe it'll catch on and some day all schools will offer vocational training. Please understand my sarcasm is not directed to Worth Motorcycle Company. I've just heard it too many times to wonder why there is even a question of the value of vocational training in schools. Be that as it may, it sounds like they have a great program going there and could do even more if they get a little cash flowing their way. If you can help them out a bit, great. If not, check out the link anyway. It's good to know about these things.

Cycle World had their Hand Built issue recently and in it there was an article on Evan Wilcox. I came across some of his work when I was vintage racing. He does some really nice work. In the article he mentions Fuller Moto and the sheet metal book in the above photo. I'd never heard of Bryan Fuller before but he's got a pretty impressive resume. If I watched something on television besides old movies, I probably would have come across him. After checking out his web site, I ordered up the book. Service was fast - just a couple of days and it was here. Other than the chapter on welding, I've just thumbed through it but there's something for everyone here. 

I'm certainly not in his league but I disagree with his comments on gas welding. He basically says forget about it. I say, if you are a good gas welder you could build a whole bike or car without ever striking an arc. It might put some limitations on your design and the materials you would have to work with, but it used to be done all the time. In fact, the article about Evan Wilcox has a photo of him gas welding. Also, I think learning to gas weld first makes it easier for rookies to learn to recognize the puddle and understand the dynamics of fusion welding. Admittedly, I'm nit-picking a bit here. It's his book but it's my blog.

He also talks about quenching metal after welding. He mentions only two things he can think off when it would be acceptable to quench metal. I'll toss in a third one. Say you have a frame made out of square tubing and you want to tack legs on to it. Knowing the tack weld will shrink when it cools, you normally lean it out of square a bit so it will pull in where you want it when it cools. If it doesn't look like it's going to pull in enough, quench the tack, it will shrink more and walk right into place. No extra charge for that one.

If you're into building hot rods/customs/bikes, or just damn near anything out of thin metal, this book should be in your library.

The latest issue of Practical Welding Today has an article on their 2016 Teacher of the Year, Elaine Waters. Ms. Waters is the Senior Welding Instructor at Georgia Trade School located in Kennesaw, Georgia. It's a real good article addressing not only the reasons Ms. Waters received the well deserved Teacher of the Year award, but also a bit about the school and the job it's doing to "provide alternative routes to success" as mentioned above. Congratulations to Ms. Waters. Also, Practical Welding Today is  free. It comes out every couple of months and I always get something worthwhile out of it. Might want to consider a subscription.

So there you go. There are good things going on. While the number of schools with Voc Ed programs in public education has dropped off, there are still a few remaining and they're doing good things. There are other venues such as Worth Motorcycle Company that are picking up some of the slack, there are private trade schools that are offering first class training at the post secondary level and there are some really good books to further your education.

I'll leave you with this: When I was at the Abbey of Gethsemane, I saw a plaque with this quote from Michelangelo at the age of 87: "I'm Still Learning". 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fuel Cans

I bought an extra gas can a couple of years ago. I go through quite a bit of gas in the mower in the spring, plus it never hurts to have a little extra on hand for the generator if the power goes out. The only problem was the super safety nozzle on the can. It was spring loaded and there was no vent up high. Just a pain in the ass to try and use. I came across a replacement nozzle kit at Sportsman's Guide, so I took a chance and bought one. The nozzle itself screws right on and it comes with an extension so it could be twice as long if need be. You have to drill a hole for the vent but you end up with a gas can just like the good old days, prior to meddlesome intervention by lawyers and the government. The kit also came with another nut which fit my kerosene jug. 

The only thing I use kerosene for is the heater in the shop I used prior to buying the gas one. It was just about impossible to fill the heater with the can because it too had one of the spring loaded  nozzles on it. I figured I could do a little better than that, so I rigged up a set-up similar to a 2-1/2 gallon can I had. The aluminum bits were cut-offs from other jobs, the hose was left over from plumbing the oil tank on the Sportster and the hose barb was out of the coffee can of hose fittings. No trip to the hardware store required and no additional cost. I still need to rig up a vent but that shouldn't be too tricky.

I actually did a little bit of work on the VW after finishing up the gas and kerosene cans - did a little welding on the body. I had started a patch when I had it at the high school but just got it tacked in. I should have made the patch a little larger but I didn't find that out until I started welding it in and discovered it was really thin on one one side of it. It's welded up now, though. I'm also welding up the holes for the trim on the sides. Going for the "Cal Look", sort of. I don't know how much more I'll do on the VW for now but I'm moving forward and having some fun. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Job For The Day

I came across the plate in the bottom photo a few months back. It's 3/4" x 23" x 25", Blanchard ground and drilled and tapped in a nice rectangular grid. I finally got around to making a stand for it - I cut all the pieces on Tuesday, welded it up and painted it Wednesday. It'll be a nice surface plate for welding things together or for checking flatness of things such as clutch plates or a cylinder head. I can slide the milling machine vise on to it when I'm not using it also. I'm getting too old to be humping that heavy stuff around anymore. In fact, since the plate weighs about 120 lbs, I might just wait until someone with a little muscle shows up to give me a hand putting the plate on top of the stand.

I picked up some concrete blocks to secure the chicken pen yesterday. A student of mine is getting married in a couple of weeks and he's got four chickens he's looking to get rid of. I'm going to plant the blocks around the perimeter of the pen and hopefully that'll keep the fox, or whatever it was that got the last batch, from digging under the wire. I haven't had too much luck with the last couple of batches.  

I also swapped out the air dryer that was in the line for the sandblaster yesterday. Surly was down a while back and he was getting some moisture coming through the line in spite of the inline dryer I had in there. I don't know if he tried to bleed it down but the one I put on yesterday automatically drains itself when you release the air pressure. Have to see how this one works - only $7.00. Can't expect too much but I would like to finally have all the tools functional one of these days. I still want to buy a couple more things for doing sheet metal work before I quit working - shouldn't need too much more in the way of equipment. Only thing holding me back after that will be time and talent.

Off to work.

Monday, May 16, 2016


One of the nephews got married over the weekend. Since the wedding was in Indy and the Missus is well enough to travel, we decided to get away for a couple extra days on the front end. It's been close to three years since we've gotten away together to anyplace besides a doctor's office or some other medical facility. We headed south to the beautiful Commonwealth of Kentucky, stopping first in Shelbyville at Claudia Sander's Dinner House. Claudia was the wife of the Col. Sanders and the restaurant has some of the finest Southern style cooking you can hope for. I had the vegetable platter. I chose corn pudding, beans, mashed potatoes, and baked apples from the offerings. The Missus went with fried chicken and had creamed spinach as one of her side dishes. I tasted it and have to say it's without a doubt the best spinach I've ever had.

We then proceeded to the Bourbon Capitol of the World, Bardstown, Ky. Both of us have been to Bardstown previously, both together, and as part of different groups. Beautiful town, especially in the Spring of the year. Friday was especially nice so we visited the Abbey of Gethsemani and the Sisters of Christ of Nazareth convent.

The monks at the Abbey make fudge and fruitcake along with a few other items you can purchase at the gift shop, so we brought a little fudge and fruitcake home with us. Fruitcake often times gets a bad rap, but the monks turn out a really good one. I'm sure the Kentucky bourbon it's soaked in has something to do with it. The Abbey was home to Thomas Merton. He's probably one of the most famous of all Catholic monks, having written many books covering not only the subject of religion, but also poetry and photography. I've read a few things of his, including The Seven Storey Mountain, probably his most famous work.

After our visit to the Abbey we went to the Sisters of Christ of Nazareth. It's a stunning campus. A huge variety of trees, a couple of grottoes, and lots of Gothic style architecture. The inside of the church is beautiful. It reminded me of Notre Dame, just on a smaller scale. The gift shop was closed for lunch but we were able to visit Heritage Hall to get a better understanding of the good works the Sisters have been doing for about 200 years now. One of the more interesting things on display was a letter from Abraham Lincoln decreeing that no harm should come to the convent from anyone during the Civil War or War of Rebellion as it is also called. That actually makes more sense to me - no way war is ever civil.

Right across from where we were staying is the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, also about 200 years old. In fact, it's the oldest cathedral west of the Alleghenies. It's a beautiful building made from all local materials. The inside has some large oil paintings but they're hard to see due to them being framed on each side by stained glass windows putting the paintings in the shadows, and the fact that the paintings themselves are extremely dark, I would assume due to needing a good cleaning.

Quite the day of religion in general and Catholicism in particular - especially for an old heathen such as myself. Doubt if I've ever been to three different churches in the same day before but lots of good history of the area and the role the church played in developing the region.

We also visited the Civil War Museum and My Old Kentucky Home Dinner Train. As an interesting side note, we were seated on the train with a couple that live only about 20 miles away from us. Small world, indeed.

All in all, great trip. It's good that the Missus' health has improved to the point that she can travel. It was also a lovely wedding - nice to be able to gather with friends and family on such a memorable occasion.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Surly sent me the link to this one. Guzzi with a sidecar. Nice write-up if you follow the link back. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Taillight Oil

I bought some things from Eastwood, so now I'm on the daily e-mail promotion list. The ZDDP oil additive was the special du jour a couple of weeks ago so I bought a few bottles. I'm not all that sure what the story is on motor oils these days. As I understand it, if you've got an older engine the newer oils no longer have the ZDDP in them which can lead to rapid wear on the cam and lifters. I've got a 350 small block ready to drop into my hot rod project and I'd hate to destroy it because of bad oil. Likewise, most of the motorcycle engines on my old projects like my Sprints, have flat tappets and pushrods. The 900 has overhead cams that run directly onto shims that are in buckets on top of the valve springs. I would assume they would be subject to the same type of friction loads. The Sportster has roller lifters, so I guess it would be safe. It's bad enough dealing with the junk gasoline they sell these days. Now I have to worry about oils as well.

Also in the photo is one of the taillights I'm planning on installing on the hot rod. The piece to the left of it is the start on a bucket I'm going to make up so I can "French" them in. These were made up on the CNC plasma cutter at the college. It's a little bit bit small around the perimeter. I'll see if I can get by with them or else I'll just make a couple the old fashioned way. The faculty members that were working on the machine were having some issues getting things to run like they wanted. I was hoping to get a few flying lessons so I could run some things off on my own later on but I'm thinking that might be out. I'm in no hurry for them but I'm trying to get most of the parts I'm going to need gathered up for when the time finally comes for me to work on it.

Monday, May 9, 2016


This Coordinate Measuring Machine came into the lab last week. I used a CMM machine once at Purdue when I was taking some classes there a long time ago. I was making a top triple clamp for a Honda Hawk that a guy was changing the forks on. By using the CMM I was able to determine exactly where the centers for the fork tubes were and their relation to the center hole for the steering stem. I roughed the part out on my mill then finished it up on the CNC we had at the old school. I was really proud of how it came out. The part sloped down on both sides, had slots and pinch bolts to keep the fork tubes in place, and I was even able to pocket mill the underside of the thing at an angle matching the slope on top. It took quite a bit of thinking but it looked great when it was done. Didn't make any money on that one when the "Think Time" was factored in, but I learned quite a bit. Of course I never had any occasion to use that knowledge later on but sometimes making something really cool is reward enough. 

There's also supposed to be a 5 axis machine coming into the lab this summer as well. This is going to play into my decision making process as far as my taking more classes in the future. I would imagine the learning curve on a machine like this is pretty steep and if you were going to take advantage of the abilities of the machine you'd have to have good CAD drawings as in 3D modeling. Again, I don't really need to know how to do any of this type of work but I sure do find it fascinating. Just might keep me working a while longer. 

Now, however, I'm going to get started on a few things around the shack and in the shop. I'm going to spin the job wheel, see what comes up, and then get after it. A little something every day. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

School's Out

Here's the last turning exercise from the CNC class. Unfortunately, just about the time I got comfortable with the machines, time was up. However, I've got some cool trinkets to show for my time in the class, plus the exhaust collars. I passed both of my NIMS certification tests, met some nice people in the class and just generally enjoyed my self. Not sure where I'm going with any of this in the future but I wouldn't mind taking one of the programming classes. Again, not sure why since I don't have a machine, and if I did, I should probably take a CAD class so I could draw up my own parts. I've got my schedule for the Fall semester already. Might peruse the catalog and see what would dovetail nicely with my schedule. Or maybe just concentrate my energies elsewhere. Lord knows I've got plenty of things to do.

I'm now officially on vacation, so it's back to work on the projects around the shack and in the shop. I've got a list started but not too concerned about any of it. I'm just planning on getting a little something done every day, then get out and see a few things, do a little photography work, ride the two wheelers - basically just doing whatever the hell I feel like. I think that's what retired guys are supposed to do. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Planting Time

The young farmer lad got my fields planted late Tuesday afternoon/early evening before the rain came in, which means we should be seeing the little monocots poking through the ground in a week or so and then later this summer he'll be back to harvest the yellow dent corn so that we can all have grocery products laden with high fructose corn syrup. Maybe corn bread or tortillas - I'd feel better about that. I'm not all that comfortable with the modern state of agriculture but if less than two percent of the population is feeding the remainder of us, it's going to require large farms and chemical inputs. 

I was able to get most of the remainder of my garden planted before the rain came in as well. Other than planting some strawberries, the garden's about the same as the last few years. I did harvest some asparagus this year. They say you should let the asparagus go a couple of years before picking any. This being year three, it was time. I also picked some rhubarb and made a couple of loaves of rhubarb bread. Tasty stuff, that. I should be able to devote more time to the garden than I have the last couple of years with, hopefully, a resultant increase in yield. Not that I need the vegetables - there's a couple of grocery stores close by and a farmer's market in the summer. Working the garden is more to nourish my soul than my body but I firmly believe everyone should have a direct connection to the land they live on and the food they eat, regardless of how small that connection may be.

Only a couple more days of school left. I finished up my last turning exercise in the CNC class and I'm scheduled to take the NIMS test shortly. I've got some paperwork to complete and one session of the MIG class I've been teaching yet, but the semester's about done. I've then got a month off and I'm looking forward to some vacation time. I talked to Cuzzin Ricky the other day about hitting a few spots while I'm off and now that he's retired, he's all for it. Should be able to hit a few places we've both been meaning to take in but for whatever reason, just never got around to. Hopefully this will be the summer for filling in those blanks. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stutz Black Hawk Special

Both Photos From Here

After reading a couple of books about the early days of the automobiles, I decided to drag a couple of them dealing with the early days of racing out of my own library. One of the books I've had for years but had only read it like it was a Playboy - skimmed the copy and ogled the photos. The other one I'd read but figured it was worth another look. Lo and behold, both books had the Stutz Black Hawk Special in them. This car was really something. Unfortunately, it crashed while attempting a speed record destroying the car and killing the pilot. However, I'd love to build something along these lines. 

The one book has some details on the car - length, width, wheelbase, etc. After doing a little Internet snooping, there are already two replicas of this thing in existence, one of which is supposed to be located in the Stutz Building in Indy. I know right where that's at - same exit that we take to go to the Gloves. I don't know what that one has for locomotion but I should take a trip this summer and see if I can get a look at it. 

I can see me building something like this with a Slant Six, a straight axle up front, maybe some 18" wheels with the Firestone Half Tread tires, drum brakes on the rear, discs on the front. A quick-change rear would be nice - expensive - but nice. Could probably source most everything from the Speedway catalog. 

I need to hire someone to do all my chores so I can just piddle around with projects all day long. Or better yet, find some genius like Leo Goosen to draw me up some prints so I could just make parts instead of sweating the details. Might actually be able to finish it that way. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Albert Champion

Photo From Here

I just finished reading this one - the history of Albert Champion, bicycle racer and spark plug magnate. Not only are Champion Spark plugs named after him but the AC in ACDelco stands for Albert Champion. He was the first person to ride a motorcycle over sixty miles per hour on a board track in addition to his setting many bicycling records on the popular board tracks and velodromes of the day. He won the Paris-Roubaix cycling race in 1899 and was the French motorpacing champion five years later. His spark plugs powered many of the tanks, trucks and planes involved in WWI, along with two and four wheeled racing machines, passenger and commercial vehicles. His AC plugs got Lindbergh across the ocean as well. In spite of his fame and fortune, things didn't end well for Albert, however, dying at the age of 49 after getting punched in the chest by his second wife's boyfriend. Neither of them fared too well after that either. Albert's buried in Paris in the same cemetery as Jim Morrison, by the way.

I'm fascinated by the time period when all this occurs. Albert's story occurs during the same time frame as William Stout and they would have traveled in over-lapping circles. The Champion book has a bibliography in the back. Before I return the book to the library, I'm going to jot down a few of the books listed and see about reading more of the development of the early days of the bicycle/auto/aircraft industries. I'm also planning on taking a trip this year to check out the Studebaker Museum (thanks Barb). Even though the museum is relatively close, I've never been there. No excuse for it. The Missus and I did have brunch at the Studebaker Mansion one time, though. So I've got that going for me.

So much to learn but so little time to learn it.