Sunday, December 30, 2018


Number one highlight of the year has to be the Alaskan trip. Great time, even better because I had the opportunity to go with my two cousins. Only three more states to see until I've been in all 50. Hoping to get two more this coming year.

Bike trip on the Cowboy trail was a fun one. That's the self-service pool hall in the photo. Definitely an unexpected surprise. Maybe do a motorcycle tour in 2019. I wouldn't mind another bicycle trip, however.

Photo taken from the B-25. I've now been up in all three of the bombers of the Collings Foundation. They've added a Skyraider to the fleet. Maybe see about going up in that one next year.

They can take up to three people at a time. If you sit in front it's $900.00 - too much for me. They've got a couple of other seats for half that. I'm not sure where you would sit or if you could even look out but I'll look into it and see if my buddy wants to give it a go. If he's in, I'm in.

And when I'm ranking the big events, can't forget the big pork tenderloin sandwich. Biggest damn sandwich I've ever seen, let alone eaten. Cuzzin Ricky and I enjoyed these immensely - vegan kryptonite. Rick and I had a good year at the races. We went to several open wheel events - champ cars, sprints and midgets. Even made a couple of pavement races. We're already making plans for next year.

Took another CNC class and read a few books. I decided at the beginning of the year not to worry about trying to read 50 on the year but I did manage to read 22. Not too shabby, considering in this day and age there are a lot of people who don't read even one.

Did a couple of 5K race walks and did a bicycle race which helped me pass my stress test with flying colors. Health-wise, doing pretty well for an old guy.

Not exactly a red letter year for the projects but I did finish the motor bike, the sidecar and got the barn veranda erected. Made a good start on the Rickati/trials bike and the 900. Probably would have gotten a bit more done on those if I hadn't of gotten the slant six motor and started to fiddle with that.

Got a new pickup this year. Nothing much to that other than I needed new wheels. I do miss driving the little Veloster, though. Fun little car to drive, good mileage and heated seats. I really do miss the heated seats, especially with all the colder than usual weather we've had this fall and winter so far. At least I don't need to be commuting any more this winter.

Got the new motorbike just in time to make the highlight reel for the year. First time in my life I've ever gotten two new vehicles in the same year. Technically, the truck isn't new since it's a 2016 but close enough. Also, this is only the second new bike I've ever had. The last new one I bought was a little Sprint when I was a senior in high school and now I get a new one when I'm a senior citizen. Quite possibly these will be the last new vehicles I ever buy. I had my old Dodge for fifteen years. If I keep the truck and bike for fifteen I'll be 83 if I'm lucky enough to make it that far.

Most everything has been in the plus column for the year. Had to deal with some health issues with the Missus and it doesn't look like those are going to go away. I wouldn't put falling off the SV and banging it and myself up in the plus column either, but otherwise, I consider myself luckier than most. Health, family, friends and a few bucks in my pocket. Can't really ask for much more. Especially when you look at how many others have suffered this year with the fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and all the rest life can throw at you.

Here's hoping to a good 2019 for all of us.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Old Soul

Here's something I stumbled across that I found interesting:

Here are 5 things that only old souls can really understand:

1. Civilization vs. Nature

Being an old soul usually means a love of the natural world. You have a special connection with nature because all in all, Earth is unchanging and feels like the only reliable constant truth.

You are comfortable in and can understand the beauty of a forest, the crisp night sky full of stars, or the soothing sound of rolling ocean waves lapping at the beach.

These things make you feel safe and grounded, while the bustling cities, with bright lights and constant over stimulation feel tense and unnecessary.

You don’t really get the point of having 3 Starbucks’ within two blocks of your house or going out to a club where everything real and natural is drowned out by electronics.

You feel no affinity with the concrete jungle and you struggle to find any beauty or purpose there.

2. You see the big picture.

You are well aware of how temporary this human life is in the grand scheme of things.

You know you are a tiny speck in the face of a vast universe, a grain of sand in the endless shoreline, but this is neither sad nor bothersome to you.

Seeing and understanding the big picture, global or cosmic, doesn’t mean you don’t know how important even this impermanent short human life is.

You know that every tiny action can affect great things, every speck can change the picture. This is why you take great care to live your life in a way that aligns with your principles and beliefs.

You want whatever legacy you leave behind to be noble, no matter how insignificant it may seem. 

3. Solitude is important to you.

You enjoy other people and their company, but being an old soul tends to make you feel like a bit of a misfit at times. You spend a lot of time in your own head, and social interaction can be exhausting for you after a while.

You need regular time to yourself to look inward and gather your thoughts, rest and recuperate your mind and recharge for the new day. 

4. People in your age group are frustrating/tiring.

People who are old souls are more intuitive than others who are the same age.

They tend to have a deeper understanding of mature concepts, and this causes a disconnect between them and their typical peers.

Social interaction with others your age might be frustrating, as you end up feeling the need to explain things that seem simple or straight forward to you, sometimes repeatedly.

It can also be plain tiresome, being surrounded by what feels like children.

Don’t despair though, you can always find your tribe, it just may take a little extra searching. You may not make many friends in your year at school, but you’ll make them elsewhere. 

5. You have an innate thirst for knowledge.

As an old soul you know that material things have no real value, money is meaningless and even people come and go, but there is one thing you value more than anything else.

That is knowledge. This is one thing that cannot be stolen or removed, it is timeless and ageless, in many ways just like you.

You have a need to learn as much as you can about anything and everything that peaks your curiosity. There is no subject that is off limits or too mundane, it all has value and importance for you.

This is a great thing and one of your best qualities. It’s also one of the reasons that old souls excel in teaching positions.

You have so much to teach others as you are always learning yourself and are naturally inclined toward patience with an eager student.
Definitely a lot of me in there. I found it here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Buon Natale

Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Tool Box & A PSA

The tool box job is pert near finished. I've got just a wee bit left to weld and then I can turn it over to the neighbor. He's going to put the latches and hinges on. I didn't want to put the hinges on in case I needed to weld something on the inside of the box or modify the frame of the door when he installs whatever he's planning on using. I'm glad this one is done. It's been more work than I wanted to tackle but he's always taken good care of me if I needed something done.

I'll finish up the high mileage piece and the two little gizmos for the panniers on the Himalayan next. Probably get back on the trials bike after that. Maybe push the 900 up front again and do the wiring on that one. I should probably get the slant six buttoned up before too much longer also. No shortage of things to do. Like wrap a few presents.

I got my replacement fire extinguishers the other day. Pretty fast service. I've got the old ones all boxed up and ready to return to Kidde but because they are pressurized, I've got to call Fed Ex and arrange a pick up. I'll wait until after the new year when things have calmed down a bit in the package delivery game. I did notice the small extinguishers have a recommended twelve year life span. There's a date stamped in the bottom of them, so if you've got an extinguisher that's been hanging on the wall for awhile, you might want to check it to see if it needs to be replaced. I also checked the nozzles on my other extinguishers and found another one that had a nest of some sort in it. I'm going to start checking them spring and fall like I do the smoke alarms and the dryer vent. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Things With Wheels

In the photo above is a new "bogie" wheel for my lawn mower. I ran into a post at speed last year and broke one. I hit it hard enough that it bent the deck a bit as well. I stopped by the dealer the other day and picked up a replacement - $16.00 including the grade 8 bolt, the two lock nuts and a flat washer. Other than blades and filters, this is only the second time I've had to buy parts for this thing and both times the parts have been very reasonable. Really happy with the Bad Boy. Also, this is the last thing I needed to do in order to have the mower ready for spring. Ahead of the game on this one!

The parts in the bottom of the photo are for the high school's high mileage vehicle. I'm making a bushing to fit the bore to modify things a bit. Left hand thread on the bushing that will screw in to the sprocket carrier. After it's threaded in I'll pin it to the carrier and then broach a keyway in it. I was going to work on it yesterday but I went into a sneezing jag while welding up the tool box job and then my ribs started hurting again so I called it quits for the day. Maybe finish up the tool box today if the argon holds out and then get the high mileage job indicated and clamped down on the mill.

I did come up with a way to hold the panniers on the new motorcycle. Real simple little piece for each side of the bike that's easy to machine. I do need to get one stainless socket head bolt to complete the job on the bike itself. I'll probably go ahead and make some new clips for the panniers. The opening on the clips now are made to fit over a thinner piece of material than what's on the bike. Since the clips bolt on, I can swap the clips out depending on which bike I'm going to be using them on in less than five minutes.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

New Blog & New Bike

I came across an interesting blog via the Vulgar Curmudgeon. I've only perused it briefly but it looks like the guy does a lot of the same type of things that I do. That is, a bit of everything. He seems to have a much better understanding of things electrical than I do, so maybe I can increase my knowledge by checking out what he does. I've added a link in the sidebar to So Many Hobbies.

I do like the tap wrench he has in the photo above - looks to be a pair of file handles added to the wrench to make it easier to use. I might have to rig one of those up myself.

The weather was warm enough to get the new bike out for a little shakedown ride the other day. Even though the bike is fuel injected it has an enrichening lever on the handlebar for cold starting. The manual says to use it for the first start of the day or when the temps are low. It doesn't want to idle like you would expect a fuel injected bike to until it's warmed up well. It acts more like a carbureted bike in that regard. However, after it's warmed up it ticks over nicely and will pull from way down low and has the nice torque spread that you would want from an "adventure" bike.

I adjusted the mirrors to my liking, cleaned off a shelf in the cabinet for the saddle bags, hooked up the battery tender and then put the cover on it. I did check out what it would take to mount up my bicycle panniers on the tank guard. I think I've come up with a pretty simple solution. I've got a couple of other jobs I want to finish first, and then I'll see about tackling that. With the bags front and rear I'll have enough room to pack all my gear for a week's camping. Plus, the hard bags have clips on the lids to tie things down. I'll see about picking up some nylon straps with the plastic snap locks to use and then I'll be set. I've done quite a bit of bicycle touring, maybe a bit of motorcycle touring in the future.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Indy Again

Cuzzin Ricky and I went back down to Indy yesterday - this time just to pick up my new motorcycle. Things went smoothly. It was a nice day to travel with temps in the 50s, plenty of sunshine and decent traffic on I-65. Instead of trying to load a bike in the back of my pickup, I rented a trailer for the trip. I should have done that the first time and saved myself some pain and money. The enclosed trailer was less than $50.00 and it had a wheel chock and "D" rings in the floor to tie the bike down securely. Lesson learned. 

Looks like the weather will be much more like normal coming up in the future so I don't know when I'll be able to get out on this thing, but it should be a fun little bike to play with.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Indy Trip

Here's a couple more shots from the Indy trip. These old cars, whether midgets, sprints or champ cars really grab me. The only problem with these old dogs is they were man-killers. You'll notice #7 has no roll over protection whatsoever and #8 has only a small hoop to protect the driver. No arm restraints or HANS device for these guys either. You look at the old photos and the driver may be wearing a tee shirt and an open faced bump cap. Tough way to make a living - still is as far as that's concerned - but at least the risk to life and limb is not near as great.

While we were walking around in the museum we bumped into Donald Davidson, the official historian of the Speedway. We had a little chat about cars, of course, but when he noticed my jacket from the boxing club he related a couple of boxing stories to us. Seems Mr. Davidson was the announcer of the Golden Gloves in Indy way back when for a couple of years. He also did a broadcast with Keith Jackson for a televised international event - US versus Poland. He also said he had a couple of fights himself years ago back in England but he told us he wasn't much of a fighter. He is one hell of an historian. I think he's seven years older than I am and still knows more about the Indy 500 and the drivers than any man alive or probably ever will.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Indy Trip

We made the trip to Indy the other day - Cuzzin Ricky, one of the guys I did the Cowboy Trail with this summer and myself. We stopped at the bike shop first off. It looks like I can make a deal on the Himalayan even though the Suzuki took a beating when I dropped it. I'll have to take one as well as far as the trade in price goes, but I've got no one to blame there but myself.

The open wheel exhibit at the Speedway was pretty cool. Lots of cars on display small to large. TQ midgets, early and current midgets, sprint cars, and champ cars. Mostly of the exhibit focused on dirt cars but there were a few pavement cars and in another room there were a bunch of former Indy winners. If you're a fan of open wheel racing, I'd plan a trip to the Speedway to check it out.

The car in the photos above is pretty much what I've got in mind for my build. It appears to be built real close to the plans I posted a few posts back. Looks like it could be a fun project. I picked up a front axle with the wishbone and spring, so I've got a start. As soon as I finish my Christmas shopping and pay off the bills, I'll order the remaining parts for the slant six so I can get it put together and then start searching for a transmission that'll fit it. Once I get that, I should be able to figure out where everything will go, determine the wheelbase and finalize the blueprint.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Water Trough

I made a water trough to sit on top of the fin tube in the bedroom out of a leftover piece of the stain- less sheet from the toolbox cover I've been working on. These work well to keep some humidity in the house. This was tough enough to weld. I can't wait to start finish welding the toolbox cover. I'm glad I bought the .040" tungsten set-up. It seems to make things go a bit easier. I don't do much stainless work at all and this .030" stuff is a bit of a test of my skill level.

I finish school today. All that's left is to administer the cert tests and then finish up the grading. I won't be going back until March, so I shouldn't have to commute through the winter weather - like I did today. Temperatures have been below average most of the month and I'm thinking that trend will continue and we'll probably get a few good snowfalls as well. It'll be nice if I don't have to drive through it.

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. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Machining, Welding & Carpentering

The welding supplies came in on Saturday - new headgear and the TIG stuff for welding up the tool box cover. Also in the photo is a motor mount for the slant six project and underneath the headgear is a layout to get an idea of how the engine will sit in the frame and where the mounts should be located. It looks like the only concern is the clearance for the oil pump and filter boss since that's the direction the engine leans. Nothing insurmountable, just typical things you run into when you contemplate goofy projects like this.

Started turning the air cleaner adaptor. I should be able to knock this out in the next few days. The weather is going to be unseasonably cold again - below freezing daytime temps and teens at night when normally the daytime average is low to mid- forties. Looks like I'm going to have to plan on running through some propane this winter to heat the shop if I want to keep moving forward on all the projects. As long as the Social Security checks keep coming, I'll be OK. I do need to throttle back a bit on buying parts until I finish my Christmas shopping.

I took the sheet for the door for the toolbox cover to work to cut it to size on the squaring shear. Unfortunately, I forgot the paper with the measurements at home. I'll cut the sheet to size and bend it to fit the frame on the brake in the HVAC lab next trip in. They've got a nice box & pan brake which will make it easier than trying to do it at home on my machine.

I got the new trim for the man door in my shop cut out and the back side routed out as needed. A little sanding and then take it down the basement and get some primer on it. It won't take but five minutes to install it once it's painted. I might even leave it off until spring since it's going to be too cold to caulk around it.

The finger's still a bit sore but the stitches come out on Friday. I'll be glad when that's all healed up - trying to keep it clean and not bump it is not the easiest thing to do with the kind of work I do. Could be worse, that's for sure.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Blues in My Heart

I like this one a bunch. I'm going to put the CD on my Christmas list.

Photo From Here
I went to the memorial service for my recently deceased uncle Saturday. Nice service for a well loved man who was very generous with his time and money. I don't know why but I kept thinking about the Corvair station wagon he had. I was probably 13 or 14 when he had the car - about the time I first started really noticing automobiles. I rode in it a couple of times. He was the only guy I ever knew who had one of these things. I can't remember any other vehicle he had after that, though. Funny how the mind works - at least mine.

He was living just down the street from his wife's sister at the time. She had a Corvair also. She drove it back and forth to work and to the store but never more than about five miles at a time so it had nothing but cold starts and the valve rockers and the little balls they pivoted on went bad. My dad bought it from her and a buddy of mine and I drug it home so I could fix it. Pulled it home about 25 miles on the end of a chain. Couldn't do that now. We were pretty good at dragging things around, however. We had some hand signals we used to make sure the slack didn't come out of the chain and usually things went pretty smoothly. My brother also had a Corvair as did my wife while we were dating. All of them were '62 models if I remember correctly. Never really had any complaints about the cars other than the heaters weren't up to the task in the mid-west here and you didn't want to get too sporty in the corners or the rear end would tuck and launch you like a pogo stick.  Here I speak from experience. The model change in '65 cured most of the rest of the problems Ralph Nader scared everyone with in his book Unsafe at Any Speed. I've never read the book. Maybe I should seek out a copy and give it a read this winter. When I'm not out in the shop that is.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bomba De Agua and Mo'

Got a bunch done in the shop yesterday. Got some things painted, Surly came down to use my lathe and gave me a hand putting the slant six motor on the stand. Cut some pieces to make the trim for the man door on the shop and took the blades off the mower so I can get them sharpened up next week at work. I've got a couple of other little things to attend to on the mower and then I'll move it out to the big barn all ready to go for next season.

As you can see from the photos, parts arrived. I like the looks of the valve cover with the breathers on there. Same with the air cleaner. I'll make up the adaptor so I can bolt it on to the carb in the next couple of days. Surly cleaned and oiled the lathe real well when he was here, so it's good to go.

It's supposed to be pretty cold starting Monday and stay that way for a few days. Supposed to get some snow as well. I checked out the tractor the other day and it's all set for snow removal duty. I need to get the snow blower out and put some fresh gas in it. I thought about changing the oil but when I pulled out the dipstick, the oil looks like I just changed it. Might be that I had. I rarely use the thing. We have to have a pretty serious snow before I'll drag it out.

I think I'm going to have to learn how to make a pie one of these days. The Missus isn't up to doing much kitchen work these days, so I'm going to have to pick up a little more of the slack. Not a problem other than she's an ace when it comes to baking pies. I'm going to have to really up my game to try and clear the bar where she's set it. I'll let you know how that works out. There's always store-bought if worse comes to worse.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Turkey Trot

The 5K walk went well. It was a family event for me yesterday - just wasn't my family. My running buddy did the walk with her son and husband, her step-son did the run. I walked with her husband and we had a good morning out. He's a real nice guy and we have much in common. They had a nice crowd for a small town - lots of walkers. Probably as many walkers or maybe even more than the runners. Should generate a decent amount of cash for the lady with cancer. We were very fortunate at our house when cancer struck. Decent insurance first of all, and I was able to be around to take the Missus to the doctors and treatments. Most importantly, however, the type of cancer we were dealing with responds well to treatment. Still a struggle on some days but hopefully the lady the run was for yesterday morning had a bit happier Thanksgiving and the money will lift some of the weight off her shoulders.

Some more Hemi orange things. The oil pump should be about the last thing that gets painted orange. The block, head and water pump will be the "aluminum casting" color. I've got the back of the block painted already and it looks nice - does in fact look like an aluminum casting. 

I've got parts that should be in today. Breathers for the valve cover, air cleaner, water pump, spark plugs, and a couple of other things. I also ordered some welding gear that should be in today - new headgear for the helmet I use for TIG welding, some .040" collets, collet bodies and tungstens for welding up the tool box cover as well as other thin jobs that may come along in the future. I also ordered my self a couple of new fitter's caps, one of which is flannel lined for working out in the shop this winter. I normally wear a Stormy Kromer as my go-to work hat in the winter but it's no good under a welding hood. If I'm going to make any progress on things this winter, I'm going to have to spend some time out in the shop working even if it's cold out. Might as well gear up for it. The caps I bought are custom made, so it'll be a couple of weeks before they show up. In the meantime, I'll keep wearing the regular fitter's cap or a helmet liner.

Last item on the agenda: thanks to the daughter-in-law for putting on the Thanksgiving spread. Job well done! 

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. There's a lot that's screwed up in this world and here at home these days but there's still much to be thankful for. All my needs are taken care of - food, clean water, shelter, etc. Most of my wants and desires have been fulfilled or hopefully will be before I die. I doubt that I'll ever be in possession of that E-Type Jaguar but that's still no reason not to be thankful for what I have.

I've got auto parts on order that should be here in the next couple of days so I can continue on the slant six project. I still need a few more parts but I'll get those ordered after I deal with what's coming in. Looking to make a little more progress on the trials bike in the next few days as well. My buddy who's going to do my engine work was supposed to come see me at the college the other day but he had to deal with his mother-in-law's backed up sewer pipe. I'm very thankful that's something I didn't have to mess with, by the way. I've still got a ways to go before I turn the engine over to him but I wanted to discuss a couple of things, plus it's been a while since we've talked.

Doing a 5K this morning, the proceeds of the event are always donated to someone in the community struggling with cancer or some similar life altering disease or event. Again, thankful it's not me needing the help and thankful I'm healthy enough to do the 5K and contribute in some small way to help someone in need.

I'm always thankful when I'm making progress on the projects. Finished up the battery box for the trials bike - especially thankful for the magnetic clamps I bought a while back. They were just the thing for holding the hinge and the latch in place while I was tacking them on. 

The daughter-in-law is cooking up the Thanksgiving Day feast again this year. Last year was her first attempt at feeding the masses and she did a bang up job. Looking forward to sitting down with family and friends and having a wonderful meal later today. Once again, lots to be thankful for. Hope all of you can say the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Man With A Plan

I found these on a forum but I forgot to save the link. I couldn't read anything on the forum because everything other than the plans was in Swedish, I think it was. Nice set of plans, however, and they're in English units rather than metric which makes it a lot easier for me. I can do metric without too much trouble but like most people who are first learning a second language, I don't think metric, I convert - takes me a bit longer to visualize things in my head.

This rig is pretty much what I want to build with a few modifications. The car is very narrow - only 21" outside to outside and it tapers down to only 14" at the grill. That would be a pretty small radiator to try and keep the slant six cooled down. I'm thinking make the frame 24" wide which would give me a bit more room in the cockpit for some safety tubes. I definitely want a roll hoop but some side impact protection would be a definite asset as well. Maybe lean the top of the grill shell back a bit also. I'll need to figure what I'm going to use for a transmission before I can finalize the length of the frame rails. I'm thinking a quick-change rear would look good under the rear.

I've got several big projects in line ahead of this thing but I'd like to get some definite dimensions so I can finalize a blueprint and start collecting parts. This thing will cost me a few bucks so it would be prudent to buy a few things here and there and have them so once I get started I can hit it hard. The other option would be to just put a few bucks away out of the Social Security check every month. Maybe a combination of the two.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Valve Cover

Before and after on the valve cover. I ground the spot welds off that held the clips for the wiring. If I need something like that later I'll find something that I can bolt to the cover hold down bolts. My plan on repairing the long tube that was bent worked out quite nicely. I had a piece of stock that was just about the right size, so I turned the OD on the lathe, worked it down into the tube and then used it to straighten the tube up. Looks A - OK now.

When the Speedway order comes in I'll see about fitting the air cleaner to the carb. The breathers should just slip on but the motor mounts are going to require a bit of head scratching. I think I'll get the block mounted on the engine stand and set it up at the 30 deg. angle it will be when in the car and start from there making the mounts that will bolt to the engine. I want to get those done before I paint the block. The mounts off the frame should be pretty straight forward when I finally get there.

I need to start work on assembling the engine one of these days soon. I'm going to check and see what fits what and pick up some bearings, gasket set, oil pump, rings, etc. I'll feel better if I've got this thing all put together. Less chance of something getting rusty or dirty, plus it'll take up less room in my shop. Things are pretty crowded in there right now.  

Actually making pretty good progress considering I'm trying not to get the stitches on my finger dirty or wet.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Oil Pan

I got the oil pan for the slant six cleaned up and painted. The color balance under the fluorescent lights isn't the best. It actually looks a bit more orange as it should in person. I'm going to tackle the valve cover next. In addition to cleaning it up, I need to straighten out one of the breather tubes. It's bent out of round and is leaning over a bit. Shouldn't be too difficult to straighten out. I think I'll make a piece the same size as the ID on the tube that I can tap in. I can use that to round it up as well as pull it back so it's perpendicular to the valve cover as it should be.

I'm going to buy an air cleaner, a couple of breather filters and a pair of motor mounts if I can find what I'm looking for. Speedway Motors has all of the above but I didn't find an air cleaner with the right size ID to fit my carb. Apparently 2-5/8" is the size of most of them but my carb measures only about 2-5/16". Looks like I might have to make an adaptor. No problem on the breathers or the motor mounts. Those are a universal fit, round biscuit type. I'll make brackets to fit the motor and the frame rails when the time comes for that. I did sketch out a few things on the shop floor while I was waiting for the primer to dry on the oil pan. Trying to figure out the relationship of the engine and trans to where the cockpit will be and all that. I think I'm on the tight track.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Red Blooded American

Had surgery on my finger yesterday and I do mean surgery. They gowned me all up, had to take off my wedding band, put on the goofy hat, the whole nine yards. I thought having to take my pants off to get a splinter out of my finger was a bit much but the nurse explained that we were going into a sterile operating room and the proper protocol needed to be adhered to. The same situation took place in the operating room. Everyone was robed and masked, they painted my arm up with some orange anti-bacterial cleanser, put a tourniquet on my arm and numbed up my hand and went to work.

I saw the doctor Wednesday, he examined my finger and took some x-rays but nothing came up, so I was a little concerned that he wouldn't find anything and all this monkey business was for nothing. I became even more concerned when the surgeon was poking around in my finger and couldn't find anything. He was about to give up when I heard him say: "I found it. I got lucky". Sure enough, a splinter about 1/4" - 5/16" long. I see the doctor this morning for a bandage change and look see, then the stitches come out in two weeks. 

After the doctor's visit Wednesday, I had an advisory committee meeting at the college so I took my oil pan with me to repair. The bottom of the pan was caved in rather badly but I got it knocked back out and I brazed up a spot by the drain plug that was pushed in and had a sharp crease. Next step is to sand down the braze repair, wire wheel the outside and then get some of the hemi orange paint on it. Of course, I'll have to wait and see how much I can do with the boo-boo on my finger. I do have some mittens I can use to protect it and keep it warm - just don't want to pop the stiches open. Always something.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Common Core Once Again

Here's a link to an interesting article about Common Core. I'm no longer in a high school so I'm not sure what it is exactly they're teaching now, but since I'm now dealing with the end product I'd have to agree that the little scholars don't seem to be any smarter since the implementation of Common Core. The article mentions not only the educational outcomes of Common Core but also the insertion of "propaganda" into the curriculum. I don't know about any of that but looking at what's going on in politics these days, there may be some truth to it. I do know that I can stand in front of the class and discuss things, put things up on the board and when we go out into the lab area quite a few of them will ask questions about things that I just covered. And a good majority of them don't know which electrode is the 1/8" and which is the 3/32" when you send them to the rod oven and those are the only two sizes in there. Something's going on here and it's not the "critical thinking skills" they were supposed to be learning.

We're currently working on welding certifications so I covered the rules I go by as an inspector as found in the AWS code book. I gave them a copy of the inspection criteria and what happens if they fail a certification test. I doubt if any of them actually read the hand-out or paid attention to what I told them judging by the questions I've been fielding. I doubt that Common Core is the cause of this. I think this is a direct result of the students no longer reading and them spending way too much time looking at things on their phones. The attention span seems to have shrunk considerably. Or maybe I'm just looking at it from the view point of an old duffer.

I do know if I had small children in this day and age, I'd be taking them to the library and getting them books to read on a regular basis and taking them to places like the zoo, historic sites and getting them outside on their bikes, throwing the ball around, hiking in the woods, fishing and camping. I'd make sure they're exposed to the outdoors and to history, both U.S and world and I'd keep them off social media as much as humanly possible and have them spend time with me in the shop.

Meanwhile on the home front, I finished up the lid for the tool box cover. Not the best photo - I should have raised the camera up a bit and moved towards one end or the other. If you were to look at the end view of the lid, you would see that it's trapezoidal in shape. Looks like it belongs there.

We had some .035" MIG wire that was already cut into short lengths at work and the lab tech said take all of it if I wanted. He cut it up a couple of years ago and no one had used any of it since. I took only enough to finish the job and it did make the welding a lot easier since the wire diameter is pretty close to the same as the metal thickness of the sheets. I should probably bring a few more pieces of the filler wire home to keep on hand. Anyway, one step closer.

Seeing the surgeon today about my splinter. I'm taking four pages of paperwork with me that probably took me longer to fill out than it will to have the splinter removed. I'm pretty sure the old doc on Gunsmoke could've taken the splinter out - or the vet where we take the dog. My boss said just to rub some Ora-Jel on it and take the razor blade and the tweezers to it. Probably should have taken his advice and I'd be healed up by now.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Coming Up With The Plan

I think I've narrowed down the design of the project I'm going to drop the slant six into. Something like what's in the above photo. I've been going through my library looking at some of the old cars from the thirties and forties and I think building something along those lines would be a lot of fun. I saw one similar that was under construction when Cuzzin Ricky and I went to the Millers at Milwaukee event two summers ago. The craftsmanship was first class and it should be a really nice car when the old gentleman gets it finished. I'm going to keep thinking about it and maybe start drawing up some plans this winter.

In the meantime, I worked on the tool box cover yesterday. That thin stainless is a bit tricky to weld. I measured the thickness and the sheets are only .030" thick. I got one end of the lid welded and ground down. I got some distortion but it doesn't look too bad. I got the other end fit, tacked up and partially finished welded but ran out of the proper filler rod. I think we might have some at the college I can mooch. I'll see what I can come across either there or I'll make a trip to a welding supply. Some .035" MIG wire would work nicely. In fact, it would be better than the 1/16" TIG rod I've been using.

Haven't got an appointment to get the splinter out yet. I'd like to get it taken care of. Doesn't really hurt but it's an inconvenience. The weather's looking to be cold most of the week but I want to finish up the tool box job as long as the finger's not going to be a problem. Looks like it's time to switch into winter time mode, get out the long johns and start spending some time in the shop.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Baby It's Cold Outside

Indeed it is. Woke up this morning and the temperature was in the teens with the wind chill in the single digits.  Snowed yesterday, so I guess winter is definitely here. A bit early for my liking but it'll get nice again some time around April.

Took the Missus in yesterday for a procedure on her back. That seemed to help her some. We'll have to see how things go long range. I, on the other hand, didn't fare quite so well when I went to get the splinter removed from my finger. The doctor decided the splinter was too deep and with the infection it wasn't something that he wanted to fool with, so I'll be going to see a hand surgeon sometime next week. I did get a prescription for some anti-biotics and a tetanus shot. The nurse informed me the tetanus shot is good for ten years. I informed her that at my age this one might be the last one I'll ever need then. That caught her off guard for a second but she was kind enough to tell me I should be good for at least one more after this one. Here's hoping she's correct.

I planned on having my finger sliced open so I cut the parts out for the lid on the tool box cover before seeing the doctor. The splinter is in the middle of my index finger right where I need to grip the handle on the tin snips. It doesn't really hurt to use the finger but the bump is annoying. I'll start welding the lid up tomorrow when it's supposed to be at least 40.

I need to get the snow blower and the tractor ready for the winter. The snow blower could probably use an oil change. The tractor just needs a check on all the fluids and make sure the battery is charged up. The snow blower has a 110 volt starter on it, which is really nice for something I only use a few times per year, if that. I did get the oil and filter changed in the mower the other day. I'll pull the blades off and get them sharpened so it'll be ready come spring. I mowed the back yard and chopped up the leaves, so that's about it for the yard work this year.

Stay warm and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


I just finished watching an old cornball movie - Million Dollar Legs - starring Jack Oakie and W.C. Fields. It featured Susan Fleming as Oakies' love interest. She didn't ride a bicycle in the film but she did ride a motorcycle. She was married to Harpo Marx, by the way.

Got my check-up results with the heart doc the other day. All systems go. I do have an appointment to see the family doctor tomorrow to remove a splinter from my finger. It went in a few weeks ago. I jerked a piece of it out when it happened but apparently I didn't get it all. I dug around with a needle a bit but didn't have any luck. I waited for it to fester up and then work itself out but no luck there either. Now I've got a red bump that sticks up about a 1/4". Time for some professional help. I also need to take the Missus to the doctor again - second time this week for her also.

On the plus side of the ledger, I was offered a front axle for my slant six project. It's from a '42 Ford and comes with the wishbone. I checked my Speedway catalog and they have everything a guy would need to set up the brakes and steering for a hot rod or 40's - 50's champ car build. This might be what I need to finalize the direction I'll be taking. I'll be picking the axle up next week.

In the meantime, working on the tool box cover and getting ready to do some painting and general fix-up on the inside of the shack. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Bike Ride & Tool Box

I went on the bike ride Saturday morning. A bit chilly initially - about 34 degrees when I showed up but warmed up nicely as the morning progressed. I knew a couple of the riders there but I rode with another old geezer most of the time. It was our job to hold up the rest of the group and we did a fairly nice job of that. The ride was in two parts, 17 miles on the first leg and then another 19. I bailed out after the first leg and having a pumpkin bar and some cider because I wanted to get somethings done around the shack but I had a good time. The guy I rode with has done a lot of long distance touring, so we had quite a bit to talk about. Nice people, good weather (good enough anyway) and some decent exercise while enjoying the fall colors.

I made a little more progress on the tool box cover. I got the other side fit up and made a couple of strips for across the front. If you look close you can see the drip channel I bent up on the top piece. I'll cut out the piece for the lid today at work. We've got a nice foot shear in the shop that works better than the Chinese knock-off Beverly that I've got. Mine works well, actually, but it wrinkles the edge a bit when you make a cut where the foot shear gives you a nice edge. I'll bend it up at the house and then make a couple of end caps for it. I've been debating whether to weld or rivet the end caps on. I don't want to get a bunch of distortion on the sheets from welding but right now welding's my preference. My neighbor said he'd take care of the locks, so about all I need to do after the lid is to make a frame and wrap it with the stainless sheet for the door and I'll be done. 

Busy week on tap again - work and doctor's visits again. The Missus has a couple of visits that require a driver so that'll shoot most of the week in the ass like last week. Last week I substituted for one of the guys and ended up back with a group of high school kids. Not that I've ever second guessed my decision to retire from the high school, but it was a nice reminder that I made the right decision. Especially coming just a couple of days after having the stress test. Leaving the high school probably saved my life. I really need to get out of there.

I got my new passport the other day so I'll be dropping by the travel agent so she can have a copy of that and I'll cut her a check for the balance on my upcoming trip to Ireland. Once again, my advice to all of you is to save your money, get some exercise and hopefully you too will be able to enjoy a nice retirement. What is it they say? Spend money like you'll die tomorrow, save money like you'll live forever. Middle path Grasshopper.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Boxing Day Tomorrow

Boxing Day in America this Saturday. Who knew? I'm thinking about a bike ride this Saturday myself - that'd be bicycle since I've already put the Suzuki to bed for the year. The machining instructor at the school has put together a gravel ride. He does the majority of his biking on gravel. Myself, I usually try to avoid it. We'll see what I decide on Saturday morning when I roll out of bed. Maybe yes, maybe no. I would like to find a group to ride with occasionally, however.

Making progress on the tool box cover. I need to pick up some material to finish it up but it's coming along nicely. I want to get back on the trials bike and start putting the slant six together. Of course there are a dozen more things that need my attention. Both the wife and I have doctor's appointments coming up, Bazooka Joe may be fighting soon and I've got an advisory committee meeting to attend. I'm doing a lot less than when I was working full time but I'm still busy as all hell it seems. As long as I stay away from jobs like the tool box cover and don't drag anything else home, I should start catching up one of these days.

I'm thinking the slant six should go into something like these:

Going to have to get around to building that louver press if that's the route I take, but everyone should have one, right? In the meantime, I'll work on getting a few other things finished and put this on my Christmas list.

I came across a cool blog if you're into cars. I've just scratched the surface but looks like something I'll be checking out on a regular basis.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Stress Test

Making some progress on the job for my neighbor. He's getting the better of the deal for fixing my brakes on the old pickup but I'm pretty happy with how things are going so far. I'm building a cover box for a tool box on the back of his work truck. He furnished the stainless sheets, so that had much to do with the design of the project. They are a little too thin to stand alone with out some type of inner structure/armature (threw that last word in there for all the artists out there). The bottom photo shows what I'm working with. The sheets have flanges bent on all four sides and I need to straighten at least one edge out to maximize the size of the box. Stainless work hardens so it's tough to straighten out with out leaving a bump on the corner. I'm getting there, though.

While I'm in sheet metal mode, I made the door for the battery box for the trials bike. Need to get a hinge and a latch to finish that up. Also in the photo is some brake cleaner. It says something on the label I'm not quite sure of. I saw non-chlorinated which is why I grabbed it but then it also has the number 45% on there, like maybe it's only 45% chlorinated. I won't weld over anything that I use it on just to be on the safe side but it was only $1.89 a can. They also had carb cleaner on sale for the same price so I bought a can of that also. I should buy a couple more cans of each while they are cheap and before they get outlawed. Especially since I'm going to be back in the mechanic biz as soon as I finish the tool box for the neighbor.

I had my stress test yesterday. They didn't push me to exhaustion like they've done previously. The nurse asked me how I was doing and I responded in the affirmative that I could keep going a bit but she said we had hit the target heart rate so I bailed. I didn't quite make 12 minutes but I could have easy enough. After that, probably not much more. The speed increases as does the elevation on the treadmill every three minutes and I was going to have to break into a run after the next increase. I need to do some sprint work. My endurance is fine but I rarely push myself at the gym or on the bike to really get the heart rate up. My crazy chest thing seems to have cured itself so I've been skipping rope at the gym using that to get my heart rate up a bit more. Need to do more. I meet with the cardiologist next week and I'll see what he says about the results. I think most everyone in the health industry sets the bar pretty low, however.

I talked to a guy at school the other day who is in another guy's class, so I don't really know him. He was working on getting some additional training and overheard me tell another of the instructors I was having the stress test. Seems he had heart surgery not too long ago. Instead of the traditional open heart surgery, he had a new procedure where they went in through five holes in his side and a robot performed the actual surgery. I've never heard of that before. Pretty wild this new technology. I'm assuming this is a type of Da Vinci surgery but I don't know. The guy says he was surprised by the heart troubles because he did a lot of running and had a decent diet. Says he does a lot of cycling now. He and I sound like two peas in a pod. It was an interesting conversation.