Sunday, March 31, 2019


Nice little article about the history of Royal Enfield with comments from the CEO here.

Article here about the flooding in the mid-west and the effect that will have on beef and grain prices this year. Of course there's much more to it than the price of a hamburger going up. It looks bad out there but just like the big fires out west last year, not much coverage in the national news. I don't know how they decide what's important to feature in the news but when a million calves are lost, I'm thinking people should be made aware of it. Not just cattle either. Lots of grain crops are likely to be effected also. I'm thinking maybe expand the garden a bit this year.

I'll be leaving for California in a few days, so I'm going to try and make a little more progress on a couple of things prior to departure. I don't have anything that's really pressing right now - just tinker a bit with the bag mount for the Himalayan, hit a couple of licks on the slip roll and clean up some. Looks like it's going to rain just about every day I'll be in California. Should still be a good trip.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Some Little Things -

and one big-ass thing. They chopped down the big cottonwood that was near the end of my lane. I measured the trunk and it's 6'-0" in diameter in one direction and 6' - 6" the other way. One big tree. I'm not sure why they chopped it down but when we were on the Cowboy Trail last summer, I don't remember who exactly, but they said they are cutting down a lot of the old cottonwoods because they fail catastrophically. No warning, just down comes a huge branch and crushes whatever's underneath it. So that might be it. I'll miss it being there, I know that.

Top photo has a bracket I had to shorten up a bit for the tool crib job at work. I did four of them the other day but after a slight change of plans, needed one more. Also in the photo are a pair of brackets for mounting my bicycle panniers on my new motorcycle. I'm not sure if I should paint them or get some Plasti-Dip and coat them. If I paint them I'll wrap the tank guard with a chunk of old bicycle inner tube so it doesn't get scratched. Regardless, it looks like it will work just fine so I'll make another pair for the other side of the bike.

We'll be making mechanic's stools in the Fab class at the college so I bent up a piece of flat stock for a bending form. Weld it to the table along with a peg to hold the end of the round stock then bend it cold to shape. I'm going to be gone for a week, so I wanted to get this set up for my substitute. If you look close at the photo you can see a small fitting. That came out of the end of a cutting torch belonging to one of my fellow instructors at the college. One of the students dropped the torch and screwed up the threads. It's a 1/2" or 9/16 -18 left hand thread. Since a die of that size is pretty rare, I worked my magic with a three square file and a thread file. Should be good now.

It made it up to 60 degrees yesterday. Nice working in the shop with the big door open. Cold and rainy again today. I'm thinking it'll be nice in California, however. Looking forward to getting a little bit of sun on my pale skin. I do have my SPF 50 packed - little bit of tan good, melanoma bad.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Anarchy On The Way?

So the whole Russian collusion thing was a 25,000,000 waste fueled by a media that wants to burn the president down like somehow that would be good for the country. Yet there are plenty of others that could have been indicted that were involved in starting that whole mess.

Rich Hollywood types buy their children a seat into top tier colleges but it looks like there might be some justice there. But now the doofus from Chicago who said he was attacked by a couple of guys wearing MAGA hats has all of the charges against him dropped.

I was working out in the shop and came in while the press conference with Mayor Emmanuel and Superintendent Johnson was in progress. Mayor Rahm was not a happy camper by any means. While I'm not a fan of most of the Hollywood types, the media or politicians in general, I was glad to see the mayor voicing his displeasure in no uncertain terms and going to bat for his police force.

If you've been reading the blog for any length of time I'm sure you've picked up my distaste for most things political. I'm a firm believer in less government is best government. Stick closely to the Constitution and things will go pretty smooth. However, it's about time that all the laws should be applied equally to all citizens. If you're not a citizen, you have no rights - at least that's what the customs guy told me when I was crossing into Canada way back when just prior to getting strip searched.

There are a lot of people out here in middle America who are getting more than a little tired of all that's been going on the last few years. It's going to be real interesting to see what this next election brings. Might be that's the real reason many of the politicians are looking to disarm their constituents. It's hard to revolt if all you've got is a pitchfork, especially since most people have never even seen one, let alone have one in the shed.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Completed tool crib. Looks decent and works as I intended it to. All good.

I also got my taxes finished the other day. With all the changes to the tax code the tax lady hit me with a surcharge for her new software but I got a pretty good return on my investment. I actually got a decent amount back from the feds instead of having to pay like I normally do. I usually get a small refund back from the state but I got double the amount this year. Make America Great Again? I don't know about all that but he made my life better for at least one day and with the new standard deduction for married couples, it will simplify my bookkeeping throughout the year. Of course, the country is still amassing a huge deficit, but not much I can do about that. I'll just try and keep my own financial house in order.

The weather was pretty nice yesterday - got up above fifty degrees for a change. It was nice enough to get the Himalayan out for a short spin. It fired right up and after a short warm-up, took it down the road and back. I'm not so sure how it's going to be at highway speeds but should be just the ticket for commuting to the new job and buzzing around town.

Going to try and get a few things done around the shack and in the shop this coming week. Then it'll be off to California.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


That's just about the size of it. However, I use it all the time on anything I might have to take apart at a later date that will be exposed to water or if you've got dissimilar metals like an aluminum casting with a steel fastener. It'll keep your aluminum wheels from freezing up on the hubs as well. Anyone who does mechanical work of any kind should keep this handy. You might end up looking like the Tin Man but it can save you a lot of grief.

Busy week. I'm starting to have second thoughts about working the two jobs the next eight weeks. Looks like the class at college is going to be a good one though - small class and looks to be a decent bunch. Meeting with the tax lady today. It'll be good to get that out of the way. I imagine I'll owe Uncle Sam a few bucks because the government refuses to live within its means. One of these days the well's going to run dry. Paying back that 22 trillion or what it tallies up to when the bottom drops out is going to be quite painful for a lot of people.

At least it's spring. Only about another month until it's tax free day for all of us working stiffs.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Tool Crib

Woke up Sunday morning to snow - again. It was one of those pretty snows with the big flakes. The weatherman was calling for temps in the forties later in the day so no worries about accumulation or shoveling, but this can stop any time now. We didn't get any big snows this past winter but we got enough of it. We got some severe temps but seems like it never stayed cold long enough to get decent ice thickness or snow cover to do much in the way of winter-time sports. Always interesting weather here in NW Indiana.

My first fab job at the new gig. The boss man wanted a tool crib with a pair of sliding doors. He had some track and the trolley wheels that had previously been installed that I took down and re-installed where I needed them. I arranged transportation of the material to my shop with my personal cartage company, Cuzzin Ricky, and spent a day cutting and welding. They fit and worked as designed. I damn sure didn't want to screw up on the first job I was given since I'm pretty sure I was hired primarily for my welding skills. I've got another small piece to make to close in the one end of the crib but that should be easy enough. I'll check with the boss and see if he's good with me taking a photo of the finished installation. If so, I'll post a picture later this week.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patrick's Day

I've had this song buzzing around in my head ever since I came home from Ireland and then I saw a version by Elvis posted by Chicken Mom. I'm not sure if this is the exact version but it's Danny Boy. And it's Elvis. Good enough for me.

It's going to be busy week for me. Class is starting at the college, working a couple days at the new gig, meeting with the tax lady, getting a couple of things put together to ship out to California with the high mileage car, getting a job finished up in the shop, and all the usual chores as well.

Looks like the weather is going to be more like normal temps this coming week. Long range shows some fifties for next weekend. That'll be nice. Last week we had a day right close to seventy and it was spitting a wet snow the next day. I'm ready for spring.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all - Irish or not.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Blarney Stone.

Here's a rare photo of me on the blog. In all the time I've been posting I don't think there's a photo of me where I could actually be identified, which has been by design. I suppose there's no good reason for it anymore since I post things on a social media account. Anyway, here's a photo of me kissing the Blarney Stone without actually seeing my kisser.

The weather warmed up for a couple of days. I spent most of the day yesterday in the shop. I would've gotten the Himalayan out except we got a pretty serious storm that blew through. The sun came out for a while after that but the wind was blowing hard enough that it wasn't going to be any fun. Went back into the shop and finished the job I was working on instead.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Anniversary today - 48 years and counting. This song expresses the sentiment quite nicely for me. On one of our nights out on my recent trip to Ireland, we were in a 300 year old pub that has been in the same family for all that time. I was working my way through a pint of Beamish when Richie, our entertainment for the evening, sang this tune for us - actually brought a tear to my eye. The Missus and I first met when she was sixteen and sat behind me in sophomore English class and I do truly love the old girl as I did when she was sixteen.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Odds & Ends


I had breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky yesterday. We discussed our travel plans for the upcoming year and it looks like I'll be able to work Nevada into the schedule. Chicken Mom posted  some photos from the Northern Nevada Railway as part of her regular Friday Night Steam feature and since Rick and I have discussed this in the past, I'm thinking the time is right for making that trip. Amtrak doesn't run there directly but where there's a will there's a way.

The new job looks like it'll work for me. There'll be regular chores as well as fixing whatever comes along, plus there's a bit of a back log of things to build. I'm going to be working on building a tool crib this week. There's not a real good place to do fab work there so I'll do most of the welding at home but still be on the clock. Should work out OK for me. The job will pay for some car and bike parts.

I'm going to California in April with the high school group. Should be an interesting trip. The team has two cars for the competition, one a previous build, the other still under construction. I stopped by there the other day and they've got a bit to do yet but looks like it'll get finished in time.

I've got a dentist appointment this week, starting on the taxes, preparing for the start of the class at the college, and working a couple of days this week. I'm not going to have a lot of free time until I finish at the college but it's only eight weeks and then I'll be done with that gig. That's been a really good job but there's not much flexibility as far as taking time off for travel and other things. I'm hoping the new boss is as understanding as he led me to believe during the interview process. If not, I'll just pack it in and call it a career

Friday, March 8, 2019

Slan Leat Eire

A few more photos from the Ireland trip. Top four are from the gardens at Blarney Castle. With the warmer than normal weather, the Rose of Sharon and magnolias were blooming. Surprised to see a Corvette - especially an Indianapolis Speedway pace car model. I talked to the guy for a couple of minutes. Definitely his pride and joy but also paranoid about it getting scratched or hit - can't say as I blame him, though.

Bottom two from our last stop before returning to Dublin on our last day out. The huge castle was abandoned and all the furnishings were sold off at one time but it has been restored. The interior is as it would have been when it was last occupied during Victorian times rather than Medieval times. However, as you can see from the bottom photo, the town itself  has been around for a while.

All in all, a great trip. There aren't too many places or things left on the bucket list now. Maybe Spain and the Isle of Man for overseas trips. I've only got three more states in the US to see and I'll be getting one of those in a few weeks. I'll be finding out the details tomorrow on that trip. I would like to take a motorcycle trip. The Missus is not too crazy about that idea but maybe if I signed up with an organized tour like Edelweiss or MotoQuest she could be talked into it. Regardless, if I never get farther than fifty miles from the house in the future, I've been pretty damn lucky to see what I've seen of the world. 

Go n'eiri an bother leat!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


A few more from Ireland.

Top two taken during the drive around the Ring of Kerry.

Took a ride in the jaunting cart in Kilarney. The view is looking out over the top of Susie. The horses are a cross between an Irish draft horse and a Belgian draft horse making for a medium sized horse of more than adequate strength an endurance for pulling the carts around. The back of the carts seat six people. I sat up front with the driver, John, who seemed to be quite the character - knew his horses, though. Said he'd been doing this for 43 years.

Bottom three photos are from the Blarney Castle. With the warmer than usual temperatures they'd been having, lots of flowers and trees were in bloom.

Bottom photo is looking up at where the Blarney Stone is located. I just assumed prior to going to the castle there was a big stone you walked up to and gave it a smooch. Nope, not at all. You have to go up 130 steps to the top of the castle, lay on your back and then reach out to kiss the stone while some big burly Irishman holds on to you. One more thing I can put on my resume now, or more likely at this stage of the game, my obituary.

Speaking of resumes, I start a new job today. General maintenance/handyman position. When I retired from the high school nearly seven years ago I applied for a job with this outfit. I never heard back from them and I went to work at the college. I received a call from the owner of the company a couple of weeks ago and went in and interviewed. I'll be working a couple of days per week and I can change the days around according to my needs. I'll still be working at the college for eight weeks, so I'll be busy for a while but the place is only a few minutes from the shack and if he'll work with me on my traveling schedule, we should get along just fine.

The weather has been cold again. It was below zero Monday morning and only got up to about 12 during the day. According to the Chicago weatherman, broke the old record for the lowest daytime temperature on that day that was set in 1890. Too cold to work in the shop but the bushings for the slip roll came in while I was gone and I bought the pipe for the rolls and got those cut to length. It's supposed to warm up a bit over the weekend, so maybe I can get back on that project. Need to get back to work on things.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Heading to County Kerry

A few more photos from the Ireland trip. From the top:

A busker by the name of Katie O'Conner. The "O" before the last name indicates the grandson of Conner. The prefix "Mac" would indicate you were the son of Conner, or so I was told. Katie was performing in Galway.

A landscape shot taken out the window of the bus. We got exceptionally lucky with the weather. No rain for the whole trip with unseasonably warm temperatures. Everything had greened up as you can see. Pretty much what I had envisioned Ireland to look like. Green pastures bounded by stone walls. Those are the MacGillycuddy's Reeks in the background. I didn't realize Ireland was as mountainous as it is.

Cliffs of Moher. Pretty impressive site/sight. The bus stopped here for a look-see. There's a nice visitor center and walk way to get up to the top. It was a bit chilly and very windy but definitely worth the look. After leaving Dublin we headed in a southwesterly direction. The Cliffs of Moher are on the western side of the island and from there we headed south to do the Ring of Kerry.

One of many Gothic style churches in Ireland. This one was across the street from a house having the traditional thatched roof. The roofs are built up with a couple of layers. One of the buildings in the little museum we stopped in had the underside of the roof exposed so you could see the first layer put down was turf or peat as we call it. The thatching will last twenty years or so depending on the material used. Unfortunately, the thatching is very flammable. Not the safest roofing material. The peat bogs furnished the roofing materials as well as the fuel for the stove in the house. Most of the dwellings had a single stove or fireplace that was used for both heating and cooking.

The bottom three photos are all from the little museum we stopped at. The museum's purpose is to preserve the heritage of the area and the traditional crafts and lifestyle of the people of County Kerry. The top photo of the three shows the interior of a typical house, the next is a blacksmith shop and the last is of a "bog pony". Since the area is predominately peat bogs, the ponies are small draft animals that won't destroy the ground and are very hardy. There are also Kerry sheep and cows specific to the region. I knew of the Kerry breed of cattle but was unaware of the Kerry sheep breed. We buy Kerry butter at our house occasionally. Excellent on toast. Most of the dairy farming, at least from what I saw from the bus, was based on the Holstein, like it is here in America.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Dublin Again

A couple more shots from Dublin. The shot of the fighters is promoting the Irish museum. If you're a fight fan you'll recognize the guy on the right. I'm not sure who the guy is on the left might be Tunney since that was one of the most famous fights of all time. One of these days when I've got some time on my hands I'll put a little effort into figuring it out.

Middle photo was next to an office dealing with labor issues of some sort. Nice slogan, I thought.

Bottom photo taken along the River Leffey which divides the city of Dublin. Our hotel was right next to the river.

One of several bridges over the river, this being the most modern. Interesting mix of architecture in the city. You can see the modern building in the right side of the photo but most of the buildings along the river are of a more traditional style with a shop on the ground floor and living quarters upstairs. There aren't any skyscrapers in the city. All the new buildings are of a modest height - some of them are rather ugly when compared to the older buildings from my point of view. However, many of the residential buildings and churches are quiet lovely. Lots of iron fencing and gates.

The city seems to have a lot of night life. I'm pretty well past all that but several of the tour group went out and said the joint was jumping. Dublin also has a huge city park that we took a ride through on the bus. I still have to say Florence is my favorite city, though.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


Made it home from Ireland Friday evening. Great trip. The tour started in Dublin, so the first order of business was a little bit of a walk and a pint - actually the first of several over the course of the trip.

The middle photo is of a bunch of tough guys staying at the hotel. I saw several guys with cauliflower ears and noses bent a bit askew and figured they had to be some sort of scrappers. Seems there was a MMA tournament that evening near the hotel. I had a nice chat with a couple of the guys. Like in the amateur boxing I'm familiar with, seems the tougher they are, the nicer they are.

Bottom photo was taken out the window of the Guinness plant while we were dining there. We got the guided tour and then we went up to the Gravity Bar at the top of the facility for a pint, came down to a lower level for dinner and another pint. The dinner was very good. Salad/soup course, choice of several entrees, and then dessert. I sampled the bacon and cabbage as well as the beef dinner but stayed away from too much meat on the trip. I had a creamy vegetable soup at three different places. Always good - made from root vegetables.

Had a couple of days in Dublin allowing us to sight see, shop, visit museums, etc. I managed to find Dublin's smallest pub. You have to go down to a basement level through a door that opens onto Dawson Street. The barkeep said it's supposed to have a maximum capacity of 26. I'm thinking that would be pretty crowded, however. I didn't spend all of my time in Dublin eating and drinking. I did make it into the National Library and I walked around the campus of Trinity College. I also did some souvenir shopping. Actually put a lot of miles in while on the trip. I should have taken my pedometer to see just how far I did walk while there.

I adjusted to the six hour time difference pretty well when the trip started. Not so much when I got home. I had to get up at 5:00 Friday morning, which was 11:00 pm at home. I went to bed at about 10:00 pm Friday night so I was up for a while. I woke up at a little after 3:00 am Saturday morning which would have been 9:00 am in Ireland. Except I was no longer in Ireland but I was wide awake. I tossed and turned a bit then finally got up, started a load of clothes and did a couple of other chores, went back to bed but never did go back to sleep. About the time I get back on an even keel it'll be back to Daylight Savings Time and that'll keep me off balance for a bit. Or maybe it won't have too much effect this year due to my having been on the Irish time. We'll see.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Heading Home

Why are Irish Eyes Smiling, you ask?

Guiness, of course.

I signed up for the tour here, as well as a night out at an Irish pub. I figured it would be better going with the group than trying to find my way back to the hotel after a few drinks. As long as I steer clear of the Jameson's I should be fine.

Be home soon.