Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Year In Review

It was an excellent year for me to travel. I started the year off with the trip to Ireland. Beautiful country and people. Lots of history, good food and drink. I especially liked the southern part of the country with the rugged land and the small farms. I could see me living like that.

Made the trip to California shortly after that with the high mileage team from the high school - fun and educational both. Got to see the Golden Gate bridge and giant redwoods and get state #48 in the books.

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to Kansas to visit my brother and pick up the chickens. Lovely visit with he and his wife and the bonus stop in Knoxville, Iowa for the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and race (we also made the last Hoosier Hundred this year). I really need to get back out to Kansas again one of these days. Spend some time with "fam" and check out the big ball of twine.

Cuzzin Ricky and I also headed farther west on the Amtrak to Utah. Long ride to Salt Lake City but pleasant enough. Saw some beautiful scenery along the way and met some nice folks on the train. Promontory Point was worth the side trip as was Ogden with the museums in the old train station. Wendover and Ely were both well worth the trip - airplanes and trains, beautiful scenery and state #49. Only one left now is Hawaii.

Did the bi-plane ride this year just like the old barn-stormer days. That was fun. I don't know of any motorcyclist who doesn't like flying in small craft, though. Unfortunately, the B-17 I flew in a few years back crashed while I was out in Nevada killing several people. Certainly a tragedy but what a boring existence a risk free life would be.

Got the motorbike operational this year and started on the Rapido. Not a whole lot accomplished on the other internal combustion projects but got quite a bit done around the shack and this-n-that sort of things. As always I've got big plans for the upcoming year but I'm sure this time next year I'll only have accomplished about half of what I planned.

Didn't do much cycling this year. I did do the ruck march and a few 5K events. My resting pulse rate was slowly creeping up, so I'm addressing that and doing a bit more strength training. With the political and financial situations in this country being what they are, we all should try to be as prepared as possible for any scenario that comes along. With a government that's $23 trillion in debt, trying to disarm its citizens and remove the president by any means possible, I don't think it will end well. Or peacefully.

Changed jobs this year. I left the college after seven years and became a handy-man for a local company. I doubt I'll be working there too much longer. I turn 70 next September. As it stands now, that'll be it for me.

Kind of a slow year for reading. Twenty books was all. I spend a lot more time on the computer these days rather than reading. Sort of a mixed blessing, though. Even though I read a daily newspaper, I like to supplement that with info I gather from the internet. Of course there are also the time wasters like Facebook and Free Cell. 

Looking forward to 2020. Even though I'll be70 next year, I'm living pretty large for a semi-retired school teacher. I'm not rich but doing OK. For a middle class guy, doing OK is actually pretty damn good these days. Cuzzin Ricky and I are planning on some more traveling this upcoming year. East to Pennsylvania with a stop in Ohio to see my brother for sure, not sure where else. Definitely a few more races than this past year.  

Best wishes on the upcoming year to all of you. Here's to health and happiness on 2020.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Finishing The Year Strong

The weather has been unseasonably warm of late - no complaints from here. I decided to take advantage of the warm temps and do a couple little jobs in the woodshop yesterday since it's not heated. In the photo is a cover I made for the new propane tank. The regulator that goes into the tank is supposed to be protected from the elements, so this should do it. I just use a small plastic bucket to cover the one for the shop but it doesn't have the protective flanges around the valve like the new one does. I made up a quick hammer form and used a piece of aluminum sheet I had out in the barn. After the photo was taken I welded up the slits on the edges and planished it a bit so the finished product looks a little bit better than in the photo.

I bought the larger mallet in the photo a while back from Garrett Wade and used it on the project above. They have three sizes listed in their catalog. I was real happy with the big one so I ordered myself the middle sized one when I ordered a couple of Christmas presents. If they still have them next time I order something from them, I'll get the smallest size as well. Wooden mallets are just the ticket for hammering on both woodworking projects and aluminum panel work. I think I'll round one end of the smaller of the two for doing shot bag work. Should be a handy size.

The Missus got me a 6" x 6" individual day calendar for Christmas but it was a refill rather than a whole new thing so there was no stand or wall bracket. I made up a quickie stand to hold the sheets out of a 1x6 while I was in the woodshop. Nothing fancy but it'll do the trick.

After working in the woodshop I finished welding the hoop for the bike carrier out in the shop. The humidity was about 100% so I didn't try painting it. In fact, most every thing had a light coating of moisture on it. I'll plan on getting it painted sometime soon depending on the weather.

I repaired a bicycle wheel the other night down in the basement shop. A former student and boxer of mine needed the wheel repaired for his or someone in his family's bike. It's the same size as the one on my rail bike, so I swapped it out and got the broken spokes replaced and started truing the wheel. It's about 95% done. I'll grease the bearings, polish it up with some steel wool and then mount a new tire on it after giving it a final truing.

Supposed to be above freezing most of the upcoming week, so I should be able to get some more done in the shop. I'm going to Harbor Freight today to pick up a few things and hit a couple of other stops along the way. Hoping to still get out in the shop later though.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Almost There

Christmas present from Surly - I laughed out loud when I read it. The hell of it is, I'm relatively certain that's the actual number.

We had a lovely Christmas. I got some nice things and we spent time with the Surly and his clan. The weather was exceptionally warm as was yesterday - it got up to 64 by my reckoning. I did some outdoorsy things and put in a good half day in the shop, no jacket required.

The bike carrier is just about done. I need to drill four holes to fasten the hoop for the front wheel. I tacked the brackets in place to make sure the hoop was where I wanted it. After I drill the holes I'll grind off the tacks, finish weld the hoop and it should be ready for paint. I still need to make a couple of brackets to bolt on the ends for tie downs but those are just two pieces of angle. I would have finished it up yesterday but I had some work to do for my side hustle. I should be able to get the carrier finished up and painted over the weekend. I'd like to get it done before it gets cold again, plus, the to-do list is starting to grow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Nollaig Shona dhuit

Merry Christmas in Gaelic from Shop Teacher Bob, shown above kissing the Blarney Stone. Lots of Blarney having been posted here over the years, seems only fitting. And here's wishing you Merry Christmas in the native languages of some of the countries I've been blessed to visit.

 In French: Joyeux Noel

Spanish: Feliz Navidad

Dutch: Vroolijk Kerstfeest

German: Frohe Weinacten

And because I've been to Italy twice, a pair of Buon Natales.

Best wishes for Christmas and many blessings in the upcoming New Year from Shop Teacher Bob. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

New Light

One of the fluorescent light fixtures quit working in my shop. I swapped all of them out a few years ago and put in ones that took the T-8 bulbs and were supposed to be good for cold temperatures. When the one quit I tried replacing the bulbs but no go, just stopped working. I went to Menard's and was going to buy a replacement unit like I had but decided to try a LED fixture instead. The fluorescent fixture was $15.00 and came without bulbs, the LED was $35.00 ready to go. By the time I bought two new bulbs the price difference was less than $10.00 so I figured I'd give the LED a try. It's a nice bright white color - 4000K. It's supposed to put out as much light as the fluorescent I replaced. Actually seems a little brighter and its supposed to last a lot longer and use less juice.

I've got a couple of halogen lights in the shop as well. One over the lathe and one over the welding bench. I'm going to see about some type of similar LED for over the lathe. The current light is pretty close to my head and generates a lot of heat - nice in the winter, not so much in the summer. Also the color temperature is more yellow than the white given off by the LED, The older I get the more light I need to work comfortably, especially on fine detail stuff like what one encounters often times on lathe work.

Beautiful weather yesterday and forecast for the next few days. It got up to damn near 50 degrees with sunshine. The weatherman said Christmas is supposed to be warmer than Halloween and Thanksgiving Day for the first time in 65 years. That's OK by me. I took the Himalayan out for a spin after going to the gym yesterday. I wore my new helmet. Still a bit nippy for an open face helmet but I like the fit. It should be just the ticket for commuting this summer.

Going out for breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky this morning and walking 3-4 miles later today. I'm going to work on a few things out in the shop in between along with getting the final preparations taken care of for Christmas.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


From here
I received a notice from Social Security the other day. Looks like I'll be getting a raise come the new year - 1.6 percent. After notifying me of what the raise will be, they then detailed out what I'll be receiving on a monthly basis. After taking out for Medicare and insurance, federal taxes, the net take home is about 20% less than what I started with. Since the Fed took 12% of my earnings for 50 plus years right off the top and I had nothing to say about it, it would be nice if they just gave me my money back without paying taxes on what was a tax to begin with.

I would recommend those of you who are still working do a little retirement planning and keep in mind the number you're quoted from Social Security is not the number you'll be able to live off of. Also, if you take an early retirement,  not only will your payout be reduced, which would be expected, they won't allow you to make more than about $18,000 per year until you hit full retirement age without a reduction of your benefit.

With what's going on in Washington right now, might be a good time to consider Libertarian candidates in the future. They don't want to tax you to death or confiscate your guns. I just want my representatives to be fiscally responsible (a $23 T debt load is not responsible), keep us out of senseless wars and keep their hands out of my pocket. The more I see of politics lately, I don't think there is any way we'll be able to vote our way out of this, however. The country is just too far gone. I think my buddy is right. It's the end of the empire.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

TCM & I Remember

Turner Classic Movies has their TCM Remembers playing now like they do at the end of every year. I didn't realize "The Man With No Eyes" had passed away. Actually I never knew his name until I saw it on TCM Remembers. The photo above is, of course, from Cool Hand Luke, my favorite movie of all time. Morgan Woodward was in a ton of movies and television shows, mostly cowboy/western things, which makes it even more surprising that I didn't know his name since that's my favorite genre.

Another character actor who passed away this past year is Michael Pollard. That would be him on the left in the photo above, not to be confused with Robert Redford as if that would be possible. The photo is from a scene in Little Fauss and Big Halsy. The film was a 1970 release about motorcycle racers and sidecar racers at that. It's one of the things that got me amped up about sidecar racing. Its been a long time since I've seen the movie. I used to have it on VHS. It's about time I give it another screening. It'd be nice to view it on the new flat screen TV.

RIP gentlemen.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Gun Control

From Here
Thought this was pretty clever in light of what's transpired in Virginia lately with all the talk of gun confiscation, 2A sanctuary counties, etc. When the new millennium rolled around in 2000 there was some celebrating with fireworks and gun shots around here, including some automatic weapons fire. I can't see all the people in my county wanting to give up their firearms peacefully. Lots of hunters and gun enthusiasts and hardly a Democrat in the whole county. In fact many of the Republican county politicians run unopposed on the ballot.

Depending on how the impeachment/coup attempt works out, things are liable to get spicy. While I consider myself only slightly paranoid, you might want to make being prepared for all contingencies a priority for the upcoming new year. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

I got my first seed catalog in the mail about two weeks ago. I'm going to try and do a little better with the garden this upcoming year. I didn't do anything at all last year except some tomatoes and peppers. Mostly because of the lousy weather rather than my own inertia but you'll have that. Maybe plant a couple more blueberry bushes and peach trees this spring. Since the Missus got sick she doesn't do any canning anymore but we've got everything needed to do so. I should have her talk me through the process and start preserving some of the harvest rather than letting a lot of the fruit go to waste next summer.

I've always got big plans in the winter and seem to fall a bit short in the spring and summer but I'm pretty sure I've got most of the essentials covered at least. Might fall a bit short of an Appalachian Guerilla or a Korean Rooftop Sniper but living the life of a subsistence farmer wouldn't be all that bad. Pretty good hobby in fact.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Deliveries

Since we live out in the country and the Missus doesn't get out like she used to, we did the majority of our Christmas shopping online this year. I wanted a new helmet, so the Missus said order what I wanted and that would be her present to me. I normally wear a full face helmet but I wanted an open face for when I ride back and forth to work. It's only a few miles each way, so the odds are with me as far as being involved in an accident and since I've been riding for over 50 years I've long ago accepted the risk that comes with motorcycling.

The helmet is from Biltwell. It's their Bonanza model - DOT approved and right at a "C" note. The paint finish is flat titanium and I got the visor in the smoke gray color. The color on the helmet is a pretty close match to the trim color on the Himalayan. They included a catalog with the order that's pretty cool. If I live to be a 100, I hope to build myself a nice Sportster based bobber. Only about a dozen big projects ahead of that one, however.

In addition to the helmet coming this past week, we got two deliveries yesterday morning. Don't recall ever getting two Sunday deliveries before. One was from Amazon, the other from the Post Office. Amazing. Especially since the Amazon order was placed Saturday evening.

We had the grandsons over night Saturday so I didn't get out to the shop but I walked four miles with my running buddy yesterday. She's got big plans to compete in some body building contest so she's working out like a mad man. I'm about 90% in on the 50 mile challenge so I see a lot of walking in our futures. Snowed last night and it's going to be cold now until March. Don't know how much walking we'll do over the winter but I'm going to try and stay after it. It's nice to have a training partner to keep you honest. It's hard to stay motivated for something like this, especially at my age.

Have a good week. It's about time for me to start wrapping packages.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Plasma Cutter

New plasma cutter came yesterday. Looks like it has a different plug than my welder so I'll have to take care of that before I can test drive it. I think the new plug is also the same as on Surly's welder he bought. I put in a new outlet and he'll be able to bring his welder down and get some lessons on his machine so he can upgrade his TIG and stick skills.

Didn't get anything done in the shop yesterday but I got the dog to the groomer. The trip is a half hour each way so an hour up and back to drop him off and then an hour picking him back up again. Always blows a pretty big hole in the morning.

I wrote a letter of recommendation for one of my former students from the college which necessitated a trip to the post office. I also had a conversation with a counselor from the high school. One of my former students is looking to switch positions at his place of employment and is looking for some documentation of his welding experience. He graduated the year I had my heart attack, so I wasn't able to finish out the school year and write up the certificates. Since I didn't go back to work and it's been seven years, I wasn't sure what she would come up with, but she found his task list, bless her heart. This young man was also getting dual credit with the community college, so the next step will be to help him get a copy of his transcript. Shop teachers might not grade a lot of papers but we do a lot of work helping students become gainfully employed. It is after all vocational education.

Cut up a small tree that blew down a while back - a Lombardy Poplar that was already dead. I planted six of them and they all died when they got to about 7" in diameter. These were supposed to be the hot ticket item for a renewable source of firewood. Not so much - at least for me.

Shoveled out a bit of chicken poop and put new straw in the nesting boxes and on the floor of the coop.

All in all a pretty decent day. The weather was good for a bit of lumberjacking, running around and chores. Looks like it's going to be typical winter weather coming up next week. I'll see what I need for the electrical hookup for the plasma and make that a top priority next week along with the motorcycle carrier. The hardware for that job should be here Monday for whatever that's worth.

Friday the 13th today - be careful out there.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Brother Johnny, posted by my sister-in-law on Facebook. Miss that knucklehead, especially with all the political stuff going on. It'd be nice to be able to hear his take on the impeachment proceedings and all the rest. It would surely be interesting - profane - but interesting.

He'd be old enough to retire now - be real nice if we could finally take that motorcycle ride together. It wasn't that we didn't have good times together. He just didn't get enough time. He did make pretty good use of the time he did have, I'll say that for him.

Happy birthday, Bro.

Brackets for the bike carrier with some primer on them. I got them painted black yesterday, made a couple of tubes to hold the taillights, welded and ground off the main frame. I ordered in some stainless hardware to fasten the ramp to the frame. Aluminum and steel together with electric current running through it can cause some issues. The stainless hardware from the Bolt Depot isn't much more than the zinc plated stuff from the hardware store, so why not go with the good stuff.

Pretty much finished my Christmas shopping yesterday as well. I still need a couple of stocking stuffers but no big deal on that. I also bought myself a plasma cutter. On sale with free shipping. It should be here in a couple of days.

I'm looking at buying a new bandsaw as well. Mine wasn't all that great to begin with but it's been handy. It'll work both in the horizontal and vertical positions. I usually use it in the vertical position and cut stock to length with my abrasive cut-off saw. It would be nice to have a dedicated vertical saw that I could put a narrower blade on so I could cut tighter radii. Plus, it would take up less floor space. Rather than get another horizontal bandsaw, maybe get an additional chop saw with a metal blade instead of an abrasive blade.

Something like this one would do it. Cheaper to operate than the abrasive blades and no sparks flying everywhere. I'll do some research while I save up my allowance.

Monday, December 9, 2019


I happened to look out the patio door yesterday morning just as a turkey walked by. I got up to take a look and there was a bunch of them grazing the yard and working their way out to the corn field. I've never eaten wild turkey - I have had a little in liquid form - and I don't know how much meat you would get from a decent size hen like those wandering my yard. The last time I cleaned a wild animal I had hunted was about 45 years ago. Not the most pleasant of tasks and since I rarely eat meat anymore, probably won't ever have to clean another one. If things go sideways in the future, I wouldn't rule it out, though. I doubt the turkeys will amble through the yard if I'm starving, though.

I worked on the motorcycle carrier yesterday. The weather was decent, so I wanted to get the rest of the pieces fit up. I've got all the brackets taken care of and the majority of the welding is done. I'm going to pick up some primer today and get the brackets painted so I can get the ones that bolt to the truck permanently installed. I still need to make a stop for the front wheel and get the lights taken care of but I can do that in the shop where it's warm, since the temps are supposed to drop later today.

I've got a bit of machine work to do as well as a blood test and other errands to take care of today. I'll see how long all that takes me. I'm hoping to get a bit more done on the carrier. I need to finish this up so I can get my bike to the shop for servicing. I suppose there's no real hurry now, seeing as it's winter.

I've still got some Christmas shopping to do. I'm going to try and get that finished up in the next few days. I've been making the to-do list as well as the Christmas list. Seems like it never gets any shorter but I'm pretty happy with what I've been getting done around the shack. Cuzzin Ricky said the sprint car schedule is out for next season. We didn't get to the races very often this year - need to make up for it next year. Maybe head east next year to catch a few races and do some train stuff.  

Friday, December 6, 2019

50 Mile Challenge

From the Art of Manliness:

“The physical vigor of our citizens is one of America’s most precious resources. If we waste and neglect this resource, if we allow it to dwindle and grow soft then we will destroy much of our ability to meet the great and vital challenges which confront our people. We will be unable to realize our full potential as a nation.

Throughout our history we have been challenged to armed conflict by nations which sought to destroy our independence or threatened our freedom. The young men of America have risen to those occasions, giving themselves freely to the rigors and hardships of warfare. But the stamina and strength which the defense of liberty requires are not the product of a few weeks’ basic training or a month’s conditioning. These only come from bodies which have been conditioned by a lifetime of participation in sports and interest in physical activity. Our struggles against aggressors throughout our history have been won on the playgrounds and corner lots and fields of America. Thus, in a very real and immediate sense, our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.

However, we do not, like the ancient Spartans, wish to train the bodies of our youths merely to make them more effective warriors. It is our profound hope and expectation that Americans will never again have to expend their strength in armed conflict. But physical fitness is as vital to the activities of peace as to those of war, especially when our success in those activities may well determine the future of freedom in the years to come. . .

For physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind is subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong; that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies.

In this sense, physical fitness is the basis of all the activities of our society. And if our bodies grow soft and inactive, if we fail to encourage physical development and prowess, we will undermine our capacity for thought, for work and for the use of those skills vital to an expanding and complex America. Thus the physical fitness of our citizens is a vital prerequisite to America’s realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities . . .

. . . we can fully restore the physical soundness of our nation only if every American is willing to assume responsibility for his own fitness and the fitness of his children. We do not live in a regimented society where men are forced to live their lives in the interest of the state. We are, all of us, as free to direct the activities of our bodies as we are to pursue the objects of our thought. But if we are to retain this freedom, for ourselves and for generations yet to come, then we must also be willing to work for the physical toughness on which the courage and intelligence and skill of man so largely depend. All of us must consider our own responsibilities for the physical vigor of our children and of the young men and women of our community. We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather, we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.”

President John F. Kennedy

If the president thought there was a real need for us to shape up in the early '60s, what would he think of us now? I'm thinking real seriously about doing the 50 mile challenge this spring. My running buddy said she's in. I'm going  to start exploring a venue and doing some timed walks to see what it would take to get in shape to do this. While looking around on the web I did see a JFK 50 mile walk in Ireland this spring. I'd love to go back there and there's no better way to see the country-side than by walking or cycling.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Medicare Supplement Sign-Up

It's the time of the year that old folks enroll or make changes to their Medicare supplement and drug coverage. I got a call from the agent who helped me get signed up originally and he said in light of the price of my drug coverage going up substantially, I should consider a change to a different plan and he gave me his recommendation. Additionally, he told me it would be a long wait time on the phone, I could sign up online, or I could meet with him and he'd walk me through it. I called the number, set the phone on speaker mode and prepared to wait. I got a person after about ten minutes who told me I could use the automated sign up or I could stay on the line and wait until a live agent was available - 30 minutes minimum. I decided to take a chance with the automated sign-up.

Everything was going fairly well since I had my Medicare card and the rest of the stuff I figured I'd need. After about ten minutes of this the automated voice guy says I can't help you and asked for my area code. When I typed in the three digits, the phone went blank and I'd wasted a good half hour for nothing. Rather than try again I went online and it was actually quite easy, only taking about five minutes. However, the one thing that stood out in my mind was the fact that you had to declare yourself male or female. With all the gender confusion these days, I wonder how long before the government allows you to pick other options or if all the insurance companies will just tell people if you want a policy, you only get two choices. By the time you qualify for Medicare, I would think you should have it figured out.

I will say that Medicare is one helluva bargain. Even with having to buy supplemental insurance and a drug plan, it's a lot cheaper than what most people are paying on the private market for coverage. After I left the high school I stayed on their plan. When Obama Care kicked in my premiums went up to $1,800 per month. With me being a cardiac patient and the Missus being diagnosed with cancer, no way I could change carriers. When I was able to sign up for Medicare it was a huge savings. Unfortunately, there are quite a few physicians and clinics that don't accept Medicare patients because the Gov sets the pay schedule for what they receive for their services and it's not much in most cases.

While all above the table wage earners pay into Medicare, it doesn't come close to meeting the actual costs, which is why when Elizabeth Warren proposes Medicare for all, it's just laughable. It'd be nice if the Democratic candidates would perhaps propose a solution to balancing the budget and paying down the national debt rather than promising more free stuff. Trump has already run it up the debt numbers, so you know he's not going to do it. Of course it's not up to the president to do these sorts of things, but rather, the legislative branch is supposed to take care of this. As if!

I did make it out to the shop after taking care of my Medicare stuff. Diddled with a couple of little things and then made a move on the motorcycle carrier. Got it shortened up to what I think will be the right height now. I'll get it back in the hitch and then load it up with about 500 pounds and see where it settles down at. With the additional brackets I'm planning I know it'll be strong enough. Just need to see how much it compresses the springs.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Marty Robbins & Metric Hardware

I bought a few books from Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller and I saw a Marty Robinson CD collection that contained all of his single releases from 1952 to 1960 and I couldn't resist. I've listened to three of the four CDs so far and there is quite a variety in styles of many of the songs. He does some rockabilly, Hawaiian, straight up rock and roll, and lots of the ballads he was probably best known for. I heard this one on my way home from work the other day with the proceeds of my paycheck jingling in my jeans. I don't have 160 acres or an old "hoss" but I am my own boss with the sky and the stars above me. Nice feel good little ditty.

The bolts I ordered came in. In addition to the metric bolts I ordered for the Sprint project, I got some 1/4" lock washers and nuts to resupply the inventory. I need to get back on the Rapido project and get that one finished up so it'll be ready to run come springtime and then I'll move the Sprint up front and go to work on that one. I need to finish the sheet metal roller and assemble the slant six also. It'd be nice to have the roller for the projects I've got on the back burner and the slant six would take up less room if all of the parts were inside the block rather than being spread around in boxes. I've been putting out some feelers to locate a transmission for that project. No luck so far but one of these days I'll start scouting the junkyards and come up with something.

I made the cover for the rack I made for the torch tips. Nothing fancy here, just a sheet metal box cover to keep the dust out of them. I put a spare hole in the rack when I made it and as soon as I put the cover on the rack it dawned on me I just made the perfect mouse domicile. A nice metal box with a 1" hole on the bottom for the mice to crawl in and out, make a nest and piss all over the torch tips. I stuck another tip in it to close the hole but I need to remember to check things once in a while to make sure nothing moves in there and takes up residence.

Things are going pretty good at the present. I've been making it a point to get out in the shop at least a couple of hours on the days I don't work. Been keeping up with the laundry, dishes and the household things, as well as working out a bit. I need to see about finding another 5K to keep the cardio up. The little bit of weight training I've been doing has helped also. I feel stronger but still no where near to where I was in my prime but if I can keep from losing any more muscle mass at my age, I'll be real happy with that.

Have a good week.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

5K Walk

I did the 5k race walk yesterday & finished as the 2nd place male walker. It was a pretty thin field of male walkers and I thought I had seen all of the ones in front of me. As it ends up, I would have needed binoculars to see the guy who finished first, he was so far out ahead. The female winner was the lady I figured would win it. I looked up her time later in the day and a few years back I would have been able to beat her easily. Now? Not so much. Her time was about three minutes per mile quicker than mine. However, I've put a few miles in this year but never got into the "silly race walking" mode. I think I could beat her if I trained in earnest. The guy who came in first? His time was about my best ever and I doubt I'll ever see that again.

My running buddy paced me and she wants to continue with the weekly run/walk for the boxers as long as the weather allows. I've been walking a minimum of three miles every week. I might be able to get my groove back on if I started adding some speed work every week. At this stage of my life I don't need to be a race walker certainly, but I do need a bit of incentive to keep in shape. I'm also still kicking around the idea of the 50 Mile Challenge for next year.