Monday, July 16, 2018

Obsolete

I have a Buell. Really enjoy this motorcycle. Except - they are dead. HD put the nail in them in 2010. This past week I lost my second exhaust valve servo. The stock muffler has a valve that changes the runner length depending on RPM and throttle position. This drive servo sits on top of the air box but still gets warm. The gear inside is plastic and loaded by a spring. Over time this plastic deforms until it doesn't catch the drive and boom, engine light. This is a common problem. Some folks have just removed it and disabled the light through the ECM. I actually like it. I have the interactive exhaust control activated in the ECM. It adds some torque in the 2000 rpm range.

Problem: the part is now obsolete. Solution: modify an intake runner servo for a Ford. The Dorman 911-912 servo control is the same part without the correct cable pulley and mount. The mount is easy, a piece of angle cut to size with a couple holes and a slot. The pulley is a little harder. You start by grinding the weld off the existing lever. I then took it o the mill and cut the shaft to size, including the notch to match to the old pulley that I removed from the old servo. We have a laser welder at work and a few pulses of that to hold it all in place. I got it put on the motorcycle and cycled the servo. Crap, the servo was shipped in the open position, not the closed (home) position. I attached the pulley in the wrong place.

The shaft is a pain to machine. You have to hold the unit in the mill by the plastic housing. The shaft has some free play. I ground away the laser welds and re-cut the notch.  Not there wasn't a good enough fit for the laser (it really likes a nice tight fit). So I TIG tacked it back on. This is also a pain since the shaft gets hot and goes through a plastic housing. I finished it off with some epoxy to fill in the gaps.

All this too say that it sucks that HD closed Buell. It is a pain that parts are obsolete. However, with some elbow grease and patience, we can keep these things on the road for a long time.

For reference, in the closed position the pulley flat nearest the cable hole will be parallel to the housing nearest the wire connector.
Need more details? Hit me up.

Dry Lightning

I made it out last night for an unpaved ride on my d440. Just a short one, ended up around 16 miles and 1400 ft of climbing. I was within 2 miles of home when I caught a flash. It kind of startled me, wasn't sure what it was. The sky was a mix of clouds and blue with the sun in and out. Within about a half second came the boom. Lightning! Uncomfortably close. No rain. No other indication I was about to ride in to a storm. With my heart rate up, I pedaled hard for the house. A half mile later came a second bolt. Still no rain, just a small grey cloud over. Pedaled harder. Made it home with a few more claps of thunder. A check of the radar showed a very tiny cell that just popped up right over me. It did end up raining for a few minutes and then it was gone.

Scored from the record sale at the Jackie O's brewery.

Went to see Jake Dunn and the Blackbirds on Friday at the river front amphitheater in Pomeroy Ohio. This is hanging on the retaining wall along the boat docking area. I am not an electrician, but it does seem a little suspect to me.
Cool cloud formations.
This kid. He watched the Smurf's cartoon for the first time. A half hour later he built a Smurf head out of Legos.
Cotton candy clouds.

Hope you can get outside, spin some tunes, go see a band, do something creative. Just watch out for the lightning (or just bad wiring).

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Punches

June, the end of Q2 business wise. You aren't planning to take any time off in June were you? I guess not. It's OK I suppose. I am not anywhere ready to race the Hilly Billy come Saturday. The race distance is longer than the last month worth of riding.

I took out my rigid SS this week. I still love riding this bike, but it was hot and humid. I was sweating so much I could barely hold on to my grips. That and by the time I got done the ole Bible bump was back (see Ganglion Cyst). This developed a few years ago after riding in Davis WV for a few days. Now it is easy to irritate, kind of like me lately, easy to irritate.

Punches. Watch the news and want to punch someone in the face. Almost get rear-ended on East State St while waiting to turn in to my office, with my signal on, with lots of space and time between me and the approaching offender, who started flashing his headlights before standing the car on its nose to keep from hitting me, and whom almost got rear ended himself but the truck behind ran off the road. Yeh, makes me want to punch negligent drivers too.

Try to get ahead at work only to be delayed by something I have no control over  while trying to hit that Q2 deadline mentioned before and I feel like I am punched in the gut. Then there is the drama surrounding our school levy (failed) and the cuts that have to be made. Oh, and it turns out meth is back on the rise, A New Wave Of Meth Overloads Communities Struggling With Opioids, just up the road in Vinton Co. And Athens was listed as the 8th poorest town in the US.

But at least the Punch Brothers have a new album dropping. That's the kind of Punch I can dig.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May

May. What a month. My current Garmin Connect report:



February was when I had a sprained ankle and I still did 5 times more riding than I have this month and that was mostly on the indoor trainer. Now to be completely fair I have ridden my bike to lunch a few times from the office, so maybe I should include those extra miles? But they are hardly high intensity rides.

Why? Shelly is totally overworked during the month of May. End of year reports, parent meetings, billing, all on top of her normal work. She worked until nearly 11 last night. Mother's day. Two birthdays. Rec soccer. High school track. Scholarship banquets. Sports banquets. Graduation. The grass started to grow and the rain started washing my driveway away. Wood boring bees. Church. Team Athens road race. Making sure my family is fed. Work.

How should one respond to all this? If I am honest with myself I am a professional dad, husband, engineer and not a professional cyclist. I shouldn't complain though I sometimes do. I shouldn't be discouraged though sometimes I am. It isn't like I am worrying about where to get enough food to feed my family. I don't worry about where I am going to work. I am not dealing with a school shooting, losing a child, or being deported. I just don't get to ride very much and I love to ride.

So yeah, I wish I was riding more, traveling to places, doing stuff. But sometimes there are more important things.

"what ever dad makes"
Got to drop by the Grill to see a friend play after one track meet.
This happened!
Brock had to share his birthday this year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rock-n-Roller Coaster

Last week saw thing 3 in a fight at school to the next day scoring 5th grade plus on a math assessment (he's in 2nd). Death of a pet to thing 2 setting his PR in long jump and his leg of the 4x200 and 4x400 and then getting a call that he was awarded another scholarship. Shelly on the verge of a meltdown because of work and being overly busy at home too, to picking up a sweet cherry red Epiphone Dot Studio. Or at least it is sweet now. The the week ended with word that one of our soccer families, people we have know since we were kids, lost their youngest daughter to suicide. She was only 12. Our hearts ache for them.

Life is hard. Plans never seem to go as planned. We are over worked. We are over stressed. We are under slept.  How do we deal with it? How do we change it? Everything expects everything of us and in the end there is often nothing left for ourselves and closest loved ones. I don't know the answers. We try to make the best of what we can. I may feel helpless but not hopeless.

Longjump
I was a jumper in high school. Both the long jump and high jump resulted in a good deal of success. School record in the high jump and just a few inches shy of the long jump record. Ethan started jumping this year. Without much coaching or specific training he was jumping pretty well, in the 17' range. Last week I got to a meet to see him jump (the usually start the jumps before I can get away from work, so I had not made it yet). A couple things jumped out at me as I watched him take his first jump. Gave him some advice which he turned in to a TVC 5th place and PR jump beating his old PR by a full foot!



Humbucking
I have been watching for a guitar with humbuckers for a while. I love to play my Telecaster, but I would never describe it as a warm sound. I wasn't sure I wanted a Les Paul though, they are so heavy and I am not exactly a shredder. I love the looks and the feel of the PRS guitars I have held, but that is big money and seem to rarely show up used. A few weeks ago I saw a posting for an Epiphone Dot Studio. This is the less expensive version of the Dot which is the less expensive version of the ES335. The fret board does not have any inlays, no pick guard, and a single pot for volume and one for tone rather than one for each pickup. These are made in Asia to keep the price down and have less expensive pickups (open coil Alnico classic humbuckers).

I email the person and did not hear anything back. Oh well, must have sold it.

Two weeks later I got an email saying that he just found my message. The supposed story is that the guitar was won in a song writing contest by a friend of his who played and even gigged with it until this person bought it. It then sat in the case for a couple years.

Condition: dirty. The fret board, fret wires, bridge were green. The neck pickup was missing the springs to set the pickup in position and the trim ring was a mess. The first owner had put tape on it (I would assume to hold it in place since the springs were missing). But aside form a couple scratches/nicks the finish was in great condition, the neck straight.

A couple hours with some mineral spirits, 00 steel wool, cleaning rags, and elbow grease got the guitar in pretty decent shape. I had to sand the trim rings smooth and then spray with a clear enamel since the seller tried to clean the tape off with acetone. PSA: never use acetone on a plastic part. It will soften the plastic!

I noticed when I checked it out that the pickups did not seem to be original. The good news is that they had been swapped out with a set of Gibson '57 Classics! A trip over to StewMac for some pickup springs and I was back in business. A good, careful setup of the neck, bridge, pickups made for a really sweet, warm sounding guitar.



Finished out he weekend working the State Road Race Championships p/b Team Athens out at Lake Hope. I have worked this event for years (even raced it a couple times). Largest field of women and junior ever! Great to see. I am tired of hanging out with a bunch of up tight, well-off, 30 year old white guys. (I know that includes me, except I hope I am not up-tight and I am certainly not in my 30's anymore). Diversity is good for the sport. (Sorry, no photos from me as I worked registration. Didn't get to see any of the races).

Hope you can get outside and love others. Rock on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Turning the corner, part 2

A few years ago we rescued a couple cats. In that first year, one of them was killed by a neighbor's dog. The other, Socks, was the one that made a trip to the church under the car and another car trip out where she apparently bailed along the road. She dislocated her hip and always had a limp. She was a little grumpy but pleasant. When we rescued two more cats, she always kept her distance. Earlier in the week she didn't show up at feeding time which was not like her. I saw her later when it looked like she was stalking something (cat's are little assassins!). Another day went by without her eating. Then Sunday afternoon she was asleep on the deck. She looked sickly but not in distress. I figured I come home Monday and end up taking her to the vet.

I came home early yesterday to meet a driver delivering a load of crusher run. I did not see her all afternoon. While I was fixing dinner, Brock was outside playing while Shelly was clearing a flower bed. I suddenly hear Shelly yelling. I rushed out to see Brock sobbing. I assumed he must have found a wasp nest since he was playing under the porch. Instead it was "hey I found Socks, oh, I think she died". Indeed she had. Shelly took Brock and I took care of wrapping her up in a blanket and burying her near the old ash tree where Rocket (Ethan's cat that was killed by dogs) is also buried. That was rough.

Continuing the comments about talent in our school from the last posting:
When I was a senior in school I was in the drama production. I don't actually recall the name of it, but it was small. Props were a couch and table. Lights? They were either on or off. Audio? Speak loudly. Singing? Nope.

We attended Alexander's musical production of A Little Mermaid. The school is lucky to have a few individuals that are passionate about the arts and drama in particular and volunteer tremendous amounts of time and energy on this. Much like we expect from our coaches and athletes, these folks have raised the bar for theater. The kids stepped right up too.  The result was a professional production. One that developed and showcased talent, not just of the "stars" but the crew as well.

Not that we didn't work hard when I was in school, but the arts were (and still are in many cases) something you did as a child, nothing to be serious about. Draw some pictures, get out some water colors, squeak on a recorder, maybe bang some cymbals, and when you grow up you also grow out of it.

I am happy to see the rise of the arts.

Bike tires:
Maxxis is a Team Athens sponsor. I will say that I am very happy with every Maxxis MTB tire I have used (even before they were a sponsor). This year I also picked up a pair of 700x25 ReFuse tires for my road bike. I really don't race the road so I didn't need a fancy racing tire. More, I needed a tire to ride broken chip and seal, something tough with some volume. I put them on a couple weeks ago and have a few miles on them now.

Narrow. Like crazy narrow. My last tires were a set of Michelin Pro 4 Endurance in 25. Even with the brakes opened up the tires would squeeze through the pads. Not these. I can literally remove the wheel without opening the brakes. They also feel stiffer, though it could be all because of the volume. Really, I can't get over how much narrower they are than my Pro4's. Can't comment on rain worthiness though, haven't been caught out in it yet.

I had over 2k miles on the Pro4's. The front still had some life left but the rear was pretty square so I finished it off with the trainer over the winter.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Turning the corner

Seems things are about to turn the corner. Like everything. Weather, family, health, work, home.

Weather:
No surprise to anyone that the weather has been weird to crazy this year. From deep mud and floods to dry and red flag, from late season snows to 80 degree winter days. After a warm up last week before the senior Prom at school when the temps dropped back in to the upper 40's with a steep wind (at least the boys got to wear tux's, the poor gals with sleeveless and open shoulder dresses were not so lucky). Ethan got to take grandpa's 1970 Nova SS to prom, he was kind of stoked on that, but more he was stoked about turkey season. (He tagged a 2 year old 19.8 pound bird earlier that day). Today the forecast is sunny and 70 and gets warmer as the week goes. Just in time for the Lake Hope road race this Sunday. Though honestly I wish I was racing the Middle Mountain Momma, or even just wish I could.

Health:
My ankle injuring is about 99+%. The calf, is only about 80%. Apparently I have a pulled muscle. And just like sprains have degrees, so do strains. I have partially tore something in my right calf from the minor crash on my mountain bike. The worst part had to be waking at 2 am to cramps in the injured muscle. Why our bodies do this to its self is beyond my understanding. But it is getting better. I did a "log" run last night (3 miles) and only some minor discomfort. The foam roller caused all the real pain. Good thing I wasn't planning to road race this weekend. My legs are not in the racing shape. A side note though, I tuned 1000 miles last week on my second hand Tacx rollers. That is a lot of miles to roll in the basement.

Work:
I finished up a lot of documentation for a new product I have been working on for over a year. Still some work to go before they are rolling off the production line, but a major milestone none the less. Hope this means I can get to ride or run on a more regular basis.

Family:
May is the last month of school and Shelly's over the top busy time at work. Three weeks to two birthdays and one graduation. 4 weeks to the end of the school year.

Comments:
Do you watch Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown series? It is excellent. This weekend was a show about WVa. It reminded me a lot of our area. Athens county has the highest poverty rate in the state and most of that is in the rural areas. Our rural school districts have been caught by inadequate state funding and low tax bases for years. It is about to come to a head for Alexander after a couple failed levies and the threat of cut backs looms. Even with this, I am impressed by the talent I see: singers, actors, artists, athletes, academics, community service, etc. Seriously gifted and hard working individuals are not reserved for the high class areas with high dollar tax bases.

Photos: