Friday, December 17, 2010

It's back!

Of course the weather was nice (in Oregon the word "nice" means it didn't rain) but my tank for my Duc hadn't arrived...until later this morning while I was at work.  No problem as it's back, internally coated with epoxy, and ready for mounting!  Yahoo!  (<-- that's an exclamation and not meant as a reference to my previous job).

Here's the package, well wrapped:

The prize!

After unwrapping the interior didn't look much different, just shinier!  Here's my newly coated, burnt yellow tank next to a stock black tank:

My tank now has a spread of 32.9mm...did the epoxy help pull it in some?  The black tank was returned as a warped unit.  After sitting in the shop and then my garage for several months -- including the whole summer -- its tank spread was about 32.5mm!  But all the hardware is missing and holes have been drilled in it so it will eventually become wall art for me.

Anyway, I'm happy!  I'm going to merge my bleed and vent hoses into a Y so just one hose comes down from the tank area instead of two -- to help clean up the front of the engine a tad.

Edit:  Bleed and vent hose merge.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quick updates

Dropped my gas tank off at the shipping annex yesterday and it's on its way to California to get coated on the inside.  It's supposed to arrive on the 9th.  I had the shipping place wrap it extra careful and it ended up costing me almost $5 more in packaging costs than shipping...with insurance!  But it will arrive -- should arrive! -- without damage.  I hope.

Before shipping it off I measured the tank spread and it hovered around 33cm.  The tank is flexible at those 'wings' so they can be pulled/pushed a couple centimeters both directions (in & out).  It's as dry as I think it can get.

Work at my new job is going slow.  This is the first time I ever had a desktop system that's slower than the laptops!  So I've been waiting for over a week and that is frustrating in itself but our IT guy is extremely busy, especially with new people coming into the organization every week.  Just gotta wait my turn.  The new environment feels like a start-up so it's a good thing I'm adaptable and have been able to keep myself busy work-wise for the most part.  I do miss Yahoo!...well, most of the people...but job pay and career opportunities are much better at my new job and that helps.  Plus my new manager is smart, driven, highly experienced, and fun to work with.

Oh, I installed bi-Xenon HID lights into my E-code head lights in my Jetta on Sunday and got to use them today.  They work AWESOME!  E-codes are better than stock NA (North America) head lamps by miles but even with excellent bulbs the light output could be much better...enter HIDs.  Love 'em.  My early birthday present from my sweetie.  She rocks!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just Rambling

Yesterday, the directors let us leave work early, which was nice.  I checked out the parking structure where I'll be stationing my car during the daily stay; once at the top I'll need to find a choice spot for my bike when better weather comes 'round.  The company helps pay for the parking so it's only $65/month for me.  Two years ago when I was working for Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield I was paying $100/month and that was the cheapest I could find (I then had to walk 1.5 miles to get to work from the parking structure).  So that's not too bad.  I do, truly, miss my parking spot at Yahoo!, heck, I miss my office and most of the people there.  I could look out my window and just a few feet away was my Italian Girl.  Now I'm in the top of a plain building, in the center of the floor, in a non-privacy cube (man I HATE them...if you're going to corral me in a work space then give me some privacy!) -- thank goodness I'm getting well-paid!

People.  Self-centered, self-absorbed, sheep and tools all about me, driving and reproducing.  Nothing specific about that day, just that we've all met them, only concerned about themselves, and my tolerance for putting up with their BS is dropping.  I noticed that the ones in Mercedes and BMWs were particularly on my "Take out with a RPG" list.  But the Sylvan area north of Hwy.26 is flooded with those people, keeping up with the Joneses.

At 4:09am the outside temperature was a brisk 14.1 degrees F!  But today the temps are slowly rising and the rains will be coming.  I wonder what December will bring...

Oh yeah, the thermostat went out on A's Passat so that get's fixed next week, along with the rear brakes since they're dragging and there's some creaking going on under the front of her car.  My Jetta got a stay in Dean Futrelle's shop so they could clean & grease the driver's side door latch/locking module.  The door wouldn't latch.  Kinda hard to drive to work holding the door, so I took the Passat.  That's when I discovered the thermostat was bad.  Oh, that reminds me, I need to get the sliding door on the Bus regreased; the grease is old and freezes up.  Not good.

Oh, forgot to mention that last night I measured the tank spread and it was a solid 33cm!  I also went into the garage and pulled on the mounting rails.  Not a lot, just a little, no more than .5 to 1mm on each side.  If my tank has spread then I'm hoping that it will shrink back to what I can only hope to be original size and once again fit snugly in its mounts.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ducati tank expansion

My beloved Italian Mistress has a fault:  Fuel tank expansion.  There's debate as to what the cause is in the Sport Classic forum.  Some people don't have it but most every one else does.  I'm guessing I have it as there is 2-3mm of side-to-side wiggle at the front of the tank.
Other owners are experiencing paint bubbling, too!  And these issues are not solely the bane of the Sport Classic line, it also affects other Ducatis with plastic tanks made by Acerbis, an Italian plastics and OEM company.
In order to combat this tank expansion (and possible paint bubbling issues), which at the worse will have the tank come off it's rails and flop around, is to coat the tank with a protective coating.  This seems to be the best way to stop tank expansion.  So the friendly staff at JC/PAKBIKES perform this service.
Yesterday I removed my tank, took off the fuel cap and fuel pump, and cleaned out the tank.  It's sitting in my closet for the next two weeks to dry out and, hopefully, unexpand (shrink back to stock width).  I took a measurement from the outside edges of the mounting pucks, where they meet the tank, and came up with 33.5cm...maybe a tad bit more but definitely under 34cm.

Map of the tank belly.

 Example showing how I find the edge to make the measurement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Autumn colors

After a coffee break with my sweetie at her work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I hate daylight savings time!

And in other news, I got an aluminum side-step for our Bus today and installed it this evening.  Looks nice, I like it.  This will make it easier for the kids and parents to get in & out of the Bus.  Now I need to get mud flaps on all four corners.

Here's my Sweetie at Multhomah Falls before we met up with a good friend of mine...

Saturday I met up with my Navy buddy after 16 years, Mike Holliday.  It was a blast!  Got to meet his girlfriend, Danielle, and she is a real catch.  Great girl.  Man, I laughed so much and we yammered for so long, fantastic time.

Here we are at Edgefield McMinemens:

Sunday was A's birthday and it was a nice, mellow day.  I can't believe I got's me an older woman!  (Just by a month) LOL  :-D

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Uhg, this blog stuff...too much work...I use my brain enough at work so when I get home I'm mentally tired.  I'll try to get pictures of the new look of our house.

Mimi flies in tonight from Georgia.  It will be nice to have her here for the next few months.  I think it will really help my sweetie the most, take some of the "mommy!  mommy look at me!  mommy, she/he hit me!  mommy, daddy said 'no'!  mommy!  mommy!  mommy!" load off her, LOL.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I found my reason to not wear a helmet when I ride...

...and it's to hear the full, unfiltered orchestration of the engine while riding!

Let me back up a few minutes. Today is a beautifully sunny, cool day. I rode around to nowhere interesting for about 20 minutes to warm up the chain. Got home, put her up on her stand, cleaned the chain (I definitely need practice on that messy procedure!), and then lubed it. I then semi-detailed the rear bottom half of the bike due to my messiness and decided to toodle her around the block. In a classic white T-shirt (with the word FAST on the back) and Levi jeans, I grabbed my sunglasses and I fired her up. I backed her out of the driveway, and onto the street. Then it was a leisurely (as best one can on a Ducati) roll around the block (3/10ths of a mile).

Holy cow! I couldn't believe what I was missing! Clattering, clicking, huffing, whining, purring -- an entire cacophony of wonderful, mechanical sounds. I cursed the lucky people who got to hear my bike in its purity. I cursed my helmet for muffling all those wonderful sounds my bike sang out. I started wondering how I could drill holes in my helmet without destroying its structural integrity. CURSES!!

My driveway quickly approached and then I purred her into the garage. I sat there for a second before turning her off. The garage suddenly sounded deathly quiet with my girl no longer chattering to me. Sigh. Damn helmets...damn them all...harrumph!

Don't worry, I will still wear a full-face helmet, no plans on riding with a naked head. I worry too much about some idiot doing something idiotic that will put me into a non-exitable situation and that helmet is what will keep me alive to ride another day.

But if someone ever makes a full-face helmet with aural openings I'll likely get one...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally some end user creativity!

End users are now able to change their background image in this blog...about freakin' time!  So I'm playing with it and am currently using a picture of my Duc and the kid's custom painted pedal car with an orange backdrop (in honor of my VW Squareback).

Two weeks ago our group lost Linda Kresl to another company.  Major bummer as she was my hope and savior for getting a BI environment for customer care reporting.  Plus she is very intelligent and very driven and I was hoping she would be my mentor.  Rats!  Well guess what?  Yesterday we found out that my manager, a senior director in the company, is moving to another company!  Yes, the same one that said I should blog my VW vacation is LEAVING US!  But hey, when a good opportunity comes along ya gotta take it so, like Linda, she will be really missed.  She has been really good in getting me to communicate and work with my internal customers on prioritizing my workload -- and it's a full one!  However, it's not all roses as there have been some folks let go and we don't know why.  Pretty scary during these low economic times for sure.  I learned from Intel that no one is irreplaceable, especially as long as India has cheap (in every sense of the word) labor so I do worry about my position.

Our silly two-year phone contract with ATT has finally expired...well, back in June.  Two-year contracts are stupid, hate them!!  So I've been looking for a replacement to my Moto Q 9H phone (don't like it) and have decided upon an Android OS phone.  I've been reading and studying and comparing and with the plan I can get through my work I've decided to get an HTC EVO 4G through Sprint.  Not crazy about Sprint since they screwed me over back when I was in the Navy but that was a LONG time ago so here's to hoping things are better.  ATT and Verizon are the only other real choices out of the bazillion phones available at this minute.  In a couple minutes I'm sure half of them will be replaced with another billion "different" units.  Whatever.  Verizon sucks monkey butt around here so Sprint is the lesser evil.  I was considering the iPhone 4G but...meh...I dunno, I'm just not that enamored by it to pay such a ridiculous amount when I can get the same and more with another brand.  I have to see about the family plan and what my baby can use since she doesn't want her BlackBerry -- she hardly even used 1/5 of its capabilities, she just needs a phone that can take a picture, text & do multi-media messages.

Huh, I remember when phones were all land-lines with rotary dials...we even had a party-line back when we lived out in the sticks...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept. 11th...I have not forgotten!

This day was a horrible one; one that I witnessed on live television.

In other news...
Installed gauge lowering mounts on my Ducati.  They are simple mounts that position the gauges so they face my face and not my chest.  Click me for pictures!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why are my neighbors happy with me now?

Here's the view out the kitchen window during the construction of our covered porch.  This shows how much of the sky I'll be losing.  Luckily, it's not too bad and having a cover over the front door is definitely a welcome addition!

So what's going on?  We've finally decided to do some fixin' up of the ol' homestead.  HardiPlank siding to replace the original cedar, windows on the north side of the house that are energy effecient (now the whole house matches), an awning over the rear garage door, a new front door, front porch with cover, and a window in the living room!

The process is moving slower than expected but it's kind of okay since our neighbor, George, is the one doing the work :-)  He's a master carpenter and has been doing very nice work.

I've wired up security lighting around the house and trenched in the drainage pipe for the porch rain gutter once we get it mounted.  I also opted to have the spouts dump onto gratings instead of directly into the pipe with the idea that all the crap from the tree, moss, nuts, etc. will hit/scatter on that instead of plugging up the gutters.  I've used the plug-in screens but it still requires me to walk the roof and clean the gutters.  This way the crap will flow down and onto the ground, making clean up much easier and obvious.  If it doesn't work it's very simple to plug the downspouts into the existing drain pipes.

The main bathroom shower/tub area has been ripped out and replaced.  It's been ready for tile work for about a month so the tile guy will be coming soon to start work on that.  George and I fixed the 1960's plumbing and installed new hardware to make the room look pretty.  Gotta get it ready for Mimi's visit!

We've FINALLY got rain...the area needs it...heck, our water bill needs it, LOL.  My Ducati has been simply awesome to ride.  I love it love it love it.  Met a couple of neighbors because of her.  One guy is into restoring Vespa's and used to buy/repair/sell VW Buses.  The other guy finally finished his 1976 Norton 850.  Sweet looking ride for sure.  He also has a 750.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday my Sweetie said it was one year ago that I gave her her ring.  I consider it a wedding ring but she says it's an engagement ring.  Nonetheless, being a guy, it never crossed my mind, however, she got a baby-sitter for Ronin since Bella was doing a sleep-over at Grammy Sue's and she took me to Salty's on the Columbia River.  We had a great meal next to the water, watching the sunset, and she got me a nice watch as an anniversary present.  It was a good evening.

Today I bought a 3-speed metal cutting bandsaw that can cut horizontally and vertically from our next door neighbor.  His grandfather had passed away and had various metal working tools in his shop.  So I finally have something to cut metal with!!!  Using a cut-off wheel or hacksaw or reciprocating saw is just too much work!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Work and Duc updates

Work has been, well, work!  I'm getting a lot of over-time which means I'm getting more tasks than time (and more challenging).  My position really needs another me -- there needs to be two people in my current position or else someone to do the maintenance and stomp out the little fires that plague my days.  I'm waiting for the day when my manager has a meeting with me and our HR gal and tell me that I'm going to be salaried...with no change in pay...

Last week (or maybe it was the week before?) I got a flat rear tire on my Duc.  Got both of the original stock tires replaced with Michelin Power Pure and --BAM!-- the grip is nice!  Also removed the questionable stock RR (voltage regulator/rectifier) with a MOSFET unit so I'll never have to worry about cooking my butt, having my bike burst into flames a la X-Wing Fighter, or worrying about her dying mid-ride due to the crappy OEM RR failing.  Ooh, ooh, I also got a rear hugger which is basically a shorty rear fender.  Having tested it in a section of muddy road I can attest that it keeps the everything clean from the bottom of the battery lid and down  LOL!  Well, at least the engine will remain cleaner heheh.

I'm so happy that the weather is FINALLY cooperating, allowing me lots of ride time.  It's such a different riding experience 'tween the two (my Ducati vs. my Honda).  I'm much more comfortable on my Duc and am practicing my launches, to get moving from a stop quickly while keeping the front tire on the ground...well, for the most part ;-)

Well, off to PGE Park for some kids event Intel is doing.  God I'm glad I don't work there any more!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not enough time

Well, trying to keep up on a blog takes a good chunk of time.  I learned this during the Invasion but it's been reinforced here at home.  If I'm not busy with home stuff or dealing with work then I get a few minutes to rest before bed.  During the Invasion it was really just me; at home I have three other people to share my time with (and we just adopted a black cat named Eris, bringing us to two cats now).  With my priorities this blog falls near the bottom, which is kind of a bummer since I want to be able to use it to document some of the stuff I do to my vehicles.  I'm guessing that people who do good blogs must have a talent for writing, so it comes out quickly without much revision, and/or it's a priority for them so they have the time.

It's Sunday morning before everybody is up.  I've already spent over 15 minutes on this little bit of text and now I need to work on finishing a work task as it's due tomorrow.  Ugh...almost everybody who requests information from me has their task at #1, top priority.  It can get annoying.  I like the job, it just reminds me of Intel sometimes with the rush rush rush.  It also means my work is important and the position I'm in needs a second person because I'm just not enough to get everyone's tasks completed in the time they want.

I just found a Sponge Bob Squarepants sticker on the floor next to my computer desk.  That means one of the kids was where they shouldn't have been.

I checked the mileage of mi ragazza and I've gotten a low of 35mpg and a high of 38mpg.  Not bad for a heavy throttle hand :-D

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spent time at Cannon Beach with Ronin and A yesterday.  Man, Oregon is so beautiful!  Driving through the forest on Hwy.26 was such a huge change from the plains I was cruising across just a few days ago.  The foliage here was dense, like a tropical rain forest but the air was dry and cool.  The road curved, rose and fell, and there were no 18-wheelers.  I have a renewed appreciation of Oregon, it's just so visually pleasant and comfortable.

On our way there, A got pulled over by a trooper for speeding.  Neither one of us saw him.  After he went to his car to write her a ticket, he came running back to us and said, "Today's your lucky day, go buy a lottery ticket.  I have to go to a crash."  He handed the license back, ran to his car, and tore off in the opposite direction.  It was like a scene from a movie.  However, we were a little speechless...our good fortune was due to another's misfortune.  We felt bad.

In Cannon Beach we had a really good lunch then hit the beach to fly Ronin's Lightening McQueen kite.  After a couple hours soaking in the sun we hit Pizza a'fetta, a tasty pizza place worth going to.  The drive home was uneventful and I finally got Antonette to use the cruise control (after how many years of refusing to use it?!).

-- Invasion Stuff --
I tallied up my mileage (corrected for my tires) and costs for the Invasion trip:
Total miles traveled:  4,551.3
Total vacation cost:  $2,270.92  However, if I exclude the cost of FOUR new tires:  $1,678.96
Average mileage:  23.6mpg
Lowest mileage:  19.5mpg
Highest mileage:  28.3mpg
Other stuff about the trip:
Brian's butt has been classified as a Chemical AND Biological weapon.
Some people wake up and have a cigarette.  Some have coffee.  Brian has Diet Coke.  The wake-up alarm goes off and then I immediately hear a pshhht! as gas escapes the Diet Coke bottle in Brian's hand...he's not even out of bed!
One's brain can only think about so much during the solo time while driving, then it starts to loop a couple of songs in your head, over and over and over.  For me, it was Robert Plant's, Heaven Knows, and bits of the song from Smokey and the Bandit because Brian brought it up...curse him!
East bound and down, loaded up and truckin'
We gonna do what they say can't be done
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there
I'm east bound, just watch ol' Bandit run! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lucy, I'm home!

The morning was warm and overcast.  But it wasn't humid!  We chatted some more with the two guys motorcycling it across the states.  Cool dudes and they had their fair share of events, just like us.  Sounds like they had a good time, good memories.

We left had a tasty breakfast at DJ's, the restaurant next to the hotel, then went to Moxie's for iced lattés (MilkyWay flavored...mmmm!).  Got gas and were on the road at 11:00am Central Time.  A couple miles down the road Brian pulled over but it was just to latch his front trunk lid, nothing serious.
Just found this curious, overcast skies and only the sun out but Bri's car cast a shadow on either side.
The trip was pleasant until we hit the bottom west side of the Blue Mountains, where the weather got hot.  But it wasn't humid!  So with the vent wing windows spun all the way around we kept fairly cool.

The girls looking pretty worn.  Bugs, oil, and dirt covered them but they were real troupers!
The Columbia Gorge was gusty, of course, and the wind was blowing to the east, directly at us, of course.  So we were running a little warm engine-wise.  We stopped for food and oil top-off at McDonalds in The Dalles.  A little further down the road Brian felt that his engine was running lean so we stopped at Multnomah Falls to take a break from the wind and let our bodies relax.  Since Bri hadn't been there in the daytime and we had plenty of time to kill since we weren't about to deal with Portland rush hour traffic, we hiked up to the bridge and checked out the waterfall.

We left the park at 6:10pm Pacific Time (yahoo!) and were at my house by 7pm.  Bri backed up his Notch into my garage and we put a fan on the engine to cool it down.  As a precautionary measure Bri opened up his idle jets to richen his mixture, thus letting it run a little cooler.  The carbs on his engine are a pain to work on, at least the left side!  It'll be much easier when he gets the turbo on and only has to deal with ONE carb!

With his engine all buttoned-up he was headed for home at 9:30pm.  I unpacked my baby and she's all settled in the garage for now (getting a bath this weekend).  I got to be with my Sweetie and it was great to see Ronin, such a little lover, man I missed him; being away from your family makes you really notice changes and appreciate them.

It's late since I need to be at work tomorrow at my regular time so this is the end of the Type III Invasion 2010 for me.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this blog now.  I think I'll try to keep it updated with my various projects (other dubs, motorcycles) and such...I'm not much of a "journal" person.  We'll see...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our day started normally, well, except Brian wasn't under his engine deck lid, har har har!  The morning air was 44 degrees Fahrenheit, clear and crisp -- such a pleasant departure from the southern region we had come from.  We had a good breakfast at Penny's Diner, topped off the petrol, and were on the road by 8:40am.

At about 2.6 miles down the road the back end of Brian's Notchback erupted into gray smoke, followed by a light drizzle of black rain upon my windshield.  I followed the black trail that Bri left on the road way onto the right shoulder.  My trip odometer read about 2.7.   What happened was his oil line output from the oil filter popped off, allowing the engine to pump oil onto the outside of the engine and exhaust tubing instead of through the oil line!  Luckily, the bright red idiot light Bri had in his cockpit was blinding and he shut his engine down and brought his car to a stop very quickly, avoiding major damage.

I had several quarts of Mobil 1 pure synthetic oil so Brian was able to fill up his oil supply.  He's a conventional oil guy but the synthetic held up quite well (of course).  There were no more "events" for our cars the rest of the day.  The weather did get to the low 90s but it was not humid so keeping cool was sooooo much easier.  Love the fact that the wind vent windows on our classic cars pivot to allow air to funnel into the cabin.

There was an "event" that slowed us down almost an hour; a pickup truck rolled over and traffic had to be detoured.  That led us to believe it was a fatality since several miles of interstate was closed.

My engine is still leaking oil from somewhere but it's not too bad.  Since both sides of the lower engine are coated in oil Brian thinks it's the main seal (Russ had mentioned this as well).  I have more oil (carrying extra in the front trunk) and the leak is messy but not dumping oil so I can easily make it home.  When I get home I can drop the engine and figure out where it's coming from and fix it.

We took a quick detour to hit Parma and visit the original Invasion location:

At 8:15pm we finally arrived in Ontario, Oregon, and got a room at the original Invasion host hotel, the Rodeway Inn (yes, that is the correct spelling).  Right next door to us are two guys who passed us in Mt. Home, Idaho.  They are touring the whole USA, each on a motorcycle.  They were looking for stickers so I gave them the one of the DDB I had from Martin's shop that looks like a country sticker (the white oval with three characters representing the country name).  Sounded like they were having a good time with good memories...ah, to be single and least they're smart and doing it now while they can!  One is from Portland and the other Bend.  Hmmm...kinda like Bri and I...

Okay, it's late and I'm beat!  I almost fell asleep several times during our drive.  So I'm hitting the hay.  Tomorrow we're Portland bound, yahoo!  I can't wait to be back home with my family.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We decided to start our day early so as to avoid much of the heat of the day.  We tried to leave the hotel but Brian's car wouldn't start.  It would crank but would refuse to fire.  Fuel pump was pushing fuel and everything looked normal in the engine compartment.  I went about testing the electrical parts when I noticed that the points were closed even though the rubbing block was on the lobe...hmmm...  I had Brian crank the engine while I watched the points and they didn't move a single bit.  There's the problem!  So Bri pulls the dizzy (distributor), adjusts the point gap, throws the dizzy back in and the car fires right up.  By 7:15am we got breakfast at Burger King and are on the road.

The morning was cool and not nearly as humid.  Much more tolerable to drive in.  The further west we drive the less humid it becomes.  We did get some warmer temps in the Aurora/Denver area and heavy congestion that slowed us down due to an accident.  Brian's Notch was idling too fast so we needed to pull over in the emergency lane so he could adjust his linkage.
All the WDOT signs had this...must be an issue up here I guess?
Just outside of Rawlings, Wyoming, the winds picked up considerably and were very gusty,
blowing us around.  The outside temperature was very cool and I didn't need all my windows open like I did in Kansas.  We did get some rain from brewing thunder heads that were moving east.  Bri was listening to the local radio station and found out we avoided a major hail storm that occured in Rawlings and two inch hail in Oakly (a gas stop before Colby), so we were very thankful we didn't spend the night at either place.
You know it's windy when the ponds have white-caps on 'em!

We arrived in the last big town, Green River, WY, at 6pm Mountain Time -- so a full 12-hour day since we lost an hour crossing time zones.  We're beat and weary.  We both had troubles staying awake during our day.  Since the weather is considerably better -- both in temp and humidity -- we plan on sleeping in and not rushing to leave like this morning.  Our next stop will be in Ontario, Oregon (right next to Idaho), where we'll be staying with friends of the Fye family.

Note:  I'm not done with adding pictures to this, however, the internet connection in our motel room is amazingly SLOW.  After talking to some locals on finding an internet café, said café is closed until Wednesday and we can't find the local library.  So I'm on the side of the road in town, next to a Super 8 motel, borrowing their internet connection...heheheh.  Unfortunately, this web interface SUCKS when it comes to pasting pictures in the locations I want them so I'll do it tomorrow.  We're going off now to smoke cigars!

New Note:  Pictures added on June 23, Wednesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First big step to home.

All this land and they build their homes near the highways...?

As I'm writing this there's an awesome lightening storm fading away into Colorado.  We're at the Motel 6 in Colby at the end of an 11-hour drive and about 500 miles.

Driving through Kansas was like being in the movie Ground Hogs Day; it was the same scenery and the same smothering heat and the same choking humidity and the same buffeting winds.  Luckily, the people in Kansas are very nice (and so many from Oregon!).

Far too much of this!
It was hotter heading west and the humidity was high.  I had both windows down and my wing windows opened inward, pointing the air directly at me to help evaporate the sweat.  When we entered Kansas last week on our way to Carthage I put in an ear plug in my left ear since my window was down, thus reducing the white noise of the rushing air and reducing fatigue (motorcycle trick).  For this trip westward I put both ear plugs in since there was so much buffeting from the southern wind and truckers passing by.

Brian's gas mileage was up now so we made less gas stops, which helped our trip distance and time.  Our only long stop was for 45 minutes in Salina to take a much needed break from the cars.
One truck that I didn't mind passing me.
 Churches and silos were mostly what broke up the horizon.

We fueled up in Oakly and headed to our destination of Colby that was less than 30 minutes away.  As we approached, a behemoth of a thunderhead was looming over the horizon in front of us.  
Pretty soon it started producing lightening.  We hit Colby and as we put our stuff in the room it began to rain, not a lot, but hard and with a strong wind.  The lightening arched from cloud to cloud, vertically, horizontally, and in loops as well!  Strange to me that there was no thunder to hear.
Rain and lighening to the south east of us as well.

We're hoping tomorrow will be cooler so we can drive faster and make better time.  Our speeds are still 60-65mph at most, thus the long days/short miles.

Giddy-up! Homeward bound!

Two lonely dubs.

Okay, it's 10:55am this morning and Bri and I are the last of the Invaders here.  Bob and Sue stopped by the breakfast room to say goodbye and they're now headed north, hopefully to somewhat cooler temps.  I just came from outside to put some stuff in my baby and the heat and humidity is already smothering.  Oh how I miss Oregon!

I still have some oil spots below the engine but the area under the right valve cover is much drier, yeay!  We're hoping it's not a main seal...  Well, I have the last of the gear to pack into the car, top up on fuel, then we're on our way back to home sweet, cool, non-humid home.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gathering in the park, Day Two.

Note:  I'm writing this at 10:10pm Central Time so it's still Sunday for me and not Monday.

Today (Sunday) was a slower day.  I slept in longer and took my sweet time leaving the hotel today because the temperature forecast was for hotter temps today.  The humidity cloaking the country side would be a given.  I washed the rear of my baby due to some of the dust from the driveway of the restaurant settling on the water from last nights cooling rain.  Went next door to Wal-Mart and got ice for the cooler, Starbucks mochas in the bottle for me, and a couple liters of Diet Coke for Brian.  Ended up giving a curious cowboy a tour of my car as he had never seen one and was curious about her.

The municipal park of Carthage is on Route 66.

There were a few less volks at the park and the time was just a time to chill and chat.  It was discovered that Brian had no brake lights and his brakes were less than good.  I pulled out my electrical tool box to check things out but discovered that his pan was wet by the rear front fender well, where the line-lock was nearby.  One of his brake fluid reservoirs was empty so I knew it was a leak in the system and not electrical.  Something new to tend to...   By noon it was pretty much over and people headed out, spidering their way home.

Brian can't help himself when it comes hunching down into a purple engine bay!  Here's he's tweaking and synchronizing James' carbs.
Some more of John's handiwork.

After everyone left it was just Matt, his girls, Adriel and I.  We talked about Matt's electric cars and stuff.  My baby had cooled down so I was able to change the valve cover gasket on the right side.  Yep, the gasket was not seated well and thus was allowing oil to seep out.  That was easily fixed but I saw that the #2 exhaust pushrod tube seal wasn't seated well and had squished out a little bit into the rocker area so there was the other source of another oil leak.  We then headed to the Sonic for some lunch and thick, cold milkshakes.
Matt's little ladies.

After that Adriel headed back to California and we went back to the hotel to chill out in the air-conditioned room, plus allowing their dog Sputnik to cool down.  Unfortunately, a neighbor phoned Matt and warned him that someone had broken into his house so he had to leave a little unexpectedly...Hope things turn out okay, Matt!

Brian and I had dinner with Bob and Sue, the last remaining Invaders of Carthage.  We ate at the Pizza Hut and the service was terrible!  We don't ever plan on eating their again, LOL!

We retired to the parking lot where Brian swapped out his smooth tires for the full spares and then we tightened the brake lines and bled the brakes.  His brakes were back and the cars were road-ready!
Precious Moments dreams, kiddos!

Gathering in the park

Note:  This is for Saturday.  I'm still a day behind.

John Jaranson, automobile tattoo artist at work.
Yesterday (Saturday) was bloody hot and humid.  I felt like steamed cauliflower -- white and cooked.

Anyway, Brian and I started the day by sleeping in!  Then we hit the nearby car wash and attended to our cars as they really needed the oil and bugs scraped off.  We hit the Wal-Mart for water, soda, and ice, then it was off to the park.

We had a few tech sessions, learning more about our cars by enthusiasts who had deep, personal tribal knowledge, along with input from others and Russ's VW tech experience.  It was really just a time to explore each other's dub and talk to one another.  Really pretty neat despite the hot, humid weather that was beyond the comfort level for two Oree-gun boys.

  Keith Park's front beam tech session.

Cindy and Shawn lounging in front of their gorgeous red Notch.

Turbo Notch, beautiful inside and out!

Golf Fahrenheit Edition GTI and custom Type III engines.

I climbed up onto the pavilion roof and lookie what I saw.  Total Type IIIs that day were 26 & a half.

That evening we gathered together and rode out to "The Lucky J Arena" that was a indoor rodeo arena with a restaurant attached to it.  The food was g-r-e-a-t and the company even better...

After chow we headed back to the hotel and chilled out in the parking lot...again...and jabbered some more, making some fixes, and winding down after a classic station wagon day.  The only real bad news was that the person who was going to bring the tires for Brian today didn't show up.
Left to right: Jason, Brian, Bob & Sue, Mine.

Brake caliper repair.  It was successful for this Type 34.