Saturday, June 30, 2012

A letter to a motorcycle repair facility:

Dear Bastards,

Here I sit, in my underpants, not eating breakfast with my friends/preparing to go on a nice long ride that's been planned for a couple of weeks because you lied to me.

I called you on Monday, my birthday, asked when I could bring in my motorcycle so you could extract 2 broken bolts.  You said:  bring it in Tuesday, we may not get to it on Tuesday, but for sure on Wednesday.  I said:  great, it'll be kind of late Tuesday, but since we don't plan to ride until Saturday, that should be perfect.

I called you on Thursday.  "Mike's been working on a tough one, just finished it...he should get yours in tonight yet and done first thing in the morning."

I called you on Friday at 4.  "Just took one off the bench, yours is going on next, I'm real good at these, should only be half an hour...but I'll stay late for you."

I tried to tell you that I'd rather take it for the weekend and bring it back on Monday.  You wouldn't listen.  You never listen.  A big part of customer service is listening to the customer.

You lied to me.  You said it'd be done on Wednesday.  You said it'd be done on Friday.  You said it'd take half an hour.  You said you'd stay late.  We went there last night, but you weren't there.

Sure, Jeff said I could take his bike...and I appreciate that.  It's incredibly generous.  But if I don't have my special seat, I won't be comfortable.  Can't get my seat because you people don't open until 9.  The ride leaves at 930 from Winona.  Could possibly make it in that time...but would probably get a ticket....or arrested.

So, bastard-pros, where did I go wrong, other than calling you instead of a more professional motorcycle repair facility?  Should I have called on Wednesday to make sure you didn't forget about my bike?  I'm sure you left it sitting outside, like you always did with the moped.  Short of yelling at you to make sure you heard me, I don't know what more I could have done or said.

Cycle Bastards, you seem like good guys.  You really do.  You seem to try hard, but it just never comes together.  I'm frustrated, I'm may be downgraded to tire boy after this.  I'll know soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Birthday memories...Things I remember about different birthdays.

Growing up, I always had to share my birthday with my cousin, Jackie.  She's probably 8 years older than me, but not wiser...she's a Murphy and we've already discussed them.

Grandpa always had a gift that we looked forward!  For years, as soon as he'd see us on the birthday, he'd pull out his wallet and pass over that $1 bill.  Then inflation hit, and it was a 5 dollar bill...what a wonderful day that was.  :)

I remember having a birthday party in the park once, maybe when I was 5.....I don't remember who came, but I do remember that Michelle Tharp did not come.  I wonder why I remember that, and not the good things that happened??

Fast forward a bunch of years to 21.  I was working in Creston, and to celebrate I went to Casey's, bought a 6pack of beer, and drove to Lenox where Dad was working, I timed my arrival to coincide with his departure.  He was driving past me; his carpool feller pointed me out.  So he stopped, I handed him a beer; he says "oh, it is your birthday, isn't it."

The clerk at Casey's did not ask for id, I probably could have been buying beer for years.

I've worked on my birthday, I've had the day off.  I've been to the dentist and the doctor, and neither of them said "happy birthday" even though I have to recite the date to them.  Bastards.  Probably the best task was the day I turned 30, I was working as an apartment maintenance man...

In the days prior to this, I'd been summoned to an apt because of a terrible smell....she demonstrated that her place was clean, so where was the smell coming from???  I went in the next place and looked around, found a bag of rotten onions, they were pretty stinky.  I thought that was it and forgot about it.  That wasn't I soon found out.  She called again, went back to the (abandoned) apt, discovered that the electricity was cut off, and the fridge was full.  And the freezer part was full.  The electricity had been off for 3 weeks, it's June, temps had been in the 80's this whole time.  So I cleaned the fridge, no electricity, no hot water.  It was nasty...worse than cleaning the grease trap at McDonalds, worse than the worst day at the egg place.

There were packages of chicken, or what used to be chicken in there...I'm not sure what stage the bacteria were, they seemed as big as june bugs the way they were chomping that chicken...the bottom of the freezer was about 3" deep, totally full of liquid; more lovingly referred to as "primordial soup".  The smell would be akin to a locker room full of wet dogs that had been rolling on:  dead fish, dead skunks, pig poo, cow pies, baby barf, hair balls, canned dog food, sour milk, and a rotten egg.

Hungry yet?  This guy is my new hero.  Not for what he's eating, but for his writing and descriptive skills.  If I were trendy and hip, I'd spell skills with a z.  But I think it's rude to do that.

So yep, a good time was had.  I rolled the dumpster over, put all the crap into bags and threw it in the dumpster.  Then I had to soak up all that soup, and wash away all the june bug sized bacteria.  (bacteria are normally microscopic, which means you can't see them.) (a short psa for the blonde readers) (june bugs are large, puppy sized bugs with a hard shell, they leave a welt where ever they hit you when you're on the motorcycle.  They're awesome)

Soak up the soup, rinse it down the sink.  Wash off all the mold, chip loose the jelly, scrape off the hard chunks of ??? looks like a bird crapped in there???  Packages, jars, bags, cartons, a fridge holds a lot of stuff.

So when I got it all done, I was taking a break in the air conditioned office...the dumbass manager wanted to know why I didn't just bring the whole thing over to the office...the tenant may have wanted some of that stuff.

Pretty sure my reply was a loud guffaw, and explained how the damn thing was clear full of liquid, which would have left a trail of disgusting yuck across the carpet in the apt, the parking lot and the carpet in the office.  Plus it would have gotten all over me. Remind me to tell you some more stories of that dumbass.

Once the place was cleaned up, we rented it to a nice girl, but she didn't like the way the stench would reach out and punch her in the I had to swap it out for the fridge in the office...the manager was storing her wedding cake in there....and thought it'd be ok.

It wasn't.

But! these last few birthdays have been great, a motorcycle ride followed by dinner with friends.  The one year, I rode all around NE IA, had a great time.  This year a short ride with friends then dinner...followed by a secondary dinner with another good friend and constant reader.  1/4th of my facebook friends wished me a happy birthday in some form or another, not sure how that compares to other people.  If you were one of them, thank you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seems like I beat on this keyboard about this before, but I can't be arsed to check.  That's quoting Andy McNab, of course. (the arsed part)

You may recall that I put rear brake shoes and drums on my pickup back in March.  1994 F150 that had about 128000 miles then.  Nearly 130k now.  Now it has a leaky brake line, and all the other brake lines are so rusty that I wonder how they hold in the oil.  Did you know that the front brakes get about 1000 psi; the rear brakes are given about 300 psi?  Looks like more than half of those steel lines are rusted away in some places. options are limited:

  • fix it myself
  • hire someone to fix it
  • buy a different pickup
  • don't fix it, just keep adding brake fluid until the rest of the lines rupture
Option 1:  probably $30 for parts, unless the bleeder screws don't come loose, then parts cost could double.  Time...several or many hours.

Option 2:  couple hundred bucks

Option 3:  Several hundred bucks each month for several years.

Option 4:  crash, possible lawsuit, totaled pickup=buy different, see option 3.

I observed a few other things while under there:
  • exhaust hangers are broken
  • shocks may need replaced
  • spring bracket needs replaced
This will probably double the earlier guesstimate of cost, since Stumpy is fishing in Canada until July 2.  Of course, I could take it to Galen, but he may charge more, dunno.

I'm not keen on doing this job...I'm too fat to be rolling around on the ground under the pickup for hours, at odd angles, straining my neck, busting my knuckles, getting brake fluid and rust and sweat and dirt and paint and spray lube into my eyes, nose mouth and ears.  It's just not that much fun anymore.  

Oh, hell, who am I lying to?  It was never much fun.

I think that if I had a lift I would do the work.  Being able to walk around under it, being able to use arms and shoulders with full natural leverage makes a lot of difference.  But how would I know....I've never had a lift!  

Where do you "draw the line"/make the decision when it's worth fixing or not?  Looks to me like less than 2 months of payments will make the pickup whole again, with good safe brakes and suspension.  If I knew that I could go another year with no'd be a no brainer...but what will break next?

Clearly there is a formula that the geeks/nerds/pinheads know all about but the rest of us don't.  It can't be nearly as hard as rocket surgery or brain can get a learn from home kit from Sally Struthers for those.  

Let's see if we can noodle this out....if the monthly expenses exceed the amount (each month for xx? months) you'd expect to pay per month for a new acquisition, it's clearly time to consider replacement.  

What if the cost of repairs or expenses exceed the perceived value of the vehicle after xx? months??  You'll note "perceived value" otherwise knows as "blue book".  Raise your hand if you're skeptical about the color of the book.

For example.  Blue book may say that my pickup is worth $1500.  And let's say that these repairs we're considering will cost $500 this month.  What if next month there are no repairs....but the A/C totally died in August...$900  Now we've spent 1400, which we could put toward a new vehicle....but now maybe there won't be any repairs for months and months, costing nothing....whereas and therefore a new vehicle would be (at least) $400 per month every month, repairs not withstanding.

BTW, I'm typing this after midnight, so I'll be surprised if it makes any sense at all.  

Blue books says (maybe) 1500, but I think it's worth more, to me, anyway, because I know the history...I know that I replaced the water pump 10 years ago and that I greased the Ujoints yesterday.  I know when this was done, when that was done, how it has been driven and cared for.  (poorly)  $1500....3 months of payments.

I guess what I'm getting at is this:  Sometimes spending some money on repairs is worth it, until it's not....and that separation/ delineation is different for everyone.  

If you hung on and read every bit of this....congratulations, well done.  You need a life and perhaps therapy.  How does that make you feel?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tools for the motorcycle.  You non tooly sort of people (most girls) will find this to be as boring as going to Menard's, Fleet Farm, Northern or Harbor Freight....but I promise to try to insert some humour into this post.

As sand flows through the hour glass, these are the days of our lives, and they are counting down to our 10 day trip to Colorado.  Nearly 2x longer than the longest trip we've been on with the bikes, you can bet we'll take time out of our busy evening to do some laundry.  Can you imagine 10 pair of my sweaty underwear in a black bag in the full sunshineyness of NE in early August...the vultures will be circling.

We have somewhat old bikes...mine was constructed 10 years ago, but is registered as an 03.  Val's is an sometimes things go wrong, or come loose.  For example, the day before I was heading to the cities to join some friends, I saw that I was missing a bolt that holds on my right foot rest AND rear brake master cylinder/brake pedal.  Fairly important bolts, in my I left early to get one.  I had some tools in the saddlebags, but I was not successful in getting the right size bolt.  I did buy the wrong pitch, meaning I bought a standard thread when I needed fine thread.  No, they didn't have fine thread.

What do I need for tools?  Dunno...what's going to happen?  Dunno!  I was carrying the tool kit that came with the bike, which has some interesting pieces in it.  I was also carrying a rubbermaid box with some wrenches and allens and screwdrivers and zip ties and pliers and rags and a flashlight.

Murphy's law indicates (and you know how I feel about some Murphys) that you will only need the tool that you do not have.  And for sure, I know I can't carry everything.  What I have is heavy already!

I was not on this ride, but I heard the story about the exhaust pipe burned thru, was shooting fire onto the rider's leg.  The riders in the group were resourceful enough to get that damaged bike (Harley Davidson) to a HD dealer where he could get new exhaust installed.  That reminds me to throw in some wire....actual, honest to god baling wire.  The roll was destined to be installed onto a hay baler, except it wound up in my garage instead.  I love it when that sort of thing happens.

No, I didn't steal it, I bought it from FleetyFarm or TSC or Farm and Home.  It's pretty good wire, too. want to know what I've got for tools on the bike?  OK

  • sockets, ratchet and extensions
  • combination wrenches
  • needle nose pliers, small channellocks
  • phillips and straight screwdrivers
  • Allen wrenches
  • some of the stock tools, the big/special sizes
  • air pressure gauge
  • air compressor
  • First aid kit with an extra set of shears and gloves in an alternate location
  • flashlights
  • bee sting goop
  • advil
  • lots of water
  • cargo net and bungees
So what.  Who gives a load of bollocks?  Obviously you do, because you're still reading.

what is wrong with you?

just kidding, you're my favorite person in the whole world.

I had a little LED flashlight in my alt glove case, the batteries were getting pretty low...only 3.6 volts.  New batteries.  New batteries in the other light too; they were barely sparking the bulb.  I almost bought another LED flashlight at Menard's today...came with batteries after rebate.  But....I think I have enough flashlights.  

Boy, you never know when you'll need a flashlight...which is why I carry a few.  What if you're at the strip club late and you drop yer key in the parking lot?  How will you find it if you don't have a flashlight???  What if you don't get to the hotel until after will you see to unpack all yer crap?  

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, I used to have a little flashlight I could carry in my pocket.  All the girls would say:  "Is that a thimble in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?"  I'd say:  "huh?"  

Have you ever heard the "song" from Rodney Carrington about the snowman?  Who put the dick on the snowman and embarrassed the family...

The flashlight was very small, I think it used 2 4A batteries, and you just squeezed the sides to make it work.  It was awesome....and I miss it.  *sniff*

Remember when you dropped your Asia cassette and the fucker bounced under the front bench seat of your 66 Ford?  That flashlight came handy that day, let me tell you.  Found a great big bullet under there one day, pretty sure the stepmonster stole it, since it was MaMas and Daddy's car before I bought it.

I've got to tell you, this iced tea I'm drinking is the best tea I've had all day.  2 big tea bags and one special tea bag...this one was some sort of spiced tea, but mint is good, too.

Sheila is thinking about tea bags...or tea bagging.  Naughty girl....

Some of the most important tools I have in the saddle bags will help me quickly and gracefully put on my rainsuit pants, should I ever need to wear them.  Plastic sacks to put on over my boots, so that there's no friction!

I know you were sad that there were no pics, so there you go, some pics.  No, we did not eat the Rotel.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Freedom Rock Ride, June 10, day 3...

Are you dying to know if yer image is larger, smaller, or the same size?  I'm going to tell you, but not right now.

Suuuuuuuuuuuuper 8, Webster City.  The bed was as hard as a rock, as hard as a supermodel's  ass, as hard as Jack Reacher's head.  Of course, I've not experienced a head butt from Jack Reacher, nor do I ever want to.  (Reacher is the subject of a series of books by Lee Child)

The chair was pretty comfortable, I read until 10.  Val was in bed and asleep a little earlier again.  I believe I woke about 5, maybe 5:30, I was packed and ready to go by 6:30 or so, as advertised.  We had breakfast at McDonalds, partly because we like it, partly because it was cheap (sort of).  It still took nearly an hour.  WTH?

East on 20, into the burning hot sun.  I could sing you the song, about sunshine in my eyesssssssssssssssssss can make me cryyyyyyyyyy...yeah, well anyway, we were heading to Iowa Falls to see the sights.  I wanted to stop and ask some people where the falls are, but based on our experience in Coon Rapids and the road....of course, there's probably only one river in Iowa Falls.  Here's what we saw.  Disregard the bird shit, ok?

I didn't frame that picture very well, did I?  Damn tree, anyway.  Did you read the plaque?  I thought about brushing away the bird shit before I took the pic, but I didn't want it all over my hands....some do gooder had picked up all the sticks.
Iowa Falls has a nice veteran's memorial.  Now I had to decide if I need to find a restroom or not.  I guess..................not.  Let's go!

Where did we go?  Charles City, I think.  Yes, onward and upward to Charles City to see the world's oldest tractor.  About this time, we decided to deviate from the plan a little bit, to save a couple miles.  Ok, ok, it came back to bite us in the end...but we didn't know that then.  And this edit really screws up the context of the next sentence, but you'll figure it out, I'm certain.  The only problem with this plan is that the damn museum is not open on Sunday morning.  They had a couple of tractors outside, but not the one I wanted.  Bastards, trying to preserve it....
Val's bike this time.  It's a Hart Parr, the tractor, I mean.  The bike is a Honda.  Right across the street is a Kwik Star, which is the same as our Kwik Trip, but since IA has Quik Trip, Kwik Trip is Kwik Star.  Weird, huh?  Gas and restroom, just what we needed.   Now we have to decide:  lunch now or later?  Let's see what's available in Nashua.

Here's something we saw that we wouldn't have seen if we had stuck to the directions and not turned on 3 to go to 18.
Yes, it's a mailbox.  The flag is broken...and you stuff the mail in her butt.  Hmmmm, I said "her" because there's no pecker, but there's only one hole....have to channel AlGore to find out the answer to this burning question.  Now that I've had a couple minutes of reflection, I imagine that a mailbox would be asexual, right?

The mailbox belongs to?  Not to a hog farmer, but!  To Stroker Ace Custom Cycles of Allison, IA.  Right on the NW corner of Hwy 3 and 14.

Now my directions are wrong.  Leaving KT was fine, take 18 out of town, but then instead of intersecting with the Avenue of the Saints, we went east quite a ways, so then we had to go south and then west again to get to Nashua to see the Little Brown Church.

That sucker is tiny, huh?  I'm feeling Lilliputian right about now, or maybe I need to name my motorcycle Babe, the blue bike.

Yep, a church.  Brown, as advertised.  There is a song about it, and I hear that one of Val's uncles/aunts married here.  We don't know why.

Lunch in a cafe in New Hampton followed by a non-stop ride home.  The wind is really blowing from the south, so I took a slight detour which minimized the distance we'd be going west...but still got to feel that windyness in a couple short westerly jaunts.  We got great gas mileage, nearly 50.

We learned a few things on this trip, had fun on this trip.  Here's one last pic:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Freedom Rock Ride June 9, edition 3

BTW, we determined at the bullhead that our radio communication system was not working like we wanted, so we did some testing to find the problem.  Again, it was part of Val's system, the push to talk button, which was brand new never used before June 8.  So I contacted the company, Sierra Electronics, and even though the warranty has expired, they said: send it in, we'll send you another.  The warranty period was 2 years from date of invoice, which was April, 2010.  We've sent in different pieces and parts many times, they've been very good about sending back new stuff.  It's a big PIA to take the speakers and such out of the helmet and send it in, pay for shipping, all that.  I will always say nice things about their customer service.  May not say anything good about their headsets, though.

It's a guy's dream, though, isn't it?  We've got these radio things so we can talk back and forth, and happily, the one piece that allows/enables her to talk to me is broken.  I can talk to her all day long, but she can't say one single word to me!  Not that I'll hear, anyway.

Saturday we get up early and find out that it takes much longer to load up than we think it does.  I don't know why this comes as a surprise, we did it for 5 or 6 days back in September.  Turns out that Val needs pretty much exactly 2 hours to get up, get ready, pack her crap, load her bike and get to breakfast.  I can do it all in an hour....but saying so is bragging and boastful and is therefore rude and not allowed.  Head over to Butch's cafe by 7:15, nice little place, full of locals talking politics, gossiping about neighbors, etc.  Decent prices, good service, good coffee.
Look, they have t shirts for sale.  What's the deal with every place selling t shirts?  The statement:  we now have corn nuggets. is apparently a big deal.

Breakfast took almost an hour, so we set off into the blinding sun, heading for Coon Rapids. If you know a black person that would be offended by that, please make a couple copies of this and show it to them every day for a week.

That sound you hear is Reggie laughing his ass off.

Coon Rapids is in the heart of corn country, and they have a lot of people that don't know where the road we were looking for was.  Turns out, we knew right where it was.

That 10' ear of corn revolves.  Neat, huh?  Not too sure what these other things are, but they were pretty decorative and shiny.

Good times.

Next up!  A deviation from the route/an L that should have been an R causes us to miss quite a chunk of our planned route.  Oh well, everything happens for a reason, right?  Found ourselves in Gutherie Center instead of Elkhorn, Atlantic and Adair, so we did miss some good stuff.  In GC, I sent Shellie a text thingy, but opted to call Sheila.  Not sure why, but everything happens for a reason, deja vu, and turns out that Sheila was still sleeping, my call woke her up so she didn't miss our visit.

Freedom Rock, the purpose of this trip.  A granite rock along Hwy 25, just off the interstate has been painted for several years in patriotic themes.  It is magnificent.  You should go there.

Are you planning your own trip there yet?

We ride the "white pole road" on our way to lunch, which was not where we hoped to go, but somewhere different, somewhere that was actually open when they said they were going to be open.  What a concept, huh?  The Chestnut Cafe doesn't have much of a website, but they have good service, good food and good iced tea.  What they don't have is a waitress that can take good pictures.  She tried hard, with one camera in each hand...
Look, I have an orange shirt!  You can see a couple of my high school friends there, very nice of them to take time out of their busy day to drive WAY out into the country just to see us.  Shellie reads this blog with the fervor of a beaver trying to repair his dynamited dam.  She's as enthusiastic as Richard Simmons doing aerobics about the bloggy thing.  And I thank you for your support.  I don't know if Sheila has ever read it or not, she's never commented....maybe she's just one of those "lurker bastards".  Yes, there's an inside joke here.  I really don't remember associating with either of these ladies in school, it's all thanks to AlGore and facebook that we're good friends.

Here's something that I missed earlier.  2 minutes later, here came about 100 bikes, out on a "fun run."  BTW, the arm waves...
Dinner in Webster City, 2nd Street Emporium.  Nice place, the hostess was wearing yoga pants and flip flops.  Kind of different.  I had some pork thing which was good, Val had some sort of seafood crape thing that was not good.  Spell check seems to like "crape", so I'll have to ask uncle Google what that is.  Interesting.  You can check it if you're interested.  :)

We stayed at Super 8, which had a pool; we were excited by this until we pulled up to the bdlg.  It was hot this weekend, hot and windy.  So we were really looking forward to getting in that pool; besides, I had to pee!  BUT when we rode up, before I turned off my engine, I could hear the 400 kids screaming in the pool area.  I could hear them thru the walls.  I could hear them over the rumble of my big V-twin engine.  We did not go to the pool, because we could hear them screaming all night, running up and down the hall....and then the parents were screaming at the kids to get dressed, etc in the morning.  Kind of funny, I think.

Review of Super 8?  decent coffee, decent shower, frozen ice, hard bed.  Hard as a rock.  Comfortable chair, where I sat and read until bed time.  I made some Hawaiian punch & added some bourbon for a delightful drink.

I've drawn this out about as long as possible, trying to waste some of your valuable time.  did it work?  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Freedom Rock motorcycle ride, part 2, day 1, Friday June 8.

So anyway, like I said, we left an hour late.  SNAFU solved.  Off we go, like a dirty shirt.  64 miles to Albert Lea Kwik Trip; we like them because they have decent food, a good rebate policy, and dependable restrooms.  Plus the credit card bill is paid automatically online, we're green like that.  Gas, breakfast sandwich, restroom, adjust gear, deviate from directions.  We were going to zoom on down the interstate to highway 13 west to take us to either 65 or 69, I don't remember which.  Probably 69.  We did not set a land speed record on the interstate, I find that the gas mileage diminishes so rapidly that it isn't really worth it.  I figgered once and likely will again (in July) that going faster will cost us time in the long run because we'll have to make more gas stops than if we went a more sedate, leisurely (greeny) pace.

On really good days, my bike will get 42/43 mpg.  Val's will do a little's smaller, lighter, she's lighter, etc.  This is going approx 65 mph, or less.  If/when I increase speed to 75, mpg will decrease to ~30, or less...the faster I go, the less mpg I will have.  My tank is 5.3 gallons and it starts to look empty when 3.5 gallons are gone.  150 miles between gas stops is good, you can really get somewhere, so long as the bladder cooperates.  105 miles per can see that it won't be very long at all....2 fills at the slower speed before there's an extra fill at the higher speed.  And when the day is 600+ miles.....

You're thinking....big long does it take to get gas?  In July, there's going to be about 15 of us, which can totally take over a gas station.  Takes a few minutes to fill, takes a few minutes to hit the restroom, takes a few minutes to BS with everyone, eat a snack, drink a pop/water/coffee; it's very easy to spend 30 minutes at a gas stop with a big group.  It's easy with just 2 of us, as we soon found out.

Sometimes, the bladder cooperates, but the colon does not.  That can make for a crappy day.

Hope you enjoyed that brief sojourn into my rambling thoughts.  We set off for Crystal Lake to see the worlds largest bullhead.  What a nice little town.  What a nice little lake.
Yep, I have a yellow shirt.  Actually, I have 2 yellow shirts, they came from the same thrift store.  I'd linky to that bloggy episode, but I don't know which one it is.  There were a couple of grumpy old men fishing, some little kids screaming and splashing just behind us to the west, which is to the left, as you're looking at the fish.  It was about 11, and well above 80*.    Across the street is a retired train car, the windows are painted to look like people are in there, there are flowers all around it...but no train tracks.  No pics, we didn't go look at it. Check in with the bladder, get a drink, put on coat?  Put on vest?  Gloves?  Yeah, vest today.  You can see that I sit on a piece of dead sheep, it keeps my butt from sweating.  Really.

Time for some unfinished biz.  Last episode I mentioned that I was a little sad, and a little glad that no one came with us.  I was a little sad because I invited our friends, some said they were coming but didn't.  Some said they wanted to but couldn't.  I put a lot of time and energy into this thing, and I was a little sad that no one else put it onto their calendar...they had 4 months notice.  Oh well, it was nice to get away with my princess and really nice to have lunch with a couple of high school friends....people I had not seen for 25 years or more, except for facebook.

Time to go south and west, west and south, to Britt...where there is a Hobo museum.  We decided to not go in, we were still running late and this is where we made up some time.  Apparently there is a large convention for hobo type people, they converge upon the town for a weekend of panhandling and train riding.

Yes, they converted the theater into the museum.  I don't know where they see a show.

Here's a partial list of some of the things we saw:  tractors, hay, dead coons, corn fields, trees, green grass, a creek, bridges, dead opossum,  red wing black birds, semis, fish, boats, barns, towns, brown grass, rivers, crows, vultures, cows, churches, Pocahontas.

Pocahontas?  You bet.

Look, a princess with the princess.  We had lunch in Pocahontas.  At Pizza Farm, not in the statue.  We're not termites, for christs sake.   We got to the ranch at about 1:15, they told us:  "buffet ended at 1, we won't be putting anything else on it, but you're welcome to eat it..."  So we did.  Paid full price for half a buffet.  It was ok.  We got gas there, too.  No, not at Pizza farm, at Cenex or Sinclair.  If I recall, 3.25 gallons for me, 3 for Pocahontas.  Er, I mean, Val.  Mostly straightly south to Pomeroy.

Pomeroy, home of the Kaleidoscope factory and the college of Leonard.

 Leonard is a great guy, lots of fun, and funnier than me on my best day.  I got the opportunity to feel smart, however, because I answered his question correctly:  when you look in the mirror in the morning, is the image looking back at you: 1. larger? 2. smaller? 3. the same size?

We took the sunlight tour, he showed us all the different types of 'scopes, told stories, asked questions, we looked at his wood shop, Val looked thru the fused glass bits and bought one.  To conclude the tour, we went to Byron's bar for a drink, nice place.  It'd help a lot to be a deadhead if you lived in Pomeroy.

Holy crap, this is getting long...oh asked for it.  Off we went to Storm Lake to see......what do you suppose we saw there?  You guess it!  A

lighthouse.  It's not in the middle of a cornfield, but it's close.  It's at the junction of Hwy 7 and Hwy 71.  From there, we had to decide if we wanted to go to Ida Grove to see all the castles, but chose to just head to Sac was hot, we were tired of cross winds and we were ready to rest.

The world's largest popcorn ball is in a little barn with a barn quilt on it.  Sac County has what might be the world's nicest veteran's memorial, not that there is a competition for things like's very very nice, and I think every county should have one.  Stay tuned for pics from Iowa Falls memorial...and speaking of competitions....the Sac County Cattlewhateverthenameis won "best burger" 2010, so we went there for dinner.
Cash or check only, no cards.  Fancy joint too.  I actually had a steak; I almost NEVER order a steak at a restaurant...I can do it at home much cheaper.  Ribeye was very good, I didn't regret it a bit.  The patron behind me read each patch on my vest out loud, using his outside voice.  I don't know if he wanted me to talk to him, he didn't bother to talk to us.  Small town people are different, huh?  Different is good, though.

After dinner, we went to check what time the cafe opened, get some ice, snap some pics, went back to the motel and we were in bed at 9.  I maybe should have taken pics...the room had the world's smallest toilet and world's greenest shower.  (The tile were green, it was clean.)  Pretty nice place...I'd stay there again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Freedom Rock motorcycle ride, part 1, a synopsis.

I don't know if synopsis is the used properly or not, I'm sure someone will let me know.  :)

The Freedom Rock ride:  3 days, open to the motorcycle riding club that we're in.  We're the only ones that went.  I'm mostly happy about that, but I'm partly sad about it, too.  I'm happy because we were able to do what we wanted to do without any dissenting opinions or arguments.  We could stop where we wanted, eat what we wanted, where we wanted, we didn't worry about holding our farts (not that I do anyway), didn't have to apologize to anyone when we were late.

And we were late.  The ride started with a SNAFU, which thankfully was not FUBAR.  If you don't know what those are, you can ask Uncle Google.  I'm not going to tell you why we started off late, either, it might embarrass Val.  Suffice to say, we left almost exactly an hour late.  Since we each had most of a full tank, we didn't leave from the gas station as planned, we just left from home, cruised on down the interstate to Albert Lea, where we got gas, some breakfast, changed some gear around, and wondered if we should call Leonard.

We didn't.

Right away I deviated from my point to go back east to the interstate, just to go back west again.  This is not the only time there was deviation from the directions, but it's about the only time that it saved time or miles.  There was another instance today, maybe I'll tell you about that later.

So!  We rode down, around, up, over, under; we were kind of like a merry go ride, only not quite.  My strategy when on a long ride is to plan hotels, plan stops, and plan some meals, but not all meals.  I also reserve the right to stop and take pics of different things.  Here's an example.

Sac County is the "barn quilt capitol of the world".  Barns, signs, buildings have these painted quilt thingys  all over the place.  Could have stopped at least 100 times to take pics, none were the same.  Impressive.  The other things I've pictured are self explanatory, right? No?  Well, I don't know what the deal is with the middle pic. It has a John Deere sticker on it, though.  The first pic I'll have to ask Uncle Google about.

Get busy on those, too, will you?  And while you're at it, imagine a pic that has a old looking hiker on it and the words "Dragoon Trail".  WTH is that?

Some ride leaders insist on getting gas at every bio break.  Not me.  Sometimes we'll gas up at the restroom breaks, sometimes at lunch, whatever.  Some say:  every 100 miles.  Not me.  We gassed at 60, sometimes at 120, once at 162.  We were getting nervous about the gas supply at that point, however, it turned out ok.

This ride review will be broken down into several parts, one for each day, probably, and that likely means that I'll never get to the last day.  If that happens, get over it, ok?  thanks.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Happy national bus driver's day.   That means that today is the last day of school for an entire month...which is when summer school starts, 4-4 day weeks. *insert excited emoticon here*

No school means that I have lots of time to my favorite mow the lawn, paint the garage, paint the bathroom, ride my motorcycle, give massages, etc.  I've got some pickup repairs scheduled, some motorcycle repairs planned, I'll get serious about selling some crap we have here in the house...or haul it to Goodwill/Salvation Army.

Last day of school.  Should be an early dismissal, but it isn't.  What genius thought that one up?  Probably the same one that decided that all of JR high kids should go on a field trip to the zoo, or  Mall of America, or some other waste of time place.  Ok, the zoo is educational, but the mall?  WTF?

So far, I've gotten 2 gifts, and was told that: "I was going to bring you brownies, but I forgot"  I guess it's the thought that counts, but I would really enjoy a GC to a liquor store than the thought of non existent brownies.

If you have kids and if they like their bus driver...give him or her a little something, we need to know that you appreciate our efforts.  Here's some suggestions.

In no particular order:

  • liquor store gift card
  • cd w/pics of your boobs
  • gift card to a decent restaurant
  • gas card
  • sack full of SuperTech oil filters in the 3 sizes I use
  • home made/hand drawn thank you note
I realize that I should have posted this last week for you people, but now you can feel guilty for an entire year!  OR you now know how to start the next year off correctly.

BTW, I use ST3593A, ST8A, and ST7317