Sunday, October 21, 2018

Double Pay?

 My brother and I worked together on landscape crews for decades until I finally landed a job where I am now mainly turning wrenches. He runs a crew in the neighboring community and periodically brings me equipment to repair. The other day he brought me a broke ass bacpac blower that had multiple issues and was a pain to start. Apparently 38 pulls was the magic number. I got the machine serviced "as good as its gonna get" given the fact that it has a bit of cylinder scoring due partly to an air leak and also carbon buildup. I advised they shouldn't rely on the machine to last long so it was decided they would replace it. Their "good" unit takes 18 pulls to start so we gave them a deal and they replaced both units.
 Uncle Tommy lives on my route home so I just dropped the blowers off at his house. I had to check out his new shed anyway so the stop had dual purpose. After some bullshittin around, the idea came up that maybe a guy could get double pay for doing twice the work?

 Strap one on back and strap one on front. Start in the middle of the yard and spin around like a tornado till all the leaves are blown to the edges. Simple.
 While on the topic of landscaping I want to congratulate my daughter Mackenzie and her friend Tyler for passing the Landscape Industry Certified Technician test. Certification consists of written and hands on testing in many different areas of landscaping. Some examples include laying sod, reading plans, irrigation, skid steer operation and plant id. I guess Kenzi struggled with planting and staking a tree in 20 minutes but passed, then aced the chainsaw hands on test. Does that mean shes like her dad and is better at taking stuff apart than putting it back together? No, I think it just means shes a smart kid as proven by her high score in the company. I know this certification isn't an Olympic medal but its nice to see young people taking pride in everything they do, in a world of people just trying to scam the system.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Workshop Wednesday-Bad Gas

  I am a two cycle engine tech at work. Yes I fix weed wackers but also all forms of 2 stroke equipment, mostly chainsaws. One of the biggest problems I see is bad gas. Sometimes its old gas, as seen by the dirty fuel filter in this pic.

 People just think if it starts on old gas then everything is fine and they got away with it. Not true. Old fuel can get gummy. That gum can lead to stuck piston rings and engine failure among other things including plugged up carbs.
 Old gas with ethanol in it can separate and leave you with a layer of water in your can or fuel tank.

 For that reason I always dump the fuel out of the equipment I'm working on and inspect it. You'd be surprised at some of the squaw piss I find in tanks. This funnel is for filling radiators but works great for small engine repair because I can just pull the stopper and easily return it to the equipment if the fuel looks ok. At first glance the fuel in the above pic looks fine but one needs to take a closer look.

  If I lower the flashlight into the mix I can see something else going on. It looks like red water.

 If I pull the stopper and tap some of it out I can get a closer look. Whatever it is turned out to be water soluble but I'm not sure why its red. Either way it answers the customers question, "why won't my saw stay running?"
 Speaking of things that are a weird color, what do you suppose this bird had for lunch? Creamed grasshopper?  Mountain Dew and inch worms?

 Whatever it was I'm bummed he had to relieve himself on my window.
 And, speaking of bummed, I was working on a generator the other day and I was getting goofy trying to read tiny numbers on wires I had to trace.

Why do those bundles all have to be blue wires? Throw in  a few different colors just to make things a bit easier. The troubleshooting flow chart I was following didn't seem to be in a good order to quickly trace down my problem. I spent a lot of time unsoldering wires and testing components and not finding anything wrong. Some of the stuff was either newer or older than the items labeled in the manual so not all the pin outs matched. Frustrating. As of this writing the thing ain't fixed yet. I think I know what the problem is but I don't want to influence a coworkers results when I ask him to test one component with his own meter and offer his conclusions. Until then the only thing this unit is generating is a headache.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Yukon Lift Install

 Yesterday I scheduled myself time in the shop at work to install the lift kit on the Yukon. I got an early start and its a good thing I did because when I got there I was the first employee on the scene even though I wasn't scheduled to work. There were people waiting in the parking lot so the lift would have to hold a bit. Once I was ready to pull into the shop I almost screwed up and put the kibosh on the whole project. What happened was I grabbed the remote garage door opener and got into my truck. I opened the door and before I could pull in I noticed some pressure washers in the way. I had the remote in my hand when I got out so it went into my pocket. After moving the equipment I hopped back in the truck and started pulling into the bay. I was concentrating on getting lined up on the hoist when I heard a big crunch on the roof. I quick hit the brakes and noticed in the mirror that the door came down on me! I guess when I got in the truck the remote button was activated while it was in my pocket. Luckily there was no damage because the door hit the roof rack and I slid under it. I am so glad I didn't join the ranks of coworkers that have smashed overhead doors.

 I remembered to take measurements before anything got torn apart. The front measured  36.5" to the fender. The rear was 38".

 One thing that had to happen was removing the strut/coil and adding a spacer block on top of it. Simple stuff.

 Another thing that had to be done was to remove the upper control arm with its ball joint. The new ball joint has more range of motion to allow for the lift. The control arm on the drivers side was like new but the passenger side was rusted in tight and required some cutting. At first I tried using an air powered sawzall but finally got the torch out and sped up the process.

   Besides dealing with the lift components at the wheels, I also had to drop the front differential. This helps keep the cv shaft angle respectable. The bolts were kinda a pain to get out and equally as painful was having to grind some of the differential itself to let it clear the cross member section welded to the frame.

Then, the cross member itself had to be relieved to clear the diff. It all fits quite snug now that the grinding is done.

 There were a lot of little problems and what I just told you took all day. Except for helping at the store, I worked on that front end from 7am - 5pm. I then started the rear which consisted of a spacer on top of the coils, shock extensions, brake line bracket extension and longer sway bar connectors. I think that about covers it and that only took two hours. It would have been an hour and a half if I would have remembered to bring my coil spring clamps.

 The finished result for front fender height is 40". Thats a 3.5 lift as advertised. To me it doesn't look that high. The rear started at 38" and ended at 41.5". Thats three and a half as well but I swear the kit was advertised that the truck would be level when done. I thought the back was only supposed to go up 1.75". Oh well, maybe the front coils are weak. 

 Parked here on my sloped drive it does look level. At 3.5 inches the lift is subtle but I can really see the difference when its parked next to other vehicles. Then it becomes obvious its not stock, and thats part of what I wanted. Its not so high I need a ladder but just high enough to justify using the running board. Not a jacked up mall-crawler or an off road wannabe but pretty good I think for a station wagon that will spend most of its time on the street.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Runaway Lemonade!

 A few months back I was used truck shopping when I decided it was time to find some grub. The closest eat em up joint to where my stomach growl originated was an Arbys. I had never eaten at an Arbys restaurant and I was alone so what the heck, I pulled in.
 First timers at the ordering counter are easy to pick out and I'm sure I looked like a new recruit stepping off the bus at army basic training. Do I order a samich, side and drink separately or do they have some kind of bundle deal? And what about sides? To me it looked like there were two choices. Curly fries or no side. Lucky for me the dude at the counter was willing to help. "I'm thinking French Dip". "Bro, like thats cool" he said and then walked me through the rest of the menu choices, which was basically just curly fries. I was handed a big ass cup and walked over to the fountain to tap myself a lemonade. After placing the cup under the discharge I pushed the button to start the flow of that sweet lemon flavored nectar.

 I'm a gearhead. I look at everything from a viewpoint of wondering how it works. If I don't know then I get curious and start investigating, or at least speculating what makes it tick. When I pushed the button to start the flow of lemonade, it kept coming out after I lifted from the button. I knew something was wrong. There is no sensor to weigh the cup or scan the fluid level. I doubt there was a timer because it doesn't know the cup size. I was sure the button was stuck and pushed it a few more times to try to stop it but the juice just kept flowing. This cup was surely gonna runneth over. It was a big cup and I had a lot of time to work this out in my head. I didn't see a camera crew anywhere so I was pretty sure this wasn't a prank. Screw it. I'm new here and will probably never return.
 Its not often I get a legitimate excuse to be a ham so when this opportunity arose, I took it. "Runaway lemonade!, Runaway lemonade!, We've got runaway lemonade here!" I spoke those words in a loud enough voice that I was sure everyone in the building heard it. The staff behind the counter was taken off guard and quite a bit of lemonade and ice cubes ran over the lip of the cup, filling the spill tray and beginning to overflow that, before anyone came out to investigate. Bro just shook his head in disgust and said "not cool dude, push the button". I explained that I had tried that already and when I pushed the button again to prove that it was stuck, it stopped the flow. Bro said "Duuuuude". Some kid came out with a mop to clean up the spill while I hung my head in shame. Not because I made a mess or was embarrassed but because I let that machine beat me.
 I spent the next minutes wolfing down a french dip while the staff pointed and giggled at me, which by the way isn't unusual, its just that this time I knew why.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Need A Lift?

 The Yukon purchase has been a good one so far. The big station wagon rides decent, gets better gas mileage than my last ride and pulls my trailer just fine.

Mowby Dick photo bomb. What a dick.

 Part of my goal in this purchase was to have a vehicle that will get me to work in the worst of Wisconsin winter road conditions. You know, like when they pull the plow trucks off the road till a blizzard ends. It doesn't take much to meet that goal. Good heat to keep the glass clear, tires that eat big chunks of snow and make their own trail, and decent ground clearance to clear drifts and ruts.
 The first part is easy and most vehicles will pass as long as they have heated mirrors. The second detail is a simple matter of purchasing different rubber. The tires on the truck now have a lot of tread left so we'll see how that plays out. The last point, ground clearance, will soon be addressed.

 This was delivered damn near to my door the other day. I say near because they left it on the front step just outside of the porch overhang. The box was rained upon all day.

 I researched lift kits before looking at any vehicles. I was looking for the best bang for the buck and didn't want to be stuck with a vehicle that needed a $1000+ investment to get it a few inches higher. This Rough Country kit is 3.5 inches at a cost of $580. The things I liked about this kit were the use of different upper ball joints that have more range of motion, and a differential drop that keeps the cv shafts at the proper angle. The big suv will ride the same, just a little higher.
 This weekend is spoken for so maybe next weekend I can look at doing the install.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

House Rules

 My wife and I have been empty nesters for a couple years now but that situation changed a few weeks ago when we welcomed our niece Stefany into our home. The reasons for her staying with us are not anything that needs to be discussed on this blog and the length of her stay is undetermined but should be at least the rest of this school year, or maybe the rest of high school. Because she is welcome to stay as long as she wants, I felt the need to post a quick set of rules that would better keep the peace between us. For the record, some of these rules are directed at my wife so these are really just guidelines for anyone staying in this house that doesn't want an ass chewing, or at least the stink eye. I don't think any of these are unreasonable requests.

1.  Pajamas are for inside the house. Pants are for outside the house. Its ok to wear pants inside the house but its not ok to wear pajamas outside the house.
2.  You can use any tools you find, just put them back where you found them. My memory is hazy but I know the last place I set any given tool and that's where I'm gonna look for it when needed.
3.  Anyone that spends the night more than two days in a row is no longer a guest. Grab a rag or a mop and help out a little.
4.  Open the fridge door, grab your shit and close the door. Don't stand there with the door open trying to decide if you want a snack.
5.  When taking off your shoes, don't just leave them in your wake. Put them away. My wife could trip over them and break a hip.
6.  I'm willing to sit down and discuss any problems you  may have but not during Packer games and episodes of Columbo.
7.  C's for grades are acceptable but not desirable. F's are just a sign of being too lazy to do the work.
8.  The snooze button is evil and doesn't help you get any quality sleep. It also pisses off everyone else in the house. Set the alarm for the time you want to get up and when it goes off, get your ass out of bed.
9.   Don't forget to feed the cats. If Pasha is loitering in the kitchen then its probably dinner time. If Oliver is in the kitchen giving you the stink eye then its probably past their dinner time.
10. Don't be a dick.

 Pretty simple guidelines I think. I see we've been testing the waters with rule #1 already. I'm gonna let that one slide this time because your aunt may have had some involvement in that. She has her own rules for me. They aren't written down anywhere or even been verbalized but I've hung around her long enough to know what they are. I'm pretty sure my own rule #10 applies to me in this situation.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Making More Room In The Shed

 Now that I have an automower taking care of my grass cutting chores I feel its time to get rid of my little rear engine rider. Sure I could keep it around for doing Forrest Gump impersonations while grinding up leaves but I have a bagger push mower that will work better for that chore. A big sale at work next week will be a good opportunity to try to peddle it because I need to raise some cash to pay up a bet my wife insists she won. She says our garbage can is one color and I say its another. She thinks she is right just because everyone she asks about the color agrees with her. I feel a need to pay up and just get this over with, even though in my mind I know its green, not grey...or at least the old can was green. Anyway, the problem with selling it is that it leaks engine oil worse than an old harley. I can't just pressure wash it and hope for the best because the leak reveals itself as soon as you start the engine. For the longest time I just assumed the leak was the sump gasket but today when I pulled it from the shed there was a huge puddle under it and no oil at all in the crankcase. The problem must be the lower crank seal.
 I pushed the machine from the shed to the garage where I could better work on it.

 Nothing has been fixed in this garage in a long time. I was looking forward to some quiet wrenching.

 Initially I was prepared to yank the engine and all of the associated bull that went along with that. After taking a closer look I discovered this was gonna be an easier job than I thought. I pulled the mower deck, one rear wheel and the crank pulley.

 What I found was a huge mess except where the seal was leaking, That area was washed clean from all the oil flow.

 Of all the gaskets, seals and o-rings I bought for this repair, I only used this crank seal. The old one came out too easily and the new one pressed in just about right. In a couple days I'll know if the repair was a success.

 It really was a simple job and this is all the tools I needed. Now I feel the need to get into another project. I suppose I should get back into learning how to use that airbrush and get the sporty painted. I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Video Dump

 In the past when I've been thin on interesting material to post I've just thrown up random pics from my phone. Due to lack of interesting motorcycle or maintenance material I am forced to do it again but this time it will be video rather than pics. Thats right, I've just been walking around with these gems hiding in my phone. I've loaded them to YouTube to forever seal my fate as a dork.

This first one was on the way to the Ripon bike show. The plan was to ride off with the phone in my hand and get footage of the rain flapper at WOT. I thought better of it and decided the GoPro might be better suited for the task. I'll try to capture that before the bike goes up for the winter.

 So far there have been no problems with the automower running out by the city sidewalk in the dark but I was thinking a set of tail lights might be a good idea.

I was working on a piece of equipment and a little disgusted with the way the new parts fit together.

We run an automower at the shop in a steep ditch. During the drought the unit struggled with the hard, dry conditions.

Speaking of automower performance, sometimes "testing" looks a little like screwing around.

More testing I think. Which stapler will win?

 And for the big finale, some more motorcycle content.

 I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I filmed most of these but now that they're out there I can safely delete them from my phone.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Big Ass Station Wagon Update

 So its been a few weeks now since I bought a used Yukon XL. Did I get a lemon or a decent used vehicle? Almost right away I noticed it was pissing oil in my driveway. It didn't take long to realize it was power steering fluid. A quick text message to the salesman to confirm they'd stand behind it and then an appointment for it to be looked at. I had to wait over a week to schedule the repair because I would need a loaner. No problem, I'm a big boy and can add power steering fluid as needed.
 I showed up at the dealer and had to pull into one of their reception bays to drop the rig off. The bays are marked "trucks" and "cars". Hmmm. Nothing marked "big ass station wagon" or "oversized suv". While it would mean nothing to anyone else which bay I picked, in my mind it would forever solidify the way I feel about this rig. I was early and had time to give it some thought, then I eased on into the truck bay. Really, when you crawl underneath this thing its not much different than a 1/2 ton pickup...or is it? It turns out the loaner would be a good comparison rig. They gave me a 2018 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton with the same motor as my Yukon. The difference would be a six speed tranny rather than the four speed in the Yuke.

 The new GMC had only 650 miles on it and the sticker showed an asking price of $51K. The interior was pretty nice but I suspect not the top end package. It was nice to be driving a new vehicle but that niceness kinda wore off a few miles down the road. First I didn't care for the feel of the steering. I think this truck uses an electric pump and it just didn't agree with me. Second, and the only thing that would really keep me from buying one of these if it were in my budget, is the six speed transmission. The transmission is an indecisive little bitch and spends an awful lot of time hunting for the best gear. To me it was just plain annoying and I'd never be able to live with it. I'm not just being picky. This annoyance revealed itself right away on flat ground and brand new asphalt. Even with cruise control set the trans spent a lot of time shifting back and forth.
 So how does the Yukon compare? As far as towing goes I don't know. I haven't hooked my trailer up yet. As far as power they felt close despite the fact that mine is much more used, but I'd have to give that one to the new GMC. At times there was a considerable lag between flat footing it and tire spin. Other times it felt normal and the traction control button didn't make any difference. Not sure what was going on there. Ride comfort and drive-ability go to the Yukon. That transmission is a huge no-go in the new truck so the Yuke wins that one too.  
 The dealer ended up putting a new steering rack and pinion in my truck. They also fixed an exhaust leak I was unaware of. They claim to have done $2000 worth of repairs (or at least thats how they will claim it on the insurance policy that came with the purchase). I was responsible for a $100 deductible. I can see the new parts, I know how long they had it and they washed it afterwards. No complaints from me. That's the second time Holiday Budget Center has treated me right after a used car purchase had issues. 
 So, its been a few weeks now since I bought a used Yukon XL. Its nothing fancy but I'm liking it. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Effin' Skeeters

 OMG! WTF is going on with the mosquitoes? Its like we're under attack. They're even double teaming us in the shop. Trying to work in there has become a joke.
 Every so often I'll hear a yell from the other side of the shop. Its usually someone freaking out, unable to comprehend how we can be so swarmed in these little biters. I've done that dance myself. They are relentless. I've made 55 laps around the sun and as far as skeeters go, this one bites the hardest. I've heard a lot of old timers make the same claim. When people bump into each other on the street, the small talk isn't about the weather. Its about mosquitoes.

 Experiments have shown that carb cleaner really has no effect on these evil doers. 

 The best spray I normally have on my bench for knockin em down are the ones with oil in them. Penetrating lubes and Fluid Film work well. Spraying a mist into a stream of air blasting out of a shop air blow gun is a good way to fog the area and stop an approaching swarm.

 In our shop the decision was made to not just repel these bastards but to send them a message. Once knocked down we can begin operating. The plan is to surgically remove their needle nose and send them back into the general population. This way the other skeeters can see what happens when you mess with our crew.

 Here's pre-op. These little bastards will get what they deserve.

 Not all of them make it. This one had an allergic reaction to our anesthetic. No one will grieve.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ripon Bike Show

 Yesterday morning was a warm one, about sixty degrees and it made for an enjoyable twenty mile ride to the bike show. Because I had to work I was early and the first one registered and just dropped the bike off. It wasn't until after work when I arrived at the show that I found out registration was a bit dismal. Its not the fault of the guys putting on the event. They don't have the help they once had and other events like the Tomahawk Fall Ride were going on the same day. I guess the blame should rest partially on regular attendees like myself for not spreading the word. This pic of the bacon section at wallyworld is about as interesting as the bike show was and that bothers me. Sure I checked out the few new bikes to the show but the others were all just the same cut of meat, including the Rat Turd.

  I guess the most interesting part of a show like this is to talk with the "builders". To me that term includes everyone that did their own work on their own bike. Everyone has a story that you can't read just from eyeballing the bike. You need to hear about the broken head bolts or use of Flex Seal from the guy that did the work. The factory customs that were just purchased and ridden don't do it for me.
 This bike was pretty nice.

 It was a lot nicer after I talked with the guy that built it. He deservedly beat me in our class. Hes an older gent with an eye for detail and the bike is no trailer queen. He found interest and creativity in the Rat Turd and tried out the cast iron seat. I think it took about 2 nanoseconds for him to decide that wasn't for him. So much for my offer to trade even-up.

 When it was time to leave I went to thumb the starter button on the rat but got bupkis. I'm not sure what happened to the cranking circuit but my handy dandy pocket knife easily jumped the solenoid and the little four banger came to life. I looked up and noticed there was a crowd watching me. I had forgotten how much interest there is in seeing that rain flapper bounce on top of my muffler so I gave em a few blips. Hey, its a show, might as well show off.
 I found an older video I once posted. Pre-barbed wire, the bike doesn't even look the same.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

 A couple of posts back I showed you an Automower display I was working on. Here I am in action at a show working my ass off trying to sell mowers. The "display" worked great in this outdoor setting and drew a lot of attention.

 Such an honest face. Wouldn't you buy a mower from me? I almost had one sold to an Amish dude till we got to the part about plugging in the charging station. Details, details. We did sell a few of them at the store this week and I have to wonder if this show had any influence on those sales.

 In other news, the Yukon has been running good. I should clarify.

 Power steering fluid is running out of the Yukon. The drips in the middle are normal straight line steering. The big arc of oil is when the wheel is pinned to one side. The dealer will take a look at it next Wednesday. They did right by me with the BMW when it needed a front differential. Lets see how they handle this problem. Otherwise I'm diggin the big station wagon. Adequate power, smooth ride, plenty of storage and I feel comfortable in it. The first tank of fuel revealed a 17 mpg average. Thats up 5 mpg from my last ride. I'm good with that.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Crunch Time

 Yesterday I had heard the Chili Cook-Off was happening in Green Lake. I don't usually attend this event but it kinda kicks off a series of fall events, some of which I do attend. I woke up today thinking I had a free day to catch up on things around the house and maybe finally clean the garage but then it hit me. Two bike shows are coming up and I'm not prepared for them. The sportster was to have its new paint job, turn signals and headlight. It has none of that and is currently unrideable.

 The flyer basically says the bike show is next weekend and my dumb ass isn't ready. Because my reason for attending these shows is more about support and fun than winning something, I could just wash the Ultra and attend. That seems kinda lame. People want to see cool shit at these shows and the Rat Turd is about as stupid a bike as you'll see on the streets around here.

 That means I have to clean the garage so I have room to work on and store the Rat. The last time that bike ran was a year ago. It has a faulty charging system and I have just been putting a lawn mower battery in a saddlebag to run it. It also has a running issue possibly in the fuel delivery system and its in my living rook. Just getting it outside is an adventure. I better get started.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Me and Mowby

 I guess I could go back and count the weeks but basically its been most of the summer since I've installed a Husqvarna Automower in my yard. I sell and install these units at work and having one at home has been a big asset in understanding their operation. Now I'm not one that usually names objects like cars or bikes or lawn mowers but you may know that our robotic mower is named Mowby Dick. While its true that he got the name cuz he's a dick, I've become quite attached to the little guy. Sure my liking for him is mostly based on the fact that he is absorbing much of the work load in the yard but sometimes when I'm trimming while he's mowing we play a game of catch or hide and seek. He likes to nip at my feet once he catches me and I enjoy the exercise of jumping out of his path.

 Ok enough of the silliness. This post was gonna be about a project at work. The boss wants a display area for these Automowers that we can take to trade shows or whatever. He bought some fake grass-like carpet and the plan was to attach the wiring underneath. We then could just roll the whole thing up and carry it away.

 The mower needs a boundary wire that sends a signal telling it to stop. I laid the wire where I wanted it...

 Then used some heavy duty tape to secure it to the bottom of the "grass". The wire runs on the grass side of the carpet in one area so people can see there is a wire boundary that the mower stays in. For whatever reason, I stopped taking pics of the project at this point so you'll have to use your imagination for the rest of this post. I'll help with some pics I found in my phone.

 Picture if you will, an automower and charging pad perched proudly on top of simulated grass. Maybe grass like this:

 And now imagine a short video of this mower moving around inside its boundaries on the fake grass carpet and returning to its charging station every four minutes. This is a program built into the mowers software just for these types of demos.  Maybe you can visualize a post or log standing in the middle of the carpet. Something that the mower can bounce off of and maybe doubles as a brochure stand. Good job. Now get on your scooter and take a nice long ride, you've earned it.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Station Wagons

  Now that I've replaced the old Dodge pickup the plan has been to give our Subaru Outback to one of our daughters. Before that could happen, one last repair had to be done. The car had a warped rotor and shook pretty bad during braking so I decided to do a front brake pad/rotor replacement. It was a simple job and if you've ever done it then you know that the caliper pistons have to be pushed back into their bores. I was lazy and grabbed two of the tools laying nearby and accomplished the task without a clamp or special tool. Git r done.

 Happy camper Kenzo. I heard some talk about strapping a kayak on the roof and other "outdoorsie" type activities. That car is hyped up as a yuppie recreational get away vehicle. The closest I've ever come to using it like that is putting a beer cooler in the back.

 The Yukon has been running good. No issues found yet. We've decided its just a bigger version of the Outback and yes I had a beer cooler in it yesterday. It seems some truck owners get pissy if I call the Yukon a truck. Not sure what thats all about. If you look underneath its not much different and better in some ways if you look at things like gearing. Ack, its just a big station wagon.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Search Is Over

 If you've read this blog more than once in the last few months then I'm sure you know I've been in the market for a used truck or suv. I had been following the price drops on an F250 and when it dropped again over the weekend I decided to buy it and end my search. This was a v10 powered standard cab pickup. I texted my guy at the dealership where we bought my wifes BMW and told him I would be in to test drive it after work. We set up a time but unfortunately he didn't start work till noon and another salesman sold it that morning. I guess it wasn't meant to be.
 My needs are to be able to get to work when the roads are crap and also to be able to tow an enclosed trailer. I was thinking a gasser v8, auto tranny and 3.73 gears at minimum. What I found was an '08 Yukon XL with exactly that combo plus a locking differential all rolling on 20's. Once I yank the third row seating out I'll basically have a crew cab half ton with a permanent topper. Works for me.

 This Yukon has selectable four wheel drive, not awd and it does have low range. Its kinda cushy too with a smooth ride suspension and I felt comfortable sitting in it. There are a few other options I wasn't looking for but will enjoy like remote start, sun roof and a halfway decent sound system. Oh, I came in under budget too!
 I went to look at and buy it alone. That means its still at the dealership but they said they would deliver it. Sweet. I'll post again when I know if I picked a winner or a lemon.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Last Leg Of The Trip

I'm shacked up in central Illinoiz after a 600 plus mile day. I took a longer route than the GPS suggested to try to avoid some rain. I'm gonna go ahead and say that plan worked perfectly as I only got hit by a few drops today and that might have even been a bird. Temps hit 90 but the humidity was decent so I had a pretty good ride. The bike ran flawlessly and got better mileage than the trip down despite a headwind much of the day. I was running a tad faster today so my fuel mapping program must have a rich spot around 3000 rpm. I don't know how else to explain. It's certainly not because I'm lighter.  I spent the whole week eating.
The vacation was good. I enjoyed time with friends I only get to see once a year and ride my bike on some great, scenic roads. I still have half a day riding to get home and then it's back to business as usual. There won't be a Sunday morning post this week. I'll catch up with you on Wednesday. Right now I have to go find dinner.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Fridays Ride

The decision was made to ride to Hot Springs for lunch at the Iron Horse Station. As usual the food and service were good. We followed up with a little adventure through town before getting back on the bikes. Our next destination was a few hours away to visit a ranger station we know had a certain t-shirt one of the group was looking for. That ride included some of the parkway and the views were great. Traffic was light so we were able to keep a decent pace and not be bothered. An hour or so later we were back at the motel.
My wife sent me a text telling me my truck found money has been deposited so the search is now official. Thanks Honey! I won't have time to look down here anymore but I'll be keeping my eyes open. I'm gonna wrap this up cuz there's talk of dinner so my next post should be from somewhere in illinoiz.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lunch at Pisgah

Today's weather could well be described as gorgeous.  I don't know what the actual numbers were but it was the kind of weather that was comfortable at speed while wearing all the gear. After a cup of doughnut holes and some orange juice I set out with the gang for a ride. We started with a visit to a local bike shop then made our way to the BRP and stopped at the Pisgah Inn. The plan wasn't to eat there but the view was so nice that by the time we had enough, it was time to eat, and so we did. Where to ride to for food has kinda been the theme this year and we were even talking about dinner while chewing lunch. After chow we rode north on the parkway and stopped at all the ranger stations, visitor centers and a folk art center. We even took the time to watch a movie at one stop. It was nice and relaxing with no pressure or many idiot drivers unless you count one guy that tried and failed to back over BillT.
That's really all I have to report today.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Found a Truck?

I'd be all over a rig like this if it were a clean runner. I've always thought these looked cool.
Today was a lazy day. A vacation day. Others like my wife would have preferred to dip their toes in the ocean or poke around for sea shells. For us it was three friends just catching up and bullshitting. Same idea, just no ocean although the first half of the day had water in the form of rain. In the afternoon when the sun came out we wandered into town to do some exploring. We took a tour of a distillery which turned out to be quite educational.
We await the arrival of Ed and then we'll forage for some grub. It's a pretty relaxed pace right now and that feels good.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Day Ride

Today Dan, BillT and myself spent the day on the bikes exploring the beauty of the area.  The first thing we had to do was figure out how much of the Blue Ridge Parkway was under construction being chip sealed. It looks like the section from Cherokee to 276 is messed up but we could still make it to the Piscah Inn which we'll probably do for lunch later in the week.
The day was a mixture of sun and light rain with a lot of wet roads in the tree shaded sections through the mountains. Normally the trees are just hanging there providing shade and blocking your view but we had some wind today. Some sections provided a new perspective with trees just swaying hard and freaking out. It was pretty neat to ride through. I know that sounds kinda lame but sometimes natures simplest acts are the most interesting.
BillT led the ride and spotted a little Mexican joint for lunch. We knew the food would be good because the parking lot was packed. That theory held true and Dan even cleared his plate!
We made a few other stops including a ranger station and a store called Mantiques. All in all it was a good day. Bill did a great job leading and navigating as usual and we arrived back at the motel dry.