Motorcycles, tools, and garages! A little bit of everything mechanical and technical.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The long way 'round: Big Southern Butte.

 Managed to sneak away for a few hours yesterday and what was supposed to be a little ride ended up being a little longer.

Sometimes I feel trapped here in South East Idaho- we have a plethora of long, straight, boring roads. If you ride for an hour in just about any direction, you start to get into some more exciting areas but I just never have the time to ride for an hour to get to the good riding spots.

That needs to change. Consider this my exploratory route to see which directions I need to head for the "good" roads.

Lets pound some pavement! Originally, I figured I would ride out to Craters of the Moon and back, past Big Southern Butte. It's about 50 miles as the crow flies from my house, a fair bit further if you get there on roads. The nearest paved road is still quite a ways away, this thing is HUGE.

But you can get fairly close. 'Bout as close as you can get from the highway.

Gotta love the Idaho desert.

Made it to Craters- will have to take the fam out here and hike around for a bit. This is on the back side of the butte from where I started.

Yup, still more boring Idaho desert.

I did finally make it out towards the mountains and found a few interesting roads I'll have to explore in the future.

1,000 down, and only 5,000 more miles to go to my goal for the year!

Pretty uneventful ride, but I did see this off in the distance coming out of Twin Falls.

Not sure what caught on fire, but they were just unhooking the trailer as I went by.

Looped around and hit I-15 for the South view of the butte...

Almost home, with the butte waaaayyyy off in the distance.

Not a bad trip- 302 miles in about 4.5 hours.

Next time, I'll cut off to the North and get up into the fun stuff I hope!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cali Trip Day #6: A day of Disney and the looooonnggg drive home.

Thursday morning. Our last day in California. It seems like we've been here a month now, most of us are ready to be home, sleep in our own beds, eat our own food. There are a few who wish it would go on for a few more days.

The last breakfast.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We woke up and ate in shifts- one bus was still dead (actually, it was on it's way to the repair shop) so we loaded our bus first, took them to Disneyland, dropped them off, and then it went back for the rest of the students.

Finally got everyone there!

The plan was simple- students had to check in with us once during the day, and then meet in the evening to head out of the park. We went on several rides- Pirates of the Caribbean,

Indiana Jones,

And of course ran in to random groups of students all over the place.

Apparently I dozed off for a minute while waiting for our dinner reservations...

But it was worth the wait! Dinner at the Blue Bayou was spectacular!

The day went by pretty quick, and before you knew it we were gathering for the mad dash out of the park. Turns out students make good armrests.

Getting them all out was CRAZY. Not as bad as I had thought it was going to be, but trying to get our group out in one piece was, well, like herding a flock of ducks. ADHD ducks, who have had WAYYY to much sugar! We managed to get them all out, with Mrs. Gordon at the rear. We had a special award for her, as this was her last year to go on the trip. She has been going for 21 years I believe, quite the accomplishment! Congrats, and you will be missed!

After watching the fireworks from the parking lot, it was time to load up and head out. 900 miles, 18 hours, 3 cramped buses. Yay. Students didn't seem to mind- they slept,

and slept,

and slept through breakfast,

and slept some more!

We did watch a couple of shows along the way. We managed to borrow a copy of Twilight for the boys to watch, but they figured it out pretty quick and made such a ruckus we had to switch it, even after we told them it was because Connor lost a bet with Mrs. Lee on the baseball game.

But we *finally* made it.

I guess their parents missed 'em, cause almost all of them were there waiting for us. Only took about 1/2 an hour to get everything unloaded from the buses and to say good bye to all of the "ducks".

Sure got quite in a hurry! Kind of a weird moment. Relief that it's finally over and done with, sad to say good bye, and absolutely ecstatic to be headed home for a hot shower, some more good company, and to catch up on some zzz's in my very own bed.

MANY THANKS to everyone that helped get this shindig organized, but especially to Mr. Southern for his hours of hard work to pull it all together. Thanks for letting me tag along, hope to do it again sometime!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cali Trip Day #5: Running stairs, the Jumbotron, AND! We break the last bus.

What would a middle school trip be without a good PRANK!?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The story goes that several years ago on one of these trip, a very LARGE bra was found under the bed in one of the rooms during room inspections. It was obvious that it had been there a while but the counselors decided to have some fun with it. The tradition continues. One of the boys had a birthday, so his parents specially requested this for him. All of the students were already loaded up when Mr. Southern called out their room, had them line up and started to read them the riot act. They were obviously confused but pretty scared right up until he pulled out the bra. You should have heard the noise on the bus!

Once everyone figured it out we got loaded back up and hit the road for:

Universal Studios! Got a few pics on the red carpet and we were on our way.

The back stage tour was great- saw all kinds of cool sets, went through the King Kong 3D 360 which was incredible- and saw the courthouse from Back to the Future. There were a couple of shows in production and shooting at the time too... Only one I remember was the Mindy Project. We *did* get to go through a set that was used in an episode of Bones, which I thought was pretty cool.

Backstage bus tour all done, it was a race to Transformers 3D. We know how to pack 'em in.

I should mention that I managed to run ALL FOUR flights of stairs back to the top for lunch... Not that I felt like eating after doing it. Wow. Talk about elevation gain!

The kids then had the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted, and we quickly ditched them so we could try all the fun stuff.

Thats us in the back 2 rows...

And we even managed to take in a show or 2. Water World was AWESOME. Still can't believe how they launched the airplane over the wall into the pool...

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Frankie was NOT impressed with my hat. Wish I had a set of his 6" platform shoes!

Well that was fun! Off to see the DODGERS! We had quite a hike from the parking lot, down, around and in to our section. We even got the all you can eat option. Who doesn't love free hot dogs and nacho's?!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The opening stuff was pretty neat- we even got to see Melissa Rauch throw out an opening pitch! For those of you who DON'T know who she is, she plays Bernadette on the Big Bang Theory- one of our all time favorite shows.


Our group was on the jumbotron at least NINE TIMES that night! Wish I could find a copy of the game somewhere... I was the second person on- apparently the camera guys could see my propeller hat from wherever they were cause that's all it showed at first!

Root, root, root for the home team!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We managed to wear several of 'em out...

In the end we left before the game got over. It went several extra innings before the Diamond Backs finally beat the Dodgers.

You'd think that's the end, right? You're wrong. We got all the way back to the buses, loaded up, and got on the freeway. The truck bus, which up until this point had been running fine minus a toasted electric fan, seized the A/C compressor and chucked the belt. We caught up to them, loaded half of their students on each of our buses, and trundled back to the hotel. Didn't get everyone back in their rooms and settled until midnight. Came up with a game plan for the next day minus one bus and hit the sack!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cali Trip Day #4: In, On, and Around the Ocean!

Well, SOME of us played IN the ocean anyways...

This was my favorite day of the entire trip. We woke up, had another continental breakfast, loaded the buses, and headed to the "beach".

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We spent the morning hiking along the shore at Dana Point. At first we thought we wouldn't see much because the tide was on its way in, but boy did we see all kinds of things!

Sea Anemone's,


Keyhole Limpits,

Sea Hares,

and Starfish!

Here is where the IN the ocean comes in to play. Tide came in, and lots of people were out on a bit of a rock. Some found a safe way,

while others went swimming. A few scrapes, bumps, and soaked cell phones but for the most part we made it back in one piece.

We got to play around the harbor while we ate a quick lunch- some cool tall ships sitting there.

After lunch we walked over to the Ocean Institute and got to take turns going out on the ocean and going through different modules on shore. I got to go on the boat first!

Right off the bat we saw sea lions at the edge of the harbor.

The water was a bit choppy at first and the boat was throwing a pretty good spray up every time it crashed down into a wave. Me and one of the other counselors went up on top to the lee side of the tower thinking we would be safe... Not so. We hit a rouge wave or something because all of the sudden we were DRENCHED. Like, someone just poured a 5 gallon bucket of sea water over my head drenched. You should have heard the kids scream at that one!

Just a little spray:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

After a bit of a cruise we found some bottle nose dolphins!

Funny story (not really), we managed to break the boat. After following the dolphins for a while, they decided to try and do a sample of some kind for the kids to see. They dropped the thingy (real technical, eh?) over and it promptly got snagged on something, then the boat shifted and in the process the cable went over one of the crew's heads and jerked tight across the back of his neck. I guess it pinned him down and they had to pull the cable up and slide him out. He ended up being okay, but the cable then got tangled in one of the propellers and snapped off. I think we went all the way back to the harbor on just one screw. When we got back the captain dove in and checked it out, I guess it was okay because the next group got to go out!

Trying to dry everyones jackets out back at the institute after getting drenched on the boat.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The modules at the institute were pretty interesting. Students got to look at different types of sea animals, dissect a fish (as soon as I get a copy of Mr. Tayson Neff dissecting his fish, it will be right HERE!!!), measure water, and a few other things. Tayson about lost his lunch, but he tried so hard to be macho for the ladies in his group.

One group was working on testing the salinity of water... We'll leave names out to protect the innocent. Here's the story as I heard it. They had a water sample and were supposed to ad some other stuff to it until it changed colors. They kept adding, and adding, and adding, but nothing would happened. Their instructor had them get another sample of water and try it again. Still nothing. She finally came over and added the other stuff for them, and viola! It worked! The 3 students were sitting there with a disgusted look on their faces, having given up. One of our chaperones tried to get them going again but they were done. When asked why, the student said, "You know why it didn't work, right? BECAUSE WE WERE JUST ADDING MORE WATER.". They hadn't been adding the other chemical!

Much funnier to hear Ms. Pattee tell it.

Anways, after all of the fun and games at the beach we headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and walk down the street to Mid Evil Times!

This. Was. AWESOME. You have no idea how much fun this can be until you go with a huge group of psychotic middle school students. I screamed myself hoarse cheering for our night!

You can just barely see our poor night in the middle, being mobbed by the students.

The dangerous part- souvenirs here were of the pointy variety.

And of course, almost EVERYONE bought one. It did, however, make for one of THE BEST ALL TIME videos I have ever seen.

Yes, that was all 110 students CHARGING across the road. What the video missed was the "RED! RED! RED! RED!" chanting for a solid 1/2 hour as we exited and made our way out to the road.

The best part? About half of them could hardly speak the next day. :)