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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I ain't dead yet...

"Just, very, horribly burned..."

No, not burned, but between the bolt of lightning and the sheet of plywood flying down the freeway in front of me I'm beggining to wonder if my days aren't numbered...

So here's the skinny.  Schools out.  I survived the 8th grade Cali trip, barely.  The house is sort of caught back up.  I've taken a "part time" job subcontracting small engine repair for ACE Hardware in addition to all of the other small engine repair jobs I've been putting off until school got out.  We are pushing our house hard- our "new" house is now vacant and we are taking care of the yard etc until we can get our house sold.  Can't wait to get over there!  Lots been going on, lots of things I plan on posting so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, here's whats going down in the dorkpunch garage:

And that's just the little stuff!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lightning Rod Hat.

So I have this hat...

So yeah. Day one of a 6 day, 5 night, 2,000+ mile drive with 100 eighth grade students. One of the stops along the way is Bryce Canyon. Cool place, lots of fun stuff to see, plus after a bit of a hike the kids are tired enough to sleep all night on the bus.

Small problem- its raining. On the way up its full on downpour complete with enough hail to cover the ground / road to look like snow, and cause a truck to slide off the road and roll.

We weren't sure what to do. By the time we got to the parking area the rain had pretty much quit, and the storm had moved a ways away. We got the kids off the bus and headed towards the bathroom. The tour director and I headed over to the trailhead to check out the situation. 

We got up to the rim trail and walked along the edge a bit. It was obvious that the trail was waaayyyy too muddy- people coming out were drenched and had 50 lbs of gooey muck stuck to each foot. We wandered over to Sunset Point, which you can see at the bottom right of this map.


If you zoom in on it you can sorta tell what its like- it juts out over the edge of the hoodoos and gives a great view of the Wall Street trail. We're just standing there, minding our own business... I happened to be standing in a small puddle.

Just above the brim of my hat I see the bolt fall and curve towards me, and at the same time hear the air SIZZLE like when you drip some water in a pan of hot oil and ZAP. Little tingly feeling on the top of my head.

I don't know if I ducked, or if I convulsed, or what, but as I did I hollered and my hat somehow ended up several feet off to my side, next to the other counselor. I was still ducked, and we looked back and forth from the hat to each other about 4 times and we asked each other "Did that really just happen?! " before the thunder finally hit and jarred us into action. We took off running and all of the nice tourists standing around with shocked looks on their faces kinda slowly turned around and started scooting out of there.

Surreal experience. Very lucky it was a baby lightning bolt- it felt like someone had stuck one of those therapy electric shocker thingys on my head.

No marks on that hat, no known side effects / superpowers, other than being called "Sparky" for the next 5 days.

Apparently, lightning strikes up there are not too uncommon as illustrated by this awesome sign...

If only that sign had been down by the main parking area...  They even have a Don't Get Zapped section on their website where you can take a quiz and print out a certificate so's you know you won't get struck by lighting.  On my list of things to do now!

Ready for the irony?  Not 5 minutes before this happened, we were on the bus and the students were joking with my about my Lightning Rod Hat, saying how they wanted to be struck by lightning.  Guess we forgot to knock on wood!

The rest of the trip went smooth- Dodgers won their game, we saw 2 Blue Whales out on the ocean, found lots of interesting sea life in the tide pools including star fish and sea hares, road every ride possible at Sea World, Universal Studios, and California Adventure, and even managed to make it all the way back to lonely old Idaho without losing a single student.

Monday, June 01, 2015

More Old School Greene.

Time for some more greene. We've been having a LOT of rain lately- nothing like Texas at the moment but for Idaho, LOTS. After 2 weeks of wet I finally had the chance to cut grass. My grass clipping pile is over flowing, so I decided to go old school- dug out the '65 110. Love this thing! It always fires right up and cuts pretty darn good.

Had to drive it a few hundred yards from the "shop" to my yard, and on the way I stopped to check on a neighbor who's been in the hospital and has grass over a foot tall. Doesn't sound like he's going to be able to do much for a while, so I put all 8 ponies to work knocking down his rather large lawn. Any excuse for more seat time, right!?

Finally made it to my yard and man- for 50 years old this thing does a GREAT job. There's just something about sitting on that steel seat, having to pull levers and push buttons and clang gears. Slow, but fun. SMoooootthhhh cut too.

Old mower has come a long ways- used to not be able to mow more than 15 minutes without having to stop and drain the rust from the sediment bowl or for something else breaking down. I used it for well over 2 hours and it didn't miss a beat. 
So after all that mowing, I figured I should give the old thing some attention. Pulled the deck off and commenced cleaning.

Lots of yuck, top and bottom.

Discovered the tensioner pulley pivot was siezed. Managed to break it loose and also managed to break the spring that pulls the belt tight... . Not a reall big deal because I've got a spare.

Pressure washed the deck off.

Decided to try something out. Probably should have spent some time knocking the rust off but I want to see how well this Rustoleum holds up to the abuse and over the rust.

Blades sharpened and back on. I know, I didn't do it right... Running out of time at this point.

Got the deck all buttoned back up and ready to mount but had to leave so I thought I was done for the night. Ended up getting back early enough to finish a few things up!

No pic, but I finally got the governor and throttle cable adjusted right so it will actually idle now instead of run at a constant 3,200 rpm's.

Also got this rat-nest figured out. No idea what they were thinking but it was wired in the weirdest way possible- the charging circuit was hooked in to the coil so it was powered even when the key was off, the starter was hooked up to something else, just everything was backwards.

ShaZAM!!! All buttoned up.

So now it will start, and more importantly STOP, with the key switch and I don't have to unplug the coil every time I'm done mowing. The throttle works, so's I can idle it down or rev it up. Blades are sharp, tensioners working so's the blades don't slow down when it runs into thicker grass.

Few things still to do though: Need to address the leaky carb and adjust the stiff clutch pedal.