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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stranded

This is my rental car. It won't let me in no  matter how many times I press the unlock button. I'm getting a nice tan while I wait for the service truck. It always happens to me!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Amazing But True

My friends Kiran and Srikar called and asked if I wanted to go for a hike with them. As the alternative was mowing the lawn it wasn't a tough decision. We decided to try out the Deseret Peak Trail about 45 minutes west of my house.


The road was paved until it wasn't but they assured me that it was like many roads in India and was no problem. The top down on Kiran's Mustang made for an excellent view of the fall foliage.


The trip up through the canyon was tight with Flash Flood warnings in places but it wasn't a concern for us in the warm, dry weather.


The trail is a steady climb with an elevation change of ~2500'. We got a late start and decided that we would go as far as we could and then return before it got dark.


Autumn in the mountains is endlessly beautiful.


Everywhere we turned there was another sight to bring a smile to our faces.


My camera is a poor recorder of the magnificent palette nature had on offer.


A frozen waterfall of snow was a reminder of the cool temperatures at night. The sun had dropped behind the ridge so this is where we decided to head back to the car.

What was the "Amazing But True" part of this adventure? Simply the lack of drama. No injuries on the trail. No Search & Rescue team looking for us in the dark. Not even a Band-Aid required. Just a relaxed walk in the woods with friends. So much nicer!


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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Idle Time Around The House

"Idle hands are the devil's tools" so goes the old tale.

Before
This seems to be the case. I woke up on Saturday morning and decided that, 
"Today's the day!"

After
This is what it looked like when I got done. It was really a lot of fun, all the hacking and hewing.


This was my implement of mass destruction. Who said home remodeling is hard? The most fun was when I cut through the 110 volt line to the basement lights. Plenty of sparks but luckily the saw has a plastic case to protect me from a YouTube moment.


Other people collect art, but few are this much fun.


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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Aeromachi

The original Google+ post is here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JBraunXRV750/posts/82FHZvfnJSY

To say that I stink at social media is like saying that the Empire's Death Star was big. I thought I posted the Day At The Track photos here but they ended up at Google+ instead. Hmmm ...

David posted a reply which went into my spam folder for me to find weeks later. Double Hmmm...

To answer David's question, the bike (#177) is an Aermacchi 350cc single cylinder made in Italy. It is ridden by Walt Fulton, a past national champion many times over, and the current national points leader in his class.


Why the H-D logo and the Halloween colors? In the '60s the Japanese motorcycle makers were dominating US sales and killing off all of the other heritage brands. The Honda CB350 was the little bike that anyone could afford and was out-selling everything in sight. They were light, quick, reliable, and affordable. 


Triumph brought in their TR25W 250 single to have an entry into this market and Harley bought Aermacchi for an instant product line. Neither were especially successful. The Triumph suffered from being British and all of the corporate problems the parent company was having.

The H-D/Aermacchi stumbled because it was the odd duck in the dealer's shop. They just didn't know what to do with it or how to sell it. It was a single to the Honda twin cylinder although it had split dual pipes to disguise the fact. It had kick start to Honda's electric button. Worst of all, it suffered from Harley's reputation for lack of reliability which it added to with its own very dicey electrical components.



Fast forward a few decades and it has become the darling of the vintage race crowd. It takes a few thousand modifications but it's light, fast, and has great handling. You just have to remember to fill the crankcase with olive oil instead of 20-50!

You can find out more about Aermacchi here.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Not 22 Any More - Part II

Note: Am I the only person in the Universe who loathes the current practise of starting every sentence with "So, ..." ??  Why not add totally and really sound like a brain damaged valley girl !!




Last week I went hiking with my friend Parveen. We met early and went up into the mountains behind Mt Timpanogos. We drove up past Robert Redford's Sundance Resort and were planning an easy hike on a beautiful day.



This is a well worn trail with plenty of exposed roots and broken rocks. Half way up the trail I tripped over a root and fell on the rocks. Ouch! This one really hurt and it took me a few minutes to get myself together and continue hiking. 


Parveen in front of Stewart Falls
We made it to the falls without further incident and it was really beautiful. Well worth the trip, pun intended. 



As you can see from the picture there is a lower, middle, and upper falls. Being Manly Men we immediately decided to go up to the top of lower falls. While Parveen walked up the trail I started climbing the rocks along side the falls to get to the top.

We met at the top and admired the view.



It was still early so we decided to go to the top of the middle falls. 



Again, Parveen took the trail and I climbed up the rocks. Only one problem, the two didn't connect this time and Parveen and I were separated by about 50 meters.



I was working my way laterally trying to find a way to cross over but each attempt to find a path ended in a magnificent view but no hand or foot holds. I finally found one that looked promising but by now I was tired and sore from my earlier fall. I wasn't desperate but I was admitting to myself that I might have over done it a bit.


Those are full sized people way down there.
I had about 85% confidence that I could make the traverse but, as you can see in the picture above, the other 15% would be fatal. If I slipped or a rock hold broke loose there would be no stopping until I hit the ground below. Splat!! So I sat down on the thin ledge I was on and considered my options. 

Recently I had come upon the book 75 Search and Rescue Stories. Reading it is sobering. Not all of the S&R stories have a happy ending.

One thing the author mentions again and again is:
"When you find yourself in a jam, Stop! Wait for help! You'll only make it worse if you continue."
Tired and injured from the fall on the trail I decided to listen to those words instead of being brave. I made the 911 call and got transferred to Search and Rescue who told me that they would be out in about an hour.



I passed the hour observing nature in the large. I had closed my eyes to rest a bit when I heard this strange whirring noise. I opened my eyes to see a humming bird only 3" from my face. It just hovered there looking me over and, I'm sure, thinking what a dumb nut I was to be in a place where only it should be.

Right on schedule I got a call back asking me to show myself so the team could come get me. Waving my hat while holding onto the rocks so I wouldn't lose my balance they told me they spotted me and would there in a minute. Suddenly there was a guy who appeared out of nowhere and another behind me who had come up a different route. After checking that I was alright they had me put on a helmet and harness to that they could rope me in between them. While talking I mentioned that I read a book that some guy had written about S&R in Utah that had emphasized the rule to Stop and Wait before something disastrous happened. "Oh, That's my book. I'm really glad that somebody read it and paid attention." He laughed when I told him I was sorry that I didn't have it with me so he could sign it.


Shaun Roundy and another guy who's name I can't remember
Then we went across the rock face that I had earlier stopped at. It's much easier when you're tied to two other guys who know what they are doing. Fifteen minutes later we were across and on solid ground. Parveen was there waiting patiently as only a good friend will.


You might think that was the end of the story but there was more to come. We followed the S&R guys out on a different trail than the one we took in to the falls. This one went down to the resort and when we got to the road we had no idea where we were. We saw some BYU students and asked them for directions but they had no idea what we were trying to tell them so we just started walking.

A few minutes later they pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride. Sure! We hopped in the back of their pickup truck and rode to an intersection in the road. While we were trying to decide what to do a resort person pulled up and asked if we needed help. Once they deciphered our muddled description of where we needed to go they said it was only a couple of miles up the road. The kids said to hang tight and they would take us up to our car. Good thing because the "couple of miles" turned out to be more like five or six.

They dropped us off and we thanked them all profusely. I told them that BYU was where "The men are all strong and the women are all devastatingly beautiful!" They laughed at that and waved goodbye to us.


The moral of this story is that we all need a little help from our friends and, very often, from complete strangers. What makes life so amazing is that those strangers are so abundant and so generous.



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Sunday, September 18, 2016

At home in Utah

Several people have sent questions about whether the Beast made it to Utah with it's manifest of motorcycles and other stuff.


As you can see, it is at home in Tooele.


And the motorcycles are safely stored in the garage.

The trip was pretty uneventful except for the run from Grand Junction, CO to Helper, UT. I was getting pretty burnt out and wanted to push through after a short nap in Grand Junction. I queued up an audio book on my tablet and started listening as I got on I-70. 

I admit that I still call them Books-on-Tape from days past when they were a collection of cassette tapes for your dashboard player. They are a great way to pass the time on the highway when you are trying to get from Point A to Point B as painlessly as possible. 

I was listening to "Fly By Wire" as I rolled onto I-70 and vaguely remember turning north on US 6 at Green River. After that, nothing until I passed Helper and started up the climb to Soldier Pass. Jeez Louise, did I sleep through the whole thing?!?! I was up to Chapter 14 and had no recollection of the road or the story. Creepy!

The climb up the mountain is steep, tight and curvy, mostly two lanes with occasional passing lanes to let faster (and braver) drivers get by. I was certainly focused now as it was dark and Utah does not waste a lot of money on guard rails. They have this quaint philosophy that each person should take responsibility for their own life and suffer the consequences of their own stupidity. Darwin would be proud.

With a truck full of motorycycles and the trailer behind me I took my time and happily pulled over for people to pass me. I was tired but the road and the load had me attentive and alert. Once over the top the northern decent is a wider and gentler grade, much easer to navigate.

Back to level ground in Spanish Fork I was on familiar ground. US 6 links to I-15 and from there it's just a straight shot up to I-80 west. Then the last 25 miles were the same as I take to work and back every day. I got home at 3am and admit that I just pulled up, turned off the ignition, and went inside to go to bed. I think I woke sometime around noon.

Another successful road trip but I think I might break for a motel along the way next time. Every once in a while I'm reminded that I'm not 22 any more.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Rain

55 miles of liquid sunshine.

The Way West

Morning sunrise in my rearview mirror. Evening sunset coming through the windshield. And the road rolls on between them.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Westward Ho(pefully)

The Beast starts off with a slight delay for a trailer wiring harness upgrade. Noon departure turned into 2:20 but I've done gat worse in the past. At least it's the same day!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Wrong Way Round - Round 3

Two trucks today - almost ...

I am working remotely from CT which puts me 2 hours ahead of my teammates in Salt Lake City. Even though I start at 7am here in CT I get caught up in their time frame and end up working later than I should.

That was today's problem. I promised to fix a defect for our upcoming release and the next thing I know it's 2pm which is too late to go look at trucks. 

I've found two more trucks, the Beauty and The Beast.


Beauty
Beauty:
A step up from the ones I had been looking at in trim level. Low mileage, clean truck, and a reasonable price. Lots of bells and whistles that the other plain jane trucks didn't have. Especially my favorite, cruise control. 

Not just one salesman but two responded to my inquiry. What a refreshing change. More unbelievable is that the stories I got from each of them matched. Either they read from the same fact sheet or the truck is actually what they say it is.


The Beast
The Beast:
Holy cow! Silverado 2500 with an 8' bed AND a dual cab. I may have to register this with the Coast Guard instead of the DMV. It's also a 1 ton chassis with a V-8 engine. I could tow a freight train with this thing. And to make it even more impressive it's a 4x4!! 

Of course it won't sip gas like a Prius but I'll bet I could fit one of the cute little things into the back for a spare.

The Problem: 
Beauty is about 2 hours north, just outside Boston. The Beast is down south on Long Island and about 2½ hours away. Exactly in the opposite directions from each other.

My plan is to leave tomorrow exactly at noon and grab the ferry from Bridgeport to Long Island. After a 30 minute ocean cruise the dealer for The Beast is about 20 minutes away. If everything looks good I'll get back on the ferry and drive it home. 

If not there will be time to scoot up to Boston and check out Beauty. A lot of driving but I intend to own a truck tomorrow. Come hell or high tide.


If the good lord is willing and the creek don't rise ...




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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Way Round In Circles

The old truck is dead. Terry, at Terry's Transmissions, called and told me the bad news. It runs fine but only in 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears. First, second, and overdrive are past tense. If I was handy and had time I could find another transmission and swap it but I don't so the truck is up for sale. Cheap, Very Cheap!

The hunt for another truck has begun but the results, so far, have been ludicrous to bizarre.




This looked like a nice truck but when I went to take it for a test drive the Check Engine light came on in 2 miles. When I got back the Sales Manager assured me (with a straight face) that it was only the oxygen sensor and he already had the part. 

"OK", I said, "I'll come back tomorrow when you get it fixed.

He replied, "I'm very busy, you'll have to leave a deposit if you want me to fix it."

What an incredibly novel sales technique! Show the customer a defective product and then charge them to fix it so they can buy it.



This was the next one I looked at. A 2006 Chevy Silverado. I talked to the salesperson on the phone and he seemed far more genuine that the last guy. He told me that it had new tires and brakes, and that there was room to negotiate on the price.

So off to Rhode Island I go. The truck looks nice but the "new tires" are only on the front. The back ones would have to be replaced immediately. When I made an offer the sales guy said that he had to talk to his father who owned the business. What? You're over 25 years old and Daddy Dearest doesn't trust you to make a deal. No surprise since he wasn't backing his son and wouldn't budge on the price.

Just to put the frosting on the cake, the tailgate wouldn't open. Hello, it's a pickup truck that gets loaded with stuff. Do you expect me to lift my motorcycle over the back when I want to take it somewhere?!?!



I thought maybe a Suburban might be nice so I called up about this one. Maybe it was but the salesman informed me, "That was sold a few days ago." and hung up on me.
Apparently the ability to update their website was right up there with their customer courtesy skills.



This Tahoe was on CraigsList. Since a Tahoe is just a short Suburban I called about it. Sounded like it was worth a look and then a little voice kicked in. "Do you have a clear title on this vehicle" I texted. He texted back that it was lost but assured me that Rhode Island didn't issue titles for 2000 and older. 

A little research confirmed the no-new-title issue but since he claimed to have owned the car since new he would have had gotten one when he bought it. I told him to call me when he found it or could get proof of ownership papers from RI DMV. I'm still waiting ...



I'll end this exciting series with a beauty from eBay. It's rough but sounded reliable. Banged up door, Plexiglas for one of the windows, and no A/C made me think that it would go for a reasonable price.

I put in a bid and waited for the auction to end. I even upped my bid when somebody else outbid me. However, it seems that the owner holds his truck in much higher regard than any of the bidders did. I was high bidder but it never reached the reserve.

And so it goes. I have a rather impressive stack of Benjis sitting in front of me but can't seem to give them away. All I want for them is a fairly priced tow vehicle that will get me to Utah with a trailer attached.

Apparently, that's too much to ask. However, tomorrow is another day and I've started a new list !!




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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Way West


Loading up and getting ready to take more motorcycles to Utah.



Done it dozens of times. Head down to I-80 or I-78 and turn right. Easy-Peasy.

Or not ...

First the overdrive disengaged. Then the transmission temperature light came on. When I stopped for gas at the NJ/PA border I decided that although it seemed to be running well I should stifle my usual keep going regardless attitude and head home. I had 1 Ducati SS, 2 race bikes, and a 1965 Honda Scrambler. All bikes that I would not like to disappear should I be stranded on the side of the road somewhere. 

Limping home on I-287 and I-95 looped me around the CT hills and along the flatter shoreline. I didn't want the transmission to work any harder than it needed to so I kept a steady 55-60 mph and let all the Saturday night party crew pass me by. Not that they hadn't years ago. 



Home without further excitement. 8½ hours and 387 miles round trip.

I'm guessing that the transmission cooler wasn't doing it's job which means a new radiator. While it's in the shop I'll have them check it over for anything else they see. Rick at Tarca's Auto Repair has always taken very good care of my cars and trucks. Hopefully he'll find time to fit me in so I can get back on the road quickly.

An interesting note is that I appear to have a 5.9l engine rather than the 5.2l that it was described as when I bought it. A few extra ponies never hurts I suppose. The last truck I bought had a V-6 instead of the V-8 I was told. I guess I need to pay more attention to these things next time.


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Monday, August 1, 2016

1970 Triumph TR25W For Sale - Sold!



This bike has been sold. Thanks for looking.

I'm selling my 1970 Triumph TR250W. This would make an excellent ride for the Moto Giro or TT (Tiddler Tour) rides. It starts right up and has no issues. It recently went for a 50 mile ride with no hiccups or problems.



I would describe this bike as great at 15' and still pretty darn good at 5'. Closer than that and you'll see a couple of chips and scratches. A bike you can ride with pride and confidence without the worries of a garage queen.



This is classic Brit Iron through and through without a lot of fiddling necessary. Yes it does weep a drop or two of the 20-50. Probably tears from missing Maggie Thatcher.



New Dunlop K-70s and lots of other new parts to make it run right. As a testament to its Limey heritage two boxes full of spare parts are included. Never know when you might need a spare Zener diode or shift shaft and lever. Aye?



Also a skid plate if you fancy a bit of off-road trailing.



The bike is located in Hebron CT and can be seen at any time. Send a note to braunj@cb77.org or text 781-424-1159 if you want to see it. Delivery for $1/mile one-way anywhere on the North or South American continent. Mileage unknown and sale by CT bill of sale.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Warning - The Green Taliban thinks they have the right to kill or injure you !!



I have heard of a few cases like this (wire strung across singletrack) locally. 
Be careful out there!!!

Article below:
American Motorcyclist Association warns riders of booby traps on public trails

PICKERINGTON, OH – July 12, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Motorcyclists and 
all-terrain-vehicle riders in three states have discovered booby traps along trails 
on public lands that place riders, hikers and others at risk, the American Motorcyclist 
Association reported today.

In Idaho, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, someone or some group is deliberately trying 
to harm off-highway-vehicle riders who use trails on public lands. Booby traps also have 
been reported in recent years along trails in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Booby Trap that was found in 2014
Photo courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department

“This type of activity is extremely dangerous,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. 
“A motorcyclist who hits one of these traps can be seriously injured or even killed. 
We want anyone with information about these tactics to contact law enforcement immediately.”

Already this year:

Off-highway riders in Massachusetts found cables strung across trails in four state parks, 
according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the state Department of Conservation 
and Recreation. Authorities are asking anyone who notices suspicious activity to call the 
24-hour Environmental Police line at (800) 632-8075 or the DCR Park Watch Hotline at 
(866) 759-2824. 

The New England Trail Riders Association is offering a $500 reward for information leading 
to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
Members of the Mount Moosilauke ATV Club Riders near Warren, N.H., discovered boards with 
nails in several places along the multi-use trail system. Before anyone was injured, club 
members removed the boards, along with scattered nails and broken glass. The ATV club is 
offering a $1,350 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the 
perpetrators.
In Custer County, Idaho, riders found a piece of barbed wire strung across a trail about 
4 feet from the ground, endangering off-highway-vehicle riders and mountain bikers, 
according to Sharetrails.org.
“The AMA is issuing AMA Action Alerts to riders in areas where these incidents have 
occurred,” Dingman said. “But, at the same time, riders everywhere should use due caution 
on the trails, because we know there are people out there who would do us harm.”

In addition to contacting local law enforcement authorities, the AMA asks that you send an email to grassroots@ama-cycle.org about these incidents, so other motorcyclists can be alerted. Sign up for AMA Action Alerts at www.americanmotorcyclist.com > Rights > AMA Action Center.

About the American Motorcyclist Association


What makes these people think that they have the right to do these things? Do they hear little voices in their head or think that "Mother Earth" speaks directly to them? Are they so self-consumed and self-rightous that they think any means justify their twisted ends?

Here is a link to a manual for trailside attack devices with a cover story that the poster is only doing it for instructional purposes. 
http://www.skeptictank.org/ecowar/mbike.htm#section8

Remember, this is all about legal recreation in approved areas. This indescriminantly targets kids, bicyclists, horses, everyone. They are the criminals, NOT US !!



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