Sunday, August 29, 2010

Drive Safely

2009 Honda Civic

1998 Camry

My Bikes

Kids, I'd Like You To Meet Alice.

After hearing an Alice Cooper song on the radio, the kids and I had a conversation about the similarities and differences with Lady GaGa. It's great to live in an age where videos appear by simply pushing a few buttons.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My 1st Car And My Latest Car.

My first car was a 1971 Plymouth Duster that I purchased for $200 from the next door neighbor in 1980. Other than being dark brown instead of orange mine looked just like this.
The car had a 140 horsepower, 225 cubic inch/3.7 liter engine which gave about 20 miles to a gallon and had a top speed of 100 mph. It had power nothing; extras included the AM radio. The windshield washer fluid was operated by a foot pump in the car.

My latest car is a$18,000, 2009 Honda Civic. The car's 1.8 liter/ 110 cubic inch engine also produces 140 horsepower giving 35 miles/gallon on my last tank. The top speed is 115 mph.

Comparatively cars of old sucked. Comfort, safety, mileage performance and reliability have improved so much. These cars were at a similar price point at the time they were new. $18,000 in 2009 is the equivalent $3,400 in 1971. The Duster new would have been about $2,700 in 1971 dollars or $14,300 in today's dollars.

I used this cool inflation calculator to figure out the inflation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Good Wipe-Out

A friend of mine crashed her mid 70's Fuji damaging this stately, orange fork. While it was too bent for riding, I imagined another use. I think I got the idea from Cars-R-Coffins.
A length of old seat-post shaft filled with a drilled-out dowel makes for a smooth stream of soft goodness.
Please note the quick release for rapid refills and the Holiday Inn fold on the tissues' loose end. Form, function style and comfort in one elegant machine. Wipe-out to wipe-out; bum fork to bum fork; Yin/Yang for your Yin/Yang.

I'll attach the fork to the chain rings with threaded headset spacers tightened against each other.

Prolly IS Not Probably posted this other fine piece of utilitarian shop art. Anyone have an old frame with comfortable saddle they want to donate?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


In the last month I've had 1,111 views of this blog, a new record. The average time on the site is 1:o5.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Potholes: Hiking At Taylors Falls/Interstate Park

Post-glacial Mississippi eddies carved these potholes in 1.1 billion year old basalt lava that flowed out of our own North American, great-rift valley.
We hiked, talked about geology, nature and bought supplies to make earrings from a shop in Taylors Falls.

Claire and Harris are holding hands in this picture.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Perfect Summer Day

A brilliant Minnesota day, family, friends, bike ride, picnic lunch, fossils, swim, Ft. Snelling and a Vikings' victory.

For the record, I wasn't referring to Mark when I said fossils.

Friday, August 13, 2010

" It's Still Good" Free Crap for a Recylce Center Dumpster Diver

As I was responsibly discarding a tubed behemoth of a TV along with a few other household toxins at the county recycling center, I noticed two bikes sitting along side the dumpster. The first, a 1997 Schwinn Moab needed only cleaning, adjustments and a chain. The other, a 1989 Specialized Sirrus needed tires, seatpost, seat and adjustments.

A $12 chain, two inner tubes and a bit of dabbling has the Moab posted on Craigslist.
I'm not sure what I'll do with the Sirrus. I'm thinking about keeping it for the kids. They maybe able to ride it next year.

Is this behavior early-onset OCD hoarding, or am I nobly adding a fourth "r" (repair) to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tour Report

My tour accomplished all of its goals. First, I got out and experienced the simplicity and challenges (more than usual) of a solo, almost cross-state bike trip.

Monday morning I planned to pack-up the last of my gear and be on the road by 8am. Unstressed, I left at 9am. I had no destination in mind when I left. A quick look at a map the night before suggested that I could leave my house cross the Mendota Bridge and head to the west bound lane of the Greenway via Fort Snelling and Minnehaha Park. I stayed on the Greenway until Highway 169 where I stopped at The Depot Coffee House for a Sandwich. I weaved my way through town across Highway 7 north bound on the Hopkins Crossroad. At Highway 55 I headed west.

The loaded Long Haul Trucker felt fast with a tail/cross wind. The challenge was the heat, over 100 heat index. I consciously decided that I would drink a water bottle every 10 miles to avoid getting behind on hydration; I drank two an hour instead.

I stopped for a quick, cold soak in the Dickinson Spring along side the road.
I decided to make an easy day of it and head to Lake Maria State Park to spend the night. I headed North from Buffalo into the park. Rolled up to the ranger station hoping to find the lake and shower, as I was quite hot again. Turns out there was no ranger, shower, or swimming beach on the lake. All sites were rustic backpack in sites. I set up camp in the steamy, buggy, windless forest.

A couple mile ride got me to the lake. While there was no beach I took a swim/bath off the boat ramp. I found potable water, filled up my water bottles, three on the bike and two others in panniers and headed to camp for a hot night.
I read my book and spend some time watching this little tree frog. Even soaked in sweat, I slept well.
Tuesday, I traveled north and west via Highway 24 across I94 at Clear Water to Highway 10 in Clear Lake. Road construction made the next 10 miles into St. Cloud tough. For a while I was being buzzed by traffic while riding on a 2' shoulder's warning strip ala Paris-Roubaix .

This is where I picked up the headwind as well. It felt good at first. The heat index was over 100 again, but I felt much cooler. The wind more than the heat wore on me. I decided to spend the night in Randall, MN. I spent the evening in a park. Just before dark, I ditched off into a patch of woods near the railroad tracks to poach a hobo style campsite for the night. The noisy trains passing added proper ambiance.
Day three the headwind continues. I worked for every mile. On one long downhill section I was working hard pedaling while moving 8mph. The wind was so string that I used my small front chain-ring. During gusts, I went 6mph while working hard. My panniers felt like sails.

I made a point of not getting frustrated and went as slow or as fast as the conditions dictated. Not trying to impose my will on the wind made a huge difference in my mental attitude. Music also was a great motivator during this time. After more than 10 hours of riding and 70 some miles traveled in the day, I pulled the plug in Perham. A call to Heidi, my Cousin's wife, whose lake cabin I was hoping to make it to, finished my trip the last 30 miles were done effortlessly in the BMW X6M.

At the risk of sounding too cute, my did not finish status did not feel like a failure because I did start, enjoyed tough conditions, and experienced the road for just over 215 miles.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm heading West. The Long Haul Trucker's ready to roll. I'll be riding to Fargo and/or Detroit Lakes. I'll try to send some picture messages from my phone. Bye.