Friday, March 29, 2013

The First Ride of the 2013 Season!

The riding gods were smiling today! said it was 41º, the outdoor thermometer at our house said 56º. The driveway was almost ice/snow free, but very, very soft. I knew I had to do it!! So I rolled the Wr250X out of the garage, fired it up and let it warm up a bit while I checked the tires and put on my gear. I headed for town to fill the tank with a bit of fresh gas. If it was under 50º, I didn't notice, it felt much warmer.

I circled Lake Namekagon and stopped along the way for a few pictures.

The Great Divide...

The ice is still thick. A couple of people were out fishing...

Lane markers and traffic signs on the ice?

The Maple sap is flowing and being collected...

The public access looks more like a freeway entrance ramp...

It was nice to finally get out and ride. Fresh air and sunshine!! I needed this, winter has been here for too long!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

I don't want to jump the gun and speak too soon, but today the weather is nicer than it's been in a long time. The forecast high for Friday is near 50ºF(10ºC). Yesterday, the township had a large front end loader out and they scraped the accumulated ice and snow off the side roads. All that prevents me from getting a bike out is the icy wet driveway!

A few more days of strong sunshine or a day of rain and my driveway will be clear. It might take a little longer for it to dry out and firm up. Maybe I'll try and get the Wr250X out for a ride Friday.

There was a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in the back yard today. I don't know how to determine their sex, but I'm guessing there was some flirting going on. They were hopping from tree to tree, one chasing the other.

Last week, Nancy and I were down in the "cities". We stopped by to see my riding buddy John, and his wife, Wendie. John and I had been talking on the phone about pulling the engine off the tractor. I had been telling him about needing some way to support the tractor after I removed the front axle. Whatever I used would also have to support the transmission after the engine was removed. On both sides of the tractor, at the end of what Allis-Chalmers calls the "torque tube", or clutch housing, are 2 threaded 5/8" holes. I had given John the dimensions over the phone and we had talked about a reinforcing plate and lengths of 2x4's. John, the craftsman that he is, came up with a perfectly fitting aluminum plate, and a bag of hardware.

The plate...

Plate placed over the threaded rod studs on the left side... The plate will be attached to a correct length of 2x4, then tightened down to the studs.

The engine separates from the clutch housing, AKA "torque tube" right in front of the plate. I'll take plenty of pictures when I get things set up to pull the engine. It will be clearer then.

In the mean time, I wait patiently for more warm weather!!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Say Hello to Big Brutus...

This winter weather is really getting to me. I'm starting to suffer from PMS (parked motorcycle syndrome).

Today, I was sitting in my office looking at the display boards I made. I used 26" x 19" poster frames and added different things to them so I can recall each years rides just by looking at them. 10 years on one board and the other is still being added to.

I was noticing one of the pins.

It's one I picked up at the Big Brutus Visitor Center in West Mineral, Kansas. In 2009, my ridding buddy, John, and I were on our way back from the Southern FJR Owners Rally in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I wanted to make a side trip to see Big Brutus. It took us a little out of our way, but not too far.
Big Brutus is a Bucyrus-Erie, 1850B, electric shovel. It weighs 11 million pounds, and was shipped to the area on 150 rail cars in 1962. It's not the largest electric shovel ever built, but it's the largest electric shovel still in existence. The unit is 160 tall, and the bucket holds 90 cubic yards. It was all electric powered and had what was basically a long 7,200 volt extension cord behind it. It was operated by the Pittsburgh & Midway Coal Mining Company until 1974. It's now a museum dedicated to the coal mining history of southeast Kansas.
For a small admission fee, you get a fact sheet, and get to walk through the insides of Big Brutus on a self guided tour.

It's hard to get a feel for just how big Big Brutus is, maybe this will help.. Look at the people coming down the stairs...

One more picture of the bucket. I didn't take this photo, I found it on Google Images. It's from a Kansas tourism web site, so I hope it's ok to use their photo...

Interesting info can be found HERE.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Finally, Something Motorcycle Related.

I follow many different motorcycle forums. Some are brand, or riding style specific, and some are activity based. On one of the forums, someone posted a link to's list of the "top 100 motorcycle roads in the USA". Here is the link. The person that made the post asked the question, "How many of the roads on the list have you ridden?"

I went through the list and think I'm up to 15.

Here are the one's I've done.

#6. San Juan Mountain Skyway. Only a portion, Cortez-Durango.
#8. Twisty Road Next 140 miles!! California Hwy 36. Red Bluff to the coast.
#9. Arkansas Pig Tail, Hwy 23. I may have done only parts of this one.
#12. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Hwy 12 in Utah.
#20. Coronado Trail. Hwy 191 (the old hwy 666) in Arizona.
#27. Central Hills Loop. Black Hills, South Dakota.
#28. Rattlesnake Pass to Wallowa Lake, Oregon to Washington, Hwy 3+126.
#32. The Incredible North Shore Tour....***Only by car*** so I won't count it.
#33. Mexican Hat to Bryce Canyon. Utah, only part of the route.
#45. The Lolo Pass. Hwy 12 across Idaho. Many times!!
#54. Big Horn Mountain loop. A route over the Big Horn Mts. on Hwy's 14 and 16. Most of it!
#55. Heber to Hannah & the Wolf Creek Pass Loop. Outside of Park City, UT. Most of it!
#58. Arkansas At Its Best - Highway 7. Parts north of I-40.
#66. The Devil's Tail. Devils Canyon area of Oregon.
#85. Hwy 16 from the Pig Trail to Scenic 7. Through Deer, Arkansas.
#90. Yuba River Ride. Part of it along CA-49

How many have you done??