Sunday, August 17, 2014

First Day of School Antics

 Tyson doesn't really look ready for school at 6:30am, but he was.  Carrying on with a long tradition of dogs checking out the first day of school photos, Rex assumes Rosco's old position in the little window in the background.
 Breaking with the doggy-in-the-window tradition, Rex came outside to sit with Eli while he closed his eyes for our photos.
We actually took Eli inside on his first day of school, which would have embarrassed Tyson to the point of death.  It was a good morning.

How a plane gets around when it's not flying

 Driving down the highway, Hanna and I came upon this.
 It was a small plane, sans wings, being transported on a trailer.  Of course, the wings were there, just unhinged from their normal spot.
It's amazing how much the small cockpit resembles that of a sports car.  Cool stuff.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

I think my Mother in Law has a Time Machine

When our water was off last night, the beautiful Mrs K brought home a water jug from her mom's house.  The moment I saw it, I was transported to 1964.  Not that I remember 1964, but that's when Coleman made this hefty jug.  And it's still perfectly functional.

I find that a lot when visiting the in-laws.  Like the board games and records from the 50's.  It's like they have a time machine sometimes.  It makes me wish that things were still made to last....and it makes me wish we could take care of things better, because lord knows we don't.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Roller Skating

2014 Cyclocross Season Approaches!

Picture is dark, so is the bike

After a couple of weeks riding the rockiest trails we have to offer, I switched gears yesterday and today to ride the trails with dirt.  In small part due to my spine, but mostly because cyclocross season is approaching, I thought it best.

Yesterday, I hit Creve Coeur and today I rode at Cliff Cave.  At Cliff Cave, I chose the new 'cross rocket ship.  18 pounds of aluminum 27.5 hard tail.  Yes, 27.5.  I have felt the last couple of years that the 29er I had been using was just too much bike in the twisty turns and transitions.  I didn't want to give up the 18-wheeler type roll that the 29er gave me, but I didn't want to drag that big rig through corners, nor did I want to accelerate that thing again.  27.5 is a compromise.  Overall tire diameter is the same as a 700x33 'cross wheel, so I'm still good there.

And fun?  Yes.  I have a rigid carbon fork again but 1x10 drivetrain, an upgrade from last year's set up.  I had so much fun this morning at Cliff Cave that I nearly decapitated myself when I neglected to duck a low-hanging limb.

Truly, I doubt I will place any better on this bike than the other.  But it will be a better tool for the job, I think.  The placing is more dependent on the motor anyway.

Car Watching - 427 Cobra ?

 It's impossible for me to tell if a "Cobra" is a real Cobra or a kit.  Regardless, this one was DEE Lux!  It said 427 on the fender and if I had the time, I would have walked around it and took some better photos.  As it was, I was taking these from inside my car.

Nearly flawless, which leads me to believe that it's a kit.  Whatever it is, it's still hot!  Vroom. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mountain Biking Woooooooo!

Dust sticking to my bike!

It's been a dusty week at the local trails.  I was lucky enough to ride off-road 4 times in the last 8 days: St. Joe mtb race, Blue Ribbon at Castlewood, Chubb Trail, and Matson Hill on Sunday.  All of these trails exhibit the raw, rough, technical traits that I have loved over the years.

I'm hurtin'.  My neck and back are toast.  The years have not been kind to my spine!  But I wouldn't trade the experience.  I need to work on some physical issues that will help, and I will probably change some fit aspects of the bike to make things more back-friendly.

....and I'm probably going mountain biking again tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Car Watching - 1969 Mercury Comet

 Rolling through Shrewsbury, this super clean Mercury caught my eye.  Normally, I call them all Montego's.  I always forget that the Comet and Montego were twins down to the trim levels, much like their cousins, the Fairlane and Torino.  My 1968 Torino had the same body lines, although I like the grill and tail better on the Mercury cars.
 This baby was in magnificent original condition.  Great paint, no wrinkles, no visible rust, no ugly aftermarket wheels, no big exhaust hanging out of the back.  The first photo shows a bit of very light gold pinstriping on the hood.
This view is the best.  While the entire car says "1969", this view exemplifies 60's American automobiles.   Who knows what is under the hood?  Being a '69, it could have been a 250 6-cylinder, a 302 V-8 (most likely), a 351w (maybe), or a 428 (probably not). 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Living some BMX memories with the young one

No, the Redline is mine.  But I let Eli sit on it for the photo.

Once a week, I try to ride my BMX bike up to the school close by to run the stairs.  It's a sure-fire way to get onto the little bike, and it's a great way to warm up for the stairs...and I can wear normal running shoes.  Tonight, I brought the little guy with me.  We have been riding around the neighborhood a bit lately, and tonight he rode his BMX bike, too.

After I ran stairs for a few minutes, we lined up in the empty parking lot to do some sprints from a dead stop.  Sound familiar to any of my ancient friends?  He kept asking me why I was so fast.  I asked him if he ever paid attention when I bragged about myself.  I think he finally grasped that I was not slow back in the dark ages.  Then I showed him how to do a proper start.  The old crew would have been proud of him.

A little earlier tonight, I put new bar tape on Tyson's road bike.  He is threatening to do the Tuesday night crit tomorrow night.

These things make me proud.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tomahawk sees more trail time

Three mountain bike rides in a week?  Preposterous!

Sunday I attended the mountain bike race at St. Joe state park.  Love the course.  It was rocky and fast at the same time.  I sucked, but the trail experience was top notch.  Thursday I did quite a few laps at Castlewood on the Blue Ribbon (officially Cedar Bluff?) trail.  That trail feels like such a throwback to me.  So 1990.  Speaking of  throwback, I rode the Chubb Trail today, and I started at Lone Elk.  I'd have to go back in the archives to find the last time I started there.  Still, 90% of the reason to do the Chubb trail lies on the West Tyson side.  Regardless, it was nice to get more seat time on the Foundry Tomahawk 27.5.

Maybe another mountain bike ride early Sunday morning?  Only if the rain holds off.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Car Watching - Lotus Elise

 The proportions of the Lotus Elise are almost comical.  It's so short and so low, one can wonder whether a full sized human can fit.
 But no one should wonder about the cool factor.  It's like an overgrown Hotwheels car.
So, so, so red.  I imagine that it would be like driving a really, really nice go-cart....with a real engine and brakes.

Car Watching - Ferrari Testarossa

I wish I could say that I got this photo of the legendary Ferrari Testarossa, but I can't.  My co-worker Jeff took it and sent it to me.  Proof, though, that Crocket and Tubbs are still alive and well...and maybe they hang out in Chesterfield.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Car Watching - Camaro ZL1 Convertible

Ah, the Camaro.  Much maligned, but redeemed in this latest version.  It packs 580 horsepower, only outgunned by the mighty Shelby Mustang.  But it's more than that.  It's a car that's built for the track.  This is not your uncle's old and moldy muscle car.  Power and great handling from a Camaro?  Yes.  The convertible body style might take away a bit of this car's edge, but it's still the greatest Camaro ever.  Sort of like the Optimus of Bumble Bees. 

This one had dealer plates.  Hopefully this one makes it into the hands of someone who appreciates it for it's greatness, and doesn't just plug in a horrible sounding exhaust and crappy 22-inch wheels.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dru Potts - A subtle reminder that exceptional people come in surprising packages

Someone said today that death is about the people that are left behind.  I guess I agree with that.  When someone dies, they are freed of the responsibilities and confinements that the world brings.  It is indeed the living that question, ponder, complain, remember, fret, and wonder.  Dru Potts died last night.  Rock on, Dru.

I'm getting ready to go run stairs right now.  Dru would find that mildly amusing.  By the time we were pretty good amateur BMX racers, Dru and I did a bit of riding and "training" together.  I called it training, Dru called it work.  I would train, train, train all week, every week and Dru would show up at a race and kick ass as naturally as humanly possible. 

We traveled a lot to races as we grew old enough to drive, and he was a great traveling companion.  That mf'er could drive like a machine.  When everyone else would be falling asleep at the wheel, Dru pressed on, bragging about the mpg's that his GTI was turning in.  We'd travel to tracks near and far, and more often than not, his grandpa would meet us and film the races for us to watch someday.  That was one dedicated grandpa.  His mom would show up from places afar as well, usually scolding him for something he did (or didn't) do.  I was always worried she would lose her cool and whack him right in front of us, but she kept her composure despite Dru's disinterest whatever it was she was pissed about.

Fast forward to college, and Dru and I would skip afternoon classes at UMSL and hit the mountain bike trails at Weldon Spring.  He as almost as good at mountain biking as he was at BMX racing.  If there were no uphills, he would have been world champion.  Again, a natural on anything with two wheels.

Whatever his troubles in life, he remained the same level headed, dead pan guy he has always been.  We hadn't talked in years, and I got a phone call from him and we picked right up talking about what kind of mountain bike he should buy.  He could tell a story like no one else, taking the long way around, making the story as interesting and shocking as he possibly could, yet it would still be true.

Then I found out he was hitting the BMX bike so that he could spank the young guys at the track again.  At the same time, he was riding his motorcycle and doing well in motocross races again.  He and his lifelong friend Kyle, riding motorcycles just like it was 1986 again.  I didn't get a chance to ride with him in recent years, but he'd stop by the store and catch me up on all of his happenings.  I'm glad for that.

So I'm going to go "training" tonight, and Dru can smirk all he wants.  Hey, some of us don't have the luxury of being so good on two wheels.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Full Moon - Couldn't resist

 Funky lights dancing about my full moon photo.
And then Eli wanted to get a photo with the full moon, too.  They never look as impressive in photos.  Or perhaps I'm must a crappy photographer.  Yeah, that's it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jefferson Barracks - And why can't I find that gravesite?

 I have ridden to Jefferson Barracks twenty times over the years to see my dad's grave site.  I ride at the park, which is adjacent to the cemetery, quite often.  But it seems that when I ride my bike to the cemetery I lose my way.  I don't think there has every been a time when I've actually found Dad's headstone while on my bike.  Call me crazy.
 So this morning, when I again could NOT find the stone, I rode home, showered, and DROVE back down to the cemetery before work and FOUND the head stone.  Something about being in the car must awaken my feeble mind and I figure out that it's on THAT side of the cemetery.  Anyway, since we did not visit during memorial day weekend, I had to make time to go.
 I'm scowling during this pitiful selfie because, for the life of me, I couldn't get the button to work.  When it finally worked, this is what I was left with.  Titled "Grumpy Selfie with Dad".
I then noticed that there was a tiny deer curled up behind one of the headstones very close to where I was unsuccessfully taking a selfie.  I turned my camera over to take a photo and he bolted.  But I still took a rather cute photo of him.

It wasn't the same visiting Dad without the family.  Maybe on Father's Day we can get it all together and get some proper photos together.  I feel like I will let them forget him if I don't remind them, since none of them ever met Dad.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rex - The dog who lived....

....carefree, with his junk hanging out for the world to see.  And on my side of the bed.  Atta boy, Jackass.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Car Watching - 1968 Dodge Coronet 440

 If you are at all a Mopar fan, take a minute and right click these photos so that you can see them full sized.  This 1968 Dodge Coronet 440 was the finest example I have ever seen away from a car show.
I whipped into the 7-11 near my house when I saw this beauty parked there.  I saw it's owner getting into the car, so I jumped out and asked him if I could have a photo.  He kindly said yes and asked if I needed him to get out of the car.  What a nice guy!  I told him not to get out and I took two photos.  He then told me that this was a St. Louis car, built here in 1968.  I didn't ask, but if I was a betting man, I would say that the 383 was doing a fine job under the hood by the glorious sounds it was belting out.

Gorgeous car, gracious owner, my best catch in a long, long time.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Good Day of Mountain Biking, and 27.5" Wheels

The day started at Cliff Cave.  I took Eli and Tyson with me to do a little mountain biking.  The beautiful Mrs K came along and walked Rex on the trails while we rode. 

The boys did great!  I'm always surprised by how well they ride bikes off-road.  Tyson is a natural, although he did yard sale one good time when he clipped a tree with his handlebar in a chicane.  Nice chunk out of the tree, nice bruise on Tyson's hip.

Later in the day, I ventured out to Greensfelder.  I wanted to open up the Tomahawk on the best trails we have.  The trails were a bit slimy in some spots, but no mud.  I finished up the ten mile loop within seven seconds of my fastest time ever, despite having to back off on some of the slick sections.

Do you care what I think about 27.5" wheels?  If you do, here it is:  The 27.5" Foundry Tomahawk that I ride is more fun to ride.  Is it faster?  In some sections, yes.  It transitions and changes direction so much faster.  I like the way it climbs better.  It takes a little more attention to guide it down fast, sketchy stuff than a 29er.  But the tale of the tape says that I ride it about the same speed as I have always ridden.  But they're more fun, and that's enough for me.