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. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Car Watching - 1961 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

 When I saw this 1961 Thunderbird sitting at the Dobbs in Chesterfield, I had to stop and take some photos.  I absolutely adore Thunderbirds from their inception in 1955 to the last attractive one (my opinion, of course!) in 1971.  This was a very attractive example.
The rear tail lights always remind me of exhaust ports on fighter jets.  I wanted to get more photos of the beautiful red interior, but the guys working inside were eyeballing me so I busted out after just these two.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Cycle St. Louis March - April 1995

About 20 years ago, the Touring Cyclist used to put out a newspaper a few times a year called Cycle St. Louis. Although it was heavily peppered with TC info and propaganda, it was a nice thing to have around.  The paper had events coverage, race results, product reviews, and the occasional super cool the one depicted on this cover!

The article was about five hot local bike racers.  I don't know about hot, but it was a fun photo shoot and it was fun to pass out to my friends and family and get a good laugh.  I don't know if any of the others on this cover are still racing or riding, but it fills me full of nostalgia and envy for how much hair I used to have.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Sundays are for Baseball

 I caught a nice sequence of Tyson at the plate tonight.
 All prepared.  Tense.  Here it comes.
 Whack! His team fought hard for a tie...time ran out.  They came from behind and it was awesome.
 Eli pitched during his game earlier today.
 His form is looking good.
He had a strikeout, too, which is really hard at this age.  The game crawls by because they throw so many balls.  But they're learning.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rex really doesn't like Storms

 When it was a little dark outside and sprinkling a little, Rex was in his favorite spot under the bed.
When it became a full blown thunderstorm, the poor guy started trembling and panting.  Eventually he got under the desk and stayed there, very quietly.  He looked so sad.

Eli's Last Day of School

 For three school years, I have driven Eli to school each morning.  Kindergarten, First grade, and Second grade...they ended today.
The school with the ice cream cone out front was his home, and now he's moving on to the next one...on to Third grade. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Family Camp at Mo-Val

 2014 was another year for us at the Mo-Val Family Camp.  The beautiful Mrs K grew up going to this camp with her family, and it's a semi-tradition now with ours.  It's been a few years since we have been able to go.  This year was really nice weather-wise, and the other families that gathered here with us for the Memorial day weekend were fine quality people as well.  Our cabin was Oakwood, and parked out front you can see our chairs and POS Blue, which I rode on the small circuit of hiking trails.  Tyson also did some riding with one of the other kids and they had a blast.
 Straight away, Tyson and Eli went fishing.  They are obsessed with fishing.  Here, Eli is celebrating his big catch on the first morning.  You can see the dock with the paddle boats in the background.
 Of course, Tyson is the true outdoorsman of our family.  He caught tons of big fish while we were there. He had to rescue Eli from having to remove his own fish from the hooks.  He saved a lot of other people, too.  I was usually doing something else when fish had to be removed from hooks.
 The first day was mostly overcast and cool.  In the background, another view of the dock and the lake.  Eli is the little guy in the blue life vest on the edge of the dock.  In the foreground is a picture of the Unibomber, I mean Photobomber.
 The pool was a bit green.  And chilly.  I think the water was 70 degrees.  Hell, I would have requested a wet suit.  Deanna, Tyson, and Eli were playing water basketball.  My family doesn't seem to understand what "Damn this water is cold!" means.
 Except for this one.  She knows darn good and well what cold water means.  She was sitting next to me on this bench watching everyone swim.  Notice her flip-flop tan.
 Hanna flashing me the horns.
 This is the artistic photo of the bunch.  That's Eli down by the edge of the water, fishing with his shirt off.  I love the lighting here.
 Wait, let Hanna take a selfie.
 The hay ride.  No hay, but a fun ride.  We were crammed into this beg trailer behind a tractor, and off into the woods we drove.
 On the hay ride, I snapped a picture of the platform that I helped build.  It's a platform for the kids to stand on when they start the ropes course.  It turned out pretty good, but I work on bikes, not wood.
 The start of the slip and slide.  That's our cabin up on the hill on the left.  This year's slip and slide was a little too cobbie for most.  It's always a big attraction, but this year the chosen spot was a little too rocky.
 A nice sunset over the lake as we passed over the dam.
 Grandpa is lost in thought as the kids play Tenzie.
On the last day, we made our family banner, complete with our Bible verse.  We have our cabin, our bikes on the trails, our tractor and hay wagon, our trees, our fishermen, our lake, and our kayaks all represented.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Car Watching - 1993 Ford SVT Lightning

I wish I had gotten a better photo of this truck.  But, we'll go with what we have here.

The 1993 F-150 SVT Lightning truck was quite an odd duck in those days.  It sported a 351 with most of the Mustang Cobra's engine tricks (GT40 heads and such) as well as a host of other go-fast goodies.  A performance truck, you say?  While they may be normal today, in 1993 most trucks were not meant to go fast.  Later, the SVT truck became quite a monster.  Once it moved over to the "new" body style and Modular engine family, it sported overhead cams, a supercharger, etc.  That one became very popular at the drag strip.

What I find most striking is how small this "big" truck is.  In the background of my photo, you can see a modern F-150.  It dwarfs this 93.  In fact, this truck looks much more like a modern Ranger than an F-150.  This one is in really good shape, too. 

Car Watching - 1959 Impala

I had never seen a 59 Chevy Impala in person before.  I have seen many photos, but never up close.  You really, really have to see one up close to grasp the magnitude of those tail fins.  They are majestic!

I snapped this photo while stopped at a light on 141 today.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and this guy had all the windows down.  Seemed like the perfect classic car at that moment.  It was obviously an unrestored daily driver.  Good shape, not perfect, but a perfect example. 

Hanna Graduates from the 8th Grade

 It doesn't seem possible, but Hanna just graduated from the 8th grade.  At times, she seems like she is already 20+ years old and ready to move out and move on, and other times it seems like she just graduated from kindergarten.
 Here, she poses with the old man.  I am still taller than her, even with heels on, but she's better lookin'.
Here, she poses with her bestie post-ceremony.  Congratulations, beautiful girl!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Go Carts are Fun

 Max, Gus, Hanna, Tyson, and Eli wait in line at Swing Around Fun Town to ride the go carts.
 The anticipation was killing them!
 Max drove with Eli.  They were careful to put their belts on properly.
 Tyson gives us the thumbs up.
 I think Max and Eli are discussing strategy.  Either that or they are practicing gang signs.
 Eli is revved up!
Later, I drove with Eli.  He didn't think the old guy had it, but I was able to pass a ton of cars.