Friday, June 23, 2017

The Cobra and it's New Fuel Pump

video
The new fuel pump arrived today for the Cobra.  The install was easy, as you would expect from an external pump.  One thing that is hard to get around: gasoline.  That shit is nasty.  And I don't know how professional mechanics do it, but changing out a fuel pump means you get gas on your hands.  And maybe a little gas on your arms.  Maybe a couple of drops in the hair?  Yeah, maybe.

While I was under there, I spied the inline fuel filter.  "I'm  replacing it" was what I said to myself.  Why get gassy more than once?  Turns out, it was sort of a trick little thing.  After disconnecting it, to my amazement, I saw that it had a glass center section so you can see how the filter is doing.  Not very well in this case because I couldn't tell it was glass.  It was black.  When I pulled it apart I found that it was completely clogged.  I don't know how fuel got past this thing.  Perhaps that contributed to the fuel pump failure?  Now it's clean and clear.

I just had to make a video of this thing running.  Normally it takes a little bit for the idle to settle down.  Normally it even takes a few cranks for the thing to cough to life.  Not now.  I started this video just a few seconds after it roared to life.  Wow, I'm wondering just what was going on with the fuel system because now it's just so smooth.  I'm talking in the background but it's nothing important.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

De Tomaso Pantera Goodness

A few years ago I had a bit of an obsession with the De Tomaso Pantera.  Such a gorgeously flawed Italian car with a Ford engine.  I've since relaxed that obsession a bit, but recently the online site Mustang 360 posted an article about a particular 1972 model that caught my eye.
Color, eye popping.  Wheels, I'm not quite sure.  Gaudy, probably useless wing, hell yes.  Lamborghini Countach-ish from the rear view, I've always thought.
The reason why I keep going back to look at this beaut?  Because of what is hiding in the engine bay.  A Mustang Boss 351-ish Cleveland is usually sitting here, and that is special.  Instead, in this car, is a 4.6 DOHC 48-valve Mustang Cobra derived screamer.  450 horses, no waiting.

I love this car.

Friday, June 16, 2017

427 Cobra - We Must Have Fuel!

The ol' dude called it quits on the road the other night.  Luckily, it was close to home.  I had a sneaking suspicion that it was fuel related, but was hoping for something less complicated.  You know, like a loose wire.  Nope.  Never easy.
I turned on all applicable devices, and everything worked.  What was missing?  That annoying little fuel pump whine.  Ok, so it's just a fuse or a relay, right?  Ha, ha, the Cobra just laughs.  After crawling under this awesome but painfully tight dash, the fuses were all ship-shape. 
Ah, the fuel cell.  It's an aluminum work of art.  But it's super simple, too.  Hose brings gas in.  Return line brings it back when it's shut off.  Wiring goes to gas gauge.  Oh, that gas gauge that doesn't work?  The same one that has caused me to be stranded twice?  More on that in a minute.
Inline fuel pump, underneath and ahead of the Corvette suspension.  A tap with a hammer and then...buzzzzzzz!  Perfect.  After coming to life for about 10 seconds, it stopped again.  That gave the me the definitive answer that the pump had finally given up.  We have our culprit.  Only, this pump has been out of production for a while.  That means one thing:  expensive if you can find one.  I did.  And, it is.
A side benefit to this is, for grins, I added a little extra current to the sending unit.  Wonders never cease, and the gauge sprang to life.  And, there is a full tank of gas waiting to spill on me when I change the pump!  Excellent.
The fact that this thing is 20 years old and is in such solid shape brings me joy.  Crawling under it today made me appreciate how well it's made and how little wear the ol' dude has on him.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mom's Birthday

Because nothing says "Happy Birthday Mom!" like a vintage 70's photos with cowboy hats.

I like to mark my Mom and Dad's birthdays whenever they come around.  Truth be told, I was really bad about remembering them while they were alive.  Maybe I feel like I'm a better offspring by remembering them after they're gone.

Anyway, today she would be 84.  We're approaching my Dad's 99th, which will be interesting but not as cool as next year for his 100th.

I've posted this photo before.  I love it.  It's so rich with 70's goodness.  See that green couch?  The weird lamp?  The lighter and ashtray on the wooden coffee table?  How about those fake plants in the background?  This is one of the few photos of our home on West Bruno that's pre-paneling.  Yes, shortly after this they festooned the entire upstairs with dark fake wood paneling that persisted until I sold the house in 2007.  Ah, memories.  Anyway, happy birthday, Mom.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Swab the Deck

Ah, that's a clean deck!

Last October, I presented you with the saga of my rotten deck boards.  I took a whole day and replaced all of the horizontal wood.  It looked nice.

For the last few weeks, I've been obsessing over the darkening of the wood.  I know it's supposed to age, but for some reason I just got weird about it.  Deciding to sand it all down and seal it again made me feel better.

Over the last week, I've been sanding the horizontal boards with a belt sander.  That's hard work.  I would say that it wasn't much harder to replace all the boards.  A lot cheaper, as belts are about $5 for a 5 pack, but pretty hard on the back and arms.

I finished sanding the boards this morning and sealed it this afternoon.

When I finished, I came to the realization that just a plain power washing and sealing would have sufficed.  The wood is of course, fine.  I don't know why I got so bent out of shape.  By the time this wood is ready for replacement, the entire deck will be ready for demolition and replacement.  It's 13 years old, after all.

Now, the stairs are a different story.  I replaced those earlier, and used a urethane to coat them.  The urethane has yellowed quite a bit. I might just call time on those and cut some new steps.  Much less trouble than sanding them.

But that's for another day.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Kids Photos

 It had been a while since Hanna had come to visit.  You know, with school, the job, and being semi-famous, she just doesn't have the time to hang out.  So it was so nice to have her here over the last few days.  Tyson didn't join the photos because he was off with his girlfriend somewhere.  Maybe she can join in on the fun next time.
We had to take this photo a couple times because Hanna didn't like the way she looked in the first few.  Eli didn't care one way or the other.  Me?  I was too busy trying to get a shot that Hanna liked to notice that I needed a good shave and had one eye closed like a pirate.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Car Watching - Lamborghini Aventador

 Behold, The Aventador!

Forget what I said the other day about the rarity of a Lamborghini sighting.  Still, it's not every day that you see one in the wild, but I've been lucky enough to catch two in a week.  And this one...well, this one is something special, even in the world of Lamborghini.
See that face?  It's coming to get you.  The air intakes under the headlights are going to scoop up your Yorkie and eat it.  The Aventador, a very special bull, is a monster of comic proportions.  Yes, it's roof does not even clear the door handles of the SUV that it's parked next to.  Yet, it's half an inch wider than a Chevy Suburban.
Scoops.  Wheels the size of sewer lids.  The Aventador sports Lamborghini's second generation V12, an engine that puts out 700-ish horsepower.  It's a 10-second quarter mile machine on it's way up to 220 miles per hour.
And, when your cruising the highways at 200+ miles per hour, you'll be really, really happy to know that you have The Creator's own brakes and all-wheel drive.
Remember those scoops in front?  Forget eating Yorkies.  The side scoops would swallow a Labrador, or your toddler.  You need a LOT of air to feed your 6.5 liter V12, which means big intakes.
Rear shot, even meaner than the front.  That center-exit exhaust is not for show.  It sounds positively evil.  And yes, the engine is behind the driver.  And yes, they encase it in glass so plebeians like you and I can gawk
Gawk?  Don't mind if I do.  Looking in on greatness.  For nearly a half mil, you can do more than gawk.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rex - Funny Dog Positions

This dude can seriously chill.  I can't ever think of a time that I was so relaxed that my arms and legs spread out like that.  And I'm sure if my ears were that big, they wouldn't do...that.  He can stay like this for an hour.


What the hell?  He chose this position to view the back yard.  Every now and then, the hair would raise up on his back and his ears would stand at attention.  But he never would actually move.


After quite a while, he got bored with it.  May as well sit on the couch like regular people, I guess he thought...maybe watch a movie or something.


Classic Rex.  That's my neck pillow that I usually use for one of my arms...you know, bad shoulders and all.  Trouble is, Rex likes it a lot.  He always finds a way to either cuddle up to it or fully lay on top of it.  He started pulling the stuffing out of one of the ends.  I'm pretty sure I won't have this one very long.


And, the new one.  Hiding in the closet from the storms.  I've found him in there a lot lately.  During Saturday's storm, there was a laundry basket in front of his access door shown here.  I don't know how he got in, but I would hear him every now and then sneezing or shuffling around.  He finally came out around midnight.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Car Watching - Lamborghini Murcielago LP 640 Roadster

 It's not often that one gets to see a Lamborghini automobile in the flesh.  But on a recent trip to an upscale auto body establishment, there it was.  A Murcielago.  And, it was a roadster, which is more rare.  Pity that the top was up, because it looks like a hastily laid blanket atop a rocket ship.
This incredible piece of ego-enhancing metal is not to be trifled with.  A V12 of muscle car size, 6.5 liters (a convenient 396 cubic inches!) sits behind the driver and blasts up to 210 miles per hour.  I mean, Batman drove one in The Dark Knight, although it was a hard top.

I wanted to take more photos, but sometimes it's best to cut and run before someone asks you what the hell you're doing near the Lamborghini.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poor Rex is Afraid of Storms

I hadn't seen Rex in a while.  I searched the house for him.  Nope, not under our bed, his favorite hiding place.  Not sleeping on the couch.  Not looking out Hanna's window.

Where could he be?  I started putting laundry away and what did I find?  Rex, behind the low hanging clothes in our closet.  He is terribly afraid of storms and it was thundering and threatening rain most of the night.  I have never seen him hide in this particular spot. 

He stayed there until midnight or so when the danger had passed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oh Yes - Bagel Bites

Anyone that knows me well knows of my high-performance diet.  Let me tell you, when the hunger pains strike after a long day at work and an evening of riding, nothing says high-performance goodness like Bagel Bites.  Look at these things.  Just look at them.  They're little pizzas.  On bagels.  Bagels!!  I'm getting the faux tomato sauce on the keyboard right now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

 It just so happens that Mother's Day this year falls one day after May 13th.  That's the day in 2004 that Deanna and I went on our first date.  This photo is just a couple months after that at a Cardinals game.  We look exactly the same.  Right?  Right??
 This is Eli at 7:30 am.  He got up extra early to make Mom French Toast and a smoothie.  He's a darn good kid.
 Instead of getting together with the family for a Mother's Day brunch, brother-in-law Jim made a fabulous spread for all of us at his house.  There was bacon, sausage, fruit, pancakes, waffles, chocolate chip gooey butter cake, and made-to-order eggs.  It was a smashing good brunch.
It was a very pleasant way to spend the day.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hanna Makes the Sports Page Twice in One Week

Some people go their entire lives and never make it into the newspapers until their obituary is published.  Hanna, on the other hand, made the front page twice this week.  She's in the green on top (and I think her eyes are closed!) and she's in white on the bottom.



Sunday, May 07, 2017

Crowded Day at Creve Coeur Off-Road Trails

I was trying to catch the mix of colors and the photo came out absolutely incredible.

I don't usually ride my mountain bike locally on the weekends.  I'm pretty averse to crowds and prefer to open the four-barrel when there are open trails and blue skies.  I got my blue skies today but I paid for breaking the weekend rule.  I sort of thought Creve Coeur would be sparsely populated today since the lower part of the park is still flooded.  Indeed, everyone just migrated upward to the off-road trails.

On one lap, I know I didn't get a full hundred yards without passing another user.  On foot, on bike, with dogs, with kids, whatever.  It was nuts.  I won't say I didn't have fun, because not only was I going strangely well, but the other users were unusually nice today.  I even threw in a couple of runs up the gravel service road to up my elevation and encountered a nice lady talking merrily on her cell phone each time I passed.  It was quite a sight at the bottom of the gravel road...water, water everywhere.  Quite a flood, that.

I was suffering a bit.  My aforementioned wrist is still pretty touchy, but my Garmin told me when I got home that I was mostly faster than I've ever been at CCP. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

I'm a Danger to Myself

Two weeks ago, I bent down at work to pick up something and when I stood, I cut my head on a brake lever.  It never really hurt but it bled quite a bit.  Lack of hair makes it easy to display.
Continuing my efforts to destroy myself, I fell at Lost Valley a day later.  I failed to release from my pedal and plunked over on my right side...and subsequently hurt my left wrist.  I cannot explain it.  But I could hardly move the left wrist and it got all dark purple and yellow as if something horrible had happened.  It's much better now but it's still sore.

I have always amazed myself and others with an uncanny ability to hurt myself .

Eli and the Legends Baseball Team Win!

 After an incredibly busy day at work, I drove up into the northern reaches of St. Louis county to see Eli play baseball with his Legends team mates.  Apparently, he had a stellar game.  I caught him during his last at-bat.
He went two for three with 3 RBI's.  This time around he was out at first bit this was one of his RBI's.  He pitched and played short stop and I was able to see him make a cool play to first under some pretty good pressure. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

BMX Trophies - Those That I Kept

 Most people that have been around BMX racing know that a good rider ends up with lots and lots of trophies.  It's not like other sports where you get a trophy at the end of the season - they give out trophies at every race...if you place.  At some point, every parent of every BMX racer says "enough!!" and the kid has to give them away or, as in my case, sell them back to trophy shops for literally pennies on the dollar.  Hundreds and hundreds of trophies gone, I kept a few.  This first one is but a humble little thing.  It is powerful, however.  It's my first trophy.  I had won a few motos in my first couple months of racing, but this was the first trophy.  2nd place at Plantation Raceway.
Good old Dad.  He used a pencil and scratched in the date on the bottom.  May 3rd, 1980. Still there, 37 years later.
 I kept this monster from the NBL Grand National that was held in St. Charles in 1981.  National trophies were not every day trophies.  Most of them were bigger than the kids that won them.  This one is 5 feet tall and made of some pretty nice wood.
 Schwinn was a powerhouse in the early days of BMX racing.  They sponsored the NBL Grands for a few years.
 Really nice details on this one.
 It's hard to see, but it says "2nd Place", enough to give me National #4 for 1981.
This metal and wood trophy is particularly special.  By the middle of 1982, I had won a few national races.  But on June 19, 1982 I won the National in Lawrencburg, Tennessee...the first time I ever beat the legend Richie Anderson.  That's equivalent today to beating Serena Williams as a second year pro.
 It's also significant because the weekend also included a race in Nashville, where I was 2nd in a very competitive open class to Don Johle, another legend.
 Fast forward a bit.  Another very tame little trophy.  Four marble bases, lots of gold plating.
Tame, but one of the most powerful trophies I have.  This was from the World Championship race in Burbank, California from 1983.  An incredible race with the most incredible competition concentrated in one building.  And, as a 16 year old, I was racing the fastest amateurs in the world in every moto.
 3rd Place.  Believe it or not I was disappointed.  Over the entirety of the weekend, I was on fire and didn't lose but a couple of motos.  I still believe I could have won, but truly being there in the main event after countless semi-finals was a victory anyway.  Richie Anderson won and went on to win another incredible overall World Championship trohpy.  How can I feel bad about 3rd??
 Much more impressive looking is a trophy from that same World Championship weekend.  ESPN was televising the race and dubbed the World's Pre-Race the 'Pro Spectacular'.  Awesome chance to race on the World's course the day before the big show.
 Maybe the trophies were cooler since ESPN was paying for them instead of ol' Renny Roker??  Regardless, they were beautiful.
 I went 2nd, which made me even more sure I could win the big show the next day...but Richie Anderson won this, too.  You can't call me a quitter, I kept trying to beat that dude.
Funway was an amusement park of sorts near Chicago.  The NBL hosted a National there in the middle of 1984 and had some darn cool trophies.
 Killer anodized look.  It's actually pretty cheap feeling and lightweight but I kept it for other reasons.
 I couldn't get the shot with my camera, but the crazy colors on the face plate are awesome.
 I kept the Funway trophy because I doubled...that's what you call two wins on a race day.  That helped to get me into BMXA magazine in the "Sharpshootin" section.  Wild track with an over and under and a magazine interview.  That's a keeper.
This is a most impressive piece of work.  Sold wood base, marble top, machined alloy stanchions, metal eagles on top. This is from Indianapolis in August of 1984. 
 It's a cool trophy, for sure.  But of course I kept it for another reason.
This is the closest I ever came to Double-Doubling on a National weekend.  The day before was in Fort Wayne and I doubled there, and this was one 1st place from Indy...one more first, that's all I needed for my Double-Double.  But, nope.  Mahlon Abrams beat me into 2nd place.  So 1-1-1-2 is the best I ever came up with.
Ah, the clock trophy.  The 1984 Grand National in Louisville, Kentucky was a wild ride.  I could have, would have, should have.  But....
 The clock still works, but the second hand is gone.  It served me well over the years, as I used the second hand to time my roller and trainer sprints.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent staring at this clock face.
.....I didn't.  I got 3rd place in the main event.  I needed 2nd to be the top amateur rider in the country for 1984.  Instead, I was #2.  Call me crazy, but that's still not a great feeling.  And I don't have to tell you who won the race.

There are a few more that I kept but none that have great stories.  They are still in fair condition.  There were times when they sat in damp basements so they are not perfect.  But they still hold together.  I cleaned them tonight and tightened the bolts.  The killer Indianapolis trophy, as solid as it is, had a little malfunction and one of the little metal eagles snapped off.  Part of me wants to fix it but part of me wants to let all of them be.  It's fun to remember them and they don't have to be perfect to take that little trip with each of them.