Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ride On!!!

Finally!!!!  This evening was the first time that I have went riding all year.  It has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.  I figured out a couple of things that I need to do to the bike and I had a great time while also getting some much needed stress relief from my extremely crazy class.  Hopefully this was just the first of many afternoons/evenings of riding this year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out With the Old and In With the New

It has taken longer that I would have liked, but my CR250 is finally finished and ready to ride!  I've been able to ride it  for quite some time, but now it also looks nice.  I started a couple months ago with putting on some new graphics and a new seat cover.  I just recently put on the rest of the new plastic.  However, until today it did not have numbers on it.  Trust me, numbers are extremely important to someone who is as serious about riding as I am.  Your number is sort of like your trademark.  Everyone recognizes who you are by your number.  I have had the same number since I was 12, so pretty much everyone at the track can tell where I am on the track by locating the motorcycle with the number 70.  A rider's number is typically the last 2 or 3 digits of their AMA card, which is basically their competition license.  I have always ran the last 2 of mine, which is 70, except for the one year where I was classified as a professional.  That year I used the last 3, which is 570.  Now I'm back to 70.  Anyways, I had everything else on my bike and it looked really good, but I didn't have numbers.  That was driving me crazy.  I ordered some numbers from the local shop and when they came in they were too big.  That really bummed me out because it meant that I had to wait even longer to get my numbers on.  Then I had an idea to cut out my own numbers.  I figured that they would look a little different from what you can get at the shop and would be something that is just mine.  My wife has a cricut, which is used for cutting pretty much anything that you want for crafting.  One of my teaching friends' husband does work with vinyl and she was able to get me some black vinyl scraps so that I could use the cricut to cut the numbers out.  I just finished cutting them out and putting them on this evening and I think that they look great.  Now my bike really is ready to ride and I have to say that I am chomping at the bit to get out and do some riding.  I just wish that it would quit raining.  I have attached some pictures of what my motorcycle looked like before I changed the plastic and graphics and what it looks like now.  The top photos are before the bottom photos are after.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Little Engine That Could

I figure that since I started the month with a slice about a project that I was working on I should end the month with a project that I am working on.  As many of you know, I have been working on a 125 as my winter project.  I have all of the things done on the bodywork part of it and I now have the performance motor work finished, so it’s time to put the engine together.  Since a 125 is considered the baby of big motorcycles it's important to get as much power out of the engine as possible.  However, I refuse to cheat, so I gain performance by doing specialty work myself that is completely within the guidelines of the 125 class instead of sending a motor to have it built illegally like so many people do.    The performance work that I was doing was matching the cases and porting and polishing the cylinder.  It makes a big difference in the way a motorcycle runs, but is very expensive if you have to send it to someone to do it.  Fortunately, I know how to do it, so it only cost me some time.  The first thing that I do when doing this type of work is matching the cases. To do this, you have to take the engine completely apart so that you only have the engine covers and the cylinder.  This was not a problem since I needed to take the engine apart to repair it anyways.  Next, you bolt the cylinder onto one of the engine covers.  You then have to carefully grind away any of the metal that overlaps where the surfaces meet.  The purpose for doing this is to make the transitions as smooth as possible.  The fewer disturbances there are the better and more efficiently fuel and air can flow through, which creates more power.  Think of it as a vacuum cleaner that is partially plugged.  Yes, it still works but it is not nearly as efficient or powerful as it could be.  After the cases are matched it is time to work on the cylinder porting.  Ports are open spaces in the cylinder that help control fuel and air flow.  The more efficient the porting is the more powerful the engine is.  Porting is tricky, though, because a lot of people think that to port a cylinder they need to make the ports bigger so that you get more fuel and air.  This is not the case.  The cylinders and ports are designed by the manufacturers to certain specifications for a reason.  If you make them bigger, you mess with the timing and other critical features of the motor.  When I port a motor I am simply cleaning up casting flaws, (since the pieces are cast and not handmade there are some imperfections) smoothing transitions and sharpening dividers so that things flow better.  On the exhaust port (where everything finally leaves the cylinder) I used a polishing compound and polished everything to a mirror-like finish so that things flowed very well out of the cylinder.  You, however, should never polish the other ports of a cylinder because a polished surface will not allow the fuel to atomize correctly and will defeat the purpose of doing all of the porting work.  As I said before, it’s a tricky balance.  After spending hours of cleaning up the ports and matching the cases my engine is finally ready to go together!  Now I just have to assemble the complete engine and get it in the bike so that it’s ready to ride.  I can’t wait!  With spring break on the way I am hoping to be doing some assembly very soon.  When it's all finished I will post pictures.  I’m sorry about this slice being so long, but I figured that I should probably put some explanations as to why and how I was doing things to allow you to better understand.  There you have it, 31 days and 31 slices!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Painter is Staying!!!!!

It was touch and go there for a while, but in the end Matt Painter decided to stay at Purdue instead of taking the job at Mizzou.  I have to admit, I checked the news at 3:00 and there were several articles that were posted saying that Painter took the Mizzou job.  I was completely crushed.  Right then and there I was ready to go home, curl into a ball and cry for hours.  However, I maintained my composure (although I was a little less energetic than before) and found a way to get things done just as any true Boilermaker would do.  I got home and had to check a couple of things online and I saw an article that said Painter was staying.  I immediately got excited, but was skeptical.  I did some more research and, sure enough, he is staying.  The earlier articles were mistaken and Painter is now going to be at Purdue through the 2018-2019 season.  Go Boilers!!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I just finished playing my first round of golf for the year and I had a blast!  I went golfing with a couple of others from school.  It was a nice way to unwind on a nice day the week before spring break.  I have to say, though, that I really need to practice.  If you ever get full of yourself and need to knock yourself down a notch or two I suggest trying your hand at golf.  It's very humbling to see that you have an area 200 feet wide that is covered in nice green grass and still manage to hit the ball into the body of water, group of trees or area of sand that is nowhere near where you intended on hitting the ball.  However, no matter how poorly I play I always look forward to being able to go out and try again.  I also have to admit that I am exhausted.  Who knew that walking around hitting a little white ball and trying to get it into a hole could be so tiring?  I think that I'm going to kick back and relax for the rest of the evening.   

Monday, March 28, 2011

28 Days

Here I am, writing on the 28th day of the Slice of Life Challenge.  If you would have asked me 4 weeks ago if I would be able to do this I probably would have said "Umm...probably not."  (As you can see, I'm not always the most articulate person)  I didn't even decide to do it until about 5:00 on the first night of the challenge.  However, with the help and encouragement of a good friend of mine (the same friend who kept putting the idea in my head to participate to begin with :) ) I have been able to keep going.  It has been fun, although difficult at times.  I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read my relatively uninteresting blogs and leave comments.  I have really enjoyed reading what others have had to say.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top Ten Reasons My Wife is Awesome

My wife is great.  She is my best friend and someone that I can always count on.  Because of that, I have made a top ten list for why my wife is awesome.  Here it is...

10.  She is able to teach middle school students and keep her sanity.
9.  During the school year she is also able to teach ballet classes once a week.
8.  She does her best to try and make me feel better when I am sick (which has been a lot this year)
7.  She always knows the right thing to say if things aren't going well.
6.  She puts up with me and my sarcasm.
5.  She always tries to help others out, even if she doesn't really have the time or energy.
4.  She puts up with my constant talking about and working on motorcycles.
3.  She allows me to have 2 motorcycles - a 125 and a 250
2.  She it a Purdue Fan.  Boiler Up!!!!!
1.  She loves me no matter what and will always be there for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getting Ready for New York

Today was one of those days where there was really nothing going on.  I got to sleep in, which was nice, and then my wife and I made a trip into Mishawaka.  We visited a few stores to get some things for spring break.  During spring break we are helping chaperon a group of middle school students on a trip to New York City.  We will be leaving Friday at 11:00 PM and will be getting back on Wednesday.  It should be pretty fun.  We get to visit a lot of neat places and see a couple of shows.  Neither of us have been to New York before, so it should be interesting especially considering that we will each be in charge of a group of middle school students.  Hopefully we can survive the bus ride and not lose anybody while we are there!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Man Cooking

It's that time of year again.  The weather is relatively nice (although I have to say that I am sick of the days being cold) and it's time to fire up the grill.  I do most of the cooking at home, so when I have a choice on how to cook I am going to typically opt for the grill.  I mean, you're using gas and fire to cook meat and there's always the risk of having a big old fire flare up when you open the lid.  When it comes to meal preparation what could be better?  You're cooking some type of meat over a fire with the chance that you can singe your eyebrows.  It's perfect for an adrenaline junkie like myself!  I just wheeled our grill to the patio from the storage shed where it is kept during the winter and I have to say that I am psyched to use it.  I don't know if I will be able to use it this evening because of some previous engagements, but I will definitely be grilling some steaks on this puppy tomorrow! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Are Going On Vacation This Summer!!!

My wife and I have been on the fence for quite a while about booking a vacation this summer.  Finally, we bit the bullet and booked our trip.  We are going to Hawaii and are ecstatic!  This will be our first big vacation since our honeymoon a few years ago.  We have both had a long school year and decided that we needed to do something to help get us through the rest of the year.  Hopefully this will give us something to look forward to and provide the motivation that we need to get through the next couple of months.  We have never been to Hawaii and figured that if we want to visit we need to do it before we have kids.  We are arriving on the 1st of June, which will be nice because we will be spending our anniversary (June 2nd) on the island.  We will be staying on the island Oahu and will be there for 6 nights and 7 days.  We know that we are going to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a day and plan on spending at least a day on Waikiki Beach and we would also like to do some geocaching (one of our favorite hobbies to do together).  Aside from that, we are fairly open.  If anyone has been to Oahu and has suggestions on things to do I would greatly appreciate the input.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sick of Being Sick

I’m so tired of being sick!  For the first couple of days I haven’t had my voice and now I am so congested that I can’t breathe.  If I didn’t know any better I would say that my kids are trying to get rid of me.  :)  On the plus side, my voice has returned, which makes communicating much easier.  I can’t wait for the day that I’m completely healthy and am not coughing, sneezing, wheezing or sniffling.  When that day comes I think that I’m going to buy a lottery ticket, because it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve felt 100% great!  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back to the Bike

I haven't been able to work on my 125 project bike too much recently because of being occupied with other things.  However, I came home this afternoon and wasn't feeling well so I decided to work on something that I could do while sitting down.  Since my options were limited I decided to put my backgrounds on my side panels.  Let me explain the concepts of backgrounds first.  Backgrounds go on the front and side number plates on the motorcycles.  Smaller motorcycles, such as 125's, are designated by having black backgrounds and white numbers while bigger bikes, such as 250's, have white backgrounds and black numbers.  Not everyone sticks to this rule of thumb, but I am old school when it comes to motorcycles and racing so I try to stick to it.  To install the backgrounds I first had to make sure that the side panels (side number plates) are clean.  To do this I used warm water and dish soap to wash the surfaces of the side panels.  After the side panels were cleaned and completely dry I started putting on the backgrounds.  I always start by laying the background on top of the side panel to make sure that everything lines up correctly.  After I am sure that things will line up I begin by removing the adhesive backing at one corner of the background.  I then place that part onto the side panel and slowly peel the backing off while working the background onto the plastic.  It's important to work slowly and make sure that you are working across the entire surface in order to make sure that there are no air bubbles.  If you go too quickly there gets to be bubbles and it just doesn't look very nice.  It took a little while, but I finally got the backgrounds on.  However, I will not install the numbers until I have the side panels on the actual motorcycle.  It's easier for me to make the numbers look good when I can actually see them on the bike and make sure that things line up correctly.  Hopefully I will be installing the numbers very soon.  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Voice That I Wish I Had

Today I had something happen that hasn't happened in an extremely long time:  I started losing my voice.  I still had it by the end of the day, but it was very raspy and grumbly and it was difficult to speak loud enough for the kids to hear.  Normally I would still be able to function like this because I could write down what I needed to say or I could sign to someone if they understood sign language.  However, I teach first grade so my kids can't read well enough for me to write everything down and I don't have any kids who understand sign language.  This causes a little bit of a dilemma for me because I'm trying to figure out how to teach a class that is a loud and difficult group anyways.  I know that many times if you aren't feeling well or can't speak loudly the kids will tend to be a little quieter so that they can hear and understand you.  Not the case with my crew.  I think that they felt that it was the green light to get louder and pay less attention.  So now I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I am going to do for tomorrow if my voice doesn't come back. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Early Exit for the Boilers

I'm speechless.  The Purdue Boilermakers forgot how to play basketball and got crushed by the underdog VCU Rams tonight.  The Boilers never looked good, with the exception of Ryan Smith, who had one of the best games of his career.  Unfortunately, the loss means that the Purdue basketball season is over.  I guess that we'll have to wait until next year for that elusive national championship.  Boiler up!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Office Humor

Today was a rather uneventful day, so I thought that I would share a little humor from yesterday.  This has been an extremely long week at school.  There have been a lot of meetings, the end of the nine weeks is here and so it has just been a long week.  I found out on Tuesday that one of my co-workers who has a room right next to me loves "The Office" television show.  My wife and I love that show, so I thought that I would play a little "Office" prank on her.  On Thursday evenings my wife teaches ballet classes, which leaves me at the house by myself with too much time on my hands.  In order to occupy some of this time I decided to put a hole punch and staple remover in jello, just as Jim did in "The Office."  The next morning while she was out of her room I put the jello with the hole punch and staple remover on it with a note that said "The jello is holding these things in custardy."  She came up to me a little later just laughing about and said that it was much appreciated because it had been an extremely rough morning and she needed a little humor.  So that's it, nothing fancy or brilliant (of course, none of my posts are very brilliant) but it was something to share.  Have a great weekend!  :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Let the Games Begin

It's official...March Madness is here!  The Purdue Boilermakers kicked off their NCAA tournament with a convincing win over St. Peter's.  They have played terribly over their past couple of games, so I have to admit that I was a little nervous.  However, by 10-15 minutes into the game they pretty much had it in the bag.  They still showed signs of sloppiness with some lazy passes and some questionable choices, but overall they looked like the Purdue that is poised to make a run for the championship.  We'll see how things shape up, but I think that as long as they don't get too careless or overconfident they are going to be a force to be reckoned with over the next couple of weeks.  Boiler Up!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Take a Seat

Today, since I'm still waiting for things to dry out, I thought that I would take the opportunity to replace my 250 seat cover with the one that matches my new graphics that I just installed.  Just putting a seat cover on isn't too difficult, but making it look nice can be a challenge.  If you don't do it right you can have a lot of wrinkles or, if the seat cover has colors/graphics like the one that I have does, you can install it to where the colors don't line up.  Either one of these scenarios can make a new seat cover look bad.  Because of this, you have to be meticulous about what you do.  First, you have to remove the old seat cover.  To do this you have to remove the staples that hold it on.  The base of the seat is made of plastic.  The seat covers are usually some type of vinyl or another material that make it a "gripper" seat cover, which is designed to keep you from sliding around.  What I do for removing the staples use a small flat head screwdriver and pry them up.  If both ends of the staple don't come out I use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove the rest of it.  After the staples are out it's time to take the old cover off and begin working on the new one.  I typically start at the front of the seat (the part that is over the fuel tank) because the seat covers are designed to slide over the front part easier.  Next, I try to position the cover to the best of my ability and put a couple of staples in the back.  You can't use a standard swingline stapler, you have to use a shop grade stapler.  After I have the back tacked down I try to start working any possible wrinkles out by pulling it tight on the sides.  I usually do a little on one side and a little on another side until I feel that it looks good.  The true test is when you slide it on the bike because the seat will flex a little, which can lead to wrinkles.  Also, with having graphics on the seat cover it is important to try and line them up with the graphics on the side covers.  If all goes well things line up on the first try.  If not, you have to start removing staples and changing things to make it look good.  Fortunately, I got it right the first time and I have to admit that the bike looks pretty good.  Now it's time to go riding and get it dirty!  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sounds and Smells of Spring

When most people think of the smells of spring they think of flowers, freshly cut grass and the smell of an incoming storm.  When they think of sounds they think of birds chirping, crickets singing and gentle rolls of thunder.  However, I am not most people and to me the smells of spring include that of gasoline, premix, motor oil and dust.  The sounds of spring are dirt bikes revving, tires spinning, fans cheering and ambulance sirens blaring.  (The last sound is not hoped for, but occasionally happens)  I made the mistake of starting my 250 for the first time this year even though I know that with the rain that we have had and the rain that is on the way it will probably be a while before I am able to ride.  It's alright, though, because I am hopeful that I will be riding soon and that I will be hearing the sounds and smelling the smells of spring.  Besides, even if I can't ride in the near future I can at least start the bike once in a while to experience some of the sounds and smells of spring.  :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Now that the weather has gotten a little warmer and the snow has gone away I have really been chomping at the bit to get out on my dirt bike and ride.  It’s such a great stress relief, especially with having a difficult class this year.  However, it has been raining pretty much all day and it is going to take quite a while for the soft and soggy ground to dry out.  What a bummer!  I was really hoping to get out and do some riding this weekend.  Oh well, I guess that I will have to sit at home and work on my project bike some more.  If I can’t ride I may as well do something with a motorcycle.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Riding Season is Here!!!

This weather is awesome!  It's getting warmer and the snow is gone which means one thing:  riding season is here!  All of the working on the motorcycles has really given me the fever to get out there and do some serious riding.  There's just something about smelling the premix and hearing that dirt bike running that really gets your blood pumping.  It's such a thrill to be out there jumping 80 foot gaps, railing through corners and throwing dirt everywhere!  It's been a long and cold winter and now that winter is coming to an end.  That means that it's time for me to suit up and go riding! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Set of Graphics

Now that the weather is getting nice I am really looking forward to riding my dirt bikes.  Since I'm still working on my 125 I figured that I should make sure that my 250 is ready to go.  Because of that I decided to get my graphics installed on the new radiator covers.  I like to put new plastic and graphics on my bikes during the winter because it makes the bikes look great for the beginning of the year.  It's like starting the new season on a new bike.  I don't know why, but it's like getting a fresh start.  All of the crashes, bumps and bruises are no longer in your mind and you're just ready to focus on the upcoming season.  So now I have my 250 graphics installed and all I have to do is bolt on the new plastic.  It's a new riding season and I'm really looking forward to it! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another Sad Day for Basketball

Last night I just could not believe what I was listening to.  The Purdue Boilermakers were supposed to roll over Michigan State like they did twice in the regular season.  Instead, I turned the radio on and listened in horror as the Boilers were down by 17 with about 12 minutes to go. Being the superstitious fan that I am I thought that maybe by listening to the game they would somehow come back.  However, after listening for about 4 minutes they were behind by even more.  I didn't want to jinx them even further, so I turned off the radio and waited to check the scores later, hoping that they would put together a miracle run and pull out a victory.  Unfortunately that was not the case and Purdue had to bow out of the Big Ten tournament earlier than expected.  Hopefully this means that they have the losing out of their system, since they have now lost two in a row.  They lost a couple earlier this season and then went on a serious winning streak where they were being considered as one of the best teams in the country.  That's what I'm hoping for and expecting.  The boys in black won't disappoint in the big dance and I'm looking forward to watching them get their revenge.  Go Boilers!!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tourney Time is Here

Around 11:30 this morning I realized that I made a huge mistake by going back to work.  I mean, I felt well enough to go to work but if I would have just taken one more day off I would have been able to watch some serious Big Ten basketball.  I have 2 favorite teams when it comes to college sports:  Purdue and whoever is playing Ohio State.  After school I frantically brought up the scores of the games from today and saw that Northwestern lost to Ohio State in overtime.  I couldn't help but think that if I would have been in my peaceful home on the couch rooting for Northwestern instead of being in my room that was chaos from the students having a sub for the past two days that maybe I could have somehow willed the wildcats to pull off the upset of the Big Ten tournament.  However, I wasn't that fortunate and because of that I am going to have to root for Purdue even harder than usual to try and help them succeed.  Yeah, I'm that fan; the one that thinks that by watching the game they can help the team win, or that by arguing with the television the calls will be magically reversed.  If Purdue is winning before I turn to the game and then I start watching and they start playing poorly I change the channel because I don't want to bring bad karma to the team.  I'm that fan and I don't care.  I'm proud to support my team and if I have to look like a lunatic doing it that is fine.  That being said, it's tournament time and the Boilermakers have something to prove so I'm going to be right there cheering and yelling for them every step of the way.  Boiler Up!!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Next Step: Wheels

I was home from work again today and was going crazy so I decided to get working on a set of wheels for my dirt bike.  Once again it is something that I could do while on the couch, so I thought that it would be a good project.  I am changing the rims from silver to yellow, which makes the bike look totally different.  I had already removed the silver rims, so it was time to put the yellow ones on.  This is a very time consuming task because you have to install and adjust each individual spoke on the wheel.  When you assemble wheel it is called "lacing" a wheel.  After I got the front wheel laced I had to begin adjusting the spokes.  This is what takes so long.  This process is called "truing" a wheel.  When you are truing a wheel you are trying to make it so that it does not bounce up and down and does not wobble side to side.  It gets to be very tedious, but is necessary if you want it to be done right.  I would sit up and work for a while and then lay down for a while.  After a few hours of being up and down I finally got the front wheel done.  It looks good and I'm excited to get the rear done so that I can get them on the bike.  That will be another project for another day, though.  For now I am going to try and get some rest so that I am feeling better and can put some serious work into this motorcycle.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Found My Starting Point

I have been feeling under the weather recently and so I was off of work today trying to get to feeling better.  The problem is that I have a very difficult time just laying around.  Because of this I decided to see what I could do that would be productive while laying around.  My choices were very limited, so I decided to install my dirt bike graphics.  Since I already had the plastic and graphics in the house I didn't even have to set foot outside.  I turned on Netflix and chose a movie and got to work.  It didn't take long, but it's amazing how much better a new set of graphics will make a motorcycle look.  I got the graphics on without a problem and decided that would be enough for today.  Hopefully the rest of the things on this project go as well as this did. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Parts Everywhere

My project of rebuilding and cleaning up my dirt bike has officially begun and I have to say that I have pieces everywhere!  I have an engine on the work bench in the basement, the frame and other big pieces in the garage, a set of wheels and some of the plastic by the couch in the basement, some of the plastic in the living room upstairs, and a seat in the office.  I'm not sure how this happened, but it seems like the motorcycle is taking over the house!  I'm not really sure how something that I can usually fit two of in the back of my truck can occupy an entire house.  Maybe it enjoys the warmth or the smells that are different from the usual fuel and oil.  Or maybe it likes to watch television or play on the computer.  I don't know, but what I do know is that I have got to get this mess under control before it takes over the entire house.  I think that the problem is that there are so many things that I want to do to this motorcycle to make it look and run great that I am starting multiple things at once.  I have a different set of rims that I want to put on it, I have new graphics that I would like to put on it, I have to get the motor repaired and I want to put a new seat cover on.  What I need to do is start on one thing and get that completely finished and then move on to the next.  I think that I'm going to start with the wheels....no, the graphics....no, the engine.....no, the seat.....  I'll have to let you know when I finally decide where I'm going to start.  :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

My New Project

With my oven completed and the memory of that horrible Purdue loss to Iowa behind me I have finally decided what project I am going to start next.  I am going to work on my 2003 Suzuki RM125 dirt bike.  I been riding dirt bikes since I was 5 years old.  Since I am 30 now, I don't really remember a time when I did not have a dirt bike.  It has been a family thing.  My father, brother and myself spent a majority of our free time riding together and going on riding and camping trips as my brother and I were growing up.  Motorcycles have allowed me to create many friendships that I still have to this day.  I even met my wife at a motocross race.  Needless to say, motorcycles are a huge part of my life and always will be.  Because of this, I will always have a motorcycle or two that I ride and work on.  Over the past few years I have been riding a 250, which is a lot of fun, but 125's have always been my favorite to ride.  The 250's have more power and are faster, but they are heavier and they cause you to become a lazy rider.  125's are light and underpowered, so you have to really work to ride them.  It's great!  I've always missed this and, therefore, have always been looking for a good deal on a 125 so that I could have a 125 and 250.  This past winter I got a great deal on this 125.  The kid who owned it did not take care of it and caused some pretty significant motor damage and did not want to pay the $1200 that a motorcycle shop was going to charge him to fix it.  Because of this, he was selling it for next to nothing.  When I saw the ad in the paper I thought that it was too good to be true.  I got in touch with the owner to look at it and it was actually in a little better shape than I thought, but the motor was in rough shape.  As luck would have it, though, I had owned a motorcycle identical to this one when I was racing a lot and had all of the motor parts in my garage to fix it.  I also have the mechanical know how to fix it because my dad's philosophy has always been that if I was going to ride a dirt bike I had to be able to fix it.  (I think that I rebuilt my first engine at 9 years old)  Because of this, I knew that I would not have to put any more money into it in order to have a nice 125 to ride and so I bought it.  It has been sitting in my garage over the course of this frigid winter just begging to be fixed.  I took the motor apart and have pieces in my basement so that I could work on it while it was cold, but now that the weather is getting nice it is time to kick it into high gear and get this thing done and ride it.  I'm looking forward to the adventure, as I always am when I am working on a project bike, so I am sure that there will be many stories that I am reminded of from earlier years that I will probably share.  I will also try to have before and after photos of the motorcycle so that you can get a good idea of what I like to do.  I know that this probably isn't the most exciting topic for most of you to read about, but it's what I love to do and always will be.  I'm a guy, so it's difficult for me to write about snuggling up on the couch while reading a romance novel, or going shopping and trying on hundreds of outfits and shoes while catching up on the latest gossip.  Most of my posts will probably be about projects that I'm working on in the garage, motorcycles or sports (which is why my blog is called what it is).  I do appreciate all of you who have been reading and I do try to make my posts as entertaining as possible, seeing as how the content area probably isn't the most interesting for most people.  :) 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Sad, Sad Night

At approximately 6:20 PM EST something terrible happened.  The 6th ranked Purdue Boilermakers fell to the lowly Iowa Hawkeyes.  My heart goes out to all of my fellow Purdue fans.  It was a tragedy that words cannot describe.  Since I do not have the Big Ten Network I was stuck listening to the radio willing my Boilers to win.  However, all of the hoping and wishing was in vain as Iowa put in a herculean effort and Purdue simply played terrible.  They played as if something was missing and they were completely ineffective, much like a train without a track or Purdue Pete without his hammer.  As I sat trying to cope with the Boiler's loss this morning  in my Purdue pajama pants, t-shirt and slippers while listening to Elton John's "Candle In the Wind" I realized that all is not lost.  Purdue may have not won the Big Ten championship, but they still have a spot in the NCAA tournament and they are going to be on a mission.  At that thought I began to hear "Back In Black" in my head once more and I prepared myself for another great day.  BOILER UP!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wheels Wobble But They Don't Fall Off

This morning I had plans to meet my father and grandfather for breakfast.  I told my wife that I would drive her car so that I could fill it up with gas for her before she drove it to teach her dance classes today.  She absolutely hates putting gas in her car, so I thought that I would help her out.  On the way to breakfast her car started bouncing really bad.  I could tell that it wasn't something that would keep me from making it to breakfast, but I also knew that it was something that was going to have to be taken care of today.  My initial thought was that a wheel bearing went out, but I wasn't sure.  I made it to breakfast and had a great time.  While I was walking to the car I started thinking again about what the problem could be.  Since my father and I are both fairly mechanically inclined (we are the types that have the philosophy of "Why pay someone to do it when you can do it yourself?) I asked him to take a ride with me to see if he could help me diagnose the problem.  Before leaving, though, I went around to both wheels and tried to shake them to get an indication of a wheel bearing being loose.  The wheels felt nice and tight, so I pretty much ruled out the bearings then and there and started leaning towards a tire issue.  When we started driving you could really feel it wobbling.  I could let the steering wheel go and you could actually see it going back and forth.  My dad and I both came to the conclusion that it must be a tire.  I called my wife and told her to take my truck to dance classes because of the issue with her car.  I drove home and pulled the car into the garage and put the car onto jacks to pull the front wheels off.  Sure enough, when I pulled the driver's side front wheel off I could see a spot where the tire belt started separating from the sidewall.  The passenger side had a spot where it looked like it was about ready to do the same thing.  We had ran into this problem before and had replaced two of the four tires, but these two tires were the ones that had not yet been replaced.  The bummer is that tires are expensive, but the good thing is that my wife wasn't driving somewhere and had an issue where the tire came completely apart and caused an accident.  I suppose that there was a reason that I drove her car this morning instead of my truck because if it wouldn't have happened to me this morning odds are that she would have had an issue on her way to work Monday morning.  I guess this means that I am going to be running to the tire store to get a couple of tires replaced this afternoon, but I have to wait until my wife gets home with my truck.  Oh well, what else would I want to do with myself on a Saturday afternoon?  :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Something's Missing

As I drove home from school today I had a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong.  I thought that maybe it was because I am feeling a little under the weather.  I mean, I did come home and take a nap which is something that I NEVER do.  After waking up expecting to feel refreshed I still had a nagging feeling that something was wrong.  I got up and ran down to the basement and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  What I was feeling was a little bit of sadness that my oven project had finally come to an end.  No more using the Skil saw, chop saw or jigsaw, no more cutting, drilling or installing.  I couldn't believe that this void in my life was created by something that had caused me so much grief.  Don't get me wrong, we shared some good times like the first coat of paint, installing the knobs, putting the oven door on and who would forget our final photo session.  However, there were also many bumps in the road that some of you have read about.  After reflecting for a while I realized that I am truly going to miss that little oven.  I put a lot of work into it and I have to hope that somebody who will appreciate it and enjoy it will win it.  I will admit that the thought has crossed my mind to purchase a raffle ticket and try to win it myself so that I could return it to its place of creation, but then I thought "I don't have any kids and my wife would think that I was completely off of my rocker if I brought it back home."  Besides, I needed to dig deep and find my Boilermaker pride and be glad that I did not have to worry about finishing it anymore.  I guess that I am going to have to find another project to focus on and keep myself occupied.  I know that my wife wants me to make her a scrapbooking cabinet and I've got a couple of dirt bikes that I need to work on so I'm sure that I'll figure something out!  Thanks to all of you that have followed along with me on this adventure.  Hopefully there will be others to come.  If I'm the one working on something you can never be sure what is going to happen next.  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oven's Last Stand

I spent all day today trying to get myself pumped up to go home and tackle the last part of my oven project.  I have to admit, this thing had gotten into my head.  So on the way home I cranked up "Back in Black" (the official Purdue get pumped song) and focused on the task at hand.  I got home, changed into my work clothes and headed down to the mess that is my basement and began working.  First, I sanded down all of the filler that I had to use last night.  That went very smoothly.  Next, I went ahead and put a coat of paint on because I knew that it had to dry before I could do much else.  The white went on great.  After putting on the white I had to touch up the one burner that I had to repair.  I got the black out and set to work.  To my horror, on the second or third brush stroke black splattered all over the white top.  I wanted to put myself into the fetal position and start crying, but I knew that a true Boilermaker would never do that so I sprinted upstairs and got a damp cloth and wiped the top down as quickly as possible.  After that little escapade I was beginning to think that this was going to turn out like yesterday.  Since I was waiting for the paint to dry anyways I decided to give the two of us a little time apart.  I went upstairs and had dinner with my wife.  After eating I went down to the basement with a renewed energy.  I put the hinges on and mounted the door.  It went perfectly.  All I had left to do was install the plexiglass and the latch.  I thought that I would go with the latch first.  I bought a latch about two weeks ago when I was getting all of the supplies for building this thing and wouldn't you know that I could not find it anywhere.  I spent 35 minutes looking for a 75 cent part.  Finally, I gave up and headed to Menards to buy a new one.  Part of me was starting to think that this oven secretly wants to stay at my house and become a permanent fixture.  I got the latch and a few other miscellaneous things (after all, I was in Menards and you can't leave there without getting something) and headed back to the house.  After returning I installed the latch without a problem and found an easy way to install the plexiglass.  After all of this time I am proud to say that I AM FINALLY FINISHED!!!!!  Of course, I did look at it and I thought about how I could install a light without much of a problem.  :)

Moral of the whole building an oven story:  When you think things are going bad you can always tell yourself "at least I'm not that crazy first grade teacher who was trying to build an oven for a silly raffle!"

I've added some pictures for anyone who would like to see what has given me all of the problems.  There are a lot of cool ideas that I had and would have liked to do differently, but I was working with donated items and a $15 budget that I set for myself.  What can I say, I guess I like to make things difficult on myself.  :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One of Those Projects....

Have you ever had one of those projects that just wouldn't end?  I'm having one of those with my oven project for my classroom.  I thought that I would finish yesterday for sure, but I was so wrong.  Over the past 24 hours about everything that could go wrong with constructing this project has gone wrong.  Yesterday I pretty much had to paint  the outside, install the "burners", knobs, and oven rack.  Simple enough, right?  Well, I got the paint on without a problem.  The knobs went on without a hitch.  The first three burners were a breeze, but the last one splintered so I had to fill in a spot so that I could sand it and repaint it.  No biggie.  However, the oven rack has pretty much made itself my arch nemesis.  I am making it out of an old wire rack because I thought that it would be neat to make it look like a real oven rack.  Halfway through I thought of a way that I could make it slide in and out, which I thought would be cool.  In order to make it work I had to make a couple of extra cuts.  I made the cuts and got sidetracked with doing something else.  I came back and, not thinking, I cut it again.  This made it too narrow and it wouldn't fit at all.  I didn't have another rack to make work so I had to spend a couple of hours reconstructing things to make it work.  It also required me to drill holes into the finished and painted sides, so I had to fill the holes in and have to wait for the filler to dry so that I can sand and paint it again.  Since that requires a few hours I won't be able to finish it until tomorrow.  In the meantime I thought that I would put the finishing coat of paint on the door and put the plexiglass in for the window.  After painting the door I dropped it, which got sawdust and smudges all over the wet paint, so I had to wipe it down and repaint it.  Then when I was cutting the plexiglass it snapped in half.  Fortunately, I had another piece that was scratched, but the scratches aren't too noticeable.  I finally got that done so now I am just waiting for the filler to dry so that I can take one more shot at finishing it.  I'm exhausted...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My project is finally coming to an end!!!

It's been a long time coming, but I am finally about finished with the toy oven that I have been working on for our school fun fair.  My class and our book buddies chose the theme of baking for our fun fair basket.  I don't know that it's a very interesting topic for most people, but that's what the kids wanted so that's what we went with.  Our kids and their families have donated cake and cookie mixes and various kitchen/baking utensils.  To try and make our basket a little more interesting I decided to build a wooden toy oven instead of using a plain old basket.  I mean, what kind of fun can you have putting a basket together if you can't use power tools and risk causing some bodily harm, right?  Needless to say, the project has taken a long time and has caused somewhat of a mess in my basement.  It's been so cold that I couldn't stand to work in the garage, so I transported my saws, lumber, drills and other various tools down to the basement.  It has caused quite a mess and I'm sure that my wife is more than irritated at me.  Fortunately, I will be putting on the first coat of paint on today.  That means that it's finally about finished!!!!