Friday, May 31, 2013

Do Not Eat in Woodland Park

Woodland Park is a weird town. I'll admit it. Super conservative and full of a lot of oddball people. There really isn't shit to eat in this town either. Although, we do have a Denny's that serves alcohol and that's weird all by itself. You can get a whiskey shooter with your pancakes. Seriously.

Heather and I were both feeling lazy tonight and decided to go check out a restaurant that recently opened up. It's in a lovely building that a place called the Martini Hut used to be in. That place was cool in terms of atmosphere but the quality of the food depended upon how much alcohol the owner had consumed that night. He drank a lot. After he left, another place went in and lasted a few months. I've heard that some people got food poisoning there. The building sat there derelict for quite a while and now this place is in there. We went in, sat down and...waited. We waited about 10 minutes before someone came over to wait on us. There was a piece of paper on the table that had some food items listed on it but I didn't think it was really the menu. Heather got water and I ordered a beer and then asked the gal if this was really the menu. It was. Now I know a lot of places have grilled cheese on the menu but there was only like 5 other things on the menu. 4 of those other things were Paninis. Those are just sandwiches that have been toasted on a George Forman grill. One of those Paninis had 3 different kinds of cheese on it. Like a fancy grilled cheese. Who the hell needs all that cheese backing up your plumbing? You couldn't even get any damn fries either. Just potato chips. What the hell is that? We left. Starved. There was also someone dining in the restaurant that I don't care for and, in fact, I had just told Heather the night before that it was only a matter of time before our paths crossed in town somewhere.

We decided to go to Divide and try McGinty's one more time. We've not had good luck there. Things haven't changed. Most places don't use the big ass pieces from the center of the head of lettuce in their salads. Occasionally, you might find one but those pieces should not be the main theme in the salad. It's almost like they are making salads from the throw away lettuce of other restaurants. I decided to play it safe and get a Reuben. You can't screw up a Reuben. I was wrong. Dry ass corn beef. Not enough 1000 island dressing. Those that know me will attest to the fact that I am not one to complain at restaurants AT ALL. I never ask for anything to be taken off the bill. It really takes a lot for me to be disappointed at a restaurant. I was.

Right before we went out, my buddy Scott texted me to tell me where his family was camping and what they were having for dinner. Hot dogs on damn tortillas with Mac and Cheese. I made fun of him for eating a hot dog on a tortilla. I would never make fun of Mac and Cheese because it's the shit. I would have loved a cold hot dog on half a tortilla that fell in the dirt.

Screw you McGinty's. Screw you new place in the old Martini Hut building. On the way back through Woodland we recounted the shitty things that had happened to us at each restaurant. Bad Mexican food. Just not authentic. Boring. At all 3 Mexican places. The new sushi place in the strip mall next to City Market? Not a chance. The 2 Chinese joints? Negative. Pretty sure the one was closed for so long because they were selling dope in the drive through. We went to Casa Grande after they opened (one of the Mexican restaurants) and I ordered an amber Dos Equis. True story...floating in the foam was a hair. All I'm gonna say is that the hair was short, curly, and appeared extremely coarse. I'll let you come to your own conclusions. How about the Biergarten? I was so psyched when this place opened. First time in I order a good beer. I go to take a sip and there's multiple hairs around the rim of the mug. WTF? I go back to the attractive young lady who served it to me and tell her to try again. She apologizes and gives me a different mug. It had less hair. I was looking for NO hair. I think the gals wear those short skirts in the hopes that you're looking at their legs and ass and don't notice the hairs. A lot of people in Woodland rave about Joanies. They serve Boreshead meat which is good but they are sandwiches for cripes sake. Hard to get psyched over a sandwich and a damn dill slice. The best thing we have going is the Swiss Chalet. Nice people. Excellent food. is very pricey. I'm not saying it's not worth it. We've gone there a few times and it's always impeccable. I just don't make that much money. All I'm saying is that there's gotta be a middle ground between the Swiss Chalet and...shit with a high likelihood of hair. The Ute?? No. Them and Bucks (which is now closed) are both a serious gamble. Now I've had a few drinks at both places but even then I'm calculated about what I drink. Tap beer? Not likely. Those lines are filthy. Bottled beer only and only if I can watch it being opened and see it for the entire trip back to me. I'll also mention that I saw one of the saggiest and wrinkliest titties there late one night. It was enough to trigger my gag reflex. That about sums up the dining in Woodland Park. Feel free to let me know if you're ever in town. We can go for a ride. Chase trout. But...we will eat down the mountain.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This morning I found my way to the garage at 8:30 with the hopes of getting the Honda to fire up for the first time in 2 years. First I had to install what remained of the left side exhaust. It was essentially straight pipes. They went on quickly and then I re-checked all my previous work. I grabbed the tank which was still on the bike but not bolted down and the fuel line right after the petcock valve ripped. So I grabbed a dog and walked over to the auto parts store to get more fuel line. I repaired the line and mounted the tank. I put the key in and hit the starter button. It turned over but that's all it did. I did this dance for a few more minutes and then went back to basics. The first thing I did was pull a plug. It was wet with gas. I checked for spark and it was great. I knew I had fuel at the petcock and at the carbs but I didn't know if it was getting through to all the carbs. So I checked the drains in the bottom of the bowls. All four had fuel but it looked like shit. It smelled worse. Bad fuel. 

I took the tank back off and drained all 4 bowls. I emptied as much from the tank as I could. I put in fresh gas and washed out as much of what was left in the tank as possible before reinstalling it. I hooked up the fuel line and cranked it a few times to get fresh gas running through the carbs. I drained the bowls until I finally had fresh gas coming out. After several hours of fooling with things it still would not start. Frustrated, I went inside to sit with the dogs and have a coffee. After an hour, I went back in the garage and tried a few more times. Same thing. Then I looked at the top of the triple tree and saw a knob. I didn't even know there was a choke. I pulled the choke out, hit the starter and the thing fired right up. I didn't let it run for long but I started it 4 more times and each time it started right away. I know the compression is totally screwed up so I ordered the exhaust and it should be here in a few days. 

This is what the shitty varnish in the tank looked like. 

I don't have much experience with motorcycles at all. In fact, the biggest repair I've done on one was a valve adjustment. This has really been fun. I keep looking at the bike and seeing it change to something I'd dig. Get rid of all the extra bullshit like crash bars, fenders, big lights, silly mag wheels, high rise bars, wind screen, etc. Put on some spoked wheels with black rims, clip on bars, LED brake light and turn signals, and put on bigger tires. Something with subtle knobs. I'd also strip it down and clean it all really well, do some minor body work on the tank and then see if Eric Barr from Ground Up would paint it some color with loads of metal flake and then have him hand stencil Honda. The bigger issue now is will my friend let me keep it? He didn't seem amused when I reminded him that the title was in the repair manual that he brought along to help me out.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today I had to clean the garage up. I can only tolerate so much disarray. After putting all the tools back in their respective spots, moving the bike out and cleaning the floor, I wheeled it back inside and went back to work. I went through all the nuts and bolts to make sure they were tight. This thing was a death trap. The triple trees were loose. The throttle and handlebar controls were all loose. It was terrifying. I think things are relatively safe now. 

I added some sort of additive to the oil that is supposed to help seal internal leaks because there looks to be a leak starting under the heads and that's a bit more than I'm comfortable with getting into at this stage of the game. I finished swapping out the swapping out the spark plugs (despite all the horror stories I had read online, I didn't think plug #3 was any more difficult than the rest). I still have not swapped the wires yet. On these old CB's the wire at the coil simply gets screwed on (almost like some hydraulic mountain bike brakes). At the plug end there's just a boot. So as long as the boot is ok, you can really just swap the wires. I'm going to hold off on that for now but I have 5 feet of wire sitting on the bench. I threw in a new battery, turned the key on and the lights came on for the first time in 2 years. I'm not gonna lie. It was kind of exciting. I still need to re-install the left side exhaust. At this point, the entire exhaust really consists of just straight pipes. So I called it a night. I expect this thing to be incredibly loud and don't need to piss off my neighbors. So in the morning we'll see if it comes to life. If it does, I fully expect it to run like total shit. After placing the order for the exhaust, I should have them in my hot little hands within 7 days. Then I'll know how things are gonna be. I won't lie again. I'm beginning to like this motorcycle. I think it would be cool to ditch a lot of the extra crap on the bike like the fenders, 80's style lights, crash bars, luggage racks, and the ugly ass front windshield and head off in the direction of a cafe racer. I also think it would be cool to put some spoked wheels on it because mags blow and then put some bigger tires on with some tread. Interestingly enough, I don't think I'd lower it any. And yes...the odometer is right. 8,XXX miles.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More Honda

I love to tinker on things and I've always been fascinated with motorcycles but I don't have all that much experience with them. As a kid, I had a little Honda dirt bike but not for long. I crashed while learning to ride it and that was the end of that. When I moved out here, I bought a pristine XR250 and had it for a while before selling it and then upgrading to an XR400 which...I crashed and got hurt on. I ended up selling it not long after that but I always look at them when I see them. What's odd is that I've had some pretty bad crashes while racing bicycles but I never stopped doing that and I have never been afraid of riding them. Why I get scared on something with a motor is a mystery to me. Truth be told, I never approached the motorcycle thing in the right way. Never did a rider safety course and the last crash was entirely because I was riding way beyond my ability level. There are still times where I think something like a BMW F800 or a KTM Adventure would be so nice out here to explore the fire roads on and go camping in a very similar style to what I do on the mountain bike. 

None of my dirt bikes were ever as dirty as this CB650 is. I hate dirt. If it were mine, I'd strip a lot of stuff off it and power wash it.'s not mine so I'll just fix what needs fixing and try my best to ignore the rest. Always baffles my people don't take better care of their things. I think it was my friend Ethan that once commented about how all my bicycles always look like they just rolled off the showroom floor. Generally, they functioned that way too. I think that goes back to as a kid and growing up, I didn't have a lot of "things" so I took very good care of the ones I did have. Anyways.  

This is the left side of the motor with the cover removed along with the sprocket and chain. There are really 2 seals here. One is on the shifter shaft where it enters the motor and the other is on the counter shaft. I am pretty sure that all of the oil was coming out of that shifter shaft seal. It's so loose that I could start wiggling it out with just my finger nails. Before I take it out, I wanted to at least clean the area that was going to be exposed so there would be less chance of dirt getting inside the motor. 

After about an hour of cleaning and scraping, this is what it looks like. Much better but my OCD started to fan out and soon I was trying to get all of the grime off the frame and kickstand. I had to quit because soon I would have started pulling the motor entirely. I really did not do much cleaning around the counter shaft area. It looked really nice. I do not think that seal is leaking. My plan was to replace it while I was already there but I think you have to split the engine cases to get it out and I'm not going that far.

I did remove the foot pegs and kick stand to give them a good cleaning. So far this has been a fun project to start the summer off with. I've always thought about getting an older bike to fool around with and Heather and I have always liked the early CB's. We would like to make one into a cafe racer but I honestly don't think I could ride it that way with my neck issues getting worse as I get older and I don't care for the stock styling of the bike.

So it sits like this until my friend gets me the parts I need to continue on. He actually has them but he lives up in Keystone so I just have to wait for him to run them over which may happen tonight. My plan now is to replace that shifter shaft seal and then change the oil and filter, put it back together, install new plugs, clean the air filter, install a new battery and see if it fires up. If it does fire up, I expect it to run like total shit because of those rotted out pipes. As long as it does start, then he can order new exhaust and ship it my way.

Heather and I went to a graduation party last night for about an hour. We drank a beer and chatted a while. This guy was seated at the table near us. I took his picture because just his face and his voice were spot on with Danny from the show King of Queens. I was amazed and kept staring at him.

Monday, May 27, 2013


This morning I brought this home on a trailer. My original plan was to bring it home and then tell Heather that I had just decided on my own to buy it but the cat was let out of the bag a few nights ago so she already knew. It's a 1981 CB 650. It belongs to a friend of mine. He lives a ways away from here and it's been in storage. He doesn't have a place to work on it and he's not very mechanically inclined so he asked if I would go get it and see if I could get it running. I don't know much about motorcycles but it seems to be in fairly decent shape. 

The tall windscreen is kinda dorky looking but I'm sure it helps a lot.

It for sure needs a new exhaust. All 4 pipes are rotted out. I'm going to start by putting in a new battery and new plugs. It also HAD an oil leak. I say had only because it appears to have leaked out all of the oil. So I need to find the source, fix it, and then throw on a new filter and fill it with fresh oil. The oil leak is where I started today. I pulled the exhaust, crash bars, and the sides of the motors off so that I could see more.

This looks to be the biggest issue. On the left of the picture and behind that shaft is the oil pump. The shaft is actually the shifter shaft. Right where it enters the motor, there's a seal under all that sludge. I believe it is puking out oil. So I'm gonna put a new seal in. Also just above that is the counter shaft sprocket. Behind that is another seal. I'll probably go ahead and do that too because they're cheap and appear to be pretty easy to replace. Then I suppose I'll fill it with oil and see if it leaks.

I'll post more photos of the process. I've only worked on it for a few hours now but it's fun. I've always wanted to have a manageable project and wondered if a motorcycle would be one.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Subaru stuff

On the way to Moab last week, I had some trouble from the green car. I never have trouble with the green car. It's a Japanese car that runs like a damn Swiss watch. Or...usually does. I was having weird over heating issues. The stock gauge is kind of an idiot gauge in that it doesn't show true temperature values. It just lets you know when there is an issue on either extreme end. The needle on the gauge was indicating an overheating issue but the needle moved very quickly. Too quickly, I think, to actually be indicative of an issue. It would be odd for the motor to heat up 40-50 degrees in 5 seconds and then come back down to normal temp. My first thought was to either the gauge itself flaking out, the wiring, or the sending unit. After a bit of research, I found out that the sending unit for the gauge on this motor is actually the same one that communicates with the ECU and lets it know how much fuel to tell the injectors to spray based on the motor temp. This is really odd because I know I have seen a 2002 RS (same motor) that had a separate sending unit (single spade connector) for the gauge. Mine does not. I also replaced that sending unit several months back because of a weird start up issue that I was having on cold mornings so I was pretty sure it wasn't that. 

Every time I had the over heat issue on my trip, there was no pattern to it (sometimes it would show higher temps while coasting down a pass) and each time it did it, I could pull over and turn the motor off for 5 minutes and all was fine. I find it hard to believe that the motor would cool that quickly if it truly was overly hot to begin with. Certainly, this could be a water pump, thermostat, or radiator issue but I wanted to rule out the electrical gremlin first. So I decided to install another water temp gauge. I considered just getting a cheap ass gauge from Autozone and wiring it up and simply setting it somewhere in the car but I can't do that. So I ended up buying a gauge from Prosport along with a gauge pod for the A-pillar. The next issue was where to put the second sending unit. The factory one is on the crossover pipe below the intake and, frankly, it's a bitch to get at and I would have to remove a lot of stuff to be able to drill/tap into it just so that both sending units could read the same fluid. In the end I decided that it didn't really matter what fluid the gauge read. I just needed to know if both gauges were going to fluctuate. So I decided to install a simple splice into the upper radiator hose (this is at least fluid that is coming right out of the motor). 

I didn't take many pics during the install because there's really not much to see. I pulled the A-pillar, figured out where I wanted the pod to be, drilled some holes, installed some hardware, ran some wires under the dash, and put the A-pillar back in place. I was not really happy with the fit of the gauge pod but that's what I get for buying it off ebay. I did finally get it to fit pretty nicely after making some adjustments to it. Here it is all mounted up and, really done. 

This is the splice kit I used. Just figure out where you want it, remove a chunk of hose and re-attach everything.

Oddly enough, while running wire to the engine bay, I happened to notice this vacuum line was disconnected from the idle air control valve. It was a bitch to get back (super tight space) so I don't know how this just popped off. It couldn't have. Not sure what to think. Also not sure why my car hasn't thrown a code either. I was hoping to reconnect it and have like 50 more horsepower but that didn't happen.

The Prosport gauge is interesting. It has 5 wires. One to ground, one to the sending unit (an additional ground coming off the sending unit), 2 for 12 volt power, and 1 for 12 volt power with the headlight switch. All said and done, the gauge reads white like the first picture but switches to red when you turn the lights on. Pretty cool. Normally, having a different color gauge than my cluster would drive me crazy but the next car I think I'll be getting has a red cluster and that's why I did it. Now I just drive and wait for the motor to show hot again so I can see if I'm looking for something bigger. I should also mention that these motors are prone to over heat issues when they get an air bubble in the cooling system so I burped the system after opening it up to install the splice. Now we wait.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recent Happenings

For about a week now, my neck issue has flared up again in a big way. Two nights ago I thought I was going to puke from the pain. I finally got in to see my doctor today. He thinks the degenerative issues with the discs continues to get worse in my old age. Like Raylan Givens says, "Gettin' old aint for pussies." So I go back to see the spinal folks again soon here to talk about getting another Cortisone injection but I don't know that I wanna do that every nine months. In the meantime, I am on some pain killers and muscle relaxers so I can sleep. Surgery really can't fix this issue may be time for me to consider what bike riding looks like from now on. Not exactly sure how I feel about this. We'll see. 

I have 2 more days at my current teaching job and then it's summer break. After 8 years with this current district, I will now call Academy 20 School District home from now on. I am very excited about this move. I simply no longer agree with the direction in which Woodland Park is heading in with regard to my students and I can no longer support it. I got a very good impression from the new administration during the interview and, since then, have heard amazing things about them. I have a half day tomorrow at Woodland but the principals at the new school I will be at (Timberview) asked me to come down for a tour. They also asked if I would come down on their last day next week (my vacation) and be introduced to their staff and join them for lunch so that on the first day, I would feel more a part of the team. Can't wait. 

And finally...I don't know that I have ever blogged about an issue with the green Subaru. She is Ole Reliable. 274,000 and going strong. She recently started giving me trouble in the way of overheating. I do not know yet if it's truly overheating or if I am dealing with a gauge, sending unit, or wiring issue (which is the way I'm leaning right now based upon the symptoms). I have some stuff on order and will be working on it this weekend and will post more about that. At this point, I feel like I simply have to see 300,000 on the odometer so this has to get sorted. People that know me think I will run right out and get a new car with this new job but I really do like the green Subie and would like to hang on to it for another year or two. I have also thought that it would make the perfect rallycross car and I've been interested in exploring that for a while now but I don't know if I want 4 cars in the driveway. Shuffling 3 is bad enough. 

That's it for now. Very excited for this next chapter in life and to see what it brings. Thanks for checking in. 

Kokopellis Trail

This is a short video I put together of some of the images I took while riding this trail.

Kokopellis Trail from Chris Neumann on Vimeo.