What a whirlwind it’s been lately. I’ve been traveling again the last few weeks between having fun and work. Basically right after I got in town from California last week, we had to leave to head down to Red-Wing for a wedding, then the day I got back from there, I jumped back on a plane out east.
Before I bore you to tears with my whining about travel, I’ll whine about something else: this whole wedding thing. When I was younger, I used to hate weddings, I mean really hate weddings. I’d avoid them like the plague, most likely due to my hatred of dancing (seriously, I can’t stand having to dance, ask anyone who’s gone to a wedding with me!). I don’t even know if hatred is the right word, maybe ineptitude ( I thought I was making that word up, but amazingly enough my spell checker says it’s a real word!) at it. You’d think being a drummer and being really quite well coordinated, not clumsy type of guy that it would just come naturally. Keeping the beat of a song comes naturally, getting up in front of a big group of people and acting like I’m having some sort of full-body muscle contraction to the beat of a song (although that can be how it looks) doesn’t. It’s not like I haven’t tried, I’ve been through dance lessons 3 different times, at three different top-notch studios. I’m the guy that makes the dance instructors bald, they don’t have any hair left after they tear it all out trying to teach me. Anyways, the main means for passing time at a wedding is usually dancing, hence my dislike of weddings…
Complete side note: The best thing from a wedding attending standpoint that’s happened to me has been meeting Jeff Greenwood. He’s amazing in that he not only knows just about everyone I know, but he loves to dance with anyone. So as long as I know Jeff’s going to the wedding, I can at least count on him taking some heat off me by dancing with my wife for a few songs. He should get some kind of Nobel prize that, really.
Where was I? Oh yeah, weddings… So we went to the wedding of Beth’s old housemate Doug this weekend (I feel I must put in a comment here that I don’t hate marriage, or the wonderful things we’re celebrating at a wedding, it’s really just the dancing!). It was a spectacular wedding, about as good as they get. We drove down Friday afternoon for the actual ceremony, which took place on a small farm outside of town. It was a nice small ceremony, about 30 people I’d guess, and the evening was absolutely perfect. Everything went off without a hitch (well, except for them getting hitched, I guess that’s a bad expression to use for a wedding…) and we all headed over to the St. James hotel in Red Wing for a fantastic dinner. After dinner we basically drank and chatted all night until the bar kicked us out (which was a good thing based off how some of the group was looking). We were all set at tables of six people (three couples), and we were randomly placed with two other wonderful couples. After some conversation, we discovered we all knew mutual friends through absolutely unique connections, proving once again how small the world really is. One couple knew quite a few folks I knew through a running group she trains with. We all instantly hit it off, and I think Beth and I came away with a few new friends.
The next day (Saturday) was the real “reception”. The gathering of the many, many people Doug and Christy knew and wanted to share their marriage with. They held it at a city park in Red-Wing, right on the river. No formalities, shorts and t-shirts were the attire, catering by Famous Dave’s and great music all day long. One of the highlights was finding out that Doug happened to know Dave Boquist (Guitarist for Sunvolt and Uncle Tupelo) and that Dave was playing along with another friend of his and his son.
So between them, and Doug’s friend JR who flew in from California we had incredible music pretty much the whole day (and no dancing! Woo-hoo). The weather was as perfect as you could ask for, sunny and 80 pretty much all day. A good time was had by all.
We came back Saturday night, then celebrated our one year wedding anniversary on Sunday. We celebrated in pretty much the only way we seem to know how these days, by working on our house… Yup, that’s the kind of natural born romantic I am. Well not really, but we had some stuff that we absolutely had to get done before I left town again that night so that Pat could pour concrete this week. So while Beth did some painting, I tamped the dirt in my garage down and layed the insulation and re-mesh down. Once that was in place, we layed the pex tubing for the radiant heat in and tied it to the re-mesh. We worked at a mad pace trying to get it all done, I soldered up an air header to pressure test it and had to leave for the airport before I could get it hooked up. Beth finished up the rest while I was out of town though, and I think we’ll be able to get some concrete down this week if the endless rain ever lets up. Yes, once again it’s been raining since I left, and it’s washing all kinds of dirt back into the garage, this time on top of my insulation though. What can you do…
Well that’s about it for now.
Thank God we put up gutters and laid down plastic to do some stormwater control before I left town Sunday. I didn't realize until I got home that we got 5" of rain here Tuesday night! This one trumps all the measly 2"+ storms we've been having this year. This was the largest rain I've seen since moving back to MN.
Amazingly enough, all the water controls seemed to have worked great. We had almost no water in the garage and only a small amount of dirt fill. I can only imagine what kind of hurt I'd be feeling right now if we hadn't got the gutters and plastic up!
Hopefully we're almost done worrying about this as Pat is planning on pouring the garage floor at noon today. And once that's in we can get the driveway guy out here to pour that, then get the retaining wall in place and be done worrying about erosion and run-off in the yard.
Had another first this morning, I had to scrape the windows on the Miata. Since we don't have a garage, all the cars are living in the street, and I've never had the miata out in weather as cold as it was this morning. Not that 32 degrees is really that cold, but it's cold for Oct 7th! Heck, it took two tried to turn it over this morning (it's really a summer car, the battery is tiny).
Another first, and the one I'm the most excited about is the arrival of the first batch of Bob Brown Cycles / Kenwood Racing waterbottles. I've been wanting to make something like this up for a while, but it all takes $$$$. But just in time for the 'cross season, they arrived. I don't have a picture right now, but here's the artwork on each side of the bottles (don't worry, they look much better than the bad resolution that Jpgs seem to take on this blog site):
I've got 2 sizes and 2 colors in each size, all super-schweet! let me know if you want any, I'll try to get the up on the web-site sometime soon. I'm actually working on a new page with items for sale on my web-site. So keep checking back.
This weekend should entail lots of bike work. I'm hoping to get most of a frame built this weekend, and still find time to do the 'cross race at Lake Rebecca sunday. I may be dreaming though...
Before the real ranting begins, some good stuff happened this weekend. Pat finished up the concrete in the garage, and hauled off the last of the excess dirt from our yard. In fact, he regraded the front yard and it actually looks like front yard again!
Saturday he hauled off 12 truckloads of dirt, which brought the grand total to 41 truckloads which were hauled off during this project, those are 16 cubic yard trucks, but they weren't totally full, so figure about 12-14 yards per truck, that's over 500 cubic yards of dirt! I'm glad I didn't take the advice of a few friends and just rent a bobcat and a trailer for a weekend! I'd still be digging.
I also got in some good shop time this weekend. Got the main triangle of the next frame all brazed up and I'm working on the rear. No pictures yet, but soon.
Sunday I did my first cx race for the year. It was a perfect day, sunny and about 55 at the start. I knew going in that I wasn't in racing shape, but man did I discover that even more during the race. I decided to do the B race since I'm so out of shape, but I soon learned there may be some benefit to just sucking it up and doing the A race.
The B race was huge, 62 people in it, racing on a course that was big enough for about 30. Apparently 'cross really took off this year, the field has gotten huge, which seems like a good thing, but it's really starting to resemble a sport mtb race: a heard of people who have no idea what they're doing, but all confident that they're going to win the race on the first lap. The start sucked, just people everywhere. It seemed like things were improving in the first narrow section until we got to the first dismount. It became very obvious I was surrounded by people who had no idea how to properly dismount and remount in a crowd, it was a wreck, not even close to fun.
Within about 200' of the remount, something happened, I'm not sure what, either I hit something really hard, or someone hit my back wheel, causing it to come out of the dropouts. No crash, but I had to stop and fix it, which took about a minute, and promptly put me in dead last place on the first lap. Oh well, what can you do but hit it and hit it hard. I hammered the rest of the laps as hard as I could, with way too much adrenalin from my anger at being last. I thought maybe I was hitting it a little too hard when I felt the cramps starting in my quads, but luckily it was the bell lap, so I knew I just had to make it around one more time. I thought I could hold'em off, but no such luck, at the last remount my left quad cramped pretty hard. Thankfully it was all downhill to the finish and I was able to coast in.
I ride singlespeed in these races, which seems to be pretty rare now. Never used to be a disadvantage, but if the courses are going to be a crappy as this one was, I don't know... I'd like to publicly state to that these are supposed to be cyclocross races, not road races run on grass. There were a grand total of 2 individual barriers on this entire course, both simply put at the bottom of a gradual hill, which most people were able to ride up. That's lame. I mean LAME!!!
The new USCF rules pretty well killed the sport of 'cross last year by specifying all the limitations on course design, but this weekend's course took that to a whole new low by getting rid of basically all the barriers. It was literally a road race with some grass and gravel thrown in.
here's hoping next weeks course is better... at least I know the last race of the year will be good.
Speaking of crappy things, I tried to use my printer at home again this weekend. It sucks. It's an Epson, and it really sucks. It's not that it prints poorly or anything, but Epson apparently has decided it has too much market share, so they're going to try and reduce that by pissing off customers.
The damn thing takes 4 ink cartridges, when I bought it, the idiot sales guy claimed this was a "feature". Well they put a chip in each cartridge that knows the date the cartridge is installed and it has a pre-programmed life in it. So even if you never print anything with cyan in it, in like 90 days your printer will tell you it's out of cyan in and it will not allow you to print ANYTHING until you replace said cartridge. Well, if you print a lot of only black ink, you're forced to buy not only a new black ink cartridge when it runs out, but you'll have to buy 3 new color cartridges at the same time or the printer will refuse to print anything. Did I mention the cartridges are like $17 a pop? This is absolutely nothing other than a scam. A quick google search even showed that there was a whole host of consumer action lawsuits against Epson for this practice. Bastards.
I know I for one will never buy another Epson product as long as I live, infact I went out yesterday and bought an HP printer since I didn't feel like spending $75 in ink to make my damn Epson work (incidentally the printer cost less than that to buy).
I hate scams...
Oh boy - here we go again... ;) The business about the "smart" printer carts is totally insane bogus. When you were describing it I was thinking "Boy, that would be nice to only have to replace the one ink you're out of at a time." But, $75 four times per year? Insane.
Well, Monday night was the end of a short era. Pat finished up the last of the final touches, packed up his stuff and moved on. It's actually kind of odd not having him around. He's been coming over every night after work for so long, we just kind of got used to him.
Sad to see him go 'cause he's a nice guy, but we're really happy to have the work done. Now we have to focus on the work we have to do. Next step is finding someone good to do the drywall taping and mudding (anyone got a good recommendation in St. Paul?). I need to get the garage door up, Beth's hitting the exterior painting with both barrels this weekend. Next week we'll get a driveway, then we have to do the retaining wall after that. We're both hoping our budget holds up enough to be able to hire out the wall.
It's been really hard to hire out a lot of this stuff at the end. You see, I actually really enjoy working on my house, and I'd like to do as much of this as possible (except sanding drywall, I hate that!), but the simple reality is I don't have the time. I was extraordinarily busy before we started all this, now it's out of control and I just want to go back to being extraordinarily busy! So I'm hiring out as much of the time intensive work that I can. After all, I have bikes that need building.
I have been sneaking in progress on the nature bike this week. The main triangle is all brazed up, and after much fine tuning of angles and tweaking of points, I'm quite happy with the results. I've been so busy working that I haven't taken any time to shoot photos yet though, so nothing to see, but soon... I have the chainstays all set to go, those are a big job all by themselves on wide-tired touring frames like this. I have to make my own s-bend chainstays to fit the huge tires the customer wants and still get the chainrings to clear the stay. Fortunately it's a heavy touring bike, so the chainstays are very thick walled, that makes bending a bit easier.
Ok, so I promise pictures of the house and some framework soon.
I thought for a change I'd talk about bike stuff this today. This past weekend was just incredible weather-wise, so I was excited about racing Sunday. I was also a little down about how bad the previous week's race was, both in layout and in my performance, so I wanted to prove to myself I can still ride 'cross.
If you'll recall, I basically went in to last week's race completely unprepared. Hadn't really ridden much in the previous month, and I really paid for it during the race. Well, I got back on the training this week (and hope to keep it up for a few more!) and rode just about every day. I changed my focus from practicing dismounts to just riding hard and running hard. My dismounts and remounts are not even close to my weakest link, it's my leg strength and lower back that always seem to give out first. So I ran lots of hill repeats and tried to get in a couple harder rides without all the dismounts.
It seemed to help Sunday. I went out hot, maybe a little too hot. Thorny led the pack out in the start and I somehow ended up about 5 people back from him (not sure how that happens riding a singlespeed in a race with a long flat start). Thorny led for a while, longer than I expected, and dropped back a couple places. After a few laps I caught him and he grabbed onto my wheel, I could tell we were both starting to hurt. We rode that way for like 3 laps in 9th & 10th places. I was feeling ok when he came around to take the pull, but right after he came around, I botched up a barrier (didn't get my foot out fast enough) and he lost me. Being the good guy he is, he waited up a bit, but I knew I'd only be slowing him down at this point, so I told him to go on (not sure if he ever heard me though). I kept him in site for the next few laps, and basically I rode the mid portion of the race along. I was about 40' off the back of the lead pack and Thorny, but there was nobody behind me, so I just focused on trying to keep the leaders in sight.
With 2 laps to go I really started to pop. My back was cramping and I could feel my quads on the verge, but thankfully the lap counter let me know I was almost done, which makes it much easier to push through the pain. Last lap, I could see a group of four closing in on me, one of which was Fride. I really didn't want him to catch me, so I gave it all I had, amazingly the cramps seemed to subside in the last half lap. I finished just in front of Fride and probably about 30 seconds back from Thorny. All in all a good race.
One low point, about halfway through the race, I took a GU in the straight section before the feed zone, knowing I'd get a water handup to wash down the GU (for those that have had them, you know you really NEED water after eating one). Well, I was coming in fast behind a slower rider into the feed zone. I was going to pass him, but then saw Beth was on the right and I'd have to cut him off really bad to get over to her for my handup. So I slowed down and tucking in behind him. Beth had my hand-up ready to go, reaching out with the bottle, and this guy tried to grab it! I panicked, and screamed at him that it was MY handup, not his. I think I scared the crap out of him, and about 20 feet later down the course I felt really bad. There was no need for me to yell at him like that, but when I turned around to apologize, he wasn't behind me. I have no idea where he went. So whomever you are, please accept my apologies. Poor form on my part.
One note on the course, after all my complaining last week. This week was a whole different story, the course was awesome. 6 barriers and it was a short lap, so there was essentially nowhere to recover. The only long flat section was full of rocks and roots, so it wasn't very restful. Well designed if you ask me, it required some 'cross skills to do it fast.
Backing up a day, Saturday was another really nice weather day. Beth took advantage of that and had a few folks come over to help her paint the outside of the house. They made good progress, but didn't quite finish up. Hopefully the weather will hold this week and we can wrap most of that up. While they were outside, I was inside with my Dad. We took out the last wall that needed to be demoed, then I patched in the drywall and made a new section of ceiling. Dad put in a new box for a light and a switch for it.
I hired a guy to hang my garage door for me, as I'm running pretty short on time these days. I think this may have been my biggest mistake so far. He sent his bother to install it, which seemed alright until I found out he hadn't installed this type of door before. He put it up pretty quick, but it didn't fit right and wouldn't clear my opener. I had bought the low-headroom track kit for it because I knew if wouldn't clear the opener otherwise, but this guy insisted that he didn't need that low-headroom kit. So he came back yesterday and made some changes so it would clear the track. I got home and tested it, and while it did just barely clear the track, the door hit the limit switch on the opener, so no-go. I think he'll be back again today, which will be his 3rd or 4th trip out to re-do it. Thank God I didn't pay him anything in advance. I really should have just installed it myself...
Ok, as promised, here are a few pictures of the nature lugs all brazed up too. I'm closing in on this one.
Once again, I'm already starting to dread the paintjob! It's going to tough masking all these guys, but it's gonna be one heck of a looker when it's done.
Glad to hear you're getting in some riding... this is the time of year for it for sure. Hmmmm, those pics sure do look nice!! ;-) -Me
Those pics sure do look nice! 'Specially that froggy! :)
It's been tough to actually get pictures of the house lately, it's pitch black when I leave for work in the morning, and I usually work until it's dark at night and don't think about taking pictures until it's too late.
But.... I finally shot some today.
here's how things are looking outside:
We took advantage of the warm weather last night and painted until dark. It's getting close now, just have to prime and paint that fascia board on the front side, then finish up the trim. We should probably get the gutters ordered up too so I can get those up before spring.
Here's our new front deck:
We decided to go this route instead of a concrete step. It's much easier for getting stuff into and out of the door, and it's a nice look. Probably have to wait until next year to stain it since we've got plenty to do before the snow flies already, and the green treated wood will be fine until we get to it.
The big excitement is the driveway, it's half in:
Now this is real progress. I suspect he'll pour the other side tomorrow. He needs to let this set-up so he can remove the center form before pouring the other half. This one should be less likely to crack since he's pouring it in many more sections than my old one (which was full of cracks). And of course the best part is, this one is almost flat!
As you can see from the picture, we have some serious retaining wall work to do yet. The first bid we got on that was sky high, so we're looking at all our options right now. I'm still getting a couple more bids, which I suspect will be lower, but there's a chance I may revert to the original plan of doing it myself.
We've had 2 drywall contractors out to give us bids on taping and mudding the drywall, and those seem to be pretty much in line with what I'd expect to pay. I hope to have that done in the next week or so. That should mark the end of the really messy work inside.
At this point I think we just need to focus on outdoor work. This warm weather can't hold out much longer. So I want to get that retaining wall up and a sidewalk and stairs in as soon as possible. And I need to install the new front door before too long or that will be a cold job as well!
So it's been what, a couple weeks since I got this nice new big door into my shop? As luck would have it, I already found a way to take advantage of it. I came across a knee mill that I really want, but I need to make some room in the shop first, so if anyone reading this needs a mill, I need to sell my old one:
I thought I had it sold this weekend, but the guy hasn't called back, and since he said he wanted to pick it up this past weekend, that seems like a good sign that he's out.
On to better topics. I attempted to race my CX bike this weekend. Didn't go so well, don't worry no broken bones or anything like that, really just stupidity on my part. I headed up to Ham Lake Saturday for the race and completely forgot how long it takes to get up there. I got there about 10 minutes before the start of the B race, so I decided to just do the A race (I had been on the fence about moving back up, but this made the decision easy). I had an hour to warm up and spectate at the B race, so I did. I was finishing up my warm-up and rode to the start expecting to find my place at the back of the pack, but instead found no pack. Somehow I missed the start. Thorny told me they went off like a minute before I got there, I just figured he was pullin' my leg as usual. Nope, I missed it. So I went up and told the officials I'd just jump in behind the pack when they came around, so mark me as down one lap on the field. No problem I figured, it wasn't like I was going to be competitive with this group anyways, what's one less lap?
So I jumped in after everyone came through, went down the long straight road section, took the first sharp turn into the barriers and felt my rear tire slide out from under me and promptly plowed right through the first barrier. Nice move... I got up and fixed the barrier, but found that I had torn the bead out of my back tire. Never had that happen before, I mean the Kevlar was hanging out, and the tire was almost brand new! Turns out Thorny had done the same thing to the same tire last year, guess I won't be buying those again.
Of course I was at the farthest point out on the course and my rear wheel is completely flat, so I start the walk back. I think they did three laps in the time it took me to walk back. Wasn't hardly worth riding anymore, so I packed it up. What a waste of my time even heading out there. I rode a nice warm-up, then about 1/3 of one lap and that's it.
The good news was I felt pretty fresh when I got home, so I dug out the footing for the retaining wall on half the driveway.
Sunday I was thinking about doing the Powderhorn CX race but ended up working all day digging the rest of the retaining wall trench, or at least most of it. I didn't quite finish it up because we hit a big area of clay filled with rock. I spent 2 hours digging about 5' of trench in this stuff. Guess I'm going to have to hit it with a pick-axe tonight to finish it up. That is, if my back holds up, yesterday worked it over pretty bad.
The good news is Pat will be back on site for a little bit. He's going to be helping me put in the retaining wall. I'm trying to do as much myself as possible since we're rapidly running out of money, but I just don't have the time to do it all. So this works well, he'll get the materials and help me out on an hourly rate basis. Have I told you how highly I recommend Pat?
The really big news over the weekend is that we actually parked our cars in the garage! This is a huge deal for us, after 3 months of partially blocking the street. I need to finish up the garage door seal and wiring, but it works for now and we're inside!
Are you pouring a wall or are you using interlocking blocks?
Chester said my frame is on the way, and he thinks I'll be stoked. We'll have to wait and see.
That title basically summarizes the last few weeks of my life. I feel like I've done nothing but dig and haul dirt for the last 2 weeks since I've been working on this retaining wall. I estimate I've now dug and wheelbarrow-ed away about 15 yards of sand, then refilled the trench for 3 yards of class V material, then a couple more inches of sand on that. Top it off with running a power compactor over it Saturday and you've got one nice recipe for a sore back.
So I thought I'd take a break from all that work Friday and just move some really heavy machinery instead!
I sold my mill to a nice guy who I think is going to get really good use out of it. I'm happy that he bought it, and he's happy to have it, good deal all around. And of course that means I was able to finally get the real knee mill I've always wanted.
I had run across this mill a couple weeks ago by accident. I wasn't really looking for one, but this one caught my eye. It's a Millrite unit from the early 70's (which is pretty darn new by machine tool standards). It's a really nice size for my shop, that was the main feature, it's about 75% of a full size Bridgeport J-head in terms of size. It was also in impeccable condition and had power table feed and power quill feed, a nice upgrade from what I had. After I saw it initially, I decided to do some research and see what i could learn about that machine, and see what was locally available in similar machines to see if the price was fair. In that process, I can across Harvey Machinery, a local used machine tool dealer who was retiring and going out of business. He had a huge inventory and had prices marked about 1/3 of retail. He didn't have any good comparable vertical mills, but he had a couple Nichols horizontals, including one forlorn machine in the corner which had been scavenged for parts. I'd been looking for something like this too, for my tube mitering machine. It wasn't complete as a mill, but it had all the components I would need, so I asked about it. I was buying a few other things from him as well, so he basically gave me the thing in a package deal with everything else I bought.
So now I have two mills to move... So Friday I hitched up my Dad's trailer and made the rounds to the dealers. I ended up moving 2 mills, a reasonably large drill press, and a really heavy rotary table. Then I had to move my old mill out to make room for the new ones....
Thank God for engine lifts. I have a 2 ton'er, which works wonders in equipment like this. I got the old one out, it's pretty light (only 700 lbs). Then started moving the Millrite in. Naturally, it's bigger than the old one, so I decided it needed to go in a corner. That meant I had to move my jig as well (which is about 300 lbs). So I moved that, re-attached it to the wall, then placed the mill. Did a little more re-arranging of other stuff too, and I think I'm going to end up with a more-open feeling shop despite the bigger machines.
So here's the Millrite:
Like I said, it' s a really nice machine. Most of these had B & S #9 tapers, but this one came with an R-8 (which is a huge bonus). The table is full-size, 36" wide, the ways are perfect and it has very little backlash. As with all things this big, it's a 3 phase motor, so I'll have to deal with that, but a phase converter isn't too bad. Or I may replace the motor with a singlephase unit, it's a good design which makes that pretty easy.
Here's the Nichols:
This one is neat. It's more machine than I needed for tube cutting, but the price was right and it'll be really stable. Again, 3 phase motor, but this one is even easier to swap out for a singlephase. I'll probably be removing most of the control panel as I don't need most of that, as well as the air cylinder for the head adjustment. Anyone need some Nichols parts let me know I got a box of spare parts too! This one is surprisingly heavy for it's size, about 2000 lbs and it takes up about 2' x 4' of floor space!
I picked up a drill press too, an older Enco with 2 stage speed reduction, so it will run much slower than my old one. The old one was a little small for some of my uses anyways, so I'm happy to move up in size. the table is a little beat up, but I think I can re-machine it and make it like new.
It was funny, in the process of buying these and selling my old mill, I came across at least 4 people who saw my little Atlas lathe and wanted to buy it off me as well. I really like that one, but wish it were bigger. Good to know there's a strong demand should I decide to move up in the future.
I did some shop cleaning this weekend as well since I need space. I'm going to be starting a sale on misc stuff around the shop, lots of bike parts and some tools, so check out the same page I listed my mill on for updated sale items :
I'll try to keep it up to date as much as possible.
That title may seem like an obvious statement, but you never really get a feel for just how heavy it is until you move about 40,000 lbs of it. And yes, that's how much I've moved with this retaining wall so far (yes so far, meaning I've still got 1/3 of it to go!).
I knew building this wall wouldn't be easy, and I shouldn't complain, it's going much faster than I imagined it would. Not to mention, the results so far look fabulous:
Pat has been back the last 2 nights to help me out with it. As you may recall, I did all the prepwork last week to get ready. We laid down the base layer on this side of the driveway first, then I started building the wall while he cut the blocks to form the corner at the garage end. This random looking pattern in the block is really pretty tricky to do. It's not really random, but composed of 24" x 10" sections which vary in orientation and composition. So you really need to keep track of where you are as you go. We ended up taking out more than one section of block after realizing it was in wrong...
The good news is, I feel like I've pushed through the part of this kind of work that really hurts. You know where you wake up unable to even get out of bed the next morning. I now feel like it's a good workout, I wake up fairly refreshed in the morning. Sure my muscles are a little sore, but it's that good kind of sore like after a hard bike ride. I think that means I'm doing too much of this, my body is adapting to it! I guess I have spent almost 3 weeks now just digging, pick-axing and wheelbarrowing dirt and gravel. I haven't really ridden at all in the last 2 weeks, and I feel like I'm getting in better shape. weird.
We had 18 pallets of blocks delivered and each pallet weighs about 2250lbs. Then I got 6 yards of fill material to make the base layer and the back fill (and I'm going to be short on that). Plus I estimate I've dug out about 10 yards of dirt and hauled it off by hand in order to make the trenches. By my math, that equates to approximately 80,000 lbs of material. All of which I will have moved via manual labor when this is said and done! That's one heavy wall.
Not much new in the shop, I haven't really had a lick of time to spend in there aside from moving the new mills in. I did get a single phase motor for the vertical mill and mounted it, but I need to figure out how to wire it next. The thing has a nice Allen Bradly started and switch relay set-up on it, I'd like to see if I can use that with the single phase power, but I really don't know anything about how it works. But fortunately I have a brother that does! So I'm hoping he can spare a few minutes sometime to take a look and see if we can make it work. Otherwise I'll just rewire it all for single phase and get new switches.
I'm really excited to get that Nichols mill together though. The more I clean it up, the more I'm impressed with it. I went through the box of parts they included with it, and it appears that the machine was simply dis-assembled at one time and never put back together. The only thing that is actually missing from it is the hand-crank mechanism for the knee height adjustment. The head is set up with an automatic rise and fall though, so I don't really even need to move the knee for my purposes. However I might try to find that part just so the machine is complete.
well, that's about it for now. Check out my for-sale listing, things keep getting updated and I'm still adding items:
Many things are claimed already, but don't worry there's plenty to be unearthed yet!
Yeah, it's been one of those weeks. I'm definitely not running at 100%. I think I may have pushed a little too hard Sunday trying to get the north wall finished up. I did get it finished, but don't have any pics right now, it's always dark when I have time to take pictures....
Progress on anything has been slow this week due to my lethargy. As I said, the one wall is done and it looks great. The other wall is part-way up, but needs a bit more work. I probably won't get to it until the weekend though. Pat's going to get rid of the extra fill that's covering the area where the stairs need to go, so I think we should be able to finish things up this weekend with the wall and stairs.
There has been indoor progress, but no thanks to me. Our sheetrock taper has stared and has most of the initial layers done. He's just adding one final coat today, then spraying the ceilings Monday. It's really nice to see the walls taking shape, and the ceiling looking all smooth and finished.
I did get a little bit done in the shop this week too, pretty well finished up a frame and a couple other odd jobs. I think I've got everything ordered that I'll need to get my mills running and cutting tubes. Just waiting for those parts to arrive. Pretty soon I'll be back to spraying paint, which has been on hold for about 3 months now since I lost my spraying area. I'm pretty excited about that, since it means I'll get 3-4 frames out of the shop once they're painted.
Probably the biggest going-on is the State CX championships this weekend. Kenwood has always put this race on, and we're going all -out this year. We did some course cleanup work last weekend and laid out a few new sections. The last team meeting is tonight to plan out finishing touches. It's gonna be big, tents, red-bull arches, stairs, beer, chili, brats, and superfans everywhere. If you've never been to a CX race, this will likely be your best opportunity to check one out.
Even the local news got into it, the sports color guy at Kare11 did a segment on the upcoming race. It's pretty funny and features many local Kenwood greats:
There's Kenwoodies all over the footage, and some shaggy-haired yahoo in some other team kit commentating.
I'll be out there all day Sunday, so come on out, you might even get some BBC schwag stuff. Don't know if I'll race due to the recent sickness, but we'll see, I've probably done dumbing things before.
It's been a long week, thankfully it's nearing the weekend. We had the last official team meeting last night in preparation for the state CX race Sunday (you are coming, right?). It's gonna be big, huge, killer, the best ever. I'm pretty pumped just to be there, hopefully I'll even ride a little. I might even have a couple frames out there to display, so if you want to see a few in person, this is your big chance.
Since I was slacking this morning and didn't get into work as early I was finally able to get some pictures of the retaining walls in the daylight. So you can finally see what I've been whining about all this time. They're not totally done yet, but this weekend should fix most of that.
Here's the north wall:
This one is mostly done and backfilled. We still have to put the caps on the wall (which will cover the grooves you see on top of each block). I've also got to finish burying the second drainage line all the way to the street, but there's a big pile of dirt in the way right now.
Here's the south side wall:
This one still needs some more backfill, but it's mostly done. The stairs will be at the end of this wall, but once again there's a huge pile of dirt in the way of making them right now. Hopefully Pat will be taking care of that detail for me tomorrow.
Here's a closer shot of the wall, showing the pattern, or seemingly lack of pattern:
It's really a pretty neat idea they have going. The segments are a set of 4 smaller blocks, then you repeat those in an alternating pattern, which gives the impression of random stones.
I can definitely say that this has been the most labor intensive part of the project so far. I think when all is said and done, I will have moved about 80,000 lbs of concrete, rock and dirt! On the plus side I'm feeling really strong these days, and my back has been feeling much better, I think it's helped doing all this lifting. I weighed myself for the first time in a few months yesterday and I'm down to my normal racing weight, which is a good thing. Now if only I had my aerobic fitness back....
See you Sunday at the big race!
BB- Wow, beautiful work!! I love that wall... really pretty. See you both next week! -Me