Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Some sunflowers and other pretties on the side of the road
At the intersection I stopped for a bit to get a drink of water. Took a few pics of some wildfllowers and made a new plan on getting back to Wichita.
A pretty shot of some sun and shade
I wasn't going that way this morning, but I bet the produce is good. This is serious farming country
On the southeast part of Wichita was an old (now closed) amusement park known as "Joyland". I though it might be interesting to ride by and see what kind of shape it was in. It was primarily for grade school age children. But there was a rather unique old wooden roller coaster there as well.
I had an acquaintance that said he worked there as a teenager. He said his first duty each day was to "walk" the roller coaster with a couple of wrenches and tighten any bolts that might be loose. He said there were always loose bolts.
It sure appears to be a lonely looking park now. If you listen, you can try to imagine the laughter and screams of children on the various rides when the park was in its hey-day. That was a long time ago.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
At 4:30 I was tested by my photographic ability to take a picture in almost no light. I used the flash. It was easier, and I wasn't real awake yet.In fact it was 4:30 am and still very dark outside. I was captivated by the smells of the air on a lazy Sunday morning: The meat was drunk after spending a night bathing in a copious amount of Jack Daniels. The aroma of the alcohol was present as I put on a rub of fresh grown herbs (from our garden), salts and sugars. The smell of the oak and mulberry starting to burn in the firebox of the smoker was somehow sort of sensual.
The drunk meat is placed on the cooker after a generous application of a rub.Then there were the sounds. The birds were starting to chirp. I wonder what they actually say to each other at this early time. The neighbor's outdoor fountain was making its usual sounds. They have a tall privacy fence. We can't see the fountain, but can hear it. An occasional car would go by on Woodlawn Ave just a couple of houses away. The neighbor's yippy dogs were asleep. No complaint about that. It was very quiet.
There is something very primitive or tribal in nature to the process of burning wood. A charcoal base is used just to get things started. All wood fuel thereafterThe sky was just barely starting to turn lighter as the sun neared the horizon. It would still be awhile before the sun made a blazing appearance. The full moon bathed the yard in a soft light as only the moon can.
Crappy attempt to get a shot of the barely light sky, but you get the idea.
Eventually, as time marched on, the dogs let me know what time it was. I had just put new wood on the fire and went back into the house to feed them. Later today it would get hot, maybe with some thunderstorms, but this morning I was enjoying the cool air and being outside in it. It could only have been better if I was out riding on this absolutely beautiful morning.
A shot toward part of the garden as the light continues to slowly invade the back yardI went back outside. I got out the laptop and finished up a couple of scheduled posts to the blog. The sun eventually made its appearance and the newspaper arrived. I picked up a few "dog bombs" from the yard knowing that other humans were coming by today and wanted to be sure that there were no "hazards" in the yard.
Monday, June 7, 2010
A box containing a battery, a charger and some extra coolant. A good friend is invaluable.In trying to diagnose what my problem was, there seemed to be two possibilities: 1) I had a weak battery, pretty simple to fix. Or 2) There was a short somewhere causing a drain to the system. Would be potentially hard to track down and difficult to isolate. The timing of the starting problem closely coincided with the time that my scooter was in the repair shop. I didn't like those guys anyway. And the battery store said the battery was good and should maybe last 5 years or so (it was only 2 years old). So it was easy to assume I had a problem that might be tricky to solve.
The exposed valve tappets on the bottom of the engine. We thought we might have to disassemble all of the body panels off the scooter to get at them, but turned out it wasn't that bad. Just a little inconvenient. We did have to take part of the floor off. A repair stand would help at this point but a little garage floor dust never hurt anybody.Why is it that we sometimes assume the worst? Is it human nature? Is it because I had such a bad experience at that repair shop? But anyway, Max is now back to being his old dependable self. All is well with the universe. I have now learned a lot about Max with the help of my good friend. I have changed the engine oil, changed the gear oil, flushed and refilled the coolant, changed the spark plug, replaced an air filter and even inspected the valve clearances. The valves were all spot on and didn't need adjusting. I know how to do all these tasks now. And I replaced the battery.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
A view of the "Man Cave" from the driveway.
We all looked a bit older, much shorter hair, some with gray hair, etc., but we were still the same crazy people in many respects. We recalled various events and spent a lot of time asking each other things like "Do you know where so and so is now?" or "Who was that guy that did that crazy thing that day at the lake".One fun thing we did is tell each other about our kids, what our experiences were like in raising children, etc. There were some good (and some maybe not so good) stories told about our kids. We made the Catholic couple amongst us go last because we knew it would take awhile. It did. They have 5 kids, most of the rest of us, just 2. But we are all very proud of our offspring. There were supposed to be 6 of us there along with some of the wives. One guy didn't make it to the party, and we spent some time telling tales about him to his detriment. His loss. In the group I ran around with, there were 3 of us named Jim (one being the guy that didn't show up) and that got sort of confusing at the time. So the 3 Jim's were known by their last names instead. My nickname was "Roger" then.
Are your screwdrivers and hammers this organized?
The stories were many and too lengthy to describe here. The laughter was raucous, the food fantastic and the fellowship even better.
Oh well, maybe I'll tell one story.
Warning! This story, very true, is not for those that are faint of heart.
One time the frat rented a school bus and took maybe about 50 of us to a Kansas City Royals baseball game. The Royals had a fairly new stadium and were somewhat competitive in those days. George Brett and Frank White were a couple of the stars on the team.
We sat in the cheap seats just beyond right field
It was a hot August day. We all had our shirts off and basked in the warm August sunshine. Of course there was a fair amount of beer consumption. We all sat together in the cheap seats in right field. We had fun heckling whoever was the right fielder for the opposing team right in front of us.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, the score was close, but the Royals were down a run. There was a runner on base. Two outs and George Brett came to the plate. Now, George was a left handed batter, a great hitter (notorious for the "pine tar" incident) and when he hit the ball he generally pulled the ball to right field where we were conveniently sitting. Thoughts of "Mighty Casey at the bat" and saving the day crossed our minds as he sauntered up to the plate. Plus, wouldn't it be cool for one of us to catch a walk off home run ball that won the game?
The crowd was excited, tension was high. A couple of pitches later George took a swing. The ball took off like a rocket, a hard line drive seemingly headed to the right of us toward center field. The ball looked like it was long enough to be a home run. Could it be that George would save the day?
But as the ball approached, we could see a lot of spin to the hit and the ball started curving toward us. Cries of "Oh Shit" were uttered as we all stood up, hurriedly put down our beers, stretched out our arms and hands in a vain effort, in our somewhat inebriated state, to try and catch the ball.
But as you can imagine, the possibility of catching the curving and speedy missile was going to be difficult. Our reaction times were not good and the ball eventually hit a guy very close to me in the chest, bounced off a seat and was captured by a fan many rows away. The ball actually left a little imprint of the laces on his chest. It had to hurt!
But at the time we were not concerned for his health, we were just mad that he didn't catch it potentially preserving another little trophy for the frathouse. Turns out he was okay, but he had a pretty nice bruise for his paltry effort.
We laughed like crazy as the crowd roared in celebration of the victory.
But that wasn't all that happened that day.............