Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time to say Happy New Year!

                                             Near Loon Lake, California several years ago

In about 4 and a half hours, this year will be over. So...Happy New Year!  Any new years resolutions?   Winter hasn't really set in here yet. There was more snow in the mountains a month ago. My back-country skiing partners and I might have to start rock climbing if we don't get some good storms soon.

One of my resolutions is to try and resemble my former self over to the left .  That was about 5 or 6 years and 25 pounds ago...  can't get the years back, but hoping to work on the weight. That was about the second or third pitch of an 'easy' climb in Yosemite, California. These are some scans of some panoramic shots Rick Willis took.

The pre-unit Triumph to the right there is a former Bud Ekin's bike that had just returned to the U.S. after being in Australia for a number of years. Shot that at San Jose several years ago. Wonder where it is now?  Put that there as inspiration to get going on my pre-unit Triumph.

The pile of rusty frame bits, is to remind me to get going on that project. Have been mulling over the design of a frame table. Have to get my Tig-welding sharpened up.  After looking at prices on some of the pre-unit stuff on 'E-Bay', I'm more determined than ever to salvage my frame.

So tune in later folks, for tales of playing, wrenching and riding- in Northern California.....where it might snow again, someday soon- we hope.

                                   Rappeling, or abseiling from a climb in Tuolumne Meadows
Rick Willis, my climbing partner looking fit...notice how his head resembles the back of a famous rock formation. Took this on the way to Tuolumne Meadows, just about one of the most beautiful places in California.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Time to say Merry Christmas...

          Mom's new 51 MPG Christmas gift behind the Prius, her "old" 2003 Toyota

         Snapped this brave soul on his 110 MPG Honda Express, commuting home from work

Good grief , where did the year go? Been running this little blog for about 8 months now. Starting to get the hang of it, sort of. Been busy lately and have fallen a little behind.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all out in Bloggerland , that might stumble upon this location occasionally. Here's to a new year coming. Stay tuned, the projects are gonna start rolling....uhhhhhh...yeah, they are going to!

Been thinking about some road trips to some bike shops here and there, to see what parts and supplies I can still find locally. That is, as soon as I inventory what I have on hand. Have had auto problems lately, but have secured a newish vehicle to run around in while repairs are made to the old Jeep. San Francisco and San Jose are close by, and there are quite a few shops in both cities. Los Angelos is a major trip from Sacramento, but might even venture down that way, do have lot's of relatives that way. Have to check out bike show schedules, and maybe coincide with one.

Been very cold here with little rain, and sadly little snow as well. We had more snow in the mountains a month ago. My back country ski stuff is set and ready to go . Might end up becoming a rock climbing winter. Check out the blog called 'Summit' . Some nice pictures of desert climbing on sandstone. Very different from granite. I've only climbed in the desert once several years back. The desert was an interesting place to camp out in. Maybe a trip to L.A. could be combined with some desert camping...hmmmmm? .Click here to go to desert climbing

Have a good Holidays you all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now where are those manuals? And my British tools...?

                                                     Mr. Marx, the doctor will see you now.
   (An old friend of mine, who survived to become a semi-respectable member of society)

Hate to admit it, but I don't think I remember everything I used to know about Triumph twins. Back in the day, when I was wrenching on the things for a living, didn't have to refer to a manual or spec sheet.  Time to get the library in order. I do remember that a pre unit 650 runs a shorter reach plug as compared to the unit 650's. You can bend a valve if you get that one wrong.Of course that is, if you are running the original head and not a later one.  (Don't ask me how I know that...). I should have the manuals and books I need. Tools, yes the tools. Those are going to need a good sorting.  Fortunately for me, I acquired most of the special tools for British bikes that used to hang on the wall at a long time shop in this area. When "Sarkee's" went out of business years ago, I was lucky enough to stop in as the old shop tools were being brought up to the sale tables. By this time Joe Sarkee had retired and sold the shop years earlier. Joe was quite a local "Motorcycle" legend and character . When Joe had the shop he sold British bikes, BMW's, Honda, and others. He had an interesting collection of old bikes in the shop as well. One I remember in particular was an old war time opposed twin Harley, that he had modified by fitting top ends from a BMW. Click here to see Pete Youngs Wordpress blog, Occhio lungo   He has a really nice site with all kinds of of pics and articles about the old motorcycle scene in Northern California. Worth taking a trip to.

The crazy young man in the old faded photo above used to own the Norton Commando 850 I have. Some day the Norton will be the subject of a re-build. That is the marque of a Drive-in theater that we both worked at. It's long gone, and I won't embarrass him with stories about that least not today.

Weather has definitely gone winter-like here. No rains at the moment but lot's of cold blustery wind.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Triumph restorations begin...

Brought home most of the frame parts for the 1957 Triumph 650, that have been collecting more rust and dust in storage. The frame for the 1966 Triumph 650 is buried out in the "Nightmare Garage". The plan is to spend several days cleaning out and organizing the garage and hopefully finding most of the parts to these bikes. While I'm at it , I'll also extricate parts for the next several other projects on my  big "to-do" list.

I'm going to actually try to do these projects the "right way". Inventory all the parts here first. Make lists of projects to do. Make lists of parts needed. That kind of thing. Take lots of pics and document as I go. Try to keep the blog updated on progress. I'm going to do a "dry-build" of both bikes. Assemble everything once before paint, and final assembly. With the 1966 bike that won't be as critical as most of that bike will be assembled from it's original components, as it was actually a running machine as purchased. It was sort of semi-chopped. The rear frame loop had been lopped off and a solid bar "sissy-bar" had been welded in place. I have a replacement loop from another 60's frame for it, that will need to be welded in place.

When I left off, these parts had been freshly blasted of paint and rust, looks like I'll be blasting again.

Here's a pic of a swingarm frame that's for sale on E-Bay right now. This is what I hope that pile of rust will resemble soon.

The 1957 bike is another story. I'm going to be putting a frame together from two frames. This bike was a full chopper with a "weld-on" hardtail rear frame unit. When they did this they chopped off  the swingarm pivot point. I actually started this project a number of years ago, and have the frame partly finished. I'll need to build a frame table to align things properly when I do the finish welding. I've wanted a proper frame table for years and now would be a good time to have one. At this point I'm thinking of building the '57 as what I'd call a swingarm "custom". There are enough so called "bobber's" and "choppers" out there already. I'll be modeling it partly after a bike, that the foreman at the shop I worked at once upon a time in the seventies, rode. He had one of the nicest '59 Bonnevilles around at the time. Most of the modifications he did were in the interest of gaining reliability, and making the bike safer . His was one of the first I saw with a disc brake front end from a Honda 450 made to fit. He also had one of the first 5 speed transmission modifications, that I know of. The engine did have high compression racing pistons, hot cams, twin Mikuni carbs, a really nice looking Hooker Header two into one megaphone exhaust system .Oh yeah, it also had an early "morgo" oil pump. He had a "cobra" style seat, mainly because he was short and it enabled him to reach the pavement with his boots. He ran a smaller gas tank from a Triumph 500, that he had chromed. He finished the bike in gloss black with the chromed knee notches . He had decals instead of the "mouth organ" badges. Even with all the mods the bike still had a classic look and stance to it at first glance. It did ride very nicely, the 5 speed box really made it nice to ride. Wish I had a picture of it, but I don't. I've always wondered if that bike survived, I know he eventually sold it to support his ever expanding family. Last time I ran into him , he already had a "Brady Bunch" going. His bike kind of had the look of a Black Les Paul guitar, very simple....Black and chrome...with all the alloy polished to a mirror finish.

Black cats, black guitars, black Triumphs...?

Mine won't be a 5 speed this time around. Some of the other mods I might incorporate. I'll probably build it with a Bonneville top end, mainly because the engine came with later 650 components, like the later crank, and top end parts. I'm not sure if I have enough earlier parts around at this time to build it otherwise...will have to see. Brrrrrrrrrrr! It's cold out there today, but...back to the shed with me.

Rather large chunk of alloy missing there...

A couple pics for Nomad...Sorry, wasn't the right inner primary, and it's in pretty rough shape. But it does make a handy carrying handle for moving that trans and clutch around.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Working just that, been working too much.Need to spend time in the "Shed".

 Woke up this morning and realized I have a ten day stretch off from work. The school district shuts down for the Thanksgiving holidays, and by taking two days vacation....I have a nice break from work. Slept in the first day. Check. Now where's that to-do list?  Fixed the big hole in the garage roof where the squirrels or rats or some other sharply toothed critters did their thing last winter. Check. Also sealed up all the cracks and tears in the carport roof. Check. Watching an animal documentary the other day, and learned the reason some rodents teeth are orange is because of the high iron content. This strengthens them up so they can chew through things. Yeah, like my roof.

Been looking forward to a stretch of time to work on the "shed". Really need to get in there and do a massive clean-up and sorting.

Going to dig out my 441 Victor gas tank, last seen on my BSA 650 as a test tank, from when I got it running years ago. Going to shoot some pics of it and get some measurements from it, for "Bodger" to use as reference for the paint job on his Victor. There is a link to Bodger's blog (Thrash'em Motorcycles) to the right. Bodger lives out in Texas.

Also going to find that Triumph pre-unit inner primary that is still attached to a transmission I saw laying out in the car port. Need to see if it will work for a project "Nomad" down in Southern California is putting together. I'll have to add a link to his site some time. He has a shop in Southern California. He works on a lot of Triumphs. He's also a surfer, and he's into the Southern California "Punk" Rock scene. He was a friend of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, the wild and crazy car customizer and father of the "Rat Fink".

And I need to construct a box to mail off a chopper seat to Alabama, to "Kustom Jeff". A link to his blog "What I See" also to the right , and down.

And see Mrs.BC....I really do own, a giant spark plug. No brag...just fact.
Now, those are two large male cats...not kittens.

For scale. That is an actual cylinder head for a 1978 Triumph 750.
Of course, the spark plug is just an advertising gimmick molded from plastic.

Going to try my hand at some art work and do some sketches and/or water colors of proposals for the Triumph projects...something preliminary...we will see.

Really looking forward to finally going through all my British stuff and getting it sorted so that I have some idea what I need to start on my Triumph projects. For now that will be a 1966 650 Unit, and a 1957 Triumph 650 Pre-unit which I have mentioned in a previous post. Say Kawa, is it time we got serious about starting that inter-blog "build-off" someone proposed....?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

One of my father's Sargent's stripes and  another uniform patch from the Korean War era. When my father first joined up it was the Army-Air Corps which became the Air Force. The match book depicts Mather Air Force Base, which in 1943 was where B-25 bomber crews trained. For more information on the base: Click this Link.
Frank, a friend from work was a Sargent in the Air Force. His Father as well. He recently showed me a really nice framed box that contains his father's memorabilia from his service days. I'm going to make something similar for my father. 
My father retired out of Mather Air Force Base in 1965. That is how we ended up in the Sacramento area. He picked this area at the advice of a Korean War buddy who had settled here.  With McClellan Air Force Base nearby as well , a lot of service personnel settled into this part of California. Here's to all that served.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

California Automobile Museum....Part two....The future of transportation?

First a couple of  different gas burning vehicles.

Later model Oscar Mayer Weinermobile  from Wickopedia,not at the museum.

This is a follow on to the car show post, a 50's Muntz 

Looking kind of like an overgrown Karman Ghia.

This is a very rare car that had many features that were really advanced for the time.Click here for a link to a site about the Muntz.

The CHP electric chopper from previous post.

Recently saw a spot on television about Mercedes driving several hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world crossing 14 countries.. Of course, they had to be re-fueled by a large tanker that went with, since there is not yet hydrogen fuel available everywhere (In the back of my mind I picture this huge Zeppelin...) where was I? Oh, yeah...they also featured some companies that have hydrogen producing mini-stations that  produce the hydrogen with electricity produced on site. Very clean all around.  The museum has an interesting area that covers some earlier prototypes of this technology, as well as all electric vehicles. 

2001 Nissan Exterra FCV   set up so you can view the systems that make it all work.
Don't ask me to explain it...
2007 BMW Hydrogen 7
1972 Datsun Electric conversion.
Mercedes-Benz Necar 4a  (New electric car)
2001 Nissan Hyper Mini EV
2 views of a 1913 Rauch & Lang electric car

2002 Nissan Altra EV
One of 12....1997 GM EV-1 

I receive e-mails from a local EV association. One I received recently announced a new movie out, called "Revenge of the Electric Car". It was produced by the same man that brought you "Who killed the Electric Car?". It is interesting that GM is now producing an award winning Hybrid car. Ah, the politics of energy. As gas prices go up, alternatives start to look better all the time. I've been toying around with the idea of doing an all electric conversion myself, to a 1994 Ford Ranger pick up truck with a blown gas motor.Have even bought a couple books on the subject and am currently researching it, and looking at the costs involved and savings it could afford me in the long run. I'd use such a vehicle for commuting to work and short runs around town. Course I'm also looking at a motorcycle version as well....probably with a sidecar. Who knows? Stay tuned as they say.

Another view of  the Nissan Xterra FCV, with a model showing the components of a fuel cell vehicle.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One for: KustomJeff

Hey Jeff, maybe this seat has a more gentle S-curve to the base...? Not as plush in the padding department, looks like. Seat is about 30 inches overall, 9 1/2 inch wide in the drivers portion. The passenger area about 6 1/2 inches wide. In that last shot it sits about 2 5/8 ths. off the board to the top of the fender arc, and ditto with the front of the seat. Anyhoo, give me a hollar if you think it might work.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

And now, a Halloween intermission....

This is Travis..
This is his immaculately restored 1976 Cadillac Hearse.
Complete with "Kustom Koffin"...

After work friday, I went to a custom car show down the street from our shops,to see a car that one of my co-workers has built. It has been a 13 year project that he recently completed. 

                             The one in the middle is Marke, and this is his custom 1967 Ford Mustang. 

Paint job is Halloween appropiate....

The local police force set up a sign..."Click it" refers to seat belts.

Happy Halloween!