Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Running in the rain

I am writing this because it is raining outside and I don't want to go for a run.  I will, of course, but any delay, no matter how small ...

Did a quick search for running in the rain because a) I live where it rains.  A lot.  and b) As mentioned above, I am stalling.

I am about to violate every single suggestion that running websites make for running in the rain.

1) Don't wear a rain jacket.  Well, since I almost always wear a rain jacket when I run, I probably will wear it now that it's raining.

2) Don't wear cotton.  Unfortunately my sweatshirt that I run in is made of cotton and since it is cold outside ...

3) Don't wear cotton socks, wear wool.  Don't have any lightweight wool socks so I guess I'll wear the cotton ones that I always wear.

4) Wear shoes designed for running in the rain.  I have two pairs of runners and they are identical.  Are they good for running in the rain?  No idea but they are what I have.

I was going to insert a picture here showing someone running in the rain, but a quick internet search provided thousands of pictures of women running in the rain (not representative of me) and a few of ridiculously fit people running without shirts which means that it obviously isn't winter in the Pacific NW where they are running.  (Plus I'm not ridiculously fit, I'm a middle aged, slightly overweight type working to stay reasonably fit and healthy)

Enough stalling.  Here I go.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Harley Road King engine rebuild

Last spring the RK started to make some odd noises.  Sounded like compensating sprocket down low on the left hand side.  Tore it apart and the sprocket was loose, which was odd since it gets pretty heavily torqued (170 ft-lb) and locktighted (lots of red).  Re-tightened but noticed that the splines on the crankshaft were a little worn.

Over the summer, the noise started again.  Pulled the cover off and it was tight but there was fresh wear on the inside of the cover, suggesting that the crankshaft was either out of true or shifted.  Decided it was time for a rebuild.

1) Tear down: no pictures because I didn't think of it and because it is really straightforward.  If you see a bolt, remove the bolt.  (I'm sort of kidding, don't do this unless  you actually know what you are doing).  Boils down to: remove tank, primary cover, clutch, inner primary, exhaust, wiring, carburetor and intake, front motor mount, lift engine out of frame.

2) Tear down engine: remove rocker boxes, heads, cylinders, cam and all associated bits, cylinder head studs, case bolts, and then gently tap cases apart.  Since the 2003 RK has roller bearings the cases will come right off the flywheels.


I got sort of lucky. In 2003, while at the HD dealer, I built a stroker for a friend and he gave me the stock flywheels.  8 miles since the bike hadn't left the dealer yet when I built it.  I kept meaning to get rid of them but never did.  Saves me $1200 for new flywheels.

Machine work will be done by Automotive Machine & Supply in Fort Worth, TX.  He does a bang-up job and I have sent him numerous sets of heads and cylinders for performance work.

What will be done:

1) Install Timken bearing on LHS crankshaft.  HD used to do this but it was cheaper to put in a roller bearing so they stopped in 2003.

2) Fit new bearings and reassemble flywheel in cases.

3) Bore cylinders and fit for new Keith Black forged pistons.

4) Work heads for my setup (95 inch, S&S 510 chain drive cams, 44mm Keihin Constant Velocity carb) including ceramic coating the exhaust ports.

Not sure what the total cost will be but I'm anticipating a couple thousand to do the whole thing including shipping (expensive) and parts.  The good news is that labor is essentially free (I know, opportunity cost, etc, but I'm not paying some mechanic who I don't know or trust over $100 an hour to put this together).

I'll include pictures of the rebuild in a future post.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Quality shoes for the getaway

Listening to Adam Piggot's latest over at Pushing Rubber podcast.

So, first of all, if you haven't read his books, starting with Pushing Rubber Downhill, you should.

Now, attribution aside, on to the point.

Adam has been talking about dressing well for quite some time.  Since I am generally interested in dressing well I pay attention (not counting when I'm riding the Harley).  Today he was also talking about brick and mortar vs online shopping and that sparked something.

Recently I wanted to pick up some new shoes as my daily wear shoes are nearing end of life.  I did a bit of research and Allen Edmonds showed up pretty regularly.  High quality, reasonably priced (for good shoes).  Their nearest store is in Seattle.  I was going to order online as it's about a two hour drive but was struggling with sizing and read quite a few suggestions that the first time you buy a new brand you really should shop in store to get fitted.  So this weekend I drove down to Seattle with a friend and we went shoe shopping.

Arrived at the very small store and the clerk told us that he didn't carry a lot of stock but that he had enough to fit us and that he could then order the shoes we wanted and have them shipped to our homes.  His knowledge seemed to fit in with what I had researched so he seemed like a good resource.  Either A-E has trained him well or he came already knowledgeable to the company.

After trying on the shoes I was originally planning on purchasing I ended up looking at another pair of shoes as well as a pair of boots.  Neither the extra shoes nor the boots were items I ever would have looked at online.  I was hesitant to purchase three pairs of expensive shoes having planned for one but the clerk assured me that I could give him a ring and he could get them ordered for me any time.  I suggested online and he encouraged me to call him to help keep the store open.  I assume that he was on some sort of commission but he never pressured me.

After about a half hour in the store, during which time the clerk rang up my friend and fitted two other customers I decided it was worth the money and that I would, in fact, wear all three pairs of shoes on a regular basis.  Sale completed. 

So what's the point, other than rambling on like a woman about my day shopping.

1) Had there not been a brick and mortar I would have ordered one pair of nice shoes that might or might not have fit.

2) I learned more about good quality shoes from a knowledgeable sales person.

3) I helped keep him employed and I may have contributed to the ongoing success of their brick and mortar business, making it easier to buy the shoes I want instead of the shoes I think I want online.

4) Got to talk to three other men about style and fashion, not something that is generally prevalent in my circles.  My friends tend to ride Harleys and think that dressing up means wearing their good jeans and a Betty Boop tie.

As an aside, the third person to walk through the door had ordered three pairs online and none of them fit.  He was there doing in hindsight what I was doing in advance.  Getting properly fitted for a pair of shoes.

And to quote Mark Knopfler to finish up "To make your getaways in them, you're gonna need a quality shoe".

Monday, November 25, 2019

Projects I would never finish (but which are super cool)

I definitely don't have the patience of this guy.  Making pencils by hand out of old pallets.  I would run out of enthusiasm before I got to about step two.  But man is this cool.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Walmart Premise

Wasn't this the premise of Walmart, that customers could save money if you offered inexpensive goods at very low markups?


Aldi, a German supermarket chain, has apparently done something similar in Europe and now heads to the US.  I don't know why this is news except that the owners have become fabulously wealthy doing it, much like the Walmart family.

Hopefully Aldi is not engaging in pure partisan politics and fighting against the values of their main customer base like Walmart.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


"After acquiring some expertise by consulting the relevant Wikipedia article"

I love this.  Clearly written tongue in cheek and followed up by a well thought out, relevant, and useful comment.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Monsters Know What They Are Doing

Monsters are sort of stupid in Dungeons & Dragons.  It is nice if you are trying to kill them but they don't act rationally.  Groups of goblins, for example, will fight you until they all die.  Who does that?

This is the premise behind the blog http://themonstersknow.com/.  Keith Amman didn't like the fact that the monsters were stupid so he decided to do something about it.

The blog, and then the book.  Tactics for monsters.  Back in April or so I pre-ordered the book and today it arrived.

Super looking forward to a) reading it and b) kicking player ass.

Although to be fair it actually benefited the players the other day because they were almost dead and the last Kuo Toa ran away because he was wounded and his two hunting partners were dead.  Otherwise it could have been ugly for the party.