Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Brian ! ! !

Our oldest son was born on this date, Jan. 30th, 1984.  We usually have family get togethers on birthdays to have a lunch or supper.  Brian this year wanted his birthday dinner at the cabin and I liked that idea.  We spent the weekend there fishing and eating...did I mention eating.  It seems like we eat massive quantities when we are there...snacks and big meals.  For example Brian wanted Tacos for his dinner, so we had Tacos, Jimmy Dean dip with chips, Birthday Cake, homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and then made another batch of Maple Nut for good measure.

We fished on the lake straight out from our cabin, so some people stayed on the lake and fished and others stayed indoors.

It was nice to see my Dad catch the prize fish of the picture for full effect.  I said earlier that Brian was born in 1984...this guy was born in 1929.  He spent all day on the lake.  Both he and my Mom are very active in retirement.  Hopefully I will follow in their footsteps, because retirement for me appears to be right around the corner.

This was the youngest guy there this weekend and he was successful also.  This meant we had fish for breakfast...along with scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and jam and some Rice Crispy bars, some with chocolate and some with out.  This breakfast is an example of what I was saying earlier...We eat when we are at the cabin.
Eating and scratching want but a beginning.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yes, No, Maybe So

It is looking as though I may have an option for early retirement coming available soon.  I am finding this decision very difficult to make.  I have been at this job for 34.5 years, I like the job and more importantly I like the guys I work with.  On the other hand, I commute 50 to 55 minutes one way 5 days a week.  Tonight's commute was just great...through a snowstorm.  Monetairly we would take a hit, but not enough to cause hardship.  My wife, who is very generous, would continue to work for 8 to 10 years.  She has what we consider a secure job with good benefits and pay, plus as an added bonus she likes her job and co-workers.  If anything she has been pushing me to the retirement side...bless her heart.  We have even gone as far as making plans for doing a couple of bike tours.  
Yes...No...Maybe So  ? ? ?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I had a complaint that the last few posts have been about bike parts and nothing outdoors...How's this...This is outdoors.  I have a snowmobile my Dad and Mom gave me that doesn't get a lot of use...first time this year.  I use it for packing the trails around our place for cross country skiing and sometimes I putt around the area close to home, but that has been about it the last few years.  My father was a pioneer of the snowmobile trails in our area.  He was the man that made the first snowmobile trail that actually left our little town and went someplace.  People teasingly called him Trail Boss, and in reality, he was.  He later made the plans for many of the Douglas County trails, garnering easements and sometimes working in conjunction with neighboring counties to expand the riding possibilities even further.  The result from this early snowmobile trail pioneering today is astounding.  I rode 70 miles tonight leaving home about 4:30 and getting back home around 7:00, and that would not be possible except for the exceptional trails I rode.  They call them table top...hard and smooth.  Just look at the pictures.  A person needs to be very careful out there these days, especially with the way the trails were tonight, and I fully understand the desire to grab a fist full of throttle, as I was riding these machines at a very young age.  Yearly in Wisconsin, there are several people killed.  The snowmobiles today are very fast.  Zero mph to 100 mph in seconds, but on the other hand, 100mph to zero sometimes results in a DEAD stop.  It is for this reason that I rarely venture out on the trails and when I do, I try hard to keep a lookout for oncoming sleds.  Although tonight being a week night, in that 70 miles, I was passed by two snowmobiles and met only one.  Our first two snowmobiles were 1968 Evinrudes and shortly after came some Yamaha's and a Rupp.  My Mom and Dad worked side jobs so that we all had our own snowmobile to ride.  We would take the snowmobiles on winter picnics which sometimes involved a dozen or more people.  We would stop in the middle of no-where land, start a fire and cook steak, hot dogs and drink from the old mitten (the old mitten usually contained a bottle sometimes used for medicinal purposes...i.e. one could drink from the mitten and pull his own teeth or put in his own stitches, if so desired.) Some of these rides were in country where a house could not be found for many many miles and that is where most of the picnics would take place.  I feel fortunate my parents worked hard so that I was raised doing the outdoor thing.  Be it summer or winter, we played outdoors.  This is in all probability the reason I can't tell you about movies and such...and I think that's OK.

It has been cold around here as of late, and I have been a big sissy.  I have been riding the trainer and running the elliptical...doing a few indoor bricks.  I will get back out on the bike shortly, but in the winter I ride the same route most of the time for some reason, and it gets boring posting a picture of me bundled up along side the fixie.  This is an outdoor post.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Parts

More parts are arriving for our big tire builds.

Sweeeeet.  A lot of options with this fork.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A day on the Ice

My oldest son had called Tuesday to see if I wanted to go fishing, but plans were made for Wednesday already so I had to decline.  At 5:00 AM this morning the plans made changed which in turn left me two options.  Go to work as planned OR take a vacation day and spend it with my son and his friend on the ice.  IMO, I don't get to spend enough time with him, so when the plans changed I jumped at it.  Easy choice...vacation day it was.  We caught 7 or 8 Northern and about a dozen keeper pan fish.  Although these fish aren't huge, there was a hunger for fish and these fish will stink up the frying pan nicely.  Pictured on the right, my son Brian and his friend Al on the left.  Thanks guys for the most enjoyable day ! ! ! 

Edit...notice the patched up left side of the fish house...A little Black Bear wanted in there for some reason this last spring.  I had to patch it up temporarily and a better fix will be coming.

I noticed this nest the other day built on a railroad trestle.  This is a busy set of tracks.  I can't imagine it would be too peaceful.  I have no idea who builds a home in such a place.

It doesn't belong to this Ruffed Grouse.  They are having a tough year around our area because we have a very thick hard crust on the snow and they like to burrow into the snow to hide from predators.  The crust come from an unseasonably rain storm that moved through the area around the New years day mark.  

The Bald Eagle builds very large nests, and this was a very large nest that was built, but I doubt it belonged to him either.  We have many of the Bald Eagles in our area and I usually don't think to take pictures of them.  I have decided I will start taking some though...hopefully better than this one.

On fishing...The end of fishing is not angling, but catching
Thomas Fuller

Friday, January 7, 2011

Big Tire Builds

Sorry...It has been a while since anything fresh has been on here, so I will give a little update on what's been happening.  We spent Christmas to New Years at the cabin which had me skiing and ice fishing.  This month I have also been fortunate enough to be called on for the civic duty of Jury Duty.  
But enough of that and on to the good stuff.  The big tire builds are coming along nicely.  The above picture is of some prints Eric has drawn up for the big tire frames. 

Above is one of the wheel sets built up by Mike Curiak at Lace Mine 29 with some Surly Larry's mounted on them.  Mike is a well known snow biker/XC rider/endurance racer/adventurer and also a very good wheel builder.  I encourage you please click on his link and read his resume.  It is indeed impressive.

Sorry for the fuzzy pic, but these are some of the tubes coming together and being worked on.  Those reading the blog know of CAD, who has worked on some of the pricing/purchasing aspects.

This the main frame fixture.  Brandon has been the fixture/machine guru.  Those that have followed the blog for a while know of Brandon because he is a member of the Gitchigumi Gear Mashers MS150 team.  He also does gravel rides, commuter rides, what we call after work fitness rides and rides a fixed gear for a little fun.

Eric is the designer/welder, and again if you have followed the blog, you have read of him.  He is another who has done all the riding listed above plus some.  He lives on the hillside of Duluth and for a very long time, what I think made his bicycle commute unique, is he was working the late shift.  That means commuting by bicycle winter and summer with the ride home being around the 1:00 AM mark.  Anyone care to guess what the roads of Duluth are like at 1AM during a snowstorm...or for that matter, how many impaired drivers are on the road at that time.  It didn't seem to bother him though.

These big tire frames will be as unique as this serial number.  Not only are they custom built to the individual, but also have some very cool features that are not available on any of the others.

This is another of a Brandon/Eric fabbed fixture and a bottom bracket.  There are a lot of things going on right now, so I just touched on a few.  I can keep you informed as we go.

This is one of the frames Eric designed and fabricated before the fixturing was made.  It is a small sized mountain bike frame, before powder coating of course.  

I feel very fortunate to not only work, but also ride with this group of guys.  It just doesn't get any better...and that my friends, is no Bull S---!