Saturday, November 26, 2005

Power tools, oh yea

This whole weekend was all about organizing. Now that my tools are organized in the garage, and every piece has its spot, I had needed to start organizing the rest of my junk. Since my move late this Summer, I’ve been living in boxes, too busy riding every weekend to take time out to figure out what I needed to get to become organized.

Since shopping yesterday wasn’t too painful, I decided to head out to IKEA, hoping that no one was shopping for furniture on Thanksgiving weekend. It wasn’t too bad and I came home with 3 pieces. Got to give some props to IKEA, the instructions were phenomenal and the fasteners were genius, no wood glue, no mess. By myself I had the biggest piece assembled in less than 2 hours, an entertainment center for a TV. Of course I didn’t use the allen wrench ikea provided, I used my t-handle hex key set to assemble it. The chair I bought needed very little assembly, but the table was a different story. It had metal legs that needed to be screwed to the table top. There was no tool in the box with this piece and I realized that I didn’t even own a screw driver, it was on my list but I just simply didn't need one yet. But screw that. 4 legs, 5 screws each, I needed more than a screwdriver, I needed a power drill/driver, which wasn’t on my list of tools to buy.

So back out to the store I go, at least there were some good sales out there, so I got every thing really cheap.

I’m now an owner of a Delta 9.6v cordless drill/driver.

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So you are curious why I bought a Delta instead of Black & Decker or Skill. There was a sale on the Delta, $10 off regular price, which made it about $15 less then the Skill, my preferred brand. The Black & Decker power tools were cheaper and I like orange, but I just didn’t like their esthetics. It didn’t sit as nice in my hand as the Delta or Skill drills. The Skill is red, and I’m not a fan of red. The Delta in navy blue, I like navy blue. It looked the best of the three. I placed it in my hand, the rubber grip felt nice in my palm, the weight was distributed evenly, the controls black and easy to work. Maybe that’s not the way most people would buy a power tool, but the specs were the same, the prices similar so I decided to buy the pretty drill.

And since I was there I picked up a drill and drive set and a set of regular screwdrivers too.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday Craftsman cabinet

OK, so I despise shopping and I really despise crowds and long lines, so historically I have avoided going anywhere near any stores on black Friday, but this year I needed some things and if I went to get them today and TODAY ONLY I could really save some money, and I like saving money.

So in 15 degree weather, all bundled up, I got myself some deals. One of which, was something I really needed to start organizing my tools. The garage is starting to look more like a place that you can actually work on bikes.

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Yes, in the back of the garage on the table near the wall is a Craftsman 7 drawer tool cabinet/chest thingie in pretty black. Once of these days, when if I need more storage space I get the bottom part with the casters, but for now this is plenty good.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Flat tire for Thanksgiving

No, not spare tire, flat tire, as in no air.

So the weather has been really crazy here lately. It snowed yesterday morning, then the temperature got in to the mid 40’s by the afternoon and the snow melted. Then overnight the temperature dropped to 10 degrees and today the forecast called for a high of 21 degrees. In the morning I came to find out that almost all the air magically disappeared from one of my tires on the Acura. Did I have a hole in the tire?

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I checked the pressure three times and I got a reading of 0 psi. There was no air in my tire? I filled the tire up using my mini portable air compressor, the car manual calls for 31 psi in the back tires. It took 10 minutes, but it was filled. It’s nice having a handy thing like that around, I think I’ll keep it in the car from now on, just in case.

I checked over the next few days and the air is still in the tire, so I think it was the crazy temperature fluctuation, and probably the tire was a bit low on air anyway.

Monday, November 21, 2005

November ST.N dinner

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Since Bluepoof was in the Midwest again, another dinner was organized for the ST.N group at the Tsukasa of Tokyo. There was a big showing this time, three tables full of hungry and thirsty sport-tourers. Four brave souls even rode out there, I think it was in the low to mid 30’s that night.

The food was awesome, the company even better. Last time I was there I had the garlic shrimp, so this time I tired the sesame scallops. I think next time I’ll have the try the teriyaki chicken, I had a piece and it was yummy. This may be the best fried rice I’ve ever had.

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After stuffing ourselves with great food and also getting our fill of sport-touring stories, it was time to go home. Again, we closed the place down.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Review: 250 PSI mini air compressor

  • Built-in storage for 12V cigarette lighter plug
  • 10 ft. power cord, 18'' hose with valve adapter
  • Overall dimensions: 5-1/2''L x 2-7/8''W x 4-7/8''H
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs.
  • $9.99 at

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So I got to try out my new portable mini air compressor. All four tires on both bikes needed air. This thing isn’t the fastest, but it did the job it was supposed to do. It’s tiny and very light. I plugged it in to my car’s cigarette lighter. It’s pretty loud and shakes a lot so you have to hold it down with one hand. In order to read the gage I had to hold it down too, other wise it shakes too much and you can't read it. The gage was pretty accurate.

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The only thing that fell apart right away was the on/off switch. It just sort of separated, but that should be an easy fix.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

First snow is here

It’s officially Winter. We had our first snowfall yesterday, just a dusting of it, no major accumulation, but they went ahead and salted the roads.

Today I woke up and it was 15 degrees outside - burrrrrrr. Our wonderfully warm fall finally came to an end. Now I’ll be looking toward the sky waiting for the rain to wash the salt away and hoping that the temperatures will get up to mid 40’s again so I can go for a ride.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

30mph winds with 50mph gusts

The wind was blowing pretty hard last night. I got up this morning and turned on the TV to find out “Wind advisory remains in effect from 6 am to 6 PM CST”. It was only 8AM and I could hear the wind outside blowing hard.

I really wanted to ride out to the Wave café for the ST.N coffee meet. This might be the last coffee meet of the season but I hate the wind just a bit more than I hate the rain.

See, with rain, you still have a lot of control. You just need to adjust to the wet pavement. You accelerate slower and brake slower, and it’s no so bad.

But for me the wind is harder to adjust to, especially gusting wind. An unexpected gust of wind can push you out of your lane or even off the road. And persistent winds tire you out very quickly as you wrestle with the bike. I’ve experienced gust up to 35MPH, but today the wind was gusting up to 50MPH.

I made the right decision to stay home. At 10AM my friend Rick called. He said he didn’t check the weather and rode out to the coffee meet. The wind blew him off the road, he fought to keep the bike straight and there was debris flying all around. He was getting ready to head back home before the winds got stronger.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Italian Moto Brunch, Elkhorn, WI

I found out about the monthly Italian Moto Brunch just a couple of weeks ago and I was hoping that the weather would cooperate so I could go and check it out. The forecast for today: high of 65 degrees with rain starting around 3PM, not too bad for mid November.

It was already in the mid 40’s when I pulled the bike out of the garage. Now that it was already the end of fall and colder out, I was leaving the house much later on the bike. I didn’t expect the traffic to be so bad at this hour, it was only 9AM, I was already going to be late and I still had to stop for gas. I arrived at the Wave Café in Harvard, but no one was there. I checked my voice mail and found out Rick and Chris were already heading towards Wisconsin. I arrived at the Elkhorn Restaurant around 11:30AM, everyone was already inside eating.

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After brunch some of the people were heading out for a ride, but the rain was already on its way so the three of us decided to heading home in a not very direct way with Chris at the lead. By the northern suburbs the rain drops were starting to fall, but for the most part the big rain was holding off for now, just a sprinkle here and there, sometimes more sometimes less. But I would not be so lucky since I still had about an hours ride towards the western suburbs.

The big rain came just as the weather man predicted and continued to pound on me all the way home. Traffic was heavy and at one point I couldn’t see the road so I pulled over at a gas station, I needed gas anyway. Not ready to get back out there right away I took a 10 minute break before continuing. Half an hour later the rain turned very again, I didn’t stop again although my left glove was full of water and I really wanted to wring it out. It was already starting to get dark as I pulled in to my driveway. I was dry except for my gloves, I need to get some thin rain gloves.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tools for cheap

Unlike many motorcycle riders, I own zero tools, or should I say, I owned zero tools until TODAY! With a very limited budget I was happy to find out I can actually buy a lot of stuff at

I ended up spending $61 total and this is what I got.

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A battery float charger

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An air compressor that I can use in the garage and even take on those long motorcycle trips

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Hex key set with handles for the garage

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Hex key set to take with me on the bike

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3/8" drive metric socket set

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metric wrenches

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Cat Bike

Caterpillar is one of our customers, the company I work for makes harnesses and connectors for all kinds of vehicles. We just had a new guy start in the transportation department, so they wanted to take him down to Peoria for a visit with Caterpillar. Remember this thing?

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Paul Jr. calls "the toughest bike built by Orange County Choppers." The bike features many unique characteristics that you can also see on Cat machines, including Grade 8 bolts and other hardware, sprockets, bucket teeth, and a Track-Type Tractor exhaust.

Horsepower: 150 HP
Operating Weight: 680 lbs.
Top Speed: 140 mph
Color: Cat Yellow