Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ah, The Joys of Home Ownership

A lovely weekend of camping, then home. Home to a small pond in the basement. From not one, but two PVC water valves failing while we were gone. Fortunately, PVC is easy to replace. Unless the jackass who installed it in the first place decides to cement the PVC to the older galvanized pipes. PVC cement will adhere to metal. It adheres so well that the only way to get it out is probably chasing the original metal threads with the appropriate tap. Or you could be lazy like me, and use eight inches of of the old PVC that's glued in. Three hours later, it was mostly fixed, except for the next day's pressure testing. Last time I was billed, I think it was $60/hour labor for plumbing. Given they could probably work twice as fast as I did, that's still probably $90 saved.

Given how much of a pain in the ass plumbing actually is, I can see why they charge so much.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ugly Gun Sunday

German prison gun..........remember kids, idle hands are the devils playground. That's why there's chain gangs!

Captions Wanted

Have at it. Not a caption, but a personal impression: I'd swear I've seen that same expression in some images of Ernest Hemingway in later life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011


A little bit of product from the Paranoid Disaster Garden Training Center. We're growing heirloom vegetables to gain experience, as neither one of us has much gardening experience. Generally, we've been getting good results given our low level of expertise. Can't remember the name of the corn at the moment, but it dates from the late 1800s, and this is the third year we've grown it, using seeds from the previous year.

White Mountaineer (all green) and Rattlesnake (purple/mottled coloration) beans we've just done this year. This climb, making them easier to harvest. We've canned over 12 pints, and will probably get another 24 before fall kills the plants (steamed within an hour of harvesting, the taste is incredible). We've enough seeds just from the beans we missed picking until they were dried to plant the whole back yard if we wished at this point.

Another new item are the Lemon Cucumbers. Usually round and yellowish, they grow fast and in large numbers. Taste is in line with other cucumbers, other than the fact that fresh from the garden, it is more intense. Cutting one of these in the kitchen, you can smell the delicious scent throughout the entire floor of the house.

The tomatoes, hybrids from the local greenhouse. But they taste fine, with several of them never making it back to the kitchen while we're picking.

Next year, we'll be attempting to get a little more volume on our output for canning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's The Ice Cream Man?

This was cruising around the park we camped in on the way home, pulling in kids every time it slowed down. First time I've seen a cargo van converted in to an ice cream truck; it made me think of this when I first saw it.

The piercings and tats didn't help either.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Luck

Funny what just pops up along the road sometimes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm guessing an attempt at a COL Cooper "scout rifle"; loss of points for overly small optical sight (slower target acquisition, defeating the purpose of a low/no magnification optical sight), removal of tangent sights (sooner or later, something will happen to the optical sights- usually at a really bad time), and recoil pad (for skeet, yes; for 7.92 x 57 Mauser, no).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

One Day, Two Wheels

After the series of mishaps that plagued The Wife and me on the way out to N. Carolina, we seem to have caught some luck.

Deer Trail Campground, slightly off Interstate 77 exit 47 in Virginia, offered a spot to regroup, hit some roads, then sit around the campfire while enjoying a bit of Jack Daniel's and a cigar after a long day. Although running across the occasional odd fellow camper and a statistically aberrant number of lapdogs, it was a fine place to be, surrounded by some of the finest biking country I’ve had a chance to ride. Possibly adding to the experience was the dearth of other bikers attending Sturgis on the other side of the Mississippi. In a seven-hour day of riding, the number of bikes I passed was easily in the single digits.

Our first stop was Big Walker Lookout, elevation 3400 feet. This was just a ten minute ride from camp:

The BW Country Store sits between the east and west views; they have a fine selection of locally made fudge and other items that’ll put several pounds on in short order.

For a ten dollar fee, you can risk your life on this ramp if you don’t like the view from the ground:

From there, riding down Route 16 involves a lot of first and second gear work; vehicles over 35 feet are prohibited. After handling the curves, I can see why:

Still, there’re plenty of straight sections where the operator can enjoy the scenery, thinking about what could be done with enough time and money:

One of the stops was Hungry Mother State Park; the climb and descent from the stopping point involving hairpin curves in first gear for miles at a time, but well worth the work for the view:

Coming out the high areas, we moved towards Rural Retreat, VA to top off the bike’s tank, and grab some lunch. Joey’s Country Kitchen is next door to the gas station on Main Street, and home of one of the largest and best plates of biscuits and sausage gravy I’ve encountered. Breakfast is served all day at their place, and it’s more than worth the ride. The local architecture is something to see also, with several well-preserved Victorian era homes still in good condition, as well as some buildings in lesser condition, but still of interest:

From there, it was back to the campground through Jefferson National Forest, with some more fine roads.

Wytheville, VA is nearby, with more grand old homes, and several Civil War era buildings downtown still in use. Given some more time, I’ll be stopping back there in the future for more riding and local touring.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And Your Lithium Is Where?

The Wife and I were visited by the Spirit of '80s Survivalism Past last night. Or maybe just an old guy with a fetish for looking like Robert E. Lee and owning Boston Terriers. None the less, while we enjoyed Jack Daniels and rum (not in the same container) around the campfire, we were treated to a monologue of rare form. First were the hints of a dark past, supporting the Special Forces in Vietnam. Then the move into Black Ops communications support for the thirty years after that. Then the hinting of relationships with top men in the Pentagon, many of whom own the "at least 150 survival camps" within fifty miles of where we're camping right now. Several of whom have told Mr. Terrier that it's time to hunker down, with three to six months of grain, ammo, etc. Because the Fed's are planning to only support the major cities when things go down. But only long enough to get the Federal Banking cash out of those cities using the military to force their way through, so they can retreat to their Federal strongholds out in the rural areas, where they'll hold off the hordes of cannibal voters until things have settled down, and they can resume control.

OK, I exaggerated. He didn't use the word cannibal.

Nice dog, though.

(Note: I, for one, wouldn't be surprised to see things go all London-ish in several major cities over the next few years, especially if His Royal Highness the POTUS loses the upcoming election. But this fella had the whole ball of craziness going on.)

Cracker Campin'

Made it through a day of driving w/o anything breaking, burning or exploding. So it's time to celebrate by dragging the bike of out of the cargo trailer/cracker camper and hit some roads in Virginia:

Life is better on a bike.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Terminal Leave Super Fun Time Adventure

Thought it might be fun to get away from home when I got home. Maybe hit the mountains on the opposite side of the country from Sturgis. Less crowds, less stress.


Day 1, tire on the truck explodes on the interstate. Not goes flat; explodes. Ever completely lost a tire at 65 mph while towing a cargo trailer? Spend the next half hour swapping out shreds on a rim for a spare while hoping some ass doesn't slam into my truck/trailer instead of passing by at 80 mph. Head to town down the road, find out all the tires are dry rotted. Why didn't I notice this, you're thinking? Hell, I've never had tires last long enough to dry rot. So, four new full-size, good quality truck tires. That hurt.

Day 2, brakes start grinding on the truck

Day 3, I buy new brake pads and rotors.

Day 4, nothing happens. By 1700 hrs, I'm wondering why nothing has gone wrong

Day 5, The Wife notices the bike is leaning more than normal while parked. Spend the morning locating a welding shop to repair the broken kick stand/frame weld. Retrieve bike from shop, notice later that shop has welded half of the damage. Successfully resisted urge to beat head against surfaces, then decide I'll get it fixed properly with my shop at home.

Day 6, is tomorrow. I'll be moving to a different camping site in the North Carolina mountains.

I can hardly wait.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ugly Gun Sunday

All that's missing from the picture is a hacksaw.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Damn Neo-Hippies

It's transition time at Castle Hundsabbern, which means riding the bike, Jack Daniel's, cigars, and ............ household tasks. One of which is washing the truck. A simple task, normally. Why, all one has to do is wheel out the power washer, top it up, and spray. First, the gas can. Ah, there's one. Must be a new one The Wife purchased while I was gone; the spout looks different. In fact, I've never seen anything like this. Wait, there's directions. I do believe this is the first time I've ever had to read directions to pour fluid out of a gravity-operated container. Let's see, rotate safety catch A clockwise, place catch hook B on rim of tank opening, and press nozzle forward to allow gas to flow into the tank. OK, this is excessive hippieism, but I'll do it and.........there's a circle of gas sprayed all over the floor of my garage, power washer, and me. Pause to allow temper to diminish, and recheck directions. Yep, that's what it says on the tank. Perhaps getting more of the spout deeper into the tank? A gasoline fountain! Lovely. At least the tank of the power washer is now 2/3 full. The rest can evaporate off the floor, and me, while I wash the truck. Guess the cigar is a no-go at this point though. Inadvertently blowing up the garage would be so inconvenient. Although thirty pulls of the power washer starter cord later, blowing something up is starting to have some appeal. But jail time doesn't.

Fine. I'll do it the old-fashioned way, and go somewhere else. But who designs and implements a vapor-preventing gas spout that puts 25% of what goes through it everywhere but the gas tank? I'm pretty sure I just put more fuel into the environment in the last five minutes than I have in the last ten years.

Off to the car wash......