StoryTime at the Library: BEES!

I’m doing a special Saturday presentation on honey bees at the library. This presentation will be live so there is no narration added to the video. I’ll talk mostly about the life of the bees in the hive and share important information like, one M&M weighs the same as 8 bees. This video will either be extra or to give me courage or to attract the restless. This bee extravaganza will end with a craft – probably toilet paper roll bees.
Wish me luck!

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New Year – New Project

Elemental bits of a Velo KSS grass-tracker

Elemental bits of a Velo KSS grass-tracker

Out at Team Mork workshop the KSS grass track machine is roughed out frame fittment-wise, foot peg placement, forks and wheels set up, fenders mounted and seat and tank attachment welded into place. Now its time to get cracking on the internals for the prime motovator! So down to the elemental bits for the engine, gearbox and primary.

Off with the head says the red queen and as it is written so it shall be done. Valves look serviceable but will be replaced with new and new guides. Seat pockets are acceptable with a little shaping. Piston is high dome and much work has been done to make it fit and light. .020 with .008 clearance in the bore. Cam is marked K-17 1 with normal wear and rockers to match. A few less fins on the jug but the bore looks good. Rod and crank look to be in good shape with .004 side play at the big end and no perceptible up and down play. Double row roller on drive side and single on timing end.

Timing case needs to be welded up where broken across lower mag mount stud. Probably why KTTs have base mounted magnetos.

So far we are pleased with the over all condition of the bits and the way the project is moving. The team Captain is confident we can have it painted, together and running for the Clubman’s show in the spring and out to Willow for some hot laps at the 2015 meet.

Stay tuned for updates and news.

Bare Frame

Bare Frame

The Head

The Head

Missing a few fins on the jug and the carved high dome of the piston

Missing a few fins on the jug and the carved high dome of the piston

The lightening holes and material removal from under the crown

The lightening holes and material removal from under the crown

Cam's in good shape.  It's marked K1710

Cam’s in good shape. It’s marked K1710

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TT Motors Not So Annual Picnic

TT Motors Not so Annual Picnic flyer

TT Motors Not so Annual Picnic flyer

Robin Williams said, “If you can remember the ’60’s, you weren’t there.” Well, if you can remember TT Motors from Berkeley in the ’70’s or ’80’s, you might have been like me, safely on the outskirts of the motorcycle scene at that time. I would gaze longingly at the bikes on display, weekly, before grocery shopping at the Berkeley Bowl. Sometimes I’d converse with local characters like Paladin. Just think, if I’d spent more time inside the shop, I might have met Jeff decades earlier.

Anyway, if you were involved, the above flyer will trigger something like a memory. And yes, the gathering is real and in 2014.

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Day 5 Lochsa Lodge to Salmon, Idaho

Day 5 Lochsa Lodge to Salmon, Idaho

Line up in Darby, Montana

Line up in Darby, Montana


We finished the next segment of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, (U.S. Route 12), and found ourselves making a right turn onto 93 in Lolo, Montana. From here there was a straight run to Darby, Montana. Just because the road was straight, didn’t eliminate the possibility of beauty. There were little towns, and big horizons, all new to us.
Kim illustrates the contrast between the old and the new.

Kim illustrates the contrast between the old and the new.


Gas Station in Darby, Montana

Gas Station in Darby, Montana


Wooden carvings

Wooden carvings


After Darby the road climbs up to Chief Joseph Pass (elevation 7, 364 feet) and the border into Idaho. Then the road winds its way down to North Fork.
Terry in North Fork.  I wanted to get a video of him starting this bike.  He ran alongside to bump start it.

Terry in North Fork. I wanted to get a video of him starting this bike. He ran alongside to bump start it.


Cornering is a special challenge on motorcycles. Elevation changes, and distractions such as stunning views, rocks in the road, and oncoming traffic are part of the mix. If I’m not in my zone or feeling the syrup of wahoo, I just slow down and focus on being smooth. However I’m always trying to improve my riding skills. Sometimes I play with throttle control, or lean angle or how to read a corner. No where on this trip did we run into tight switchbacks, but the big sweepers with changing elevation gave me plenty to think about.

I was doing the latter when I noticed three modern Harley’s behind me. They passed me, but then I found I was keeping up with them. One slowed down and gestured for me to pass him. Hmmm. Now I was in the middle of their group. Then the two in front of me pulled onto a wide spot on the shoulder. I don’t know what the road etiquette is for this situation, but I wasn’t riding to meet anyone so I sped up and stayed alone until I reached North Fork where my riding partners were swapping stories and eating ice cream.

It was while we were finishing our ice cream that stories of a rider down came trickling in. Later we learned that Jim A. had some how “got into the marbles,” the gravel on the outside of a corner, and low-sided. The bike was dragged back, but Jim went on to the hospital, first in Hamilton and then transferred to Missoula. He had to have an operation on one ankle and stiches in a knee. We hope for a smooth recovery.

Scratched and scraped, but repairable.

Scratched and scraped, but repairable.

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Day 4 McCall to Lochsa Lodge

Day 4 McCall to Lochsa Lodge

Life in camp was good.  While Fred brought the killer coffee maker, John showed off a vintage tent that multitasked as a laundry line

Life in camp was good. While Fred brought the killer coffee maker, John showed off a vintage tent that multitasked as a laundry line


77 mile curve sign

Velo Road extraordinaire

North on 95 to Grangeville and then then 13 to Kooskia and then, and then, U.S. Route 12, the Northwest Scenic Passage Byway, This is one of my favorite roads, but don’t tell anyone. It’s beautiful, with lots of curves and spectacular views, places to access the river and not a lot of traffic.

In McCall I met a woman who lives and works in Boise and comes to McCall to fish and ride her bicycle on dirt trails. She said, “McCall is my heaven.” In Grangeville I spoke briefly with a woman who said she grew up in McCall but there were too many tourists there now. She loves Grangeville. One man told me that he used to live in Alaska, but he feels he can get more off the grid in Idaho than he ever did in Alaska. We’re barely scratching the surface as we ride through, but I can understand why Hemingway was attracted to this landscape.

On this road, parked bikes indicated someone was cooling off in the river.

On this road, parked bikes indicated someone was cooling off in the river.

At the end of today’s ride, we found ourselves in a beautiful campground. Others stayed in the lodge itself.

When we arrived at the campground, hundreds of these critters poked their heads up.  Their holes meant you had to watch where you were walking.

When we arrived, the open area was full of these critters. Their holes meant you had to watch where you were walking.


Our tents were behind the line of trees.

Our tents were under and between the trees.


Maintenance never ends

Maintenance never ends


How the other half live - Lochsa Lodge Cabins

How the other half live – Lochsa Lodge Cabins

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Day 3 Bellevue to McCall

Bellevue camp

Bellevue camp


Isobel and Derek surprised us at the camp. Derek was member #3 when the club started back in the dark ages and Isobel has voluntarily performed such duties as Club Treasurer for many years. Their presence made camping that much more festive. Still we had miles to go…

Between Hailey and Ketchum, road works closed one direction of traffic at a time. At one of the full stops, Jeff picked up a lug nut from next to Fred’s rear tire. We pulled over into the first available parking lot to check Fred’s tire and sure enough found he was missing one.

Disaster was avoided, but the road had further challenges for us. The following events were compounded by the fact, that the beautiful ribbon of asphalt avoided lunch in any disguise.

We retraced our route on 75 back to Stanley and then took 21 to Lowman. Somewhere along the Lowman – Banks road, we ran into more road construction. Instead of stopping in the line of traffic, a few riders went to the head of the line. I didn’t join them for two reasons, one I don’t know how Idaho state law deals with this, and two, I couldn’t see the head of the line and so wouldn’t know if oncoming traffic was headed towards me or not. (In other words I take the concept of ride your own ride to heart; the boys have lead me astray before). Anyway the actions of the riders infuriated an off-duty cop who got out of his car and yelled at Larry, another rider who had held back. There were humorous moments such as when Larry reminded him that he didn’t ride to the front and when the cop said, “No one drives the speed limit.”

Later in the day, when we finally found a place for lunch, a car driver felt impelled to come out of the café and yell at me for cutting him off. I didn’t know what he was talking about and did what I could to de-escalate the emotions; I just agreed with him. Then he pointed to someone else’s bike. Aha! It was a case of mistaken identity.

In between these two incidents was the near miss at the Wall of Death. At Banks we turned north on 55, the Payette Scenic River Highway. At the end of a straight stretch of road, just before the road turned to run alongside the river, traffic stopped. Just as we pulled up, a woman ran over to me and said, “It’s one of yours.” Terrifying words.

We rode around the cars to find Steve bleeding from head wounds and receiving first aid from a competent guy. Steve’s modern Royal Enfield was upside down and leaking on the wrong side of the road. He’d missed the turn, left tire marks on the cement retaining wall, flipped back, and bounced across the road into oncoming traffic. Fortunately he was wearing all the protective gear and was in great physical shape. He walked away from the accident with scrapes and bruises. His bike was totaled.

After a lot of wrestling, the guys were able to roll the bike to a wide space on the shoulder of the road.

After a lot of wrestling, the guys were able to roll the bike to a wide space on the shoulder of the road.


The Royal Enfield wears its orange tape

The Royal Enfield wears its orange tape


After all this we hit a patch of rain. This cooled things off, but lowered visibility.

By the time we reached McCall we were all a bit frazzled, but we found ourselves in a great camp, near the hotel where other members were staying, and another airport.

Steve on his feet.  Behind him the wrenching continues

Steve on his feet. Behind him the wrenching continues


Work on this beautiful Velo went from tense to intense

Work on this beautiful Velo went from tense to intense

Back at camp, Larry relaxes

Back at camp, Larry relaxes

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Day 2: Salmon to Bellevue (Hailey)

Jeff says okay.

Jeff says okay.

If this is Tuesday, we must be going south on 93.
One of the challenges of riding with other people on motorcycles is communication. Jeff and I often modify sign language from scuba diving to communicate basic needs. For instance in the above photo, Kim’s bike stopped and Jeff stopped to help her sort things out, but I saw this in my rearview mirror, turned when safe and came back. That put me on the opposite side of the road. Fortunately, there was no need to ride back to nearby Salmon. Jeff mimed okay, and we all prepared to continue the ride south.

The mighty Venom at the overlook

The mighty Venom at the overlook


Fred Mork and the view

Fred Mork and the view


93 to Challis and the Tea Cup Cafe and then onto 75, the town of Stanley, and the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. What spectacular roads and views! There was about 20 miles of straight road with mountains on the horizons. We passed through Sun Valley and stopped in Ketchum so I could visit Hemingway’s grave. Then we had coffee, well the best affogato (vanilla gelato smothered in espresso) at Velocio.
Hemingway's grave

Hemingway’s grave


Velocettes and Velocio

Velocettes and Velocio


Then we rode through Hailey and past the amazing line of private jets at the Friedman Memorial Airport to get to the campground in Bellevue. The road to the campground was torn up due to construction, but what’s a little more dirt?
Bellevue campsite from the road

Bellevue campsite from the road


Jeff does maintenance under the flight path of the nearby airport

Jeff does maintenance under the flight path of the nearby airport

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