Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year End Update Part Deux

Lets see, I left off at the end of June, so this should start at the first of July, if the sequence is right. We were, all of us out in the Black Hills for a week at a cabin near Terry Peak, minus Hans, and Steve. Steve (Scuba) showed up later, due to job requirements. We all scattered to different attractions in the area, some to Custer State Park and others to Devils Tower in Wyoming. I had a couple of bikes along, so Jan and I got out for a good ride one day, and the dirt bike put on a few miles also. When we got home to Minnesota, Rachel and her kiddos headed back to Norfolk to get ready for their next move, back to Japan in August. We had a few PGR missions in a row ending with one in Comfrey, Minnesota, to help dedicate a memorial to the 4 airmen that lost their lives in a 1963 B-47 crash right outside of town. I had happened to have just gotten home from tech school the day after the crash in below zero weather, so I remembered it well. The next day I rode out to the crash site and met the daughter of one of the victims purely by chance. There is a crater at the site where the bomber went in, and she informed me that "my Dad is in there somewhere", quite matter of factly. She was a small child when it happened, so I am sure that she did not remember him well. Jan and I spent a couple of days in the Rochester area getting some riding in, and then spent an afternoon in Winona at a Dale Warlund concert. Words are kind of inadequate to describe the sound he can create from a choir. I took a quick trip back out to Spearfish to return a towel we brought home by mistake. For once the trip across South Dakota was comfortable and windless to boot. I don't think I mentioned it, but the weather had been fairly nice all month. August started with more bike maintenance, and riding, and a PGR mission. We also had a concrete pad poured for the toy hauler on the north side of the north garage. If we keep this up I won't have much lawn to mow. If I work this right, about the time I can't handle the job, the lawn will have disappeared, hmm, I just thought of that. Jan and I rode over to Rochester to watch Sam, and Gus for a day while Steve , and Gen were out of town. After discovering a blown fork seal on our ST1300 I had to tear the front end all apart to get the fork tubes out for repair, which I did not do by myself. The trailer pad project meant that a couple loads of black dirt were needed to fill in around it, so that needed leveling and grass seed. Eli drove one of the Harris' Allis Chalmers in the parade at the Butterfield Threshing Bee this year. Hopefully a new generation is keeping this event from becoming ancient history, as the older men that actually worked with some of this machinery are going the same way as WWII vets. Jan and I were back to Rochester to visit the Doctors at Mayo, and got another good report. I think that they have told us that we don't need to return, but I kind of like checking in once a year now, just to make sure my body is behaving itself. Sure as Hell, I do not want a repeat of my September 2008 stay there. Late August was hot and humid. Around here those two always seem to go hand in hand, also bike prep for the Colorado trip. August ended with Phil and I on the road heading for south-west Colorado again. We spent a couple of hard days riding in the San Juan mountains, by revisiting several passes in the area. We only got caught in rain once, and luckily after we had gotten down off a particularly tough pass, so we just got wet, instead of hypothermia or worse. After this year, I don't think that I will be doing this too many more times, time does take it's toll, at least when you are off roading. After we got back, Jan and I took over watching Leah and Aaron while Eli, and Lindsey took a bike trip to Wisconsin's Door County. It sounds nice, and as many times as Jan, and I have been in Wisconsin, we have never been there. After they got home we loaded up the toy hauler and headed, where else but, Wisconsin again. We set up at a KOA in Oakdale and spend the better part of a week riding some of the best roads in this part of the world. One day I did ride over to Oshgosh to the EAA museum. I found it to be quite a good display, kind of like the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, but on a smaller scale. We watched the first Viking game sitting on the lawn with the tv on the deck, with the Theobalds, three groups of Kuehls, and a bunch of the neighborhood kids in attendance. Warm and green, not like yesterday's game, white, and below zero. The rest of the month was spent with getting the trailer ready for winter, bike maintenance, a PGR mission, and Mom's 93rd birthday get together in New Ulm. October started with a PGR mission, and unusual weather. Tornados in Nebraska, and eastern South Dakota, while Lead, South Dakota got 55" of snow, yikes! The next major project saw Jan, and I driving to Rochester to pick up Scouba, Sam, and Gus and drive up to Duluth. Gen had left earlier for Ashland, Wisconsin to register for the marathon there, to be run the next day. We all stayed at my brother, and sister in laws home on Lake Superior in Duluth. Paul and Marcy were kind enough to let us hang out there for a couple of days. Anyhow, we all drove over the Ashland area to cheer her on. Jan, and I, and her boys, Sam, and Gus followed her on the course, clapping, and ringing our sleigh bells. She finished in a personal best time of 3 hours, 33 minutes. This should qualify her for the Boston marathon, but only when the backlog from last years bombing is cleared, I guess. Jan and I went over to Rochester to go to Sam, and Gus's school for VIP day. My sister Kathy was home at this time too. I started the pellet burner already, and Jan and I got another ton of wood pellets at Menards, and I was trying to get some last minute rides in before the snow flies again. Jan and I were to Leah, and Aaron's school for a visit the first of November. Anyone that wonders what we retired people are doing with all of our spare time, evidently did not have grandchildren in church schools. It has been fun and it keeps us out of trouble, don't you know. Kathy and I attended the cousins get together in the Cities at Rhonda's home on Lake of the Isles. I won't even try to spell the name of the treat that is served at these get togethers, but it sure is tasty. Kathy, Jan, and I were back to Rochester again for Sam's birthday party, along with all of the Kuehls, minus Mom, and the Theobald familys. I did the AARP driver's safety course again mainly for the insurance break, and a contractor started on finishing up the tile job in our bathroom. Veteran's day has turned out to be better than I remember it, getting free breakfast at Hy Vee, lunch at Appleby's, and a haircut at Great Clips, but I am sad to say no free tires at Fast Lane. I ran a bunch of old blue jeans up to Grove City to a friend that has been making quilts from them for autistic children. When I arrived a U-Haul was backed up to the house loading furniture. Mike is giving up their home and moving to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so I took them home and disposed of them. He just did not have room for them and was already backlogged with orders, and was trying to nail down a job there. His wife is a nurse, so she was already employed. It is too bad I enjoyed moving them up to them, and Jan had been collecting them at work, so that won't be done in the future. Jan, Leah, and I drove over to Rochester, me to a PGR mission in Byron in the rain, and the girls with Gen, and her boys to Austin to the Spam museum. Jan and I spent some time watching the final season of Dexter, what a bummer of an ending, although, what could you expect to happen, a happy ending? I guess you could have hoped for more. For Thanksgiving Jan, and I were back in Rochester with whole gang again, for some good eating etc.. I changed the front tire on the Harley, and that about finishes November. I am sure that you all will be glad to see that this note is about to wrap up with my take on December at our house, so here it is. I did manage to wrap a couple of gifts, and we got to watch our son in law, Hans' change of command ceremony, live from Yokosuka, Japan. The reason Rachel and her kiddos headed back to Japan in August was to get Josiah, and Annika into school, while Hans was still in training for his new job at Newport, Rhode Island. Anyhow, this is an achievement he has been working towards since he was commissioned, I would imagine. He has finally got command of his own destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, stationed at Yokosuka. If you read this blog you should be able to jump to Rachel's blog and get caught up. She is a much more experienced blogger than me, for sure. Jan, and I made a few more trips to and from Fairmont with her Mom to doctor appointments etc., and we picked up a new mattress set. It seems as if, one can never find that perfect mattress, but you have to keep trying. We met Phil, and Laura in New Ulm for lunch and some shopping for the girls anyway, Phil and I checked out the countryside in the meantime. Jan, and I have been visiting Hanska furniture lately too, eyeing some new furniture, and we actually found a remnant for the floor in our bathroom, which is now complete! We had Christmas at our house again this year with everyone here minus the DeFor's  who, I just related are in Japan, and Jan's mom who did not feel like traveling up from Sherburn. Leah, and Aaron's Christmas program was the other night, and I still cannot get over how much they have to recite, and songs to sing. I don't recall that much memorization when I was that small, until I got to catechism mind you. I had a PGR mission the other day. Thank God, we had a couple of days above 40, and sunny too. I believe that I have heard that this has been the coldest December in over 10 years, and I think that they are correct. And that brings us up to date, all in all it has been a pretty good year, with Jan and I reasonably decent health. You have no idea how thankful I am to be able write this note at all, and the fact that all of Jan, and my children's family's are doing better than well. Kind of like Lake Woebegone, where all of the people are good looking, and the children are above average. With that thought I will leave you, and I hope to see you here next year, around this time, and in between too, if you care to check me out in the meantime.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Year end update part 1

Well, I guess that it is that time of the year again, that I need to bring the rest of our small world up to date on the year of our Lord 2013. Like a typical blog I may slide some photos in somewhere, so stand by. As usual I will start with the month of January, which stands to reason, I think. Jan and I had spent the first few days of the month in the Cities at a nice motel with the rest of the family, most of the time. Rachel, Hans, Josiah, Annika, and William, were all there too, so we had a really special time over New Years. We all agreed that this was an idea of Rachel's that needed to be repeated some time in the future, although we came close in the Hills this Summer. There were a few days of above freezing weather, and then more cold, a typical winter. I see that I had our new Triumph out a couple of times, so the weather had turned quite nice temporarily We were also getting over to Rochester and here in town to Grand kids school programs, and running Jan's Mom and me to Doctors appointments in Fairmont. I think that I mentioned some time ago that this getting older business is not as much fun as I hoped it would be when I was a child. Jan and I ran out to Sioux Falls to pick up a new shower enclosure to replace the one we have been fighting with for a few years now. Believe it or not, but as of now it has turned out very nice. Let me see, we are up to February. It started with my Aunt Dorothy Boltes' funeral. Dorothy was my Dad's sister and the last member of the Kuehl family of 8 children. Like most down time, I do spend some time out in my shop tending to the bikes. Since I can't ride, I sit and clean and polish stuff that I won't take time for in the Summer. The biggest project in the house this month, was a paneling job in our treadmill room. It has never really been finished well. Jan picked some finished pine, that is actually produced in Hill City, South Dakota. I also picked up a power miter saw to assist in this job, man, I wish I had done that 30 years ago. I have done most of the oak trim in the house over the years with a hand saw. That power saw made a world of difference, and Eli and I are still using it for trim work. Anyhow, the room came out quite nice, if I do say so my self. On the 14th we celebrated our 42nd anniversary, my how the time does fly when you have someone to love around. The weather this month was up into the 40s and down below 0,  kind of a roller coaster ride, so to speak. Next up, March. I was starting in on redoing our 650 Honda, which has been laid up since last Summer with a bum engine, for the second time in a couple of years, but that is a whole different story. Jan, her Mom, and I made a run to Rochester for Gus's birthday party early in March. We also got some inches of snow that needed blowing, so it must have been reasonably deep. Then a couple of days later we got 2 inches of rain, which, naturally, turned to snow later. Jan and I drove out to Sioux Falls and Flandreau to hear a blues group we have followed for a few years, it was late by the time we got home. Got all of the parts needed for the 650 rebuild and dug in, only to discover a small part missing, that required a run to the Lakeville Honda parts counter. I took the concealed carry class here in St. James along with 15 or 20 other people looking to claim their 2nd amendment rights, so now there are a few more of us out there that may or may not be armed, that being the point of the exercise. I did finish the 650 (Harry) work, and he fired right up when I got done, wonder of wonders. April was next. We were hoping for warmer weather. I do spend a lot of time complaining about the weather don't I? Phil, Laura, Jan, and I made a run to the Hills just to check things out. We spent a couple of days in Deadwood, and the weather did co-operate for once. We actually saw 50 degrees for the first time about here, then 6-8 inches of snow a couple days later, so back to reality, however ugly it can be in the Spring around here. Our drain project started out by jackhammering out the old drain pipes in the basement and replacing them with plastic. Part of the job got rid of the floor drain that had never worked correctly, I think that it had been partially filled with concrete when the floor was poured 60 years ago. Now the run to the street is the only future problem in that regard. We plan on jetting that section of pipe every year or so to get rid of tree roots, rather than digging up the lawn to replace that pipe, not that my lawn is that nice you understand. I actually got a bike out now and then so it wasn't too cold or I was desperate, one or the other. Jan and I also started out to Virginia later in April. We had a nice trip except for getting caught in a speed trip in a crummy little town in West Virginia. I tried to avoid that state one time by going around through Washington D.C., which turned out to be a mistake. Anyhow, we spent some time at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. It seems that just about anywhere you are out there, history is all around you. Jan and I helped Rachel move from one home into the house they had just bought in Norfolk. Luckily she had a mover do the heavy lifting, but we did spend several days getting thing arranged, pictures, books, and window dressings hung. Hans got back from more training about then, the first part of May. Jan and I headed home on the 8th and arrived the next day at our house. Mom and I drove up to St. Peter to meet my brothers for lunch, for Mother's day. Suddenly we had warm weather, with a high temperature of 102 on the 14th, and 80s on either side, and I was down with a cold at the time, rats. My brother Paul had his 60th birthday party at Bailey's in Ormsby, and Jan and I took the Harley to the party. Jan and I helped Eli, and Lindsey move to their next home, a real cute one here in town that I have always admired. Phil, Paul, and I changed out the kitchen door to the garage at Mom's house one day. Now it is a good steel insulated unit with a dead bolt lock. I made 2 short trips to Iowa in 2 days, the first one I was sure the battery was toast on the BMW, so I turned around and came home. The next day I got to Mason City and realized that my billfold was laying on the counter at home, so I limped home at 55. Lucky I started with a full tank of gas. After that I put a credit card in the pockets of jackets I might be wearing the next time I do that. Phil and I made our traditional pilgrimage  up to Cambridge to check out the bikes and have a burger and fries at this joint on the main drag. I wonder how long we have been doing that? June started out with a Patriot Guard mission in Sioux Falls. It was cool and rainy and I know that I took a bike to this one. My sister Kathy was home at this time, having come home to attend Paul's birthday party that was held last month. I was getting out more on the bikes too. I ran the Triumph (Tony) in for his first check-up, which is primarily an oil change anymore. I was also up to Phil's to help change a tire on his dirt bike, to get it ready for our trip to Colorado in the late Summer. The bathroom project was coming along with the walls getting tiled, finally. Patriot Guard missions are picking up now too, except they are mostly Veteran funerals and not combat related, which is a good thing, now that combat operations are winding down. Jan and I went down to Peterson, Mn., and met the Theobalds to watch Steve play softball and see their parade, which is always fun for all. I headed west on Tony on the 17th. I spent the first night in Spearfish, and ran over the Big Horns to Riverton. I had planned on going further west to Dubois and south from there, but the weather looked really nasty in that direction, so I headed to Casper for the night. The next day I made it all of the way home, somewhere over 700 miles at one time, and I never got wet once. Both of the days were complicated by stiff cross winds, which probably contributed to an eye problem I developed on the trip, part of the cost riding, I guess. Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and William, rolled in from Norfolk toward the end of the month too. We had a picnic out at Lake Hanska with everybody here plus Rachel's mother in Law Donna, who came down from her home in Bloomington. The end of the month saw us convoying the whole family west to the Hills, minus Steve, and Hans. Steve had to work another day and Hans was tied up with the Navy. So here ends part one of our saga. I need to proof read it a couple of times and find some pictures to illustrate us a little, and part 2 will follow when my fingers stop bleeding from all of this typing.   

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catching Up

  You know, I got the idea recently, that rather than send out long e-mails with pictures of what Jan and I have been up to lately, I would do short blogs. What do you think, kill two birds with one stone, maybe? Since the last blog I went on a PGR mission in Byron, over by Rochester a couple of weeks ago. Jan and Leah went along. We met Gen and the boys at Byron and they went on to Austin to tour the Spam museum, while I stood on the flag line for a couple of hours. I no sooner than dropped the girls off when it started to rain, so when we got in line at the church, I made sure that I was under cover, being one of the older vets at these events does have some privileges once in a while. The guy that we stood for was an Air Force vet about my age from Rapid City. I guess he was from the Byron area so that is why the funeral was held there. He will be buried at the Black Hills National cemetery, a place that I would like to have a marker at, in the future, of course. With the wars winding down things are slowing down for the PGR, mostly what we do now is vets from WWII on forward. I have been keeping track of the missions that I have been on, and it has been quite a few. You get a lot of time to think about what you are doing standing in the heat or cold or rain sometimes for a couple of hours, and a lot of things run through your head. You wonder about the person that you all are standing for showing the colors you all served under, the family members, mothers, fathers, siblings, husbands, wives and children of veterans young and old, how things are going for them? Then sometimes I wonder what I am doing there? I admit the idea of having an excuse to ride to these funerals is part of the equation, but there is more to it than that. When you hear from family members how much they appreciate you being there, it makes you realize why you keep going on missions. Anyhow, enough about that. Jan and I were over to Rochester for Thanksgiving at the Theobalds, and some Black Friday shopping for Jan and Gen. As usual, it was quite an event at their house, lots of good food and drink and Sam, Gus, Leah, and Aaron in the house the whole time. Lots of laughter and full tummies for all. Leah, and Aaron rode home with us, with a stop at Cabelas' in Owatonna to check out a sale item, which turned out to be not what I was looking for anyway, I did get a pair of warm gloves though. I took some pictures around the table at breakfast on Friday and I will throw them on with a photo of our maple about a day before the entire load of leaves dropped off. Enjoy?
Oh ya, Eli got a different bike just recently, a KTM 400. It looks good, and he will have the whole winter to putz with it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

For Jan and a busy Summer without posts

I know that it has been a long time since I last posted anything, but I have been busy or lazy, one of the two. Anyhow I went looking for a birthday card for Jan this morning on my walk and I couldn't find anything appropriate, so I thought, why not get off your duff and blog to her. She has been retired for a little over a year from her job with Watonwan Human Services now and I feel that she has settled in to the retired life style quite well, although she is providing a lot of support for her Mom now. I won't say how old she is getting to be, but next Fall she will be eligible for Medicare. It has been fun this year for us to be able to take off for a week at a time and not have to worry about how much vacation she is burning up. We spent a week in the Black Hills with the whole gang, minus Hans, our son-in-law, and had a good time. Then in September we went over to Oakdale, Wisconsin for another week in the trailer, so we could ride back roads in that area. That time is always a good time with her. Jan pretty much organizes everything but the bike, and I drive the truck and get the vehicles ready to go. Well, Jan we have spent a lot of birthdays together, and I hope that we get to do quite a few more. I just wanted to let the world know that I love you and want to spend more time with you in our world. OK? On to getting caught up with this Summer's activities. Back in June or was it July, I'm not sure, I took the Triumph out to Wyoming to try and hit a few mountain trails that have been on my bucket list for a while now, but weather and not the most ideal tires dissuaded me from that idea, so I turned around west of Riverton and headed home. West of Casper I ran with what must have been 50 mph cross winds that may have caused an eye injury that I still deal with. From Casper I made it home in one jump and pretty much confirmed that Tony is not a good long distance machine. Over the 4th of July we spend a week in a home near Terry Peak in the Hills with the gang, and I managed to get a little more riding in. I will add some pictures to this but I need to edit this from a different computer which has most of my recent photos on it. My brother Phil and I made the trip to the Ouray area of Colorado the first part of September for a couple of days of riding and had a pretty good time. I find that I either need to be in a lot better shape or cut back on the amount of riding I do in those conditions, because I was really shot by the end of the second day, but then I am not getting any younger, I guess. After being home for a while I admit that I am thinking of heading back next year, but cutting back a little maybe, we'll see. I mentioned up above that Jan and I had been over to Wisconsin again, for a weeks time in the trailer and out on the best back roads in this part of the country. You could look back at a blog from a couple of years ago to see one of our best runs. This was the only time this year that we have had the trailer out because we were doing other things when we normally take a trip, so next year. Just a couple of weeks ago we were up to Duluth for a couple of days and stayed at my brother and sister-in-law's lakeside condo for the weekend. Paul and Marci put us up, along with Steve, Gen, Sam, and Gus, so that Gen would have a base to run the Ashland, Wisconsin marathon. Naturally we all ran over and followed her on the route which was run on an old rail bed. She finished in a personal best time of 3:33, which qualifies her for the Boston marathon, but probably not until 2015, due to the runners that did not finish the 2012 marathon due to the bombing that year. Well, that about sums it up. In a couple of months I will be working on my end of the year, or Christmas blog, if you wish, so I don't want to get too detailed. In closing I repeat, Happy Birthday Jan, the love of my life, and many more good ones. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's Virginia again, among other things

This blog is going to be mostly pictures of Jan and my trip to Norfolk to help Rachel move into their newly rehabbed home. This is the middle of May almost and I just got out for a short ride yesterday. Last years' weather has turned out to be a cruel, cruel joke. We spend a lot of time comparing it to this years' weather which is actually somewhat cooler than average. Last year I had several thousand miles on bikes and this year I am still trying to get some break in miles on the Triumph we bought before Christmas, and Harry needs some tender miles too. As usual the main obstacle in the whole trip is West Virginia again. This time I got caught in a speed trap in Rainelle going 27 in a 15, believe it or not. Oh well, I guess a ticket every 26 years ain't too bad, I imagine that I was about due. On the way back I think that it rained again on the way through, so, about par for the course. More about the move. Luckily the two houses are only a mile or so apart, so shuffling back and forth was easy enough. The movers took two truck loads from the old to the new, and we spent the next week unboxing and getting things organized. Adding to the stress level we found that the box springs for the two beds in the upper floors could not be maneuvered up the stairs, so Rachel had to order split box springs, that hopefully will go around the corners to the second and third floors. We pretty much worked the whole time we were there, but did take a break to tour a cemetery that has a lot of history. There were a lot of Confederate graves there, and if you check Rachel's blog you can see some more pictures and videos. Anyhow, we were there 10 days or so and figured we needed to head home. While we were gone it had been 80 degrees, and they had had heavy snow to boot. We got home Thursday evening after running through heavy rain in Illinois. Things had greened up some while we were gone but the trees are just beginning to bud out, and the lawn is really shaggy, so I need to hit that. The picture on the bottom is from Appomatox Courthouse, across the street from the house where the Civil War ended. Well, that's it for now, stay tuned.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This, That, and that other Thing

I have finally managed to overcome the inertia of this years bad case of cabin fever, but only a little. Here we sit in the middle of April and the forecast for the next week or so, is for temperatures in the 40s. I think that last year there was corn sprouting at this time and I had a couple of thousand miles on bikes. Last year I made a run to the Black Hills in the middle of March, and had a great ride. In my last blog I had a picture of some of Harrys' valve train sitting on the bench, and accidentally placed a bottle of migraine strength pain reliever in the photo. Actually, the re-assembly process went fairly well after months of preparation and many, many visits to the factory parts web sites for information. You would not believe the amount of different fastener lengths in the head cover alone. I replaced everything on the top end, and a fresh piston and rings all coated liberally with assembly lube. Wonders of wonders Harry fired right up when I got him together and idled right down, after a short warm up. This all goes back to the screw up by the dealer in the first place that led to the first rebuild, I think that maybe this time around it was my fault for not breaking him in long enough. Anyhow, I have put a few miles on, and am taking it really easy until all of those new, expensive parts get acquainted to each other. Other than that I have managed to get some break-in miles on the Triumph (Tony) when it nears 50 degrees and I can bundle up and turn on my electric vest. Jan and I are planning another trip to Virginia to visit the DeFors again and help some with their move to their new home in Norfolk. One way or another we leave in less than 2 weeks, and with the way the weather has been going lately, the idea that we might have to fight snow etc., is not totally out of the realm of possibilities. This past week we dodged the weather bullet again. Just to our west they had freezing rain and then 6-8" of snow over the top. Southwestern Minnesota and southeastern South Dakota was without power for several days. Maybe it is my brush with cancer, but I have this feeling that time is a precious commodity that should not be wasted, sometimes I wish that I did not have to sleep at night, as that strikes me as pretty much a poor use of the time remaining on my calendar. There are so many places I want to ride to, Virginia, Wyoming, and places west, and a short little swing through Iowa, for crying in the soup, but here I am looking out the window at more freezing rain and light snow, with no relief in sight. Arg!  I just got over a cold that was not too bad but hung on for weeks it seems. When it started I started taking some kind of zinc cough drops. Jan and I have tried them before and it really seems to help. Oh ya, I did sit through a concealed carry class and just received my permit to carry, so now I am armed and dangerous, more or less. So anyhow, that about sums it up for now. Stay in touch?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring is just around the corner

  We have been up to a few things around here lately. Jan and I just finished a paneling job in our "exercise room " in the basement. I'll throw in a few pictures, if I can get that to work this time around. I worked out a parts list to fix up the XR 650, again, got them ordered recently, and received them just a few days later, much to my surprise. I had ordered a set of hand guards for the Triumph from Bike Bandit and that order had taken a couple of weeks. I think that they had to turn around and order them from Triumph, and maybe they had to come from Great Britain. Anyhow, I have the cylinder and piston out to a machinist locally and he will get them acquainted with each other and then I can proceed to putting things back together. This latest problem occurred last Summer after the bike had been rebuilt after the dealer screwed it up. I am not sure but it may have been an oil starvation thing because it wiped out the top end, pretty much. I have a couple of pictures of that too. Back to the paneling job. Jan and I spent more than a week on that one, and it necessitated two trips to Mankato, one for the wood itself and a return for a power miter saw. I made one cut with the saw I have used for years for cutting trim and said, "Jan we are going to get a power miter". If I hadn't I would still be down there sawing away. Probably the best $110 bucks I have spent in a long time. Next up, Gus's birthday party in Rochester. Jan, and I , and the Great Grandmothers made the trip last Saturday. Believe it or not, neither one of us remembered to bring a camera this time. The party for Gus was the usual house full of relatives, with our car full, Scuba's brothers, and their wives, except for Bill, come to think of it. Scuba's Mom and the next door neighbors, and a couple of dogs to boot. What can I say, but it was pretty wild again. It is good to see the Minnesota branch of our kiddos and their kiddos get together. Only missing Rachel and her family who are on the East coast with the Navy, so to speak. Yesterday was Leah's birthday party here in town at her house. If you read the previous description of Gus's party, just put most of the action in this new location minus Scuba's brothers, wives, Mom and neighbors in this new location and you will get the picture. This time, luckily enough I did bring a camera, so I will add some of Leah's party. In Rachel's latest blog she talks about thinking about past mistakes keeping you up at night. It must run in the family as I have that problem too, lots of mornings I wake up early and start going over things I may have done wrong over the years, and believe me that could fill a book. Eventually I just have to get up and make my coffee and have breakfast, because laying in bed with your mind working overtime won't give you any rest. you think, if only I could have a "do over', I would do things differently, but probably not. On that high note I will close this blog, take care and stay in touch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letter to a Friend

I have been wanting to post something new for a few days and the other day Jan found a letter that I had written to her instead of a card for Mothers Day. To tell the truth I probably forgot or was too cheap to spring for a card for her. God knows she deserves more cards and flowers, and gifts than I get around to giving her. Anyhow, I thought that I would put the text of the note that I gave her instead of a card in a new blog. This is from Mother's Day in 1981. At the time we had a 1 year old boy, a 3 year old girl, and a 6 year old girl, so Jan was pretty busy I am thinking. It starts.
              Dear Jan
  When I put the girls to bed tonight and kissed them, I thought how sweet they are- most of the time- and how empty life would be without them. I guess that's what Mother's Day is all about, giving a return gift to someone who has given you so much, three beautiful, intelligent, healthy children, and a warm comforting home. As I have said before, I can't wait to get home to find out what the tribe has been up to, or to see the line up at the back door. This really makes my day. This year I got you a rose bush. I hope that it grows as well as the last one, but I was too cheap to spring for a card, so I wrote this, I hope it will do.
                                         Love Pete
I've written lots of love notes to Jan over the years and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. The early morning of the 23rd she woke me up and we talked about how things went 33 years previously when Eli, our youngest was born. Both of the girls were sick and had thrown up in bed and Jan was getting them cleaned up, when she told me that some thing else was happening as well. My Mom rushed over to watch the girls while we ran to the hospital. Eli arrived a few hours later. This was in the days before ultra sound, so it always came as a surprise when the child made their appearance to this world. I had the privilege of first holding both Eli and Gen when they were born and walking around the delivery room and talking to them, something that I will never forget. Rachel's birth was a little different so I didn't get to hold her until later. So now Jan and I just bustle around the house  and keep in touch by phone and on line too with the kids that are no longer kids, but the same age as we were when we had a family like them.
     Anyhow, on another subject. Jan, Aaron, Eli, and I were up to Comfrey Sunday morning to a benefit lunch fund raiser. They are raising funds to put up a monument for the four Air Force personnel that perished when their B-47 bomber crashed just north of Comfrey in February, 1963. I had come home on leave from tech school and my Dad had met the bus in Albert Lea, when he told me about the crash. I can remember that it was at least 20 below zero that day. The two that got out of the plane as it went down froze to death before they hit the ground and two more rode the plane into the ground. Until recently I had believed that the aircraft was out of Little Rock AFB, but research recently told me they were from Lincoln AFB, Nebraska. Stay in touch and leave a comment if you wish, and even if you don't wish.
p.s.  I was going to add some pictures, but now it won't let me down load pictures from our files, so I guess this will be without illustrations

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

He's Alive !!

  I know, I know it has been quite a while since I last updated anybody with a new blog. I should really try to bring a few readers up to date on what we have been up to here in the semi-frozen North land. Today the sun is shining and it is actually above freezing again. Let's see where do I begin- Back in December Jan and I traded off our Honda VFR 800 for a new Triumph 800 Tiger, I'll give you 3 guesses what his name is. It's kind of lame but all of our vehicles have names. Our red Fusion is Ruby, the BMW GS is Fritz-BMW is a German brand-etc, etc.. Anyhow, The Tiger is the first Triumph that we have had in the garage, over the years I have slowly moved from an all Honda remuda to a primarily European gang. Two of my three Honda's are in pieces so they hardly count anymore. The Europeans are from Italy, Germany and Great Britain. After picking that bike up in Lakeville Jan and I swung by Cabelas and got a new generator for the home and maybe the Toy hauler if I can't get that generator running smooth again. I think that I covered Christmas, which we celebrated early this year, in my Christmas letter. Over New Years we spent several days at a hotel in the Cities with Hans, Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and William. Steve, Gen, Sam, and Gus made it for a couple of nights, as did Phil, and Laura, and for New Years Eve, Eli, Lindsey, Leah, and Aaron got there too. We really had a good time New Years Eve with the whole gang in one room for several hours. In the last few years, having everybody in the same place at the same time has been way too rare for our tastes. I'll throw in some pictures at some place in this blog to maybe illustrate what I mean. I just had an idea, after this when I have a batch of pictures to send to the people most interested, I'll just do a blog instead, then they will have to read this, this, epistle. Through the month of January and into February things have quieted down somewhat, although, the corner shower in our bathroom is in the process of getting a major overhaul. I think that back a couple of years, if you go through my blog there was an ongoing thread on the process of redoing the old corner shower, hmm, what goes around comes around. The whole old one went into the trash and a brand new one is waiting in the wings. We will have to replace a portion of the floor that got wet over the years, along with the floor covering and all of the shower controls, luckily my brother Phil is a plumber, we have utilized his skills over the years a lot.  Jan also is pushing another project in the basement for our tread mill room. This room has been semi finished for a long time and I think that we will be doing some planking on the walls down there to finish it up for once. Today is the 12th of February and we are sliding up to the 14th which will be Jan and our 42nd anniversary. Holy cow, how did this happen? What can you say about the woman that quite literally saved my life and also made it worth living? Thanks just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. We just love to hang out together. Just sitting at the kitchen table reading the Sunday paper together is one of the most satisfying things in the world for me. Yet when I get the urge to hit the road she pushes me out the door, with a ,"have a good time". Anyhow, this blogs for you St. Jan. Happy 42nd and I would like several more if you don't mind. Love Pete.
p.s. You may notice that some of the pictures are not the best. We were having camera trouble for a while.