The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rollerdome

It's been over a decade since I've been to the Metro Dome Stadium in Minneapolis to strap on a pair of rollerblades. A few weeks ago while I was putting away gear and tripping over my kids skates it occurred to me my kids have never been to the Rollerdome.

  Although none of my kids really skate all that much, either on ice or pavement, skating is a good way to have some fun, burn off energy, and learn balance that transfers to many other activities. It's cold now and the daylight is virtually now existent after school and work so the dome is a great way to get a warm, self- created wind, blowing through your hair.
  On Monday night it would  just be Super Y, Big D, and myself, as G Man and  Lynn were at the gymnastics gym. For a couple kids that rarely skate they did pretty well. Their biggest problem being the crappy, garage sale skates they were wearing. The wheels made from hard plastic had so little grip they just could not push-off on them. I give them a lot of credit for sticking it out for two hours. A shopping trip will be in order before our next outing.
They got interviewed by PBS for program on Almanac, in which they will be talking about the future plans of the dome being torn down and the probability of no more skating.

        My skates on the other had were virtually brand new and fast as heck. A couple years ago I found myself drooling over them at a rock bottom price.... I had to have them. They only got used three times and have been collecting dust in the gear room ever since. I know it's shameful but I like in-line skating.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Re-purposed

Everyone is always talking about reduce, reuse, and recycle. My latest project was the re-purposing of a refrigerant tank to make a small wood stove. I needed it for my abandoned car turned fort, that I named "The Wreck". I chose the refrigerant tank due to ease of access. Where I work, there is a small dumpster full of them and lots of other scrap metal to cobble together a small, FREE, wood stove.     
Not bad for FREE,     I added a stove top for cooking
  When completed it's  big enough for small  ice shanty or fort. I wont go into details as to sizes of anything since I never even used a tape measure other than keeping the legs the same length and the stretch out of the stove pipe take off. Also the size of the refrigerant tank will dictate the dimensions of all the necessary modifications. All that is needed for the most part is an angle grinder and a welder.
view of the outlet damper
  I cut and rolled my 3 inch take-off, but you could use a piece of stove pipe purchased at Home Dump or My nards. A hole-saw is also an easy way to make the inlet and outlet dampers but if you use your imagination something else might also work.
After finishing it, I stuffed the whole thing with wood and threw it in a big bonfire just to make sure everything would be burned off before I installed it in a small enclosed space.
 Make sure the tank is empty before plasma cutting or welding. Refrigerant is not flammable but it can produce a toxic deadly gas know as Phosgene when extreme heat or flame is applied.
I think the gutter is a nice touch
    The stove worked great after I got it set-up Friday afternoon. The flue pipe was made with a short piece of 3 inch snap-lock and a chunk of gutter down spout I found in the area.  Soon my boys and I will be back for a warm, sheltered picnic.
All that's needed is a door that I'm making out of some military surplus canvas bags,and we'll be toasty warm

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Opener

Last week we celebrated the official Imperial Fat-Bike Riders Group season opener with a cook-out. The Imperial Fat-bike Riders Group is merely a title given to the group I created on facebook ( after the Legend went AWOL) so a small handful of us could communicate as to where we'll meet for rides.
getting the fire going the boy scout way,  with lighter fluid

Steak, hobo dinners, and a massive pan of veggies
 Typically, we get together on Wednesday night during the months of September through March. Although the rides started back in September we wanted to wait for all the bugs to die and the temps to drop a bit before having our cook-out. Sitting around a fire when it's warm and having mosquitoes bite you while trying to enjoy a hobo dinner is a bitch.
ride home

  So far the rides have been really good and different by having members of the group pick a venue for a ride they want to share or lead. All we need now is snow, frozen lakes and rivers so we may bask in our righteous glory upon our rolling thrones of fatness. For we are the Imperial Fat-Bike Riders.  I'm just kidding, anyone is welcome to join us and have some fun on ANY bike. Also we usually hit up a local food establishment after the ride just to round off the evening. Drop me a message at the bottom if you live in the area and would like to ride with us. ................
.....   D. Rider  out
Taken on one of our rides early on

This was a rainy, cold night several weeks ago when we took to the streets of MPLS instead of destroying our bikes and the trails  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Wreck

Somewhere in the early nineties I discovered for myself, a destroyed, abandoned car in the woods. I'm not sure of the make or the year but I'm guessing it's no newer than the early fifties since it still has a partially disassembled flat head motor rusting between the frame rails. Not that I really cared about either of the two details, I just thought it was kind of neat. Over the years when I was in the area I would go check on it to see if it was still there or if anything had changed.

Adequate ventilation 
  When I went to go see it last year I was hit by the idea to turn it into a fort. I was only able to get down there twice to actually work on it before winter. I had a grand idea of sleeping in it and installing a wood stove before it was covered in snow. The only progress made was to screw the passenger side doors and the trunk lid back in place. I was also able to remove what was left of the floor and get down to bare dirt.

  A couple weeks ago my boys and I went back to finish the job. We brought with us a bunch of small pieces of galvanized sheet metal, caulking, and camouflage spray paint, as well as a cordless drill, saws-all, and small shovel. The boys weren't really into it the first day, instead they further smashed already broken bits of glass they found and started building their own fort out of sticks. On the last day they were looking forward to a return trip when I put  them in charge of the spray painting.
Last winter Vandy and I visited the wreck while out fat biking.... it was in rough shape.

Wood stove made from an old refrigerant bottle.....free

  The outside is now fully camouflaged and almost water proofed. The inside is so dark I added three windows made out of Lexan and began spraying the inside white until I ran out of paint.  After three trips, The Wreck is almost ready for our first picnic. I finished the wood stove last Friday and will be installing it soon. Good luck finding it, and when you do, feel free to enjoy it....it's not mine anyway. Stay tuned for an update on the picnic and possible sleepovers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oopita Doopita

This past Sunday was a long race (77 + miles) with a funny name. I'm still not sure what Oopita Doopita is, maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I do know it was free. The start was at Cold Water Spring near Minnehaha Falls and headed west to the far end of Bloomington via the river bottoms trail. After that it continued on to Chaska and Victoria to the turn around point.  From there the course followed roads and  bike paths back into Minneapolis to end at Sunrise Cyclery.  
fifteen minutes to start

The man giving directions

Stopped here for a few seconds to piss. The lead group is long gone and haulin' ass
 I decided before the start that I would turn around at the Bloomington Ferry Bridge and head back to my van near the start. Although I didn't finish, I feel I rode the best portion of the race and still ended up with almost 50 miles for the day.  At the ferry bridge beer-stop I bid farewell to my friends who were continuing on to the open roads. All I could think about was the nasty wind those poor bastards were going to battle while I was cruising the sheltered trails of the river bottoms.
After dropping back for a while, somehow I caught  up to the lead group just before we dropped back into the bottoms
lead group

My homies  hydrating for the rest of the ride,  Chuker and G-$ 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Saturday Night

Seven of us got together on Saturday night for a fire, and  camp out via bike. Five of the group rode from the neighborhood that Vandy and I are from in Burnsville, and the other two met up with us en route from the north.
Necessary pavement 

It was a good thing that the ground was rather damp
  The group included Vandy, ArcFlash, The Legend, The Mayor, My brother AKA The Mexican, Best in Schow and myself. Although I made no mention of what I would be riding when I put out the call for a camp out, nearly all of us were on fat-bikes...... sign of the times.
let the relaxing begin

 The Mexican was the only one without a fat-bike and rode his retro cross bike. I was really happy and a little surprised to see him out with the group, he doesn't ride a lot and he hasn't done anything like this with me in the past so it was a great time hanging out with my bro. He's no stranger to camping or adventuring so he had all his own gear, we've done plenty of trips together just not one by bike.
The Legend

 Within a few minutes of locating our camp spot, we had a nice fire going and soon we were cooking brats on long pointy sticks. It was a calm, clear, cool, moonless night, perfect for just chillin out next to a raging fire occasionally nodding off before fully committing to the sleeping bag. Best in Schow and The Mayor would not be spending the night and left for home just before we all turned in.
That is what happens to a sleeping bag with a malfunctioning zipper  

The Mexican
  The next morning I awoke to a nicely stoked fire and the whole overnight crew awake and chatting. Soon we were all packing up and heading for home before most people were even out of bed.........   A great start to a Sunday.
Group Shot, a similar one was taken two years ago