You Can’t Judge a Motorcycle Gang by Its Leathers

Since returning from New York, I’ve been making great progress on the Pony.  I’ve got another video embedded below, but you should have a little preamble.  Following are a couple of “before” shots of the air intake pipe and the fan blade.

In the video you’ll see these two parts (among others) now attached to the engine.  Here you go:    

Speaking of the clutch assembly, following the last video and discussion with my “advisors” including the helpful gents on the tractor discussion board, the consensus was that I shouldn’t mess around with that old clutch throw-out bearing.  So, I called my “parts detective,” Maggie Simpson, and ordered a new one.  You’ll see that cost ($38.00) and the machine shop charge to attach it to  the sleeve ($10.00) reflected in a revised C-O-M reading.  By the way, I used a quarter and a dime in repairing the holes in the air intake tube, and you “knit pickers” will be pleased to know that those are in the new number too.

I should add that I need to finish painting and lining the gas tank.  In addition, the hardware that secures the tank to the tractor needs major work, so there is real work yet before we can install the engine back in the tractor.  Finally, even once the engine is installed, Gene and I need to make sure that the transmission is in a position (neutral) and condition (at least full of fluid) to allow the engine to be started.

I was thinking as I took yesterday’s video that even though I’ve been taking still pictures with my camera for a couple of years (Christmas present from son Andrew), being able to take videos now is like having a brand new toy.  That camera was a great gift and one that as they say, “just keeps on giving.”  Toys, boy what a great subject.  My favorite toys growing up were those that could be used in the sandbox.  I loved the sandbox, my brother Phil loved the sandbox.  I know I played in the sandbox until I was about 16.  If my first girl friend hadn’t asked about the sand in my pants, I’d probably still be in the sand box.  Man, I hadn’t thought about her in a while, but that’s for another day.  Road graders, dump trucks, end loaders, played a constant role in construction projects that never seemed to end.

I passed the sandbox gene on to my son.  He couldn’t get enough of it.  He was into major construction, so in addition to the toys, he had the garden tools, the hose, he had lakes.  He constantly had wet, sandy stains on his knees and butt.  One day, he’d left the rake laying in the grass with the tines up, and I pointed out to him that this wasn’t safe (I was a risk manager after all), as he could hurt himself if he stepped on the tines.  I was surprised when he said, “Oh, I know.”
“Really, you knew that?”
“Oh yeah, dad, just this morning I stepped on that rake, the handle came up and gave me this big bump on my head.”
I looked at his forehead and sure enough, there was a big goose egg there from the lesson he’d learned way before I intervened.  This absolutely cracked me up, but I sensed quickly that the laughter wasn’t appreciated, so backed off.  But The Princess and I have secretly laughed over that incident many times over the years.  I’m guessing this early incident had something to do with his  move at age 18 to New York City, where there are very few sandboxes and even fewer garden tools.

That incident took place when we lived in Elkhart, IN.  We lived there for about 10 years, and mining the rich seams of memory from that period are full of great stuff.  
*I planted lettuce over the septic tank and had so much lettuce that the whole neighborhood was eating it.
*You could stop at any one of dozens of Amish farms, and for next to nothing the woman of the house would go out into the garden and pick as many green beans as you needed.
*We got our first and only dog, Snoopy (even though a female).  She had separation anxiety and for the next fifteen years embarrassed us with her howling whenever we left the house.  She was around long after Andy had moved out, and we didn’t really get our lives back until she died.
*We took the dumb dog to walk in the snow out on the golf course, lost her, then finally found her in the creek, clinging to it’s icy edge with the look of fear in her eyes.
*Andy used to go fishing in the community lake, hooked a duck, and from then on was called “Duck Killer” by some of the kids in the neighborhood.
*We got our first home computer.  Only Andy knew how to use it.  He proceeded to write his first novel, something in the vein of Dungeons and Dragons.  His grade school teacher told us that she looked forward to reading his second book some day.
*We went to country auctions almost every nice weekend.  Once we bought Andy a used, pedal fire engine, which he loved.  A little neighbor girl borrowed it, left it in the street, and the UPS man backed over it.  Trauma ensued, and this is a secondary reason he moved to NYC and never came back.  He has never owned another vehicle of any sort.
*The Princess made her second major career move.  She began spinning and dying yarn, then weaving it and finally making wall hangings which she sold commercially through a gallery in Chicago.  It was fun to just be in the shadow of the artist as she oversaw the hanging of her huge piece in a Chicago bank.
*I worked for Miles Laboratories where they had vitamin and Alka-Selzter dispensers at all the water fountains.  That was a fabulous place to work.  Because it was a union location, those of us in the office got the same benefits as those on the line.  We’d all troop down to the cafeteria for morning and afternoon breaks and took long walks on the noon hour.  We were sometimes asked to test out new products.  I remember some vitamins that made me pee bright green.  Yikes!
*We bought our house there for $39,000 and sold it for $89,000.  Will that EVER happen again?
*Brother Jim found me a 1956 Chevy, we drove it back from California and I kept it until we moved away.

Andy just about wet his pants the first time I stood on the gas petal of that V8-powered monster.  It was a lot of fun.  Once, driving it back from Michigan, the heater core blew.  Scalding hot radiator coolant sprayed onto my feet, and with my head sticking out the side window (windshield cracked and clouded) I guided the car to the side of the road.  What happened next was one of those life affirming stories.  As Cindy and I stood by the car, we were just a bit concerned to see a motorcycle gang drive up and surround the car.  As I stood by with my now burning, blistering foot in a mud puddle, these great guys admired the car and figured out how to bypass the heater core.  In half an hour they had us running and on our way.

This just scratches the surface of The Elkhart years, so we’ll have dip back in there again sometime.
But in the meantime, thanks for reading.


One response to “You Can’t Judge a Motorcycle Gang by Its Leathers

  1. This was a great post!!!!!! What I want to know is, how did that girl know you had sand in your pants? Hmmmm???

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