Monthly Archives: June 2018

Five Years and a lot of Flippin’ Steps Ago…

Welp, today is my 5-year FitBit anniversary, which is going to somewhat signify a standing down of my constant, obsessive number tracking. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to go to the gym, I’m still going to eat healthy, but my competitive days are done. I’ve left all the FitBit groups I was in, “unfriended” FitBit friends who I didn’t actually know IRL. I think I accomplished what I set out to accomplish, and now seems to be as good a time as any to dial it back a little.

So, without further adieu, here are the totals.

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I really don’t have anything to add to that – I think the numbers speak for themselves.

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I’m still going to chase the AppleWatch goal, just because I’m so close. The “1000 Day” badge is the highest they have, and I’m only 58 days away from that. Furthermore, only 70 days from doing 1000 consecutive days hitting all my numbers. I can do 70 more days standing on my head. Once I hit that, then I’ll really start standing down – so, watch this space until August.

And in a last act of numerology, today was my 1234th check-in at the gym. I’ve been much more that that; Swarm didn’t become a thing until well after I started that regimen. Still, a little synchronicity.

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In other, more exciting (to me) news, the new Road Burner pipes I ordered finally showed up today. Miraculously, I was able to install them without too much fuss, despite it being about a million degrees out there today. My initial impression is that I love these pipes. Love. Them. They look awesome, and they sound like…well, they sound like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Fo’ realz. By the time I was done, I was too wiped out to get out on the open road; the open road will still be there in the morning. But really, I’m super-pleased. Not just with the pipes themselves, but that I was able to install them single-handedly. Having mad skills is one of my less tangible qualities – I guess. I’m handy with a screwdriver, anyway.

Tomorrow, I’ll get the LED glow lighting I ordered, and with that, the bike will be ready for the Dragon. Of course, I still have to install the new hitch on the Jeep; I guess that’ll be a project for next weekend. See the aforementioned mad skills.

In the meantime, if it sounds like the world is about to end, don’t worry – it’s probably just me.

Link:
New Pipes Install Photo Album on Facebook

Hitchin’ A Ride.

I’ve kinda been on a shopping bender lately. All the stuff I’ve previously mentioned for the motorbike (and the new drag exhaust will be here this Friday – evidently, it took longer to fabricate than originally expected; but it left LA yesterday), and stuff for the Jeep. Everything with the target of riding the Dragon in a month or so.

I made the decision that the aftermarket trailer hitch I bought last year when I first got the Jeep just wasn’t going to cut it. Sure, it works OK as a place to mount my mountain bike carrier, but if I’m going to pull an actual trailer with my actual motorcycle on it, something better is required. Plus – as I found out this past weekend – the aftermarket one just hangs too low; I drug it several times while crawling over rocks and stuff.

Aftermarket and factory.

Aftermarket and factory.

So, I ordered the factory hitch receiver, wiring harness and bumper fascia. As you can see from the (generic stock) photos, the factory hitch is so much better. It sits inside the bumper, versus hanging a good 6 inches below, and because of the way it mounts, it’s dramatically stronger. That said, it’s going to be complicated. The dealer was going to charge in the neighborhood of $700 to install everything; for that, I’ll do it myself. Basically, the entire back end of the Jeep has to come off, as well as many of the interior panels to run the wiring harness for the trailer lights (and because of that, I also ordered a hard-wire kit for an eventual rear-facing dashcam like I installed in the front so I can do it all at once). Not going to be easy, but I love a good project. I already received the fascia bezel; the hitch will be here today, and the wiring later this week. I’ve had many of my Jeep peeps ask me for a detailed post-mortem, so I’ll probably just document everything here.

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But first things first. The new pipes for the motorbike. I’m excited to get them put on, not just because it’s another hands-on project for me, but it’s going to (hopefully significantly) boost the horsepower, which will be great on the Dragon. That, and they just look so much better than the stock chrome pipes. From what I’ve seen on YT, they sound better, as well.

Speaking of YT, this:

I bought some new GoPro mounts for the trip. A 360 degree swivel mount, so I can rotate the camera while driving, and a mount to put the camera on the new crash bars, for an interesting perspective. I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

So, the next week is going to be busy with my projects, and superbusy™ with work. The big show is coming up, as well as a major evolution at the Dallas datacenter that’s too complex to explain, but is going to result in some all-nighters. Hopefully, by July, things will be back to normal, and I can start making concrete plans for my adventure. Fingers crossed.

Tales and Tails of Dragons.

No, not this kind of dragon:

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This kind:

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Part of the reason I’ve been working on the motorbike is in preparation for making this ride. This super-dangerous, crazy-ass ride. 11 miles. 318 curves. And lots and lots of accidents and deaths. So, of course I’m going to ride it. Why not, right? Life is short; live fast, yadda, yadda. Now, I don’t doubt my own skills – I used to ride Tantalus all the time, and I’ve ridden the superspeedway that is the Capital Beltway, which is 64 miles of sheer terror. No, it’s the other drivers I have concerns over. The speed limit is 30 MPH, but drivers and riders in Ferraris and Hayabusas won’t be doing 30. It’s been my experience that there is no correlation between money and skill, so undoubtedly, some of these rocket cars and bikes will be piloted by people with little or no experience doing so. That’s what makes me nervous. Well, that, and getting creamed by an 18-wheeler. There’s a guy (probably several) that hangs out and shoots pro-quality photos of the cars & bikes; to get an idea what it’s like, see his photos right here.


To that end, I got the luggage rack for the bike installed. It wasn’t quite the right one, but I made it work. That just leaves the drag pipes, which should be here tomorrow. I might add some auxiliary lights so I’m more visible, but I haven’t decided about that yet. As for the actual trip, I’m not sure if I’m just going to ride there (it’s about 3 hours to get there), or trailer the motorbike behind the Jeep. Still thinking about that. Addendum: Turns out U-Haul rents proper motorcycle trailers, and they’re only about 15 bucks a day – so, I guess that settles that.

Lula Falls, Hemlock Falls, Cherokee Falls - click for larger

Lula Falls, Hemlock Falls, Cherokee Falls – click for larger

This weekend, it was all about waterfalls. A trip to Lookout Mountain, staring at Sunset Rock (ironically, at sunrise), then Lula Falls at the Lula Lake Land Trust, then Hemlock and Cherokee Falls at Cloudland Canyon. Not a lot of miles – maybe 10 – but some great scenery, and Mother Nature cooperated, but with sunny weather and lots of water going over the falls from the recent rains. Following that, a stop by the motorcycle shop for exhaust gaskets (for the aforementioned drag pipes) and some misbehaving at Sofa King Juicy Burger. Yum.


Sunday, an early morning flight at one of my favorite spots. Pretty decent footage, but it would have been better if the sun had been higher. However, later in the day, there are more hikers, and I didn’t want to be annoying. So, commando-filming. In and out quickly, before anyone had the chance to complain. And, oh, that fish. I had no idea there were sea creatures in the quarry.

I hear Mother Nature is going to be in a better mood this week, so I should be able to get the drag pipes installed when the arrive tomorrow with no issues. Might ever take a sunrise flight somewhere. Lots going on – never a dull moment over here.

Make For Yourself an Ark of Gopher Wood.

I have solved the issue of drought. Here’s how it works: buy a bunch of new stuff for your motorbike, and it will rain. A lot. Trust me.

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That said, I got the Highway Hawk Crash Bars I ordered, and obviously got them installed. They look great; installation was a bit of a pain, mostly because it’s not a one-person job. But I got it. Huzzah. Then I went a little nuts. Ordered the Road Burner drag pipes I’ve had my eye on, and I think I found a luggage rack that’ll work. This on top of the Mustang saddle I got last week, and a few other incidentals. So, I’ve dropped close to 2 grand on the bike in the past 2 weeks. Sheesh.

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Oh, and I’ve also got my eye on a new helmet. My current HJC helmet is awesome, but because I put a tinted face shield on it, it’s hard to see at night. So, I want to get a second helmet with a clear shield for the occasions I am out after dark. Still thinking about that one.

uscg-gremlin-bellThe only other thing I want, I can’t buy for myself. There’s a tradition among riders to hang a gremlin bell on the bottom of the bike – it’s supposed to help keep you safe. However, one of the rules of the gremlin bell is: “It should not be bought by the user – in order to work, it must be given to a rider from a loved one.” So, yeah, I guess I’ll never have one of those. Come at me, gremlins.

Now, if it doesn’t stop raining soon, it won’t matter. I’ll just have to buy a Jet Ski. Seriously, it has rained/stormed every day for about 2 weeks. It stormed so bad last night – around midnight, only 2 hours before going to the gym – I ended up sitting in the floor with the pups, because they were so upset. At least one lightning strike in the yard. Yay. And I have a huge tree that’s been knocked over – it’s leaning about 45 degrees, hung up in other trees. I got a rope around it (thanks to my homemade monkey’s fist) and tried to pull it down by hand. No luck. So, I tied the rope to the Jeep. Rope broke. That leaves me with a huge tree that’s going to come down. Sometime. Probably in the middle of the night, or when I’m mowing under it. Next, I’ll try to cut it – but really, that is hugely dangerous, because the tons of weight are leaning at such an angle. Meh, what’s the worst that can happen?

capUPDATE: Yeah, I’m cool. Cool enough, anyway.