23 April 2017

What the hay!?

So the car parts swap meet here at the racetrack was amazing.
100's of junk vendors,
an event I can relate too.
More on that later.
I'd never worked a swap meet before,
especially of this magnitude.
Also I've never been to a swap meet that was based on grass,
in rainy weather.
Come to find out,
wet conditions turn grass into mud.
Yea.
People bring all sorts of stuff to combat it,
like plywood, 
wood chips,
carpet.
I showed the guys how to properly load a flatbed Papa style!
My grandfather knew how to pack a truck!
We did this a couple times.
The track supplies hay bales for $5,
but vendors don't take it away.
They leave it for a sparse group of volunteers,
and us track workers to rake up.
Lotsa hay.
Lotsa wet hay.
These guys had been doing this hay thing for years,
and had never figured out the tarp trick,
another Papa thing learned when I was 5 or 6.
They'd walk each pitchfork of hay,
20-80 ft to the asphalt.
It was borderline ridiculous to watch,
and surreal to think of the lost hours and wasted footsteps.
I tried to bring it up during our morning meetings,
but these guys are a lead by example type crew.
There was that "ohhh..." moment for sure,
when they watched me and another noob worker Andrew
finish a section in 1/3 the time.
As the hay piles mounted around the track,
our boss Andy would scoop it up with the loader,
which meant Andrew and I packing the bucket
with pitchforks and rakes,
cause hay doesn't scoop easily.
Thankfully nobody was stabbed or crushed.
Since I may be the only one capable of backing in a trailer,
I got to load and unload a few...days...
Later on some other guy shreds the brush pile,
and the mulch sits and roasts while it composts.
Last year this pile caught fire.
I'd wondered why the tractors had ash in the filters!!
Just when ya thought the hay was handled,
there'd be more hay spots,
scattered in the 100's of acres of grass.
Three or four days,
lotsa overtime,
how could I complain?
Not much different than brickin or yardwork.
It actually was a great workout,
and the weather stayed relatively dry.
The swap meet cleanup started Sunday.
The track was hot on Thursday!
These racers are an antsy bunch!
These guys zippin around the racecourse,
like nothin' ever happened.
One guy slammed into the guardrail.
A big reason why it's so important 
to have the grass clean.
Slide not roll.
I got called in to do some metalwork.
Just like old times,
working til midnight using a (less than) 34 watt drop light,
cutting and fitting with a torch.
Easy...
Needless to say I've got a bit more appreciation 
for what the heck goes on here!
TP

21 April 2017

The Bionic Oneida Performance Santoku

A couple months ago I found the perfect kitchen knife,
the Oneida Santoku,
for $1 at the local flea market.
The Portland version of a swap meet 
is a drop in the bucket compared to Kobeys in San Diego,
which runs Friday to Sunday.
This flea market is only on Sunday's,
and Portlanders are a crazy bunch.
Hardcore vendors post up rain or shine,
hawking the typical chit from tools to soap,
and people will come to buy.
I'll come just for the good fruit/vegetable deals.
Seriously it's 1/4 the price from the grocery store.
Another big difference is the inside area,
one place a swap meet shouldn't be.
The dusty dank air doesn't seem right to breathe,
but you get used to it.
It's super packed on a sunny day inside and out.
I've gotten many scores,
This DJ turntable was $10...flipped...
A real ivory pocket knife $5,
which now makes me a little guilty
studying how evil the ivory market is.
Don't google it's depressing...
This technics turntable was $10,
and is now a corner piece to the room system.
It's got auto-start and repeat.
I've woken up at 3am totally brainwashed 
listening to the same 23 minute side for 6 hours.
Works great at remembering lyrics.
Records $1-2...
Gotta love it.
This victor torch was one of the better scores-$15!!
After watching the shipbreaker documentaries,
I've always wanted a long cutting torch.
These things are like 250-400 new!
I think this engine analyzer was $5,
but will need batteries that are $7.
Which reminds me to scrounge the next flea market.
A couple bucks for the flask and meter.
Gotta have the flask,
even though liquor is harder to get in Oregon.
These priceless items were both $1.
How could anyone resist!?
Ok back to the knife.
It worked great for cutting.
Then I tried crushing a garlic clove sideways,
and it immediately stamped.
I yelled the F word really loud,
shocking the room mates and neighbors.
For a week I continued using it as a hand blade,
further cementing the need for its repair.
I'm telling ya this is a good knife,
it's extra thin and just slices through without sticking.
This must be an early version,
as none have the same super heavy handle style.
Finally yesterday I did a rush weld during my last break.
A little crude but effective TIG weld,
using a 316 stainless rod.
I'd say it's not as crooked as you would expect,
from a welded up kitchen knife.
I've already used it twice.
So sharp.
These new are like $10 with a cutting board,
and well worth it,
but none have a good history like this one.
If it's metal,
we can rebuild it...
TP

06 April 2017

Daihatsu Thrash

Probably the coolest event of the year was coming up,
the big car parts swap meet,
supposedly bigger than the Big3 in San Diego.
How lucky is that to work at the site?
With two days to go,
the little daihatsu decided to have stage fright.
The clutch had fried,
leaving it like the lion with a thorn in its foot,
helpless.
The little workhorse was crucial,
as it is small enough to weave through buyers and vendors.
There was a little stress coming from the higher-ups.
Can't pound nails without a hammer!
With a new clutch pack a week out,
the perfect option was to fix up this basketcase daihatsu.
I'd been asking to throw it into the work queue for weeks,
but had been denied.
Well I had kinda been tinkering a little here and there regardless...
If I'm gonna get in trouble,
it'll be from working too much!
And yea I'm always sneaking in quick projects,
it's easier to get a bitching after,
then to waste time asking if it's okay to bust butt!
With limited options,
the green light to get her finished was on.
After I made sure it was gonna run,
a coworker (Andrew) and I knocked out the heavy stuff,
throwing the bed on and making some bed sides.
The other workers were stoked on the new ride.
The bossman even let me finish the bed sides for the second daihatsu,
and a custom hinged tailgate I had tigged up
for the first one.
All I need is a shop and some tunes!!
Double trouble.
Now we were ready!
The swap meet was awesome,
more on that later.
The crowds definitely tight,
not as much during the rain though...
Bed-sides.
Ya wanna think they are for something fun and exciting.
Nah.
They just allow ya to haul more chit.
Andrew and I figured that out quick.
Sorely needed on the front lines 
of the never ending trash battle.
Humans are garbage generators!!
Yea good times!
TP

6-volt woes

That deep amber headlight glow,
the slow like molasses whirr of the starter,
leaving the please start this time feeling...
All the tendencies of a 6-volt system.
It's a bit masochistic,
I've wondered why to stick with it many times.
This Oregon winter was extra rough.
The old hot rod out in the weather,
with just a flimsy cover or two.
Months ago there wasn't enough juice to start.
A spare 12v battery would jump start no problem,
after that there was just enough charging,
to keep the flathead running.
Finally a nice non-rainy weekend,
time to tackle the issue.
The voltmeter showed a trickle charge of 5.94 volts.
First thing was cleaning the generator armature.
Definitely suspect,
but a thorough shining didn't fix the problem,
only changed it.
Now the voltmeter read an intermittent charge,
blinking from 4-7 volts.
Hmmm.
Uncapping the regulator,
led to a couple pieces of melted solder,
and a broken joint.
That would do it!
I tried resoldering resulting in a total flatline.
Fortunately I had a stash of regulators,
of course 1000 miles away.
Jaxon picked out some winners,
and sent a care package up,
including my knife I couldn't take carry-on,
and the good ole parks and rec check.
Thanks Jax!!
For now the charging system is working,
but I'll need to clean the starter soon.
I'll be screwed once these batteries die,
new Optima 6-volts are notoriously less long lasting.
These two are 8-10 years old!!
The flat battery storage will need rearranging if a change is needed.
For now...
TP

04 April 2017

Portland Roadster Show

I'd been looking forward to the 
Portland Roadster Show for months.
It was on the list of positives 
when deciding to try this PDX gig,
especially since it was in walking distance from the racetrack.
Actually it was more like skating distance,
I parked near work,
to save on the $8 parking fee...
One thing I immediately noticed when flying up for the work interviews,
was a cheap airport burger in San Diego/San Francisco
will run about $13.
Airport burgers in Portland are about $4.95,
and that's with bacon.
That was another thing I added to the positive list.
Well that ratio is like the GNRS 
(grand national roadster show),
which holds about 11 buildings inside and out,
of 90% damn fine hot rods,
to the indoor only PRS,
which held 3 buildings of car enthusiast ware,
about 3/5 deserved to be there.
Maybe I was sour cause the truck theft
made me decide to not show Chief,
cause I didn't know if I'd need it as a daily still.
Or maybe since the Perich's use our hot rods as work trucks and actual vehicles,
I'm not enthusiastic about a polished turd,
or a beginning welders rat rod experiment.
There was a lot of that there...too much.
Guess it's a by-product of long rainy winters.
Ok soften up already...
There were more cool cars than my phone memory allowed,
and there's a dedicated hot rod community up here.
I dug how this '40 had a stinkbug stance,
even with the torched spring.
What this "roadster show" needed,
was more roadsters.
More than 5 or 6 anyway.
This one was tops.
Mebbe next year!
TP