29 August 2011

California II

Late August can be a miserable time here...
Temps can reach the high 90's and stay there, sometimes even staying in the 80's all night.

This year has been different, so far at least. We've had almost a week of PERFECT weather...
Cloudless skies and afternoon temps in the mid 80's, and I have taken advantage of this gorgeous weather to exercise all the bikes. Yesterday Sara Jean took her position on the throne of the '89 Goldwing and we rode 227 miles, mostly through the surrounding farmland. A couple observations about that:
She's more comfortable as pillion than I am in the front. I began to feel hot spots on my butt after a couple hours. There's just no way to shift your weight around enough in front to avoid 'em. On the other hand, she can move pretty freely back behind me. We stopped for lunch at a family buffet restaurant and afterwards she actually found herself nodding off in the warmth of the sun back there. (She asked if we could install seat belt and shoulder harness back there to insure she won't fall off!)

A few days ago friend Dean called and asked if I could come back and help track and balance the Huey again. I had gone down a couple weeks ago to help with this job but we never did get the machine to settle within limits. On inspection, Dean found a bearing installed wrong and replaced it. This time we quickly saw improvement, and after 45 minutes or so had the machine well within limits. Flying the old girl was SUCH a neat experience, and this 45 minutes in my log book puts me over the 3000 hour mark in the UH-1 series of aircraft. (I have time in the UH-1B,C,D,H,&M.)
I rode the 800cc beater BMW three hours round-trip to do this job and have decided the old Beemer may just be my favorite motorcycle of all time. It's just powerful enough to be confidence inspiring on the highway, smooth as heck for a two-cylinder motorcycle, and gets 53 mpg when driven with respect. I'm gonna keep this bike and start slowly restoring it.

Most of my riding lately has been done with a Harley Davidson alongside. I LOVE the sound of the things and have decided this is the best way to enjoy a Harley...
Insure a friend that owns one is in the vicinity so you can listen to that lovely engine thump away!
(But I'll still jump at the chance to buy a Sportster for quickie trips if I can find one priced right.)

My seven day on- seven day off schedule is wonderful with weather like this. Even with the bike riding, I've had time to do yard work. An hour or so each afternoon when the dew is completely gone and our 2+ acres looks great. (But it's been so dry I stir up a cloud of dust everywhere I mow... the air filter will need attention really soon.)

Another fatal crash of an EMS helicopter last week... four dead this time in Missouri. No details on the accident yet, but the industry is so small you always fear someone you know will be among the dead. Names have been released and I didn't know anyone aboard, but it still hurts personally and it hurts our industry every time this happens. We're already regulated so strictly I'm now turning down flights (due to weather) I could safely fly. Accidents like this one may bring on more regulation. I've said before, I'm glad I'm at the retiring end of my career, not just beginning it.

To those of you who wrote, concerned about me after you heard of the crash, thank you.
Don't worry about me. I've scared myself in in a helicopter most of the ways you can, and don't intend to do it again.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

What part of Fornicalia do ye inhabit, pray tell?

I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, at about the 4,000-foot level but still work in Sacramento.

And, I purchased a Yamaha TW200 last week for local trail riding!


Greybeard said...

With this weather, far FAR Southeastern CA, BZ. I'd guess about 2200 miles from your digs.

Old NFO said...

Congrats on the 3k hours :-) Not many can say that!

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

And is it not true, sir, that the UH-1 was the MOST mass-produced airframe ever built by the United States?


Greybeard said...

More than 10,000 of 'em built, BZ.
I know there were also more than 10K B-24's produced, but I haven't researched the exact numbers.
Know this too...
If I ever hit the lottery, there'll be a UH1-M parked in my back yard and my neighbors will hate me!

cary said...

I had seen the coverage of the EMT down - and started praying. And, in a fit of "should I or Shouldn't I?" I just sat and watched your blog. In the end, when I saw the update of the Veronica post, I stopped worrying. Sorry for the lack of communication, though - there's no excuse for that. I am very relieved that you are still posting. And flying.

And that you are finally over the 3K hump!