Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kenny's Baja VW

This is my third car. I doubt any photos of my second exist, as it was an embarrassing contraption I'd just as soon forget. My dad gives me a hard time about my second car, because he remembers I drove it under one of those bars they extend across a parking lot entrance to keep people out. I didn't drive under it while it was blocking the path. The wind had blown it away from the side of the fence, and it was sticking out at an angle. I poked the end of it through my windshield.

This is my Baja VW. I purchased this for more than I should have paid, but it was a fun car. My buddy, Steve James, had one; so, I thought I needed to get one as well.

I blew the engine driving up to Minnesota in this car. A friend, Randy Hollis, and I were driving up together. The engine blew in Emporia, KS. The baja doesn't really have a bumper, so we went to K-Mart and purchased a roll of wire and spider wrapped the bumpers together. Oh, he also had a VW Bug. Our top speed for the next 600 miles would be about 45 MPH. In the Flint Hills, I thought we might not make it up a few hills, but weeeeeeee got some speed up going down them.

When night fell, and we were passing the Missouri boarder into Iowa, we passed a cop, who was going south on 35W (we were heading north). I saw his lights come on and the chase was on! Just kidding. He could have caught us on a good 10-speed bike.

Apparently, the cop noticed that we didn't have tail lights. Randy got a ticket, which I later paid. We were grounded until we could get tail lights. So, we drove into an old truck stop in Iowa and purchased several long extension cords. My years of taking electrical appliances apart was about to pay off.

We wired his tail lights to mine, and taa daa!- We had tail lights. We continued on into the Twin Cities that night. I remember looking up at those tall buildings and thinking- wow, life sure is strange some times.

(Below, the front tires have been put on the back. The explanation follows below).

This car wasn't built for bad weather. When it rained, I had to put a rubber boot over the tail pipe to keep rain from going down into the engine. When I say "rubber boot"- I literally mean a boot from an old pair of galoshes.

My baja VW really didn't fair well in Minnesota weather. It turns out, when your motor is completely exposed in -20 F weather, the oil turns as hard as putty, and the battery only chuckles when you ask it to turn the starter motor.

I lost a job due to this problem. I took a job at some warehouse, reporting in a 4:00 am, to check orders pulled by the forklift drivers. I missed work twice due to my car not starting in cold weather, and that was the end of the job.

To add insult to injury, thieves decided they wanted my big mudder tires. In the photo below, you can see the car is sitting on blocks. They actually stole my battery as well. SG Norris, the college president, heard of my plight, and he bought me new tires and a battery. That was nice of him. Obviously, I couldn't expect him to buy me the mudder tires, so the baja's appearance took a hit. So, I moved the front tires to the back and left regular VW tires on the front. It was noticeably less cool.

I decided to sell the baja. It sat unused for a summer in Minnesota after I had to replace it with more reliable transportation. When I went to show the buyer that the engine would start, the gas lines cracked going to the carburetor, gas sprayed onto the engine and it caught on fire. Luckily, there was a pile of sand near by. We scooped sand with a trashcan lid and put the fire out. The carburetor was filled with sand.

I told the guy he was in luck. I was having a fire sale. I sold the baja for $58. I had paid $2500 for it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My first car

I'm scanning in a bunch of old photos, and I found this. It's my first car- A 1972 Super Beetle. This car didn't last long. One day, a friend and I were racing through the neighborhood like stupid teenagers do. I tried to turn the corner going into my street, hit a patch of gravel and slid into the cement wall for the drainage ditch. The wall was only a about a foot and a half tall. It broke both the front and back wheels right off of the axle. Talk about natural consequences teaching you a lesson. I sold the car for scrap and purchased an old...well, I can't help but recall the way I used to fondly refer to it's color: Baby-diarrhea-brown Buick.


Monday, July 14, 2008


On Sunday, we attended a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis (Doc Severinson - read about it in my Minnesota Blog). This is a photo of Becky before the concert.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bike trip on the 4th of July

Click the photos to enlarge.

I was standing in my closet, and I saw my old biking outfit. You know, those spandex shorts and snug fitting shirt. I thought, now that's I've lost weight, I bet I could fit into that. So, I pulled it on and walked outside.

Your family has a way of letting you know when you're a little over the top. Becky said, "Whoa, those are really form fitting aren't they?"

"What? Does it look bad?"

"No, It's just pretty snug."

About that time, Seth sees me and says, "Wow dad, you're um...really aerodynamic."

"Does it look bad?"

No, it's um...aerodynamic."

I went back into the house to change.

Now that I've lost 40lbs, one problem is that I don't have clothes that fit. However, in the same pile where my bike outfit was, there were a pair of shorts that I had obviously squirreled away the last time I gained weight and couldn't fit into them. I guess I should have ironed them to be more aerodynamic.

We biked up to Hiawatha Ave from Lake Nokomis and then over to the Midtown Greenway Bike path. If you've never biked the Greenway, you're missing out on one of the best bike paths in the Twin Cities.

We stopped for lunch on the other side of Lake Calhoun at Seth's recommendation, Punch Neapolitan Pizza.

Everyone but me was very impressed with the pizza. I actually had some, even though I'm watching my carbs (I figured I could splurge with a full day of biking). Frankly, I'd rather have one from a frozen Tombstone Pizza, but I stand alone in my opinion. The others in the group raved about their pizzas.

Punch has a huge wood burning oven. They say it's 800 F degrees, and the pizzas only have to cook for 90 seconds.

While we were sitting there, a really fat guy waddled past in "aerodynamic" bike shorts. Becky started telling Jenn about my bike shorts, but then she said, "...but your dad looked a lot nicer in them than that guy." What the heck? You mean I could have worn them? They were padded in the butt and would have been a lot more comfortable. Oh well.

Our turn-around-and-head-back spot was the the depot, an ice cream joint in Hopkins. It's right off the trail.

Below Seth and Becky and Jackson, Seth's friend, sip some tasty fruit smoothies.

On the way back, we peddled past the canoe area on Lake Calhoun.

While we were there, I ran into Duffy, who I work out with at Bally's gym. He's a cardio fiend! He was on his 4th lap roller blading around the lake. This guy does at least an hour a day of cardio. Amazing.

When we finally made it home, we had biked nearly 25 miles. It was a fun day.