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Trackless Trolley Coach 643

I somehow got nostalgic this week for my days as a Metro Transit bus driver in Seattle.   Those days were a good experience, but it is also true that I enjoyed it more the first year than the following three.  There’s a good amount of tedium in the job!  But the one thing I appreciate most of all was the opportunity to operate the vintage trackless trolleys built in the 40’s.  This equipment was finally retired in 1979.  Metro then rebuilt and expanded the overhead and opened service with new equipment a year later.  A few coaches have been restored by an association of retired employees.  Hoo-rah!   While in my nostalgic mood, I found the following photo of Coach 643.  It was taken in 2009, while the coach was out for an annual trolley tour!

Old Seattle City Buses

Uncle Frank

Frank McGuire, my uncle, passed away last weekend at the age of 92. It was too soon, because he could still tell a good story.

Frank gave his children – my wonderful cousins – the gift of story, and the gift of can-do! As a very direct result, his memorial service resulted in many tears, and much laughter. Frank would be proud.

These are my simple word sketches of Frank’s life and spirit:

  • The young man of the depression is working a poor farm in Minnesota, and treks to Washington to work in the woods in the winter and treks back to Minnesota in the summer. Treks? Right – with a thumb in the air and hopping freights. That’s can-do.
  • The young man gets a letter from his sweetheart in Minnesota. He says, “I don’t like the sound of what’s going on there”, packs his bag, sticks out his thumb and heads to Minnesota to make things right. That’s can-do.
  • The father of six finds that the money doesn’t stretch as far as it needs to, so he decides that two jobs are better than one. That’s can-do.
  • The older man finds that the social security check doesn’t go as far as he’d like. He says, I like trips to the woods … so now he’s a woodcutter. That’s can-do.
  • I congratulate the old man on his first hole-in-one. He says, ‘Not much to it. If you spend 40 years trying, eventually it’s going to go in the hole”. That’s can-do.
  • The old man talks to his older brother, who complains that he can’t find anyone who can do a new cedar shingle roof. The old man says, “No problem. I can do that. It will be a nice visit”. That’s can-do.

Thank you Frank, for  your may stories, and your example of a life well-lived!

100@60 week 1

I declared I’ll ride 100 miles on my 60th birthday. I’ve got just 217 days to prepare!

Yesterday I rode 30 miles – a bit much – on the Denver & Rio Grande Rail Trail. The ride was from Clinton to Farmington and back. I rode more than I should have, because I was curious whether the trail had finally been extend to connect with the Legacy Parkway Trail. Indeed it has! I’m very fortunate to have such a trail just a half mile from the house. That makes about 30 miles of connected trail (and 60 miles round trip). I should get to the sixty mile ride before the snow flies!

Here’s yesterday’s 30 mile ride:

Route on Google Maps

Here’s today’s 17 mile ride:
Route on Google Maps


1) I’ve come to the certain knowledge that in just a few weeks I’ll reach the age of 59.5! No big deal except that it is an age canonized in IRS regs — somehow related to IRA and 401k distributions. I don’t need to get into that because my accounts amounted to little a few months ago and even less today!

2) Perhaps more auspicious is the signal event of 60.0 in a few short months.

3) A number of years ago, I read a health article which suggested that the decade of the 50’s was the last chance for people to “get in shape!” At least statistically, folks who are not in shape on their 60th birthday, are more prone to health declines in their 60’s and 70’s. I took that to heart. I took off 60 pounds. I rode the bike. Even rode 100 miles in the Salt Lake Century. That year, I rode the bike more than 3000 miles. But I haven’t been so kind to my body these past 3 years. 30 pounds are back and I’ve ridden less than 300 miles all year.

I proclaim that on April 1, 2012 — the 60th anniversary of my birth — I will ride the bicycle 100 miles.

Who wants to join me?

I’d better get to training!

The Stroke Sander

I bought the stroke sander several months ago from an out-of-business cabinet shop. This weekend when my daughter Erin came to town, we worked on a first class coffee table for her. It is built of 6/4 hardwood panels that we glued up. The largest of the panels is 28″X22″. The stroke sander worked great for creating a smooth, flat surface. Also, I was pleased with the effectiveness of dust collection for this inherently messy machine! The videos shows Erin sanding one of the cherry panels.

A mobile base for the Rikon Band Saw

The shop really isn’t large enough for the new band saw to have a permanent location on the shop floor. I built a mobile base for it using swivel wheel hardware from, and a couple of heavy duty casters that were laying around. The rear cantilevered wheel assembly was made from 3/4″ birch plywood, and a 40mm block of pinblock material. The up-force on the rear wheels is translated into a rotational force on the steel cabinet. Thus I have a good rigid support for the 300 pounds of saw. The rear casters are set somewhat wider than the saw base for additional stability.

When I posted about the new saw, Ryan commented, “I thought you ran an all Delta shop!” In deference to Ryan’s comment, I painted the rear base in “Delta grey”.