Category Archives: Non-Technical Post

01/06/2018: Winter at the Beach

A big old storm rolled up the coast and dumped about 10″ of snow on the Delaware Beaches. I made the drive to check on the house, and with a little luck, there were some guys plowing driveways in the neighborhood, so I got them to clear the driveway which saved me a lot of time and work. While it was very cold, I wanted to see the boardwalk and beaches with the snow.

9/27/2017: House Hunting Part II

After a couple trips to Delaware and about 10 house visits, we decided on a house in the Rehobeth Beach area. The house is west of Route 1 (main north\south road); however, it is still close to a lot. Being close meets one of our goals of being able to ride bikes to the beach, restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and bars, so we are excited by how many places are nearby.

The house has one floor living, so we have no need to use stairs on a day-to-day basis which was another big goal for the house. The house is laid out very well with the master suite on one side and the other two guests bedrooms\baths are on the other side of the house, so there is a little separation. The whole house was redone and updated, so besides a little paint, we will not have any real work to take care of onc e we get the keys. The rear yard is fully fenced with a vinyl fence which will allow the dogs to roam and sniff safely. All in all, we feel this house meets our long term wants for a retirement house.

Assuming everything stays on track, we will close on 10/20, which is a Friday, so we will pack stuff, load up the dogs and stay the weekend. Since it is right around the corner, I got the bikes ready for the first weekend, and after a short ride around the neighborhood, I decided to get a “comfy” seat for my bike along with a headlight\taillight set to test. If these work well, I will get a set for Kelly’s bike.

As we experiment with our bike ventures, I am really considering an electric conversion to provide a little boost of “energy” when\i needed. This will come in handy once I get a trailer rigged up for trips to the store. More to follow…

9/14/2017: House Hunting: Delaware

This coming weekend, Kelly and I will be looking at houses in Delaware, and the two main locations are Selbyville and Lewes. Each have their pros and cons, so the recon should provide a lot more information for us to decide. We are basically looking for a smaller house with a little bit of land (1/2 acre or so) and a two car garage along with close proximity to the beaches, restaurants and daily shops such as grocery stores and gas stations. To my surprise, we have seen several houses that meet this criteria for sale, and hopefully, the visit will show that the houses are as nice as the online pictures show.

The Selbyville homes are between 3 to 5 miles away from the beaches which are at the Delaware\Maryland line, and the Lewes homes are similar distance from the beaches. Just like any house hunt, each house meets our criteria a little different, but I think we will be able to find something that suits our needs, and once found, Kelly and I will need to work through the “to buy” or “not to buy” decision.

Why Delaware… The big reason for a Delaware house is to lower our overall cost of living. Northern Virginia has high property tax rates, and in general, has many taxes which eat at your earnings, and when you spread these costs over 10, 20 and 30 years, they add up to a substantial amount. By eliminating many of these taxes, our earnings and savings will go farther into retirement. we will also be looking at the prices of different items this weekend to include gas, groceries and other cost of living items which will allow us to compare to Northern Virginia. At initial glance, we should be able to lower our cost of living substantially by moving to Delaware.

7/13/2017: Parts, Parts and More Parts

1. It still looks like I got bent valves on the Ricer. I have been troubleshooting the misfire, and so far, it is looking like bent valves. The last item I want to check in the distributor. I got a new one showing up today, and if that doesn’t fix it, a good used head is arriving on Friday. I’ll swap in the good used head for now, and over Fall\Winter, I’ll get the current head cleaned up and rebuilt with new cams.

2. I also got new plug wires and plug wire heat shield showing up tomorrow. I had the FFR out the other day, and I noticed a miss, so I check the plug wires, and I had two that got against the header and burnt through the outer layer. I’ll add the heat shield to the new plug wires in hopes that I won’t have this issue again

3. Last but not least, I got new front brake parts ordered for the Volvo C30. The car has 98,000 miles on it, and the front pads need to be replaced. Since the car has 98,000 miles on it, I decided that I will replace the front brake hoses, calipers, rotors and pads at the same time. I figured if these items are swapped now, I should be good to go for the next 98,000 miles (with the exception of new pads at some point).

7/10/17: Things I Learned Today

1. After my last track day, I thought I may have bent a couple valves due to a miss shift, so over the weekend, I did some diagnostics. First, I ran a compression test, and all four cylinders had similar and very good compression. The second test was a leak down test, so I borrowed a friends leak down test kit, and my results showed that all the cylinders are good. With the leak down results, I may not have bent valves, so I looked at the timing, and the intake cam has jumped a tooth on the timing belt. After a little research, a jumped tooth has symptoms that I’m experiencing, so this week, I will reset the timing belt and pulleys to see if my symptoms are fixed, and if so, I will replace the belt and put everything back together for the next track day.

2. It is difficult to go back to work after a few days off. I was very productive on my days off and enjoyed the weekend; however, reality kicked in this morning when I had to get ready for work. I much prefer on working around the house, but every paycheck generates savings which gets me closer to retirement.

7/07/2017: Track Day Roundup

The TrackDaze track day was a fun day, and once again, it was a well run event. The day started off a little on the bad side when a VW Golf driver ended on his roof in turn 3 on his first lap. This incident did not impact the schedule much.

This was the first time I was on the Summit Main circuit in 7 years, so I did have an instructor with me for the first session, and he was great. He got me on “the line”, and I adjusted through out the day. The Main circuit is fast compared to the Shenandoah circuit, and is fun in a different way. It took a few laps to build trust with the car through the fast turns, but all worked out well.

There were a few really nice “fast” cars in my run group, and it was cool to see a GT350 and a C7 Z06 getting track time. There was other cool cars such as Ferrari, GTR, older Z06es, BMW M series and Porsches.

The bad story is that it looks like I bent valves in the Ricer when I went from third to second instead of fourth. It looks to be a common issue in overrev situations, so I will be working on taking the head off in the coming days. I am borrowing a leak down tester to see if I can figure out which cylinder has the issue. I need to figure out what I’ll do such as upgrade springs\retainers and maybe step up the cams. I do have a head with ITR cams, so a little research will let me know if it is worth swapping the GSR cams for the ITR cams.

Updates to follow.

Links to track day videos:
SL500 creating a train due to no point by

Open track

6/30/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. It is hard to believe that the year is already half over. This year has absolutely flown by, and I see no reason why it will slow down anytime soon.

2. The garage is prepped for the lift install on Wednesday. I did move stuff around to give the lift side of the garage a little more room in front of the lift, and I’m sure I’ll move stuff around again once the lift is installed.

3. I am going to Summit Point Main Circuit on Sunday for a TrackDaze event. This will be the second track day this year, and the first one on the Main Circuit in about 6 years, so I will be relearning the track. Since I need to relearn, I will be in the Blue group, and most likely will have an instructor for a session or two. I’ll finish the car prep on Saturday.

6/02/2017: June Already

I can’t believe it is already June…

The Memorial day weekend was a good one. I didn’t mind the rain as it gave me an excuse to veg out in the house a little, and I made up for it on a sunny Monday. The Sunday of the holiday weekend was spent with the “in law” side of the family with a cookout welcoming a nephew home from Afghanistan while serving in the Army. It was good to see him and all of the other folks. The Monday was a nice sunny day, so we got a lot of stuff done around the house. One of the highlights was that I got to use the torch setup. We have three metal kettles that we want to turn into planters, so I burned a drain hole in the bottom of the kettles, and there is a metal liner remnant from a decomm’ed well that stuck up above ground level that I torched off. It has been 25+ years since I used a torch, so for the first little bit, I was a little nervous, but it did not take too long to get comfortable with the torch again.

Yesterday was my birthday, so I have successfully made another trip around the sun pretty successfully. Here is to many more…

One of my co-workers has a little welding job for me to try out. He has a broken telescope mount which is made from cast aluminum. Everything I have read about cast aluminum is that it is a pain to weld, so this may not be the best “first” weld job for someone else, but I’ll give it a shot. Fortunately, the piece is relatively clean, so I should be able to get it prepped for TIGing with out too many issues.

5/22/2017: TrackDaze @ Shenadoah Circuit

It was a successful track day with the TrackDaze group at the Summit Point Shenandoah circuit. It was a well ran day, and the schedule was maintained through the day. It was helpful that there were no major issues on track, so each run group got their full track time. We had (4) 30 minutes sessions, so I got more tack time than any other event which I ran before.

Here is a two lap video:
5-21-17–Shenandoah Circuit