Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wood Shop and Home Economics

You may have gathered from my seemingly extravagant lifestyle that I sit around bathing in champagne while lighting Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills. That I have 10 expensive bikes to choose from. That I have a mansion in the hills. That I have a plush vacation home on a lake. This is simply not the case. I only have NINE bikes.

Although I bought a vacation home, I am still one cheap SOB. In fact, in order to furnish it, I acquired a number of pieces off of Craigslist—in the free section.

One piece was an oak dining room table and chairs. The table had a leg that was falling off, and the chairs were a little grungy, but I thought we could work with it.

The legs look like the one below. This one only needed a new bolt, which the previous owner had stripped. I picked up a four-pack for a couple bucks.

The other leg was in far worse shape. The wedge shaped piece of wood had split along the bolt holes, so the legs could not be tightened to the table. The owner had tried spooging glue all over the place and screwing no less than EIGHT wood screws in the general area. None of this worked.

I pulled out all the screws and chiseled out the wood and glue, which was a bit of work. I then needed to replace the wedge. I wanted a piece of oak in order to have it match and because it's a fairly hard wood. It needed to be 2.25 inches square.

The local Home Depot had the piece of oak I needed, but it was 18 bucks. I looked around and found a 3/4 inch piece that was only four bucks. I quickly calculated that I could laminate three layers and get 2.25 inches.

I cut the 24" board into three pieces and glued them together. Here's the finished product:

It looks kind of messy, but after the end cut to produce a nice 90 degree angle, you can barely tell it's laminated.

Then a 45 degree cut and we're in business.

Glued in place:

I put the bolts in and the leg mounted right up. Then it was on to the chairs.

The chairs were white and, although not super dirty, were not quite clean enough for my liking.

We have a red theme going on in the condo, so we picked out some appropriate fabric. My mom sewed the backs and I took care of the rest. Here's the finished product:

After spending about $40 on raw materials, I am pretty happy with the end result. I'm not a huge fan of oak, but it will do for now.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We drove up to Tahoe this past weekend for a little rest and relaxation. Sunday I went on a ride up to the top of Mount Rose hoping to ride the Rim Trail, but there was still too much snow. I decided to cross the highway and try the fire road up to the lookout tower, which I had never done before. With the southern exposure there appeared to be a bit less snow.

From the top there is a nice piece of Rim Trail that goes for about a mile before cyclists are dumped onto the fire road. (Hikers can continue on the Rim.)

Once on the road, the climbing begins and never really lets up. As I made it higher and higher, the snow became more and more of a hinderance.

I came upon this little pond. I sat down for a bit and had a granola bar while enjoying the sounds—the birds, the wind in the trees, the frogs around the pond. It was very relaxing. Until the lady with the dog showed up. She started throwing stones in the pond, and every time she did the dog went absolutely apeshit. I left.

After a while the snow became more and more irritating. After hiking through about 15 of these, I turned back.

I still made it up pretty high. According to Google Earth I was at 9656 feet. The lookout is around 10,000 feet, so I hope to make it all the way at some point after the snow melts.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Some Kind of Monster

It’s been a while since I have posted. Sorry for the monster post. A lot has transpired in that time. In an attempt not to bore everyone to death, I will hit the highlights of the last 60 days or so in abbreviated fashion.

In April I made a full-price offer on a bank-owned condominium in Incline Village, Nevada. So did someone else. I tacked on a few grand and resubmitted the offer, and it was eventually accepted, but only after a lot of haggling over terms.

For the record, I would not recommend buying a bank-owned home in another state.

In early June we closed escrow and I achieved a long-time goal of owning a place in Incline, a place I have been visiting regularly for 25 years.

We've been up a few times to visit and transport furniture, and it's been pretty fun.

During the first visit I was able to get in a couple rides, but I had to stay low due to the snow.

We went up again over the Fourth of July and again I got a few more rides in. I was able to ride at higher elevation, but there was still a lot of snow on top. One day I climbed to the top of Mount Rose on Highway 431. It's about 2700 feet from lake level.

The trail I wanted to ride, the Rim Trail, was somewhere under all this snow.

Still, there was plenty of prime singletrack down a little lower.

On my last ride I was bombing down this steep chute on a flume trail (not THE Flume Trail) and heard metal clanging.

I thought, What the hell is that? I stopped but I couldn't find anything wrong with my bike. I looked up the trail and found a bunch of these:

Nails from the old flume. A couple of them were very primitive and square, and they appeared to be quite old.

A couple doors down there are a number of friendly local kids. In this day and age of video games and virtual reality, it warmed my heart to see a wiffle ball game break out.

To finish up, see all those bikes? They're just over my back fence. Yes, a bike shop a stone's throw away. Nice.