Friday, February 29, 2008

Strange things you see on the road!

I'm almost ashamed to put these pictures on the blog. You see, I was in a car, for heavens sake, when I took the pictures! Sometimes I just can't help it. There's no way to carry two factory guys, their luggage, and training equipment on a bike. It's part of being a factory rep. Since we represent a bunch of factories owned by the same huge corporation, the number of visits can add up. So I have to do the pick them up at the airport, ferry them around, and take them back to the airport thing. In a car. Sigh!

It goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway. Isn't that a really weird situation? We feel the need to say something. It seems so obvious that it doesn't need to be said. Yet, if we don't say it, we can't set the tone for what we're going to say. Yikes! Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to say something that doesn't need to be said. We share the road with a lot of strange things.

This is something I've never seen on the road before.

Yes, that's a railway box car on it's side on a flatbed truck trailer. Minus the axles. The undercarriage must definitely be the heaviest part. That's the part that's solidly on the trailer. The top of the box car is hanging off several feet on the right side of the trailer. I'd be really nervous if I were the truck driver. It just seems to me that the load would be prone to moving the trailer side to side easily. Of course, I've never carried a box car before so what would I know? Speaking of things I've never seen on the road before, I have to tell you a quick story. Since this post really has nothing to do with motorcycling, notice how quick I am to stray?

Anyway. I've mentioned previously that my father in law is a perpetual tinkerer. Once he had this idea to make an amphibious vehicle. There was an old 19 foot ski boat hull sitting in the orchard. It's a long story of how it got there. No, I'm not going to stray that far. This hull was pressed into service as the base of this vehicle. The water worthy part was solved. Now came the part of being able to propel the craft on land. Here's where I got involved. I don't know how I get dragged into this stuff. Must be an adventuresome spirit, I guess. And I kinda like the guy.

We fashioned some wheels and tires that can be lowered to form a tricycle type arrangement. We built a rudimentary steering mechanism for the single wheel in front. In order to not be required to use two different propulsion methods, we decided to transplant the motor and fan mechanism for our previous air boat project. This consisted of a Buick motor, a four wheel drive transfer case from a Toyota pickup, a long shaft leading up to a CV joint from a Honda car, and a wooden airplane propeller. The transfer case was used to cut the rpm's coming out of the engine in half. Wood props don't like to turn real fast. The CV joint was used to make the transition from the 45 degree angle of the drive shaft to the 90 degree angle that feeds into the propellor. Don't ask me how we dream this stuff up. We're a couple of guys who think outside the box. Now came time for the test run.

My father in law lives outside the town of Scio. Population 510. Salute! ( for those of you who remember Hee Haw on tv ) Dang! Gave away my redneck roots, again, didn't I? Needless to say, the roads are pretty rural and quiet. ( there's that "doesn't need to be said" thing, again ) Surprisingly, this thing worked pretty well. We were enjoying the breeze in our hair as we cruised down the road. I estimate we were doing about 35 mph. Then a county police car passed us in the opposite direction. Oh, oh. I saw this man's face do a double take, eyes wide. Sure enough, the deputy pulled a quick u-turn and wound up behind us with the overheads on. Busted.

The deputy told us we were lucky. He was on his way to a call and didn't have time to spend with us or we'd be in trouble. His parting words were,

"I've never seen anything like this on the road before, and I don't ever want to see it again!!"

See, it did tie in. Notice the "never seen anything like this on the road" similarity?

This was actually the first picture I took with the camera phone. It shows you the amount of box car hanging off the side of the trailer. I'm a hard core kind of guy but that looks scary to me!

You know the part that struck me as really strange? I wondered why the cargo wasn't on a rail car. I've seen truck trailers on flat bed rail cars. Why not a box car? Maybe some of the side clearances are just too small on a railway. Maybe it had been shipped this far and now was on it's way to some great scrap heap in the sky. Who knows?

It's an interesting world, isn't it?

Miles and smiles,



Stacy said...


Just wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying your blog! It took me a few days to catch up through the archives -- I really wish I'd read your post on the cone weave before I failed my BRT the first time around. :)

I thought Sophie seemed familiar, then I checked my BRT completion card and lo and behold, your signature was on the instructor line! So thanks for watching the lot of us during my retest, too.

Anonymous said...

Frightening - nearly as scary as the unforgetable female pillion from you December blog.

Keep up the good work.


Bryce said...

Probably off to be scrapped.
However it could be also have been
purchased to be used as a storage shed, sans wheels.

As to transporting rail vehicles
by roads. It's quite common in the UK; mind their loading gauge, is about half the height of North American railways. Their trains are small.
It is the preferred way of moving damaged locomotives to repair shops. it is also how preserved steam locomotives are often shifted from one disconnected from the main line preserved railway to another.
Here in North America the Thomas the tank engine is probably the most common locomotive seen on a highway.

And you've just solved another mystery for me. What kind of camera do you use for the photos
on the blog.

Conchscooter said...

Sheriff's deputies can be so narrow minded, and there you were on the verge of greatness.

irondad said...

I always consider it a privilege to be the one to sign a student's card. It implies to me that we've accomplished something meaningful together. You're doing pretty good to remember Sophie. Although I have to say I'm a little let down that you remembered her over me! :)

You had to go and remind us, didn't you? For those who don't remember, Jon's referring to the picture of the gal with the short shorts on the back of a sport bike. She's a passenger and a lot of her is hanging off both sides of the bike! I'd think I'd rather see the box car!

Actually, I seldom use the camera phone. Mostly I'm using a point and shoot Kodak digital. It's an EasyShare C643 with 6.1 megapixels.
My goal at some point is to replace it with something like the Nikon D40. I'd like more ability to adapt to situations. I'm pretty limited in exposure settings, etc., with the Kodak. The problem is the 5 to 6 hundred dollar price tag for the Nikon or similar Canon.


Take care,

Bryce said...

As to photo gear...
May i suggest one of the
fancier point and shoots?

Right now the leading contender is
a Canon G9. Go to
as a website and look at the various
varieties of cameras.

What you probably need is something
that looks like a Single Lens Reflex like the D40 however is not.

The Canon G9 is good ditto the
Power Shot S5 which looks like
an SLR is not and is a darn good deal. You probably want something that is easy to handle. Going the digital route like a D40 can be fraught with problems.

Keep in mind too, the megapixel race is like a horsepower race For most of what you do for web sites or similar something between 6 and 8 megapixels is more
than adequate.
(BTW an 8 megapixel shot, full
frame will give you a colour print
of about 24 inches by 36 inches , be sharp as a tack and have no
out of focus areas.

Most of the Canon point and shoots are nice because they operate on
standard AA cells. I use Energizer
AA cells in my camera where possible.(Nikon F100 time 2)
Now granted I am mostly all film but frequently have a digital handed to me to repair that
has messed up along the way...the Canon point and shoots are a good
bang for the buck.

Take your time and ask around for
a reputable photographic retailer.

BTW keep in mind most digital hardware has a finite life;
usually five years or so. Then something goes wrong and it's often cheaper to replace than repair.

Drop me a direct note if you need
more information.

irondad said...

Thanks so much for the information. I'll check out the G9. All I want to be able to do is compensate exposures for different lighting and get better zoom capabilities. I know about the megapixel thing. My plans don't include making hugely blownup photos so the 6.1 is fine for me.

I was under the impression that the D40 was an SLR. Have to dig deeper.

It's amazing how much information the bloggers and readers can share with each other. Maybe I'll be shipping cameras to Canada for repairs!

Bryce said...


The D40 is an SLR with interchangeable lenses.
The G9 and the Powershot
are not!

The recording device/chip in digital
photography is attractive to dust.
Therefore I suggest to my clients
) yes I do advise on photographic
matters to specific clients(
that they first determine why they
want to go the digital imagery route,
then identify what they normally photograph.
If it is family/children/pets(Sophie?)/trips
(on a motorcycle or similar) then I
suggest what is termed in the
industry as a point and shoot.

The name is somewhat of a misnomer
however it means the lense is fixed
in place, it is NOT removable under
normal circumstance. Given your
love of the two-wheeled transportation
device such a camera
would be ideal.

The Nikon D40 is 6.1 megapixel, the D40X
(10.1 megapixel) now discontinued has
been replaced by the D60, (10.1 megapixel)
more money and more toys/options.
As noted take your time in choosing
another camera. One point, which
many people tend to forget:
over time, digital images, saved
in one format or another can be lost
or discarded, or the technology changes
to render the saved format obsolete.
What happened to 5.25 floppy disks
for example? Film though, when
processed returns a negative.
If you still have a film camera and
shoot print film, have the lab
(say Walmart or Costco)make a
compact disc of the images.
Then you have a more or less
computer usable image.
You'll have the negatives,
the prints/images on a compact
disc which in turn will allow you
to either print them at home on
a colour ink-jet printer (and any
colour ink-jet printer will do a
reasonable job, you don't require
fancy hardware), and you can also
use those film based images to
illustrate both the blog and also
perhaps work related speeches
and lectures. They are computer viable!

What you require is something
digital, handy enough to slip
into a pocket (may I suggest
you get a similar camera for Katie),
and perhaps a similar perhaps
more sophisticated point and
shoot for yourself. The S5 and
the G9 are good, you might also
perhaps look at a G7,
still in the lineup, less money.

Take your time, you're making an investment.

Now why a camera to Katie? You
have been married for what,
25 years or more? How many
photographs of you, yes you
IronDad does Katie have, or
other members of the family
for that matter?

When my Dad died in 1982 at age 62
(same age as I am now) the family
discovered few photographs of him.
I had taken some photos
thankfully. However as a Dad
you're always taking the photos.
And rarely in the picture.
Get some photos of yourself, please.
'Cause when you're gone Dan, you're gone.
Go take some photos of
your grandmother, now. Your
grandfather is buried at the top
of the hill; yes take photos of
the grave site. What ever you
believe in is not the point, where
he has been laid to rest is the point.

Photographs record your history,
keep it sacred as it were but
take the photos! And of you
in particular! Maybe we can even
get a photograph of you beside
Sophie. Don't hide yourself Dan.

If you want some help choosing a
camera drop me a private e-mail
to ootvart at

PS Look at Scooter In the Sticks..he shoots both film and

Anonymous said...

As for putting the load offset left, if it were offset right he'd disturb oncoming traffic (in a major way). You want it on the side the driver is not, in other words, and it has nothing to do with weight. It allows him to give a wide berth to pass fixed objects, without constant worry he will side swipe it.

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

A thought about your contraption:
Isn't there some sort of experimental vehicle registration available? Works for home-built aircraft. If the Feds can recognize one-off workmanship, surely Oregon can.