April, 2004

April 3, 2004

As you noticed in the last post, some testing and tuning was done with the drag bike last weekend.  Today was the first time this year to take it to the drag strip in Great Bend for more testing and tuning.  After it was unloaded, Deana got ready to head for the inspection, and, shortly after that, she headed over to the drag strip to get ready for the first run of the season.  As the time approached to make that run, Ivan helped her get the helmet on and get ready, and then Ivan walked her out toward the line.  The first run was better than all runs made last season, and Deana's second pass was very much like the first one.

We knew the bike needed some additional attention, though, since it's still not doing what it's capable of doing.  While discussing the situation we heard and saw another bike we hadn't seen before.  It was after that we got to meet James Bloesser who owns "Everything Motorcycle" in Wilson, KS, and had his drag bike at the strip.  After getting acquainted, he and Deana prepared for a run, and then made a run together.  Following that, he had us take our bike to his trailer where he put the timing light on it and tweaked the timing.  We got new plugs from him and made another adjustment before heading back to the strip where he and Deana made two more passes.  The bike ran 8 MPH better than it ever had before, and made it through the quarter mile approximately 1.7 seconds faster than it ever had before.  After one of the passes they stopped in our pit area to examine the printouts of their runs.  James also provided us with some new jets for the carburetors, and, after they're put in and some additional tweaking is completed, it should run even better yet.  Thank you, James!!  

Not long after these photos were made, we all had to head out.  Whether we speak this or not, it's always there on the drag bike for everyone to see and, ultimately, to decide what they're going to do about it........

April 17, 2004

It was much too nice today to do some things I need to do, although I did get some branches cut and made my back hurt, so I decided to take off.  I pulled the map out, looked around on it, and felt a need to go to Ness City for some reason, so I headed out.  It's just a bit over an hour west, and, while riding, I thought of the big, old limestone building downtown that had once been a bank in Ness County, and decided to make that my destination.  While on the way I thought of pulling off into Nekoma and doing a photo of the old post office, but didn't, and I rode slowly by the abandoned school in Alexander.  Before long I was in Ness City and went to the old bank building where I started doing photos. The first was a horizontal shot from the east looking west, the next was a vertical shot up a bit closer, the next is a plaque that hangs on the building and lists some of the uses the building has seen, plus the fact it's on the Kansas State and National Register of Historic Sites,  the fourth is a shot from the south looking to the north, and the fifth is a shot of the front door.  While I was there doing photos, people started stopping to talk and look at the BugWing, and I got to talk with some of them for some time.  Gary, on the right, was one of those, and, while talking to him, the others in the photo stopped to talk, too.  I had a chocolate shake and talked with a number of people at that business before leaving town, and then I fought a hard Kansas south wind on the way home. That thing still does not like it when it gets too hot outside, and it was 88 degrees when I left Ness City.  It still feels like it's vapor locking when it gets above a certain temperature outside.  I'm going to have a second radiator mounted on it to cool it better, although it doesn't get into the red zone, but I'm wondering if I really need to improve the air flow over the motor or some electronics somehow.  Stay tuned as I continue to try to work that bug out of it..........

April 25, 2004

A month ago, John,  a good friend of mine who is the First Officer of the Panhandle Chapter of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club from Alva, OK, e-mailed and said he and others from SCRC had gone for a ride and wound up at Buster's in Sun City, KS,  for the Biker Lunch held once a month.  I was familiar with Buster's since I used to do photos of pay phones in Kansas and e-mail them to a guy in New York who has a web site called the Payphone Project.  Some time ago I found out about a phone isolated out on the range in southern Kansas so, one day in 1999, I took off from work, determined to find it.   While out that day, I went through a lot of little towns time forgot and Sun City was one of them.  When I pulled into Sun City I stopped at Buster's asking if anyone knew of the phone.  I found a guy who did, he provided directions to it, I did a series of photos of the trip and the phone when I found it, and I spontaneously started writing about the search for the phone when I e-mailed the photos to Mark in New York. I was not expected, and hadn't even been thought about, but he posted the photos and the story in his site.  After John e-mailed me a month ago talking about Buster's, I wondered if those photos and the story are still online. They are, and the story of that search is found here by clicking on the "Lost Child.....Call Home" link.  The other pay phone photos I did in Kansas are there, too.

Late last night I had an e-mail exchange with John in Oklahoma, and the decision was made to meet at Buster's today.  I got up early enough today I didn't think anyone else would even be up and ready for church yet, so I headed out and rode to Medicine Lodge where I attended church at the Assembly of God.  Just as I came out, John and some of the rest of the SCRC group rode in, so we headed west to Sun City.  With the exception of some houses, most of Sun City will be seen in the photos I did today.  When I parked, some people I didn't know came over and I got to talk with some of them briefly while they looked at the BugWing.  

As I moved on down through the bikes, I noticed John talking.  I didn't catch all the conversation, but John must have found some saddlebags he liked so he was getting information from this woman about the bags on her bike.  Shortly after he got the information we headed inside to get something to eat.  While we were doing that, a number of people from the Gabriel's Thunder CMA chapter rode in, along with two from our Rapture Riders chapter that meets in Great Bend, and they all had to get something to eat, too.  

Before I took off this morning I printed out the story of the search for the isolated pay phone and my stop at Buster's in 1999.  I took the pages I printed with the intention of giving them to the owner, not knowing it's Rick Lambert
who now owns the place.  He's shown here checking someone out after lunch.  While talking with him, Rick told me Buster himself opened the place in the 40's and ran it about 50 years.  Two more guys have owned it since Buster died, and Rick bought it three years ago.  He thought he'd heard about the fact Buster's had been mentioned in the Payphone site.  I'll get some more history from him when I return some time for another lunch.

After talking with Rick between customers, I headed outside where I found some of the SCRC group enjoying the sun.  Before heading down the street to do some photos of the town from different directions I did a different view of Buster's. The old bank building had seen better days, and I have no idea how long it has been abandoned.  
Initially I parked in front of a saddlery shop, but moved across the street and parked in front of Buster's while waiting on the group to show me another way out of town and back to the highway.........