July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5K

July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5K

Flash and Jan at the July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5k

Jan Baby (the wife), Roxanne (the girlfriend) and I started our Fourth of July festivities on a scenic, flat and fast course in Fort Collin’s City Park. All ages and abilities were there and we took up our place at the very end of the start line; not the best way to start our July 4th celebration as we had to weave our way through half of the 1400 other contestants! I kept wondering how much extra mileage I was adding – how long would that curvy string I was running for a route straighten out to?! I think we would have been better off starting near the front and going out fast until some room opened up, then slow down to your sixties age group abilities. I was thinking about this as we first surveyed the start but the row of eight strollers put me off. I imagined they would fan out across the road, shoulder to shoulder and create the great wall of childhood. That scenario came into being at the back of the pack, so ARGH!

Jannie was going great guns and I was working hard to keep up with her. I was not on my game for this run, even though I thought I had done everything right throughout my training. I had to employ all my cunning cheats to gain any advantage. One of my favorites, cutting the corners with verve was proving to be quite effective 🙂  I know when things aren’t going great when I recognize that I’m not telling odd jokes to complete strangers during the run. I did blurt out to one woman; “I WANT YOUR SOCKS”. She yelled back at me; “You can have them if you’ll stop yelling at me!”. She had the coolest American flag decorated compression socks. Sadly at the end of the race, with 1400 people milling about plus all their support crews, I never spotted her to take her up on the offer.

We both finished in the middle of our “age group” pack. Actually, we were each one person towards the front of that pack. It’s not like us to settle for average. Jan finished in ninth place in the Women’s 60-64 age group with a time of 32:39. That put here in 812th place overall. Pretty impressive considering the sheer number of healthy young adults that were participating. I managed ninth place too, but in the Men’s 65-69 age group. Team Alexander finishes 9th. My time was just a tad faster at 30:59 and I had to go all out at the finish to make sure that old guy in front of me didn’t steal my thunder. Overall, that put me in 705th place. Funny thing after the race, that old guy sought me out to tell me how hard he worked to hold me off. He actually thought he beat me across the finish line. Doug, if your reading this, you finished in 32:09! See how delerious running can make you?

Snooze Eatery
Horse and Dragon Brewery

Next up is the Fort Collins Human Race, a 10K no less, taking place Saturday July 28th. We’re really starting to challenge ourselves. The Human Race is regarded at the best 10K in the Mountain West region. The event is hosted by Green Events and after having run about three of their events this year, I have to tell you what a great job they do. Each of the Green Events has featured chip timing and free donuts and coffee at the finish. They have a lot more vendors than the donuts and coffee people, but none of that other stuff appeals to me – unless the event has free beer! The Human Race is sponsored by Snooze (my favorite breakfast spot in town), Horse and Dragon Brewing Company ( I can vouch for great beer). There are other sponsors, but none that are more meaningful IMHO.

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates Arrived

Roxanne deserves proper badging, starting with period correct license plates. When we first met she was showing off a 1970’s Colorado Collector Series license plates, which is nice and they do have just the right amount of wear for a truck of this age. When I drove her down to get her registered in my name, they wouldn’t let me use the plates she came with. I ended up buying the Horseless Carriage plates – I think there about $12.00 for a year or so. I’ve been re-thinking that decision because those plates limit your mileage to about two thousand miles per year, and Roxanne isn’t exactly a horseless carriage. Horseless yes, but carriage? No.

 

 

Epay is the place to shop for vintage plates for your collectible automobiles. Prices range from $20.00 to well over $69.95. While there are plenty of Colorado plates, finding one with 19   50 stamped into the metal is nigh impossible – or so I thought. I ended up finding three different sets. I lost out in a bidding war for the first set, second offer was for one plate only and the third offer was for a set of TT (Truck Tractor) plates for a modest $39.95 plus shipping and tax. It was a Buy Now scenario and the plates arrived today.

The seller on EBAY was Tom & Margaret Boyd who goes by ‘licpl8s’. Tom it turns out is a license plate collector who happens to live in Boulder. Yeah, I lost a little respect for him just because he was from Boulder ;-P He is a bonafide member of APCL. Tom joined the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association in 1982 and has been active at both the international and local level.  He served as Vice President of ALPCA and was Editor of ALPCA’s magazine.  Locally, Tom was Secretary/Treasurer of Rocky Mountain Regional branch of ALPCA for nineteen years.  Tom has co-authored three books on license plates.

Check Out Tom's Ebay Store

Opens in New Window/Tab

Check Out Tom's Website

Opens in New Window/Tab

Old Town Car Show First Place

Old Town Car Show First Place

Drove Roxanne to the Old Town Car Show here in Northern Fort Collins – 2018 edition. If your new to my blog here, Roxanne is my new girlfriend; 1950 Dodge B-2-B-108 Pickup Truck.  Spent some time earlier in the week cleaning her up – got out the pressure washer and sprayed her inside, outside and underside. One doesn’t see much of an improvement but the driveway stains and dirt told another story. I went a little crazy spraying down the engine and got a lot of grease and dirt off – was a little freaked out that she might not start after water gets into the generator, starter, carb, etc. etc. so on and so forth… but she started right up!

My son Max walked over to the show from his Old Town apartment (he lives in a basement) and hung out with me. We enjoyed talking with one another and too with the car show attendees. Max was a good sport and tracked down a couple good burgers for lunch. I paid of course! It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to hear some of the stories car show visitors seeing Roxanne elicits. One fellow wanted to give me the original brochures and manuals he had from the truck his family moved from Nebraska to Colorado in. Their truck was long gone but the stories remained.

Rox Baby was the only vintage Dodge truck on display at the show! – Easy to see how she had garnered herself a first place finish in the Survivor class. The original paint, upholstery, even period correct tires with all the sidewall cracks you might expect.

Old Town Car Show Magazine Spread

NoCo Magazine wrote up a nice article on the show and featured Roxanne. That’s my girl.

Junk in the Trunk

Junk in the Trunk

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to carry all the odds and ends one needs given the limited cab storage space of a Dodge B2B half ton pickup. Many of the Guys on the P15-D24 Forum have come u p with some good ideas. Paul Flaming for example has a home built tonneau (aka plywood) cover that seems very smart and effective.

Tonneau AKA Plywood and Rope Bed Cover

Tonneau AKA Plywood and Rope Bed Cover

Long ago in my impetuous youth I acquired a steam trunk of substance. It has been a functional artistic decorator item in our home since about 1976. “Wouldn’t that be the perfect trunk for the truck?” I suggested to Jan Baby, my best friend and wife for over 40 years. She shot back: “It would get ruined in the weather and we need it where it is”. Thus began my Craigslist search for the perfect trunk for ‘ol Rox Baby’s bed.

If you click that last link, you will see that there are lots of options.  I’ve learned to take my time and cogitate on the options to eventually find something that suits my personal tastes while filling the bill of functionality. Several weeks passed and I started gravitating to vintage steamer trunks with the domed or camel back top.

I found a couple prospects. One was twenty minutes from the house and priced at $60.00 while the other was an hour away and priced at $100.00. I decided to on a rainy Saturday to email the nearby trunk owner and setup a viewing. My plan was to arrive and negotiate the price down to $40 or so dollars.

Norma was a delightful senior woman who graciously invited me into her garage to take a look at the trunk. She explained that it has held spare blankets for her bed for many years but didn’t fit in with her new homes decor. It was love at first sight. The lack of a key to the lock and missing side handles added to its character I thought. I held out $60.00 cash. No way was I going to haggle with such a delightful person such was Norma.

 

 

Brakes Done – Almost

Brakes Done – Almost

Getting the right brake cylinders turned out to be an interesting pursuit. Prices ranging all over the place and no guarantee that the high price part isn’t the same exact thing as the low priced part. I purchased a $58 cylinder and a $9.95 cylinder and they were the exact same cheap Chinese part!

After completing the rear I was ecstatic when I did a hard hands free test brake from 45 MPH – She stopped straight and I could hear the rear tires skidding on the asphalt. That’s a good thing considering Roxanne was unloaded. After bragging to my wife and dog about what a great brake mechanic I’d become, the next morning out in the garage I found a pool of brake fluid under the drivers front wheel. Nooooooo!

Drivers Side Wheel Cylinder Exploded View

 

Look at that chewed up metal. No wonder it was leaking. I suspect my hard braking got the cups to break free and move thus causing the new leakage. The shoes too were interesting. They appeared brand new with no wear. The front shoe had a tad bit of wear but the rear had none. Now I know why the howling squeaks and hard pull to the left were occuring.

After buttoning up the driver’s front I took her out for another aggressive braking test – WOW! Best braking since owning the truck! I decided to put off doing the passenger front brakes until after the Old Town Car Show. My repair technique is such that it tends to leave the truck up on jack stands for long periods of time when things don’t go according to plan. For example, with three wheels done, I managed to tear open or completely tear off the brake lines. So, some more parts acquisition and brake line bending, more time on jack stands. On the up side, I now also have new brake lines, though I’m not sure I needed them as the existing lines appeared to be in very good nick.

 

Background Change Upon Page URL

Background Change Upon Page URL

Expertise:
Using simple css code on a page we can force that page to display a custom background of our choosing. On any WordPress website, every page has a CSS ID set on the Body tag. Looking at the page source the opening body tag looks like this for this page:

Body Tag CSS ID for Post

I can add css to the theme’s style.css to tell this specific page to use a custom background for the ‘body’. Something like this:

body#postid-1405{background-image: url('https://flashalexander.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Balloon-through-the-Clouds.jpg') no-repeat center top;}

This website’s content area is already using CSS to set the Coffee Cup background.

Coffe Cup Background

ERGO, if I am going to set a custom background for the page I’ll have to hide the content area background that is laying on top of the page. I use this css to accomplish the task:

#content-area{background:transparent;}

Putting it altogether, adding the following css to my stylesheet gives this page its own unique background:


body.postid-1405{
background-image: url(https://flashalexander.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Balloon-through-the-Clouds.jpg)!important;
background-size: cover;
}
body.postid-1405 #content-area{
background:transparent!important;
}

Take note of this: !important – It forces my css to override the existing css 🙂

All this assumes your using a child theme, where edits to the style.css file won’t be overwritten when the theme is updated. You ARE using a child theme aren’t you?!

Wang Chung
Wang Chung Chinese Philosopher

You’re an IDIOT if you don’t use a child theme.

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