Friday, July 1, 2016

A Cathy Clone

In yesterday's Spokesman Review the editorial board touched on the three candidates who are running for the Legislative District 6 Position 1 seat replacing Kevin Parker who is not running for reelection.

Parker is endorsing first-time candidate Ian Field, a 26-year-old press secretary for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. He is four years removed from being the editor of the student newspaper at Walla Walla University. Since then, he has worked for and campaigned for the congresswoman.
The Legislature cut the budget mightily over two bienniums in response to the Great Recession. It cut services it admitted it needed, such as money for mental health, which ended up landing the state in court. The “waste, fraud and abuse” solution won’t generate the revenue needed. But it’s just about the only solution Field offered. 

Based on the Review's biannual endorsement of McMorris Rodgers that solution seems to be pretty good to apply at the national level. Go figure.

Field, a Republican, is enthusiastic but not ready to be a legislator. When asked about the various revenue challenges the state has faced and currently faces, his response was nearly always “efficiency.” Transportation? Against the recent gas tax increase that will finance the completion of the North-South freeway. Basic education funding? No new revenue. Where to find the money for both? Cut waste; be more efficient.

Well, of course his answers are "efficiency", "cut waste", and no more taxes. Of course he doesn't explain or expound on individual issues and provides a bumper sticker answer. He worked for Cathy McMorris Rodgers and that's essentially her modus operandi.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Porteur Bag - Good Enough For Government Work

After much thinking, drawing, and figuring, I finally put the porteur bag together. I'm not as pleased with it as I am with the frame bag but it's to my benefit to consider it a learning exercise. Putting it together went great. I had all my pieces sized up, lined up, and matched up just right. It was going together so easy I was getting excited at having a finished product.

But the design and the materials are lacking. The nylon material is substantial but not nearly enough to keep it's shape. Like me, it needs structure. I added some corrugated plastic board to the bottom and sides. I used duct tape to hold the pieces together so they don't shift or slide. That is working pretty good.

The vinyl I added to the lid to hold a map or other papers isn't as useful as I hoped.  It's too loose so everything falls out when you open it. I might close up the forward edge.

The velcro holding the sides and back of the lid isn't quite in the right place so there's some peeping out from under the edge of the lid. It remains to be seen how well the system I came up with for strapping the bag onto the rack works. I have two weeks to test it out. Well, one, because if it doesn't work out I'll have to buy a porteur bag. Or maybe stuff everything into a dry bag and strap that to the rack.

I didn't enjoy making the porteur bag as much because I put so much thought into creating a method for attaching it to the rack that fits within my means, i.e., my wife's 24-year-old sewing machine and the materials it can work on. So making another bag is questionable for the time being. I'll see how well it holds up on the trip.

The top with the sides flipped up.

All the pieces attached to each other and ready to have the sides sewn together.

I don't care for the ugliness up front but that's what 
my weak mind thought of until I had a better idea later on.
I have nylon webbing with inner tube strips sewn in and then velcro onto the front.

I added an elastic cord and a hook to help hold the top down 
and minimize the forward slide of the bag.

And in the blue corner, weighing in at 65 pounds...
the Elephant!!!

I loaded up all my gear and found I still need the panniers to carry everything for the Hot Springs Loop. The weight up front really smooths out the ride but when I get some speed there's a tendency for some oscillation. I rode up Division to North Division Bike Shop to pick up a couple of items. Climbing with the heavy bike didn't seem all that bad but I was on asphalt. I'm sure there's a difference when it's several miles and on forest service roads. I didn't let the bike completely go coming back down the hill. I figure I need to get a couple more rides in to get used to the feel of the loaded NFE. Tomorrow morning I'll get some gravel climbing on the way to work.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gas Tank Bag - First Attempt

I put the porteur bag on hold. I have all the pieces cut out but I'm still working on how to mount it to the rack so it stays on over the long run. Instead of using velcro I'm going with straps.

Instead, I thought I'd make a gas tank bag, which is made to look easy here.  Of course, I made stupid mistakes, one of which was not making sure the velcro straps line up so the hooks engage the loops. Instead of ripping the stitches out I cut one piece of velcro, turned it over, and sewed it to the piece protruding from the bag. Twice. Yep, I did it to both sets. With all the other difficulties I was having this turned out to be a practice bag after all.

In the photos I'm presenting in the best possible light. You don't want to see the details. I'm not happy with the size. The next one will be longer and wider.

By the way, the frame bag did well in the rain. For good measure I hit it with the hose for a while. The towels inside stayed dry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

North-South Freeway Circa 1956

I thought I'd check out the Dec 18, 1956 issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle and see what the news was on the day I was born. Along with my birth announcement, a perfunctory "To Mr. and Mrs Henry W. Greer, E504 Tenth, boy" there was this. The more things change the more they stay the same, eh?

I really enjoyed how the publisher made use of every square inch of newspaper. And things were placed where they fit. Obituary notices, farm reports, news from anywhere, officers elected to various civic organizations, etc.

And then there's the advertisements.

And some bowling advice for the ladies. Apparently men were all perfect bowlers back then.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Porteur Bag - Making Progress

I added the lid to the practice porteur bag, added cardboard to the inside to give the bag some rigidity and checked out the fit on the Elephant NFE.

Yes, it's ugly. That's why we practice.

I'm going to continue the lip around the back on my next one so I won't have the corners sticking out like that.

Here we are on the porteur rack.

Overall, the fit is good.

Plenty of clearance for shifting.

I made all kinds of notes on all the mistakes I made and difficulties I had. The seam ripper and I have been spending a lot of time together and I think Kathy is getting suspicious. Hopefully, my next bag won't need as much error correcting.

Taking advantage of today's rain to test the waterproofness of my frame bag. It's stuffed with towels. If all goes well, dry towels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Porteur Bag - The Prototype

I drew up my plans and put them into effect to make my first porteur bag. My plans quickly fell apart. But I expected this to be a learning process so all is not lost.

Measuring where the velcro for mounting it onto the rack would go.

Everything pinned in place.

Okay, it looks like it's lining up pretty well.

And this is how it would attach.

Do you see the problem with the two pictures above? How am I going to attach the sides of the bag to the bottom of the bag if those velcro strips are in the way? Sigh.

I also attached a clear vinyl piece to the bottom, creating a pocket for the plastic board. I had to cut the vinyl open and remove the board in order to sew the four sides to the bottom. So if I leave one side open I can remove the board. Or keep it simple and skip the vinyl and push the board into the bottom.

I also put a vinyl pocket on the left and side side, each holding a board to help the bag keep its shape. The board in the back is just pushed into the bag. I'm liking that idea better than sewing in vinyl pockets.

I put it on the bike to check the clearance and make sure the bag doesn't interfere with shifting and braking. The braking is fine. I'm concerned about the shifting but I'll have a better idea once I put the lid on. Also, the bag sits more forward on the rack than I anticipated so the velcro on the bottom  is out of alignment.

Another day, then.