Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My First Webinar!

Thanks to the EAA for inviting me to give a webinar!  Thanks to the IAC Email news "In the Loop" to promoting it. 


December 18, 7 p.m. CST: Ultimate Aircraft Buying Guide
Imagine owning the aircraft of your dreams. You can experience what 
thousands of others do every day by owning an aircraft. Scott Sky Smith, 
a nationally recognized aviation writer and speaker, will prepare you to 
buy your first (or next) aircraft. Whether you are buying a light sport, 
standard, or experimental, learn how to calculate the cost of operation, 
where the best deals are, best time of year to buy, and how to evaluate 
the price of your new purchase. He'll also discuss pilot requirements, 
insurance, and what to inspect before you buy.

To find out more about upcoming EAA Webinars and to register, 
visit the webinars page.

Miss a webinar? All webinars are recorded and loaded onto 
the EAA Webinars Channel within 24 hours.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homeowners winter check list

Homeowners winter check list

This list is not inclusive. Each house has individual items that need to be checked.  If you are in doubt or have questions about a repair or procedure, contact a qualified person for assistance.  

If you have any lawn and garden equipment (mowers, edgers, etc.)  it is important that you take precautions to winterize those items.  Equipment should be cleaned, degreased and dry before storage.  Greasing all applicable areas helps to remove moisture from that part.  Blades from mowers should be sharpened and gasoline should be treated for storage with the appropriate additives.

Always store your equipment in a dry location to prevent corrosion. If possible keep it raised above the ground.   If you don’t grill over the winter, store the grill in a dry area also.

            1. The foundation is the first place to start.  Walk around the house and look for any cracks in the foundation.  The cracks need to be patched to prevent further damage.  Moisture entering the cracks freezes and breaks them foundation.  Patching concrete in a tube is the quickest and easiest.
            2.  Make sure that there is a nice buildup of dirt around the foundation.  The current recommended slope is about 5 percent.  That is a drop of about 6 inches in a distance of about 10 feet.  Home Inspectors and builders estimate that over 75 percent of the moisture problems in basement can be corrected with proper grading and drainage.
            3.  Any blockage in the gutters and down spouts will allow ice dams to form and force moisture under the roofing material and siding.  Make sure the gutters are clean.  Drainage from the gutters and down spouts needs to be directed away from the foundation.  If your down spouts do not have extensions add them to achieve a drainage distance of about 5 feet from the foundation.     Make sure that the drainage doesn't put puddles of water in areas that will be used for walking.  Warm weather thawing and then refreeze will create dangerous ice spots. 
            4.  Check around all the windows and doors for caulking.  If there are gaps or cracks, the existing caulking needs to be removed and replaced.  Make sure the storm windows fit tight and there are no airgaps.  You might also check the glazing on the windows.  Glazing is the material that holds the glass panes in the window frame.  This material can dry up and fall out and needs to be replaced. 
            5. Replace your screens with storm windows and storm doors.  Inspect the screens and make plans to replace or patch any damaged.
            6.  Check your porch and/or deck for damaged or loose boards.  While your under the deck look for cracks in the foundation and the anchors for the deck supports.  Might be a good time to apply additional sealer to the support post at the bases.  They may be covered in snow and moisture for a significant period of time.
            7.  This would also be a good time to treat you deck with a water sealant.  There are a number of new products out that can be applied while the deck is still wet.  This will help prevent the wood from being damaged under prolong exposure to the moisture of snow sleet and rain.     
            8.  Check the roof for damaged or loose shingles.  Loose shingles can be glued down with asphalt cement and missing or damage shingles can be replaced.  If over 50 percent of the roofing material is damaged, consider a new roof.  Most roofers aren't happy working on a roof during cold winter months.  If you have to hire a roofer, start the job early.  Any loose or damage areas will be made worse by snow and freezing moisture.  The wind will blow the snow and moisture under the shingles, freezing and possibly cracking the shingle.
            9.  Check the flashing for rust or damage.  Any moisture that gets between the flashing can freeze and expand, damaging the flashing and the structure that the flashing is attached to. Flashing is usually tar paper or metal and put where the roof meets the chimney, windows and edges. 
            10.  Make sure that the chimney caps are attached and the screens are in place.  No caps or screens allow moisture and animals to enter the chimney.  This would be the time for a call to a qualified chimney sweep for an inspection and cleaning.
            11. Check the siding reattaching and repairing any bad area.  Soft siding is absorbing moisture and needs to be replaced.  Bare spots should be sealed, primed and painted.
            12. Check all of the exterior hydrants (hose faucets) and make sure that they are the freeze proof  type.  Do not leave hoses attached to the hydrant. One evening of freezing temperatures can ruin the hydrant and cause moisture damage to the house from broken pipes.
            13.  If you have an lawn sprinkler system, you need to have a service company flush the system and winterize it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bob's heater core explosion.

I have never given my vehicles a name.  Take that back, the only one named was the boat.  "Risky Business" is a name that associates our business with our fun. But car and motorcycle wise, no names.

Then one day a friend of ours mentioned that when she saw the 2007 Dodge Nitro she thought of  "Sponge Bob Square.... Truck" and from that moment on, the Dodge Nitro has been called "Bob" (a Palindrome too)!

Well, Bob has been a good vehicle. Got him new and he has just passed 130,000 miles.  That is actually longer than I have ever kept a vehicle too.  He drives great, does what's needed and has been all over the country. And even though he's not very big he is able to take Risky Business, the sailboat, the couple miles from  our house to the marina in the spring and back home in the fall.

But this year, Bob was due for new tires (74,000 miles out of the last set) and a once over before the snow and ice hits Iowa.  But before that happened he started to lose his "cool"...or should I say heat.  We had a cold spell and the heater in Bob was not producing much warmth.  Not too big of a problem getting from home to the office or running errands, but still cold.

Then we started getting forecasts for arctic cold combined with ice and snow, so I decided it was time to take Bob to the local Dewey Dodge "Spa and Hospital" for a good fix up.  Good news and bad news resulted.
DOCTOR, Dodge Nitro, BBDO New York, Dodge, Print, Outdoor, Ads
New BF Goodrich AT tires look great (wanted raised white letter but too hard to find them. Guess that's not popular anymore) and the rest of the service went well but the heater core was plugged some how.

Rescheduled Bob for a follow up visit yesterday to get the heater core changed out.  Took them longer than planned because of a few additional items needed, but the biggest surprise was a call from the service writer (Thanks Brian) and the accompanying picture.

Remember the ads about the Dodge Nitro and how when it was jump starting another car it blew the other car up?  (This should be a link to a copy of the ad

By the way there is another ad where the Dodge Nitro shocks (fried actually)  dogs that are peeing on his wheels... looks like Chrysler pulled that ad, but, I could see Bob doing that.

Well, apparently Bob the Dodge Nitro really did blow his cool. The heater core actually has a hole blown out of it. I wondered why it was dripping fluid on the garage floor. No one one has ever seen anything like this.   It has a huge hole blown from the inside out, ragged edges and all. Take a look at the picture.

Weird huh? Apparently that makes Bob a special vehicle, no one has ever seen anything like it.  Cool...Bob the Nitro has just gotten some "street cred"! Of course if he blew something up with Nitrous, it might be a little better but have to take what you can.

Okay, down side to all this, the repairs and all the new parts has not been cheap. Although it is cheaper than a new vehicle. And ultimately, Bob will keep the windows clear and the inside warm after this experience. Thanks Miguel!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Most common boat claims

Owning a boat has its risks. 
In general, the biggest risk comes to the bank account.  At least that’s in my personal experience, owning a boat always seems to costs me money.  Of course, so does a Harley, Cessna or anything else I own. There is always a never-ending list of improvements and gadgets that I want to add.  And if I don’t add things to the existing boat, there is always another boat around the corner I want to buy. New or used the “risk” is there. 

So think you can save money by not adding anything new to your boat?  Sorry doesn't work that way.  Even if you don’t add or change things on your boat, there will always be regular maintenance items that are the result of age or wear and tear. There are also a few fixed costs that boat owners cannot get away from.  Slip or mooring fees and insurance are just a couple. No one but the owner pays these types of expenses.  They are part of the risk of owning a boat. 

Maintenance is necessary and vitally important to maintaining the value and safety of the boat. It is also something that can’t be covered by warranties or insurance. There are a few things that are covered under the warranty that may be construed as maintenance, but typically, warranties are good for defective manufacturing or assembly of your boat, motor and accessories.  If it is a problem that results from regular use (wear and tear) or recommended service intervals…it is not going to be covered by a warranty.  Sure there is always that chance that the local dealer might include free oil changes or tune-ups for some limited amount of time. But that’s not a typical warranty.

Time to make a shameless plug and tell you to buy my book, "Ultimate Boat Maintenance Projects". Published by Motorbooks International and available at book stores or directly from SkySmith. Okay, good maintenance wont protect you from everything, but it sure will help.  I also think that doing some of your own maintenance will make you feel more comfortable as an owner. Learn how and do basic maintenance as an owner,m its good for you!  Want to know more, go to one of my seminars at a boat show in your area.  Not speaking at your boat show?  Maybe you should get them to invite me! Okay, off the soap box. 

Anyway...Insurance, (often defined as the transfer of the risk of a potential loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a reasonable fee) is sometimes expected to pay for these regular expenses.  Well, let me remind you that wear and tear and maintenance are not covered by insurance. 

Many people try to have regular maintenance items covered by insurance only to be disappointed when the claim is denied.   Items like frozen and cracked engine blocks, overheating damage, even the failure of the bellows will not be covered. The cause (poor service, lack of antifreeze, etc) won’t be covered but the resulting sinking or fire may be. That’s the key. Let me try and clarify this again, the accident and the resulting damage should be covered, but the cause might not.  An example could be the deteriorating bellows on a lower unit.  If the bellows dries out and cracks it could leak and the boat could sink.  The bellows would not be covered, but the damage that results from the sinking probably would.   Okay, seems pretty gray, which but that is just the way it is.

So what are some of the most common claims?
There are a few claims that keep popping up.  One marine insurance claim department I contacted felt that about 80 percent of their claims are the result of hitting a submerged object.

Think about it.  The more storms there are, the more rivers that flood, the more stuff is floating in the water and under the surface. Submerged objects will result in damage to lower units, propellers, keels, and hulls.  Sometimes sinking does occur. If you think or know you hit something, make sure you check bilge area and monitor the bilge regularly to make sure there is not any damage that could result in submersion or, in other words…sinking.

Using information from marine insurance claim departments and organizations like Boat US, a few of the other common claims I discovered are:

Theft of assorted boat equipment and parts (portable or permanent).  Items like out drives, electronics, outboard motors, and trailers are some of the most popular parts.  Leaving the trailer unattended in the parking lot or the cockpit uncovered is an invitation for a thief.  Check your policy, many do not cover items stolen from your boat unless it was permanently attached or in a locked compartment. 

Grand theft boat.  Snatching the whole boat is another big claim.  While there are cases of theft from a slip or mooring, trailer-based boats are the ones that are usually turned in on a claim. Boats, like cars, are often stripped and the parts sold a piece at a time.  Remember the phrase “the sum of the parts is worth more than whole” well that’s true with boat parts.  Plus if you take all the parts off the boat, the parts are harder to track down. 

Collision claims.  Collisions with anything are bad.  Collisions with pilings, docks, and other boats can be deadly.  Collisions are not the same as hitting submerged items. Collisions are just that, colliding with something else either moving (another boat) or stationary (like a dock).  You can help stop collisions by watching where you are going, learn the rules of the area and use your charts.

Grounding or running aground.  Most claims departments indicate that often more damage is caused by trying to accelerate through the sand, mud or rocks than by just stopping and waiting for help.  Using a tow service or an alternative method to get unstuck like air bags, reduces the risk for further damage. . 

Now is a good time to repeat - carry up-to-date marine charts and plan your cruising routes to avoid accidental grounding.

A few of the less common but still important claims mentioned are:
Lightning strikes. Being the one of the tallest things on the water during storms is bound to result in a lightning strike.  Lightning usually “fries” the electronics, puts holes in fiberglass and starts fires.  It is a hard thing to prevent.  Best way to reduce the damage is to ground the boat so the current has a way to pass through to the ground.

Damage from docks.  Wind, weather, and hurricanes, can cause chafing, damage to rub rails and hull joints and even rip cleats out of the decks.  Get in a habit of moving the boat to a safe harbor or new neighborhood when bad weather is imminent.  Learn to tie up securely, use high quality dock lines and fenders.  Last year was bad for the hurricane states.  The underwriters are already increasing rates and reducing or eliminating territories and coverage’s. 

There are a few claims relating to fire and explosion. Often the cause is from bad wiring, fuels leaks, overheated manifolds, and even bilge vents not being used or being blocked. These claims can be reduced or eliminated just by taking part in a good preventative maintenance plan.

Occasionally there will be a boat that sinks from bad through-hull fittings, damaged sea cocks and the bilge pump being blocked and/or the back up bilge pump and warning system being inoperative.  Occasionally a storm with lots of heavy rain or combined with a lightning strike can short the boats battery preventing the bilge pumps from working.

Of course, the list above is not inclusive.  There are all sorts of variations along with different levels of each type of claim.  Even if you take all the precautions, accidents do happen. Boat owners buy insurance to transfer the risk to the insurance company for those unexpected catastrophes, so make sure you have the right coverage for your vessel and you implement a preventative maintenance plan to help reduce potential claims.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boat Insurance Basics.

Boat show season is upon us.  Shopping, drooling and deal making are at a feverishly pitch pace during a boat show.  And like many people, it’s a time that I forget the basics and make decisions based on emotion. If you are a boat show buyer in the colder regions of the country where visions of wake jumping are still in your head, you are at a greater risk for emotional buying.  Snow and ice create an urge to be boating that sometimes influences your purchase plans.  Don’t let the dismal weather outside put you at a disadvantage inside the boat show. 

One major expense that most people leave to the last is insurance.  Talking about insurance can be boring, but it is a necessity.  Sure you can call the agent that insures your car if you want limited coverage for your boat. But you should really start your insurance search with a marine insurance specialist, especially when you start operating bigger and more expensive boats. A dedicated marine policy will have special coverage for boats such as stated or agreed values, coastal territories and extras coverage that an auto or homeowner’s policy just can’t provide.  

So before you make a decision about your fun on the water, let’s review a few insurance topics that can affect your new purchase.

Marine underwriters look at a number of factors when they figure insurance premiums.  These factors include the size of the boat, the location of the boat during storage and use, extra equipment, and the experience of the boat owner/operator.  If you are new to boating, you will probably want to stay below 26 feet for your first purchase. The 26-foot market is significant not only for coast guard safety requirements but also from an underwriter position on experience and the covered territories.  Most marine insurance companies will cover a 26-foot boat up to 50 miles from the coast and will provide insurance for new owners without any special requirements. 

If you are based on the coast, the bigger the boat the further from shore you can travel.  The bigger the boat, the more stringent the experience and training requirements become. For example, you may not be able to get insurance as a new owner on a 40-foot boat if you have never owned a boat in the 30-foot range.  There may be requirements to obtain additional training or to hire a professional captain to operate the boat with you for the first year.  Oh, and then there are the survey requirements.  Many of the smaller boats will not require a survey before the underwriter will start coverage, but if it’s over 26 foot, almost always, unless it is brand new, a survey (and usually out of water) will be required prior to coverage being started.  

Look for a marine insurance policy that has an insured value of the vessel based on an “Agreed Value” compared to a policy that uses “Actual Cash Value”.  With Agreed Value coverage, the boat owner will be paid the insured value of the boat (minus a deductible) in the event of a total loss.  The insurance company will not depreciate the value of the boat at the time of the loss.

Whereas in the event of a total loss with “Actual Cash Value” coverage, the boat owner will receive the insured value of the boat or the actual cash value (depreciated value), whichever is less.  For example, if you have your boat insured for $75,000 and have a total loss, the depreciated value of your boat may only be $65,000 and the insurance company will pay the lesser amount.

A few other items to look for are:
Separate Watercraft Liability coverage.  Don’t rely on liability coverage that is an extension of the liability coverage on your homeowner’s or auto policy.  You want liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage that you (the insured) are found liable for when operating your boat.

Medical Payment coverage for the insured and any friends or family who get injured while they are on board the boat, boarding the boat, or departing from the boat.

A couple of optional coverage's that are nice to have include:
Uninsured Boater coverage.  Uninsured Boater Coverage will pay for damages sustained from the actions of an uninsured boater.  There are a few variations of what is covered, typically it covers bodily injury, but sometimes it can also cover property damage. 

Towing Coverage applies to any service charge the insured may incur by receiving marine assistance.  This may include coverage for a service charge for towing due to engine failure, mechanical breakdown, grounding and delivery of fuel.

Personal Property Coverage is for clothing, personal effects, fishing gear and sports equipment owned by you, your family or guests on board your boat.  Money, jewelry, traveler's checks and other valuable papers or documents are not included for this coverage.

This is just a brief highlight of marine specific insurance; there is a lot more information that needs to be discussed in a marine policy.  Each company has different definitions and limits on their coverage.  Contact a qualified marine agent to explain the coverage’s in more detail. And remember, even if you take all the precautions, accidents still happen. Make sure you can get or have the right coverage for your boat before you buy.  

Additional tips:

  • Get out there and boat.  Experience moves you up the boat ladder and helps your insurance rates and requirements. 
  • Plan on getting a survey whether the insurance requires it or not, it is just a good practice. Plus it helps determine a value for the boat.
  • Participate in training programs Coast Guard or others.
  • Regular maintenance can help reduce the cost of ownership and risk of problems.  Inspect or have your boat inspected by a qualified marine mechanic at least a couple of times a year. 
  • Fix things that are broken or in need of repair before someone gets hurt or you get stuck on the water and you have to make a claim.  Claims will affect your rates and ability to get insurance.
  • Have a plan to protect or move your boat if bad weather is heading your direction.  If bad weather is winter, lay up the boat. Most underwriters offer reduce rates for boats that are not used year round.
  • Securely store your boat by installing theft prevention devices on electronics, outboard engines, out drives, trailer hitches, etc. 
  • Install alarm and safety systems to protect against high bilge water levels, fires, vapors and theft.
  • Keep your supply of charts and data cards current and plan your routes to avoid accidental grounding and bad weather.
  • Be a responsible boater and use appropriate Personal Flotation Devices; don’t drink and boat and follow the "rules" of the waterway.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

US NAVY ‘BLUE ANGELS’ Pre-Season Brief at SUN ’n FUN


SUN ‘n FUN CAMPUS, LAKELAND, FL. – (November 19, 2013) - On Monday, November 25, 2013 at 10:10 a.m., U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Michael Cheng, Blue Angel #8, will arrive at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport to conduct a pre-season briefing for the appearance of the United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the “Blue Angels" at the 40th Annual SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo April 1-6, 2014.

A media briefing is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. at SUN 'n FUN's Florida Air Museum, 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL. While in Lakeland, April 4-6, 2014, the Blue Angels will be heavily involved with school visits accompanied by local U.S. Navy and Marine Recruiters, community outreach and media demonstration rides on "Fat Albert", a C-130 He
rcules. Visit for more information about the Blue Angels.

I for one can't wait for Sun N Fun.  If you haven't been to one of the greatest airshows and flying events in the country you are missing out.  

So what are you waiting for?  Get the map out, reserve a camp site or room and start practicing the flight to Florida on your simulator.  

Don't have a plane?  Check out airfares.  Rates are usually really good at that time of year. But don't wait to long, its spring break so rooms fill up fast.

While you are at Sun N Fun, attend one of my buying an aircraft seminars so you can fly yourself to the event the next year.  

Once you've been you have to go back.

Oh, and having ridden in Fat Albert once, makes the return of the Blue Angels even more exciting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

Had a nice evening last night  listening to Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Renewed my interest in learning how to play the ukelele.  I have three, guess I should practice a bit and learn a full song.  It was great fun. Thanks Jeanne for going.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking of getting a pilot's license?

Should you purchase an airplane to use during instruction?  Can it really save on rental fees and can you buy more affordable than rent?

Weather you are going for a sport pilot license or a private pilot ticket...buying can be a good way to go.  
Ownership frees up the planes schedule and you can get it whenever you want.  No overnight charges if you take a trip.  You know the maintenance history and as an owner, you get comfortable with the aircraft.

But, the biggest problem is buying something that might not be what you want at a later time.  Surprisingly, the wants and needs get mixed up, so what you want, might be different than what you really need. 

If possible fly a few different models of aircraft.  That might mean going to a few different FBO’s and getting in their aircraft.   But after you get a few hours, you will be able to tell the difference between a Cessna 150 and a Cherokee 140.  You know, high and low wing, landing, visibility, all these factors are important to every pilot in some manner. 

Make sure you try them all out before you purchase.  You might even want to build your own.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Planet Color and Sherwin-Williams Paint.

Even though there isn't much surfing in Iowa, I  want to win this. 

Jason Jewett of Redhouse Custom Paint has painted an incredible custom surfboard for Planet Color and Sherwin-Williams! Look at the detail on that baby!
If you visit booth #10831 and scan your badge, you'll be entered to win this one-of-a-kind surfboard!
Remember to swing by our booth in the North Hall to see the Steve Strope's 1968 Dodge Charger RT, Scott Pruett's 1950 Buick Superwagon, and this awesome surfboard by Jason Jewett!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick checklist and maintenance for stern drive units.

Stern drive lower unit maintenance checklist

1.       Inspect for lower unit for chips, leakage, anode and propeller.
2.       Make sure lower unit is in the down position for at least ½ hours before draining gear lube.
3.       Remove bottom drain plug first, the slower draining makes it easy to inspect the used lubricant.
4.       Remove the top drain plug.
5.       Fill with correct gear lube from the bottom up. 
6.       Replace top drain plug when lube overfills then replace lower plug quickly.
7.       Remove propeller and check for fishing line, wire or other items that will damage the seal around the prop shaft.
8.       Repair or replace propeller as needed. If it’s painted, rough the surface with sand paper or abrasive cloth, clean with thinner or acetone to remove grease and repaint propeller before installation.
9.       Remove or sand corrosion and scratches on the lower unit. Clean with thinner or acetone and repaint with appropriate paint.  Some minor corrosion can be removes with the abrasive cloth and a cola product.

10.     Lubricate the tilt hinge and clean the polished struts on the hydraulic tilt unit.  Dirt and scratches can damage the seals in the hydraulic cylinders. If you don’t have a high quality metal polish you can always use a little Crest toothpaste. 

And don't forget to winterize if you live in the cold weather states.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This sounds like great news for the industry and the show!

This was excerpted from a SEMA press release. Contact SEMA for more details.

-- Highest Number of Exhibitors in Show’s 47-Year History –
Diamond Bar, CA  (October 23, 2013) – The SEMA Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, is shaping up this year to be one of the strongest in the event’s 47-year history, a good sign the business of vehicle personalization, customization and preservation is rebounding.

Some 130,000 professionals from more than 130 countries are expected to attend the 2013 SEMA Show ( at the Las Vegas Convention Center this November 5-8, to see the newest products, keep up on the latest trends and learn the best business practices the $31B automotive specialty equipment industry has to offer.

More than 2,500 exhibitors will cover more than 1 million square-feet of floor space. The vast majority of SEMA Show exhibitors and attendees are small business owners looking to network and find new opportunities to help them increase sales and profitability.

“We expect to fill every nook and cranny at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA VP of events and communications. “We’ve even contracted for exhibitor space at the LVH (Hotel) next door,” MacGillivray says, noting that the association makes every effort to accommodate new exhibitors who typically bring new, innovative products to the industry.

The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details are available at or

Monday, October 21, 2013

Getting the most out of a boat show.

First you have to ask yourself why you are attending a boat show (or any show for that matter).  Are you attending as new buyer looking for a new boat?  On the other hand, are you attending as an owner looking to upgrade what you already have or just add on to your equipment?  Maybe you are a manufacturer or dealer…. that is a completely different reason.

I am always looking for a location that I like to visit.  I like the local shows but that is not the same as taking a trip to a distant location and using it like a working vacation.  (Just don’t tell my wife how much fun these shows are!)

Probably best to decide why you are at the show and establish an agenda for the time you will be attending.   Reviewing or looking at a boat can take a significant amount of time.  Plan your time accordingly.  In most cases you will want to look over the boat, listen to the sales pitch and, if possible, try it out on the water.

Because it will be a time consuming experience, do a little research ahead of time.  Review models and manufacturers that you have an interest in, on the manufacturers website or at a local dealer.  Go to the website for the show or event you will be attending and get a copy of the exhibitors list.  Review the exhibitor list and rank the manufacturers or dealers by your interest.  It sounds like a lot of work but if you prioritize the models you want to see, you can spend less time wandering the exhibit hall and more time shopping.  You will also find that you will probably have more time to leisurely enjoy the show once you have achieved your “requirements”.

If you are looking at products or upgrades to your existing boat, it is a variation of the same agenda.  Look through the exhibitor lists and develop a plan and route through the exhibit hall.  It is also important to keep track of other things that might be of interested as you are looking at the exhibitor list or walking around.  You can always come back to a booth or visit the company’s website later (or back in your hotel room!).

If you are attending a show that is or has an in-water portion, check the weather reports.  I hate attending a show with the intent of getting an in-water demo and have the weather be cool, windy or raining.  Although, if you want to check the rough water capabilities of a few of the boats look for a day that can provide you with the right experience.

It is also important to go to shows that have what you want.  Why waste precious shopping time at a Strictly Sail Show if you are looking for a new powerboat?  Save the other areas for that extra time, after you have completed your visits to the required list of vendors.

If you are interested in education (seminars, forums, certification classes) make sure that you get the newest schedule of events right when you get to the show.  I have attended a number of shows that have had last minute changes due to weather, speaker schedules and room availability.  Last minute adjustments are not unusual.

One thing to remember about boat shows, you only have a limited amount of time to attend the show.  You might not be able to see everything in detail, even if you go every day the event is open.  However, if you follow a schedule to see the things you want, you should have extra time to see the rest of the show.  Once you have covered your list you can wander through the rest of the exhibits.  Prioritize, write up an agenda, follow it and enjoy the show.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 18, 2013

BERINGER AERO Calendar 2014:

I think every pilot (or maybe just everyone) ought to buy one of these. Its a great calender and it also shows real pilots and real aircraft.

BERINGER AERO Calendar 2014:

It will be a "Grand Cru Calendar" this year:  12 pictures of enthusiast and skilled women pilots taken at Oshkosh, also in France by Véronique Béringer, who is a pilot too. 

Through their portraits you will discover their passion for flying and for their airplane. 

The calendar will be available in November; you can order now.

Please contact us for higher quantities.

Best regards
Claire Béringer

This Press Release is distributed by

New Cigar Humidor.

I finally gave in and ordered a new humidor. The cats...or one cat (not naming cat names here) knocked the old humidor off the cabinet twice.  First time broke the lid in pieces.  Glued together but not looking to good. Second time it stayed together but bent the hinges and minor wood damage.  The fall is not only hard on the humidor but also the cigars.

Shopping Thompson Cigars, I ordered a combo package with a generic house brand supply of cigars. Probably more cigars than I will smoke in a year, but the humidor is bigger and would look bad if it was almost empty.

I've ordered from Thompson before, good service, decent house brands and reasonable prices.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wisconsin Bill to Ease Restrictions on Collector Cars and Historic Military Vehicles Moves to Governor for Signature | Specialty Equipment Market Association

Wisconsin Bill to Ease Restrictions on Collector Cars and Historic Military Vehicles Moves to Governor for Signature | Specialty Equipment Market Association

UPS Announces Winner of “Ride Your Hauler to SEMA” Contest | Specialty Equipment Market Association

UPS Announces Winner of “Ride Your Hauler to SEMA” Contest | Specialty Equipment Market Association

Know This and Manifest More Quickly By Christopher Westra

Three simple steps we should all consider.  I often think I want something, but in the end I really didn't want it at all. Whats up with that.

Step One:

Step One is to identify WHY you are desiring certain things in your life.  Remember that your basic or foundational “WHY” is always an emotion.

Step Two:

Step Two is to start feeling your desired emotions now. Yes, right now, before you manifest anything!

Step Three:

After engaging in step two for a couple weeks, move on to step three.

In step three, you ask yourself whether you still want to manifest what you thought you wanted in step one!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Indian Larry Disc Brake Rotors

I really like the use of Indian Larry's question mark on his bikes.  Its nice to see that carried on at Indian Larry Motorcycles.

So I really like this idea.  I am now shopping for blank rotors so that I can have a friend plasma cut my own logo design in the rotors for my Sportster.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


A few engines at the Zenith open hangar days. 
Viking engine 


UL engine 



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SEMA Show in Vegas - November 5-8

If you haven't been to the SEMA event in  Vegas and you are in the automotive industry...why not? It is the place to see all there is to see. Cars, tools, graphics, audio, tires, wheels and so much more.  The convention center is filled and you can't always get through it in three days. Just a few examples.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Zenith Open Hangar Day

This is a great opportunity to see the factory, look at aircraft and meet other builders owners and enthusiasts.  Its a a fun and educational weekend. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interesting quote.

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."

(Sir Cecil Beaton)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Swarming Dragonflies

Not sure if you can see this or not, but we were out at a friends lake home the other night and the air was filled with dragonflies giving us an airshow. Guess it was a fly-in and no one told us.

Decide to see what they were doing or why we were in the right place at the right time to see such an awesome event. Went to this site  and found a few things that i though was pretty cool.

A few things the site mentioned:

1. The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change 

2. The dragonfly’s agile flight and its ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise - something that comes only with age and maturity. 

3. The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. (I like the idea of living in the now)

4. The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sport Style saddle bags on a Sportster.

I put these Ogio Saddle bags on the Buell Blast to make the Baguette. 

But now I have been thinking about adding a set like these to the Sportster.  Not that I don't like the typical leather cruiser bags, but I have also been thinking of adding a two into one exhaust and the one I want (D&D Bobcat) has an up turned muffler and it doesn't look like I can use the leather bags.

So my thought is the Sport bike saddle bag look.  

Spy Shots—2015 Ford Mustang Face Revealed | Specialty Equipment Market Association

Spy Shots—2015 Ford Mustang Face Revealed | Specialty Equipment Market Association

Thursday, August 22, 2013

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny Passes at Age 91

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny Passes at Age 91

August 22, 2013 – Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Founder Paul Poberezny passed away this morning (August 22) at Evergreen Retirement Village in Oshkosh, Wis., after a battle with cancer. He was 91.

The Poberezny family has expressed the following: “We deeply appreciate all the support shown to Paul and Audrey over the past five months. As Paul often said, he considers himself a millionaire because through aviation he made a million friends. He leaves an unmatched legacy in aviation and can be best remembered by all the people who discovered aviation through his inspiration to create EAA. We also thank you for respecting our family’s privacy during this time.”

Only private family services are scheduled at this time. Memorials in honor of Paul’s life and legacy can be made to any of the following:

EAA Aviation Foundation: PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Evergreen Foundation, Inc.: 1130 North Westfield St., Oshkosh, WI 54902
American Cancer Society, Northeast Wisconsin: 790 Marvelle Lane, Green Bay, WI 54304

About EAA

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 180,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to For continual news updates, connect with

2014 Indian Motorcycles.

Not sure this is my style of motorcycle. Although i always thought they had very cool lines.  

And the engine is just gorgeous. 

But  probably the bigger thing is having two brands of motorcycles built in Iowa, Victory and now Indian!  

That is a pretty big deal. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zenith Open Hangar Day and Builder Fly-In: September 21, 2013, in Mexico, Missouri

Are you going?  I'm planning on being there!

This is a great event.  Not only learn about the Zenith Aircraft products, but meet the people behind the planes and also meet the builders and owners. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Improving the ride on my Sportster XL883C

One modification I did early on to the Sportster was adding a new pair of shocks. I opted for a pair of almost new Road King shocks. They were a little longer than my stock factory shocks and I rode it that way for awhile. But later I added a pair of lowering blocks from Tamarak (great products by the way).

You need longer mounting bolts and a number of washers to space the shocks to clear the belt guard and struct covers.  I bought my shocks for $50 and a Harley plumbing kit for the local dealer.  Pretty basic and easy to do and is probably one of the better low cost modifications especially when riding two up.

Pictures are before the lowering blocks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

More welder ideas.

Now that I upgraded my welder I am getting all kind of ideas.   

I'm thinking something like this for the mailbox.

And something like this for the front yard.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


If I ever get rid of my Sportster...this might be it.

Exotic, unique, cool looking, high horsepower and well....just different enough.

Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled engine, 463 pounds and 162 horsepower...again, wow!


Monday, August 5, 2013

SEMA Show To Include Morning Cars & Coffee

SEMA Show To Include Morning Cars & Coffee

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (August 5, 2013) -- Among the new attractions at the 2013 SEMA Show will be Cars & Coffee – SEMA Edition. Taking place in the outdoor patio on the south side of the LVH (adjacent to the LVCC North Hall) from 8:00 – 9:00 am each morning of the Show, Cars & Coffee gives attendees a great place to start their day.

Attendees will be able to grab a cup of coffee and a donut, check out some cool vehicles, mingle with colleagues then get a jump start on their day by visiting the newly expanded Featured Exhibitors section at the LVH. Featuring some of the industry’s newest exhibitors, the LVH exhibits open at 8:00 am – well before the Las Vegas Convention Center show floor opens.
“There are lots of new features and attractions taking place at the LVH,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA VP of events and communications. “Cars & Coffee gives attendees a fun, informal event where they can see what’s new at the LVH.”

In addition to the exhibitors, the expanded LVH area houses registration. Attendees who did not register or who missed the deadline to have their badges mailed to them in advance will need to stop by registration before visiting the LVCC show floor.

More than 130,000 industry professionals are expected at the SEMA Show on Tuesday-Friday, November 5-8, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The annual event is a trade-only event, open only to those employed in the automotive industry. Manufacturers of automotive products and accessories come to the Show to connect and do business with buyers from throughout the world.

About SEMA and the SEMA Show

The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details are available at or, 909/396-0289.