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About wh500special

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    Senior Advanced Member

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  • Location
    O'Fallon, IL
  • Occupation
  • Interests
    In order:
    1. Fishing
    2. Fishing
    3. Fishing...

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  1. Any recommendations

    Denny, I've only been to NO a few times and found it to be an interesting place. But it's always been for work so not any time to do touristy stuff. Seeing the lay of the land reveals why flooding is such a big deal to these people. I'm not much for nightlife, so avoided the Bourbon Street melee after dark. But it's an interesting place to visit in the daytime too. There is always plenty of music (and lots of drunks) pouring out of the bars. It's a long way from Pawnee but worth seeing. And fun! I have to admit there were times I didn't feel entirely safe. Obviously it isn't a bad idea to stay in groups if you can. We typically stayed on Canal Street (Sheraton I think = $$$) for conferences and seminars and walked everywhere, but you have to keep your wits about you and your eyes open. I feel more safe in NO than I do here in St. Louis, but be aware of your surroundings and maybe carry your wallet in your front pocket and split your valuables between your person and your hotel safe (like everywhere else in this world). It's been mentioned already, but Cafe du Monde is an icon. You HAVE to go there. You'll recognize the place immediately from countless TV shows and movies. The beignets are wonderful and the coffee has chicory in it which is a novelty. It is a must stop, and I don't even like coffee! It's right across the street from the french quarter and the St. Louis cathedral. I like to eat, and when traveling for work I'm doing it on someone else's dime. I tried a variety of things but one of my absolute favorites - and apparently a New Orleans staple - was the shrimp and grits. I had it at a number of places, but recall Drago's was really good. Theirs was "Shrimp with Grits and Tasso" and the sauce is soooo wonderfully rich you'll want to inject it directly into your bloodstream since that's where it's going anyway. As an aside, one of my frequent travel mates never ventures from chain restaurants...really. If you've been in one Applebee's, you've been in them all. It's always more fun to pick weird things because you never know what you might discover. I'm so rarely disappointed. NO has been the ONLY place I've visited where people on the plane ride were eager to share everything you should see and do (and eat!) while you're there. I was never able to make it happen (work, remember) but apparently some of NO's biggest restaurant traditions are the small, intimate places that are literally in someone's home. No advertising, no signs, etc. I wish I had written down the recommendations, but I'm sure your hotel host can help if you're looking for something off the wall and unusual. Clueless is right...eat Oysters! We don't have those here in the Land of Lincoln. Enjoy your trip! Steve
  2. Financing and cash flow,buy a car?

    I doubt many of us are equipped to offer really sound financial advice and I’m not either. Actually, it sounds like you might be better off advising many of us! You’ve already paid the bank all the interest on the loan for the house. I don’t see a reason to hurry to give them the rest of their money since there’s nothing more to be saved. Buying a a car is a money losing proposition. You just have to decide how much and what kind of risk you can live with and be sure that no matter what happens you can look back on that decision with no regrets. You’re obviously at a point in your life where you’ve earned some age and have created a situation where you don’t have money problems. That’s awesome and probably not a societal norm. My guess is that you and your wife have been “savers” all your life. That’s how you got to a point with an almost paid off mortgage and no other debt. And based on the land and rental property allusions you made, you have some other assets. You might just be at that point in your life where you have financial freedom many people will never have. But you’ve trained yourself -admirably- not to pee away your money. I’m inferring a lot from your comments of course. My parents and in laws are similar. They saved and saved for years and now have a hard time spending on even reasonable purchases. Anyway, if you think you want a newer/more expensive car this is probably your moment. But if you’ll regret it in any way ditch that Pontiac and get a 5 year old Camry or accord and run that sucker into the ground. My wife and I are savers. We have some debt but the cost of it is low enough that it doesn’t make sense to pay it off early. And we’re in a position that we could pay it all off tomorrow which is nice. There is “good” debt and “bad” debt. I’d lump a mortgage and college tuition into the “good” column. Other things are more case-specific and subjective. I had to buy two cars last year. That sucked. But it really felt good to get out from under a piece of junk Ford Edge that was by far the worst (reliability) car I have ever had. In the two years before I decided to cut it loose it took thousands in repairs...wheel bearings, radiator, air conditioning, alternator, battery, front axle shaft. And the transmission was no longer shifting like it should between first and second. It was maintained meticulously and was still crumbling beneath us. But it it was paid for, so I kept it longer than I should have and ended up plowing money into it that didn’t increase its value. No love lost for that junk pile. Paid for the other car outright. But that was a special case since I didn’t want two car payments and VW bought back my previous car due to their shenanigans. In hindsight I should have financed it since I could have gotten 1.9%. The $3000 incentive is nice if GM has something you want. It wouldn’t be enough to sway me into their fold 😎 Anyway, I urge you to do what makes you happy so long as you can live with the decision when you look backwards (I suspect that since old habits die hard you’ll end up with a used car). Steve
  3. You want a Hight Quality Zero Turn??

    Apples and kumquats is right. There is no comparison. I had a Kubota ZD-28 for a while which was a precursor to the 1511 you saw. It was a phenomenal machine. I wrote this a couple years ago: “Later, I had a Kubota ZD-28 with a 6' deck and loved it. The 28 hp diesel engine ran strong and smooth and was really pretty easy on fuel. What took me 8 gallons of gas to mow with an old 724/60" and 5 gallons of diesel with a utility tractor and 6' deck got done with a little more than 2.5 gallons of diesel with the ZD. As far as I know, Kubota is the only maker who makes the ENTIRE machine (in the top end series)...engine, transmissions, frame, deck, etc. Most ZT's are assemblies of other manufacturer's parts...not that there is anything wrong with that. But the Kubota really seems more like an engineered product than an assembly of parts and pieces. My 'bota had 3000+ hours on it when I got rid of it and still did a good job with acceptable reliability. If I ever find I need another monster mowing machine, it will be another Kubota diesel...or a Toro 16' batwing “ i still stand by my assessment that Kubota really knows what they are doing with those machines. They aren’t popular like other zero turns and they aren’t built like other zero turns. They’re monsters. Steve
  4. My new shop

    Congrats on the wonderful shop space! I’m very happy for you! And your girls learned some skills too. It really looks great matching the house. And I’m sure the neighbors appreciate how neat and tidy it sits next to the house. A friend put radiant floor heat in his building when he built it. He loves it and has no complaints after at least 10 years. I think he keeps it set around 50 F in the winter so he can be comfortable but not spend a fortune. He bumps the temp sometimes with a portable heater when he needs to and says it’s a great compromise between budget at comfort. Mostly just if he’s painting or something that needs more warmth. Geez, at 50 degrees there will be nights in your area that there could be 90 degrees between inside and outside. Yikes. I never minded a cold garage shop that I’d heat with portable salamanders, but the condensate on the cold tools from the combustion products was a bummer. I always loved the thought of steady, even, silent radiant heat. Can’t imagine needing AC in Minnesota 😏. Even way down south in Rochester. The worst part about moving back into town for me was the lack of a separate shop space. Not in the cards in my neighborhood on this lot, but I did talk my wife into letting me take over a big chunk of the basement for my woodworking stuff. Maybe someday when the kids are no longer reaping the benefits of being in a great school district we’ll move back out of town and I’ll start over. I would imagine that shop built exactly the way you did it really adds value to the house. So many people have space-intensive hobbies these days and that shop really is sized nice for things like a boat, motor cycle, jet ski, etc. bigger could would limit appeal to many normal families and smaller would be too limiting. It’s a Goldilocks garage. nice work! Steve
  5. Missouri Mule-GT14

    That tractor is getting some miles on it! I got it from Jon in Centerpointe, IN as part of a trade years ago. I think it passed through his ownership without any tweaks from him. It ran great, but was an absolute bear to get started. Not just hard to start in the sense that some engines are stubborn. This one was tough. But once running, it did great. It had been sitting in our barn for quite a while and I figured I'd get to it someday. Someday never came. You'll note that the throttle linkage is assembled upside down, so "up" on the throttle control slows the engine. Unless Terry fixed it. Have fun with that beast! STeve
  6. Finally got the boat wet!

    Funny you mention that you convert them to console models. The boat below WAS a console steer model until I took it out and went to the tiller E-tec. It made a huge difference in usable room on this boat. It's 16' long and 73" beam. 1999 Lund 16-Rebel. Yes, I'm a Lund guy. Steve
  7. 512D arrived today..

    I like it! Would love to have had one. Those little 8.5 hp Robins are sweet little engines. Noisy suckers, but they are more powerful than you'd expect. Looks like it had a rear grass collection vacuum on it at one time (belt guard and weight bracket). Congrats, Steve
  8. Finally got the boat wet!

    I was concerned when I bought this rig since the biggest tiller I'd run was 40 hp, but you'd be surprised how easy it handles. But everything has to be j-u-s-t right with the setup. Getting the height of the motor on the transom is a big part of it. And once up and on plane it needs to be trimmed properly to not exert any torque. Some props work better than others too, and often you'll see a big tiller with a 4-blade wheel or something that helps lift the stern. This setup has been pretty forgiving thankfully, because Honda doesn't have the range of props available that Mercury, Yamaha, and Evinrude do. Where it gets tiring is in a hard crosswind, coming out of the hole, or when running with an unbalanced load in the boat. But 95% of the time when she's on plane, you could almost take your hand off the tiller...but better not! There was a golden age of big tiller outboards a few years ago when Mertens offered their hydraulic steering lock and power tiller steering Titan Tillers. He made kits to fit almost any outboard up to 200 hp. These are slick systems with hydraulic control valves integrated into the twist grip that engaged or disengaged a hydraulic lock or activated a power steering system whenever you steered. Completely natural system. Then Mercury bought the rights to the product and locked it down, so if you want a big tiller now (between 115 hp and 250 hp) you only have a choice of a Merc. I'm not opposed to Mercury engines and they make good equipment, but my preferences lie elsewhere. The Merc adaptation of the system are supposed to work seamlessly as well, but they did make some mods to the original system. They power the hydraulic pump differently and now most guys running one of their big tiller systems had to add another battery to the boat just to power the steering. Seems dumb, but it was probably a concession to reliability that Mercury demanded. Patents are due to expire very soon, so there is eager anticipation that Evinrude and Yamaha are going to release their big tiller systems when they can. There is another manual locking tiller system on the market called the Tiller Assist. www.tillerassist.com Said to work very well by the guys that have it. My boat seems to do fine without, so I haven't bothered. I'm not a fan of steering wheels in a fishing boat like this because they take up a lot of floorspace. No console means I have a virtual dance floor in there. And I troll quite a bit from the tiller, so find this works better for me. The downsides are obvious though...lower HP capacity, operator fatigue, reduced visibility, etc. The little Yamaha kicker on there isn't at all necessary on this boat for trolling at crankbait speeds, but we had it in the corner of the barn so I stuck it on there to play with. It will be handy occasionally and for slow trolling using the front auto-steer trolling motor to repeat trolling passes for white bass and sauger. Steve
  9. Salmon Fishing Lake Michigan

    Thanks for the report. Not something I know how to do. That plug lug kind of looks like a topwater Bagleys. I think we might have one like it or similar squirreled away. If I live long enough to retire and the lakes still have those fish in them I have some plans! steve
  10. Finally got the boat wet!

    Wow Craig! That is a beautiful setting. Where is that? finally got the big boat out last weekend. All’s well with the world. (No in-water pix, but trust me....it floats) 18’ Lund deep v with 90 Honda tiller. Fishing. Machine.
  11. Salmon Fishing Lake Michigan

    Jealous! Nice catch. I have got to do that sometime. Looks like a nice little 8 or 10 horse Honda kicker on there. What kind of speed do you run for those fish when trolling and how far down the water column is typical? Steve
  12. Finally got the boat wet!

    Don’t see many of those OMC trolling motors. Nice. 👍🏻 Those 2-cylinder Johnson/Evinrude 20/25/28/30/35’s are the Kohler k181’s of the marine world. Indestructible. I was lucky enough to spend a week in the northwoods fishing but that’s been it for me so far this year. My boat is still sitting sadly on the trailer. Steve
  13. Irresistible!

    Potato chips are the biggest ***** in my armor. That bag and that plate look wonderful. One of of my favorites are Old Dutch dill pickle chips. Only available in the upper Midwest which, thankfully for my blood pressure, does not include here. I’ve tried frito, utz, herrs, et al and none of their dill chips hold a candle to Old Dutch. When I travel, I always make a trip to a grocery store to see what kind of weird chips they might have. I was exporting the Old Bay and Crab Boil chips from Baltimore back to St. Louis every trip out there. Mike, you’re my kind of guy! steve
  14. Father's Day Storm Clean Up

    I hate to lose trees. Always a disappointment. But there’s no love lost for Bradford Pears. They’re pretty trees and are everywhere in suburbia, but they have their issues. Namely, weak branches and trunks that are very susceptible to wind damage. I snapped off an 8” diameter tree trunk when thI ROPS on my zero turn snagged in the branches. Didn’t even feel it and had no idea the tree was laying on the ground until I spun around for the next pass. The Bradford Pear also has become a bit of a nuisance invasive species: https://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/avoid-invasive-trees-such-bradford-pear-landscape-plantings definately not horrible like those darn bush honeysuckle, but there are issues. Cut those suckers down 🙄 And remember, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. Steve
  15. Can we discuss the C-171 again?

    C-171 decals have shown up on eBay many times over the last decades, so they probably made it into some dealer inventories as a "kit" of stuff dealers had to take. There have also been many 512-D decals stateside as well. The tractor in the picture looks to have a steel hood, whereas the C171 would have had the fiberglass hood needed to cram the bigger engine and muffler in. So i'd vote that this was just a replacement decal job. Steve