Fixing the Truck – 11/7/2015

So my “new” truck was broke. Lucky for me, my college roommate, Sean came to the rescue. He and family came to St. Louis and picked up the truck, towing it back to Jefferson City. One week later, I’m in Jeff City with Sonora at his house working to pull the engine and put a “new” one in. We got to work, which really means Sean asks me to fetch tools and asks me to perform simple tasks that I’m not likely to mess up.

By the early afternoon, the engine is completely disconnected except for the connection to the transmission and a few mounts. Sean got under and started disconnecting the transmission. From under the truck I hear “this doesn’t look good”. This isn’t good as I purchased a engine and not a transmission. He removed the bell housing and came out from under the truck. There was a large crack in the bell housing and a bolt in it.

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This is the extra bolt that broke my truck

So it turns out that there was an extra bolt in the bell housing that got caught between the flywheel and the housing. It made a lot of noise which is demonstrated from the clean scratches in the housing and the large crack. Added to the fact that the battery in the truck was almost dead, it couldn’t turn over, and it caused the issues.

With the bolt out, and checked to see it wasn’t missing, it was time to put everything back together. The whole event turned into a false alarm with me jumping to conclusions! Eventually Sean and I got the engine back together and mostly running. I would come back in a few weeks to pick it up and perform last minute checks!

Here is a time lapse of us working on the truck.

After working on the truck, Sonora’s day was made when she got to ride their horse, Star.


And finally, on the way home, we ate at Arby’s. Sean and I ordered from the hidden menu, both getting a Meat Mountain. It was too much!


Its fantastic having great friends that will help with anything they can! Thanks Sean and Jennifer for your help and your hospitality!

Hogan Haake


River Des Peres Trash Bash – 10/24/2015

This year for the annual River Des Peres Trash Bash, I decided to be a site leader. As a entry level leader, I took a smaller easier role, but made a difference. I was responsible for an area and lead a group of college volunteers from Iowa around to get the trash picked.  One of the girls found a dead snake, but didn’t want to keep it.


After we got our area cleaned up, we decided to go down to the Mississippi river and help another group. But before we loaded up, one of the college girls realized that she lost her cell phone. We looked for quite a while and never found it 🙁

Eventually, we headed out for the Mississippi to help on that site. It was cool working down by the big river cleaning up what we could. Then on the way back to the party, my “new” truck broke down. It made horrible sounds so I stopped. When I turned it off and then tried to start it, it wouldn’t. So I ended up calling a tow truck and waiting.


While Sonora and I waited for the tow truck, I sat in the bed while Sonora sat inside. I was amazed how many mindless drivers drove up to the back of the truck and stared at me waiting for me to move. Guess they didn’t notice the hazard lights flashing or the hood up.

Luck for us, we were on the route back to the park. Sonora got a ride to the party from some Streamteam people and I got a ride to the shop where I dropped off the truck, then back to the party. Meanwhile, Danelle was at Corvin’s soccer game.


Back at the party, I could only laugh at my misfortune while eating a nice catered lunch and listening to Jack and Tracey of The People’s play for the group.


Hopefully I’ll see you at the next Trash Bash, or even sooner at a smaller stream cleanup!

Hogan Haake

Colorado Motorcycle Trip – 9/21/2015

Today marked a turning point in my trip. My last major goal for this trip is to ride up Pikes Peak. Once that is accomplished, I just have to make it home to have a successful trip. I have three full days before I need to be home. It only takes one full day to get home, so I have a decision to make. But I’ve already made it. I will ride Pikes Peak and head to Wichita, KS to see my sister Holly and family. I’ve never seen her almost 1 year old baby girl. I could have some serious baby time before heading home!

I got toast and bacon for breakfast in the same place I got dinner last night. I talked with the waitress about Shelf Road. Everything online said it was a 4×4 road. She didn’t remember it being that bad last time she was on it and got me directions. I would ride out on Shelf Road and back the same way, ending up back in the same town.


Being fed, I packed up and headed off to Shelf road. One of the coolest features of it besides the insane drop offs is the window rock!


Shelf Road gets its name from being carved into the side of the mountain. Here are a few photos that prove its name!

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And if you want more info on Shelf Road, here is the sign.


Back at Cripple Creek, I drove by an active mine. You can tell by the photo below. I stopped to see a display about how the process works, and its rather involved. But you’ll have to go there yourself or google it if you want to know more.

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Here is the video from Shelf Road

And now I worked my way to Pikes Peak. The last scenic item to view on my trip. I don’t wont to drone on about how amazing it is, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. And the donuts on top at the gift show are yummy!

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On the way back down the mountain, I stopped for a short hike and took a selfie and one of the drop off.

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With the peak out of the way, I was free to head towards Holly’shouse. I was poised to make great time. I met the interstate and headed south to Pueblo, where I could catch US 50 most of the way home. Things were running great and traffic was moving over 80 mph. In Pueblo was the first time I saw significant sign for marijuana. Once on US-50, I started pacing a large diesel pickup truck that was going very fast and made the time fly.

I was starting to run low on fuel and decided to give the pickup a break from being followed. So I pulled off and fueled up. It was then that I noticed something horrible!


Antifreeze was dripping out of my bike at the gas pump. I went ahead and fueled up, then went inside. There I got normal stuff plus two large containers of water to refill the bike. I was hoping it was fixable or at least a small leak that could be dealt with. Back at the bike, I rolled it to a corner of the gas stating to see what I could do.

There in the parking lot, I saw a more significant leak. IMG_20150921_173014

I had a single multi-tool with me and got it out. It saved me earlier from an electrical fault. I tried to take off the screws for the fairings on the bike, but the screws on it were all of a different age and quality. Meaning I would need about 4 different drivers to have any chance of getting them off.

I decided I could just add some water and ride very slow all the way home and have a good laugh later. My plans would stay the same. Back on the highway, I got in top gear with as little throttle as possible to prevent the engine from warming up. I figured the faster speed would provide wind cooling.

It didn’t take long for the temperature gauge to tell me something bad would happen shortly. I pulled off to the shoulder and decided to re-think my plan. My cell phone had no reception, but there was sporadic traffic on the road so I wasn’t totally lost, except I didn’t know where I was. I decided I could let it cool down, add more water and limp to the next town. So I added water and got back on. I got moving in third gear and would run the bike quickly up to 70mph and turn off the engine coasting down to 30 mph before starting it and speeding back up.

I did this act about 30 times to go 10 more miles to the next town, Las Animas Colorado. Once I got into town, I pulled into the first gas station. There, I parked the bike, knowing my trip was over. I walked away with tears in my eyes to try and compose myself. As I was almost under control, a large bald man with tattoos all over his head, face, and arms called over to me “Your’re bike is leaking”. I wasn’t worried he would hurt me, but I didn’t want confrontation. I explained that a radiator lead was going on and I just needed a U-Haul. He stopped and looked at his fingers counting. Then gleefully stated that there was four blocks down on the right and that he would pray for me. Not the interaction I was expecting.

I got to the U-Haul 30 minutes after they had closed. I found the owner’s cell number and called hoping small town business would happen. After about 15 minutes, I gave up on the return call and called Danelle to tell her what was going on. She was sympathetic, and had already started looking for a solution. She found the only ad on Craigslist for a cash truck that could possibly bring me home. I called the guy and left a message. I decided I needed a hotel for the night and rode the bike over to one of 2 in the town.

The owner of the Santa Fe Inn was nice and apologized for not having more breakfast options, having the cheapest room of the whole trip and breakfast, a win! I did get a call back from the guy with the truck and he agreed to meet me at the motel. I did a test drive of the truck and it seemed that it just might get me home to St. Louis. The truck was filthy inside and out, but it was transportation. I told the guy as long as he helped me load the motorcycle, I wold buy it. He agreed. So I said I would call the following day once I had money to pay for the truck.

Ohh and the bike continued to leak in the motel court. IMG_20150921_184338 IMG_20150921_184348

I finished off the night with a celebratory beer knowing I would still be getting home with a new to me truck…


Hogan Haake

Colorado Motorcycle Trip – 9/20/2015

Today was a day of pain, opportunity, and luck. It started out as the previous two had, in a motel room quickly getting ready before the sun came up. I had about an hour’s ride before I got to Silverton, CO, the northern gem of the Million Dollar Highway. From there south for at least an hour would be some of the most spectacular views of my ride. I was off to a gas station to fill up my bike and my belly!

Riding any Colorado road in the mornings or night can leave a person bone chilled. The sun was out, but it was frequently behind the scenery. I realized that if I was too cold, I wouldn’t be in top riding form, and found it best to stop and put on my rain suit for extra wind protection. Here is what that looked like!

Finally warm, I was able to ride normally and happy. Its worth not looking “cool” to be happy and warm and the stop only took about 10 minutes. It didn’t take long till I further south and the road got very interesting as did my ride.

Watch the video below, and you’ll see around minute 4:50, I pull over to look out at an overlook with a waterfall. Its a great view, but when I get back on my bike I mess with it a bit cause it won’t start. Eventually it fires up and I go on my way. At the 7:25 mark, I have to stop for a traffic signal for one way traffic. It seemed that I was going to be there a while, so I shut off the bike again. At 9:55 you can see the traffic light turn green and me try to start the bike. It took about 20 seconds for me to get it to work including some frustrating hand work and attempting to wave on the traffic backed up behind me. But she did start and I was off.

My problem now was I knew that the next time I turned off the bike there was a very high likelihood that it would not start again. At this point in the trip, I’m ahead of schedule and willing to stop more to view the things around me, with a machine that doesn’t want to cooperate. Deep down inside I knew that the moment of truth would come and I didn’t want to ride in fear all the way to Durango without stopping.

Eventually the moment was right and I stopped on an uphill to see a scenic looking waterfall coming down from the mountain. Delaying the inevitable, I hiked around to get a good look.


From the parking lot up into the waterfall.


Back to the pull out I parked out.


This is how the water goes under the road, they must expect lots of water in the spring!

Eventually I went back to the bike and it failed to start. But a few summers ago, I did a solo ride in St. Louis and had a similar issue. I rode out to Hermann, MO and stopped at the river to enjoy the view. When I got back on it wouldn’t start. After a Facebook post to the Concours Owner’s Group, I got a reply telling me to check the fuses, and it turned out I had blown one. So with past experience as my guide, I started to take off the side panel that hosted the fuses.

With the first panel off, I learned that I took off the wrong one 🙁 But I also saw the manual adjustment for the suspension that I have never tried before. So I took a chance and adjusted it. I wouldn’t know what this did until I could get the bike started and back on the road. So I put the panel back on and went around to the other side. I took off the panel and found the fuse box. Then I triumphantly took out each fuse knowing that I would find a blown one and could just replace it and be on my way.

When the last fuse was pulled and none were blown, I got momentarily flustered. I have no cell signal to call for help and I’m not sure what is wrong with my bike. I remember reading a story by Daniel Meyer about approaching a guy on the side of the road in Alaska beating his motorcycle gear because his bike wouldn’t work. Once the guy calmed down, they went over the bike system by system till they found the problem and got him going again.

With a little patience and a happy mood cause I was in Colorado about the farthest away from home I would be the whole trip, I started taking the motorcycle apart checking every electrical connection I could find and then testing to see if it would start. Eventually, under the seat was the ignition pack that when wiggled caused it to work once then fail. After some working of the harness, I was able to get it to work 5 times in a row.

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With things back together, the ignition didn’t give me any more problems for the rest of the trip. Ohh, and the seat adjustment was amazing, making it more bouncy. My butt complained a lot less which made me happy. Come back in a few days for the continuation of the rest of this day.

Hogan Haake







Motorcycle Breakdown – 10/29/2012

Riding my motorcycle is something that brings me great joy. I enjoy the open air, even if it is only to and from work a couple times a month. It was cold outside when I started out and I had “smoke” coming out of the tailpipes.

The day was perfect and I had nothing to complain about. After work, I had an appointment that had me going home a different way than normal. I knew there would be more traffic including lots of stop and go, but it was still going to be faster to get where I needed to be. I was in 6th gear and traffic was slowing. I saw an opening in traffic and went to downshift to pick up speed and hit my opening. I pressed in the clutch and pressed down on the shifter, but it wasn’t there! I let out the clutch and kept going, looking down quickly, I saw the shifter hanging down near the ground. It seems that the shifter had broken right off.

With only the top gear, I had a very tough time moving through traffic. I worked my way to the right lane. I could go as slow as 15 mph before the motorcycle started violently shaking from the engine going too slow. With a huge gap in the traffic in front of me, I was hoping that I coudl keep going and magically get home without stopping. This worked for about two miles before traffic came to a halt. I had no choice but to pull over and admit defeat.

If this had been my van, I would have been furious, but I just laughed about it. Riding a motorcycle is about adventure. I have learned that from many people. So I laughed and then called Danelle to see if she could find a tow truck for me. But while she was looking up a service, I asked her to wait and I would call her back. Then I called my mechanic, Flying Tiger Motorcycles. I asked them if they had a recommendation for a tow company. Eric offered to come out on the side of the road and help get me rolling back to the shop.

On the side of the highway, Eric started working on my bike and got me back into first gear. But when I went to start the bike, the battery was dead. After a push start, I was rolling slowly back to the shop.

In the end, I made it to the motorcycle shop and Danelle came with the kids to pick me up. I laughed about the mess, but overall had a great day!