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2015-02-26 SCE Biz Trip & Mom's Burial Site


The trip.


Wednesday, 2015-02-25

A different ride report. This one includes some business work, some family stuff, and a whole lot of fun.  It starts with a trip to a closed down nuclear power plant facility, Songs, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, owned by Southern California Edison. 

I work as a metrologist. The science of measurement. In other words, I calibrate stuff for a living. Would my company be interested in purchasing some metrology standards from the Southern California Edison metrology lab that has been closed down? This lab was recognized internationally as being a top level lab. The answer, of course is yes.

What better way to attack Los Angeles and the traffic than by a motobike? Nothing comes close. I decide to travel light. Rain gear, 2 days of stuff, and I'm done packing. I leave Avila Beach California at 1500. The route the simple, 101 to the 405 to the destination in Huntington Beach.

I decide to leave late in order to avoid the famous Los Angeles traffic.  I really like Anderson's Split pea soup, so my first stop is in Buellton California. The idea it Is to get some food in the belly, burn some time, and let the traffic subside.

In Buellton I find this car dealership. I think I want this truck.

It appears to be in 1959 Chevrolet Apache.

And next to it a 1947 Mercury.

OK, these old cars are killing me.

Of course, they all look good. I wonder how they run... are they prom queens or runners?

More of the Apache. I'm seriously falling for this truck.. May make a run tomorrow back down to investigate price, condition, etc..

Hell, it came from Oregon, probably FjRay's hometown?

I mean, how cool is this thing?

Having gotten over the Chevrolet Apache Woody it was time to eat. Split pea soup.. 

From Buellton to LA was an interesting ride. The GPS continually announced over one and a half hours traffic delays. Select played the reroute game over and over again. What if I took a quicker inland route then headed south to the final destination?

I played out that scenario for every option available.

In the end, I wondered how accurate the Zumo 550 traffic announcements were? I decided to roll the dice and make a straight shot in, do not make any detours. After all, I can lane split, I'm sorry, Excuse me, share lanes, and probably stay on time.

The first traffic delay was just ahead in 12 miles. With trepidation I entered in to the danger zone. WTFO? Where is the traffic? That's when I discovered that much of the 405 freeway has a carpool lane. Motorcycles are allowed in the carpool lane. With a car in front of me running interference, I'm at 72 mph well the other cars in the regular lane or 8 mph., suckers.

Longer short, made it to the hotel and record time. Life is good on a motorbike in Los Angeles traffic.


2015-02-26 Thursday

The next day off to the Metrology lab to see what's for sale. I hope I don't lose too many of you this portion of the ride report. But this stuff is really cool. Think about it, what if a gallon gasoline wasn't really a gallon? Order the voltage coming out of your wall socket wasn't accurate either? The entire foundation of economics is based upon standardization of measurement. Basically, it's all about to ensure you aren't getting ripped off for the quantity of stuff you buy.

This device is flow measurment standard. I've never seen one so large in my career. The sillver dome on top is a cylinder of known volume resting in water. As air in introduced into the 'bell' it rises. From that, flow rate can be determined. Of course, there is alot more than that to the final numbers... but why bore you with the details? Think of this as a huge version of setting your FJR TBS sync? 

These three machines measure force and tension. The machine in my lab, size wise, is in-between the one on the right and middle of this picture. Mine can measure up to 100,000 pounds of force. By comparison, the machine on the right is approximately 3 times larger then the machine that I have in my lab. These are all manufactured by a company called Morehouse.

These are standard masses. I have very little experience with mass measurements but the person I was with tells me that these masses are essentially ruined for life due to not been environmentally controlled. The absorption of water has rendered them useless for years. I wish I knew more about mass measurements. When I see the bell jar I think that normally they are are under a vacuum? I'd like to buy one just to have it sitting on desk.

Yes that's a solid marble table to provide thermal stability and vibration reduction.

Here are some pictures I took from posters on the wall. All of these people no longer have jobs.
It was very sad for me to see an internationally recognized Standard laboratory been set for sale at auction prices. 

Here is one of the standard masses being used in a calibration.

This is a high-voltage generator. Go ahead and touch the silver knob at the top. I dare you.

Each measurement discipline at its own room with environmental controls set for the specific discipline. For example, physical and dimensional measurements need to be made at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.If the laboratory is not at 68° Fahrenheit, compensation factors must be accounted for due to the thermal coefficient of growth of the material you're using as a standard or are trying to measure.

This lab.. had money as no object. No where have I seen as much top-level equipment in one location. 

Here are the primary standards for temperature measurement. The melting points of Various metals become the standard of our temperature scale.

In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gasliquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] For example, the triple point of mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.83440 °C and a pressure of 0.2 mPa.

In addition to the triple point between solid, liquid, and gas, there can be triple points involving more than one solid phase, for substances with multiple polymorphsHelium-4 is a special case that presents a triple point involving two different fluid phases (see lambda point). [1]

The triple point of water is used to define the kelvin, the SI base unit of thermodynamic temperature.[2] The number given for the temperature of the triple point of water is an exact definition rather than a measured quantity. The triple points of several substances are used to define points in the ITS-90 international temperature scale, ranging from the triple point of hydrogen (13.8033 K) to the triple point of water (273.16 K, or 0.01 °C).


Each of these devices are the top level standards that set the baseline for everything us other mortals measure on the face of the earth. To see them sitting here with various pieces missing and been sold at rock bottom price it Is distressing.

This is a Guildline Desktop model temperature bath. Standard resistors replace into this bath known temperature and then compared to the instrument under test using a bridge. The bridge sends dc current to both the standard resistor in the instrument under test. When balanced, metrologist can determine the resistance value of the instrument under test.

There was a complete cabinet full of SPRTD's. These resistance temperature devices are used to make high level temperature measurements. They are not the top level measurement however.

Another poster off the wall. In my world, this is Woody time, equipment wise. I only wish I had a budget for this configuration.

So now, we transition from the small and precise world of Metrology into the world of huge and gigarmous machining and fabrication. We have left the Metrology lab and entered into the fabrication and testing shop.

This little feller lives to test electrical motor armatures, windings, complete motor assemblies. 

Here is the control panel.

This machine is basically the high-voltage high current power supply. When I saw the flame marks burned into the middle panel I thought how cool is this and, I wonder who had to change their underwear at the end of their shift?

Here is the control panel for that power supply. Note that it can provide 5000 V at 144 Amps. That will lite your bulb if you are not careful.

Another view of that little pussy-whipped power supply...

Do you need to test your crane? This test weight will do the trick. Not calibrated, is basically a tank filled with water, I assume. When I tapped the side it sounded hollow.

In case you might need a big electric motor.. I can get you one for cheap. This one is for a nuke plant..

2500 horsepower, all you have to do is provide 4,160 VAC. Note that this motor turns at a whopping 295 RPM.  Must be a Harley...

This picture is of the machine shop. There are some offices for administrative work but the majority is for machining. 

When the doors first open, the smell of cutting fluid, oil, welding, was wonderful. Pungent, strong, unmistakable, and only available from a facility in operation for many, many years.

BTW, do you see anything unusual in this pix? Here's a hint... look down, at your feet.

Here is what I posed as unusual... Wood floors. So that when you, the stupid employee, dropped the million dollar part... it just might not be completely destroyed. Look close. See the small shiny parts? Embedded metal filings. Too cool for me to wrap my head around. What a wonderful facility, now a ghost town.

I'll let the pix speak for a bit..

What a shame that all this equipment is being sold for pennies on the dollar. From what I understand, the idea of leasing this machining facility and the Metrology lab was not considered viable. 

So, imagine you are a gearhead. You love metal, fabrication, precision. And you have this facility to work in. How heartbroken would you be when your last day was announced? Talking to several of the remaining employees was very difficult. Their livelihood was gone, forever. Many have tried for other jobs but compared to what they made previously the new offers were very limited if even at all. Some have just given up.

Believe it or not this is a small macine.

Yep, this feller is a midget.. Just wait... 

Now then, this one is a bit, uhh, larger, huh?

So tell me, what is this machine? What does it do?

Ahh, very good. You got the correct answer. The lower table rotates, the upper portion cuts.. It's a mill.

This machine is for sale. You can buy very cheap. Good luck on the teardown and delivery cost. 

The control panel. Imagine you are 'The Guy' to machine, to make the plus million dollar item, perfectely. No pressure. 


One of the machines had a cassette gearbox, complete with a visible window.

Some of the machines appeared to be very old, which I really appreciated. 

Seeing all of this left to me somewhat depressed. These are all wonderful machines which most likely will be scrapped. 

Progressing into yet another area, we have something I have not seen before. From what I am told,this machine can't replicate an original part and convert it into X's and Y's in order to create a new part.

Our tour of the facility was reaching the end. And this is when I saw the picture the tore my heart out. I will not tell you why,

2015-02-27 Friday

My father died last Easter. His wishes we're to be buried with his first wife, my mother. So, I wake up early and leave the hotel in order to avoid Los Angeles traffic. In all the years I lived in the LA area, for some reason I'd never been to Chatsworth. 

I'm riding the carpool lane, absolutely no traffic ahead of me. I'm running at 84 mph when I see another motobike gaining on me, in the same lane that I'm in. My first thought is to ride left to give him room to pass. He does. He's a Californial Highway Patrol. When he goes by, he simply rides by! No hand wave to slow down, no tapping of the rear brake indicating to slow down. Nope, he just rides by. Coolio.

When I arrive at the cemetery I noticed that no motorcycles are allowed. So, I ride right the fuck in.

Yeah, that's right. I'm a customer, I will ride right one in and take no shit from anyone.  
As I grow older.. I do not do well with bullshit regulations - especially if I'm your paying customer - so in I ride. 
I find out later the sign was put up due to crotch-rocketeers coming in and stunting on the big concrete parking lot they have.

I am early, and no one is at the office. So I kill some time and ride around the local area. 
Now then, Chatsworth it is known for pornography. But once you get into the hills, apparently some very rich people live very well.

After killing time, the office opened. The people there were very nice and even have the original paperwork for my mother's grave back in a long time ago. For a certain number of dollars it will provide content like this one and chairs and enable me to ensure the dads wishes or fulfilled.

I have not been here before. Emotions are running full throttle. I am crying. I did not cry, as a very young man, at her churce service. Yet, here, so many years later.. Tears flow.

Time to go home. May as well take the long way home, yes? 

I set the GPS to no highways. I love doing this. If you have time, I challenge you to do the same. See where it takes you. Enjoy the moment, appreciate your life. You are fucking LIVING. So live it. In whatever style fits you... Just go. Just Ride. 

When I see this kind of display.. My Candy Butt Association membership hits high gear. Time to Ride!

Hey George, remember this? (EscapeArtist) You've been here before.. :)

Or this?

I made incredible time on road 58. I won't say what 'nominal rally speed' was run, but the mpg dipped to 28, average. 

Stopped by Shell Creek road to see the wildflowers..

I guess that's it. What a wonderful ride. Got some biz taken care of, rode the motobike... What more is there?

May all your next 1.5 miles be filled with twisties and wildflowers.

Just Ride, mi amigos, Just Ride



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