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Chewin the Fat Boy: May, 2013

By Susan Swan

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Many happy returns go out to Paul Johnesse of the Portland area who just celebrated a milestone birthday, his 60th. Paul is a longtime rider who puts more clicks on in any single fair-weather month than many put on all year. He’s in the midst of the remodel of his childhood home with his partner in crime, a friend we share (lucky us), Diane. From the handful of photos she’s sent, this bungalow will make for ideal digs in a new life chapter as Paul begins his 61st year. I’m really excited for you, Paul. Of course, I may hit you up for a sleepover when passing through… Thought it would be good to give readers an early heads-up for an annual favorite. The 14th annual Run 21, the adults-only ABATE of Oregon gathering formerly held in Birkenfeld, has a new home for July 19–21 2013—the Justesen Ranch on Jake Davidson Road in the Tygh (pronounced “tie”) Valley, about 44 miles east of Mount Hood. If only for the beer-belly contest, it’s probably worth the ride (a hoot), but then there are the Run 21 girls, the music, the games and camping with pals. Liars and Tygh-girls and beards—oh my. It’s early enough to get the $70 weekend ticket deal; just call Vicki at 503.706.7061. If you’re a vendor in need of a spot call Darrin at 503.980.5338, and for general run questions call Richard at 503.519.0727. There are no day passes for this one; come for the weekend. You can also peruse the Run 21 website at www.run21.biz. Thanks to Wayne for the word on change of location… THUNDER PRESS  reader Dale Wing is on a mission; not just because the cause is vitally important to him, but because he feels that if our readers were acquainted with the issue it would be vitally important to them, as well (that would be you). Here’s the rub: In gas pumps nationwide we’ve all grown accustomed to the required warning stickers indicating the fuel we’re pumping may contain up to 10 percent ethanol. Frankly, most of us zone out when fueling, doing the deed and trusting government would look out for us (insert laughter). We’re at ease in the knowledge federal agencies have categorized this as a benign threat. But for those who may be unaware, ethanol is made from fermented and distilled starch-based crops such as corn or cellulose biomass (think forestry slash). The alcohol created is used as a fuel additive, apparently intended to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and designed to burn cleaner than fossil fuel. We’ve been assured that 10 percent ethanol mixed with 90 percent gasoline is nothing we need to lose sleep over insofar as potential harm to our vehicles, motorcycles, small engines or generators. The U.S. Department of Energy, however, tells us that our vehicles will travel between three and four fewer miles per gallon with this 10/90 mixture (versus straight gasoline). In June 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) upped the ante to 15 percent ethanol, rather than the previous threshold. This is where reader Dale Wing feels you should get concerned. My own research found only five percent of light-duty vehicles on the road today were actually designed to permit this fuel mixture, and most are new models. Automakers are sharpening their warranty pencils in anticipation of the glut of claims for damages that could result. Even the ethanol fuel producers lobbied congress for indemnity against claims that might result from use of E-85 (also called E-15). Most every news agency has weighed in, and automakers BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen state their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims. Additional automakers (GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) say this fuel mixture does not comply with fuel requirements specified in most owners’ manuals and may void warranties. Aware of these things, Dale Wing has been on a crusade writing newspapers, magazines and sounding the alarm. Here’s what he wrote recently: “I feel this E-15 gas situation is so important that all readers, bikers, people who run small air-cooled engines, boat motors etc. need to be aware. The EPA is running amuck on this one. If you belong to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) the last two months have featured articles on E-15. They (the government) are allowing a higher concentration of ethanol in 2001-and-newer passenger vehicles. The 15-percent blend isn’t approved for use in any motorcycle, ATV, boat, lawn mower or other small engine and can damage components and/or void warranties. U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has said there have been several tests highlighting E-15’s harmful effect on engines, but the data is being dismissed by the EPA. Please join the AMA. In order to act on our behalf, they need all of us right now. E-mail your congressional representative, or at the very least join the AMA so they can help. This is not about mufflers, but rather the health and longevity of air-cooled engines. AMA’s toll-free number is 800.AMA.JOIN. This is very serious!” Thanks Dale…

 

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