Monday, September 26, 2016

Home Canning and New Tires

How's that for an odd mix of topics...

Hopefully this batch will turn out better than last years. The general recipe I used is from the Penn State Extension office. I used to have a book called Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills which had all sorts of old timey recipes. I can't find the book but the Penn State recipe sounded pretty close. I had the brined cabbage sitting in the crock for only three weeks which is near the lower end of the recommended time. Hopefully it was long enough. All of the jars sealed up nicely. For some reason I get a real feeling of satisfaction when that happens. For future reference, ten pounds (4.5 kg) of cabbage makes seven pint jars of sauerkraut.

This morning (Monday) was clear, sunny and a chilly 25°F (-4°C). It'll be a bit until I'm used to the cooler temperatures and enjoyed the warmth from the heated grips. Since I only rode to coffee and no other errands, I didn't bother with any of the heated gear. Today turned out to be a good time to install the new tires. On Saturday's ride to the Monderosa, I thought that I could feel this tire sliding but DaveR, who was following me near the end of the ride out, said that he could see the sidewalls deflect on right turns. The Duro has much thinner sidewalls compared to the Heidenau.

The used pusher was the first to be replaced and it is showing it's wear. I'm not really sure how many miles are on it as it. It used to be the spare which I had to swap on back near the beginning of May when I had a flat on a very worn K37.  The nice thing about Ural wheels and tires is that they are fairly easy to work on. This lifetime supply of tire lube was gifted by JedR after we had installed four K37 tires on his rig last Fall. He is very generous.

The No-Pinch tire tool along with the No-Mar tire lube made very quick work installing these stiff Heidenau tires. I think the total time from the wheel and old tire being put on the bench to getting ready to air up the new tire was on the order of ten minutes. So much easier and faster than the Snowflake wheels on the BMW.

JedR had also gifted me with some Tyrebead balancing beads. We had installed them on his bike last Fall and he is very happy with their performance. I had been thinking of using these but hadn't been able to find anyone local that carried them. And shipping was always ridiculously expensive. Two tasks that were on the 50k km task list were checking the bearing adjustment using the two special tools provided in the Ural tool kit and applying some grease to the final drive spline. After installing the wheel, I also adjusted the brakes. Tire pressure in the pusher was set at 40 psi and the sidecar at 34 psi.

Then repeat everything with the sidecar tire. It used to be the pusher when I started my trip last Summer before I switched to a street tire half way down the Cassiar Highway. It has been installed on the sidecar since I returned 13 months ago. It was studded for the winter and the studs removed last May. It was also pretty worn. I definitely got my moneys worth out of these tires.

Two down, one to go. I need to get some other stuff done today so I'll do the front tire later. Plus, it still has quite bit of tread left especially when compared to the rear tires.

Just for grins, I compared the readings on all of my tire pressure gauges. The three dial gauges, one of which is around 40 years old, all matched within a needle width. Two (freebie) pencil gauges were 1 psi higher. And a Slime digital gauge was 6 psi low. I discarded the digital gauge. I had picked it up during my trip last summer as the EZAir dial gauge was somewhat cumbersome to use. But I never really believed the readings. It turns out that my hunch was correct. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

1st Last Ride

Today was the "real" solstice for this area. Equal day and night according to Weather Underground. So it seemed like a good day for the BMW riding group here in Fairbanks to schedule a "1st last ride of the year". There have been some years when they've made it to the 5th last ride but somehow we don't expect that to be the case this year. Note, I thought about taking the BMW but the Ural was the easier option.

We left College Coffeehouse heading out the Parks Highway towards Nenana. The goal was the Monderosa Bar & Grill just this side of Nenana. Once you climbed into the hills, the temperature warmed up to about 45°F (7°C) but once we dropped down towards Nenana, the temperature dropped to 34°F (1°C). These temperatures are according to my OAT installed in the windshield. This is the view from the Parks Highway Monument looking south towards the Tanana River and the Alaska Range.

Originally, I was just planning to stop and take a photo but the group decided to stop and try and troubleshoot an electrical problem on a R100GS/PD. The fuse for the tail lights/dash lights keeps blowing while riding. I suspect multiple broken wires in the bundle from the headlight to the handlebars. I offered to take the troublesome bike off his hands for $20 but he didn't take me up on it. BTW, the bike with the electrical problem is the red/white one in the foreground not the other red/white R100GS/PD that most seem to be looking at. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Tires

I ordered these tires back in July from the local Harley/BMW/Honda dealer and at the time I ordered them, I was told that they would just be added to their regular shipment so there wouldn't be any shipping charge. That sounded like a pretty good deal. They finally arrived today and the counter person complained that people like me were trying to run them out of business. He claimed that the cheapest shipping was FedEx and the shipping for my three tires was $162. I reminded him that I ordered the tires two months ago and that it would be added to their regular order. It wasn't my problem that their tire person didn't bother to look at their online system for any special orders taken by other employees.

But to try and appease him, I offered to split the shipping cost. After all, if I ordered the tires from Heindl Engineering in Ohio, the shipping would've been about that anyway. He continued to whine so I don't think I will be ordering tires from them again. In the past, I had ordered tires from Dan at Adventure Cycleworks. When I talked to Dan back in July, he was saying that business was so slow this year that he didn't think he would be placing another order until next spring. Not as many riders as in previous years. Not as many people wanting to ride to Deadhorse.

Now I just need to decide whether to put these tires on now or wait until after the "last ride of the season" this coming Saturday. I may be busy tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One More Project Done

The latest project of the day completed. Due to the weight of the diesel engine, adding a snow plow to the front of the truck requires you to add some ballast as far back as you can. The round "plug" in the bed is the gooseneck hitch and is two inches in front of the rear axle. The frame is built from all-weather wood and it is to keep the bags of gravel from sliding around the bed when braking and is braced against the front of the bed, the tailgate, fender wells and the bottom of the bed rail. The recommendation is for 600# of ballast. Right now, I have seven sixty pound bags in place so I need to pick up a several more bags. Last year, I had stacks of bags in each rear corner of the bed tied in with rope.

The mornings have been getting consistently colder but still above freezing. I still have been riding everyday still preferring the Ural to the BMW. Maybe it's time to remove the sidecar. After all, there's still some two wheel weather left.