Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Out Of My Element

This evening, I went on the Tuesday evening BMW "group ride". I think that the last time I went on one of these rides I was still riding the '83 R100RT without a sidecar. So it's been a while. The group was made up of a F700GS, F800GS, R1200GSA and a Ural. One of these is not like the others in more ways than one. After meeting them at the top of Murphy Dome, we decided to try going down a trail to the Chatanika River. The pin on the left is where I decided to turn around and start heading back as I had been going downhill on a very rough, rocky trail for quite a while. A lot of off camber, loose rocks, tire ruts, etc. The GS's turned around about a mile further due to slick mud as only one of the bikes had knobby tires. That 41 minute estimate is pretty accurate as I rarely got past second gear and was in first for a good percentage of the time. And standing on the pegs for most of it as well. I need to find a set of handlebar risers that'll fit a Ural. At the time, I really had no idea where we were headed and needed to look it up on Google Earth when I got home. The road wasn't on the Garmin map but I do have a track. It was a fun ride but definitely needed some Ibuprofen when I got home.

I wasn't planning on going on the ride but had stopped into the dealer to see what their price was on Heidenau K37 tires. It turned out to be the same price as on the Internet and there was no shipping charge. That seems to be pretty reasonable to me. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Odd Summer

This has been a really odd summer. I haven't spent this much time away from home for work since I worked at JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) back in the early 1980's. But there is no intent for this to continue in the future. The logistics support organization is planning to add IT support to the other support that they supply to the research community.

I came back to Fairbanks a week ago on Saturday and I've been able to ride just about everywhere since I've been back. Actually went through four tanks of gas. Today, there was a group ride to the Monderosa Bar & Grill just outside of Nenana. Really good burgers. There were five of us on a wide variety of bikes. R1, R1200GS, KLR, a cruiser (I don't remember what it was) and the Ural. Of course, I was sweep. The KLR rider was thrilled that he wasn't the slowest one. Actually, the Ural ran really nice with cruising speeds between 60 and 65 for just about the entire trip. This was my type of group ride. We all knew where the destination was and there was no expectation that the group stays together. This is the first sunny day we've had since I've been back. Lots of rain.

I will be heading north in a little over a week and again around the end of the month.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rain, Rain, Rain

I'm back in Fairbanks for a few weeks and just in time for a lot of rain. At least it isn't miserably hot anymore. I rode the Ural up to the Chatanika River on Sunday afternoon through a pretty steady shower and by the time I got home, water had worked it's way up the cuffs of my jeans. But everywhere else, including my hands and feet, were completely warm and dry.

On the way out, I noticed that the left front turn signal wasn't working so I assumed that the bulb just needed to be re-seated again. It turned to be a broken wire inside of the bulb housing. A quick fix at the Fox Spring turnout. No soldering needed.

Not much was very "picture worthy" around Fairbanks. The rain reduced visibility to the point where not even the surrounding hills were really visible. I spent much of today (Monday) at the university after stopping at College Coffeehouse. On the way home, I stopped to get some keys copied and rode around the back of the runway to see how high the water was on the Tanana as it has been raining pretty steadily for about 30 hours. You'd think that the fair was in town...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arctic Broadband Summit

Coincidentally, there is a meeting occurring at the same time I happened to be here in Barrow. The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) and the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. (ASRC) are the sponsors of the meeting. The panels have been pretty diverse with speakers ranging from the principals of OneWeb and Quintillion to the U.S Department of Commerce and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commision.

It was great to hear how far Quintillion was and that they really plan on having phase I service available first quarter of 2017. Quintilion is laying undersea cable off the north coast of Alaska (phase I). Phase II is extending to it to Japan, phase III is the north coast of Canada through the southern northwest passage and phase IV is on to Europe. This started out as a Canadian project but it has turned into an Alaska project.

Wednesday turned out to be an unusually beautiful day and felt extremely warm. Not as miserably hot as it has been in Fairbanks. 65°F sound so much better than 98°F. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to going back to that in a few days. There is ice still on the horizon and today's forecast is for strong winds driving the ice back into the shore. I'll take another photo later today and add that photo. Today, there was so much fog that visibility was down to less than ¼ of a mile.

I opted to skip the "tour of Barrow" that was on the schedule and when stopped at Arctic Grocery, I noticed this decorated trash can. I'm told that there was a contest a few years back and many of the dumpsters still show those decorations.

Thursday afternoon update -  There was a pretty stiff breeze today but it wasn't directly towards shore. But it was enough to move a lot more ice towards the shore. There was quite a bit of discussion today about the ice as the cable laying vessels are around Point Hope waiting for clear water.