Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Visiting Oregon

I returned to Fairbanks yesterday (Tuesday) evening after visiting family (mom and both sisters families) and friends in Oregon. This noisy photo was taken during the flight from Seattle to Fairbanks near sunset. I kind of liked the winglet reflecting off of the wing. Fortunately, it was one of the few flights that arrive in Fairbanks at a reasonable time not in the middle of the night.

Sunday was spent driving to the coast then back to Eugene where I visited with my sister. I have never seen this many books on computer languages before, not even in a bookstore. This is maybe half of their library and I guess it just shows how quickly technology changes. Many of these languages, sdk (software development kits) and development environments have come and gone over the years. What used to be the hot new whatever is now barely remembered.

Some things don't change very fast such as the packaging line at the Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, OR. Still a nice place to stop even though I didn't get any of their delicious ice cream. It was just a handy place to stop and stretch out.

On Saturday morning, I met Troubadour and Trobairitz at their moto-coffee meeting spot. The group is always entertaining to visit with. Afterwards, we had lunch at a local Indian buffet. (We still don't have Indian food available in Fairbanks) It was really good to be able to meet up with them again. And I believe we shut down the Evergreen Indian Restaurant again. Easy to do as they are only open until 2:30pm. Too busy talking so no pictures.

Since we don't have one in Fairbanks, I did stop at Trader Joe's and the Market of Choice in Corvallis to fill up any remaining space in my suitcase.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hoverboards and Flying Cars

2015 is just around the corner and according to Back to the Future 2, hoverboards and flying cars should be all over the place. I guess there is still another year to get them invented, tested and marketed. But I don't have a lot of hope. Bob Leong's passing at the end of August seems to have affected a lot of people within the moto-blogging community and I must admit that I'm one of those really affected. Many of our conversations over the years have revolved around retirement. Things that we wanted to do, places to go and motorcycle trips that needed to be taken. I must admit that thoughts of retirement have floated around in my head for the last year or so.

Last month, I just passed 30 years at the university. THIRTY YEARS. That not only sounds like a long time to be at the same place but it really is a long time. Thirty years ago, the concept of a career was nowhere to be found in my thinking but got a job at the University of Alaska Fairbanks business office to develop a telephone billing system. I was grateful for the job since I was looking at being unemployed shortly and working for the universty was way better than being unemployed. So I took it with though there were a few obstacles such as it had to be done on a computer made by a company that I had never even heard of (Wang) in a language I had only heard horror stories of (Cobol) but never seen. And on top of that, the only programs I had ever written to date were scientific data analysis, image processing and developing hardware interfaces in either Fortan II, PDP11 macro assembler and PDP8 assembler. And even those were done after the programmer quit. Zero experience in financial software, databases, user interfaces, or even structured programming.

Two weeks later, the new system sent out the first set of monthly bills and I was told that my funding was for at least a year so maybe I should look for something else that needed doing. Enter networking, personal computers and the Internet and that year turned into thirty. Initially, the idea was to keep the job just long enough until I made enough to move somewhere else. I guess that never happened as soon there was spouse, kids, mortgage, car payment, and so on. (Not in that exact order)

This isn't a "carpe diem" post as some have suggested. I don't really agree with the current, self-centered interpretations of the latin phrase. It's just that maybe it's time to take some of those trips and not just talk about them…

Friday, September 26, 2014

Raceway Ural

This is the showroom of Raceway Ural in Salem, OR. There was a minor piece missing from the crankcase vent that I had picked up on Thursday. So on Friday morning, I headed back to Salem. It isn't that far from Corvallis and it was nice to get out on the non-interstate roads. As a plus, they had a blue & white model that looks very familiar that I could show to my mom. Though the truely observant individuals will see that it is a 2013 model. Drum brakes on the sidecar but common sense fasteners for the tonneau cover.

One of the accessories (not very sparkly so it isn't a farkle, right?) I picked up is a sidecar "door". Bridget commented that a lot of cold air came in through the door opening. I'm thinking that this may resolve the problem. The little plastic bag holds a common sense fastener that needs to be installed on both the sidecar and the "door" once it is fitted into place.

This is the aluminum tank and hoses to replace the stock crankcase vent. The tiny air filter goes under the seat above the battery and the tank gets installed on the left side of the frame using a nicely machined aluminum bracket not shown in this picture. The little valve on the bottom is to drain the tank. They said to drain it every week or so during the winter and even more often if there is ethanol in the gas. This does have some shiny parts so it's a farkle. The goal is to eliminate the moisture and oil getting dupmped into the air cleaner housing. Especially after each cold start.

The last accessory are replacement air intake tubes that run between the air filter housing and the carburators. The stock air tubes are three pieces with four hose clamps for each side. Lots of adjustability but kind of a hassle to get everything just right. I'm told by a very credible year 'round rider that these will dramatically simplify the process. I doubt that there will be any performance difference but there is less chance for leaks to develop due to fewer joints. They are made of heavy duty silicone-like rubber.

This is the minor piece that I was missing from the parts I picked up yesterday. A small plastic plug that goes onto the air cleaner housing when the existing crankcase vent hose is removed. They offered to mail it for free but since I was in town, it created an excuse to get my mom out of the house. And it was a beautiful day. More pictures when this stuff gets installed.

One last picture for this post, not moto related at all. The R/V Sikuliaq was just heading into Gatun Lock this evening and it was caught on the Panama Canal webcam. It is the white boat in the upper right corner of the frame. The Sikuliaq is the new research vessel for the University of Alaska Fairbanks on its way to Alaska from the shipyard in Wisconsin. The picture is really noisy since it was starting to get dark. I looked a short time later and it was really dark.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

MN to OR

On Wednesday afternoon, my meetings were over but my flight out of MN wasn't until Thursday morning. Doug, aka Coopdway, of Coop's Corner, who was in St. Paul for the day, stopped by the hotel and took me to a wonderful restaurant called Q. Cumbers. Huge salad bar, wonderful soups and tons of fruit. They pride themselves as one of the healthiest restaurants in Minnesota. We have so few places with salad bars in Alaska that it was a real treat! It was great to re-connect with Coop since we initially met him last November at their motorcycle group's Saturday coffee. A good opportunity to get to know him a little better.

I headed to the airport very early Thursday morning for a 7 o'clock flight to Seattle. At least I got a complimentary upgrade so I was able to get at least a little sleep. It was just a short hop on a commuter turbo-prop to Portland. After picking up a car and a diner lunch (no pics so it didn't haappen, right? 0 Cal lunch!), I stopped at Raceway Ural in Salem, OR. They had some bits and pieces and I figured that I could save shipping costs by picking stuff up in person. Plus, look around. They have quite a collection of rigs in their show room. Both EFI and carburated versions.

I got a few tips and asked about rain getting in the air cleaner housing and gathered that it wasn't, at least for them, a common complaint. One of the tips from Raceway is how to increase the spring tension on the reverse shifter to help it stay in reverse. Now, if I pause while in reverse, it drops back into neutral on its own. One of the tips from ChrisL from is the part number for a Napa tractor air filter that fits the Ural housing and is a small fraction of the price. On Amazon, you can find them for about ⅛th the cost of the Ural part.

The air cleaner housing on a converted diesel Toyota pickup that I used to own had fins inside the air cleaner housing that guided the air in a circle before being drawn through the filter. This allowed a lot of the particulates and water to not get sucked in through the filter and fell to the bottom of the housing where it ended up in an easily emptiable cup.. The advantage, in addition to the element not getting wet, was that it seemed to last forever. After 100k miles, the air cleaner element was still clean. Another reason it was clean is that I didn't have the engine crankcase vent connected to the air cleaner housing. One of the things that I picked up at Raceway was a different crankcase vent system.

I'll be here in Oregon visiting family and friends into the beginning of next week.