Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maybe I was a little premature putting the bike in storage. This morning was clear and crisp though the temperature was in the low 20s or so not unreasonable riding weather. This is a view of the Alaska Range, I believe of Hess and Deborah, from West Ridge on the University of Alaska campus. I don't think I'll ever get tired of the view. Most of the snow has melted, as expected, but there is more snow forecast for later in the week.

This is the Skarland Trail just north of campus. If the sun wasn't hitting it, the snow is starting to stick around. It was too nice of a day not to go for a longish walk. I took the Skarland Trail all the way down to Ballaine Lake before heading back to Wood Center to meet a colleague for lunch. I returned to my office using roughly the same route though without the added little loop to the lake. Now I'm thinking of leaving a bit early and walking home. After all, there probably won't be too many more days like today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It's still snowing and I really don't believe that it will stick. I think the temperature is just above freezing. Finally got around to changing the oil in the truck more based on time rather than miles. It hasn't gotten much use over the last 12 months. Between the borough bus, the motorcycle and walking I think I've only put on a couple of thousand miles.At this rate it should last forever...

Saturday Afternoon - Lot of snow coming down. I'll be curious to see if it still around tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

End of the Motorcycle Season

Yesterday may have been my last bike ride of the year. This morning was gloomy and wet with snow being predicted for later this week. I should have gone on a longer ride. I wanted to use up most of the gas in the tank and I think I did that with about 180 miles on the odometer. Usually, I need to switch to reserve at about 200 miles. So tonight, I guess I'll drain the tank into a gas can for the snow blower and clean up the garage enough to move the bike to it's storage spot in the back of the garage. Kind of depressing. I still need to do some maintenance on the truck before winter so I may as well get enough cleaning done to move it into the garage as well. One of the blogs I follow is Redleg's Rides and his latest entries are about a Ural Sportsman he just traded his BMW R1150RT for. In case you aren't familiar with these, it is a Russian built copy of an old BMW with a sidecar and 2WD (the bike's rear wheel + the sidecar wheel). This should significantly extend the motorcycle riding season for him.

Last Saturday was the Equinox Marathon and I, due to lack of preparation, didn't enter. I had wanted to try and find a team to join but I didn't try very hard. Since I went to Barrow, my walking has really slowed down. Through most of the summer, I managed to walk just about everyday and now I am only about 150 miles from the next Nike+ milestone (3000 miles). I'm not sure what the incentive is now that I found out that mileage t-shirts are only available for the 1000 mile mark (and even those are usually sold out). All day Saturday, I was wishing that I had signed up for the marathon even though I know that I wouldn't have done too well. Actually, in all honesty, just like last year I would have been happy to just finish. Lately, my hips ached after running a short bit on campus and I believe that I need new shoes (again!). They sure don't seem to last very long. These only have about 4 months on them so that would mean about 1200 miles or so. They don't look that worn out but they sure feel like there is very little support of cushioning left in the sole. I seem to feel every step. Maybe that's why my hips are sore...

Tuesday Morning - Yep, little specks of white this morning. Not cold enough to stick but still to "iffy" for me to ride in. Besides, I actually did put the BMW away for the season in the back of the garage. I even cleaned up the garage enough to get the truck in. I still need to drain the gas tank on the bike but that is pretty simple since it is "old school" enough to have fuel petcocks on each side of the tank. In fact, one of the maintenance items on my list is replacing the O-rings in the valves.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gorgeous Morning!

This morning was not only sunny but also pretty warm. It is almost enough to make you think that winter wasn't just around the corner. I rode the bike in this morning and it wonderful. I haven't ridden for the last 12 days and it felt like I was going through some sort of withdrawal. I really wanted to go riding somewhere. Maybe this afternoon. I wasn't the only one who thought that this was a great riding day, the motorcycle parking area was packed when I got here this morning. This is in contrast to yesterday where there was only one bike (not me, I wimped out due to the 30°F temperature) in the parking lot. Last week, I was in Barrow and it felt really cold though in reality it was only bit below freezing. I guess the wind really made it feel cold and I must just be getting old...

Speaking of getting old, on Monday, I picked up a new pair of glasses. They are tri-focals and not progressive and a huge improvement over the old pair. The last pair I had were progressive and they drove me up the wall. Nothing was ever really in focus. Now I have these horizontal lines in my field of vision but the good thing is that everything is now in focus and, here's the major difference, all the way to the edge of the lenses. The progressive lenses are only in focus straight ahead so even something as simple as glancing at the side view mirror while driving, required me to turn my head so that I am actually looking at the mirror. Now that I can easily read the speedometer, I have no excuse....

Wednesday Afternoon - Clouds are moving in and it looks like it is raining towards the Alaska Range.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Did I Find the North Pole?

After all of my trips to Barrow, I think that I finally found the elusive North Pole. It is a little thinner than I remember seeing in books and on TV while growing up. Also I expected some sort of flashing beacon. And here all this time, people have been telling me that the north pole is located about 20 miles east of Fairbanks near the Santa Claus House. Actually, the tower is some sort of antenna in the process of being set up by a couple of researchers from Fairbanks and the striping is a reflective material so it can be seen in the wintertime by snow machine drivers. But it still looks kind of looks like the stereotypical north pole I've seen in cartoons while growing up.

Things have been going okay up here on this trip. I can't find a couple of boxes of VoIP phones that were shipped up a while ago. I was hoping to be able to configure a bunch of them to be deployed in the residential huts used by visiting researchers. Now, I guess I need to order some replacements. Things are such a mess up here....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beachfront Resort

This is the first time I've seen waves like this in Barrow. I guess it is another by product of global warming. As you can see, the road is sort of losing the battle with the waves. This picture is taken about half way between Barrow and the Point (as in Point Barrow). The waves were much higher last night. This evening as we were driving back from town, I spotted a bunch of teenagers running through the surf even though there is snow on the ground and sticking. It was snowing when I flew in this morning and it sort of continued on and off all day long.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Techfest Geocaches

Today was another beautiful Fall day wih temperatures in the mid 60's and clear blue skies. Today's noontime walk was spent looking for geocache locations for the OIT Techfest event. I guess the idea is to post coordinates (as well as some other clues for those without a GPS) on a website. If you pick up a poker chip from each site, you can trade them in for a small techy prize as well as be entered in a drawing for something much larger. Only about 2½ miles but it was really nice to be walking around outside. I didn't feel wiped out today as I had a couple of days ago after a short walk so I must be pretty well healed up. It was a pretty chilly ride in this morning. I think the temperature was around 38°F or so. This may be the last weekend available for riding this year since I will be heading up to Barrow for a week. As last year, I didn't get anywhere near as much riding in as I had wanted to. I guess that is mostly my fault as I had a bunch of travel back in July. One of the prime riding times up here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not Feeling Well...

I have, apparently, picked up some sort of flu-like virus and it has kept me somewhat bed ridden for the last couple of days. No fever or nausea, though I have to admit that it would be somewhat difficult to distinguish it from the Byetta side effect, just a headache and a bit light headed. No appetite either. Others in the house were down last week so it isn't difficult to figure out where it came from. A week ago, I made up a big pot of chicken soup but most of it ended up in the freezer so there is plenty of good, nutritious soup. I just don't feel like having any.

The sun was out this afternoon and I have to admit that I was really tempted to go for a short ride. But I convinced myself that if I was too ill to go to work, I was too ill to go for a bike ride. No matter what the weather was like. The other argument I used was that I was just staying home to avoid infecting others. But I wasn't able to talk myself into it. Hopefully, there will be more sunny days.

Wednesday Afternoon - Feeling better today, I headed to the university today partly to pay the fees for my son's classes and partly to pick up my laptop. I rode the bike in since it was a sunny day and to my surprise, quite warm. I really didn't need to liner to my jacket. I walked down to lower campus to the business office and on the walk back up, I really got winded. Kind of unusual since I have done this loop many, many times this summer. I guess I'm not quite "100%" and probably need to take it easy to avoid some sort of relapse.

I did end up logging 267 miles of walking for the month of August on the Nike+ site which was a personal best for a total of 2700.32 miles since I started posting on the site. I don't think that I will have any problem reaching 3000 miles before the end of the year but who knows what the future holds. I'll be heading up to Barrow again this month since the field season has wound down. It is easier to get things done when there isn't anyone around. We will be expanding the wireless MAN and deploying additional VoIP instruments on the NARL campus.