Friday, February 28, 2014

Challenge: Signs of Spring

Dar at Princess Scooterpie posted a blog challenge to post photos of our local signs of Spring. Yesterday afternoon while walking across the street for a cup of coffee, I noticed that the snow along the road was definitely showing suggestions if not signs of spring. The lower albedo of the dirt, sand and other debris from the road absorbs more heat than the fresh, clean snow on top resulting in this type of melting. Yesterday afternoon, there was even some liquid water runoff in this area. Of course, now at -3°F, the water is back to its "normal" state i.e. kinda solid...

Melt water! For some, this may be grasping at straws but we'll take whatever we can get. Rarely seen during the "winter" so I'll take this as another sign of Spring.

If nothing else, this may be the most convincing photo that Spring-like weather may be here. This is Friday afternoon at just before 4:00pm.

Spring Folklore and Verse 
One swallow does not make a spring. 
Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring. 
In spring, no one thinks of the snow that fell last year. 
Don’t say that spring has come until you can put your foot on nine daisies. 
Spring-time sweet!The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.
So Spring is a long ways away…

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sena SMH10 Firmware

A couple of days ago, I saw a forum message indicating that Sena had released a new firmware version (5.0) but precious little information on what new features it offered or what was fixed. But, forever the geek, downloaded and installed the new version. I didn't bother trying the Mac version of the firmware installation software as it had proved problematic in the past. Since I have a Windows 7 computer, that was just as easy. Here is a summary of some new features and the first one seems interesting on the surface. The claim is that you can have an intercom conversation with non-Sena headsets. This is not the same as having a universal intercom protocol. It means that you can pair the unit with another Bluetooth® headset which could be another brand such as N-Com. But only one non-Sena headset and you are limited to Bluetooth® range which, I believe, is about 10m is dependant on the Bluetooth® power class of the other device.

  • Universal Intercom: You can have an intercom conversation with non-Sena Bluetooth® headsets using the Universal Intercom™ function.
  • Advanced Noise Control™: It is equipped with wind noise suppression and intelligent Noise Gate in the intercom to limit the interference of wind noise and background noise while riding.
  • Sidetone: If this feature is enabled, you can hear what you are speaking during an intercom conversation or a phone call.
The installation went smoothly, they suggested wiping out all of the pairings, which I did, and repaired it with my phone and a Motorola Bluetooth® headset. And it seemed to work as advertised. There is a new version of the manual that you can download that has the Universal Intercom™ directions.

Another beautiful sunrise this morning. Unlike the last couple of -17°F mornings, today was a tropical feeling +10°F. No heated anything needed for my brief commute.

The International Arctic Research Center (IARC) looked especially good (to me) with the morning light. All this has nothing to do with the Sena firmware upgrade but I like sunrises...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tire Changes Are Getting Easier!

All through the winter, I have been watching this ice feature growing. It is a roof drain at the corner gas station/convenience store. Maybe this is a good indicator of our "Winter" as with every warm spell, we get a bit more liquid water showing up when it shouldn't be there.

Last night, I pulled the tube from the sidecar tire and found a tiny set of holes where it had been rubbing against a rusty spot inside the rim. I patched the hole and sanded down the rusty spot. After mounting the tire and putting it on the balancing jig, I was able to remove eight of the ¼ oz weights from the rim. You may remember that to balance the sidecar rim last summer, I had to put on twenty of the ¼ oz weights. So this is a significant improvement. Total time for the repair, under 30 minutes! I'm improving...

Based on George Rahn's suggestion yesterday, I put some closed cell foam around the carbs to try and capture and retain some heat from the cylinders. This was my 5 minute fix using an old foam pad from my backpacking days and a couple of zip ties. We'll see if it makes any difference. I have also removed the plumbing putty from the vent/overflow openings on the bottom of the carb bowls. Just for the record, last night both bowls had a couple of drops of water in them. Not enough to cause any rough running.

The only other bike-related activity is that I moved the Gerbing controller to the small carabiner attached to the upper left pocket. To move it here, I needed a couple of 12" extensions and a longer cable for the attachment to the bike. The short extensions could now be left threaded through the suit when the controller is no longer needed. Much simpler long term solution. In this position, I can still see the LED lights on the controller (barely) but the control knobs are easier to reach and use.

The coiled extension cable came with a panel mount so I will be using one more of my relays to have the heated gear connection on switched power and mounted into the fairing. Better than the dangling connector next to the stock battery.

Tuesday Evening - I had in interesting conversation with someone outside of the optomotrist office this afternoon. She liked seeing a sidecar attached to a BMW. Her and her husband had recently sold their motorcycles since the riding season in Alaska seemed so short. They did ask the local dealer about putting a sidecar on one of them, and the salesman told them that there was no way to attach one to their way-too-modern R1200GS. I pointed her to the hack area of ADVrider and to the DMC website to see many examples of sidecars attached to a GS. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

George's Recommendation

I finally ran into George Rahn, our local BMW airhead guru, at the College Coffeehouse. He agreed that since the water isn't from condensation in the tank, it must be from frost or ice building from air moving through the carb due to numerous short trips. Any moisture that builds up inside the engine block from condensation will get blown into the intake plenums due to the plumbing within the airbox. As far as a path into the carburetor bowls, he believes that it would be through the atomizer where the needle from the slide fits in. This is circled in green on the diagram and is right at the bottom of the carb throat. Any moisture or frost built up on the slide or intake would run right down the needle to the main jet when the engine isn't running. With the engine running and the carbs nice and warm, any moisture would go right into the engine and get burned. I had thought that the needle had closed off the opening  but George said that there would be plenty of room for water to find it's way down. What is pictured here is the position of the slide at idle (or off).

His suggested solution would be to find some foam and route air from cooling fins on the heads and cylinders around the carburetors. He had done something like this years ago using packing foam and aluminum foil and routinely rode at temperatures well below what I'm doing right now. He thinks that the RT fairing would help to hold things in place and depending on where you have the air exit, would also provide a little heat to your legs and feet which is why he did it. With this setup, he had never experienced the water problems that I seem to be having.

Right now, I have a new minor problem. The sidecar tire is flat. I think that I'm just going to pump up the tire and head for home. I'd rather deal with the flat there than in the parking lot.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring Weather

Sunday morning was absolutely beautiful. I had been wondering for a while how to get a picture of the rig next to the University temperature sign since it not right next to the road. To get the rig close to the sign, I turned on the next road north and took a foot/bike path through the woods to just behind the sign where it joined up with the wide sidewalk. This was a wide, gravel trail so I figured that it would be wide enough. This photo was at 9 am (nice and sunny already!) and by 1pm the temperature had warmed up to +16°F. Quite a change in only a couple of hours. This is our version of Spring weather and this weather generally continues through March. Note the nice ice sculpture of the bear. It is the mascot of the University of Fairbanks sport teams. It looks especially well done this year. May I should go back and get some better photos.

For those following my saga of water in the carb problem, I plugged up the bowl vents on the bottom of both carb bowls with a little ball of plumbing putty just to see if the water may be drawn up into the bowl from condensation or something. Yesterday, I rode around quite a bit and there was no water in the bowls but the temperatures weren't really cold enough and I had only left the bike parked for about an hour. This morning, again no problem on the ~12 mile ride. The bike sat for several hours outside and this afternoon, I again had water in one of the bowls after riding about 6 mile. So the search continues...

Saturday evening - The change in diet and scootcommute weight loss challenge is still going well thanks in part to some wonderful recipe posts by Trobairitz. Here is todays meal. Kale salad w/peanut dressing, roasted cauliflower and broccoli and some quinua tabuleh. This serving was too much food and my only meal today. And all delicious! I made bacon cheeseburgers for everyone else but Bridget opted for this option (plus some bacon!).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Too Lazy to Ride In

No, I didn't ride in this morning. The weather app claimed that it was -27°F and I opted that riding this morning was probably in the "foolish" behavior quadrant. It was sort of a tossup as it has been warming up almost to 0°F by the end of the afternoon. But I was feeling lazy. The sky this morning seemed really clear and there was a nice half moon in the southwestern sky roughly above where Mt. McKinley would be. I guess, I still enjoy looking at the moon and it reminds me of many evening spent gazing at the night sky when I was growing up with my small telescope.

There is a temperature inversion which means that there is not even a breeze to mix up the air and it must be getting cold. The exhaust from wood stoves and furnaces give you an indication of where the warmer air starts. Normally, smoke rises as the air temperature gets colder and colder the higher you go. But with a temperature inversion, it starts to warm up as you get higher. At this point the smoke stops rising and sort of levels out and as the exhaust cools, it will start to drop back down towards the ground. This is why Fairbanks is always on the EPA top ten list for poor air quality. If you put your air monitoring sensors at the low points where all of the exhaust gets trapped, you will get some of the most polluted air in the world. If you are at a higher elevation, the air is crystal clear. The university is on a hill so it's usually above the inversion layer.

Even after completely draining the tank and refilling using the water filter to insure that I wasn't adding water to the tank, I'm still getting water in the carb bowls. Bing, the manufacture of the carburetors, has a new style bowl and floats that no longer have the bowl vent tube. I'm thinking of getting them to eliminate that path for water to get drawn into the bowls. Plus, Bing claims that they will increase gas mileage. I could use a little better gas mileage. The rig gets over 25% worse gas mileage than the car which weighs five times as much and has at least twice the frontal area.

Update - Just received a great suggestion from the Airhead section of the MOA forums. Temporarily plug up the vent! Now I can't wait until tomorrow so I can test...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wind Chill, New -vs- Old

Only 8:15 in the morning and already starting to get light. It feels like Spring is just around the corner. Like predicted, it did get a little cool today at -18°F according to the WeatherChannel app but our thermometer at home said only -6°F. So I rode in again. I was curious to see what my self-generated wind chill would be and was surprised to see two formulas one for the old wind chill generated by observations in Antarctica before WWII. In 2001, the NWS implemented a new formula based on some different assumptions and give more reasonable numbers. You can find more information and a calculator here and for convenience, here are the formulae. For my ride in today, -83°F vs -55°F.
Old Wind Chill T(wc)=.081 x (3.71 x sqrt(V) + 5.81 - 0.25 x V) x (T - 91.4) + 91.4 

New Wind Chill T(wc) = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75(V0.16) + 0.4275T(V0.16)
where T(wc) is the Wind Chill in degrees F, V is the Wind Speed in MPH, and T is the temperature in degrees F.

I ended up using the heated grips this morning since it the wiring to provide power to my heated gloves has broken within my Gerbings jacket. Right above the molded in strain relief it looks like the wire failed from bending a few too many times. This is the cable that drops out of the bottom of the jacket liner with connects to the connectors coming out of openings in the sleeve. I did check with an ohm meter and both gloves are good. It is just the ground wire that is broken. I guess they didn't design it for someone who uses it every day at these temperatures. I like the older design where there is a plastic panel kind of like a bulkhead where all of the cables terminate. This setup is probably cheaper to manufacture but seems more fragile.

I'm still trying to decide whether to simply cut off the connector and re-solder a new connector or see if it'll be covered by their 3-year warranty. Since I use the jacket every day, I'm inclined to simply fix the connector. I will also add some heat shrink tubing to reinforce this particular spot on all of the other cable ends.

Afternoon Update - I went ahead and ran rode down to the Harley/BMW/Honda dealer and picked up a "Y" cable that is designed so you can use the heated gloves with a jacket that isn't wired. I ran the cable through the Roadcrafter running it behind the armor to keep it in place. Nice to have warm hands again!

After that little bit of running around, this is the left carb bowl. I had originally just emptied out the bowl but the the bike was still running poorly. Another check showed ice frozen to the bottom of the bowls. I think I need those carb heaters that Conchscooter mentions. There was also ice on the bottom outside of the bowl. No snow today so I'm still baffled as to where the water is coming from.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Post #900

Back when I started this blog, I would have never thought that I'd ever reach 900 posts. It was initially started as part of a university fitness program where I would just post about where I had walked and it just sort of evolved from there. The blog was originally on a university server but I switched to Blogger after the first couple of years (and a few hundred lost posts). Thank you to those that read and especially those who comment.

The cold weather usually brings some interesting effects. This is from the temperature inversion and it looks kind of cool. What you are looking at is the base of two hills being reflected up. You can't see the top of the hills.

A colleague mentioned that he was watching an Alaska Air flight descending through the inversion and it looked like the plane elongated before appearing normal upon landing. Here is another shot later in the day showing the two hills. If you compare this with the view of the same two hills in the header photo, you can see how far away they really are.

It was -24°F this morning and the weather guessers are claiming that we will be down to almost -40°F by mid week. So probably not much riding this week...

Tuesday Morning Update - Surprise! It was only -11°F this morning so I was able to ride this morning. I even found a "Motorcycle Only" parking space. Of course, everyone else parks there all the time during the Winter but due to the temperature, they don't leave their cars there overnight. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Messing With the Wiring

When I had installed the fog and driving lights, I had wired them directly to the high and low beam lights since they didn't draw much power. And I had made no provision to be able to turn them off. I found a ten pack of these switches with 12V blue led indicators on Amazon for only a couple of dollars. Seemed like a bargain to me. They simply need a 3/4" hole plus a small notch on one side so they don't rotate. I also found a 5 pack of 12V relays for $8 also on Amazon so I went ahead and rewired both the fog lights and driving light to be triggered off of the high/low beam leads when the switches are turned on. Power for the lights now come directly off of a fused feed from the battery.  The function is the same but they can now be turned off. And even though they don't draw a whole lot of power, one less amp running through the switch gear is one less amp. I don't believe the Denali D1 driving light is DOT approved so I really wanted a way to turn it off. That may be important in some other place. I don't think it's really an issue in AK.

One of the options is to run one more wire from the fog light relay to the running lights and have them on all the time if the new switch is turned to the off position. This may be the preferred setting for Summer riding as they make the rig more visible. Plus, if I really wanted to, I could have all of the lights on at the same time. Still meeting the legal limit of no more than 4 lit at any given time. I still need to mount the relays as they are simply sitting in the glove box right now. 

This morning, I was surprised by almost 6" of fresh, fluffy snow. It took three attempts for me to get out of the driveway. One of those times when 2WD would have been nice.

BTW, the Facebook account that I have set up does not get used and I have never posted anything or friended anyone. It is mostly just to claim the account and used to authenticate to some experimental services. So if you are wondering why I haven't responded to friend requests, that's why.

Monday Morning - Didn't ride in today as it was below my -20°F threshold but just barely. It is supposed to be getting colder as the week progresses. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More Snow

This morning, I needed to get gas since I drained the tank yesterday checking for water in the tank. I now know that the tank holds a bit over six gallons, almost all of it useable. I stopped by College Coffeehouse to see if George Rahn had any new ideas on how water could get into the carb bowls but he wasn't there this morning. One thought I had was water being drawn in through the atmospheric vent/overflow in the bowl. It would have to be sucked in and that implied that there needs to be negative pressure in the carb bowl. Haven't figured out how that could happen.

It started snowing lightly and I stopped at the Ballaine Lake turnout to plug in the liner and gloves (again!). I think that forgetting to plug in is going to become a regular thing with me. Since I just had the Gerbings liner under the RC, it got cold pretty quick without the added heat. The fleece liner over the Gerbings is probably the way to go. The controller for the heated gear is still difficult to use so I ordered some extension cables to move the controller to the upper pocket. It would still be difficult to see but easier to adjust. They do make a bike mounted controller but I like the flexibility of the portable unit. 

Drained The Tank

On Friday morning, the bike had water in the carb bowls again. Since my Mr. Funnel water trap came in a couple of days ago I pulled the tank and completely drained the tank through the filter. There was a little over a gallon of gas left in the tank and this is the water that was collected in the sump of the filter. An almost insignificant amount amounting to maybe a tablespoon. More water than this came out of the left carb bowl. I now believe that water is getting into the carb bowls through some other route.

Time to dig out the carb manual and see if there is a route where moisture from the air passage could possibly get into the bowl. The only path should be through the main and enrichener jets.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

Today, I had asked a friend with a barbershop quartet to stop by Bridget's school and perform a singing valentine. They do this all over town as a fund raising activity. Here is the picture they sent me this morning taken in the school. It's always great if they show up during class. I've worked with Jo (tall one in the back) for quite a number of years and he rides a Norton. How's that for introducing a little bit of moto content...

Imagine my surprise when they showed up at my office this afternoon for the same reason. Bridget had also contacted them to perform here as well. They sang Wild Irish Rose.

The quartet is called Chill Factor and they performed at our wedding. A few of the members are different but all wonderful performers.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hey, Did You Forget Something

This wasn't the first time I had forgotten to plug in the heated gear but it was the first time at these temperatures. The back pad came from Aerostich yesterday evening (free 2-day FedEx shipping!) and I wanted to see how it fit this morning and in my rush to get all zipped up, I forgot to plug in the heated liner and gloves. About half way in to the university, I was wondering why I wasn't feeling any warmth from the gloves. I just chalked it up to the temperature and turned on the heated grips. Then I noticed that I wasn't feeling much additional heat from the liner either. It didn't dawn on me that I had forgotten to plug the liner into the temperature controller until I was just about to the parking lot.

My fingertips were the only place that felt cold. I had a fleece liner over the heated liner so my core was plenty warm after the ride in. Even without any additional heat. As expected, one-piece riding gear is significantly warmer than separate jacket and pants. I have a pair of Carhartt insulated coveralls that have kept me warm when working outdoors even after several hours in temperatures colder than this but I've never tried it while riding.

I finally came up with a place to attach the heated gear temperature controller where I could still see the indicator lights next to the knobs. Sena was handing out these keychains at the MOA rally and the strap and keyring were about the right size and durability for hanging the controller. For testing, the other end is just looped through a slot cut into some cardboard. If it seems to work, I'll just look for some flexible plastic.

Thursday Afternoon Update - I must admit that I've been looking forward to lunch today for the last couple of days. The university food service has allowed one of the popular local vendors called The Pita Place to sell on campus for three days of the week. Their food is phenomenal and I arrived at opening time today and there were already about 25 people in line. This is their whole wheat pita hummus and they also have falafel. Worth waiting in line for...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Not Quite Spring

This morning, the cold temperature made it feel even more "Monday" than usual. The outlet strip inside the garage that was providing power to the block and battery heaters on both the truck and my son's car decided to fail sometime yesterday. Fortunately, his car started right up. Not bad for a 20+ year old car. And, no, I did not ride today. That would just be silly...

By mid-day, the sun was shining brightly and, as you can see in the photo, sunset will be after 5pm with the sun above the horizon for almost 8 hours! It still amazes me at how quickly the daylight returns after the Winter Solstice. These temperatures are forecast to continue well into next week. The clear skies bring cold temperatures and these temperatures are "normal" for this time of year.

Over the weekend, I was seeing water in the carb bowls again. It only takes a minute to empty both bowls but it's still a hassle. I ordered a Mr. Funnel F3 debris and water fuel filter from Amazon. I was thinking of ordering this earlier but planned instead on picking one up locally. That never happened. I will then completely drain the tank through the filter to see how much water I get. I may start carrying the filter on the rig and use it for Winter fill-ups as water has been a problem since around the end of October. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Roadcrafter Light - Initial Thoughts

Another gorgeous day with few clouds and bright, fresh snow covering up all of the dirty snow. At this time of year, this is the sun position at solar noon, i.e. this is as high as the sun got today. But we are starting to get some thermal gain as you can feel a little warmth when looking towards the sun. This is in contrast to December and January, there is very little warmth from the sun.

When I arrived home, there was a box waiting for me with my Roadcrafter Light. Back in November, I had a hard time deciding between the grey with hi-viz or the hi-viz with grey. I ended up ordering the grey with hi-viz. Around two weeks ago, I got an email indicating that the grey was back ordered and it could be several months before the material gets in. The material for my other choice was in stock and they would be able to start making it immediately. Back in November I tried on the recommended size and it was too tight lengthwise so I'm glad that I actually went to the store to try it on. Just as the sales person indicated, it fits perfectly. I was a little skeptical as it is a long. I guess I have a long torso and short legs.

The TF3 armor seems pretty thick and rigid but according to the documents, that could be due to the cold. I had also ordered the back pad but it wasn't in the shipment and just sent off an email asking about it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the "Light" is no longer made in Vietnam but is now made in the USA. At least according to the label. It also included a packet of zipper lube but not really sure if I need it yet.

There is a reinforced opening for the power cord for the heated gear to pass through but I haven't figured out a good location for the Gerbings dual controller. For now it is simply attached to the lower pocket using the clip on the controller. Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow! If nothing else, I should be easier to see…

Saturday Morning Update - It cooled off overnight and we are seeing more of the normal winter weather. Clear and cold. It was -22°F when I left the house this morning. A good test for the new suit. I went for a short ride to meet some others for breakfast and afterwards rode around some, stopped for coffee at College Coffeehouse before heading back home. With just the heated liner, I was able to feel the cold in some areas like the back of my upper arms where there are no heat wires. I don't think that the Gerbings liner has much, if any, insulation. With my fleece liner over the heated liner, I was toasty warm. At these temperatures, both the Gerbings gloves and liner were on full as well as the heated grips.

This is probably my lower limit for riding as the visor would ice up whenever I slowed down or stopped. The pinlock insert really helps prevent fogging but once ice forms, it doesn't melt quickly. Opening the visor causes the fogging to ice up at these temperatures. The visor is more of a problem than staying warm. I also would like to find a better location for the Gerbings controller as I can't simply glance down and see if the lights are blinking green and amber. The controller shuts down and blinks red if the voltage drops too low if, for example, the engine needed to be restarted. Usually, I don't think about it until I start feeling the cold.

I had a tiny concern about all the hi-viz as ChrisL from EverydayRiding mentioned that he wouldn't want to have to look at that bright color all the time. But just about all of it is outside of my normal vision while riding.

Aerostitch says ten seconds on or off for the Roadcrafters but I'm in the minute plus category. But it takes me longer than that to put on my boots.

Just thought I'd throw in the photo depicting a discussion over who gets the sunny spot…

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fresh Snow

The forecast was for a couple inches of snow but I think that we may be getting a bit more than that. It is heavy enough for visibility to be down to about ¼ mile or so. No beautiful sunrise today though we are already up to almost eight hours of sunlight which translates to about ten hours of daylight. No more riding home in the dark.

I usually cover the bike with the tarp when it's snowing or freezing rain just to keep the carb cables from freezing. Last winter, there were a couple of times when the enricheners wouldn't move due to ice and this seems to be an easy solution. On Monday, there were numerous times when you can feel the rear tire losing traction. I had thought that maybe the air pressure was on the low side but it was fine. I guess we really could use some fresh snow as the ice remaining on the road was on the slick side.

I ended up running across town this morning running errands. It's amazing how nice it is to ride on fresh snow.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

LED Light Road Test

The weather the last week or so has been absolutely beautiful, almost reminiscent of Spring. This was reinforced by looking at the snow that has melted back from the edges of the picnic tables. The silver building is the International Arctic Research Center and is just one of the research facilities here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Last night, the local Airhead group met at the Silver Gulch. The last time we met was when my alternator rotor failed. I also noticed that my distance lighting was pretty poor. I rarely ride on back roads in the dark but going out to Fox for the Airhead get togethers is one of those times. I have resolved both problems now with the installation of the Enduralast 450W alternator and a single Denali D1 LED light. The ride out was on the cool side with temperatures in the -5°F range so I even had the heated grips on for part of the ride, the gloves on full and the heated jacket liner on about half.  Even with all of that on, the battery voltage never dropped except at idle. The aftermarket alternator was a great upgrade with an 80% increase in total output. The grips were shut off after a short while as they just get too hot.

I'm really impressed with the Denali LED light. Even with only one light installed on the right side of the sidecar, the road was completely lit up well past the normal high beam and probably four times the distance of just the low beam. Not bad at all for the small 10W light. Much more light than I expected for 900 lumens which, I believe, is about the same as the regular high beam. Having good lighting on the back roads is important to try and see moose on the road. One of these days, I may spring for a second light but the performance of the single light is an impressive and probably sufficient.

I discovered that there was next to nothing I could feel good about ordering at the Silver Gulch. Maybe that should be expected when going to a micro-brewery. Some good news, my Roadcrafter Light just shipped!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Ride

Sunday afternoon turned out to be wonderful. I rode out to friends shop to visit, look at his nice vintage Nortons and watch at least part of the Super Bowl. The roads out there had a lot more ice on them than the more heavily travelled roads that I usually ride on. The snow and ice covered road and driveway up to his home was pretty easy to go up but I kept the speed down to ~10mph going back down the hill. I'm glad that I replaced the screw-studs in the pusher last night. 

The two tracking solar panels are a good demonstration that even as far north as Fairbanks, the economics works for solar power especially if you have a great location as this.

I left after the first half of the game as I wanted to head down his hill while there was still light. As it was, it was already after sunset but there was still enough light to see the slick spots. Not a really long ride but still nice to be out on the road. Tomorrow is the monthly Airhead meeting at the Silver Gulch. The last time we met was when the rotor bit the dust. I can't believe how quick January went by.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back in Fairbanks

A sure sign of Spring in Fairbanks are the ice carvings beginning to show up. This one has actually been here for a while and in front of a dentists office on a very busy corner in town. It is showing its age and melting from the warm weather. This dentist always has an angel ice carving for quite a number of years.

This evening, we tried out a newly remodeled restaurant in town. This is tofu cooked on a cedar plank (like they do fish on a grill) with an Asian ginger glaze. Very delicious though I could only finish half of it before feeling full. Only a short time ago, this wouldn't have sounded too appetizing.

After much thought, I've decided to dramatically alter my diet. I watched quite a few video documentaries some several times and read a lot of articles on nutrition and diet especially those with a focus on those with type 2 diabetes, and I came up with the following "dietary rules". No dairy, minimal animal protien, minimal fat, low carbs, minimal fruit and the rest non-starchy vegetables. I figure that at least 80% plant based. For now, I will continue with the green drink fasting at least every other day. And continue with my B12, C and D supplements. I'll see how this goes for a while. Since the beginning of 2014 I've managed to drop 15 lbs. it seems like a good start.

On another note, during my last trip home from the Silver Gulch well after sunset (the trip when I had the burned out alternator rotor), I discovered how poor my distance lighting really was. The LED fog lights do a great job illuminating the sides of the road but don't provide any distance illumination. I've had a number of friends swear by the Denali LED driving lights from Twisted Throttle. Revzilla sold them individually instead of a set and I still had some of the "Zilla Cash" left that was going to expire soon so I ordered one Denali D1 LED driving light.

I installed it on the side of the sidecar where I had originally installed an LED parking light. I also wired the fog lights and the new driving light to switch with the high-low beam toggle. The single driving light draws 1 amp the same as the two fog lights so total amperage hasn't changed. There is another Airhead get together next Monday evening. That'll be a good chance to try it out. Standing in front of the bike, the small LED driving light seems really bright compared to the headlight.