Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I've been pretty unproductive during this holiday break. Absolutely no moto activity except a short visit to the local shop to sit on a couple of bikes. Porters Beemershop in CA still have my R100RT heads and haven't received any updates besides they have been received and are being assessed. Their initial three week estimate now seems extremely optimistic. I guess I could get started on some of the other maintenance/repair items on the bike but I kind of want to get one task done before I start taking something else apart. Maybe I'll pull off the forks tomorrow.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty cold with the low around forty below. Today felt really warm by comparison at 10°F so I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood. Yesterday I went x-country skiing for the first time this year on the west ridge ski trails at the university. I'm way out of practice...

Not much else going on. Thank you to all that visit, especially those who take the time to comment. It's now just past midnight on the east coast so Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

I tried catching the total lunar eclipse last night but it was cloudy so I couldn't get a good photo. This is supposed to be the beginning of winter but for many folks up here in Alaska, today is viewed as the beginning of the end of winter. Up until now, we were losing daylight but after today, we will start slowly picking up daylight. Today, sunrise was at 10:59 and sunset will be around 2:40. By March, we'll be back to over 12 hours of actual sun above the horizon which means about 16 hours of daylight. This time of year the only warmth you feel from the sun is strictly psychological as the sun is so low on the horizon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AGU 5K Fun Run

Bright and early this morning, I headed for the Muni station a block and a half from the hotel (without a camera) for the short ride to start of the AGU 5K Fun Run near Pier 40. I was told that there were roughly 300 entrants and many really ran but some were like me. I ran a bit but mostly walked and finished in a very predictable 40 minutes. A bit faster than I've done the Beat Beethoven 5K in Fairbanks probably because it was completely flat and no ice on the route but still slower than I was hoping for. The course simply headed north along the Embarcadero, turn around at the half way point and return. Now, I'm hobbling around as I'm not at all used to running since injuring my knee last winter. Need to get into shape...

No whining about the weather here though I hear that it is -37°F this morning in Fairbanks. That is probably worth whining about. Not really looking forward to going back to that.

There is a shopping mall between the hotel and Moscone Center. Pretty impressive dome and what I'm assuming is Christmas lights in their fifth floor dome. Not too many interesting stores as most were fancy clothes and jewelry. I did stop at Eddie Bauer and Brookstone but none of rest had much to offer. The food court had a Vietnamese place with some excellent selections. I didn't even think of taking a photo of the dish. At least it was something different from diner fare.

There is a product expo associated with the AGU meeting but the displays are very different from the ones at the IT conferences I usually attend. Not a router or switch in sight. This is a remotely operated vehicle or ROV. It is tethered to a ship and controlled remotely. Power is fed down the tether and hd video is sent back to the operators. Interesting stuff. Lots of field instrumentation and book vendors. Plus organizations such as NASA, NOAA and NSF have booths. There was even a mockup of the new and improved Alvin deep sea submersible crew compartment so you can experience the claustrophobia firsthand.

Note the use of Apple iPads in this model. I think that there were 6 inside the mockup all running slideshows and movies. The new personnel sphere is 6 feet in diameter with 3 inches thick walls and made of titanium. It can withstand 650 atmospheres of pressure and there are five viewports. There were having a drawing for one of the old viewports from the old steel personnel sphere and even though it would have been a really cool treasure, I didn't enter. They do point out that even though the new sphere is much larger, you still can't stand up, you can't stretch out and there isn't a bathroom on board. Dedicated scientists only...

Monday, December 13, 2010

AGU Fall Meeting

Absolutely no moto content in this post. This week, I'm in San Francisco for the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall meeting at Moscone Center. This enclosed merry-go-round is at the Yerba Buena Gardens and to me it seems somewhat out of place. These first two pictures are taken from the same place. In other words, while riding on the horse of your choice, you can keep an eye on Moscone Center.

I think that there are something like 16,000 people at this conference. This is very unlike all of the other meetings and conferences I usually attend as there is almost no IT component. The focus is on reporting on science. Today, I must have walked about ten miles today just going up and down all of the rows just in the poster sessions and around the downtown area.

The Christmas decorations were out. This is Union Square taken from Powell Street towards the Macy superstore. Last night, there was some sort of concert going on as the place was packed. Not that it's ever really empty. Downtown San Francisco always seems really crowded and there seems to always be something going on. One thing about San Francisco is there is no shortage of are good places to eat. It is always a challenge to pick a place. Yesterday, I met the logistics manager from Barrow for dinner and we found a very good steak place. Today, I went to a 60's style diner with fairly typical diner fare.

Modest food but balanced by fairly modest prices, always a real issue anywhere in downtown San Francisco. I made a quick stop at the Apple's flagship store on Stockton Street to ask them about an issue with my laptop. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to get it to boot from the install DVD and it just sat there for hours. Of course, at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store, it booted up just fine. Oh well...

For the exercise (and the t-shirt), I signed up for the AGU 5K fun run on Wednesday morning. The real challenge is going to be getting to the start line by 7:15 AM. And I'm sure that it will be miserably cold.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Upgrades, Repairs and Maintenance

I finally got the heads sent out to Porters Beemershop in Castro Valley, CA. There wasn't much difference between UPS 2nd day and UPS ground much to my surprise, so they should be there sometime today. I have yet to get an estimate of the time for the repair but last Spring, I did get a good idea of the cost. Quite a bit of thought this last Summer went into trying to figure out if the repairs were worth it. After all, the bike is 27 years old and has over 60K miles on it. I think that I'll probably have this old bike for quite a while and one of these days, I would like to put a side car on it.

Upgrades or repairs
  • Replace the valves seats and valves for use with unleaded fuel
  • Replace the stock 280 watt charging system with a 450 watt aftermarket (this also gets rid of the diode board)
  • Find more appropriate tires for use on all of the dirt/gravel roads in the area
  • Adapt the stock luggage mounts to use with the Reynolds rear rack
  • Upgrade rear lighting as the single tail/brake light is pretty anemic
  • Supplemental front lighting
  • Rebuild and balance the carburetors or at least take a look inside the bowls
Winter maintenance
  • Replace brake fluid, engine oil/filter, transmission oil, driveshaft oil, final drive oil
  • Replace oil in the front forks
  • Replace front fork boots
  • Grease final drive splines
  • Check out all of the brake pads
An update from the Beemershop. About 3 weeks before shipping them back.