Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey Day

The NWS forecast was for maybe 2” of snow, we got a little bit more than that. This picture from our living room window was taken this morning. There is now a couple more inches. I did get the driveway plowed last night and again this afternoon so getting out of our driveway wasn’t an issue. I did get asked at coffee this morning why I wasn’t having my mom ride in the sidecar. After all, it was above 0°F. I had no real excuse except laziness on my part. Especially now that the grader came through our subdivision.

Thursday started out early as I volunteered to cook breakfast at a local church. Then came home and started making side dishes for dinner. A good friend is bringing the turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce. Other than that, not much going on.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Welcome to Winter

We usually have our first real cold spell right around Thanksgiving and, apparently, this year is no different. Right now, Tuesday, it is above 0°F and snowing. My mom will be visiting for the next couple of months and today we ventured out to College Coffeehouse. It was -16°F when we left the house and significantly warmer a couple of hours later. 

Not much else going on. I only have a couple more hours on the IPv6 video plus need to add some titles, credits and lower thirds but most of the hard work is done. Trying to get independent audio and video streams to be in sync and adding in slides proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. Plus there were a lot of slides. Some PDF and some PowerPoint.

Happy American Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Progressive IMS

Believe it or not but this was completely unplanned. The Progressive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) was at the Long Beach Convention center this weekend. I thought about attending on Friday but ended up going on Saturday. It was a pretty big setup with most manufacturers having large booths with a lot of bikes to try on for size. Harley was the only manufactuer with huge clamps on the front wheels to keep the bikes from tipping over. BMW had several of the new 310 cc models that are rumored to be available. The GS version was about as tall as the G650GS. I also tried out the Suzuki 250 V-Strom (I hadn't heard anything about that) and several Honda small bikes.

There were a number of show bikes including this shiny sidecar rig. Most of the show bikes were too odd to even be considered "cool" at least in my opinion, but maybe that’s my age showing. The Ural was sort of represented at the show by the Ventura dealer having four rigs there with a small selection of accessories on display. They were a lot of people interested in their offerings but kind of put off by the price and lack of performance. Maybe this wasn't the right crowd.

This rig was the very first bike you saw when entering the hall. There was a modest sized vintage display and this was part of it. Scooters were represented in the vintage display as well as by Honda and Vespa. Plus some huge scooters by BMW and some Italian brands that I didn't recognize.

This bike sporting chains was also in the vintage section surrounded by a bunch of people claiming that it was all for show as it was impossible to ride in the snow. Who was I to argue with them in their leather regalia.

I enjoyed the IMS as it was an opportunity to try out a lot of bikes for size. I've heard a lot about the CSC bikes but have never seen one "in person". And like just about every other bike there except the Grom, I was on tiptoes when I tried it out for size. I’m impressed with the CSC. They seem as well finished as anything else on the floor for a fraction of the price.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Yesterday was spent at Disneyland. For me, mostly at California Adventure since I had never been there before. It is built on what used to be the Disneyland parking lot. We met some friends of Bridget’s oldest son who got us park hopper passes for the day. Very generous of them as they are limited to the number of such passes in any given year. They get them as an employee benefit. We had a wonderful day exploring THPOE aka "The Happiest Place on Earth" and finished the day at the laser/water show (video to be added later). In spite of the crowds, I still enjoy the Disney parks. This one opened in 2001 which shows how long it’s been since I last visited. Actually, I was in the area about four years ago attending an Educause conference but was “strongly encouraged” not to go into the park. I didn’t and just spent an evening exploring Downtown Disney. 

Most of the photos of the day are still on my camera. I'm working on the IPv6 video today so I'll take a look at the pictures later. These photos, including the video, are from the iPhone. This one from the Little Mermaid ride was pretty dark. I was just curious how the phone would do. With the exception of the Cars ride, we mostly went to the less busy attractions. Some other guests clued us in on the "single rider" line for Cars. They seat three to a row and they fill the 3rd seat from the single rider line. Instead of a forty-five-minute wait, it was closer to ten minutes.

The Soaring ride may be my favorite. It was like you were flying over, under, through all of these well-known locations around the world such as Kilimanjaro, the Eifel Tower, the Great Wall, and Monument Valley. A very cool ride made even more interesting by the scents and mist coming out of vents towards you as while traversing the sites. We actually waited the forty minutes for that ride.

For me, the most disturbing part was a sore knee. This has never been an issue in the past even when walking three times the distance. Yesterday was only about nine miles. A distance I used to walk on an almost daily basis.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WTRE in Fairbanks

This afternoon, there was a get together for the group of four KLR with home-crafted side cars, Where the Road Ends. They left Prudhoe Bay on Saturday (I think) and arrived in Fairbanks last night (Monday). Rich, the rider from Fairbanks shown in the picture, thanked me for the Grip-Stud recommendation though he only had them on the rear tire of his bike. He mentioned that he looked all over Fairbanks for more but couldn’t find any. I still had around a hundred left from my last order so they bought whatever I had. I also mentioned that Goldstream Sports had the smaller ones in stock. One of the employees was there and showed the size they had in stock and if they wanted some, she would open the store early for them tomorrow.

Most of them were using the screw style studs and were sliding all over the road. I mentioned that they only seemed to last around 20-30 miles before wearing out. That seemed to be their experience as well. JedR, one of the Fairbanks Ural riders, transported some of their rigs from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay in his trailer. They also have a support van and equipment trailer. I’m not sure what is actually being carried in the sidecar rigs. For cost reasons, they opted to design and build their own sub-frames and sidecars. They do seem very sturdy though the small wheel on the sidecar seemed an odd choice.

The sidecars will be dropped off as soon as they are done with the snow and ice. Initial plans were to drop them off in the Pacific Northwest. I wish the group the best of luck and will be following their adventures. Especially the notorious Darian Gap. Total trip duration is expected to be five months. Much more info is on their website and the following promotional video.

Friday, November 10, 2017

No Riding

It’s been a hectic week. And the Ural is still tucked in the back of the garage though now it is no longer surrounded with 540 lbs of gravel. All of that is not in the bed of the truck for snowplow ballast. Plus the truck handles much better on the slippery roads. When I tried to pull the tarp off of the plow, it was held down by a large block of ice formed from rain dripping off the roof and pooling on the tarp. The plow was moved into the garage to allow the block to thaw a bit. After a little prompting with an ice chisel, it broke loose.

The weather is less than ideal for riding. Many of the side roads have a layer of ice which is now covered with snow. Not as slick as it was while we were out of town but still bumpy with lots of ruts frozen into the ice.

This first picture was taken from the Butrovich Building at the university. I had stopped by my office to look for my old HP 32S calculator. You are not allowed to use the iPhone calculator during the amateur radio test and there are a number of questions where you need trig functions, log functions, exponents, and square roots. Much easier with a calculator and, in my case, easier if the calculator uses RPN (reverse polish notation). I haven’t used the calculator for over ten years. But the batteries are surprisingly still good!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Heading Home

It was raining in PA when we left this morning. It was raining in Chicago as we passed through. And it’s now raining/sleeting in Seattle. Not very nice traveling weather. Actually “passing through” Chicago isn’t really a good description. American Airlines refused to check our luggage through to Alaska so we had to retrieve our checked bags and re-check them in on Alaska Airlines. The rub was that they weren’t open for several hours. So we hogged a table at the Starbucks next to baggage claim for several hours. 

On Saturday evening, I did get a chance to visit an old friend that I knew in Fairbanks back in the early ‘80s. He was originally from Lancaster and opted to return there. We is a very talented carpenter/artist as evidenced by the canoe. Unfortunately, it was a short visit as we needed to get packed for our 5am departure for the airport.

This post was done using BlogTouch Pro on the iPad. If you tried clicking on the wonderful rainy window photo you’ll see that nothing happens. The app uploads smaller versions of the picture to conserve bandwidth. I don’t think that there is a better solution. Someone suggested Blogo but it won’t stay running for more than a minute at a time each time creating a new blank draft post. Not very functional for me. This is on an iPad Pro.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

E-Town, PA

On Wednesday afternoon, we arrived in Elizabethtown, PA, after a very early flight out of Chicago. This is not where we are staying but I thought that it was a pretty impressive building when driving up the entrance road. I ended up walking out later as there wasn’t anyplace to park the car. Shoulders on roads seem to be rare in this state. Why waste all the extra asphalt on an unnecessary bit of road. 
Oh well, I needed the exercise anyway. The weather forecast for today claims 70°F for the high. It felt really warm on my morning stroll at 58°F probably due to the lack of wind. West Chicago felt really cold with the wind and humidity. Right now, I’m enjoying sitting in a screened in porch on the third floor of a housing unit overlooking the local countryside. It really is a nice area to visit. 
On Thursday afternoon, we went to Hershey, PA, to visit the Chocolate Town store. Lots of chocolate including some varieties that aren’t available anywhere else. Such as the coffee mocha Hershey Kiss. The guy handing out samples said that they were “made right here in Hershey”. I told him that according to the animated TV commercial, all of them were made here. He replied with “you can’t always believe what you see on TV”.

But we did find Fall (again) but this time with some red. Something besides the boring yellows of Alaska. A lot of trees haven’t changed yet but it’s not like we are going to be sitting around waiting for the color change. And the forecast was right on. It’s 70°F right now at 3:30pm. Pretty nice. Especially when compared to the ice storms we keep hearing about back in Fairbanks.

This post was done on the iPad and to get the formatting I wanted, I needed to use the BlogPad Pro app to upload the photos, BlogTouch Pro for easy text entry, and Mobile Safari to fix the html formatting errors generated by BlogPad Pro. And even then, the pictures are still lower resolution versions. Someone needs to write a good iPad, Blogger compatible posting program. There seems to be good WordPress apps but no Blogger apps. I prefer Blogger due to the Google authentication for commenting. For some reason, that seems to be missing in WordPress. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Another Day, Another Flight

There was a lot of traffic in the Chicago freeways at 6am. Where is everyone going? We are back in the airport waiting for an American Airlines flight to PA. Here at O’Hare, TSA has there act together especially when compared to Fairbanks. It was a long line but it was moving almost continuously. Plus, just like before all your stuff remains packed. No complaints here.