Friday, July 20, 2018

Exploring Fairbanks

We visited the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks after spending the morning at the university botanical garden and the Large Animal Research Station aka LARS. This Model T with skis and tracks is easily my favorite vehicle on display.

There are a number of absolutely beautiful vehicles and, I believe, almost all of them are drivable. Clothes that match the period are also on display. 

Afterwards, we went to Pioneer Park (aka Alaskaland). Lots of little shops and an aircraft museum that I hadn’t visited in a really long time. 

You will find a much more in-depth post here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Senior Field Trip

Back to the laptop for a blog entry for the first time since Vancouver. The local credit union had a "senior field trip" to a peonies farm out in the Goldstream Valley and even chartered a bus for the long trip out. (Sarcasm here) It was 7 miles from the house. They had quite the selection and everyone was given their choice of two blossoms to take home.

This was a good opportunity to try out the camera on my new iPhone. Both of these pictures were taken in "portrait mode" which blurs the background using data from a second camera. It's kind of a cool effect trying to mimic shallow depth of field. The second camera is 2x the focal length and functions like a telephoto lens. The camera is reasonably fast at f1.8 and produces 12-megapixel images. All three cameras have optical image stabilization. Three meaning two on the back and one on the front.

Another driver for changing phones is that AT&T charged us $10/day for using the phone in Canada. Verizon includes service in Canada and Mexico.

On a related Apple technology note, the display on my Apple Watch was getting dimmer and dimmer to the point that it was no longer visible outside. So I'm back to my solar powered analog watch that has been running the whole time I've had the Apple Watch. The time was off by a minute in those three years since last used.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Big M Farm

This afternoon, Bridget and I went to the Big M farm near Nenana to pick honeyberries. I was really intrigued last year when they posted numerous pictures of the “long blueberries” as I had never heard of them before. We picked about 4 1/2 lbs. We also picked up some zucchini, kale and collards. Last summer, we missed the most of the berries but did get some yellow and red raspberries plus some candy roaster squash. I’m getting ready to freeze the berries as most recipes say that due to the high water content, freezing is recommended before using them.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Moose and Kayaking on the Chena

On Wednesday evening, we spotted a moose along the side of the road. Just an iPhone picture 

On Friday, Bridget got some more kayaking experience from a long time friend, Cheryl. They made it down to Pikes Landing. A great place for lunch. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Well, It’s Shiny

On a motorcycle, it would be called a “farkle”. Is it the same on a bicycle? The bike does have an electronic horn but it’s way too loud to use with pedestrians and cyclists. In Vancouver, a bell was a required item and it was used whenever you are getting ready to pass someone (always on the left). I was thinking of simply ordering something on Amazon but then you couldn’t hear what it sounded like. This little teapot bell is a little on the loud side but definitely has a friendlier sound than the horn. 

The bike also came with one bag that really didn’t fit that well on the rear rack. I think it’s supposed to fit on the handlebars. I tried the front panniers from my touring bike and they fit great on the rear rack. Less room in each but there are two of them. I installed the stainless steel hooks on the frame in an extra tapped hole in the rear dropouts. This is the second picture. These front panniers are almost forty years old and they actually got more use than the rear panniers since they were smaller and could be used on the rear rack as well as the front rack. I don’t think the company exists anymore but they made good gear. I had sold the rear panniers back in the 80’s since I rarely used them. The only other farkle will be a handlebar mounted water bottle cage that I just ordered.

Yesterday it wasn’t raining so I rode the bike to a coffee place then up to my office. There is a hill up to West Ridge that I never enjoyed cycling up. This time I passed up four other bikes up the hill and I wasn’t even breathing hard. My excuse to them for “cheating” as I breezed by them, was that I’m 62 and without this, I wouldn’t be riding. ;-)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ural Driveshaft Boot Replacement

How about some actual motorcycle content…

This rubber grease seal disappeared sometime last winter exposing the driveshaft splines to the elements. During the winter, not a problem, but the rain could wash dirt into the splines. Not good. I ordered a replacement from Ural NW and it’s been sitting on a shelf for a couple of months. I finally installed it today and also cleaned and greased the splines. While I was at it, I greased the rear wheel splines, the sidecar driveshaft splines and both U-joints on the sidecar driveshaft. The job only took about an hour but you end up pretty grimy when finished. 

Next moto task is to fabricate brackets for a new steering damper. The new style Ural hydraulic one has worn out again. This is already the second one worn in about 30k km. But there are some other non-moto tasks in line. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Afternoon in Nenana

Today, we spent much of the afternoon in Nenana, a small town abut 50 miles from Fairbanks on the Parks Highway. This is the train station which I don’t believe is actually in use anymore. The train still stops in Nenana but only to load/unload cruise passengers who aro on the non-cruise portion of their Alaska adventure. That is a guess based on seeing a couple of tour buses go by laden with people. 

The second picture explains that the north-south section of the Alaska Railroad was completed near here. The train is actually a great trip and you don’t need to sign up for a cruise to take it. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Merry Christmas

Bridget received an inflatable kayak last Christmas but this is her first opportunity to try it out. We are at a small lake that is part of the Chena Lakes flood control project. We had inflated it in the garage just to make sure we knew we had all the bits and pieces. It is a Sea Eagle SE-370 two man kayak designed for lakes and calmer rivers though the manufacturer claims it’s rated for class III whitewater. Me, who can’t swim, will pass…

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Back Home

On Tuesday morning, I rode down to College Coffeehouse as was my normal routine. Afterwards, I picked up a pre-made kale salad from Safeway and took it to the pavilion at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens on the University campus. Not to look at the flowers but to enjoy visiting with other IT staff members at their annual picnic. It was good to visit without needing to stay and go back to my office. I then washed the mud and grime from the truck. At least this was the first washing. Now that it’s dry, I can now see all the spots I missed. Maybe tomorrow.

I took the new pedal assist bike for a ride. Just to the University and back mostly to see how well it does on our hill. I used the pedal assist mode and had a great ride. Much faster than I can pedal but it definitely works better when you do pedal and not simply rely on the motor. On the Farmers Loop bike path I was able to easily average around 17 mph. The thumb throttle is most useful when starting from a stop before you start pedaling. On the subdivision road where I usually end up walking (steep uphill), I was able to pedal + motor at around 12 mph. In fact, I passed up our driveway and continued up to the top of the road just because I could! Still, it was 75°F and I was very warm when I arrived back home. The bike path had a lot of gravel and sandy stretches and the nice, fat tires rolled through those sections easily. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

31 - Fairbanks, AK

I finally sat down and figured out how many trips to or from Alaska. These are one way trips since several were only one way. This was trip number 30 with the first trip in 1976. I was originally guessing around 24 but I guessed low. Vehicles used: FJ40 Landcruiser, Honda Accord, Toyota pickup, Chinook class C motor home on Toyota chassis, Ford F350 crew cab, F350 w/13’ travel trailer, F350 w/11’ cabover camper, Suburban w/18’ travel trailer, Dodge 3500, Toyota Sienna, BMW RT, Ural Patrol, Dodge 3500 w/5th wheel trailer.

We arrived back home around 5. After unpacking some stuff, I checked to make sure the Ural and Prius started. The Prius needs a trickle charger on the 12V battery as the computers are a constant drain. I simply plugged the car in an into a timer set to 3 hours per day. Just a guess. 

I was back in time for the monthly Airhead get together at the Howling Dog. Lee had his freshly painted /2 there though he said it still needed some mechanical attention. The first picture is a cool cargo trailer towed by a trike. This was at Fast Eddy’s in Tok. Fantastic salad bar!

The last picture is a screen capture of the Spotwalla map. I’d call the SWconnect tracking a success. It doesn’t have the “work anywhere” feature of a Spot or DeLorme satellite tracker but for saving tracks on a map, it seems to work fine. 

30 - Haines Junction, YT

Happy Canada Day!

Today, July 1st, is Canada Day and it is a long weekend. When Bridget went looking for pet friendly motels, there wasn’t a lot of choice. A bit further down the road would’ve been ideal but she found a very modestly priced room in Haines Junction. And it has a Chinese restaurant on site. It’s called Glacier View but there are no (more) views of glaciers. My first time through here in 1976, there were a number visible on the surrounding mountains. 

A lot of scattered showers today sometimes getting pretty heavy. Except when we are in a town, traffic is pretty minimal. After Whitehorse, a lot more cars all going fast. And, like most summers, a lot of vehicle clusters moving out of Alaska. Usually a truck pulling a trailer loaded with “toys” followed by a U-Haul truck followed by a mini van. 

The first picture is the view north from the parking lot. Still showering. The second is the mountains behind the hotel. Yesterday, I spotted nine bear. Today, only one. Only one more travel day to go...