Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Back Home, Again...

I had lost low beam on the Ural last week on the way down from Murphy Dome. I pulled the headlight assembly to change the bulb but the bulb was fine. The plastic connector looks like it was running a bit warm. Napa had a replacement plastic connector so it was a quick fix. There are ceramic versions of this connector. Maybe I should order one sometime.

I looked through my selection of aluminum angle but don’t see the “right” size for fabricating mounts for the VW hydraulic steering stabilizer. Or maybe I’ll make a test version to see how much stress there will be on the mounts. I know that I have some heavier pieces but I can't seem to find them in the messy garage.

Bridget is getting ready to head out tonight for PA. Kind of an emergency trip. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Port Townsend, WA

This afternoon, we wandered a bit through historic Port Townsend. Our flight north isn’t until 9pm so we had a bit of free time. The only stress-inducing factor for me was traffic at the Hood Canal bridge. There was also a lot of traffic through Tacoma. I guess I don't deal with those kinds of uncertainties very well. These pictures were uploaded using the BlogTouch Pro app while walking around Port Townsend so this will be a short post. There was a lot of traffic as people were rushing to the ferry terminal. I'm told that traffic is always hectic these days near rush hour as well as the weekends.

There were some interesting buildings and ghost signs around the historic part of town. It was a challenge to find a parking space. Things like that seem to set me on edge these days. It would have been better for me to set time aside to wander around town instead of before we needed to drive to the airport.

We had lunch with my brothers family including the newlyweds. It was a very pleasant visit. Now back to Fairbanks...

Sunday, July 29, 2018


Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, the bridge west of Port Gamble needed to open up for a boat. Unlike a regular drawbridge, two section of the deck lifted up and sections slid under it opening up a passageway for the boat. The whole process took almost 30 minutes and traffic was backed up for miles in both directions. And this was around 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon and this is the only bridge.

We weren't really sure what kind of boat it was but it was grey like most Navy boats but it wasn't that large. After we got back on the road we passed miles of parked cars all the way to the Port Townsend turnoff. And we never reached the end of the like of cars.

Back at my cousin's home in Port Townsend, many people were working on flowers for the wedding. All of these were picked up at Pike's Street Market that morning. There were quite a few people working on the flowers.

The pano was taken on Sunday morning as we helped set up for the reception. The pavilion was right on the water with a very pleasant breeze all day long. The forecast was for the high 80s (°F) but we never saw those temperatures here all day. The wedding was held in a small church just a short walk away so it was nice not having to use the car just to run around locally.

Congratulations to Christy and Will! We had a great time at your celebration.

The sunset was taken from the reception venue.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bloedel Reserve

Today, we visited the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. The name kind of sounds like a bottle of wine. But it was a very nice nature preserve which started out as a privately owned estate. Not really like an arboretum or a botanical garden. The plants aren't labeled but are in labeled areas such a meadow, Japanese Garden, moss garden, reflection pool, etc. This was a nice place to spend the morning. All of the pictures in this post are from the Bloedel Reserve.

It was a great place to try out the different features of the camera on the phone. The one on the right, for example, was shot using the daylight portrait mode. Essentially highlighting the foreground by blurring the background. The very last one was using the live photo feature which combines a short video with a still frame and the chosen effect is simulating a long exposure. The effect can be seen in the blurred waterfall.

After the Reserve, we tried to go to the Point No Point lighthouse but the place was packed. No parking in either their lot and the overflow lot. The lighthouse is only staffed on Saturday afternoon for four hours. Pretty limited hours during tourist season.

After giving up on the lighthouse, We went on to my brother's house in Port Townsend. His brother-in-law, Jerry, was there and I ended up talking to him quite a bit. He and his wife are now full-time RVing in their 42' fifth wheel. So far, always staying in RV parks as that is their preference. No boondocking.

While Bridget helped with the flowers, I went with my brother and nephew to the wedding venue for the rehearsal. It's a beautiful location right near the water which should help with the warm weather being forecast for tomorrow afternoon.

After the rehearsal, we headed back to my cousin's home in Port Townsend where the thousands of flowers were being put into shape. It was good to visit. We didn't make it back to the hotel until almost 10pm.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bremerton, WA

Early Friday morning, we headed south on Alaska Air to Seattle. Rented a car and drove south through Tacoma then north up the Olympic Peninsula. I hadn't been to this part of Washington in a very long time. It's not on the way to/from Alaska. We stopped in Gig Harbor for lunch. Nice town (no pictures) but a ridiculous amount of traffic and they really overdid the traffic circles. More than anything else, that is what strikes me about the Seattle area so far on this trip is too much traffic.

We arrived in Bremerton, where we will be staying for the next several days, a bit early to check into the hotel. We parked near the harbor to walk along the waterfront and check out the fountain park. There was an old navy boat there with tours and a torpedo on display. The Puget Sound Navy Museum was between the ferry terminal and the shipyard and had some nice displays. It was free and even more importantly, air-conditioned.

We did not take the ferry from Seattle since we were not pressed for time at all. It runs right into downtown Seattle. I did take this ferry from Seattle about 29 years ago and it was a nice trip. Except for having to drive an RV through downtown Seattle traffic to get to the terminal. I'm sure that there are many people who love the liveliness and the excitement of cities but I am not one of them.

This modern rock sculpture is near the fountains and actually looks pretty cool. As do the fountains that are supposed to look like ships heading out to the ocean. We didn't really need to be here until tomorrow but when I purchased the ticket, the price difference was less than the extra day of hotel and rental car. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Misc. Rambling

Fairbanks has been really warm the last couple of days. Not miserably hot and/or humid like many other places in the country but hot for Fairbanks. Many places don't have real air conditioning systems. I stopped into my office at the university and folks there were melting from the heat. Many just opted to take time off than spend the time being miserable at the office. Today, it was only 83°F which is much cooler than it was earlier in the week.

These pictures are just some from my photo library that I didn't use in earlier postings. The first two are from the auto museum and the last two are from the gold dredge. Actually taken inside of the dredge itself. Kind of nice that they let you wander through it on your own. They do control the areas you can go to but not to the point of tightly controlling everything to appease some lawyer.

Now that our guests have left, things seem way too quiet around here. I've passed the 100-mile mark on the e-bike so I will do a review in a future post. The truck is in the shop getting the clutch replaced ($$$). It slipped several times on our last trip through Canada and once it starts to slip, it'll continue to get worse especially with heavy hauling. On the last trip, I could hear a bearing spinning on the engine and figured that either the water pump or the idler pulley was going south. It turns out to be the idler pulley and will have them replace the serpentine belt at the same time. The shop needs to order the parts for the clutch.

On Friday morning, Bridget and I are heading for Seattle for my niece's wedding. We are leaving plenty of time for wandering around the Olympic Peninsula. It should be a good trip and nice to be out and about again. Even if it is only for a few days. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Motoblogger Visit

On Friday afternoon, we went to Gold Dredge Number 8 with our four guests. Dom and Martha, and Chris and Lori. In the picture, we are on a replica of the narrow gauge Tanana Valley Railroad after we had tried our hand at panning for gold. I didn't do as well this time as back in May. In fact, the first bag of dirt that I was given didn't yield much of anything. The second bag had about $17 of gold or so they say.

On Friday evening, we rode up to the top of Ester Dome to get some sunset photos. Chris dug their bikes out of the Sprinter and Dom rode in the sidecar. I'm impressed at their setup for transporting the bikes and even more impressed when Chris rode the bikes up the ramp into the van. The next trip on Saturday afternoon, Dom rode Chris' Honda CB500X. My feeble attempt at a sunset photo is shown below. I don't think I took any photos at the top of Murphy Dome.

Before heading up to Murphy Dome, we stopped at the Harley/BMW/Honda shop for some free bratwurst and burgers to celebrate Justin's new position with BMW corporate. And Keith's new position as Justin's replacement.

On Sunday morning, Chris and Lori hitched up their RV and started their trek down the highway with plans of visiting some moto bloggers in Corvallis as well as other friends and family as they wander towards their home. We went to Chena Hot Springs and I was surprised at all of the changes at the resort. Lots of new landscaping, additions to buildings. The whole place just looked better than it has in the past.

The next picture is the creek running through the grounds in front of the large cabins.  I took the picture as a "Live Photo" mostly to play around with the effects. Specifically, the long exposure effect. It added too much blur to the water...

After CHSR, we visited the Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK, before having dinner at the Pagoda.

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. ;-)