Monday, December 10, 2018

Short Days

More Fairbanks winter temperatures today. And a light dusting of snow from sometime last night. I went ahead and rode to ACRC (Alaska Coffee Roasting Company) and met a handful of people there before heading to the university to check on the status of a work order. The fusion drive in my 27" iMac died sometime during our last road trip. I use the iMac as a host to get access to network resources in Utqiaġvik. We replaced the fusion drive with an SSD. Half of the drive space but so much faster. Granted, I could just check the status of the work order on the website but I'd rather check in-person.

This was about 10:30am or about 10 minutes before sunrise. This is from the parking lot entrance to the Butrovich building where my office is still located. I still have a few more errands to run around town. Today was the first time in a couple of years that I actually used the rubber face mask and visor heat that are part of the Bombardier modular helmet. The last couple of times riding, the visor was fogging up. The face mask redirects your breath through vents on the side of the helmet to help minimize fogging. The good news is that everything is working for a change. Both heated gloves, both heated grips, heated liner, and heated visor. In the past, it seems like there was always something not working. So very toasty while riding around.

And this sunset photo was taken at 2:30pm from our back deck. Not a very long day, eh? 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Winter Days...

It's starting to feel like winter around here and I'm not sure that this is a good thing. This mornings ride was a little cold since I hadn't bothered to look for the flannel lined jeans since we've been back nor wore the Roadcrafter. I went out at about 10:30 to take a picture of the Ural covered with snow but it wasn't even sunrise yet. Only a couple more weeks before the days start to get longer.

Today, we finally ventured into the Fairbanks Costco. It has been open since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving but given the pent-up demand for a warehouse type store since Sam's Club closed last Spring, I didn't even want to venture near there. The store was a bit crowded and the number of items carried seemed significantly more than Sam's. And we probably got a few more items than we really needed.

I'm writing this post on a Lenovo Helix. It is one of those ultrabook/tablet combo machines where you can "eject" the keyboard and just use the touchscreen. I had picked it up several years ago for the techs to use in Barrow as many of them seemed to prefer a Windows machine. I've since upgraded it to Windows 10 and it's a completely useable laptop. Less useable as a tablet. Recently, I've used it to run the Radioddity software to program the DMR radio as the software is Windows only. The keyboard is much nicer to type on than the recent Mac laptops.

Since the Helix is getting a little old, I am going to try out one of the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 devices. I've only played with them in the store but have met quite a few people who really like them. I ordered it with the keyboard cover but not the stylus. The Helix has a stylus but I rarely use it. I have an Apple Pencil to use with the iPad Pro but rarely use it. I'm not the artistic type. 

Friday, December 7, 2018


Remember when flying somewhere was fun? Or at least something you looked forward to? I don’t remember that anymore. We arrived in Fairbanks at 2:00 am after a six hour flight across the country, a four hour wait in Seattle, and another three or so hours up to Fairbanks. It was a long day. I used to think flying somewhere was a great adventure. Not just to visit somewhere new but the trip itself. I still look forward to seeing new places but don't enjoy the flying part. According to Alaska Airlines, I've flown with them over 730,000 miles. These days, I'd rather drive...

On Friday, I went to the ACRC (coffee place) and met up with a couple of regulars and also met a long time friend JohnP. He was back in Alaska as part of the "not be out of the state for more than 90 days" rule. It is a very comfortable 20°F and actually feels warmer than the windy days in Pennsylvania and Virginia. It was a nice riding day. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Day 10 - Heading Home

Here are just a couple more pictures from Colonial Williamsburg that I ran into while looking on the phone. Around noon today, we head for the Baltimore, MD, airport for our flight back to Alaska. As you may figure out, the flight gets into Fairbanks in the middle of the night so this is going to be a long day. Just a horse drawn cart that we saw on Tuesday morning along the palace green. It wasn’t moving much and I wasn’t sure if it was a “ride” like the horse drawn carriages.

This was a harpsichord that was being built from scratch and not one that was being repaired. In the front room of the cabinetmakers shop there was another harpsichord that was also built “new” that you could play. Pretty cool instruments. I believe that they are constructed and sold for fund raising as I heard that Colonial Williamsburg wasn’t doing very well financially. A lot of employees are needed to keep a place like this running.

I may add more to this post from the airport but it is scheduled to post while we are in the air between BWI and SEA.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Day 9 - Burke, VA

This picture was taken at a mall in Fredericksburg, VA, where we stopped for lunch. There seem to be some fast food places that some people are fanatic about such as In-N-Out Burger and Chick-Fil-A. We found a Chick-Fil-A in a shopping mall food court. There was actually a line of about twenty people versus no lines at any of the other vendors. That seemed like a good sign. Juicy, tender chicken in a sandwich and delicious chicken noodle soup. I’d go back.

On I-95, we were snowed on for about fifty miles but nothing was sticking to the road. After our lunch stop, we had blue skies and slightly warmer temperatures and no more snow. I didn’t want to deal with snow in a rental car. The above picture is of a fountain with LEDs along what would be the water path. After staying in Burke tonight, we head back to Fairbanks tomorrow afternoon.

I am trying a new iPad and Mac app called Duet that allows you to use an iPad as a second display on a Mac. It works pretty well. It was half price at the app store today so I figured that it was worth a try. There is another app called Luna that requires a USB dongle and WiFi. This just uses the Lightning cable. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Day 8 - Colonial Williamsburg

We visited the cabinetmaking shop and I was a little bit surprised that there were no water powered tools. This is a lathe and it looks like it’s foot powered. The shop repairs furniture but the bulk of their “business” is making suitable furniture for use within the village. Such as chairs that look like the originals but can actually be used.

Another stop was in the kitchen of the Govenor’s Palace. At this time they were demonstrating how they take the cacao pod and make chocolate bars. These bars are not candy bars but closer to cooking or baking chocolate and used for drinks. Such as in milk, water, and wine. Due to the caffeine content, it was never given to children. Chocolate was an adult beverage.

We also toured the Palace. The tour guide said that intimidation was the intent. Not only from the number of swords and muskets in this, the first room a visitor would enter. Flanking this room is the parlor on one side and the butler’s pantry on the other. Other rooms were decorated with velvet wallpaper and gold leaf covered paper mâché trim. The implied meaning was if we (England) could afford to decorate our houses like this just imagine how we could throw money defeating whatever uprising you can come up with.

The swords in the entryway were both these with the basket style guards as well as simpler ones with brass hilts. It was a very impressive display.

This is the Martha Washington character during the time when George Washington was a major. Lots of stories. At this time, we were in the kitchen garden with terraced gardens.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Day 7 - Colonial Williamsburg

Here are some scenes of the fireworks aka “The Grand Illumination”. The fireworks lasted for over fifteen minutes and from where we were sitting on the Palace Green, we had a great view with the Governor’s Palace in the background. There were three simultaneous, synched shows located at different locations within Colonial Williamsburg. I like having the Palace as a background for the fireworks.

The first is a test of an animated “Live View” iPhone photo that’s been converted to a loop. I’m just curious whether it’ll work. The second is a short phone video that’s been uploaded to YouTube, also done on the phone and uploaded while waiting to exit the parking lot. Estimated attendance was around 28,000 which translates to long lines.

I guess “Live Photo” is not supported by Blogger. Here is the same photo converted to a video by Google Photo.

Otherwise, today was an off day. Bridget and her brother are going through old pictures and other paperwork left by their parents.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Day 6 - Williamsburg, VA

This morning, it was warm (60°F) but overcast with a bit of fog. This is the view from the small deck off of the living room of one of the greens on the adjacent golf course. Yesterday, there were a handful of golfers coming through but not today. We are staying at a very nice time-share condo and, until you go into the parking lot, it feels like you are the only one here. No sounds except for the heat pump.

We arrived about 2:30 and it was difficult to find a parking space. We ended up at the visitors center and taking the shuttle into the historic town. Jim and Sharon had purchased seats to watch the entertainment and the fireworks show. At this point, I’m still not sure what to expect.

There was some entertainment (not period) while waiting. I think this is a local jazz group. They were introduced as being from Williamsburg. Yesterday, there was a DJ in a tent playing distorted, over-amplified rock music and it seemed really out of place. This isn’t too bad especially with the blue skies and some nice vocals.

There was a period Williamsburg ghost story by the cast member normally playing James Madison (I think).

This is a short video as the local WiFi is overloaded. Using Verizon for the upload. The second very short video was playing around with time-lapse on the iPhone.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Day 5 - Colonial Williamsburg

Being the weekend, there were a lot more people here at Williamsburg than there were yesterday. I hear that tomorrow is going to be a zoo but the event, called The Grand Illuminations, is on Bridget’s bucket list. One of these years I need to get one of those lists.

This is the magazine, I believe. Where weapons and gunpowder was stored.

We are guessing that this drum and fife group was a local group from a school. I guess the normal group has red uniforms. I guess marching band is a little different around here.

After walking around for the afternoon, I’m pretty exhausted. Tomorrow, we head back again. The Grand Illumination is when all of the Christmas lights are turned on and a big fireworks display. I heat that it is a big deal.

Shortly after we arrived, we noticed this Ural with Santa and elf. It was a carbureted 1wd version. When Bridget mentioned that we had a Ural in Alaska, he asked how a Ural ended up in Alaska. And was amazed when I mentioned that there was a dealer there. Lots of pictures were taken of the rig by others. He should have been charging for pictures.