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Friday, December 6, 2019

Warm November...

While the Alaska Climate Center apparently never got around to posting their October summary, they had the November climate report done today. Go figure!

Weather summary for November 2019 for Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mean monthly temperature was 13.2°F, which was 10.6°F above normal.The maximum temperature was 38°F on the 22nd, while the minimum temperature was -11°F on the 9th and 19th.
The total monthly precipitation was 1.8", which was 1.2" above normal. Snowfall totaled 23.7" for November, while the snow depth was 14" near month's end.

Been trying to get out and get some decent late afternoon shots, since this is the time of year when the low angle of the sun (it's around 3°) provides interesting lighting. But I guess I either have to get out earlier, cut down some trees on the property, or head up to the top of the ridge to get something decent. Well maybe next time, or the time after that. So anyways, here's todays sunset shot, such as it is.

Friday, November 29, 2019

More Snow...

We keep getting more snow, half a foot or more this week, so it seems I'm either plowing snow, running dogs, or taking out the Ski Doo to work on the trail. Have extended it out to the creek crossing, where it now loops back, giving the dogs a longer run.
Heading down the trail extension, it's always good to get out and run more miles.
Taking a break after the turn around. Next week I'll check out the creek crossing, have to be more careful this time cause last year I fell through the ice. Probably have to build a ramp down from the high bank onto the creek unless the bridge is salvageable (Solstice Bridge 12/22/18).

Been waiting for the Alaska Climate Center to post their weather summary for October, but nothing's up yet. So here's the NWS summary with a graph from the USGS Little Chena River site.

National Weather Service's monthly weather summary, October 2019, for Fairbanks, Alaska.

October followed the September's pattern of above normal temperatures but also had above normal precipitation. The warmest temperatures of the month occurred on the 1st and 28th when it reached 48° F. The coldest temperature was 15° on the 15th. The average temperature for the month was 31.7° which was 7.5° above normal.

Precipitation totaled 1.58" for October which was 0.85" above normal. The greatest daily precipitaion was 0.40" on the 2nd. Snowfall totaled 3.3" for the month.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Getting Dogmatic...

With the recent snowfall, been able to finish the work on the sled trail and finally get the dogs out for a run.
Heading up the hill, the dogs stopped whenever they felt like it, so not the best run ever, but still good enough to get them out again.
Back in the yard, the older dogs acted a little tired but the younger ones seemed ready to run some more.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Out on the trail...

With the 8" of snow we got last week, figured it was time to put the sled dog trail in. After 3 days of plowing snow, it was a treat to do something else for a while. The neighbor who walks his dog up on the ridge told Andy there were some trees down on the trail, so took the chain saw along. But it wasn't bad, there was only one big dead spruce that had to be cut away and it should provide lots of firewood. After clearing it out of the way it was an easy run out into the valley.
Then found a clearing and made a loop back to the trail. It's still way too rough to run the dogs on the tussocks down there and the ice at the creek and pond crossings would be questionable. So will head back down here once we get a little more snow and check it out further.
Stopped on the way back to cut up a down spruce that I ran over all last winter. Just shows how much more snow we had then.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

All Chained Up...

After the "pineapple express" came through and melted all the snow, figured it was a good time to get some wood in. Andy had seen some dead spruce on the lower lot, so chained-sawed a bunch up, hauled it back to the yard and split it. Also got some birch from a tree that fell near the dog trail and an aspen that was down on the power line. Got it all stacked up just before the snow hit.
With the snow falling, removed the splitter from the tractor, hooked up the back blade, and then chained up the tractor. It was the usual circus, one chain went on fine, the other kept slipping off, wound up going on upside down, and took three tries to get it right. Now I know why Carl leaves his chains on year round!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Pineapple Express...

No, not the stoner movie, this is the weather pattern where an atmospheric river created by the polar jet stream dipping south to the tropics, then curves back north to Alaska. It can transport huge amounts of water vapor, resulting in heavy rainfall and much warmer than normal temps. (Wikipedia)
So now all the snow that's fallen this month is rapidly melting and soon we'll be back to the sloppy mud we had in late Sept.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bleepin' George...

Posted this on another site ( as Goodbye George, a tale of woe and intrigue. Got some good feedback, so figured might as well have it here too.

George Rahn was the long time BMW dealer in Fairbanks. Not sure when he started out, but he was well established by the mid 70's when I moved here. His shop was an old barn and a collection of sheds behind his house on a side street off College Rd. The only indication it was there was an old, faded BMW sign.

In summer or winter, you'd see him putting around town on his R50 with it's flatbed sidecar. But George was a character with a heart of gold. He'd open the shop night or day to help out the BMW riders who passed through Fairbanks every summer to supply a needed part, fix a broken motor, or change a worn tire. But if you walked into his shop and said or did something he didn't like, he'd rip you a new one and send you on your way. I know cause I was on the receiving end once and kept my thoughts to myself after that.

When he got to be near 80, he had slowed down a bit, and while he'd taken on selling Royal Enfield, he decided to sell the BMW dealership to the local Harley dealer. Now the Farthest North Harley Outpost, as it was called, was originally run by a character almost as idiosyncratic as George. But when he died, his son sold the dealership to a group of local businessmen, They moved it from a small back door shop to a huge new showroom. They added Polaris and then BMW to the growing business.

So a few years after that, George had a stroke, then went downhill pretty fast. The last time I saw him was at the old College coffee shop. He didn't remember me at first, but when we got to talking, he warmed up when I mentioned the wife's Enfield, George liked the ladies, so then he remembered who I was. I said I'd stop by the shop when I was leaving, but his lady friend pulled me aside and told me no, not for awhile yet, he needed to get to feeling better. Well that didn't happen, the next time I heard about George was seeing his obit in the paper.

So then the Harley shop announced it was holding a wake for George in conjunction with the local BMW Airheads group. Now I wasn't too involved with either one, but I knew George since my wife had a bought an Enfield from him, so figured we'd both go. I called a couple of friends for moral support and we all headed over to the wake. On the way, the clutch cable on the T started to go, it was holding on by just a couple of strands, so diverted to my friend John's house and he let me take his '03 Stone.

When we got there, the place was packed, there must have been over 50 bikes, they even had guys out in the parking lot directing traffic. When we got inside, I saw a lot people who I hadn't seen in years, it was a bittersweet reunion, for sure. People were getting up telling stories about George, it went on for quite a while, until pretty much what was said was done and people started to leave.

So we went out a side door to the parking lot, saying our goodbyes to a bunch of people, when two "Men in Black" came out and hopped on a pair of Harleys they'd parked right by the door. Giving us the "stink eye" look, they fired up their Harleys and the noise was incredible. Straight pipes blasting into the side of the building and echoing into the parking lot, I remember taking a step or two back as the cacophony overwhelmed us. They sat there for what seemed like an eternity, revving their unmuffled motors, maybe they lacked proper chokes? IDN, but after several minutes and few more stink eye looks, they roared away. I think I said something like "well that was something" to the guy standing next to me, but he just shrugged, as if to say, "well what do you expect? " So that was George's final send off, getting bleeped by a couple of dirt bags.

George in happier times; after he sold the BMW dealership, he rode a Royal Enfield Bullet hitched to a Cozy Rocket sidecar. I'm sure his dog appreciated the comfort! (photo:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


After rototilling the garden, put the back hoe on the tractor and started digging stumps.
Now removing most of the stumps are unremarkable, the rotten ones fall apart and and come out easy, the green ones fight you all the way and can take some serious digging to remove. But the most interesting one was where some spruce roots had grown around the base of the tool shed stairs and jacked them up so now the door won't close.
I had cut the main root with the chainsaw, but with the limited space to dig, couldn't get the entire root out. Looks like a job for the man hoe!

Saturday, October 5, 2019


Had snow again today, the third time this fall. It snowed last week when I was driving down to Delta, but I wasn't here, so maybe that doesn't count? Then it snowed about half an inch two days ago, but again, I was in town and it melted before I got home, so today was the first snow here, for me anyway.
This one will probably melt off, like the first two. Expect we won't get the permanent snowpack for a awhile yet.
Update Sun. AM...Looks like about 4 inches of heavy, wet snow overnight. The forecast is for more next week, so maybe this is the beginning of the winter's snowpack.
Last year at this time I rode the Guzzi to the "air heads" meeting, well not this time!
Here's the NWS summary for September...
Unlike August, September 2019 returned to the summer's previous pattern of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. The warmest temperatures of the month occurred on the 2nd and 13th when the temperature reached 73° F. The coldest temperature was 27° on the 24th, while the 22nd was the first day below freezing. The average temperature for the month was 48.4°, which was 3.5° above normal
Rainfall totaled 1.04" for September, which was 0.06" below normal. The greatest daily rainfall was 0.35" on the 29th. Unlike many previous Septembers, there was no measurable snowfall this month.
Update 2. The Climate Center finally got around to posting their September summary.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Back to the Black Again...

It snowed some on the drive down from Fairbanks and the mountains had a fresh coating.

The survey site at Black Rapids, alway a great view.

Here's Mike by his name sake boat. Did a great job, like always. getting us around on the river.
Looking upstream at the upper survey site.
Mike programming the doppler meter before doing the survey.
A dust storm from the glacial silt blowing around in the valley; it sure was windy out there!

The clouds cleared off the second day and the Alaska Range was out in all it's glory.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Down by the river...

With the rains of August over, it's the time of year to take advantage of the decent fall weather and get out there. One frequent ride is to head down to the Chena River. The turn out at the river is often crowded on weekends, but during the week you can get the whole place to yourself.

On a stretch of road where it crosses the flats, there's a place to pull off where you occasionally can see geese, ducks or even a moose out in the marsh. But not today.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fall has fell...

While the leaves started to change  colors a week or so ago, they really started to fall today when the wind got to blowing.
But the temps have warmed up some the last few days, so we're finally getting decent fall weather. Finished painting the trim on the garage, so at least got one thing done this month.

Rode the 850T out to the "air heads" meeting in Fox yesterday and it was a pleasant ride. Hopefully this warm spell will last for a while and make up for the crummy August weather.
Here's the NWS monthly summary...
August 2019 was slightly cooler and a lot wetter than normal. The warmest day of the month occurred on the 7th when the temperature reached 74° F. The coldest temperature was 33° on the 25th. The average temperature for the month was 55.6°, which was 0.5° below normal.
Rainfall totaled 5.58 inches, which was 3.7 inches above the normal, and occurred on 22 days in August.
Alaska Climate Research Center