Sunday, September 16, 2018

Is It Fall Yet...

Well according to the calendar, it's not fall until the equinox, but still...
We had our first frost last week.

The leaves have pretty much changed colors.

While the dogs are seriously digging holes...

We're trying to finish the last of the summer projects.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Weather Summary for August 2018

August was relatively cool and unusually wet in Fairbanks. Mean monthly temperature was 55.5°F, which was 0.6°F below normal. The observed maximum temperature was 72.0°F on the 12th and the minimum temperature was 37.0°F on the 31st of the month.
The total monthly precipitation was 4.2", which was 2.3" above normal. The highest daily rainfall was 1.0" on the 5th.
From the Alaska Climate Center

Kept waiting for the Aug. warm spell, there's usually a week or so of near 80°, but didn't happen. Maybe we'll get some nice Indian summer weather this month.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Burt's Bikes...

Finally finished the two reports I'd contracted for one of the "alphabet agencies" (Odd Jobs 6/14/18), so am back to wasting time on the internet. One article I ran across is about Burt Munro. For those who don't know, he was a New Zealand motorcycle builder and racer who set land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats when he was close to 70, using a much modified 1920 Indian Sport Scout.
 Burt Munro at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.

There was a movie made of his life, "The World's Fastest Indian". While the bike scenes were great, the rest of the movie was well, not so much. One interesting thing, for me at least, was that they made two replicas of his streamliner for the movie. One, for close ups of the bike,  had a replica of the 1920 Indian motor in it; the other, for the speed runs at the salt flats, used a modified Ducati motor.
One of the replica streamliners used for the movie "The World's Fastest Indian."

But the most interesting part of the article is that Polaris Industries, who builds the latest version of the Indian motorcycle, are now sponsoring a Bonneville speed record bike using their current engine. Read about here:

The bike that is being run for the Speed Week trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats .

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Back together...

No, not like some long lost friends, but the '72 Triumph (Heads Ups 5/24/18). While it took three months, there were lots of spells where it sat untouched, so maybe spent 80 hours on it. The funniest part was the missing push rod tube, which I had to order on eBay, was sitting in the battery box. It wasn't until after I'd installed the head and lifted the seat to look at the wiring that I found it. So now I've got an extra set, since I found a used pair that were cheaper to buy than one new one.

This is the bike on the left in the fourth photo of the previous post. Not sure what's next, probably put an ad on Craigslist and see if anybody wants it. Be nice to have a little more room in the garage, maybe be able to work on the pickup inside someday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Back In the Day...

Got some photos from my friend Phil from "back in the day". He moved outside Alaska a while back and it looks like he's been busy, digitizing some old prints.
In the late 70's, there was a group that hung around one of the local bike shops. While it sold mostly euro brands, their speciality was British bikes. Over time, the shop closed down, but the group still kept in touch. Sometime in the mid 80's, can't remember when, we got to talking about having a Brit bike ride, cause by then, almost nobody was riding their older bikes. So surprisingly, since talk often goes nowhere, it happened.

That first year there were only about ten Brit bikes with maybe 13 total. There was only one rule, while everyone was welcome, the Jap bikes had to ride in the back. Of course no one ever enforced it.

In the following years, there were a lot more bikes, the peak year had maybe 25, mostly Triumphs, but a good mix of others. The ride continued for 5-6 years, but then ended as people moved away or just lost interest.

Norton Commandos were always a fine looking bike and a real popular ride back then. It's too bad that Manganese Bronze, the holding company that bought Norton, ran it into the ground.

That long haired guy on the left is finally restoring the blue Triumph, (Heads Up 5/24/18), it's about time!

One year a group of Brit cars showed up. One of the Jags had a V-12, an awesome looking motor. The car guys were generally an older, clean-cut, more sedate group than the biker types. They didn't return.

On the way back to town, some of the guys would stage a "coasting race", shutting off their engines and coast down from the top of Cleary Summit, through the switch backs, and down to the bottom at Pedro Creek. Mike would have won on style points alone!

Monday, August 6, 2018

July weather summary...

So here's the NWS summary for July...

The average temperature was 63.9, which was 1.4 degrees above normal. The highest temperature was 88 on the 22nd, the lowest was 41 on the 18th.  Total precipitation was 1.01", which was  1.15 " below normal.

July started off decent, then cooled off to the lowest temps so far this summer, then had the warmest spell in quite a few years. Go figure. So here's some pics of the dogs.

Hangin' out in the shade, they're all good dogs when they think they're gettin' a biscuit.
After they get a treat, they'll settle down for a bit.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Eatin' Out...

No not at the "Y", just forget about it, it's the local restaurants we're talkin' bout here. Not a big fan of going out to eat, so we go maybe twice a year, at our anniversary and Andy's B-day. But this month we had the relatives up, Andy's nephew, his wife and their kids. We originally planned to have them over for a barbeque, maybe some other stuff too, but then just before they got here, she slipped in the garden. It'd been raining a lot, and in trying to catch herself, landed on her right arm and cracked a bone at the wrist. So after getting X-rays and a full cast, they didn't think a partial would work, it was off to meet the relatives at one of the local eating establishments. Fortunately, they're pretty easy to please and the kids were reasonably well behaved, but even so, it seemed like an interminable wait for the food. The only consolation was drinking some pretty good beer while rekindling friendships with rellies. The next day we went out to a different place and had to wait almost half an hour for a table for six. The place was half empty and couldn't even get a beer to ease the pain!

Since they've left, we've been out a few more times, mainly breakfast, I guess cause that 's easier and quicker than me messing up the eggs. But tonight it's good home cookin'... turkey franks'n sauerkraut. I'm beginning to suspect Andy's getting a little tired of my fine kitchen skills,

Monday, July 23, 2018

Heat wave..

Well I guess we've gotten our heat wave; from the NWS:

Temperatures will rise into the 80s and may even reach 90 near the AlCan Border today. Record to near record high temperatures are expected east of Manley Hot Springs and south of Fort Yukon.  High pressure remains over the area with very warm air aloft pushing west and north over the interior out of Canada. The Thermal Trough lies along the north slopes of the Alaska Range today and will drift north to the Upper Yukon Flats tonight.  Several record highs were recorded yesterday and Fairbanks tied its record of 88F.

Officially it hit 88°F, but it was a lot warmer in the sun.

So took advantage of the warm, dry weather and refinished the deck with wood preservative stain. Maybe I can get out on the Moto Guzzi, now that's finished.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Finally reported..

Spent the last two weeks reviewing, checking, and summarizing hydro survey data from a project that I worked on years ago. Seems like there's a potential lawsuit, so they want all the information verified in a final report. But for me, reading the notes is like a time machine, bringing back memories. While I don't remember everything, there's 20 field books that cover over 15 years of survey work, there's still a lot of remarkable stuff to recount.
There was the time we almost sank the survey boat. We had just finished the cross section and while unhooking the boat from the tagline, it swung side ways to the current and started to tip over as it filled with water. The woman working with me immediately jumped overboard, but I was finally able to get the line free from the boat before it sank and motored the half filled boat to shore. Poor B. had to wait on the far bank, soaking wet, while I bailed out the boat and retrieved the gear that went overboard. She probably still hasn't forgiven me. Too much fun.

Then there was the winter trip when, after s series of landings to drill the ice and get water measurements, the battery apparently died and the plane wouldn't start. We took turns hand cranking the motor, but it didn't even fire. After discussing options, the pilot tried one more time and wonder of wonders, it started. It apparently was flooded, so just needed some time to clear the carburetor. Kind of an exciting take off, since by then it was almost dark on the river, but a lot better than sleeping out at twenty below.

Then there was Larry, river guide extraordinaire, who was always ready to get us to a remote survey site, help fix some broken equipment, or put us up in his cabins down by the river. He had a quick smile, a funny story, and a strong opinion on most everything. Larry passed on a few years ago and is missed by all who knew him.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

June weather...

Fairbanks June 2018

Mean monthly temperature was 58.8°F, which was 1.6°F below normal. The observed maximum temperature was 86.0°F on the 21st of the month, the minimum temperature was 36.0°F on the 12nd of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 0.6", which was 0.8" below normal (Alaska Climate Center).

June started out warm, then had a week of cool, rainy weather. Didn't break any records, but the usual cold spots reported frost. That was followed by the warmest day of the year so far. Crazy weather, you'd almost think there was some kind of climate change thing goin' on. Fortunately our great president is right on top of things. He's sure that it's the Chinese causing all the weird weather, manipulating the jet stream, so in response he's imposing the Trumpian tariffs. Surely it'll make America great again!

Finally got the 850 Moto Guzzi out for a ride. Switched out the battery from the 650 and headed out of town on Chena Hot Springs Rd. Unfortunately, everybody must have left work early and driven two cars; it was real busy, but nobody was in a hurry, so traffic was going around fifty. Maybe Friday afternoon's not the best time to take a ride? Kind of ironic cause when I take the pickup into town, it seems like everybody wants to go 70-80, so get tail-gaited and passed a lot. Anyway, once I got turned around and headed home, had a good ride since all the traffic was going the other way. Having an open road with "clean air" makes all the difference!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

More Odd Jobs...

Back to cutting wood this week after Andy pointed out several dead spruce that needed to go. While we did get a couple of cords of firewood hauled in this spring (Gettin' Wood Enough...4/15/18), it's all bucked up, split, and stacked now, so it's always good to have more ready to go.
Unlike hauling wood with the Ski Doo, it's a lot less work using the tractor.

The pile of logs slowly turns into stacks of firewood.

The other job comes from the proposal that was submitted a while back. It was accepted, so now I get to collate, review, and summarize fifteen years of hydrology survey data. While I don't mind doing this in the winter, just finished a similar project last year, it's not my idea of the ideal summer job. So be careful what you wish for, I guess.
It's a lot more fun to go out in the summer and collect survey data than to analyze it.

And then took the 650 Moto Guzzi out for a ride and, big surprise, ran out of gas again. That machine really needs a gas gauge.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

May Weather...

Better late than never, the Alaska Climate Center finally posted their May weather summary...

Mean monthly temperature was 49.7°F, which was 0.3°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 72.0°F on the 10th of the month, the minimum temperature was 28.0°F on the 6th of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 1.1", which was 0.5" above normal. One inch of snow fell during the month, on the first.

May started off cold, then warmed up into the 70's, melted the last of the snow, then turned cool and rainey. June was also cool until yesterday when it got up to 79 and then into the 80's today.

This is the first 80 degree day since last August. Summer truly did arrive on the solstice.

Looking out into the dog yard, it looks like a bunch of dead dogs, trying to find a little bit of shade, lying on the cool ground.