Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Oshkosh by Gosh

On our way back from Carl's farm (Family Reunion, 9/26/15), we took a detour to Oshkosh. Mostly famous for it's over-alls and air shows, Oshkosh also has the EAA air venture museum ( So we stopped there and toured the museum for a bit. It has several collections: early aircraft, air racers, space vehicles, but the most interesting (to me at least) was the world war II collection. Here's a few photos from there:
Andy is dwarfed by the DeHavilland  Mosquito, one of the few wooden aircraft used in WWII.

The P-51 Mustang, likely the eponymous long range interceptor of the war.

The Grumman Duck, used mainly by the Coast Guard, was the subject of the book Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff. He describes the loss of one in Greenland during WWII and the current search to locate and retrieve it.

The North American P-64 is the export fighter version of the AT-6 Texan trainer.

The Lockheed P-38 Lightening, another famous long range interceptor.

The Northrop P-89 Scorpion, developed just after the war as an all weather interceptor. When I was a kid back in the fifties, I remember seeing a whole squadron of these parked along side an airstrip in northern Wisconsin.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Family reunion...

Flew down to the lower 48 to see our respective families. We first visited with my cousin Rosemary, her son Mark and his family. Had a great time but unfortunately forgot to take any pictures. Will try to get Mark to send a family photo.
We then drove to Wisconsin and stayed with Andy's brother Carl, who lives in a renovated 1890's farmhouse. All of her siblings came up for the weekend. This was the first reunion they'd had in almost twenty years, so it was a special time for all, and the local consumption of Leinenkugels likely increased exponentially.
Andy's brother has a new pickup truck, so of course we had to have our picture taken in it.
Afterwards, we spent some time with Andy's sister Debbie and her husband Peter. Here's a shot of the Shmigelski girls on our visit to Morton arboretum.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Last ride?

With the weather forecast for the weekend bringing rain and cooler weather, I figured I'd better get out for at least one more ride. While not as warm as a few days ago, yesterday was still a pleasant sunny fall day. Like last year (Fall rides, 9/20/14), the colors in the trees were beginning to fade a bit, but still vibrant enough to enjoy as I rode down to the Chena River. You get a great panorama of the valley as you head out of hills into the flats and similarly, a view of the hills northeast of town on the way back.

This definitely is my favorite time of year. It's just too bad it only lasts for a few weeks. But we had a good run of fall weather, about ten straight warm, sunny days , so can't complain too much about the rain. As in most things, when the weather changes, so do you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fall colors...

The fall colors really blossomed out this weekend. Pretty spectacular with the sunny weather. There even was an aurora out Sunday night. Not often that you can see it when it's this warm (well above freezing).

Andy and I took the bikes out for a ride on Monday. It was a little cool, upper fifties, but felt a lot warmer in the sun. Just hoping the fine weather will continue. Like every year, there's always lot's of projecst to finish before the snow flies.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cool and rainy...

After a very warm May and early June, which led to numerous forest fires through out the state, July and August were cool and rainy, effectively ending the fire season. One interesting thing is that while the airport in Fairbanks had about 2 1/2 inches of rain for the month, we had over 5 inches in our un-official rain gage in the hills northeast of town. This is likely due to what meteorologists call the orographic effect.

According to Wikipedia, orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down adiabatically (its pressure and temperature both decrease without the gain or loss of heat), which can raise the relative humidity to 100%. Precipitation can then occur from this orographic effect. Here's the weather bureau's summary for the month (lightly edited for brevity):

National Weather Service's monthly weather summary for August 2015 for Fairbanks, Alaska

August 2015 was the third consecutive month of below normal temperatures for Fairbanks. The warmest temperature of the month occurred on the 4th when the temperature soared to 80 degrees; this was the 11th 80 degree or warmer day of the summer.

An unseasonably cold low pressure system brought heavy rain to much of the interior and boosted the monthly rainfall to 2.58 inches...which was 0.70 inches above the normal of 1.88 inches.

The average high temperature was 62.0 degrees, which was 3.9 degrees below the normal high of 65.9 degrees. The average low temperature was 47.1 degrees...which was 0.7 degrees above the normal low temperature of 46.4 degrees.

The average temperature for the month was 54.6 degrees, which was 1.5 degrees below the average temperature of 56.1 degrees and ranks as the 37th coldest of 109 years of record.

A very fall like storm moved into the interior on the 25th and 26th and ushered in unseasonably cold temperatures that continued through the end of the month. Although snow was not reported at Fairbanks there were reports of snow in the hills north and east of town.

A frost advisory was issued for the morning of the 31st with the temperature at the airport dropping to 33 degrees, that was the coldest temperature recorded during the month. Many of the local cold spots in the area dropped into the upper 20s and lower 30s.

Looking forward to September...possible sunshine continues to decrease by 6 and a half minutes per day with day light hours decreasing from 14 hours and 38 minutes on the 1st to 11 hours and 25 minutes on the 30th. The average daily high temperature decreases from 60.5 degrees on the 1st to 46.2 degrees on the 30th. The average daily low temperature decreases from 41.3 degrees on the 1st to 30.1 degrees on the 30th. The average rainfall is 1.1 inches and the average snowfall is 1.8 inches.
 Source: NWS, Fairbanks Forecast Office, 9/2/15.

Most years, fall comes early in September and this year is no exception. The leaves are a turning!