Saturday, May 28, 2016

Down to the Delta...

Went down to survey the Delta River at the Black Rapids (Back to the Black...10/10/15). My friend Mike was already there when I arrived. He had the data logger running, so we just needed to survey the elevation and then launch the boat for the hydro survey. But when we finished the ground part of the survey and checked out the river at the boat launch, it was obvious that the river was higher than we thought. After discussing the options, Mike decided to pass on launching the boat there.

High water on the Delta River creates pretty spectacular hydraulics. By comparison, Black Rapids Creek, in the background, had a lower flow.

So we drove to a place up river to launch the boat at Phelan Creek. There we could run the river to the survey site above the glacial inflow. This so-called clearwater section of the Delta River has an important fisheries and Mike's project is documenting the flow regime. Had a bit of a search to find a place to launch the boat, the shore ice (aufeis) blocked the usual spots, but eventually found a launching site. No problem running upriver at this high of a flow and were able to complete all the survey work there. When things go well, these trips are a lark, you almost shouldn't get paid for it. Oh, that's right, I don't anymore.
Mike and his namesake boat, two hardy characters. It's always great to get out and work with him, one of nature's gentleman.

Didn't get any photos of the work, too busy I guess, so here's some shots of the scenery.
The Delta River flows through some pretty spectacular  mountains.

Another mountain, near the confluence with Phelan Creek.

Nearby Summit Lake is striped with ponded water on top of the ice. A few more days of sunny, warm, and windy weather will probably get the breakup started.

Here's a photo Mike sent me that he took at the upper Delta River survey site:
Trying to spool up the tangled survey tape; sometimes the routine things are the hardest part.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hill and the Donald...

While I normally eschew politics (I love that phrase, it implies something so distasteful you'd spit it out), the insanity of the current presidential race screams for a comment. On the one hand, Hillary Clinton, a person so untrustworthy that she's comparable to Sarah "you can always tell she's lying if her lips are moving" Palin. On the other hand, The Donald T-rump, also Palinesque with his rambling word-salad speeches, arrogant, almost child-like put-downs, and inability to ignore any slight, no matter how trivial. It's a conniving, duplicitous woman against a bloviating, narcissistic man. It doesn't get any better than that.

But I digress. This blog is supposed to be humorous, so let's talk about the Donald's hair. You'd think a billionaire could afford a decent haircut, implants, or hairpiece. Instead, you hear comparisons to the raccoon, rabbit, or beaver pelt that sits on his head. Well I think that does a huge injustice to the piece of fur that adorns the Donald's bald spot. To most anyone from Alaska, it's pretty obvious that he probably got a muskrat pelt from Sarah Palin. She would've sent the Todd out to the swamp nearest their Wasilla bungalow to trap one, then present it to T-dumpster as an offering to get her into his supposed administration. Anyways, I think they've missed a big opportunity here: marketing muskrat hairpieces. Give them a catchy name, I don't know, maybe something like T-rat hair?

The Donald's glorious mane...

And a muskrat pelt. I rest my case.
You be the judge.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rubber Buggy Bumpers...

As noted earlier (First ride...4/30/16)  the rubber band mounts (bumpers) on the sidecar needed replacement. Found this "how to" comment posted on the Classic Motorworks forum:
Replacing the rubber bands on a cozy sidecar (
Tried to follow their method, but after removing the old bands and installing new ones on the one side, couldn't get any mounted on the other. As luck would have it, my neighbor Bert stopped by, took one look and said "that ain't gonna work, ya need to remove the sidecar body."
Well that didn't sound too good to me, but six bolts later, he had the back of the body loose. The front pivots on a cross piece, so didn't need to be disturbed. We tied a ratchet strap to the luggage rack, then to the garage door mechanism and lifted it up. It's real light so could've just as easily lifted it by hand and tied it up with a rope.

With the brackets exposed, it was easy to take a second ratchet strap and pull the bracket over to mount the other side rubber bands. Then just used two screwdrivers to align everything and slide the bolts into the brackets. It's a lot easier with two people, the third hand fits the bolt while the other two hold positioning with the screwdrivers.

So all in all it wasn't terribly hard once we figured it out, but I still think it's the stupidest suspension system I've ever seen. And then the best part was that after we were finished, I noticed one of the new bands was starting to split, it hadn't lasted more than a few minutes. Fortunately two of the old ones were still good, so replaced it with one of those. Makes you feel real confident in the new parts. Been trying to think of something funny to end this post on, but so far not seeing much humor in it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sure sign of spring...

NWS Monthly weather summary for April for Fairbanks Alaska (edited for brevity)...

"April 2016 was the second warmest on record. Average temperature was 42.4 degrees which was 9.9 degrees above the normal average temperature of 32.5 degrees. There were four temperature records set, all warmer than normal.

Green up (when the south facing hills near town change from brown to green) occurred on the 26th of April, breaking the previous earliest date on the 29th. The mean date for green up is the 9th of May.

Looking forward to the month of May, sunshine continues to increase by nearly 7 minutes per day. The day light hours increasing from 17 hours and 8 minutes on the 1st to 20 hours and 30 minutes on the 31st.  The average daily high temperature increases from 54 degrees on the 1st to 67 degrees on the 31st. The average daily low temperature increases form 31 degrees on the 1st to 44 degrees on the 31st. The forecast for the month of May from the climate prediction center calls for the likelihood of above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation."

Another sure sign of spring is the harnesses and winter gloves washed and hung out to dry. In winter, the dog's diet is supplemented with lots of fish, meat, and fat scraps added to their regular dog food. This gives them real oily fur which rubs off on the gloves and harnesses. If they're not washed every few years, they can get pretty fragrant, even moldy.