Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winter Solstice...

Actually, the next day or so, but since the sun angle and day length only change a few seconds per day at this time of year, well who's to say what's the shortest day?
Here's a shot from the bottom of the valley behind our place looking south at the afternoon sun. It won't clear the ridge again for another few weeks.
Here's a view of the ridge on the other side of the valley. The sun hits the ridge part way up and it's a real treat running the dogs when the trail gets us up to the sunny side of the valley.
Here comes the sun! Coming down that ridge on the trail there's a gap in the trees where the sun just clears the ridge top to the south. Pretty nice view. While the days are short and it's usually cold out, there's still lots to see when you get outside.
If you want to see the real solstice, there's a time lapse series of photos at the Alaska Climate Center:
(copy and paste into your browser)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas...

Off to the neighbors for Christmas dinner after a fine breakfast and opening gifts. And now our so called president seems to think Obama banned Christmas and he just brought it back. I guess I missed that version of reality:
Anyway have a Merry Christmas. Here's a group I'd like to hear sometime; maybe that's one thing we can all agree on, or not .

Thursday, December 21, 2017

First dog run...

Well actually the second since I forgot the camera on the first one, like always. The dogs ran great, except for a short stop out the dog yard when Tambo didn't realize he was a sled dog. The rest of the run was fine, as was the second, once we got him going, no real problems.

It's hard to get good pics with the low angle sun. The lower valley won't get direct sunlight until mid-January when the sun clears the ridge top again.

When we got  back, there were some seriously tired doggies. Like they say, a good sled dog is one that's just finished a hard run.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dog Hauler (part 2)...

The first two boxes are mounted on the truck. The slide rail system seems to work, but may have to use bigger channel next year to strengthen the mounts. There's another box that could be installed to haul ten dogs, but since we only have five running, with two dogs retired, probably just go with the shorter setup and have the rear of the bed available to haul other stuff.
In other events, been out on the Ski Doo putting in the dog trail. There were a few trees down but all are cleared now and will run dogs tomorrow. Should be a good test for the new knee.
We're down to about four hours of sunshine now, so it doesn't give a lot daylight to get things done. With the low angle of the sun, it only gets about two degrees above the horizon, you do get periods of what's called civil twilight. According to Wikipedia, morning civil twilight begins when the sun is 6° below the horizon and ends at sunrise. Evening civil twilight begins at sunset and ends when the sun is 6° below the horizon. So altogether we get over six hours when it's light enough to see outside reasonably well.
Here's the sun starting to set around 2pm. It won't be dark for about another two hours with the extended civil twilight.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dog Hauler (part 1)...

So like I was saying last post, been putting dog boxes (or dog haulers as they're called up here) on the more or less new pickup. Well the first problem was I'd figured it all out using 2 1/2 in aluminum channel. Well they don't have that up here, so did I get 3 in, no of course not, I got 2 in. Which of course was too narrow, so when I drilled the first hole, it went between the bed and the fender. Uh oh, so had to move the holes further toward the bed, which made it too narrow to fit the boxes. So to make a short story long, had to finagle it to get it wide enough to fit the the boxes on the bed. So now the channels are fitted to the sides of the bed and just need to to get the rest of boxes fitted. Too much fun. But it's been in the 30's above all week so at least it's warm enough to work without gloves. That's something for this time of year.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

November Weather Summary...

Here's the ever popular monthly weather summary, this time courtesy of the Alaska Climate Research Center (
Fairbanks Weather Summary for November 2017
Mean monthly temperature was 4.8°F, which was 2.2°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 33.0°F on the 3rd of the month, the minimum temperature was -27.0°F on the 26th of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 1.3", which was 0.7" above normal.
(Normal values refer to the period 1981 to 2010)

The big project for the month (so far) is putting the dog boxes on the new pickup using an external mounting system (angle aluminum) so Andy doesn't have to crawl underneath and wrench while I install the bolts. We'll add photos if and when it's done.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Still snowing...

The snow just keeps on a' coming; we've gotten about two feet so far this month and expecting more.  Still rehabbing the knee, so other than plowing the road and driveway, haven't been outside too much. So here's some stuff from back in the day.

When I was working for one of the "alphabet agencies", I would sometimes use our dog team to do resource surveys out in the White Mtns. On one trip, one of the guys with me shot this brief video of the dogs (thanks Craig) as we left the cabin one morning.  (Click on lower right corner for full screen image)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Winter's here...

After several weeks of mixed rain and snow, it finally cooled off enough to get a decent dump of snow over the weekend.

Compared to the photo on 10/15/17, it definitely looks like winter's here.

But instead of running dogs, we've been bringing a few inside every day while I rehab from the knee surgery. With plenty of snow, it'll be great to get back out on the trail again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Still Shloppy...

After the rain and snow ended last week, it cooled off and looked like winter was here. But then it warmed up again and alternated rain and snow all week.
So instead of an early winter, it now looks more like spring breakup. But that got me to working inside, spending more time finishing the summer projects.
After talking about it for years, finally redid the loft stairs. They were originally pretty steep, almost like a ladder, but was able to fit the old stringers from the remodeled basement stairs. This increased the run by over a foot, so the slope is less and also allowed fitting bigger treads. The dark line on the wall that looks like a shadow is from the alignment of the old stairs.

The other project was wiring up three-way switches and installing a light fixture in the loft. So now you can turn on the upstairs light from the kitchen and turn it off up in the loft. Amazing, it's like the future's finally here. Now there's only half a bazillion other projects left to finish!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ready for winter?...

Had near record precip, both rain and snow this past week. So figured it was time to be serious about getting ready for winter. Put the back hoe on the tractor and dug out some stumps, cleaned up the ditches along the road, and filled the dogs holes after moving them down to the winter dog yard. Meant to get a picture or two, since the back hoe doesn't get used much, but forgot. In fact didn't even think of it until I was finished removing the hoe from the tractor.
Well now with the rear blade and chains on, I guess we're ready for winter. Most of the snow has melted, but the rain that fell earlier in the week has soaked everything, it's shloppy out there!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Aspen Errors, Part Duce...

As noted earlier (Aspen Errors, 7/6/15), there's a lot of dying aspen trees on the property. The latest was next to the old sauna. It'd been dead for a few years, but after the problems last time, well I wasn't exactly ecstatic about dropping a tall tree so close in. But figured it was time, it'll be no problem with a rope and come along I thought, just pull'er towards the garden and it'll drop just fine. So after hooking up the ropes, Andy cranked everything tight. Then started the chainsaw and began the undercut. Almost immediately the bar got pinched and the saw was  stuck. So Andy released the tension and was able to pop the bar free.  But the bad thing was that I could feel the center of the tree was hollow, there was only a little ring of hardwood left holding up a 60-70 ft tree. So after she tightened'er up again, I started to finish the undercut. Without warning, the tree started to fall, it pulled the chain right off the bar and fell, not towards the garden clearing, but right at the greenhouse. Fortunately it hit a double birch tree, got deflected a little, and missed the greenhouse by a few feet. Like I always says, it's way better to be lucky than smart.

The aspen would have taken out the greenhouse if it hadn't been hung up by the birch.

The back of the stump just broke off when the undercut took out enough good wood. That one log is still stuck between the trees, probably have to cut it out.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

National Weather Service summary for September...

September 2017 was warmer and wetter than normal in FairbanksThe average high temperature was 57.2 degrees which was 2.6 degrees above the normal and ranked as the 31st warmest of 112 years of record. The average low temperature was 38.7 degrees which was 3.6 degrees above the average and ranked as the 14th warmest of 112 years of record. The mean temperature was 48.0 degrees which was 3.1 degrees above the normal mean and ranked as the 17th warmest of 112 years of record.

The warmest day of September 2017 was 70 degrees which occurred on the 4th. The coldest day of September 2017 was 32 degrees which occurred on the 30th.

September was wetter than normal with 1.42 inches of rain, 0.32 inches above the normal  and ranked as the 30th wettest of 104 years of record. A trace of snow fell on the 29th of September which is around 8 days later than the normal, the normal snowfall for the month of September is 1.8 inches.

Looking forward to October, the permanent snowpack is almost always established at some point during the month. The average daily high temperature falls from 45 degrees on the 1st to 19 degrees on the 31st. The average daily low temperature falls from 28 on the 1st to 4 above on the 31st. The highest temperature ever recorded in the month of October was 72 degrees on the 1st of October in 2003. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fairbanks in the month of October was
28 below on the 26th of October in 1935.

Normal precipitation for the month is 0.83 inches, with much of this falling as snow. Significant rainfall events are rare after the middle of the month. Normal snowfall for the month of October is 10.8 inches.

Available daylight continues to decrease by over 6 minutes per day, falling from 11 hours and 15 minutes on the 1st to 7 hours and 54 minutes on the 31st.

The forecast for October from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near normal temperatures and  precipitation.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Back to the Black...

The semi-annual trek to Black Rapids was this past week (Back to the Black...6/2/17). The weather wasn't terrible, but we certainly didn't need sunscreen. At least it didn't rain or snow while we were out there, that's something.
The clouds were so low,  you could hardly make out the Black Rapids Glacier in the distance.
Rigging the boat to tow the doppler meter; the flows this fall were higher than in previous years. While the meter readings varied more than usual, Mike seemed satisfied we'd gotten a reasonable measurement.
The skies cleared a bit at the upper Delta survey site, but then the wind picked up. Fortunately the ridge blocked most of it where we did the work. A cow and calf moose followed by a bull crossed the river just downstream from where we were getting set up. Mike didn't have his camera out, it would have been a great shot. (Photos by Mike S.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chippin' away...

Back when I was working full time, we decided to get more attachments for the tractor so I'd have the equipment to run a small landscaping outfit. So every few years until I retired, we bought something new. So much so that several don't get used much. One is the chipper-shredder. Can't remember the last time it was on the tractor, but since there were more that a few piles of brush to chip, figured it'd be good to hook it up and use it. Since it needed to be greased, went ahead and also greased the tractor and pickup. That way I won't have to crawl around on the gravel driveway at near freezing temp's in Oct like I usually do when I've put off the fall maintenance.
The fall colors are still decent, though the leaves are dropping fast.
Andy got involved, speeding up the process. Now there's enough chips to cover the worst spots on the trail down to the garden.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Another fine day...

Been trying to finish up some carpentry projects around the house. But when the sun comes out and the leaves are close to their maximum fall color, it's just gotta be time for a bike ride.
The pull off at the Little Chena bridge has gotten so over-grown, you can hardly see the river.
The sun filtering through the trees brightens the colors so much it almost hurt the eyes
The fall colors usually max out in mid-September, so it's right on schedule this year.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


After several days of cool, rainy weather, the winds shifted to the south and the downslope effect from  the Alaska Range gave the interior a chinook. The temperature rose from the forties this morning to near seventy by noon time. So of course had to take the bike out for a ride.
The pull off near the Nordale bridge was a good spot for some photos.

The light frost from the other morning has turned the leaves golden in the flats.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The ever popular NWS August weather summary for Fairbanks Alaska...

August 2017 was a warm and slightly wetter than normal month in the Fairbanks area. Overall the month was tranquil with no dail ytemperature or precipitation records set. The warmest temperature was 83 degrees which occurred on the 6th. The coldest temperature was 40 degrees which occurred on the 31st.

The average high temperature was 67.2 degrees which was 1.3 degrees above the normal high temperature of 65.9 degrees which ranked as the 43 warmest of 111 years of record.

2.15 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks airport in the month ofAugust which was 0.27 inches above the normal rainfall of 1.88 inches and ranked as the 39th wettest of 105 years of record.

Looking forward to September, possible sunshine continues to decrease by nearly seven minutes per day with possible daylight decreasing from 14 hours and 35 minutes on the 1st to 11 hours and 22 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 at the Fairbanks airport in September is 1.1 inches and the average snowfall in September is 1.8 inches.

September can be a month of extremes. The warmest temperature on record for the month of September in Fairbanks is 84 degrees which occurred in 1957. The coldest temperature on record for the month of September in Fairbanks is 3 above which occurred in 1992. Measurable snow has been observed in September about 2 out of every 3 years. Heavy snow events are infrequent but are not unheard of. Long time residents will recall 1992 when over two feet of snow fell during a 10 day period and more recently 20.9 inches of snow falling during the month of September in 2015.

The forecast for the month of September from the Climate Prediction Center calls for increased chances for above normal temperatures and increased chances for below normal precipitation.

September brings dark nights,  cooler weather, and the leaves they are a turnin'.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Goodbye Barney

About twelve years ago, got a call from Lynn who had a sled dog rescue kennel out in Two Rivers. She asked if I was interested in a young dog. Well a big male, sure, I remember saying. So I went out there and there was this small, scruffy dog, maybe forty pounds, and so wild she could barely catch him. But I figured I could always bring him back, she was good that way, and besides, maybe he'll grow. So I brought him home. Kind of crazy on his chain, always running around and did he bark, if he wasn't barking, he was either eating or asleep. When Andy got back from her field trip, it was kind of clever of me to get a dog when she was gone, she couldn't believe it, "This is the most worthless dog ever!" And when he got loose and nearly killed the cat, well he was almost "unrescued" as she put it.
But as time moved on, Barney grew into a strong, sixty pound sled dog. And because he was so crazy to hook up and run, I started running him up front, since that often quiets a rowdy dog down. And darned if he didn't turn into a lead dog. When it was time to retire Springer, my old leader, Barney stepped up and became the main leader. No matter how bad the trail or steep the hill, Barney was up for it. He didn't like to stop for breaks, after a few minutes he was whining, ready to go again.
Barney (Rt) and Spuds (Lt) in better times. They ran together so often, I called them Barneyspuds.

But like all good things, they come to an end. First I noticed he had trouble with the speed on the downhills, so tried to keep it slow. Then he started limping occasionally, but always wanted to go again. Last fall he did fine on the early training near the highway but when we switched over to the more remote trails that were soft and punchy, he struggled to keep up. Finally decided to leave him home and he was fine with that, happy to just run around the yard and bark a lot. He started having trouble jumping up on his house, then quit eating all of his food. When he didn't eat at all this weekend, well it was time. Took him into the animal shelter where he was euthanized. I know it was for the best, but it's like losing a good friend. Well if there's a dog heaven, he'll be up there, barking and running around like when he was a pup. Good times again.

Leading the team home. While Spuds was a little better on commands, Barney likely was the hardest working dog we've ever had. He was an animal!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More dog daze...

Not weather wise, it's rained every day this past week and barely hits 60° in the afternoon. You'd think summer would last a little longer, but up here, fall usually begins in mid-August and this year is no exception. No, the dog daze now is the new dog in the yard. We had gotten a sled dog last winter from the Sled Dog Sanctuary ( Mia was seriously shy and while she was a good working sled dog, she wanted nothing to do with my wife and I. So after several fruitless months of trying to get her to warm up to us, we decided to send her back. So in exchange we got Rig.

A little shy at first, Rig (the all black dog) soon warmed up to us and now gets plenty of exercise. He's already dug a hole about three ft deep. So he's now known as Rigger the digger.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

July Weather, the dog days...

Here's the ever popular National Weather Service summary for July, the dog days of summer up here...


July 2017 was a warm and slightly dryer than normal month. While no daily temperature or precipitation records were set, wind from a strong weather front on the 23rd knocked down trees and caused power outages in the local area.

The average mean temperature for the month was 65.7 degrees which was 3.2 degrees above the normal and ranked as the 5th warmest of 111 years of record. The warmest temperature for the month was 86 degrees on the the 6th. There have been eleven 80 degrees or warmer days in Fairbanks this summer. Normally there will be around 12 days per summer where the temperature reaches 80 degrees or warmer. The lowest temperature in the month of July was 49 degrees on the 22nd.

1.94 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks airport in the month of July which was 0.22 inches below the normal rainfall of 2.16 inches and ranked as the 47th wettest of 105 years.

Looking forward to the month of August possible sunshine continues to decrease at nearly 7 minutes per day with daylight hours decreasing from 18 hours and 7 minutes on the 1st to 14 hours and 41 minutes on the 31st. The average daily high temperature decreases from 70 degrees on the 1st to 62 degrees on the 31st. The average low temperature decreases from 50 degrees on the 1st to 41 degrees on the 31st. On average 1.88 inches of rain falls at the Fairbanks Airport during the month of August.

The forecast from the climate prediction center calls for increased chances for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

In other news, we picked up a dog from the local animal shelter a little while back. Pretty shy when we got him, but several boxes of dog biscuits later, he's started to come around. Surprisingly, he didn't seem to know how to jump on his dog house. Most of our dogs spend a good part of the day sitting or sleeping up there. But with some encouragement, he's slowly figuring it out.

The black dog, Tamarack or Tambo-Rambo as he's now known,  is a house dog now. Well at least when he get's excited enough, he'll jump up there. The goal is to teach him to jump up and then sit on the dog house so I can put the dog harness on him. That's how I train when harnessing them up for a dog run. Makes it a lot easier to get the harness on and gives my back a break, not having to bend over so much.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Michigan Madman...

The other night we were sitting out on the deck and a couple of my neighbors stopped by for some beers. We got to telling stories, as is often the case, and I talked about growing up in the Midwest. There was a guy named EJ Potter, aka the Michigan Madman, who did drag racing exhibitions, first on a series of V-8 engined motorcycles, then put a V-12 in a '57 Plymouth. It was the latter machine I saw when I went with my older brother to the locally world famous US 30 drag strip, "Drag Racing Capital of Chicagoland". I almost never went anywhere with him and it turned out the only reason he invited me along was that he was broke, so I wound paying for everything. There's nothing quite like growing up as the kid brother. Anyway, my brother's buddy was so excited seeing the hot rod Plymouth smoke it's tires all the way down the track, he kept jumping up and down, yelling "didya see that? didya see that!" Incredible.
Starting off with a small block Chevy, Potter built increasingly bigger-engined drag bikes. Eventually he graduated to a V-12 Allison airplane engine in a '57 Plymouth.

After he retired from drag racing, Potter put the V-12 engine in a tractor and entered it into tractor pulling contests. That led to a double engined tractor with 3400 HP!

Bert, one of my neighbors who had raced a Harley engined dragster himself, was quite impressed by the V-12 power plants. "Yeah those Allison engines, they sound like nothing you hear today, the sweetest sounding engine ever."  And the conversation moved on to old airplanes.

So never did get to the point of the story; that this self styled madman spent most of his life riding crazy fast motorcycles, never was seriously hurt, and built some pretty fantastic machines by himself, with no sponsorship or engineering help. Amazing. EJ Potter died in 2012 at 71. He supposedly was planning a comeback on the V-8 motorcycle just before he died.

Monday, July 24, 2017

All carted up...

When I was getting the walking tractor and attachments ready to sell (Walking tractor...7/1/17)l, it was obvious the cart was in pretty rough shape. Unlike the other parts that were stored in the shed, the cart spent the last twenty years or so leaning against a big spruce tree. The tires were flat, wheels and body rusted; it was pretty shabby. The guy who bought the tractor took one look and said he wasn't interested in it. Andy thought it should go to the metal recycling. But to me, well it was a challenge, it looked fixable.

The cart looked a lot worse than the picture shows. This photo was taken for the ad, so kind of hid the cart with the flat tires behind the tiller.

Started off by removing the wheels, they were rusted fast to the axle. While I couldn't get the tubeless tires to hold air, figured if they could be removed without damaging the bead, might be able to insert tubes. So after removing them, sand blasted and painted the rims, then ordered a pair of tubes on ebay. After the tires and tubes were on the rims, figured it was worth it to work on the cart. So spent the next several days sand blasting the rusty areas and sanding the faded paint, then primered the cart. The steel tube that they used for the tongue had split where it was flattened to meet the axle. Not sure if it came that way, but wound up welding it anyway. Three cans of Rust-Oleum blue later, it looked good as new.

The cart now looks great, almost don't want to sell it. But given that it hadn't moved in over twenty years, well maybe it's not needed so much anymore.
Update:  Sold the cart. It's always a little amazing when someone buys something that others consider junk. It just goes to show the value of a little spray paint.

Monday, July 17, 2017

June weather...

Here.s the June weather summary from the Alaska Climate Research Center:

June 2017 marks 18 months out of the last 20 months with mean statewide temperatures at or above normal. The mean monthly temperature for June was 53.5°F, 1.8°F above the normal. This is 0.6°F below the June 2016 mean of 54.1°F. The first eleven days of the month were above normal, followed by ten days of below normal temperatures, then the month ended with nine more days above normal. The greatest positive deviation occurred on the 8th with 7.5°F above normal, and the greatest negative deviation occurred on the 13th at -2.0°F. 

The highest daily maximum temperature for June was 90°F reported at Fairbanks on the 9th, a new daily record, breaking the 1957 record of 87°F. This was the second earliest 90°F daily high on record, after the 90°F high on May 28, 1947, as well as the first 90°F in Fairbanks since June 2013. Fairbanks also held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 62.8°F.

June's precipitation was notably below normal, with the overall precipitation calculated as 17% below the average;  24 days of the month reported below normal values. This is drier than June 2016, which reported a precipitation surplus of 21% A limited number of daily precipitation records were set this June. Fairbanks on the 11th broke a record set only the pervious year with 1.09", topping the 2016 record of 0.95".

Fire activity was moderate with the somewhat drier weather. Smoke from the South Fork Salcha fire, north of the Pogo Mine, reached Fairbanks on the 9th. It ended the month at over 8,000 acres. A small wildfire temporarily closed the Richardson Highway near Fairbanks at mile 308 on the 9th.  By the end of June there had been 165 human caused fires that burned about 6,000 acres and 90 lightning caused fires that had burned over 183,600 acres.

And here's the stupid cat picture for the month. Ruty's apparently decided to become a lap cat after ten years of mostly ignoring us.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ridin' the 650...

So after finishing the work on the 650 MoGu (technically it's a V65 Spada, or sword in English, but seriously, who rides a sword?), took it for a ride to see how the new tires worked, Well to be honest, there seemed no difference. But the speedometer was working now, so the worm drive mechanism was fixed. I was happy there were no problems, since I wasn't sure if the axles were assembled with all the spacers in the correct order. At least I was until I came to the junction with the Steese Hwy and the motor died. Didn't think I was out of gas, since I'd added what was left in the poly gas can, maybe half a gallon. Then I remembered last fall running out of gas (Last Ride #3....). and never did fill it up again. So then switched to reserve and it fired right up. Decided I better get to the nearest gas station and opted for one that carried premium, not all of them up here sell it. Since it was more than a few miles, there was some angst before getting there. But made it to station and filled'er up. The rest of the ride was anti climactic, sometimes it's the little things that'll make it interesting.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Walking tractors....

Back in the day when we were building our cabin, we didn't have time for a garden. But when we were finished, at least with the first part before the additions, we decided to get a "walking tractor" that could be put to multiple use, roto-tilling a garden, snow plowing the driveway, and hauling firewood. After we got one, found it was fine for  roto-tilling, but not so much for everything else.
So eventually we got a real tractor (Retired...2/22/16). After years of not using the walking tractor, figured maybe it was time to sell it. Surprisingly, it fired right up after a few pulls with some new gas. The impeller on the snowblower was cracked and bent in a few places from ingesting rocks on the gravel driveway, so had to sand blast, straighten, weld, and repaint it. Otherwise it just needed some clean up, then put an ad in Craigslist. Go figure, it sold the next day. Maybe I should of asked for more? Well it's gone now so at least there's one less thing in the tool shed to trip over or worry about what to do with it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Retired and refendered...

Back when I was working on the 850, I wound up ordering two sets of tires, since the 650 takes the same size (All Guzzied Up...8/2/15). Now that the 850's done, figured it was time to replace the fenders along with the tires. The 650 had kind of ugly plastic fenders and back one's cracked. Also the rear tail light looks like something out of a bad 50's science fiction movie.
Took the tires in for mounting and balancing at one of the local dealers, so that was no problem. The front fender was from a Honda, got it used on ebay, so had to do some drilling and welding to get it to fit. It looks a lot like the 850s fender.

The rear fender was a little more problematic. It was originally for a Triumph. Got it years ago at a sale of old British bike parts and never found a use for it until now.
The new fender was a little short, so made a spacer out of black HDMW plastic. It's under the seat, so  is pretty much out of sight.
The alloy tail light is a custom part that was used on older Triumphs. Gives the bike more of a vintage look. Also noticed the turn signal wires are frayed, so some new wiring's in order. Then maybe repaint the gas tank and recover the seat. But that's likey next years project.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wet and wetter...

After a week of hot weather, the rains came. We got a little over two inches from late Sat through Mon (that's 51.5 mm to the French). It  didn't set any records but it's more that we usually get, on the average, for the month. We went from hot, dry, red flag (forest fire) weather to an early monsoon.
So my neighbors down the hill took full advantage and spent most of yesterday burning garbage. It doesn't get any better than that!
Sunday morning the rain gage was full. While it never rained hard, it was a steady, soaking rain for almost three days. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Warm and warmer...

Summer must be here, it hit 90° F at Eielson, though it officially was only 89 at the airport, but it still broke the record of 83. We've had a pretty decent run of weather, temperatures were above normal from the end of March to late May. It's a good thing this global warming thing's a hoax.

Correction: The National Weather Service posted this yesterday:
The Fairbanks airport hit 90 degrees Friday. This is the first 90 degree day in Fairbanks since June 26, 2013.

Over a hundred in the sun, that's just way too warm for Alaska!

Here's the NWS's monthly weather summary for May for Fairbanks, Alaska...

May 2017 was another tranquil month in Fairbanks with no record daily high or low temperatures.

The average high temperature for the month of May at the Fairbanks airport was 61.9 degrees which was 0.9 degrees above the normal average high temperature for May of 61.0 degrees. This ranked as the 37th warmest of 112 years of record. The highest temperature recorded at the Fairbanks airport in the month of May was 72 degrees which occurred on the 16th.

The average low temperature for the month of May at the Fairbanks airport was 37.7 degrees which was 0.1 degrees below the normal average low temperature of 37.8 degrees. This ranked as the 34th warmest of 111 years of record. The lowest temperature recorded at the Fairbanks airport in the month of May was 29 degrees on the 2nd.

The average mean temperature for the month of May at the Fairbanks airport was 49.8 degrees which was 0.4 degrees above the normal average temperature of 49.4 degrees. This ranked as the 36th warmest of 111 years of record.

A trace of snow fell on the 26th and was a record snowfall for that date. The trace of snowfall did not change the season to date snowfall of 83.1 inches, which is 18.1 inches above the normal seasonal snowfall of 65.0 inches.

Rainfall at the Fairbanks airport totaled 0.59 inches for the month which was 0.01 inches below the normal rainfall of 0.60 inches. This ranked as the 47th wettest of 104 years of record.

Looking forward to the month of June, the average high temperature continues to increase from 67 degrees on the 1st to 74 degrees on the 30th. The average low temperature increases from 44 degrees on the 1st to 53 degrees on the 30th. The average temperature increases from 56 degrees on the 1st to 64 degrees on the 30th. On average 1.37 inches of rain falls in June in Fairbanks. Snowfall in June in Fairbanks is rare but not unheard of with a handful of days in the climate record recording snow.

Possible daylight continues to increase a nearly 6 minutes per day early in the month with 20 hours and 34 minutes of possible daylight on the 1st. Possible daylight peaks at 21 hours and 49 minutes on the 20th, 21st and 22nd. The solstice occurs at 8:24 PM Alaska Daylight Savings Time on Tuesday the 20th this year. By the 30th of June possible daylight will be decreasing by over 3 minutes per day and will decrease to 21 hours and 29 minutes.

The forecast for the month of June from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near normal normal temperatures and precipitation.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Back to the Black...

Went down to Black Rapids to help my friend Mike do some surveying on the Delta River. Unlike last year when it was cold and windy (Down to the Delta, 5/28/16), we had near perfect weather, sunny, warm, and just enough wind to keep the mosquitos away.

The river was lower this year, so there was no problem launching the boat and installing equipment.

Rather than using the boat to tow the doppler meter, we set up a pulley system and towed the meter with a rope from the shore. Worked fine and safer than boat work during high water.
Here's a photo Mike took while I was operating the pulley system. The gloves he loaned me worked great for gripping the slippery nylon rope and could also help direct traffic!

Wanted to put the boat in at Phelan Creek, but the boat launch was covered by thick shore ice.  The survey on the upper Delta will have to wait until the ice is gone.

Since we couldn't get to the upper Delta, we went down to Paxson Lake. The ice had gone out, so we launched the boat and headed for the lake outlet.

Mike surveying the channel at the lake outlet. Doing it the old fashioned way, with the mechanical meter, puts the man in the water. Bad idea, since it turned out his waders leaked!

Some lakes still had a bit o' ice floating...

While Summit Lake was mostly ice covered.  Gulkana Glacier, in the background, is the source for Phelan Creek.