Saturday, August 31, 2019

Good Visit with My Son

We had a very pleasant time the few days he was here. He got in Tuesday night, after spending Monday night in Richland, UT, and left late this morning. He took the "Northern Route" to get here, going through Salt lake City, and then to Cheyenne, then South to here.

He's planning on taking the "Southern Route" to get back to Lost Angeleez, going South on I-25 to Albuquerque, then West through Arizona, and back to Kaliforniastan.

He's seriously considering stopping in Winslow, AZ to visit the "Standin' On The Corner" park 'just because'.

Hey, we stopped at the "Arne's Royal Hawaiian Motel" in Baker, CA on my move here 'just because' we'd both seen it on "Roadkill", so why not? I'm glad he's getting to see some of the Southwestern United States, as he's never taken a solo cross-country trip like this before. He's never driven this much, and says the next time he drives here he'll be pulling a trailer with all his stuff in it.

Wednesday we took a scenic drive, and stopped for lunch at the Mishawaka, a local hangout in Poudre Canyon for around 100 years. Thursday we did some runnin around stuff (nice to have a relative with a pick-up truck!), and then went up to The Kid's Place in Laporte so he could hang with his nephew for a while. Friday we went up to the Cheyenne Depot Museum (GREAT place!), and then to the local "Mongolian BBQ" with The Kids for a nice dinner. I've finally figured out which and how much of the 'special sauces' to put on my food before giving it to the cook to be grilled.

So we had fun hanging out in the garage, and going to a few local things we thought he might enjoy.

He'd really like to get out of L.A. and move here, and I know getting out of that pressure cooker would be a Very Good Thing for him.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Busy...Light Posting

My son came out from SoCal for a few days, so I'll be tied up doing things with him.

He drove out here, arriving Tuesday night, and he's headed back Saturday morning. We spent yesterday just goofing off and doing running around stuff, and today we're doing the "Scenic Drive" thing, heading up Rist Canyon Road to Stove Prairie Road, then over to Colorado 14, and down Poudre Conyon, stopping at The Mishawaka for a late lunch.

The Kids are bring The Little Guy by tonight, and Friday night we're all going out for dinner.

Be back on the flip side....

Monday, August 26, 2019

Rist Canyon Mountain Festival 7 September 2019

Every time I've driven my favorite "Scenic Route" I go past the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department buildings. The RCVFD is 100% volunteer, and 100% self-supporting.

A year before we came out here the first time the was the second largest fire in Colorado history, the High Park Fire. It was caused by a lightning strike in a meadow, about 100 acres or so, but three hours later it had spread to 3000 acres, and was accelerating. It burned for three weeks before it was considered 100% contained, destroyed about 260 homes, along with other structures, and killed one person. This was the fire where our in-laws lost 3 of their four houses, along with the "big" shop, and most of their construction equipment. Their main house, "The Homestead", survived with some minor scorching.

The video below gives a pretty good recap:



Even though numerous agencies were involved, the RCVFD and the Poudre Fire Authority led the charge.

And they did a magnificent job, as the video described.

So, when I was flipping through the "Local Activities" section of my new AAA magazine, I saw that the RCVFD is having their annual fund raiser, the Rist Canyon Mountain Festival, and you betcha' we're going!

And we're taking The Little Guy. The only thing that gets him more excited than a green-and-yellow tractor or red "Race Car" is a FIRE TRUCK, and there's going to be a whole bunch of them!

And I'm going to sleep with my camera so I don't forget it.

If you're in the area on September 7th and have the time, swing on by and support these guys. We've been going to more of these community events since we got all settled in, and we're lovin' every minute of it.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Supra Cam Cover Refinishing

As one of the myriad tasks I have working on my "Project Car" is refinishing the cam covers (aka "Valve Covers") so the engine doesn't look so ratty when the hood is open.




These are the cam covers the car was born with. 30+ years of heat and oil/road vapors have caused the paint to lift, exposing the aluminum.

Some time ago I bought a set from a forum member, and they had ZERO paint on them, and really heavy oil and varnish deposits on them. I stripped the oil and varnish off using paint stripper, and then washed them with solvent. Well, I didn't clean the outside surfaces properly, and the remaining oil caused "fisheyes" in the paint.

See all the little "dots" in the paint? Those are "fisheyes". Since I have another set of covers (the ones still on the engine), I'm just going to roll with these for now, and do a much better job on my original covers after I take them off the engine to install these.




I mounted the covers to a length of 2x4 I had laying around, and clamped the 2x4 to my work table. Then I put a sheet of 100-grit paper in my little orbital sander, and carefully, gently, slooowly took the paint of the ribs and lettering. You want to keep nice, even pressure on the sander as you move it from one side to the other. Don't bear down on it, or you can gouge the aluminum casting, and/or make low spots, which won't look very nice when you're finished. Like Dad always said, "Let The Tool Do The Work".

This is after 15 minutes or so of easy sanding.




Then I vacuum them off, and block sand them with 220 grit, followed by 600 grit. Sand ONLY in one direction, "long ways" on these, to give you a nice, uniform "brushed" finish on the ribs and lettering. Blocking them like this gets them nice and flat. The 220 gets out 95% of the marks left by the 100 grit in the orbital sander, and the 600 gives a nice satin/brushed finish.




Nice and FLAT with square edges.




Makes the lettering really stand out.



This is after 2 light coast, and one 'medium heavy' coat, 10 minutes apart, using VHT High Temperature Clear Engine Enamel, "With Ceramic!!".

Whatever.....




After the clear coat cures for at least 48 hours I'll paint the lettering with some Testor's "Model Master" enamel, let that cure, and then clear coat the lettering to seal it down.

And then I did the same with the cam cover for the intake side of the engine. This side doesn't have any lettering, so it's basically finished and ready to install after the clear coat cures. The can says "48 Hours", but I've always had better luck with waiting AT LEAST a week, or 168 hours. Putting them out in the sun after they've dried to the touch and aren't tacky any longer is also a good thing to do. It's going to be warm and sunny tomorrow, so I'll put them out in the sun for a few hours. Lat summer they got up to over 140* sitting in the sun, and that really helped the wrinkle paint cure.






And then I painted my passenger side outside mirror housing. It still needs some more paint, but I'm a stickler for following the drying times printed on the can, so it won't get any more paint for 24 hours.

Anyway....one more mundane item crossed off the list for the Supra.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Finally Friday!

Not that it matters much to an Old Retired Guy, to who everyday is Saturday.....

Had a very pleasant visit with my friends Cap'n Bob & the Damsel on Wednesday as they stopped in to see us as they traveled down the Front Range to Fort Morgan, Limon, and Pueblo.



Too short a visit, and they missed meeting my sweet little wife, who was a bit under the weather from some minor surgery, but it's always good to connect with old friends.

Been "Piddle Farting" (thanks, Phil!) around on the Supra doing things like cleaning the windshield trim, wiper arms, and cowl panel so I can paint them satin black. I had to pull all that stuff off, along with some of the interior bits-and-pieces in preparation for getting the windshield replaced. Ran into a couple of small rust perforations on the cowl panel, so I had to pull the glued-on "anti-rattle" strip off the back, grind them out, patch them with some epoxy on the back, and spot putty on the front, then finish sand them, and prime them, in preparation for paint. And then I can call the glass guys to pull the windshield so I can fix a bit of rust-under-the-paint on the "A Pillars" . Once that's done, they'll come back to install the new windshield. The windshield isn't cracked or broken, but it's got 35 years of pits, scratches, and dings in it, and the tint has faded from a nice, deep blue, to that "Old Jap Car Brown" that you see on old glass. I'm pretty sure the "rust-under-the-paint" was caused by the trim rubbing through the paint in spots, and allowing water to get in there. At least I hope that's all it is, as that's a simple simple, sand-putty-prime-sand-prime-paint repair to do, and even a ham-fisted "Body Guy" like me can do a nice job on.

eBay sales are proceeding nicely, and stuff is disappearing from the basement. I'm searching hi-and-low to find the original manuals for my Drake TR-270 transceiver, and the manuals for the two options it has in it. I know I have them, and I know they're in a grey, manila envelope, but where the heck is the envelope? It's not in the filing cabinet with the other manuals, and it's not on any of the book shelves, so it's time to start going through out-of-the-way places to find them.

Monday, August 19, 2019

68 Orbits And Counting.....

Geez.....If I would have known I was going to be around this long, I would have taken better care of myself!

We're heading out for dinner this evening to the Sonny Lubick Steakhouse in Old Town. This place has become our GOTO place for a nice dinner, and the place to take family for those Special Occasions. Excellent food, wonderful service, and just an all around Nice Place. Highly recommended if you're ever in Fort Collins. We'd heard it was good, but it took us about 18 months after we moved here to get one of those circular TUITS, and go there. It was (and is) the best steak I've had since we moved here.

And speaking of meat.....







Then after we get back, I can finish packing up the FlexRadio, which is going to a new owner in Oklahoma. Unfortunately he lives "Out Where The Buses Don't Run", and that means I have to ship to his P.O. Box, and that means no FedEx or UPS, and that means a wait in line for me at the USPS. I had it packed and sealed, but considering the treatment I know it's going to receive at the hands of the .gov "employees", I'm going to add as much heavy-duty bubble wrap as I can stuff into the box before I reseal it, and add some straps of fiberglass reinforced shipping tape around the box to toughen it up a bit.

Hope y'all have a good week!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Shack Cleaning Time

Radio Shack, that is.

I'm getting tired at looking at piles of good, usable "STUFF" that I'm never going to do anything with, along with stacks of "Projects" that would either be completely useless to me these days, or impractical to use.

I really don't think I'm going to setup an EchoLink node anytime soon, so I might as well get rid of the controller kit (with the optional AGC module!), and maybe get back the postage I paid to have it shipped here!

Then there's the equipment I'm most likely never going to use again, like my Drake TR-270 VHF/UHF rig, my Yaesu FT-847 "Satellite Rig" and all the accoutrements to set up a fully-functioning *automated* Ham radio Satellite Station, along with my Kenwood TS-790 VHF/UHF/1.2GHz multi-mode transceiver, and the "Lightly Used" Kenwood TM-D710 mobile radio (with built-in TNC!) that I bought on a whim and used for a few months in the home shack.

My FlexRadio Systems 5000A is currently on eBay, and will sell, so it's outta here. It's still an extremely good radio, BUT....you have to use it with a PC, and these days, I'm just not into waiting for the PC to come up, update, and settle down, before I can turn on the radio. And since it's Windows ONLY, that would mean dragging my other PC up here, yada yada yada, and it's just not worth it.

So getting rid of this stuff now will free up some floor space and shelf space in the basement workshop, put some coin in the coffers, and save my wife the trouble of getting rid of it when the inevitable day comes.

I'm not getting any younger, and I'd hate to see the stuff just given away, or worse yet, wind up at the curb or in a dumpster.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Holy Smokes....What A Light Show!

Ye gads is there a lot of lightning tonight. From the NWS weather radar, it looks like the Greeley area is getting clobbered. As Well Seasoned Fool has told me many times, "Most of the really bad weather stays East of the I-25", and while the weather may start turning bad slightly West of I-25, it builds up really fast as it moves Eastward.



I haven't heard any thunder in a while, but wow....the sky gets lit up every 5 seconds, almost fast enough that the glow from the previous stroke hasn't completely faded.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pleasant Weather

Been cool and rainy the last day or so, a nice break from the 95* days and humid nights we were having.

I'll only mention Mr. Epstein's passing in passing. He was a scumbag in this life, and will be judged by a much higher authority than I.

So life goes on, and there's a touch of Fall in the air.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Small Victories

The little Zotac "Z-BOX" PC running the weewx software has been running rock-solid for over a week now. Even with the console located down in the basement, my Davis Vantage Pro2 has been reading 96% or better Received Signal Strength on the 900 MHz radio link. Granted it's only a packet radio burst, and it's Spread Spectrum, but considering it's 100% solar-powered, and about 100' away, and it runs something like a One Milliwatt transmitter, I'm impressed.

Success #2 is that I got "Shockwave Flash" up and running as a Firefox plug-in. Since Adobe is discontinuing support as of December 31 2020, most Linux distributions no longer include it. I'm not sure what kind of Open Source ,if any, replacements are around for it, and Adobe is "Strongly Encouraging" web designers and other developers to stop using it. Maybe they'll open the code up like other companies of orphan products have done, but since it's Adobe, I doubt it.

Then I hung some of the local metal art we bought at the Larimer County Fair on Sunday while the wife was at the Doctor's today.

Yesterday I "officially" sited where the two wood posts are going to be planted for the antennas, and cleared out the gravel and cut the anti-weed fabric that was under the gravel. I'm going to try and get the holes dug and the posts set this week. That will get the two 4x4x8' posts, and the 5 bags of concrete out of the garage, followed shortly after by the autocoupler enclosure and mounting planks. It's more than just "Pick A Spot And Plant The Post" for this. I made sure that the new holes are at least 30" from any existing set posts because I want "undisturbed earth" for the new poles, and I wanted to move the 20 meter vertical so it was at least a half-wavelength from both the house, and the steel support mast for the wire antenna. I know the house distorts the radiation pattern for the vertical (duhhhh!), and I'm sure the metal mast for the wire antenna will have some effect, but it's what I have to work with.

The important thing right now is to get the doggone posts in the ground, and get the antennas transferred to them. Winter will be here faster than I know, and I don't want to get caught flat-footed like I did last year.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Day at the Larimer County Fair

We had a blast.

The Little Guy had fun sitting on some of the tractors, going to the petting zoo, watching "Twiggy The Water Skiing Squirrel", going on some rides, playing in the bounce houses, watching the "Extreme Stunt Dogs" show, going down a BIG slide, and lots of other things.

The pix are from my wife's cell-phone because, as you just guessed, I FORGOT my camera.....again!

Most of the tractors on display were at the Greeley Farm Show a couple of weeks ago, and signs for the "Longs Peak Tractor Club" were on display.

The smoke in the background is from one of the half-dozen or more BBQ/Grilled food vendors that were there.



Here he is checking out the newest in ATV's.



He *might* grow into it....



And since there's a carnival, gotta go on some rides...




Not sure who enjoyed the slide more, TLG or Gramma.




Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!



The Larimer County Sheriff's Department had their "Mounted Police" out, and TLG even got to pet a horse, which he had to be coaxed to do, but then laughed.

One of the things that really caught his eye, and he wanted to do but he's still too small, was a pedal-powered tractor pull. The kids would pedal like crazy, and as the little tractors dragged the sled along, the weight would move forward, making it harder and harder to pull the sled. ONE kid did a "Full Pull", and the crowd went crazy. Pretty cute to see a kid-sixed pulling sled connected to a small John Deere pedal tractor!

And there was live music with local bands. I'd never heard a country version of the BeeGees "Stayin' Alive" before, but they played it extremely well, along with other "countrified" songs, including one by Steely Dan, but I can't remember which song they played.

Oh, and country versions of Foo Fighters, Guns 'N Roses ( ! ) and several other songs I've heard on the radio, but don't know the name of the group.

Yes, food was everywhere! The winner of the fried food category (for me.....) was the Deep Fried Oreo Cookies.

No, I didn't try one. Deep fried foods and I don't play nice, so I wimped out and had a gyro salad from Kosta's, a Fort Collins favorite.

And on our way in to the fairgrounds, we signed the "Recall Jared Polis" and the "US citizens ONLY allowed to vote" petitions. The petion people were still at their posts as we left, and every single person they asked to sign said either "Sure!", "You Bet!", or "HELL YES!!", which pretty much describes how people think about Emperor Polis outside of the Big City/Elite-Only areas.

Even my wife busted up at the guy who said "HELL YES!!".

And we bought some local hang-on-the-wall 'metal art', and a few other little items from local "artisans". We'd much rather keep our money in the community for stuff like this than buy some 'Chinesium' junk from Amazon or eBay.

So all-in-all, we had a wonderful day at the fair, had some good food, saw some cool stuff, and TLG conked out *completely* on the drive home.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Headin' Out to the Larimer County Fair on Sunday

I haven't been to a "County Fair" since I was knee-high to a married grasshopper. Well, maybe a couple, but I swear I went to see the Tractor Pulls.

And yep, we're taking The Little Guy.

The Larimer County Fair is held in the same complex as the Budweiser Events Center, known around here as "The Ranch". It's in the complex where the local radio club has their yearly Hamfest/Swapmeet, so I know the shortcut to avoid getting off at Route 34, and having to go through those $$@@##!! traffic circles immediately off I-25.

In the old days they'd have called it "County Fairgrounds", but these days it's the "Larimer County Events Center".

Oh, well.....

And being that we're going on Sunday, I'm hoping it's not too crazy-crowded.

We'll just be doing the free stuff, not going to the carnival or the rodeo, and I'm sure we'll get to try some County Fair food!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

"Once Upon A Time In Hollywood".....

Well the wife and I had a nice little outing today to go see a movie, Quentin Tarantino's latest.

I don't write movie reviews unless it's about a movie I enjoyed, and this one is a good one.

It's well crafted, well cast, beautifully filmed, and has a great late 1960's soundtrack.

It basically concerns the lives of two buddies, an aging actor western/cowboy actor played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his best friend and stunt double, played by Brad Pitt, and what happened on the night of the Tate-LaBianca murders.

It runs a bit long, but not quite a 'bladder buster'.

If you enjoy Tarantino movies, this one is a must see.