Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bye-Bye Electric Snow Blower!

Put it on, and sold it for $300. 

Yeah, I took an almost $600 hit for two seasons of use, but it's out of here. I even "delivered" it to the guy who came down this morning to buy it.

He'd read all the online reviews of it, and agreed with me on it's limitations, and is prepared to put up with them. He's from Wisconsin, has owned and used snowblowers, and knows snow at least as well as I do. We both commented on how "nice" the snow is here, all fluffy and dry compared to the sludge that used to blanket us back in the Midwest.

I put the batteries in and ran it, and showed him how all the controls worked. He was very pleased with the condition it was in, and how clean it was, and the fact I had the manuals, tool kit, and all the misc parts that originally came with it.

He and his wife are moving out of their townhouse here in FoCo, and moving in to a new house up in Wellington. The HOA at their new place does the streets and sidewalks, but not the driveways, so unless his driveway is significantly larger than ours, this thing should easily handle it.

He didn't want to be "bothered" with a gas engine snowblower (sound familiar?), but had researched them, and recommended a Toro for my new one.

So he was happy, handed me three Benjamins, we loaded it in the back of the Colorado, and I followed him back to his place. It would have barely fit in his Subie Outback, and we would have had to take the handlebars and discharge chute off.

With a little truck sitting right next to it, why bother?

So now I have to decide on what the replacement unit will be, get one, and RTFM. Leaning towards the Ariens "DeLuxe 24" at this point, but if I get a screaming deal on a good, used Honda, I'll probably go for that.

Winter is coming, and I don't want to get caught flat-footed.....

Friday, August 28, 2020

"Side Assist Steps" for the New Truck

 Even though it's not too bad climbing in and out of the truck, I'm thinking ahead to Winter when you may not have good footing. GM offered a cool looking set of steps for $800, plus installation, and I thought that was a bit too much.

After going through the forum, and doing some googling, I found a set of "iArmor" side steps for $300, with Free Shipping.

 Took about  five days to get here, and they arrived in excellent condition. I spent a few hours last night going through all the parts, and assembling the step to the support rails.


These are a nice design, made from square aluminum tubing, and the step sections appear to be die-cast aluminum, with a whole lotta bolts to secure them to the support rails.


Most of the welds look to be "acceptable" to me, as seen below, but one on the other rail assembly looked a little funky to me.

"OK" weld:

"Funky" weld:

Not as pretty as I'd like, and it sure ain't no "Stack of Dimes" weld!

These steps are "rated" to support 300lbs, and I think they'll be OK.

And we now have some fully-cured primer, ready to apply another layer of filler, followed by more sanding.

I'll get back on that tonight. I have to get some rattle can bedliner to spray the "pinch welds" with on the truck before I install the new steps. That will cover the RED paint on the under the rocker panel on the truck so it doesn't come blazing through the gaps and openings in the new steps, giving the truck a more "finished" appearance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Lewstone Fire 100% Contained; Rist Canyon Evacuation Orders Lifted

 Much thanks to the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, and the Poudre Fire Authority for getting this contained, and mopped up. This fire was near Morning Fresh Dairy Farm, right next door to the Noosa Yoghurt plant where the kids work, and the dairy people were feeding all the firefighters courtesy of their "Howling Cow Cafe" operation.

We went out yesterday to The Rock Garden, a local supplier of decorative rock up on the North end of town. They have pallets full of different types of "flagstone", in sizes from small bits and pieces, up to boulders you'd need to call the Army Corps of Engineers to move. Most of the rock is excavated from their own quarry a few miles away, so it really is a local operation. And the people we met there were quite a bunch of characters.

We picked up a dozen pieces of "Colorado Red", each about 12" square, to use as a walkway through the little garden area we have in front of the house. Our handyman guy had put some down last year, but they were spaced too far apart, and too small in size, to be of any use in walking through the mulch to get to the water valve for sprinkling.



Those pieces are getting placed in various other parts of the yard, and the new ones will get installed over the next few days.

Tomorrow we're going back to pick out "our boulder", so we can have them etch the house number and a graphic on it, and then they'll bring it by and set it for us.

And yes, SLW wants a gen-you-ine BOULDER in the front yard. This one weighs-in at around 600lbs:

I think she wants a bigger one, but that picture from The Rock Garden was handy. I'm thinking more of a "slab" of rock that we can prop up in the back with some smaller "boulders". The stone cutter needs one face to be nice and flat so his stencil will stick to it, and stay stuck, until he finishes sandblasting the design into the stone.

This is going to be an interesting little project, as we get to pick the font for the address, and add a graphic to it. The stonecutter does the design work on a PC with a graphics program, and then transfers the files to his "Plotter/Cutter" that makes a stencil from a rubber mat with adhesive on one side. He then sticks the mat on the rock, and uses a sandblasting rig to etch the design into the rock.

3M makes a whole line of products for this purpose, and I was first exposed to it about 40 years ago when I went to repair a BIG air compressor and the local headstone company. I asked them why such a small shop needed such a YUGE sandblaster (IIRC, it was about 60HP), and the owner proceeded to show me how they made the headstones. I'd always thought somebody sat there with a chisel, and he laughed and said they hadn't done it that for about 75 years.

So, I'm off on another tangent for a few days, along with filling, sanding, priming, and sanding some more on the Supra's front bumper, along with properly setting the new stone steppers, and other grunt work.....

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Lewstone Fire Prompts Rist Canyon Evacuations

 Well, we have a much more "local" fire burning in Rist Canyon along Rist Canyon Road. This is the area the in-laws live in, and they've been getting their critical items out of there.

From the Coloradoan newspaper:

A new fire called the Lewstone Fire started north of Fort Collins on Saturday afternoon, already forcing some mandatory evacuations.

The fire started at approximately 3:30 p.m. and is just north of Rist Canyon Road (County Road 52) and Pine Acres Way.

Fire officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents north of Rist Canyon Road, west of Whale Rock Road and east of the Davis Ranch Road due to "immediate and imminent danger," per the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.

Voluntary evacuations are advised for residents living south of Rist Canyon Road from Whale Rock Road and all areas to the west up to Davis Ranch Road.

"You are encouraged to move livestock and pets out of the area and to prepare for mandatory evacuations. For updates, text the word LEWSTONE to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger," per Larimer County Sheriff. 

The fire is approximately 30-40 acres as of 5:50 p.m., according to the Larimer County Sheriff. There are two air tankers, two heavy helicopters and 80 personnel on scene or en route.

 One of the videos I watched showed a Lockheed Electra being used as an aerial tanker, but I couldn't make out any markings on it.

And here's the map:

This is painfully close to, and overlaps some of, the area that burned in 2012, referred to as the High Park Fire. 


And there's NO RAIN forecast for this area until Tuesday, and then it's only a 20% chance. 

The clan's matriarch is in Cheyenne watching one of the little ones as daughter #2 just went in to the hospital for baby #2........

Friday, August 21, 2020

And on the Bumper Front.....or is that "Front Bumper"?

 Been sanding away on the first "skim coat" of the Bumper Bite flexible glaze, and I've already learned two things.

1- Go easy on the amount of hardener used


2- Let it cure for a good hour before hitting it with sandpaper


I learned #1 on the first batch I mixed. The excess hardener gave me a pot life of about 3 minutes, and the stuff kicked so hard and so fast that the spreader I was using got stuck to the bumper! It quite literally "froze" as I was wiping it on.

I learned #2 trying to clean up the mess I made learning #1.

Forgot to snap pix of the skim coat and sanding as I was busy cleaning it off, wiping it down with solvent, and shaking the can of primer, which I used tonight for the first time. You really have to put this stuff down in "Medium WET" coats to get any coverage.

And this is why we prime things:

These are all flaws I missed. I could kinda-sorta feel them with my fingers, but I couldn't see them due to all the different colors of plastic, paint, and filler resin. They just disappeared into the visual "noise" of the random splotches of color, so while I could barely feel them, I couldn't see how deep they were.

These are shallow enough that the Bumper Bite should fill them, and it's MUCH easier to sand than the repair resin.

SO......after the primer fully cures, I'll carefully mix up some more Bumper Bite, and wipe a coat into all these sunken areas. Let it sit 30~45 minutes, and it sands off pretty easily, like a "lightweight" polyester filler.

More to come.....

Monday, August 17, 2020

Fun With Cardboard, Reynolds Wrap, and Packing Tape, and an EDC Question

 So The Little Guy and I built a house in the garage:

His Mom and Dad have the same chest freezer we bought, and they built a "house" for him to play in with it. I had cut-up the box ours came in to make it easier to store, and while we were out in the garage the other day playing with the bubble machine, he spotted the box and said he wanted to play "In My House". I thought he wanted to go play IN the house, but after realizing what we wanted, I grabbed my trusty packing tape gun, some extra cardboard from the "Chewy" boxes we have, and we proceeded to put his house together.

It's a nice little house, with a window:


And a comfy chair:


And even a wall-mount TV so he can watch "Paw Patrol":

And up on the roof, we have a Satellite, and a chimney for his pellet stove!

When he said he wanted a "Satellite!" on the roof, I think he meant a satellite dish for getting his "Paw Patrol" fix on his TV, but he said "satellite", so I made him one.

If you squint your eyes a bit, and put on some blue lenses, it kinda-sorta resembles a Hughes HS-376:


Anyway, we had fun building his new house here, and I suspect he'll want some "improvements" in the near future.......

EDC Question:

All my training has been with a 1911 pistol. I can run it in the dark, and keep it running, and just about do a field-strip and clean in a black bag, and get it back together with no left over parts. I can smoothly transition from/to pistol, rifle, or shotgun, and prior to that tragic boating accident some time ago, I had two full-size Kimbers, a TLE-II, and a Custom Shop Eclipse. Also had a Sig P-226 in 40S&W, and the barrel to convert it to 357SIG. The magazines are the same.

BUT, a full-size 1911 is a bit hard to CC on me, unless I'm out camping or "off roading", so something "smaller" is desired.

Browning makes a sweet little "1911" in 380, and I'm sorely tempted, but I'd prefer something with a bit more muzzle energy.

I've never fired a "Compact" 1911, or even a "Colt Commander" sized one, so I'm hesitant to just jump on one of those.

Yes, I have a strong "1911 Bias" here, and I freely admit it. Perhaps a compact 1911 in 9mm?

What say you?

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Shingles Vaccination Side Effects and Local Wildfires

 Well now that the email is back working (network problem; not my yob, mon!), and things are getting somewhat back to normal, I just thought I'd mention the reaction I had to my #2 dose of the Shingrix vaccine.

I got my #2 shot a day or two after I was "over" whatever 48-hour bug I had. It happened in the two-day window when I was starting to feel "OK", and SLW got clobbered with it. I was busy tending to her and doing the housework, so I only noticed a bit of discomfort from having the spike pounded in to my upper arm that gave me the Intramuscular Injection, just like shot #1 gave me. Eh, no biggie, just a little soreness.

So while she's in the throws of that nasty little bug and I've "Got the Con" trying to run the place, I didn't notice anything until about 24~36 hours after the shot. Hopped in the shower, and........what's this?

Had a big, red, swollen patch on my arm below where the injection site was. Called the people at urgent care, and asked if it was anything to be worried about, and they said to just watch it, and if it got much bigger, more swollen, and started causing a lot of pain to get back to them. If I started having ANY breathing problems, and/or broke out in hives, then I should go post haste to the ER.

Nothing happened, the swelling went away, and all is well again. I've had some reactions to other shots (the cholera one was the worst, IIRC), and had a pretty severe reaction to some of the meds I was on for a few days when I had the stents installed, so kinds BTDT.

In any case, the reaction I had to the #2 shot was minor, and FAR better than getting clipped with a Shingles outbreak, as some of you know all too well, which is why I got the two shots in the first place. I tend to take medical advice from my peers seriously.

And the Chambers Lake / Cameron Peak fire is up to about 5,500 acres, with ZERO per cent containment.

This is located about 40 miles due West of us, and the smoke is very noticeable, with some ash fallout. The ash is more like "dust", and it's enough to make you use the windshield washers to clean it off. I knew it was ash the first time I hit the squirters and saw the color of the mud that it made.

They have three helicopters doing drops, but it's too hot, too dry, and too dangerous to start hitting the fire directly. The crews are doing "Structure Protection" duty, and clearing paths and fire breaks.

And there's NO rain in the forecast until Tuesday, and then it's a "10% chance".

Gonna be a long, hot dry Summer and Fall, I fear, and I hope they can get a handle on this one. These guys are in the "Hero" category for going up against these fires as far as I'm concerned.

Verizon / AOL email Down

 I keep getting various "Gateway" error messages indicating "Bad Gateway", "Gateway Down", etc.

Not sure if it's on our (Comcast) side, or their side.

Oh, well.....

And now it's working again.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

More Neighborhood Changes Pending....

 The house at the end of our cul-de-sac is being sold. I received a listing for it in this morning's email, and the listing stated "Under Contract before Publishing", indicating nice houses in nice neighborhoods are still "hot" here in FoCo.


4br, 3ba, 3100sqft, 11,400sqft lot, and it sold for $475k. One across the street at the end of the cul-de-sac recently went for $550k, but it was bigger, and extremely nice inside, with a gorgeous yard.

I've received listings for what appear to be decent houses at decent prices here, and the house sits on the market for 30, 60, 90 days -or longer-, and then either drops off the MLS rolls, or goes up for rent.

Even though I've been watching the market here about 7 years, I'm still surprised when I see some properties languish, while others never really make it market, or sell in a week.

Of course, since we're no longer actively seeking a house, I haven't seen any of the properties that look "OK" in the listing, but fall apart when you open the front door and go inside, or get a close look at the exterior trim, windows, siding, roof, etc.

And whoo-boy, did we ever see a few of those when we were looking!

Still, it's good to see life go on, and I'm wondering who the new neighbors will be.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Fort Collins Residents Attack Antifa Thugs after Veteran In Wheelchair Assaulted

 Totally missed this yesterday, but thanks to extexanwannabee, now I know about it.


I usually have a scanner running, but unless it's a call to/from the Larimer County Sheriff, or the Colorado Highway Patrol, I won't hear it. Ft. Collins turned on the encryption for ALL police radios after a one-term Chief of Police thought it was a good idea.

Full article is here:

Antifa Beaten After They Allegedly Went After Man In Wheelchair: ‘You Guys Came To The Wrong City’

Friday, August 7, 2020

Holy Smokes.....What Hit Me?

No, not the truck, it's sitting in the driveway just fine.


Had a really bad night Wednesday, stayed in bed all day Thursday, and now it's Friday.


No fever, but plenty of chills, shakes, sweats, and going "projectile" at both the ends. Really made a mess in the bathroom, but SLW cleaned it up while I was sleeping.


Yeah, she's definitely a keeper!

So I don't think it's "The VIRUS!" because no fever, and I almost feel OK today, but a bit weak from no food for two days.

Been drinking water and Gatorade, and maybe (that's maybe) I'll have a slice of bread later.

I'm thinking more along the lines of "Food Poisoning", or maybe some "24-Hour Bug", but never had much belief in those.....

Back to bed. See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Bedliner and Tonneau Installation

The people at Colorado Bullhide called last night informing me they had a cancellation, and asked if I would be interested in bringing the truck in today to have the bedliner and tonneau installed.


So I dragged myself out of the rack this morning at 0630, jumped in the shower, got dressed, and headed down to Windsor. I got there about 5 minutes after they opened at 0800, talked with the owner Dan a bit, and then they pulled the truck in the shop and got to work on it.

I was back on the road and headed home at 1230, pretty good service! I'd been corresponding with Dan over the last week with questions about it, and was satisfied that they knew what they were doing. He confirmed what I'd read on several pick-up truck forums, that the materials used were all very good, and the surface preparation is the most important thing, just like doing bodywork.

The three big suppliers are Rhino, Line-X, and Bullhide. Rhino and Bullhide are a bit softer than Line-X, and are easier to crawl around on without leaving scraped off skin on the liner, and also easier on your knees when you're in the cargo bed. Line-X has the reputation for holding up slightly better if you regularly haul thing like gravel, bricks, and concrete blocks, but it's a small difference. He also had samples of the various products, removed from junked trucks where he knew what materials were used. One interesting thing were the several sections of OEM (factory applied) bedliner. If you held the stuff up to the light, you could see pinholes and voids in it, indicating it hadn't been sprayed on very thick, resulting in it not being as durable as an aftermarket applied coating.

Here you can see the thickness:

They removed the access panel in the tailgate, sprayed it separately, and reinstalled it:

Sure is dark in there!

Even though it's cured enough to use, I'll wait until tomorrow to install these "Bullring" cargo tie downs:

The above picture shows them in the "stowed" position. When you need to secure something, the U-shaped ring pulls out and snaps into position:

Ant the tonneau cover is really nice. Very solid, and easy to latch/unlatch, and fold the sections up.

These are the two new LED light fixtures I installed. The "four tube" one is 6000 Lumens, and really lights up the engine compartment, and the "two tube" fixture over the bench provides extra fill-in light.

The orange extension cords run to the garage door openers, and no, I did not install them! The black hanging cord on the four-tube fixture *is* my responsibility, and I'll be extending it a few feet so it can be dressed-in properly and reach the new switch boxes I built a couple of weeks ago.

Later tonight I'll take some pix of the tires from the Jeep, and that %$^#^(! "Snow-Joe" electric snow blower so I can get them on, and get rid of them, freeing up a bunch of space on SLW's side of the garage.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Katy Lied!

Well, "Katy" doesn't speak much, so I can't verify the truth of the post title.

I *know* I've lived where these little guys live, but I can't remember seeing any before....

For reference to the post title:

Man, this "new" Blogger interface SUCKS! Tried FOUR times to link the song from YouTube, and no dice.

Why do they have to screw with this stuff? It was working...LEAVE IT ALONE you morons......

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs! She's two years old, p...