Tuesday, September 29, 2020

No, I Didn't Watch The Debate

I started to, and then turned it off when I heard the first question.

Therefore, I have no opinion on who "won" the debate.

Besides, I can't stand the after session where the talking head tells me what they just said, what they really meant, and then hear the talking head's opinion of what they said and what it meant.


Thank you

If they aren't speaking in plain English (and I suspect President Trump did), then they have no business up there debating in the first place.

Plenty of others will have their opinions, and I'm sure the video will get sliced-and-diced for all manner of reasons.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

ARRRRGH! Blew a Shock Out!

 Actually, both shocks on the right side of the little RC truck. This is the right rear, and the right front is equally well soaked with the silicone oil that leaks out when the o-rings fail. The OEM shocks on these cars are notorious for leaking as the o-rings get worn, and these went from being "slightly damp" to "puddle on the floor" in one battery pack. The truck probably has 10 packs usage on it, and I was wondering when they were going to fail.

Geez....I most definitely HATE the way Blogger makes you resize images now. The way it was up to a couple of weeks ago gave you a "+" and a "-" when you clicked the image. Now you have the grab a corner and drag it open to the size you want, and it's a PITA to get the images the same size.

Anyway.....got some shock oil, some rebuild kits for these OEM shocks (Traxxas uses a different design o-ring, of better material, than Arrma does), and some cheap eBay "Big Bore" shocks, that look like they might take a bit of "fettling" to install. I filled them up and bled the air out last night, so now I'll top them off and screw the tops back on.

So off to the workshop to fix the leaks and/or swap the shocks, TBD.

And the Cameron Peak fire has cranked up again, adding over 6,000 acres in the last two days. In the screenshot below, you'll see two big "protrusions" to the North of the largest burn area. We don't have the "apocalyptic" looking sky like we did a couple of weeks ago, but there's smoke in the air you can see looking down the street, and a distinctive smell to go with it. The NWS was predicting a 60% chance of rain on Sunday, but I see they've cut it back to a 30% chance, not good.

And there's a 36,000 acre fire in Wyoming, just across the border in the Medicine Bow range, about 75 miles Northwest of here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fun With Rocks!..... Rocks?

 It's not all Radio, Electronics, and Bodywork on old cars here. Occasionally we do Home Improvement Projects, like this one, a part of turning a "house" into a "home".

A few weeks ago we decided that the stone "steps" our handyman guy installed when he put in the edging weren't quite what we needed. They were too small, and too few, for our old bones and shortened strides, and needed replacing. So I figured out what we needed, and we drove up to the Rock Garden on the North side of town, and picked up a bunch of replacements.

We now have a very solid path through the mulch over to where the water spigot is, and another "Little Kid's Path" over to a steel yard-art goat. Don't ask why; SLW thought it was cute, so I planted the flagstone where she directed me to....

 When she thinks things are cute, I just (very quietly!) sigh and say "Yes, Honey..." and let it go.

I think it goes with her front porch "Fall" motif....

And her other whimsical art, placed in various positions around the yard...

While we were there picking up the new stone steps, we looked at the other rocks in the main yard, looking for a decent sized slab we could attach some house numbers to, like an entrance rock alongside a driveway in the neighborhood. This led to discussions with the yard guy, who indicated we could also have the numbers, and a design, etched into the rock. After going through several iterations of the design, and picking some suitable "prop rocks" to position the slab, the "Stone Writer" guy did his thing, and all the rocks were delivered this afternoon.

From the back:

 And from the front:

I wanted to use the city's logo underneath the address, but it's copyrighted, so SLW said no.

Reproduced here for your perusal, all rights reserved by the copyright holder....

The "notches" in the mountain on the left signify Horsetooth Mountain, a local landmark and nav fix, while the blue "wave" represents Horsetooth Reservoir, another local landmark and recreational area.

So the stone engraver guy and I came up with a mountain with a couple of notches in it, and SLW approved.

One of the types of rocks I saw when we were there are "Moss Rocks", which come from wet places, and still have all the dehydrated/fossilized moss and lichen stuck all over them.

The ones we bought weren't as "fancy" as the one in the picture, and this one still has to be moved a bit. I think a simple application of a suitable lever and fulcrum will allow us to wiggle it over into the depression it's pretty much in. It just has to be "adjusted" a bit...

And since we couldn't get this little one placed where we wanted with the forklift, we just dumped it here alongside the garage door. Hopefully it'll sink it a bit over the Winter...

Back to  bodywork.......

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

RC Car Fun!

 Sorry, no videos, although I did dig out the GoPro mount for the little red RC truck.

We had so much fun blasting around the front yard, that after TLG went home with his Daddy, I dug up the other set of wheels and tires I bought last year, along with my aviation snips to modify the body a bit.

Why modify the body? Well the new tires are a bit bigger than what came on it:



I had already changed the pinion gear on the motor so that the overall gearing would be the same. With the small wheels and smaller pinion gear, it had a lower top speed, but got there right now! The larger wheels give me back the top speed I lost, and the acceleration is way more than "adequate". The larger tires also make it easier to go over things, like the wacky curbs we have here.

I snipped out the body trying to follow existing body lines, and after a few minutes I had this:


I put a flap-wheel in my Dremel and smoothed out all the rough edges. This plastic leaves SHARP edges when you trim it. They can slice you open. It hurts, and you get blood all over your model car. DAMHIK....

And I swapped out the hard plastic steering wheel on the transmitter with a nice, soft, foam unit. Cost about $6, and makes the car much more fun to drive.

So how did it work? Better than I expected. By putting these tires on I now have enough additional ground clearance that I can charge the curb at full-power, get launched about 3' into the air, and carry it out about 12' before it comes back to earth. Couldn't do anything like that before! And as long as you back off the throttle as soon as you get airborne, you won't break any driveline parts when you smack back down.

I tried running it before I swapped the tires, and I wasn't happy with it. I was using a cheap 2S LiPo rated at 4000mAh with a "20C" discharge rate, and it just felt really sluggish. It accelerated to top-speed almost instantly, but with the little tires it just didn't go very fast. Now with the larger tires, the gearing is back in the correct range for this motor and speed control package, and it really honks. I also decided to try one of the 2S 5300mAh/75C batteries I have for my little Vintage Trans Am car. These are far better batteries, and the little Senton is a road rocket now. I'll try it again with the new wheels and the cheap LiPo to see if it's as sluggish as it was with the smaller tires on it. I wouldn't expect there to be that much difference between the two batteries, but it's possible.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Finally Got the Side Steps Installed

 Between all the smoke and ash, an inch of rain and 3" of snow, and several days of 30* weather, we finally had two very nice days on Saturday and Sunday.

The instructions weren't very clear, and some of the illustrations were oriented wrong on them, causing you to either stand on your head, or rotate the page.

The hardware was typical Chinesium quality, all thrown together in a bag so the threads get dinged up, and I spent a good hour with a rethreading tap and die set to get the threads cleaned up.

It took about an hour to get the brackets mounted to the body, and then I fiddled around for another hour or so installing the steps to the brackets. Things weren't lining up quite right, so rather than get all bent out of shape, I picked up my tools and vowed to finish it on Sunday.

Wound up crawling around loosening the brackets to get the steps aligned, made sure they were square and level, and then tightened everything back down.

They're solid enough to hold my disgusting fat body (195lbs) , and SLW was very happy with them once she tried them, making comments about how easy it will be to get in the truck when there's snow and ice on the ground.

My helper was quite pleased with the job, and gave me an "ATTABOY!" with his bottle of soap bubbles..

Today he and I are playing Monster Truck out in the back yard. His little truck is an amazingly competent RC model, but for today we're getting out my Arrma Senton to bash.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

M1 Garand Bayonets

 I'm sure you guys know LOTS more about this than I do, so, let me tell you what I'm looking for.

I don't need "authentic" except that it be a real bayonet, and not a chintzy "replica".

I don't need "period correct" for the rifle, but it has to fit properly, and a scabbard would be nice.

What I'm looking for is a functional bayonet that could be used in combat. God forbid I ever have to "Fix Bayonets!", but if I do, I want one that works as intended.

Beans' article about "Knives ona- Stick!" got me thinking again about getting one, so I've been looking into it. 

 My (limited) research shows that there are five available that fit properly.

The Model 1905 "WWI" version - 16"

The Model 1905 "WWII" version - 16", Parkerized

The Bayonet, M1 - 10"

The Model 1905E1 - 10" Basically a cut-down version of the Model 1905.

The Bayonet, M5 - 7"

I think with my level (lack?) of skill, the shorter bayonet would be better. A bit easier to maneuver in tight quarters, too. Yeah, I know, why am I using a Garand for CQB when I have an AR. Well because it's the hardest hitting caliber I have access to, and besides, it needs a bayonet!

The CMP has ZERO. It looks like they got out of the accessory business entirely. Great history of all the different bayonets, though.

Atlanta Cutlery has most of the types, along with some specials for Reenactors.

And I've found several other places that have them.

I'm tending to stay away from eBay and Amazon on items like this, as there's too much Chinesium junk out there that goes for far more than it's worth.

Ideas? Suggestions? Reliable vendors?


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Clear Air, Rain, Snow, and Cold

 Well, plenty cold for this place, this time of year. The low last night was 31*, compared to a "normal" average low of 47*. Our high today was 40*, compared to 76*, and we had to run the heat as the house cools off pretty quickly.

We received over an inch of rain (1.2"), and several inches of snow.

At least the rain preceding the snow washed my truck, but none of the snow stuck around for long.

The fire areas of the Cameron Peak fire received 8"~14" of snow, and while it's "banked" the fire for now, the fire departments are saying that it's still plenty hot under the snow, and the 70* weather coming in on Friday, along with the humidity dropping, will allow the fire to continue burning. At least the firefighters got a bit of a break, and are able to mop up several areas that needed it.

We'll just have to watch and see what the weekend brings....

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Cameron Peak Fire Now Largest Ever in Larimer County

 It's 1730 local time here, and the current weather conditions are 33*, 94%RH, Barometer 30.414 and steady, winds from the East at 1MPH, gusting to 12MPH.

And it just started snowing again. We've received about .6" of rain, along with several inches of snow, now mostly melted. NWS is forecasting any where from 3" to 7" overnight, but I don't think we'll get that much, and it won't stick around for long.

The Cameron peak fire has grown to 103,000 acres (160 sqmi), and is now the largest ever recorded fire in Larimer county. It's all rugged terrain, mostly inaccessible by roads. 

Here's the current burn area/evac areas. The map is from NOCOALERT, and is regularly updated.

This is a shot of the fire from Estes Park, famous for the Stanley Hotel:

The Fire Departments have said the rain and snow will slow the fire down for a few days, but won't stop it.

Channel 9 News has some very good coverage, and links.

Stay safe out there!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Cameron Peak Fire Update

 The winds have shifted, blowing the ash plume and smoke to the North of us. The sun even peeked out for a while.

And right before the winds shifted, and picked up, there was a quiet period where it looked like snow, and some more piled up on the cars.

Now it's all blown away. A large amount came in the garage, but SLW and I swept it all out, and I moved things around, so she could get her little car inside for the night.

This was the fire map as of this morning:

 This the most recent map:

The map below shows the current burn area in black, and yesterday's burn area in white. It really blew-up overnite. 


The winds have picked up some more, the temperature is down to 64*, and the barometer is climbing. NWS is predicting heavy, wet snow, with accumulations of 2"~6" here in the foothills, and 8"~18" in the mountains. It probably won't stick around much past Wednesday, but the forecast is for a 40%~50% chance of rain here in the foothills.

OK, Who Had "Ghost Riders In The Sky" for September?

 This is downright spooky. It's High Noon here, and the security light turns on when you walk past it.

This is what it looks like to the South and SW:

And the color is pretty accurate; a sickly orange-yellow.

I thought the ashfall was heavy yesterday, but look at today:

And it's heavy enough to see in the street:

But there's rain, snow, and more rain in the forecast:

Labor Day
Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 90. South wind 5 to 14 mph becoming west northwest. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.
Rain before 5am, then rain and snow. Areas of smoke before 7pm. Areas of blowing dust between 8pm and 1am. Low around 32. Windy, with a north wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 26 to 31 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 1pm. High near 33. Windy, with a north wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Tuesday Night
Snow likely, mainly before 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 28. Northeast wind 6 to 9 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
A 50 percent chance of snow before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. East wind 5 to 7 mph becoming south southeast in the afternoon.
Wednesday Night
A slight chance of rain before 11pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow between 11pm and 1am, then a chance of rain after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 54.
Thursday Night
A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 37.
A chance of rain, mainly before 7am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 69.
The fire is now well over 40,000 acres, having expanded by 10,000 acres on Saturday/Sunday.

The Easternmost lobe of the fire is now 23 miles away. Yesterday it was 38 miles away. I would expect it to continue expanding and coming closer until it either burns out from lack of fuel, hits the firebreaks they're scrambling to build, or the rain and snow put it out.

SLW heard on the teevee today that it could burn for another month.
One of the other fires West of the Rockies is now the largest fire ever recorded in the state of Colorado.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Misc Bits and Pieces and Smoke In The Air

 Ordered some shear pins and "drift cutters" for the Ariens DeLuxe 24 I'll be picking up next week. I'd really like a Honda, but I'm not paying $2300, and the only used ones I've been finding are the 30" monsters that have tracked drive. I could do the whole neighborhood with one of those, but wouldn't have any place to store it!

And I got a new "work table" for the garage:

It's 72" long, and 30" wide. Quite an improvement from it's little brother who measures out at 48" long by 24" wide:


Yes, the Supra still slumbers....I have a few more spots to apply the filler to before I start sanding it all down. I've been using my flashlight held parallel to the bumper surface to highlight the defects, and found a few more patches of bad sanding scuffs from the hand-held oscillating sander I used.

Sweet Little Wife got a wheelbarrow at at garage sale for $5. Every single nut and bolt was "finger loose", and the tire hadn't seen air in quite a while. Spent some time cleaning it up a bit, got it squared up and tightened the hardware down, and put some air in the tire. It's held 30psi for 48 hours now, so I'm hoping the tube in the tire isn't completely shot. And while I had it apart I put some "Red Sticky Synthetic" grease on the axle and the bushing inside the wheel. So now we have a decent little wheelbarrow to move mulch from the pick-up bed to the flower bed, all for $5 and some of my time.

And I painted the pinch welds under the rocker panels on the truck today. I have the steps assembled, and now I have to mount the brackets. There are pre-punched, capped  holes on the inside of the rocker. You remove two rubber plugs, slip a clip nut into each hole, and then mount the bracket to the rocker panel. Then the steps get mounted to the brackets, and it's done.

SLW thought I was being all "Adrian Monk" about doing this, and then she walked by 10 minutes later and said it looked very nice. I didn't think to take a "before" picture, but it does look cleaner.

Sunday is the last "Summer" family get together, Monday is mount the steps day, and Tuesday or Wednesday will be pick-up a snowblower day. That should give me adequate time to put it together, go over the checklist, and run it a bit before I have to use it. I was surprised to find out most snowblowers run the engine without an air cleaner. I'm pretty sure you can get an air cleaner kit for it, so I might look into that. The air is usually pretty clean when you're blowing snow, but I'd feel better if it had an air cleaner on it to run it this time of year, and do the preseason maintenance on it.

The smoke today is very heavy. We have ash and half-burned pine needles ( ! ) all over the cars, and the light outside has eerie orange color to it. This is from the Cameron Peak fire, which is now up to almost 25,000 acres, and is 6% contained. This last week of hot, dry weather caused it to pick up some steam. Hopefully the rain and snow on Monday and Tuesday will knock it back and give the firefighters a break. Lord knows they need it, and some prayers, too.


A burnt pine needle to the left, a green one to the right. SLW's car had one that was green on half it's length, and charred black on the other half!


If you stand outside for 5 or 10 minutes, you'll start to notice the ash coming down, like little snowflakes from hell.


The smoke is dense enough to show up as "rain" on the weather radar. Normally when you're inside an area that color green, you're getting sprinkled on.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Snow In The Forecast.....Already??

 Just checked the weather for the coming weekend, and I see the NWS is calling for snow on Tuesday, with a high of 43*F.

Tuesday night is forecast to have a low of 30*F. The Average low is 48*F, and the record is 18*F, so while "Unseasonably Cold" could be said, it won't break a record.


I know WSF has been snowed on in every single month here, but if we get some snow, it'll be a first for us here. Local wisdom is we always have at least one snow before Halloween, so I'll ask the clan about September Snow at our Labor Day gathering on Sunday.

Must be Global Warming.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Bumper Work

 After laying down a good coat of primer, and waiting for it to completely cure, I sanded it down, cleaned it, and shot another coat of primer on it. That, too, sat a week to let it completely cure.

Using bright lights, I found a bunch more divots and ripples, and some sanding scratches. 

SO.....I mixed up some more of the "Bumper Bite", and applied it:

And in the process of using the bright lights to really see things, I found a few more little spots that need filler:

And if you look carefully, just below the masking, you can see a few more:

So, after I have some dinner, I'll mix up some more filler, and try and get all the little spots that I missed.

And I expect to do it again, after the next round of sanding.

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...