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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Farewell Hermiston

Yesterday was (I think) our last trip to Hermiston Oregon.  We had to finish cleaning up the house we had rented, have the carpet professionally cleaned, and retrieve our 5th wheel trailer from a friend's house.

Additionally we had to close out our account at the credit union and turn in the PO Box keys.  We managed to take care of everything, then return home at 10:30 PM.  A long day, and 450 more miles on the body.  Today is for resting!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Almost time to ride again

It's getting about time to ride again. The old 2005 CBR1000 has been calling me lately, and every time I see someone else riding, I wish I were out there. I am going to find time - one of these days when it's not cold or rainy :)

When we moved recently, I started the bike in order to walk it up the ramp into the back of my truck. It cranked verrry slowly. I suppose it was the combination of a winter without a trickle charger, and the battery being about 7 yrs old.

Seven years is a pretty good lifespan for a lead-acid battery (my experience has been 5 years tops), so I decided to replace it, rather than to let it leave me stranded somewhere. I got on the internet, intending to replace it with a similar model, and found this website:

I was surprised to learn that a company named Shorai manufactures a Lithium-ion battery for my bike. I was more surprised at the specifications of the battery - particularly the weight, capacity, and cycles.

According to the information available, the lithium battery is: "Up to 80% lighter than conventional lead-acid batteries, has up to 2000 cycles - up to 8 times longer cycle life, and stores up to 1 year without recharging." Impressive!!!

Here are the specs for a lead-acid replacement:
Chemistry Dry Charge AGM
Voltage 12
Capacity 2000 mAh / 2.00 Ah Rating 24 Whr
CCA 190
Length 6.00 inch / 15.24 cm
Width 3.43 inch / 8.71 cm
Height 3.69 inch / 9.37 cm
Color Gray
Weight 7 lb / 3.18 Kg
Here are the specs for a lithium-ion replacement:
Chemistry Lithium-Iron Phosphate
Voltage 12
Capacity 14000 mAh / 14.00 Ah Rating 168 Whr
CCA 210
Color Black
Weight 2 lb / 0.91 Kg
Putting the new battery in after removing the lead one, it actually felt hollow, like a battery with nothing inside it. But it cranked the bike really well.

I took the bike for a short ride down to the end of our road, to warm it up, then tried to get a wheelie out of it. I don't think it likes the altitude (2500ft)very much, cuz it really didn't want to wheelie. I guess the next thing to do is to have the Honda dealer do spring maintenance.

They look a bit lonely, don't they?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gardening tips

My mother-in-law has been staying with us this past week. She is a dear lady, and one day while she and my wife were out shopping, she bought several plants to add color to the back yard.

Today she planted the a couple of dozen violas. By early evening, they had been eaten down to the ground! I suspect it was deer, but who knows... Looks like we will have to do hanging flower baskets!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Housing stuff...

I'm kinda wiped out right now. With the DuPont schedule, you flip-flop on and off nights for 3 weeks, then get a week off.

The last week I had "off", we moved my household, plus two storage units, from Hermiston, Oregon, to Northern Idaho. It took 3 trips with a 26 foot moving van. Most days I drove 3.5 hours, loaded the van, drove 3.5 hours back, and unloaded it. It was an exhausting week, and now I am back in the 3 week grind part of my work schedule.

I just had one day off, of which I spent 4 hours at work starting up the plant at midnight. On my one day off, however, I got some good stuff done around the house :)

A week ago, we ordered some custom sized pleated cellular shades. They aren't cheap: A set for all the windows in the house (except the master bathroom) cost $2700. But these suckers really trap the heat in, so they are worth it! I spent several hours installing the shades yesterday. It wasn't much fun, because it was overhead work, and my shoulders kept getting sore.

On the bright side, I have a really nice Ridgid drill that made it go pretty quickly. I love that sucker! The little work light comes on when you pull the trigger, and it's down by the battery, so you get nice side-lighting on what you are drilling/screwing. See picture.

I can already tell how well the shades are insuling the windows. The house is heated by a heat pump, and it has been running almost non-stop every night, starting at sundown when the chilly mountain air starts to come on strong. Yesterday after I installed the new blinds, the heater never came on at all, and I was up until 5:00 AM, getting ready for night shift.

I can't say it strongly enough; these shades are pretty amazing. When you lift them in the morning, you can feel the cold air pour out of the windowsill. Best of all, the new design has no cords. Here is a side view of one of these blinds.

Front View:

Another thing I did was repair the water system/ice maker on the refrigerator. When we were living in the rentals the past couple of years, the fridge was out in the garage. The first rental didn't have room for our big fridge, and the other rental had its own fridge. In any event, since it never occured to me to drain the fridge, the charcoal filter cartridge froze and exploded, as did the plastic solenoid valve assembly that sends water to the ice maker and the water dispenser. We now have ice!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Water under the bridge...

March 13, 2007. Oh. My. God.
The last entry in this blog. It seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened in the interrim.

I have changed jobs twice, moved three times, and my daughter has grown from age 4 to age 9. My father-in-law passed away, and our dog Gertie had to be put down.

Happy Easter, By the way!!!

We moved from Bakersfield in the spring of 2010 to Hermiston, Oregon. The goal was to get away from the smog and crime. Hermiston seemed nice at first, but we gradually began to realize that it wasn't for us, due to the poor public education system. We moved to Northern Idaho two weeks ago.

So far it seems a great deal better than what we have experienced in Hermiston. For one thing we were able to buy our dream house (an REO) for a reasonable price. We are now the proud owners of a 3700 sqft house on 5 wooded acres. I finally have the shop I always wanted, and Corie has her craft room. We had deer grazing in the back yard yesterday evening.

Even though it's only a couple hundred miles North of Hermiston, the weather is drastically cooler and wetter. We had snow flurries here yesterday, although by afternoon it was motorbike weather.

We have a new puppy named Bridget. She is another dachshund, all full of life and energy.

The new job is going quite well. I enjoy most of the people that I work with, and this is one of the better-running facilities I have worked at.

I am preparing to start home-brewing as a hobby, after a fellow at the previous job got me interested. This is really quite counter-productive to my other hobby, weightlifting. It will be interesting to see which prevails. Probably the less painful one!

Grace has grown into a highly intelligent, intellectual young lady, and a voracious reader, which is part of the reason we re-located. The schools in Hermiston were failing "No Child Left Behind", which I consider to be a very low hurdle. Grace had tested and passed the Oregon "Talented and Gifted" (TAG) program, but the schools had no money available for that resource. Grace was stagnating, since the school was focusing all their efforts on getting the mediocre students to pass the test.

Below is a photo of Grace playing miniature golf while we were at Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington.

I will go on a rant about the socio-economic situation in Hermiston (and probably most agricultural areas) in a later post. Suffice to say we are in a happier place now.