Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dog musher racing and broken exhaust pipes

My Soccer-Mom van had been getting a bit throaty over the last couple of weeks indicating some repairs to the exhaust system was in order . I was hoping it would hold together so I could make it through winter without having to mess with it but it was not to be . Last Wednesday it reached the unbearable cacophony stage . Since we had a Sunday date to go to the Musher's Bowl Dog sled Races in Bridgton with our friends Peter and Laura I figured I best do something about it .
Leaving the cat on her latest favorite spot on my desk . . .
I put my soccer-mom wheels up on the ramps in the garage . . .
And torched off the home-made wood stove to knock the edge off the cold . It gets the drafty garage just above freezing when its 10 degrees F outside.
And found the offending joint just behind the "Catholic" converter had let go . The nuts had plain rusted off  and there were no threads left on the studs . So I beat some of the loose rust off it , dug up some of my mini C-clamps slathered the joint with hi-temp 650 degree silicone and clamped it all together . I put some safety wire on them in case the clamps slip off I don't lose them . This summer when the temperatures are more amenable to wrenching under the car I will grind the studs off ,  drill holes and replace them with bolts but for now it will have to do.
Not one hundred percent secure with my cheap red Chinese clamps I did a bit of searching and came up with these handy cast hangers that pipe-fitters use to hang black pipe off steel beams and thought hmmmmmm
A bit of work on them with the angle grinder to make them smaller . . .
and a little trim to make the tips fit easier on the limited flange space available
And Voila!!! a quick and dirty repair. I safety wired them so I would not lose them either . And best of all the van is quiet once again . Minimal busted knuckles, and limited suffering under the van.
So off to the dog races we went. We arrived just in time to see the last of the competitors from the first heat make it to the finish line. So we ran to the barn for some hot soup and coffee . Annie and Laura posing for the camera.
The scene in the barn , that's Peter on the first table facing the camera
Soon the PA announced it was time for the second heat so we went back out and spotted this beast . Harry you need one of these .
The first sled departs the start line
And zooms past us
Peter with his back to me, with Laura and Annie on the other side of the track
The second sled whizzes by
In a couple of minutes the first sled comes back around the double back
And the second sled was a real good experienced team unfortunately it did not serve her well as the course had been changed from last year and the dogs insisted on going the way the knew and took a wrong turn that delayed her significantly .
The apple orchard bowl viewed from the finish line
And we see the first sled come across the orchard
A couple of the dogs from the first race in their cage
On the way home we stopped at a little gas station with a real nice no frills eatery and had a wicked good late lunch and shared a big bottle of Alagash Porter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Feeding welfare dependents

Last few weeks have been mostly gray with a storm every three days,
When it did clear out we got 50 mph winds and the local layabouts came by to warm up at the soup kitchen .
Then on Saturday it snowed again
And some democrat voters came by wanting a handout, but the local rodents had eaten all their food
they formed a comity to complain about the lack of proper housing and food subsidies
Eventually on Saturday afternoon the snow stopped so we could get things cleaned up and I put out some seed for the local welfare dependents. That's when more colorful ones showed up.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January Flying

Saturday was the first sunny day we have had all week so we went for a ride in the Decathlon
After a few preliminaries we were loaded up and got our clearance to taxi to the active runway.
180 hp and crisp below freezing temps, makes for a quick climb to pattern altitude still abreast the commercial terminal.
We are soon over the Maine Mall packed to the gills . . .Yes, the sheeple go there voluntarily. . . god only knows why.
It is winter out there.
We head west for a spell and after bucking a headwind for about a half hour we are over a dark and gray Lake Winnipesaukee.
We check out some of the summer rentals along the shoreline.
Past the old runway now turned in to a failed residential development by the Hiltons.
 Cold and dark.
A swanky place with a big boathouse.
Kind of hard to see ahead from the back seat.
Over Wolfeboro.
A bit easier to fly from the back if the front passenger scoots over to one side allowing you to see the instruments.
Some of the smaller lakes are starting to freeze over, no doubt some will tempt fate by going out on the ice before it is thick enough, and Darwin will win. He always does.
Headed back east with a strong tailwind makes for a quick ride back to Portland and the plane wallows like a boat riding in following seas.
We are soon back in the downwind leg for RWY 29 when the controllers ask for a a 360 turn to allow more spacing for a landing Cessna Caravan on a long final, so we oblige with a turn over Rigby Yard.
On our base leg we get a good view of the Portland harbor and the Casco Bay Islands on our right.
And the Calvary Cemetery at Cash Corner in South Portland on our left side.
Another shot of the harbor.
The tank farm with barges unloading fuel, and runway 29 up ahead.
On short final we pass the new Mercy Hospital on our right.
And about 400 ft on final when the camera battery gives up the ghost.