Monday, June 24, 2024

Between Storm Bands

We’ve all seen the weather people on TV get overly excited about every little storm. When they get a significant storm to cover they go a bit nuts. 

So here in New Hampshire we had tornado warnings -a fairly uncommon event. I don’t get too excited about that sort of thing. Tornadoes don’t last too long in the mountains. What is of greater concern are the hailstorms. Actually, the most life threatening component of storms is the flooding. That’s an issue over the majority of the country, and even in places where you wouldn’t think it was a problem. 

The day started out with steady rain. Sometime after lunch that came to an end. It seemed to me that the whole storm watch was overblown. That happens often enough. Once the rain stopped I went for a ride on the scooter. 

The storm wasn’t over. We were just between storm bands. After driving about 15 miles down the road it started to cloud up again. A couple miles later the clouds got really dark. That’s when I turned around  and headed for home. I beat the rain by about ten minutes. 

We had some amazing thunderstorms but were on the edge of them the whole time. It wasn’t even that windy at my place, but there loud booms in the distance. There was plenty of rain though so I would have gotten pretty soaked had I kept riding. 

Note to self: get better rain gear.


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Put up or shut up day

It was put up or shut day for registering for the Scooter Cannonball Run. I’ve been yammering on about it for a while. Previous participants had a week or two before now to register. The remaining slots opened up Saturday at 10 a. m..  

The registration site got hammered with traffic. It took a bit but I was eventually able to get the process started. That was going well until it came time to pay. 

My card was declined. Okay . . .  So I was thinking that maybe I entered something incorrectly? Reloading the information didn’t work -a few times. 

Then I called my bank. They placed me on hold for a quite a while. Their fraud line was super busy for some reason. Eventually a human came on the line. The Cannonball had been flagged as a possible fraudulent purchase. After being put on hold three times the card was finally released. 

With the bank guy still on the phone I attempted the registration process again. No joy. However, the bank guy was able to determine that it was the Cannonball web site shutting me out this time -probably due to my multiple attempts. 

So I called up Dave at the Cannonball. He was able to manually enter in all my information and the purchase finally went through.

Now I’m registered as Sixbears and my number is 58. The event is a year away -which is good as I’ve got to work hard to get into condition. 

Should be fun.


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Housing Woes

A good friend’s sister is visiting from Florida. She was saying how insurance and HOA fees are eating her alive. She’s only owned her place for a few years and these higher expenses are a real hardship. Let’s see what happens after this coming hurricane season. 

My wife’s church here is New Hampshire is facing much higher insurance costs. Apparently her church’s insurance is combined with all the other churches in the country. A big increase in one area, such as Florida, raises the rates across the board. The people in Northern New Hampshire aren’t too keen on paying for hurricane risks they’ve never experienced. 

A newly married couple I’m friends with has been looking for a decent house for the last year and a half. Our real estate has taken a jump. It’s not as crazy as in other parts of the country but our wages tend to be lower too. What we have is a lot of people who are moving north from high cost areas. Our higher costs don’t see high to them. 

Usually by this part of the economic cycle we start to see lower housing prices. That has started to happen in a few areas but just a few. Of course rents have also risen. Personally, I’m lucky I’ve been in my home for a long time. A decent apartment in town would cost twice what I’m paying each month to live here on the lake. That’s just crazy. 

One thing about the housing market -things can turn on a dime so be aware.


Friday, June 21, 2024

Beating the heat

The heatwave appears to be over for now. It’s late Thursday evening as I write this. Rain moved in and dropped the temperature down to around 70. Fans are drawing the cooler air into the house. 

I was thinking back to the last time is was this hot in June. About 30 years ago I went to the Laconia Bike Week event. Temperatures got over 100 degrees. Back then I was riding a KZ-900 motorcycle. The big four cylinder air cooled engine threw off a lot of heat while sitting in traffic. A couple times I pulled over to shut the bike down to let it cool. More than a few engines fried that week. 

Today I took the scooter out for a ride. The little engine is water cooled so does much better in the heat. While the temperature didn’t get over 100 the humidity was something else. Riding tree lined back roads was a lot more comfortable than sitting in traffic. 

My home office has a really nice ceiling fan -currently set on “almost helicopter” high. The grid browned out for a minute but my fans run off my own solar electric power. The batteries are holding up nicely. 

It looks like we got through this heatwave in good shape. Of course, it’s not even officially summer yet. Things could get interesting.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Hydration Test

Have you ever been too thirsty to drink? I didn’t think that was a thing. We haven’t escaped the heatwave that’s covering the eastern half of the country. The humidity has also been quite something. 

So about my hydration issues. The Scooter Cannonball trip for next year is still on. Open registration will start soon. It appears that a fair bit of the course will be through desert. Staying hydrated will be essential. With that in mind I’ve been doing longer and longer trips on the scooter in hot weather. On one of those trips I was actually too thirsty to drink. How weird is that?

The heat had soured my stomach so just pounding down water wasn’t an option. In the end I went into an air conditioned McDonalds and slowly sipped an ice cold Coke. That settled my stomach enough that I was able to drink water again. 

One of the annoying things about stopping to drink is that I have to take my helmet completely off. My full face helmet gives excellent protection but it’s crowded in there. Rather than take the time to remove the helmet it’s easier to keep on riding. 

Perhaps the thing to do is to drink water every gas stop. To facilitate that some sort of water bottle mount might make it easier and quicker. Right now I have to dig a water bottle out of my seat compartment or from the saddle bags. It’s just enough of a pain that it’s easy to skip drinking. 

Then there’s the option of a water bladder with a hose. Maybe the drinking hose can be snaked into the helmet? Worse come to worse I could get a new helmet but I’m trying to keep the costs from running away from me. 

Right now I have just about enough money set aside to do the Cannonball on a shoestring budget. It should be possible to save up a bit more and have a more comfortable experience. Finding low budget hydration solutions will help. 

I didn’t even know hydration was going to be an issue until I started pounding down some hot weather miles.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Heatwave coming

. . . but it ain’t here yet. Sunday morning it was 34 degrees. Eventually it got up around 70 but then started to cool off again. 

However, we are supposed to get hit with that massive heatwave. Here it’s supposed to get into the 90s.  In the past we sometimes never got temperatures that high all summer. Remember it’s still technically spring. 

Here in the Great North Woods I’m much more concerned about keeping warm than keeping cool. However, with high heat this early I’m seriously wondering if I may need air conditioning someday. So far we’ve done just fine with fans. My solar electric system can handle the load of fans. It’s too small to power AC. For that I’d have to rely on the grid. That’s exactly the conditions that stress the grid and cause it to go down. 

There’s a lot to be said for natural cooling. I’ve some very large hemlock trees that shade the house nicely. Worse come to worse I could always crack open a cold beer and wade into the lake. It’s good to have a plan.


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dangerous Bear

I stepped outside onto my porch and startled a bear cub that was about 10 feet away from me. It was eating the wild strawberries that grow in my yard. The cub ambled off about 30 feet, stopped and just stared at me. It was a good sized cub for this time of year. It must be eating well. The wee beasty was pretty cute.

It’s also the kind of bear that worries me. That cub wasn’t going to me any harm. The issue was that I didn’t know where mom bear was. The absolute last thing anyone wants to do is to come between a bear cub and its mom. 

The only thing to do was to go back inside, close the door and wait for it to leave. That’s what I did and it was all good.