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Friday, June 4, 2021

Adventure Travel on the Cheap

I went and bought myself a toy -a 2013 Honda PCX 150 with only 1600 miles on it. A friend gave me a pretty good deal on it. 


In this photo the bike is at the top of Evan’s Notch. It’s a great little twisty road on the border of NH and ME. Good fun. The road also happens to be part of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route. It’s a 1300 mile route that goes from ME all the way to the PA border. I’m knocking out the NH and ME sections in a series of day trips. The rest of it will involve camping along the way.

Normally someone would use something like a dual sport bike or an ADV adventure bike. That’s what normal people would do. Most of the route is a mix of paved roads and fire roads. There are some technical parts but I can easily avoid those short sections.

I’m a big guy but the scooter can still move along at 55 – 60 mph. That’s plenty fast for the paved sections of the Discovery Route. If I keep the speed down it does just fine on most dirt roads. It just can’t do deep water crossings or climb huge rocks. However, it can get close to 100 miles per gallon of gasoline.

This scooter is providing loads of fun. It’s more fun at 40 mph than my old KZ 900 was 80 mph.

The scooter came with the top box and some really nice saddle bags. A custom padded seat cover has been added, along with USB charging ports, phone mount, and padded hand grips. There’s also a place for my Garmin Inreach device for satellite communication and GPS tracking.

Do I look kinda funny, a big guy on a scooter? Probably, but I don’t care. If you want to look tough you ride something like a Harley. If you are tough you can ride anything you please.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Still Here

Some may be relieved, others dismayed. I’m fine either way.

It was a long long winter, but not really a terrible one. My immediate family got through the past year in pretty good shape. Everyone adapted.

Sadly, covid took a harsh toll on many others. I’m going to a funeral on Saturday for a victim.

Did I get a vaccine? Indeed I did. Was that a mistake? I don’t think so, but only time will tell. While the long range risks are not known, I do know I’m in a high risk group for dying from Covid. Having almost died from lung issues in the past, it’s not something I was going to mess around with.

There are a lot fewer covid deniers out there. Many were convinced by the scientific evidence. Others got sick. Quite a few deniers died.

There’s a lot of quarantine fatigue, but now is not the time for dropping precautions. Even though I’ve been vaccinated, I’m still taking precautions. There are enough new variants that it’s only smart to be cautious.

One of my good friends cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons. We’ve been getting together outside and keeping our distance. It was tough to do in the middle of winter, but that’s what we did.

It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in places like Brazil and India right now. I thought India might have had a handle on it, but they’ve just had a recent spike in infections that’s been horrific.

I’m in the process of planning a little solo adventure this summer -something different. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s going to be happening way out in the back country away from most people.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A big flash then nothing

My lovely wife and I were hanging out in our kitchen. It was lake, about 11:30 p.m.. The grid power did a little blurp and came right back -for about five seconds. Then there was a blinding flash and the grid was down for good. It was about 30 degrees and snowing.

Most of my lights and the water pump run on my solar electric system. I threw some more firewood in the stove, grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate. The flash had been so bright I was afraid it was ice pulling the wires off my house or something. Soon as I got outside I realized my whole side of the lake was dark. Everything around my property looked good, but there was a burnt electrical smell in the air.

My neighbor came outside and assured me she was fine and had enough firewood in the house to last for a day. She’s recovering from a broken leg so needs someone else to bring wood inside.

By 4:30 in the morning the grid was back up and running. I couldn’t believe they sent a crew out in the dark, in the snow, way out in the woods to fix it. Good service. It took most of the next day to get the Internet back, but that’s a different company.

During the daylight I walked down the road and found the problem. A tree came down on the power lines about 200 yards away.

Although grid and normal communications were down I was able to send text messages by satellite with a Garman InReach.

We were prepared for a long outage if need be, but I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with it.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Winter so far

Winter in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods hasn’t been bad at all this year. In spite of the polar vortex temperatures haven’t been awful. In fact, while we’ve had plenty of subzero temperatures, they pale in comparison to decades ago. Back then it would not be uncommon for a week where it never got above zero. -30 used to be common and -40 not unheard of. It never got that cold this winter.

Going into the fall we were in a slight drought condition. The northern part of the state received a lot of rain just before the freeze, bringing us out of drought. Snowfall, for this time of year, is moderate. Of course, we could get buried in snow during the month of March. It’s happened often enough in the past.  On the bright side there should be enough snow melt to keep ground water levels up.

Our solar electric system has significant battery storage. We can go some time without the grid or sun. Before every storm the battery bank was topped off from the grid. Even with heavy snowfall we’ve only lost the grid for short periods of time. It appears the utilities have done a good job preparing. Aggressive tree pruning has kept a lot of problems away. The times we lost the grid were generally due to collisions with power poles. Power was restored within hours.

The Internet has sometimes been slow and would go down for short periods of time. This seems to correlate with everyone working and schooling from home. It also gets hammered pretty hard after dinner time. While that’s been annoying, the problems are relatively minor -for someone not needing full time service.

Thanks to being  isolated and avoiding people, we’ve been pretty healthy over all. I get more exercise when we travel south to warm weather. Part of the problem this year is that I injured my knees and they took a long time to get better. I’m finally getting back into walking.

Snow shoveling has provided a fair bit of exercise. Fortunately, I’m retired and don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry. If I take three days to shovel everything out, that’s fine. Often I’d only shovel a walkway and dig out the mailbox the first day. Digging out a car could wait.

I know it’s been a tough time for a lot of people, but we’ve been in pretty good shape. Personally, I’m comfortable living like a hermit. At least we aren’t putting a strain on the systems that other people need to get by.



Friday, February 12, 2021

Everyone’s going camping

Right now we are experiencing some of the coldest weather of the winter. It’s been some time since I’ve had to deal with -12 with a -30 windchill. However, compared to winters of the past, it hasn’t been all that bad.

RV sales have been through the roof as people look for a safer activity during these interesting times. There aren’t enough campsites to go around. Even the dispersed campsites on Federal land are packed.

Forget about prime warm weather winter locations. Even before the new camping craze we found prices had gone up. Now they are worse.

If we were to spend some of the winter in the Florida Keys, we’d most likely have to do it on our sailboat. The boat’s small size and shallow draft allow access to places other boats cannot go. There is much to be said for being able to anchor in a remote place away the crowds.

Not that we are going south anytime soon. In fact, I plan on making the house more winter comfortable for next winter, just in case.

I have some camping and sailing plans for close to home this summer. When you know an area well, there are camping places hidden away from most people.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Obviously not in Florida

We aren’t in Florida this winter. Good thing we don’t need this car in a hurry. Maybe in a couple of months. We are using the Blazer this winter. It’s parked across the street in my other parking space that’s level with the road. Our travel has been very limited this year.

It’s actually been a pretty decent winter here in the North Country. Normally I travel south to avoid winter colds. However, with all the mask use and lock downs, my lungs are doing well.

My lovely wife and I figuring out what our future plans will be. Of course, the whole world is trying to figure out the future so we aren’t going to sweat it right now.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Well that silliness is over

As a prepper I’m all about helping people deal with threats. Usually it’s things like how to keep sheltered, safe, and to have the basics to sustain life. Part of that is being able to do proper threat assessment. If you live on the Gulf of Mexico, you probably should be thinking of prepping for hurricanes rather than blizzards.

Recently it’s come to my attention that a lot of people have a poor grasp of reality. Some of you really have to work on that. I’m genuinely concerned. Followers of Q come to mind. How many times do Q predictions have to be wrong before you catch on? It’s like being in an abusive relationship.

Back in the real world we have President Biden. One of the main reasons he was elected was due to the poor covid response. He’s working on it. While there can be some debate about the methods of tackling the problem, at least he acknowledges there is a problem. It’s a small step but I’ll take it.

It took about only a few days for Biden to sign away most of the previous President’s decrees. The only way to have lasting policy is to have the House and Senate actually do their jobs and pass some solid bills. It could happen, but I’m not holding my breath.

Personally, I am pleased with the new emphasis on environmental concerns. We’ve only got one planet so we’d better take care of it. Don’t show me out of work coal miners or pipe line workers. Show me some solar and wind turbine installers. The old economy was killing us.

Anyway, what I’d like folks to do is to remain calm during the next few months. There will be some challenges. The vast majority of them will be happening well above our pay grades. Hunker down and don’t do anything crazy. Crazy doesn’t end well.


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Lock Him Up

Can we lock Trump up now? I would have been happy to let him go peacefully, but after his inciting an attack on the normal workings of Congress, it’s too much. His erratic actions are encouraging people to invoke the 25th amendment. Makes sense to me. Even though his term is almost up, his crazy hands are still on the levers of power.

If you still support him after yesterday, I can’t help you. Personally, I still have some faith in our democracy.