Monday, February 27, 2017

Cheryl's 20 Mile Training run. Part of the "The Road to Boston" Series.

 So it was a wonderful day in Davenport....perfect for a 20 mile run.

Ok,  there really is never a perfect time for a 20 mile run.   20 miles of pain!   There are simply "Better" days and "Worse" ones.   Worst are the days when sh does not make it.   They are very challenging... for ME.   Because not only do I have to endure all the mileage and weather conditions along side her...  But I get to feel all the heat when she melts down.

But today was not one of those days.   She completed the entire thing with barely a moment to stop for a train.

That is correct!   She missed the train this time.  Or I should say the train caught her.   We waited for a moment for the train to pass.   Trains are BIG!  And kinda scary when you are right next to them.   But the only thing Cheryl was concerned about was that it was over and she would have to run again.

Not much else happened.   The wind was mild and the sun warm.  The air cool and the path less crowded.   We had the entire thing to ourselves.   ( A few people...runners and cyclist.  Nothing bad.)

Around mile 18,   Cheryl developed a blister that was hampering her stride.  There were moments when I thought she would explode....but she managed to soldier on on the classic fashion. Looks like tomorrow will have to be an off day.   We shall see how she feels then.

For the moment then, I'm planning on lounging around for the rest of the day.   She might have run it...but I had to ride my BIKE!   The entire way, might I add.   And bikes are serious business!

So that is all.  Couple of things to note:   Eagle almost caught a fish in front of us.   He was being harassed by the seagulls and I was unable to take a decent picture.   (As always)  Iy was possibly the closest we have been to an eagle yet!

Second,  Cheryl found one of those famed Muscatine clam shells that made the button industry possible there. The shell is surprisingly thick and beautiful!   Must be all that calcium in the water.

Hope everyone is enjoying the day.  I hear it is supposed to rain tomorrow.   Another good reason to take a day off.   We shall see.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Apartment Origami Installation...With Snow.

 Yep!  It snowed here in Iowa today. ( or last night)  The cold front moved in and blanketed the ground.  It lasted for most of the day, before almost completely melting.   The Iowa sun did its magic for once and kept the white stuff away.  The problem is that it is still cold and windy.    The sun can only do so much to warm the earth...but not much for the air.

It's all good though.  Cheryl did not run today and instead decided to focus on errands and shopping.   Iowa city on the weekends are a little hectic, but we managed to visit the bookstore and bank and Panera. The usual suspects of weekend tomfoolery.

Upon arriving home, I decided to finish the Origami project I started about a month ago.   I managed to secure the neighbor's ladder and that helped a LOT!  I had been wrestling with the problem of how I was going to put them up.  Cheryl suggested putting them on white boards and putting the boards up with a couple of screws.   That sounded way easier than my proposed plan.    I wanted to put each on individually on the wall and make it look like a school of swimming fish upon three of the high walls.  Looking back now, that would have been labor intensive, time consuming and DANGEROUS!  This way worked out much better.

Cheryl helped with the placement of the colors.   She is much better at colors than I am.   Probably because of all those design magazines and books she reads.  She arranged them in a pattern that we both found acceptable and I secured them to the board.

With the three boards completed,  I hung them up on the wall.  I really wanted three wall coverage...but this one  way will have to do....  for the moment.   Cheryl says I can work on adding more parts latter.   We shall see if I can gather up the motivation.

So...  that is all for now from Wellman,  Iowa.  I'm currently drinking a "wet hop" IPA from Two Brothers.   It is Cheryl puts it:  "Indescribable".   That does NOT mean it is bad.   The wet hops ( I read about the process.... basically brew beer and have "fresh hops" delivered and added the same day.   "Fresh hops" have a unique flavor than if they were dried.) I would say it is fruity with a strong dried-apricot flavor.   I'm not sure how else to describe it.   Or even if the flavor is "apricot-ish".   But it is good and refreshing...  Perfect after a cold and snowy day of origami installation.

Yeah,  That's MY sub!  It's got my name on it and everything. 
Other than that..  I have been diving in to Subnautica.  A VERY addictive and fun game.   You basically crash land on a water world and have to survive.  I'm finally to the point where I build a submarine.   I named it the Ethan Allen....   After the U.S.S. Ethan Allen.   An Ohio class submarine in the U.S. Navy.   And a Character in the Hunt for Red October.   ( I googled it!) Not to mention it is a name that corresponds to someone very important in my life.   Me.    So it was naturally the only choice.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far.   The cold weather is not going to hold for very long, so Cheryl is planning her long run when the cold snap ends.   Until then,  I will keep ya posted.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pleasant Weather in Davenport. And My Forgetful Mind.

I quick post  on the unusually nice Iowa weather.  The Temps have been hovering in the low 70's!   Very nice weather when there is a light breeze and lots of sun.  We traveled to Davenport for Cheryl's 13 mile run and had a pretty good time .....and then.

I lost my Smartphone.  I placed it on the car,  something caught my eye...Woosh!   I totally lost it in my mind.   As we drove away, I guess it hung on the back trunk for several miles before dropping off.
Luckily,   it was found and picked up by a nice old man who returned it.   But not until I realized it had been missing for 4 hours!  Needless to say...I ruined the otherwise pleasant outing.

I have not been having the best of luck lately.  First with the car and now with the phone.  I could blame my ancestors for giving me these "forgetful genes".  Dad had it bad.  He would forget that he was holding a pencil in his hand!   And would spend several minutes looking for it....feverishly getting more and more frustrated and angry because he,"Just had it a second ago!"

Luckily, I would point out that he either had it behind  his ear; in his front pocket or was currently holding it!  I imagined my entire job was to help dad by simply remembering  and keeping  track of his stuff when we would do a project together.   How I used to tease and raz him about it.. and now I'm just like him.  I guess he would be having his revenge  and laughing a me now.

Other than that,  We have been enjoying the weather as much as we can.   Today was slightly cooler but with no wind.  Cheryl tells me that it will cool off later, but not before we can squeeze in another long run.   We shall see.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week where ever you might be. And make sure you do not forget your cellphone on top of your makes for a very long and grumpy day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

EVAP. Pigtail Confusion, Multi-Purchase, and Ultimate Makeshift Creation.

So Cheryl found the part online and ordered it.   It cost nearly $70!   And said it would take 3-5 business days to arrive....after promising overnight shipping upon order.

This panicked Cheryl.

Pigtails....for cars!
Yesterday, we head to rent a car.   We can't rent a car without several forms of Identification...which we did not have on us or even know about.  So....

Auto Zone is next door.   Go get the stuff to "make" the pigtail (It is called a "pigtail" by people in the know....not a "clip" or a "wire assembly" or "Electrical plug".  Good to know!)  I buy a soldering Iron, several clips and a spool of 16 gauge wire.   I'm ready for plan...."B" or "C".... or what ever plan we are now on.
I get to play with Solder and wires!

Not bad, if you ask me.

Come to find out, Auto Zone can order the part and have it arrive Tomorrow!  (That is Saturday by noon!)  Awesome! Back to plan A!  (I think...)  We  place the order and pre-purchase it.   Cheryl plans on canceling the order from the "unknown" source online.

Long lost Pigtail upset my version

I prepare to assemble the patched up "Gerry Rigged" pigtail with my new soldering iron and wires.  I think it looks pretty good!   And then!
They match..but newer one is "tight"  and "Snap!"

UPS delivered the pigtail Cheryl originally purchased yesterday!   No confirmation, No tracking,  Only a warning that it would take 3-5 days.  And here it is.   Now we have potentially THREE of these things that were not supposed even to exist.

I jump into action and decide to fix the darn thing here and now.  The new clip is a very tight fit.   So tight I have trouble fitting it on.  I grease it and apply steady pressure.  "SNAP!"   Use your imagination here.  It is correct. They are meant to be a tight fit for a reason...but really? Cut me some slack, man.

Great day for a fire!
Luckily,  I have the "Ethan Allen Version" on my shop table.   It fits perfectly and I check it over and over again to make sure it does!  I install it and take it for a drive....  Subie works again!
Brush fires in Iowa!

As with all "non-professional" jobs,  there is a hint of reservation.   We shall know more as we drive Subie longer and ultimately,  when we have to refuel.  I'm hoping that I somehow managed to fix the problem.

Run by the city!  Wouldn't  Smokey be proud.
So today's task was to return to Auto zone; thank then for their help; and then cancel the order.  It was a nice enough day and Cheryl wanted to enjoy as much of it as she could.   It was also a nice enough day to have a brush fire!   Hurray for living in Iowa!  Where brush fires are not only permitted...  They are encouraged!    And performed ...By the CITY!

Parks Service adding fire to their Forestry management.
Cold weather will return soon enough,  but the Robins and Bluebirds are returning.  I'm hoping to enjoy some of this Spring weather in February tomorrow in Davenport.   See ya then!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

EVAP Canister Control Vent Solenoid. A Story of Heartbreak.

Subie and I seem to have a lot in common.   We were useful... once.   A long time ago. But Age and the Miles have caught up with us somehow.  If I sound depressed,  I guess I must be...  A little anyway.   I can barely sum up the energy to write this blog post.   But somehow... Subie and I will survive.

Testing the new part to see if it works
The Evaporator charcoal canister control vent solenoid. This very long and elaborate title belongs to this small part placed dangerously close to the rear tire and the road.  This allows it to gather all the road dirt, mud, salt, and other dirty substrates and cake it in a highly corrosive mud clog.

Remove the Charcoal Canister.
Under all this Dirt... is the problem.
The problem arises when the part does not work.   Either the gas tank can not be filled...or the car stalls after filling it up with fuel.   I have fixed this problem twice before.   And we are now on third ECCCVS.   The problem is that once you break the seal off the various fittings and plugs,  it allows moisture and oxygen to seep in and cause corrosion.

Rusted on Bolt...Time to Dremel it!
Again,  with only three bolts to remove and  everything on "finger tight",  you would think that it would take 15 minutes to remove the old and replace it.   WRONG!   The bolts that I was forced to replace last time have, once again,  rusted and seized up!    The special tools I purchased for this problem last time are USELESS!  And I was once again forced to use the Dremel tool to cut the bolts off.
Creative solutions....  Because I'm an idiot!

  Another problem:   I have no extension cord that will reach the car.    Time to get creative!  I park closer to the door AND assemble a rag-tag extension cord out of old Christmas lights and surge protector power strips.

Be careful not to damage this. 
A Japanese Proverb states: Humiliation requires an audience.  Working alone under the car, I have no audience, but choose to carefully take I can create an audience of Blog followers.  And thus:   Share my humiliation.  What should have taken 15 minutes took all afternoon and is still not fixed.   The wire clip had corroded all the way through and fell off in my hand. (And I was being SOOOO careful with it.)  It also will need to be replaced.
Oops!   Guess it was ruined anyway.   Have to replace this too.
 And the FUN part is that no two auto places have the same name for the wire harness clip.   I finally found it on NAPA under the key words "Wire" and "Snaps".   You would think "Evaporator Canister Control Vent Solenoid Wiring Harness Clip" would get you in the ball park.... Nope!   I spent a frustrating 2 hours  ( or longer!) online trying to find the NAME of the part.  Even diagrams would not show the clip.  

Cheryl finally found cost more than the actual ECCCVS!   And no one has it in stock.   Typical.

So Subie and I are now grounded until the part arrives in the mail.   I attempted to tape up the ends of the Vacuum system to close it off.  It worked for a few moments.... but Subie started sputtering and stalling and this scared Cheryl.  Better to be safe than stranded.
Corrosion down into the pins. No saving this. 

Hope everyone else is having a nice day.   Mine will be better once the car is fixed.   And then the question will be: "for how long."   Nothing lasts forever, but wouldn't it be nice if things lasted longer than you expected?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cheryl's 18.2 Mile Run in Davenport.

The last few days have been perfect for running.   Higher temps in the upper 40's with sunshine.   Yesterday's only down side was the wind.  For this reason,  we pushed the long run back until today.

Nothing too special to note here.    She has run 18 miles before in prep for a this is fairly standard.  The exceptional part was that she did not melt down mid way through!  She even maintained a steady pace with each mile well under 10 minutes.   Not bad for a first official "Long Run."

All that being said,  Davenport...and specifically running along the Mississippi, has continued to be a  pleasant experience for both of us.   There is no mud on the path for my bike to get bogged down and dirty in.  There are enough "New Things" to keep Cheryl's mind off of her aching legs.   And the sounds and sites of the river are calming and relaxing...while also providing  motivation.

We even saw another Eagle.   This one was a little closer to the bike trail.   It was in a large tree in the middle of the city!    I can't help it.  I still get all geeky about Bald Eagles   There certainly is no shortage of them in this state.  I would be willing to bet that this state even rivals Alaska!  ( That is saying something!) I certainly have seen more of them...and in larger groups than all the time I spent in Alaska...combined!

So,  Mission complete!   Cheryl finished with a decent training time and without incident.  I'm not sure when our next long run will be...but I'm thinking it will be 20 miles and possibly back in Davenport!   See ya then!


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