Archive for September, 2008

28 Sep 2008

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts

Fine Autumn Days

for riding!

This has been the second of two glorious fall weekends in southern Alberta.  I’ve managed 50% of this years mileage on my motorcycle over the past 9 days.  Last Saturday (20 Sept) I went for a double header with 2 different groups of riders out in Kananaskis around Bragg Creek and Turner Valley – 465 km in all.  This weekend I went out and rode the Highwood Pass loop on Saturday (27th) with some of the same guys and a couple of riders I’d not met before, that was about 360 km.

Today was my friend Sean’s birthday (Sean:  don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that you are 40 now) so we took the afternoon and rode out to Bragg Creek and did a couple of passes up and down Highway 762 before stopping for chai in Bragg Creek.  Chai is the official beverage of motorcycle road trips and the little coffee shop in Bragg Creek makes quite good chai.  After a bit of a break we headed back to Sean’s place via Black Diamond and Okotoks (about 270 km), arriving just in time for Sean’s surprise birthday party!

There can’t be too many more days like this left before the snow flies, so it’s nice to be able to get out and enjoy them.

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06 Sep 2008

Posted by under Mr. FixIt

Better living through electrolysis!

After only 10 years of not having a spare tire for my truck, I finally got busted and had a blowout early in August.  Fortunately I was close to home and Brenda was able to rescue me within a few minutes, but the tire was trashed.  We had to have the truck towed to have the tire replaced (thanks AMA!).

Due to evil tire company manufacturing practices; the tread pattern on the tire (only 11 months old) was no longer manufactured and I had to get 2 new tires so that the tires were matched properly.  This left me with one good tire for a spare.  So I bought a steel rim and had the extra tire mounted.  Good news for the next blowout in 2018!!

However, there was bad news when I went to store the shiny new spare in its allocated spot under the bed of the truck.  The chain hoist that lifts the spare up and secures it in place was rusted absolutely solid – there was no way to budge the mechanism to lower the chain.  On to plan B; a call to the local Mazda dealer revealed that the replacement cost for the hoist is over $200!  I had already spent too much on the tires and rim – my inner Scotsman wouldn’t stand for another $200 expenditure.

It only cost me a bit of skin off my knuckles to wrestle the corroded hoist from the bottom of the truck.  I figured that I’d soak it in CLR or Coke or something and see if it would loosen up the mechanism.  So I did a bit of googling to see what the mightiest brains of the internet could suggest – and discovered the joys of electrolysis!

It turns out that if you toss your rusty bits into a bucket with a solution of washing soda and water, add some rebar and attach a battery charger you can electrolytically convert the rust back to iron!  How cunning is that??

I decided that I had nothing to lose, the hoist was completely frozen with rust, so I got a 2 gallon bucket, built an anode array with 4 lengths of rebar and some wire, then wire-brushed some holes in the rust on the hoist and attached a length of wire.  The whole contraption was attached to my battery charger and left to run for a day.  When I fished the hoist out the next day, I couldn’t believe it – the rust was gone! … on the outside anyway.

It turned out that because the hoist is made of multiple parts there wasn’t adequate electrical contact throughout.  So I rewired it using some alligator clip leads to make sure that every piece of the hoist had a good electrical connection.  Then I gave it another 22 hours in the bucket with the charger on the 2A setting.  This time, when it came out, it was almost completely free of rust and just a little effort with a small pry bar had the mechanism moving!

I treated the inner workings to a big blast of motorbike chain lube,  then protected the body of the hoist with Boeshield T-9 and reinstalled it under the truck.  It works like a charm, the spare is happily residing in it’s rightful home and I didn’t spend $200.   Its good to have a content inner Scotsman!

Some links I found to be useful:

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01 Sep 2008

Posted by under Family

Last days off before school goes back…

Well the kids are not too excited about heading back to school on Tuesday, so we managed to get a few of the kids favourite summer activities squeezed into the Labour Day weekend.  Despite some rainy and cool weather on Sunday, the rest of the weekend was actually fairly nice.

Brenda’s brother Barry was working in Calgary on Friday and Saturday and staying with us, so we had Barry bring his oldest, our nephew Tobin, down to spend a little time with his cousins.  On Friday, the weather was fine and we decided to head to Heritage Park, a historical village in Calgary that recreates early Western Canadian history.  It’s a favourite place to go as a family.

We got there early enough to have the free pancake and sausage breakfast and followed that up with a ride on the S.S. Moyie sternwheeler.  In fact, over the course of the day we managed to complete the “Heritage Park Trifecta” – sailing on the sternwheeler, taking the interpretive horse-drawn wagon ride and the riding the steam train all in one visit!  It was a great day and the kids had a lot of fun on the vintage rides and eating ice cream and candy sticks for lunch.  (Sorry, Breana.)

When we got back from the day’s outing we decided that it would be a good evening to have a fire in the back yard and roast hot dogs for dinner.  While the fire was burning down to coals, the kids and I put up our little tent in the back yard.  After we’d eaten our fill of burnt hot dogs and sat by the fire til it died down, we got the boys (Steven, Mark and Tobin) settled in their sleeping bags in the tent.  Of course they didn’t rough it too much – Brenda gave them the portable DVD player and they watched a movie before falling asleep.  The night turned a bit chilly and they all drifted in to the basement about 5:00 am to sleep on the couches!  We did feed them a waffle and bacon brunch to put a big finish on the campout.

By Sunday the rain came and the temperature dropped and summer seems to be really near its end – especially when we the realities of returning to school are getting harder to avoid for the kids.  We had them all prepare their school bags today with their pencils, notebooks and other supplies.  Tomorrow Alyssa starts Grade 1, Mark is in Grade 3 and Steven begins middle school in Grade 6!

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