Monday, July 20, 2015

Festival Ride By.

   I roared in on the bike last night, an hour and some each way to do a little shopping before the gas station closed at 10:00. While I was gassing up I heard music thumping and noticed the lights and commotion from the Pemberton Music Festival that was in its final hours, and down to the last few acts. I figured I better do a cruise past, seeing I was that close.
I flipped up the visor and it was almost surreal cruising along on the motorcycle in the warm night air, with all the floodlights, traffic cones separating the lanes, and traffic control people with their beacons. Rolling past the main stages the music got really loud. I couldn't do much looking around over the fence for fear of knocking over some orange pylons but it was a sea of people in there with their arms in the air, with smoke, lights, and excitement shooting from the stage in all directions.
It was like some giant, crazy circus had come to town.  Which I guess it had.
I had considered pulling over and taking a picture or two, but I knew they were a little critical of people stopping along that stretch, seeing I had already passed about 50 'No Stopping' signs already. 
I had to try of course, and before I could even get out my camera I was scooted away by a guy in an orange vest.
   I carried on down the road, away from the lights and confusion towards Pemberton, over the bridge and down a side road a little ways where I knew there was a great view at the base of Mt. Currie.
I parked there and took the helmet off, then stood in the dark and truly marvelled at the cleverness of some people. They were firing a high-powered laser-show from the festival grounds across the valley and onto the side of Mt. Currie, which serves as a back-drop for the event. It was the damnedest thing, and I had the best seat in the house. The lasers would race back and forth for what was probably close to a kilometer wide area, and clear up to the top of Mt. Currie which is over 2500m. high. They would show brightest passing over a rocky area, as compared to the steep sided mountain with trees clinging to it. All of a sudden the multi-colored lasers gathered together and spelled out a humongous ...PEMBERTON... across the face of the mountain.
It was like the Northern Lights gone mad.
"Wow!" I thought, "Now I've seen everything!". 
   I arrived bug-splattered back here at the hot spring about midnight. The solitary night ride was refreshing cool, and I didn't see another soul, apart from the deer that jumped out of the bush and ran beside me for a stretch. I don't mind the logging road drive after dark, in fact I might prefer it, as the rocks and things to avoid really show up in the headlight beam.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Doo-Hickey Express.

   The smoke is still heavy in the valley, and theres no getting away from the smell, inside or out, and fine ash is still falling. Although any forest fire is far from me here, I worry lots about the crews that go out and fight them, and I worry about the forest critters out there too. 
I worry lots about one starting around here as well.

But today I had business to attend to, and take my mind off the ominous presence of the smoke.
   I've been having some on-going issue with my power system. It had taken me awhile to narrow down, and probably just as long to locate the part on-line.
It was sitting at the small Mount Currie store where I pick up my mail so I blasted in this morning on a motorcycle that was sitting around here. You can bet after he reads this post, buddy Josh will be more careful in the future about leaving his bike around here with the key in it!
I didn't need anything else from 'town', so the bike was perfect to get in and get back out quick.
   I dusted off an old helmet from my racing days, put a good jacket on and my stylish deer skin gloves, and made sure I had the mail key. I took along the two-way radio, not to monitor traffic as I can't hear it over the bike, but just in case, you never know what you are going to see between here and town. Especially when the country is this volatile. 

The smoke never cleared all the way in. 
   I signed for my part at the counter, paid a whole pile of Canadian import duties, threw the box in the trash, stuck the part in my jacket pocket and arrived back home an hour and fifteen minutes later. 
I had filled up the bike before I left, then topped up again in 'town' for just under $5, so it was a pretty economical trip in and back. 

The much anticipated regulator came with a trio of adjustment screws and quite a few instructions.

 I hate things like this.
One wrong move and poof!, and theres about 300 bucks up in smoke.
Although it is going in my generator, I sourced the part less expensive believe it or not, from an aircraft supplier, used in large aircraft of some sort.
I was a little nervous at this point, theres always the one wrong move and poof! factor and have 300 bucks go up in smoke, but theres always the other worry, that you install the part only to find it didn't fix the problem, and 300 bucks on the old charge card may as well have gone up in smoke.
One thing was for certain, if it wasn't this part..., it was probably some other doo-hickey someplace, and I still wasn't 100 percent positive it wasn't some other doo-hickey some place causing the problem.

Before I went over to turn the power off to work on it, I rode down to the campsite to let the kids down there know. Robbie and Josy are some volunteers out from England spending a little time  there during their world travels helping out around the hot spring facility.
I asked Robbie if the country ever caught on fire and made smoke like this back home in Norfolk.
He shook his head and said, "I've never seen anything like this before in my life!"

I changed motorcycles and headed over to the power shack and turned off the water.

To make a long story short, I pulled the panels off the generator and wired in the doo-hickey and turned on the water to the pelton-wheel and spun her up to speed. After some fiddling with the voltage screws etc. and about 10 trips on the little bike back and forth to the lodge to check the control panel it looks like I have solved my problem.

Now, if we can only have some wind to blow the smoke away, and some moisture to help the fire-crews and critters out.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dam Water, Infernal Heat.

   It has been unseasonally dry this year, and hot recently, with temperatures 100+. Fire-bans are in full effect, most of the province is tinder dry, and the folks who live up in town are under water restrictions. There has been several fires in the area, down near Sloquet hot spring, and some bad ones burning  right now in surrounding forest districts.

A beautiful full-moon back a few nights.

 The haze and faint smell of smoke from some distant fire is always a concern.

    What there was of this years Spring run-off was over weeks ago, this hot weather has brought the river up once more from melting way up high in the Meager country at the headwaters of the Lillooett River. You can tell by the color.
 All the tributaries along the way have nothing left up there to come down and are at late Summer levels, including the creek up behind me that supplies water for here and the campsite, and runs the power system. Normally, I wouldn't expect low creek-flow issues this early up at the small dam, but the system let me know there was a problem up there and sucking a little air.
 I stopped by the culvert where Sparrow Creek crosses the road out back, and there was no flow. That is not too unusual, during periods of low flow, the creek actually disappears into the rocky ground between here and the falls, but pretty early in the season for that now.

I went a few km up the mountainside and parked as close as I could get to the intake pond. Working my way through the over-grown trail in the berry patch the bear likes to sleep in, and skidded down the hillside to the intake pond dam, where the cougar likes to cross the creek.
More going in than coming out. I'm drawing off probably a third of the flow for the needs below.

Any cavitation problems can usually be solved by stacking up some rocks along the top edge of the dam, and it was refreshing to get in the pond and bring some rocks up, although you probably wouldn't want to drink the water down at the lodge and campsite for awhile. Helps clear out the pond too, it will fill up with fresh rocks again next Winter. All I need is another inch or two of water level to avoid whirl-pooling air into the intake screen. I've done this before the end of August and up until the first part of October, but I don't ever recall having to do it this early. If it continues like this, as it probably will, sufficient water flow could be a concern latter in the season. If it does, I'll have to come back up and make a tighter stack of rocks.

 Today smoke rolled up from the south, filling the valley, putting a crimson light on everything and depositing a fine ash.

 Theres only so many projects a person feels like tackling on these hot days.
I got the bright idea of venting the air-conditioner into the wood-stove.
Not all that smart an idea, it makes the wood-stove rather warm.

The Thoughtful Spot bench has been surrounded by the most recent high water.

  So when it's really hot, I like to go down and sit on it to keep it from floating away.