Category Archives: Maine

Fall has Arrived

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Yep, it’s here.

Made my annual trip up to northern Maine and dragged along a pair of cousins that came up to my neck of the woods. The photo above is from along Golden Rd (or The Golden Rd) that runs between Millinocket/Baxter State Park and Greenville. It’s a 45 mile jaunt across mostly gravel road that has a laughable 45 mph speed limit. If you want your vehicle and your teeth to remain intact, 25 mph is closer to what you’re driving.

Yesterday we tackled Acadia National Park and had a great time there too. That area of the coast is a little bit behind in the leaves changing but there were still some stunning areas of color and great views of Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mtn.

So with the leaves changing now, they will be done and on the ground by the end of the week, or mostly on the ground. It’s a stunning season that you better enjoy it while it’s here because it does NOT last long.

Happy Fall, Folks!

Photo by me, Golden Rd, 2017

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Fall

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Firstly, if you know what Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em means, you’ve just dated yourself. Welcome to, at least, middle age! :)

Last week I turned another year older, which I don’t mind, because I can’t really keep up with my age anyway. I mean, it changes every year, so it is a bit difficult to keep track. This photo was taken from the Golden Rd in the Baxter State Park area. The peak looming in the background is Mount Katahdin.

Stellar fall colors up that way last week even with overcast skies, and they’re probably mostly gone by today. Fall is brilliantly spectacular in Maine, but it doesn’t last long. The Bangor area was peaking this week, so by the time I get home next  Thursday, there might not be much left. It’s all good. I moved to Maine in 2001, so this was my 15th fall. Only one year during that time we didn’t have any colors due to a major wind storm ripping all the leaves off before they could turn. So we did have a “fall” in the sense of everything being on the ground and left with brown sticks for trees, but the colors didn’t happen.

Only one dud in 15 years, yeah, I’m OK with that.

This weekend I’m in the Boston area hanging out with friends before heading to Maryland on Monday. The cat and dog have me trained to wake up at 0500, no later than 0530, so my 0130 bedtime last night hurt. But when you go to bed hoarse and coughing from laughing so hard for so long, it’s all worth it. Here’s to another day of the same, and I’m looking forward to it.

Wee book update – the draft print is in the hands of test readers. Once I get the feedback from them, I’ll tackle the final edits (hopefully nothing major), then rock and roll with the new cover artist. If all goes well and no curve balls, this thing should be out by late November. I’m still doing the final word count contest too, so more to come on that.

Enjoy the rest of October in the mean time. I will!

 

Is It Wrong To Be So Giddy?

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So I’ve been on a wee roll about snow blowers. As luck would have it after my last post bragging on my old Toro snow blower, within 24 hours it had a major malfunction. Major malfunction in my book constitutes anything that will take more than a couple of hours to fix. I don’t have all day to spend working on this thing. Traveling Mon-Thurs, Sun-Thurs lately, my weekends are wicked short. So again, if the snow blower takes more than 2 hours to fix, I’m hosed.

I determined that the snow blower slipped the belt for the auger, so it would not chop up the snow and spit it out the shoot. Instead, I had a glorified mini snow plow and could only push the snow around. There was no way I could fix this thing quickly, and the repair shop had a 14 day wait period for repairs. So I made a pair of executive decisions.

  1. Get the snow blower repaired and sell it.
  2. Get a new snow blower.

Number 1 morphed into calling up a mechanically inclined friend, told him the problem, and said if he wanted the snow blower for tinkering, it was his for the taking. The old girl still has lots of life in her, and he wanted it. I delivered it to him that same day.

Number 2, well I’m just all squishy and giddy excited over my new beast, pictured above. The shop dropped it off, and I gave it a little test drive on the way to put it in the shed. The first thing I did was ram it into a snow bank. I mean if I’m going to test this new toy out, might as well give it the hardest job right out of the gate. Holy crap, this thing is a monster. I’ve seen snow blowers on riding tractors shoot snow 30 feet in the air, and that is a true thing of beauty. I now have one that will do the same, and I would have swooned had I not been laughing and so freakin giddy over the sight. I believe I’m in love with my new Toro.

With all the warming trends in between snow storms and upcoming deluge of rain, the snow will mostly disappear … for now. Fingers are crossed for another big dump of white stuff SOON because I can’t wait to get this baby out in the middle of it and tear it up.

 

Picture by me of a gorgeous new Toro 928 9HP Decimator of Snow

Alien Carburetors from Mars

12-19-2014 9-29-35 AM

Since the last “Maine” post was about snow blowers, I decided to do another one on the same topic. What’s the fun in shooting dog turds through the snow blower if the snow blower isn’t running right?

The first time I tried to do some mechanicin’ on my snow blower beyond an oil change, I thought: How hard can it be? I can work on cars, change tires, change oil, and all that jazz. This will be a snap.

The mission: Pull the carburetor, clean it, put it back on, fire up the snow blower, and listen to her purr.

This snow blower was purchased used by a friend. I got the snow blower from said friend in exchange for a laptop (that’s a different story about that trade). Even after two owners, me being #3, the Toro was still in good shape. The engine misfired some and didn’t like to idle at a low RPM after I had it for a couple of years. No biggie.

Prior to the snow flying a few years ago, I decided I would fix the issue and clean the carb. I watched some online videos that made it look easy. I’ve got this.

I find the carburetor and didn’t have the torx-type-screwdrivers-whatever-they’re-called-thingies to remove it, so I make a trip to Lowes. I return with the proper torx doohickies and get to work. I put vinyl gloves on, get gasoline all over them when draining the carb, and remove the carb.

My carburetor looked nothing like the one in the videos I watched. Crap!

I didn’t know what the parts were in this thing. It looked fairly clean and not grubby like in the videos. The more I mess with this thing, the dirtier I’m getting by way of dripping gasoline, smearing it from my hands to my arms, and stepping in it.

I finally give up (briefly), go inside, grab the netbook, bring it out to the shed with me, and pull up the online videos. Step by step, or rather second by second, I play the video back while I inspect the carb in my hands. This isn’t going well.

My carb is an alien life form from Mars and nothing like the video. CRAP!! Snow storm is due to hit the next day. I’m in trouble.

I start looking for more videos for my carb, and come up empty. Swearing ensues.

In my peripheral vision I see something small fall in the grass, but I don’t know what it is or where it went. I look at the carb in my hand and a major piece of it falls off. I’m screwed. I can’t find the other little piece…still not sure something even fell, but I get the impression the little piece was important because the other half of the carb keeps falling off. I’m thinking that’s not supposed to happen.

This must be one of those parts that’s “extra” of course. I don’t really NEED to have it, right?

I rig the carb, manually holding it together while I shove it back on the snow blower and torx wrench-screwdriver that thing back on. Looks good from where I’m standing. I prime the engine and fire it up.

Gasoline squirts out in a steady stream from the primer button.

That DEFINITELY shouldn’t happen. I start laughing. My laughing gets harder. I finally get my brain in gear to get something to catch the gasoline spilling on the grass and turn the engine off. I’m laughing while catching the gas still coming out of the primer button even though the engine is off.

Finally the stream of gas stops, and I am now certain that the lost part wasn’t an unnecessary extra. I resort to tearing up the grass, pulling it out of the ground, and holy cow, I find the little brown rod that slipped out. It slides perfectly back into the carb and holds the two parts together. I get the Martian carb back on the snow blower and fire it back up.

No gasoline shooting out of the primer button this time. Good.

The engine is maybe slightly less rough running. I’ll take it. I at least have it running well enough for the impending storm.

I get a new carb ordered and installed once it arrives a week or so later. The Toro purred in a way it has never purred for me before. I did keep the old carb just in case I ever need to remove the newer one and that little bar holding the two Martian parts together decides to take another hike.

 

 

Image from sxc.hu

Dog Poop and Snow Blowers

11-24-2014 12-24-23 PM

In keeping with the winter theme and living in the northeast, here are a few things you should know about owning and operating a snow blower before you get one. I haven’t actually read the user manual on mine, but I don’t think these tidbits are mentioned…at least not specifically. Still, they are important to note, so here ya go:

  • Frozen dog turds DO go through the snow blower.
  • Frozen dog turds are hard as rocks. They can chip paint and put eyes out when ejected from the snow blower.
  • The dog’s tennis ball left out in the snow will ALSO go through the snow blower. This is hilarious, and I highly recommend doing it at least once a month.
  • The dog’s hard chew bone toy will likely go through the snow blower…and come out in pieces if it doesn’t jam up the works. This is not as funny and not recommended at all.
  • Pointing the snow blower chute at things it shouldn’t be pointed at (like windows) will result in much swearing and cold drafts.
  • The snow blower ONLY runs out of gas at the farthest point away from the gas can. It will never ever run out next to the gas can.

 

Image from homedepot.com. Beautiful Toro model. My Toro is similar though not as fancy, so yes, I’m drooling.