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 February  2016 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: My Route South

Wednesday February 10th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy near noon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High plus 4.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this evening then partly cloudy. Risk of freezing rain this evening. Low minus 6.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Having a beautiful, big room, a coffee maker, free Internet and and zero interest in the morning sessions, I slept in and decided to request a late checkout.  I'll skip the morning session since nothing interests me and go down for lunch, then attend the afternoon sessions to witness the potential fireworks.

I weigh 222.0 today, up four pounds due to my lack of discipline yesterday. My nosebleed recurred first thing, so I guess I'll have to wait it out.

The  afternoon sessions were uneventful. 

Dr. Rasoul Bahreini gave an interesting talk about The cost and benefits of mite-resistance and mite-tolerance in honey bee colonies, regarding the interplay between fitness and mite resistance and tolerance.  This struck me as the only really novel work presented, but unfortunately, I could neither hear him well or read the slides from where I sat.  The charts were too detailed to be read from a distance.

He posted the title pages of two studies from which this talk was derived.  I did a Google search for "Influence of Honey Bee Genotype and Wintering Method" and found it here "The influence of Nosema (Microspora: Nosematidae) infection on honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) defense against Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae)", is available here.

I'll never read them.  They are on sites that are restricted by ridiculous and unjustifiable fees.

Why and how research that is partly financed by the public can still be published on site with a paywall is a mystery to me. 

There was a cost to publishing at one time and costs of paper and distribution were considerable enough to justify subscription costs, but today the cost of publishing and distribution online is virtually zero.  I imagine that virtually the entire cost of running the websites is due to administration and collection of subscriptions and preventing the public from free access..

As for the researchers who publish behind paywalls, are they ashamed of their work and of sharing it with the public who financed their education and who pay for the institutions that support them? Shame! 

This is 2016.

    

     

     

What experience and history teach is this--that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
Georg Hegel

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Thursday February 11th 2016

  Fog advisory in effect | Freezing rain warning in effect. 

Today Periods of light snow or freezing rain ending this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating near noon. High plus 4.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy near midnight with 30 percent chance of flurries overnight. Fog patches developing near midnight. Low minus 7.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept until 0800 and weigh 222.2 if I can believe the scale. It gives slightly different readings when I weigh myself a few times in a row within minutes.

Regardless of minor measurement inconsistencies, it is very clear that drinking more than a drink or two as I did the other night adds a lot of weight and that the weight endures for days.  We have seen that before.  We can also see that I cannot bring myself to simply stick to a regime without occasional relief.

 "Two steps forward and one step back" 

That said, my clothes are beginning to feel loose and people mention my weight loss.  Do I feel any better?  I really don't know.

Over the years I have had various aches and pains and complaints that took me to a doctor's office, but which went away just as mysteriously as they came.

Last summer I had visual disturbances that seemed like migraines fairly often.  After August, I have not experienced even one, and AFAIK my diet and habits have not changed in any significant way.  I never did identify the triggers, if any.

I have deskwork to do and I have to decide how to get to Mammoth.  I was going to drive and still may, but time is passing and I am indecisive.  My choices?  20+ hours driving with all my gear and risking winter roads, or six hours from home to LAX by air, then 5 hours by road to Mammoth and renting everything.  Cost of travel is less by air, but the rentals might add up and I'd have less on hand.  Renting, however, I do get to try a lot of different gear since I can swap all day.

I'm finding that if I want to lose weight, the easiest way is to make my huge pots of stew, then eat that and salad.  I made another today.

This time, I decided to cook the beans from dry, so rinsed them and cooked them immediately, ignoring the package instructions.  I hope that doing this does not result in excessive gas.

I wanted to make sure that the stew got above 185 degrees F due to the toxicity of raw kidney beans (and some other beans as well) if not cooked to at least 185.

I use an infrared thermometer when cooking and was baffled at how the pot could be boiling and still read 181.  I suppose the steam confounds the readings?  We are up at 3,000 feet, but water boils here at about 206 F here.

Mid-afternoon, I went out to check hives for the first time this winter.  I started at the North Yard and found only six alive of the eighteen I opened.  All had good stores, but small clusters.  I had noticed small clusters last fall. and suspect varroa was the issue.  I also have a lot of new, white comb and no matter what others may say, that does not help with wintering.

Although I followed the Apivar instructions last spring, we saw high varroa levels on my Bee Day August 23rd.  I had intended to treat right away, but had a heart event that stopped me for a while and I did not get strips on until late.

Added to that, I had split some hives later than ideal and as with everything in bees, what works one year may not work the next.

I did not go to the south hives, but if the results are the same there, I won't have a lot of work this spring.  Frankly, that will be a big relief.

            

Something has been pecking at a few auger holes.  I imagine woodpeckers, but in the past when I did have a woodpecker, it totally shredded all the wooden boxes in one bee yard, pecking all the handholes into splinters.

This damage, so far, is minimal and easily repairable with a hole saw and WeldBond glue, using old boxes for replacement EPS -- if what ever has caused this damage does not continue. 

If it does, I'll have to see what it is and see if I can stop it.

Ninety percent of everything you read or hear is crap.
Sturgeonís Law

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Friday February 12th 2016

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches dissipating near noon. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40. High minus 1.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries this evening with risk of freezing rain. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 3.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept until 0630 and weigh 222.2 again. My nose bled again this morning.

I decided I am driving to Mammoth. It is 2300 km one way and I think I am nuts, but I checked things out and if I am going, this is the way.  I priced out flying and any way I do it, this takes twice as long, but is cheaper and I have all my toys with me.  Ski rentals alone looked like a few hundred dollars.

So, I am getting ready and have little time for writing here. Checking routes, checking weather, arranging cell service, getting travel insurance, tidying up, doing the furnace, changing the oil, cleaning and packing the van all take time.  Weather will be mild while I am gone, so the house is not much of a worry and I have surveillance camera everywhere to watch critical items remotely.  Carolyn keeps a close eye on things, too.

Zip went with Ruth and Dave last evening so that is taken care of.

I shoveled the ashes again this afternoon so the pit is empty before I leave. It was not full, but ready to be done. The last time I shoveled was on the 6th. I serviced the burner on the 7th.  I hauled out two drums of ashes and dumped them to get things ready for Carolyn.

By mid-afternoon, I was dog-tired and had a nap.  Still sleepy, I had four cups of coffee and was myself again.  I never know how much coffee to drink and had been skimping on coffee today.

At 1800, I am not nearly ready to go.  I had somehow imagined I would be all ready by now and leave at 0500 in the morning, but that will not happen.  I'll leave when I am ready and take my time.   I don't have to be in Mammoth until Tuesday actually, although Monday is my goal.

Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
Greg Anderson

Weather outside was cold and windy all afternoon, with falling snow, so cleaning and packing the van was not an attractive option.  I'll wait.

I fiddled around doing this and that.  I finally removed all of Synergy from my machines. 

I had tried using jv16 to remove the registry references, but they kept returning.   Finally, I used regedit.exe and got the job done convincingly .  After several reboots, it is gone and maybe it is my imagination, but now both machines run faster and with less lag.

 I watered some of the plants and vacuumed a bit and was in bed by 2200.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Albert Einstein

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Saturday February 13th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning with risk of freezing rain. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 6.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Low minus 8.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept until 0310 and weigh 219.8. 

The effects of the beer the other night are wearing off.  They last for days.  Will I ever learn?  No nosebleed today, so far.

My plan now is to get ready and leave when I am, so I watered the plants and went back to bed. 

I dozed and resolved the problem that had been worrying me: how to carry the equipment and still have room to sleep in the van if I want to.

It makes no sense to me to hunt around late at night and then stop, unload, and pay $100 or so for a few hours of sleep if I can just lie down in the van.  As long as the weather is not too cold, I'll sleep there as well as anywhere..

I'd rather not carry things on the roof due to air resistance and vulnerability to theft and it makes no sense to me to carry everything on the roof if I can carry it inside the van. However, if I put my air mattress inside, it takes up the entire width, leaving no room for my gear.

While dozing, it occurred to me that I can use my couch cushions rather than the wider mattress and be able to sleep in the van and also carry everything inside.  That resolved an issue that was holding me back.

So, sometimes simply not thinking about something and going away from a problem for a while will solve it.

Now I just have to finish packing myself and load the food and my drinking water and all my goodies and get outta here.

I had thought I would be leaving early but now I realize if I leave by 10 I'll be doing well. Even then 10 or 12 hours of driving is plenty so that means I should still be able to make a good six or seven hundred miles today.  The entire drive is about 1400 miles.

I left around ten and drove south to Lethbridge, fuelled up and proceeded to  Milk River where I stopped to visit Austin and Pam for a while.  While there, I set up my phone for the USA, then drove on and crossed the border at Coutts. 

The roads were good and the speed limit was 80 MPH, so I made excellent time in spite of strong crosswinds. I drove until dusk, then at Butte or maybe Dillon, I stopped for a rest.  I thought I might be done for the day, but after a snooze, I was not sleepy and drove on.

At one point while I was driving 80 MPH through the night and light rain in Southern Idaho, for some reason, white rabbits sat on the edge of the highway at seemingly random intervals, always on my right.

I imagine it is some mating thing.  We see rabbits on the road sometimes in Alberta, too, and they seem suicidal, dashing out in front of cars and straight down the road.  At any rate, there was the occasional rabbit on my left too, just sitting.  One of the latter, however, jumped right out in front of me and was hit, hard.  He must have a headache, but my van lost a tooth.

I continued as far as Idaho Falls arriving just after midnight. I found a a wellness centre parking lot downtown and and settled down in my vanfor the night.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
Albert Einstein

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Sunday February 14th 2016
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up at dawn after a good night's sleep and drove on, stopping to fill my coffee thermos at a McDonalds, then stopping again for an oil change at the Wal-Mart before driving west towards Pocatello and onwards towards Reno. In Nevada, the temperatures were in the sixties and the weather changed from overcast to clear and sunny.

By then, I was over halfway to my destination and far ahead of schedule.  I took my time, but drove steadily, arriving at Fernley sometime after dusk. I found a Pilot truck stop and settled in for the night.

Along the way I noticed that I had no Internet on my phone although I could make calls.  Once again I called Roam Mobility and was told to change more settings on the phone.  I did and had service restored.

Tonight I was tired enough to fall asleep around 2130 after watching Netflix for an hour.

The amount of time you waste online doubles every 18 months.
Collumís Law

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Monday February 15th 2016
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept until almost eight, then got up, bought some coffee, visited the local Wal-Mart, ran the van through a carwash, and headed south. 

Before I did, though, I had to call Roam Mobility once again and alter the phone's settings, once again.

From Fernley, I took the back roads and the speed limits dropped down to fifty-five and sixty-five, a quieter, more relaxing pace.  I was early and in no rush.

My direct route took me down two-lane highways and through small desert towns, some of which looked more like Mexico than Nevada.

Leaving one such town, I was struck by a yard of fun artwork, obviously intended to entertain passers-by.  This is the sort of thing my artist friends love and my wife used to do when not doing serious painting.  I was struck by the message presented which fits right in with my philosophy perfectly.

Behind this yard were hills that looked familiar.  Many years ago, when I hung out at the Alberta College of Art and worked as a model, I also did some painting.  One painting was of terrain just like this, with reds and blues.  Everyone said that mountains don't look like that.  In Alberta, most do not since the Rockies are jagged, young mountains.  These do.

I lost track of that painting.  Someone stole it as I recall.

I arrived in Mammoth Lakes around 1330, well ahead of the others and explored the town and mountain.  The others arrived and we met in a restaurant, waiting for our condo check-in at four PM.

We found the condo, learned about parking and settled in for the night.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page
St Augustine

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Tuesday February 16th 2016

Today Mainly sunny. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 7.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Low minus 9.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm at Mammoth and we are settled in.  Skiing is in our plans for the day.

The trip was a fantastic experience, an amazing sensory feast.  The roads were clear and divided four-lane most of the way, the van ran well, and the traffic was light.  Speed limits were 80 MPH for much of the trip. I arrived here well ahead of the others.

Along the way, I slept in the van and that worked well.  I'm glad I did not carry anything on the roof.  Cross winds were extreme and violently gusty in spots along the way and I would have worried the entire trip.

 Weather at home is mild, so I am not worrying about my house.

Everyone went out skiing today. I borrowed Steph's pass and took a few runs with Jon and the kids.  Passes are over $100 US, so I am making sure to economize where I can.

The snow was good, but hard-packed up top.  Lower down, we encountered spring conditions.

In the evening, we played Monopoly.

Traveling -It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
Ibn Battuta

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Wednesday February 17th 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High plus 5.
Tonight Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers this evening and after midnight. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light after midnight. Low minus 1.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm at Mammoth until Friday and I have not yet decided where to wander from here. 

Being only four hours north of LA, and about the same from Lost Wages, with my van, my bed, and my toys along and with no need to go home by any deadline gives me an array of options.  For one thing, I could leave my van at Jon's and fly home for a while, then continue, or I could drive back up the coast and stop in Vancouver to sail a bit -- or I could drive in to Mexico, only six hours from here.

In the meantime, I am here in a slopeside condo with Jon, Steph and the four kids.  Everyone gets along well and life could not be better.

A heavy snowfall is predicted for today.  Currently, fluffy wet snow is falling, accompanied by gusting winds, making the conditions less than pleasant on the slopes, so and we are not going skiing, but the kids are out playing in the snow.  Snow is a novelty for kids who live in SoCal.

Tomorrow we may have a foot or two of fresh snow and that will be the time to hit the slopes.

Since today is a slow day, I updated the past few days entries.  It was a struggle to remember all the places I have been and all the things I saw.

We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.
Adlai E. Stevenson

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Thursday February 18th 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness. Showers beginning this afternoon. Fog patches this morning. High plus 5.
Tonight Rain showers changing to periods of snow after midnight. Rainfall amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late this evening. Low minus 1.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today is our last full day here and our last night.  We check out at noon tomorrow.

From the arch, I see the Chinook continues at home. Rain and high winds are predicted

Here at Mammoth, we have a foot or so of new snow and as the day brightens, I hear the boom of avalanche control guns.  

The plan today is to hit the slopes.

I went to my van, which was buried in snow and found the battery was flat again.  We dug it out and jumped the battery and I decided that the problem was my USB chargers. 

I have two which were on circuits not controlled by the key and were drawing power 24/7.  No problem when the engine runs often, but the van has been sitting for two days.  At even one ampere draw, that would use half the capacity in 48 hours and I suspect that the draw could be greater.  Moreover the battery is nowhere near new and is not a huge one in the first place.

I moved the van out of the drift that had built up around it overnight and onto a plowed section  of shoulder, idled the van for an hour to charge the battery and cleaned off the snow accumulation while the van was warm to make things easier later when it is time to leave tomorrow. (I have a permit to park in that zone).

I still have no idea where I will go when I leave.  I am a long way south, but have business in Vancouver and prepaid ski passes for the BC Rockies.

The weather improved after lunch and we all went out for a few runs, but the wind was gusting dangerously enough that they closed the lifts mid-afternoon.  As a result, Jon got refund vouchers. 

Before the lifts stopped though, I was able to make about six or eight runs and that was just about perfect for me.  In fact, I left the hill only moments before the closure.

Due to the vast improvements in ski technology over the past two decades,  I've been skiing in recent winters and not riding my board much at all. I notice that my snowboarding skills are getting rusty, but I had a good time and performed well just the same.

Kalle and Brendan were not much interested in the snowboarding and, instead, built a 'fort' and played in the snow.

Katrina and Kaylee took the gondola downtown and returned in high spirits.  We had a supper of carne asada tacos and then Jon, Steph and Brendan went sledding.

There is a tendency for things to right themselves.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Friday February 19th 2016

Today Flurries ending late this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Local blowing snow this morning. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light late this morning. Temperature falling to minus 4 this afternoon.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Low minus 6.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Last evening, my hands and feet were cold, I felt a bit chilled, had muscle pains, and a hint of a headache.  I was expecting to wake up with a cold or 'bug', but I slept well for a full eight hours and this morning I am as good as ever.  No pains.

We are at 8,297 feet (ground level) here in our ST Anton condo, so some altitude effects can be expected but nothing obvious has affected us.

Today we leave Mammoth.  Jon and family head home and I have to decide where to go.

At home, snow is expected, but the temperatures are expected to remain mild.

The day here is sunny and bright, but the winds continue to gust and toss the trees outside the condo.  I doubt we will ski at all today.

Being the nearest long-season ski area to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and other large population centres, Mammoth is indeed mammoth in scale, both in ski area and lifts and in the number of condos in the surrounding district.

All in all, although we have had a good time, this ski week at Mammoth has been less than perfect.  The resort is very pricey and the weather has been less than ideal.  I imagine there must be times when the snow is good and the winds are not making the slopes unpleasant, but it is a gamble, I suppose.

We checked out around eleven and drove back separately, arriving around dusk.  By the time we left, the conditions looked ideal for skiing: warm and sunny.  The wind had died and there was fresh snow, but our time was up. 

We could have stayed for the afternoon, but with four kids, no condo, and at least a five-hour drive back, with a promised closure of the 15 and 91 routes at nine PM, we decided that daytime travel would be best.

The first part of the trip was on four-lane roads though amazing country, but the last three hours was partly two-lane, with rush hour traffic.  I found the five-hour drive tiring and I stopped for an hour-long nap along the way. Having my bed along in an inconspicuous vehicle that can park anywhere is really nice.

I recall travelling in the truck and camper, and then motorhomes in times past. We could stop anywhere: a truck stop, a pullout, a rest stop, cook lunch, have a nap, then continue.

The others got home long before me.  They had gone out for sushi, but were back when I arrived. 

Although I could have slept in the house, I elected to sleep in the van again for the night and slept well.

They change their sky but not their soul who run away across the sea
Horace

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