Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Camp Coldwater Spring update

I recently received an email about an upcoming open house for the proposed Camp Coldwater Spring restoration.

Dear Interested Party,
In our letter of December 3, 2008, we told you public meetings would be conducted in
the winter and spring of 2009 to help determine some of the details for restoration of the
An informational open house has been scheduled to give the public an opportunity to
provide comment on planning for the reuse and restoration of federal property formally
occupied by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.
The open house will be held Monday February 23, 2009 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the
auditorium on the first floor of the VA Hospital, located at One Veterans Drive in
National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff will be available to
provide information concerning the DEIS preferred alternative, historical preservation
and interpretation, and to gather input to guide planning for the future reuse and
restoration of the site.

If you are interested in this site (and if you cycle in the Twin Cities, you should be), attend the meeting.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Beer == Good

Soon enough, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will make more than just tasty beer--it will also manufacture high-grade ethanol fuel from leftover beer yeast. The company announced today that it is partnering with E-Fuel--the inventor of the world's first home ethanol machine--to test portable ethanol refineries at its Chico, California brewery.
Sierra Nevada generates an average of 1.6 million gallons of unusable beer yeast waste each year, which it currently sells to farmers as dairy feed. The brewer's beer dregs contain only 5 to 7% alcohol, but E-Fuel's MicroFueler can raise the alcohol content to 15%, resulting in a higher ethanol yield. The MicroFueler also removes water from the mix for increased quality.
Testing of Sierra Nevada's waste-to-ethanol system will begin in the second quarter of this year, with full-scale production expected soon after. The company plans on using the ethanol in its own vehicles initially, but may eventually supply employees with fuel and distribute extra fuel through E-Fuel's network.
Enterprising small business owners who want to create their own ethanol blend can purchase E-Fuel's MicroFueler for the low price of $9,995.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Arrowhead 135

The wife and I watched the weather on TV last night and it's looking like we've got nearly a week of mid-30s headed our way.  I casually mentioned to her that the weather was going to break just as the Arrowhead 135 was wrapping up.  She wasn't familiar with the event, so I gave her the quick overview.  135 miles by bike, ski or foot, your choice.  Late January or early February in northern Minnesota.  Cold, brutal conditions.  She asked if I had any interest in doing this event, and I did admit that I do.  I admit, it's one of those desires that is strongly tempered by reality and will most likely never happen.  But there is a part of me that wonders, Could I do it?
I haven't seen much for detailed race reports yet, though following the race on their blog it looks like the majority of the bikers are in and the runners are starting to come in this morning.  Doug didn't race this year due to a horrific injury, and my other perennial favorite Dave Gray dropped out sometime during the night.  I'm kind of rooting for Charlie Farrow, just because over the last several years he's given it his all and pretty much every race report mentions how nice of a guy he is.
As we continued our talk about the race last night, I casually mentioned that I would probably need a new snow bike to do the race.  Though I didn't mention it by name, I was thinking of the Surly Pugsley.  When asked how much such a bike would cost, I gave a middle of the road guess of around $1500.  And that's when I got the '$1500 for a snow bike?' and a thump on the head.  Maybe I can get Jimmy Buffett to sponsor me!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winter warmer

We had a lovely weekend here in the Twin Cities metro area.  The highs were in the 40s on Saturday and in the 30s on Sunday.  I didn't take much advantage of the weather, but it put me in mind of warmer times ahead.  Saturday afternoon I managed to reassemble my chainsaw.  One of the bolts that secures the chain/bar had stripped, and I'd taken it apart to see if it could be replaced.  Turns out they just use a square headed bolt that fits into a molded recess in the plastic housing.  The plastic had stripped, not the bolt, so there would be no replacing.  I used some JB Weld and fixed the bolt in place.  This was back in December, and somehow during the JB Weld's approved curing time, other household projects took priority.  It's kind of interesting to reassemble something that you took apart, but don't really remember the details of how.  But after a few minor missteps I took it into the garage and it fired up.  I tried cutting something, but the blade is woefully dull so I gave up and split some wood by hand.
Sunday I spent most of the day cleaning out the office in our basement while scanning some old photos.  This batch was from a summer camping trip back in high school.  It's a hoot to see some of these pictures after all this time.  And I'm surprised by how much I don't remember.  These pictures were in an album and had captions, so that helped lots.  But most of the captions refer to people by first name only and I found that I didn't remember the last name of many.  Looks familiar, but...  I plugged a bunch onto Facebook in hopes that some of the other folks from the day can help with identification and also enjoy a trip through our intersection of memory lane.
Throughout the weekend I kept thinking that there was a task I should be doing in the warm weather, but I never came up with a good one.  This morning I realized what it should have been:  wash the bike.  As I headed to work this morning the chain was pretty stiff and I looked over the bike and was shocked by the amount of salt on it.  Looking back at last year's stat sheet, I didn't get off the winter bike until April 2, so I've still got a couple months to go.  I hear the new Freewheel station on the Greenway has bike washing facilities.  I may give them a shot, or I may wait for some warmer weather.  Rumor has it we'll be back in the 30s again later this week, even though Phil saw his shadow this morning.  We'll see.