April 22, 2017
New Power Equipment
You might remember how my snow blower died in the middle of one of the biggest storms of this past winter - and how I was relegated to shoveling a wet, heavy 15-17" of snow. I was determined to take advantage of end of season sales, did research for weeks (I research everything to death), and on 4/11 found a deal I just couldn't pass up. Not only was the price right, but HD was offering free shipping too. SOLD!
Yesterday I got home just as the delivery guy was closing the garage door after depositing the pallet holding my prize. There is a slight bit of assembly to do - install the chute and the chute controller, but I have at least 6 months to do so. I am extremely happy with the heaviness of it - no plastic parts there. It is slightly bigger, a lot stronger, and can leap tall buildings, has a slightly larger chute rotation range, and should prove more capable chewing thru berms and heavy, wet snow than my broken snow blower.
I will have a whole new set of controls to get used to, but if that is my biggest issue I will be a happy camper. It is a SnowTek, which is an off-branded Ariens, and it is rated as one of the heavier duty work-horses in its class (and the reviews rave about it). About the only way I could have gotten better was to go to much larger.
And, you probably don't remember that I broke my mower at the end of last summer. I have been perusing CL the last month or so to see if I could find a good used unit. Last Sunday night I came across the ideal - the same size cutting width, somewhat larger motor, the same brand and type as my old mower, 2 years old and slightly used - at about what it would cost to bring the old mower back to fighting shape. I emailed the seller within 3 hours of his posting the ad and asked if I could pick it up that night. I explained I couldn't pick it up during the week because of working days and nights.
Seems he has a soft spot for people with multiple jobs since he has done that for a lot of his adult life. So, he offered to hold it for me until Saturday morning despite the fact that a lot of people were interested (he actually under priced it as far as I was concerned). I picked it up at 8 this morning and am now the proud owner of this mulching, FWD, self-propelled, one pull starting beauty
In talking to the guy his MIL bought it 2 years ago, used it a couple of times then hired a lawn service, who used their own mowers. She then moved to Florida over the winter and asked him to either buy it from her or sell it for her in the spring. He had already gotten a new mower, so it was spring and time to sell. It certainly looks as if it has only been used a couple of times, and we started it before loading it in the Explorer, and it did indeed start in one pull (as it should). The controls are exactly like the old mower, so no new thing-a-ma-jigs to learn on this one.
I will get the old mower fixed since I am reasonably certain I know what is wrong, plus it needs a new blade and tune up. The old mower is a 5.75 instead of a 7.25 but fully capable of performing back up duty and mowing in the areas where roots and rocks stick up out of the ground - what, if my diagnosis is correct, caused the issue in the first place.
Bike is Home for 2017 Riding Season
On April 12, Heritage H-D dropped off the bike.
It has been a cold April so far, so I've only ridden twice; to the debriefing of the group that went to HOT training the following Saturday (mine is the one on the left - the other bike belongs to another Officer that attended the training)
and to work on the 17th
Hopefully it warms up soon (today was in the low 40's) and riding to work will become a regular thing.
April 16, 2017
1st Day of HOT Training
They kept us pretty busy thru the Harley Officer Training (HOT).The Introduction to the training was held in an auditorium with all attendees.
This year's theme of the training was "No Boundaries". That was in reference to the boundaries that we, and our groups place on ourselves that can limit chapter growth, member retention and yes, even the riding and fun.
Sometimes I felt like I was back at high school changing classes every hour or so. The first class for everyone was Building Strong Foundations. Although these classes went on in several different rooms, each chapter was placed at one table. We were lucky and our Sponsoring Dealer attended training also, so we could all discuss what we wanted out of the training and preliminary planning for putting that in action
After the planning stages, the schedulers had broken up the Chapters by placing members in different classes. Somehow they knew that I was the one that am not comfortable with other people, so they managed to always place me in a class by myself (except one class on day two). Most of the other Chapter members got one other familiar person in their class.
My second class was Inspire thru Leadership where we were introduced the reason for HOG, what rules the Company institutes for HOG Chapters and ways that leaders handle challenges.
My 3rd class was a "Powerpack" or bonus class that we got to pick from and I chose Using Social Media. I learned a few things about posting picture do's/don't's and a few things to put into action for emails to new members.
My 4th class was Forging the Dealer-Chapter Relationship. We broke into groups and were asked to think as a sector of the Chapter - Sales, Engineer, Designer, Production/QA (this coincided with the 4 types of people that started the H-D brand/company). The groups were self-determined thru personality types and my group was "William - the Production/QA person who listened and didn't talk a lot. Each group was given an exercise and to share results with the entire class. Once again I became the organizer. My work experience with leading meetings was certainly coming in handy by keeping group members on task and leading them thru the different aspects that we were asked to consider.
That evening HOG hosted a dinner with entertainment. I was not originally planning to go as I was all peopled out, but decided to attend the dinner. The had screens set up where pictures taken thruout the day were presented on a slide show. Much to my surprise, my mug was captured.
While everyone else stayed for some of the entertainment (a cover band, alcohol and dancing), our dealer and I headed back to the hotel as neither of us drink (okay, she doesn't drink at all and I rarely drink), nor fully appreciate bashes with all kinds of strangers. After a full day, it was nice to curl up with the Kindle and just decompress.
Buffalo Side Trip
On the way to Harley Officer Training, we took a small side trip to a Buffalo Harley-Davidson dealer. They had an area that showcased some old bikes, which was the best thing about that shop.
April 07, 2017
3 more days of this person and her non-stop talking. the 8 hour drive out here was bad enough, but we also share a hotel room. The 8 hour drive will be a contest of my willing myself not to strangle her.
It will be a miracle if I'm still sane after this.
April 02, 2017
April Fools - I Wish
The March 30-April 1 snow storm dumpe about 16" of wet, heavy snow in my area. It was great that it didn't start sticking to the roads until I was almost home. I shoveled the first 3" Friday night, but the real accumulation didn't start until later that night. By 8:30 I measured 12".
I got the driveway snow blown, then started on the berm from the road plows
It was hard going and I was thinking how I loved that old snow blower for soldering on only asking that I put in gas and watch the oil level. Well, I'll bet you can guess what happened - I died. Oh, the motor runs great, just engaging the auger kills it. I can't find any reason so suspect either the clutch blew or some sort of bearing froze. The blessing is that it waited to die until I had the berm done. The bad news is that I had to hand shovel a path to the propane tanks and all the way to the back door. I declined to shovel the path to the front door or from the ramp to the mulch pile and where I dump ashes from the pellet stoves (and I have wasded thru the snow 3 times today to go out to that corner of the yard).
I also had to dig out the truck since the snow was over the bottoms of the doors. Also, I need a place for the snow that I pushed off the truck to land - otherwise the snow would have been window high.
I finally got to the point I could pull the truck into the driveway - I needed to load up the trash and do the dump run. I started the windshield wipers and the driver's side wiper shredded itself. So, on the way to the dump I had to stop at AutoZone and get wiper blades. The back wiper was in sad shape so I went ahead and replaced all 3.
April Fool's Day was not very kind to me, but I just had to laugh at everything anyway.
Patches and Pins
I am going to Harley Officer Training in Buffalo, NY soon. As an officer of our Chapter, I am expected to proudly represent my chapter - and let others know what chapter that is. Up until now, I have worn a leather vest with verious patches - 2A, 9-11 memorials, travels map, a Lady Rider and LOH Patch (national group). That vest is quite full (and I have lots of patches/pins that sit in a box).
I happen to have a HD denim vest given to me by a coworker who used to ride with her ex. She no longer had a use for it and gave it to me quite some time ago. I have never used it, but no am putting it to good use by placing Chapter as well as National patches on the back. Oh, and please notice that Rita was helping so had to photo bomb - at least her chest and legs :)
On the front are featured my officer patch and pin (on the left as you look at the picture), and on the other side are the chapter pin, the national LOH pin, and the national HOG pin for the current year.
1 day of driving there, 2 days of classes, then another day of driving back. My butt is going to be telling me all about the sitting I will be doing.
March 25, 2017
Mount Washington Sunrise 3-25-17
While the rest of us were severely overcast, rainy and snowy, Mount Washington Observatory had and awesome sunrise. This picture was posted on FB. The bigger it is viewed, the more astounding it is (click to enbiggen).
I've Been Busy as a HOG
Since summer of 2014, I have belonged to a HOG (Harley Owners Group) and their subgroup LOH (Ladies of Harley). I haven't participated much in their activities, but do attend the monthly meetings. I also helped man the tables for selling tickets in a fundraising endeavor in the spring of 2015. And I also participated in 1/2 of a ride that fall. I was going to visit a friend in central NY at the same time they were having a ride to extreme eastern NY so I tagged along and peeled off when they stopped in NY. I've also participated in the Internationale Female Ride Day. But that has been the extent of my participation in activities.
Late last fall, the LOH Officer announced that she was going to be submitting her name for consideration as the Assistant Director of our HOG chapter and asked for ladies who were interested in the LOH Officer position to let her know. A week or so later she emailed me asking if I was interested. I responded that with working two jobs I didn't feel I had the time to put into it, but if she couldn't find anyone else, that I would do it. She had served as LOH Officer for 2 years, done an extremely good and effective job at it, so deserved to look for a higher seat.
She did find someone else, so at the elections held in November, the Officers were elected without fanfare and that was that. Or so I thought.
So how the heck did this happen?
Well, In mid January The lady who had accepted the nomination as the LOH Officer found that her work schedule would not allow her to effectively perform her duties as LOH Officer so resigned her position. A call went out for all interested parties to contact the Director and the Officers would chose the candidate from amongst that pool. A week or so later, keeping in mind the troubles of finding a candidate last fall, I contacted the Assistant Director letting her know that IF no one else put their name in, I could do it. I reminded her that I had two jobs and didn't have a lot of free time on my hands so I didn't want my name thrown in if there were other interested parties.
Apparently, no one else volunteered so at the February HOG meeting, our first meeting since the elections, I was tentatively affirmed as LOH Officer - tentative because they wanted to make sure that everyone who attended the HOG meeting was aware of the vacated position. Two weeks later it was official.
Since then I have organized two LOH meetings; the February meeting (which was delayed a week because of a blizzard) was as presumptive LOH Officer, and March meeting as the affirmed Officer. At the March HOG meeting I had to give the report on our meeitng and upcoming events. I have attended a Monarchs Hockey game with the HOG chapter (on the left is our chapter Secretary and on the right is our Membership Officer).
And the biggest, most time consuming event so far, was organizing and running the LOH bake sale and raffle of which the proceeds benefited two charities. (I'm way back behind the white haired lady).
The first weekend of April is the HOG meeting, for which I have to give my report. The second weekend of April I have to attend Officer training in Buffalo, NY with 5 other chapter Officers. That will consist of two days of travel and two days of training. Then the April LOH Meeting is 4 days after we return, then in May is the International Female Ride Day plus the regular HOG and LOH meetings.
It's all busy and good. But what the hell did I get myself into? :O
And last - at the raffle / bake sale, I had to have my picture taken for the HOG Chapter website.
March 12, 2017
A Little Wind
We have had a very cold and windy March. Last weekend the highs were in the teens with single digit lows. The wind was also atrocious. I came home one evening, looked out the kitchen window and saw that something was missing
Upon opening the back door, I found it
On the bright side, several times I have thought about replacing it with a more decorative, less utilitarian design. The plastic cover was yellowed from age and it was exactly the most accurate thermometer. On the other hand, it worked, and I just used the temp reading as a general guide so couldn't justify replacing it. Now I have the excuse, just need to find one of the same general size that isn't utilitarian looking - a tougher prospect than I thought. Oh sure, I can find nice designs in larger or smaller specimens, but that particular size (which is perfect; not too big, but large enough for me to see without straining), seems to only come with the featureless white face. Granted, I have only hit several local hardware stores as well as home and garden stores, and I'm sure I can find something online, I just didn't think it would be a time consuming endeavor.
Although we had somewhat of a warm up during the past week, this weekend is much the same as last; single digit lows (5* right now - warmer than yesterday morning) and teens for the highs - with brutal winds. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is for a Nor'easter with snow totals at this point projected to be 8-16" (depending on final trajectory). I blame the storm on my plans to pick up the bike at the end of the week. Guess that isn't going to happen.
It seems as if Mother Nature is realizing she pretty much skipped February and is making up for it.