Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Changes afoot..

With the passing of Maynard and Ellen - Kristi and I have finished our reason for putting the Cruising Life on hold over the past year.  This week has been full of family, sorting through memories, sorting through stuff, crying, all of it.  Going forward we are looking to start making our way back to the West Coast the week of November 17th.  Likely stopping along the way to visit family and friends (including perhaps Pip in SF), Christmas time again in Portland and then to Friday Harbor to rejoin Viking Star.  From there we will start putting our wandering lifestyle back in place.

Many folks have commented how hard the last year must have been.  And to be honest there were times it was.  But both Kristi and I are in full agreement: it was the right thing to do, we have no regrets, and would make the same choice in a heart-beat.  That we could spend time with these two wonderful folks, who have modeled in their everyday living a way to be; no question our lives have been enriched - pain and all.

So boating fans - keep a watch, things will be a changing!  We will getting back into the Floating life, even changing the costs report back into Cost to Cruise :-)   Plus we will be leaving what has become known as the 'Coffee Desert'!  Stay tuned for more to come.

Maynard and Ellen, thank you for sharing your life with us this past year.

Hang in there Viking Star,
we will be back soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ellen Johnson

4 weeks to the day after the passing of Maynard, Ellen has rejoined him.

Ellen, Kristi, and Maynard earlier this Fall

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cost to not cruise - September 2014

Wow, more than 1/2 way through Oct and still have not posted Septembers results, well - here it is:

(Click for larger view)

The passing of Maynard perhaps accounted for additional grocery and dining out costs - with all the Family arriving and such.  It also accounts for the increased transportation costs - driving around a lot, including a trip to 'The Cities' to fetch folks from the airport.

Medical/insurance, well - have been on my soapbox enough about that already...  Will just continue to note it is by far the largest single expense we have - 25% of our spending at this time.

Things are changing. Kristi and I may well be leaving Minnesota at the end of November - a bit of time in the Portland OR area for the holidays and then back to the Boat and resuming our wandering life.  But do not take this as a PLAN, it is perhaps a thinking at this time.


And now here is the standard explanation: If this is your 1st time looking at costs on our blog, and want some more background on why we are reporting what it costs to not-cruise on a cruising blog - well, we are taking a break by moving back to Minnesota to help out Kristi's folks.  And we thought it would be interesting to be able to compare our costs on Land vs. on Sea., see more here:

For reference here is a summary of what it did cost us to cruise last year:

For Reference, Costs for Cruising in 2013
Again, following the link above will give you access to more details, or you can click on the Costs label to the right for even more cost data.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

And the answer is: PowerPulse to the Rescue!!!!

Well maybe:  Update Jan 2015 - Seems the 'rescued' battery was not able to make it through the cold Minnesota winters, and again failed.   But who knows, if I had been able to leave the PowerPulse on what would have happened - -      To my amazement, that dead battery was brought back to life, but perhaps that life was a short one..  Bottom line: I have no idea if this technology really works or not in the long run.


After almost 4 weeks on the PowerPulse I had to take it off for my trip back to Viking Star.   Here is the last 'installment'.

 The At Rest (48hrs at rest) voltage is now 12.60v, indicating a fully charged battery!  .  And a scope capture from 8/19:

Final scope photo on 8/19/2014

Compare this to the initial (7/24)  12.45v at-rest voltage when I 1st hooked things up:

July 24, first attached
Notice the difference?  In addition to a measurable difference shown above I noted another difference - perhaps more a 'feel', is the cycle of pulsing.  When 1st attached there was a pulse about every 4-5 seconds.  Now it is around one a second.

Hum. . . .  Timing is different, At Rest voltage is different.  Pulses no longer show ringing.   Clearly something has changed.

But did it work?  Did it 'restore' this abused farm starter battery?

The answer is Yes!!!  Today I installed the battery back in the same truck, and it started!  Now, this is even after setting for a month (I took the battery off the PulsePower before heading the Viking Star in August).  Not only did it start the truck, it started it three times.  It started it after turning on the headlights for 10 minutes.  And it started it after I let it set for 6 more hours.

Bottom line:  This Group 31 battery was unusable, would in no way hold a charge.  After a bit over 6 weeks on the Pulse Power I was able to see noticeable changes in its waveform, and in fact the battery is usable again.

Go figure.

Here are links to other posts in this series:

We left this 'restored' battery in the truck and will see how it holds up.   But in this ONE example, I have to say PulsePower did work...

So - there

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is the Prairie in Southwest Minnesota . . .

. . .  about as far from the sea as a licensed USCG Master (aka, Captain**) can get?  The answer is no, at least not until he is snapped driving  a Combine and bringing in the beans:

Hey, did we get the Spring Lines tossed yet?

It is Harvest Time here in the land of the Jolly Green Giant, Little House on the Prairie and field after field of mostly corn or beans (Soybeans that is).  Last week the beans ripened up and all were 'in the fields' bringing in the crop. All the roads had a wild mixture of Semi's and "wagons" behind  tractors, plus a few smaller ones pulled by pickups, moving beans to either storage bins or the elevator.  (Don't be fooled - some of those tractor carts can hold the same amount of product as 2 or 3 semis!).  And 'Captain Al' ** helped out Dean on his farm by prepping the combine, and then mostly running the two carts between the field and the elevators as well as storing some on a neighbor's farm.  But I also logged a couple of hours behind the wheel, keeping the machine running while Dean was having Dinner, or doing another task on the farm.

Me  in Action!

Filling a wagon

Almost full!

This smallish cart still tipped the scales at almost 20,000lbs.  You should see some of the monster ones the 'combining teams' use!

Dean and I check-in while off-loading into the other cart.
This one had the 'nice' pickup pulling it!

Using the PTO auger to move the beans into a neighbor's bin
for storage.

In all it was a great experience to do.  And one that folks outside of true farmers likely would never get an opportunity at!  I am glad not only for the experience, but to be able to help Dean out during one of the busiest times of the year.  He does not have that many acres planted, sufficient for his use and some extra to sell, but it took a good part of the week for the two of us to bring the beans in.  And it did not go unnoted by all how I was in effect filling in for Maynard this year - even to the point of picking out stray bean stalks from the cutter head and dumping them into the hopper.  "Dad would be proud" Dean said, along with "This will be a year to remember".

Yes it will.

**  Captain:  Yes, I hold a USCG Masters Mariner ticket.   But one that I call a 'Baby License'.  Though more than one of the lowest grade 6-pack licences, as a 100-ton holder I do not try to pretend to stand next to the real 'Captains' who work day in and day out moving massive amounts of commerce on the waterways.