21 June 2011

North Country Exploration

On my second weekend in New York I traveled a great bit to see some sites and do a little fishing.  I headed out east on about a 4 hour drive to Fort Ticonderoga.  I have always been fascinated in history, especially military history and the battles that forged our country.  Fort Ticonderoga was key real estate during the French and Indian wars as well as the American Revolution located on a peninsula of Lake Champlain on the Vermont and New York border.  From there I headed about half way up the Lake Champlain's 125 miles of shoreline then turned west through the Adirondack Mountains to Lake Placid.  Lake Placid is a really nice little town where the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympic games took place.  Most interesting to me was seeing the place where the highly unfavored and unknown players of the US hockey team beat the heavily favored 4 gold in a row Russian team.  Beating Russia in the midst of our Cold War tensions.  I went on that evening and the next day to fish the west branch of the Ausable river.  I ended the weekend by stopping in Lake Saranac at a deli for an absolutely awesome roast beef sandwich.

Looking out over the lower end of Lake Champlain where to the right the waters flow from Lake George and atop the hill across the water stands Mt. Defiance.  A higher elevation than that of Fort Ticonderoga where the British once place cannons which forced the French to surrender the fort during the Seven Years War, also known as the French and Indian Wars and later after Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the fort from the British, the British once again occupied the hill yet again forcing the withdraw of the forts occupants.   

The Ausable River between Lake Placid and Wilmington NY.

Not sure what kind of duck this is but he looks tasty none the less.

 One of the few Brown Trout I landed.

16 June 2011

Yankee Fish

Well I figured my second day in NY and so close to all this water such as the St. Lawrence river separating the US with Canada as well as Lake Ontario and all the bays that I should go fishing.  So I studied the satellite images and maps then went out scouting for places to fish realizing that most of the lands surrounding the water were private and I would need some floaties.  I found a village named Clayton about 30 miles north on the water that rented kayaks and went to check them out only to walk out of there with a Hobie Pro-Angler model kayak.  It's got its proprietary propulsion system called the Mirage that uses your feet to drive the craft instead of an oar, though a short backup oar is on board.  The kayak is awesome, very stable, fast, and the layout is well thought.  You can stand up and fish no problem as long as your balance is keen when the other boats and ships, yeah, ships, create nearby wakes.  Be in shape though, you wont go too far at a fast rate of speed if your stamina and lags aren't at a decent strength.  Never fear, I would of outlasted Lance Armstrong by the end of day 2 on this kayak.  Being on the water was great, and I love fishing, but, the fishing was terrible.  Two days out on the water, TWO days, and I caught 2 fish.  I couldn't of caught what I was after if I'd of sunk a ship of chlorine or powered up that hydro machine from Batman Begins to vanish all the lake water.   I was looking to catch some Northern Pike, never seen those before, and maybe some Rainbow, Brown, or Brook trout.  But, no luck.  Not even a carp or bass?

The only fish I caught were these Yellow Perch.

I came across this nest atop of some marine guidance station out on the end of French bay that had a young Osprey  laying in it.  While I was fishing near its base I got into a territorial dispute with the now returned mother and decided i didn't want to loose a few chunks out of the back of my skull, so I moved on.  I tell you, she was very protective.

Some of the Islands.

And the rain came down....

09 June 2011

Way up north. North?

Well I set out on a long trip up north.  Not really by choice though.  So from one last time in Texas to leaving my house in Louisiana.  Then through a corner of Arkansas and Mississippi and onto Tennessee.  In TN I made it to Clarksville TN near Fort Campbell for a visit with a good friend David and his wife Becky and their daughter Mackenzie.  After a good nights rest and a great couple of meals Becky had prepared I was on my way through Bowling Green Kentucky and Louisville where instead of staying on course I proceeded north across the river and into Indiana, turned around back to KY, and continued with my planned route.  I just wanted to claim I had been to Indiana once.   Through Cincinnati and Columbus Ohio I stopped in Cleveland for the night.  The next day I found my way into Erie Pennsylvania where I detoured to a park where there were miles of beaches with large waves crashing from one of the Great lakes, Lake Erie.  I left there around 5pm and put the pedal to the floor hoping to get to Buffalo New York and Niagara Falls before dark.  Well I made it and that's a bunch of aqua!  About 80 if not more percent of the tourist there were not Americans.  There were it seemed hundreds of Indians, (red dot).  I saw some Koreans, various Arabs, a few Japanese, some Germans, Romanians, and other Europeans, a couple of South Africans, and a few Eastern European ladies. :)  It's was different to see so many different kind of folks all in one place and was kinda interesting to watch them determining by their looks, dress, and languages/dialects where they were from.  That night I ate a sandwich and had a few beers at Buffalo's oldest Brew Pub and got a hotel room.  In the morning before leaving the Red Roof Inn I was watching the news where the reporters were claiming NY at 10am was already a scorching 84 degrees.  Oh my, damn Yanks.  Then of through Rochester and Syracuse turning north again to Watertown NY.  Right next to the eastern side of one of the Great Lakes Lake Ontario and a half an hour from Canada.  At this point I'm starting to get aggravated.  Is New York state still part of the US?  From Buffalo to Watertown, and at least 5 to 10 different locations in Watertown The Canadian Flag is flying next to the American flag.  What the hell?  That's the end of the trip for now.  I'm thinking about getting out to Lake Ontario to try some fishing this weekend.

The first two photos are of Lake Erie, the first of the Great Lakes I have seen.

The rest of the photos are of Niagara Falls.

That would be Canada on the other side of the river.

Super Duper Duty bumper complete.

Well between helping Spencer fab up a dual kyak, how do you spell, kayak trailer, finish some of the projects around the house like the front porch remodel and pack up for a log goings away trip I managed to finish the front grill. 

Well I went from this......

To this.....

And a little creative adjusting from my iphone.

01 June 2011

Super Duper Duty bumper almost complete.

Oh my, I have put in way too much time on this bumper/grill lately.  The bumper itself has be on the truck for over a year but I just haven't had the time or the drive to get out the welder, plasma cutter, and tube bender and start fabricating.  So a few days ago I got busy.  It's been a tough road though.  I needed 2in and 1.5 inch tubing.  NOT PIPE!  I have spoken to a few metal suppliers and had to educate the person on the phone the difference.  Yet they still try to offer what I don't want.  Pipe is measured by inside diameter and is meant to transport "stuff" inside of such as liquids, and gasses.  Tube on the other hand is generally used for structural applications.  Though some kinds of tubing are used for fluid conveyance, the kind I am asking for which I thought was common isn't so much.  In the end the 2in outside diameter tube I needed was in a .120 wall thickness and I was unable to find any such, and while in Houston I was only able to find .083.  Though not what I want, desperate I bought a 20ft stick hoping my hydraulic bender could bend without any unwanted deformity.   No luck, bad bends.  So on a short time frame and without the 2in tube I was forced to redesign.  And the pictures begin... Pain, the tube you see below going around the headlights has 4 separate bends on several different planes.  With 2 of the bends just a bit too close for the die I have which is a 5 inch center line radius.  

This is a Pro-Tools tube notcher which has a large ball bearing and shaft that accepts hole saw blades to cope ends of tube to fit to the sides of other tube.

In this picture I was capping the end of the bumper with 2 inch strap metal tack welded and shaped and formed with a rosebud tip from an oxygen-acetylene setup.

Here is the back side of the bumper in the center where I have opened the 6x8 rectangular tubing and extended the platform for a winch.

 After all the grinding and other surface preparation the bumper was suspended from the roof of my "shop" to prepare for painting.

The first 2 coats were sprayed on with an automotive paint gun and PPG Omni self etching epoxy primer.  2 to one epoxy to hardener ratio with a bit of added acetone to thin the paint.  That's all for this session.

Next and last for coating was something new to me.  I came across a spray on bed lining product on a few various .com forums.  The product is by UPOL and is called Raptor.  I saw quite a few pictures of this stuff applied to the inside tubs of a classic Bronco and a jeep or two.  I liked the texture and the reviews were pretty good.  The kit came with 4 bottles and a can of hardener plus a spray gun that screws onto the bottles and says the kit is enough to to a large truck bed.  I only needed two to coat this bumper.  After mixing the application process was very easy and the consistency of the texture was to my liking.  After two coats its all done and I'll be mounting it on the truck tomorrow and reinstalling the lights and winch.