Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am thankful to have good friends

who know more about mechanical things than me.   And it helps that they have the tools and supplies to get things done.   My saga started back in early May when I took my car over to my friends man cave

where he has a 2 post hoist (thanks Dom)  to make things much easier.  He also has air tools so off with the wheels

so we could have a gander at the brake pads.   Verdict: lots of life left, at least enough to complete our trip

This day the plan was to flush the brake system and install fresh brake fluid.   There are two trains of thought but the new way is to do the shorter lines first, and the rear lines last

He made a jig to pressurize the fluid reservoir using a garden sprayer notice the air gauge on the plastic container.   All you have to do is to open the valve at the caliper and my job was to keep the cylinder pressurized

Next was to change the power steering fluid.  I imagine that my fluid was the original that came with the car from the factory.  There is no way to drain the fluid so it had to be suctioned out with the plunger unit.   This was done at least two times and inbetween flushes, the engine was started and the rack allowed to turn from side to side inside the steering rack to flush out more old fluid

I came back another day so we could do a coolant flush.   While doing the flush he checked my serpentine belt and noticed that I needed a new one.   So off to the autoparts store to get one

I had to rush as it was a weekday and they were closing very soon

While I was there I also asked if they had a fuel filter, so I bought that too

The fuel filter is in a bad place behind the hot mufflers and it took a while while using a one-handed method to remove and replace it

There it is, way up there.   Lucky we were using my friend's hoist.  I can't imagine crawling under the car with your hands above your head trying to reach it

After it was all done, the belts were making an awful squeaking  noise.  We weren't sure what it was so I left the car and went home.   A day later my friend called to say the Harmonic balancer had failed and the serpentine belt was rubbing on the timing chain cover, and would have failed on our trip causing catastrophic failure.  Of course these type of things would happen in the middle of nowhere.   It could cost a lot of money to repair so we had to bring it to a proper mechanic.  The balancer rotates on a rubber bushing which deteriorated.  Perhaps the new belt stressed it more, but anyway it would have failed soon anyway so it had to be fixed.   A big job $$$  turned into a lesser $ thanks to my friends good negotiating skills

Last week we had a heat wave so I was testing out my air conditioning.   A couple of years ago I had a compressor failure and it cost a lot to have it fixed.   Anyway, driving in rush hour with the fan on medium it was draining my battery to the point where I noticed it wasn't charging like it should.   I remember that I bought the battery nearly 9 years ago so it was time for a new one

I went to the dealer and bought the highest CCA battery they had

Here's the old one as compared to the new one.

The battery goes in "there".

Didn't take long but then I attached a 4amp charger.  Batteries are not 100% charged so rather than drive the car I thought this would be faster.    After 5 hours, it was still not 100% charged so I brought out my big charger and pumped 10amps into it for an hour, and then put back the 4amp charger.   Soon all the green lights were on, indicating that it was now ready to use

Now I could sit back and relax.   There are just a few little cosmetic things to do like hide the wires to my Sirius satellite radio, and make sure my 2 way radio is working

My 'Vette is now ready for the road but there is still the story of my electronic shocks which created some panic a few weeks ago when I replaced them with Non-electronic ones which caused some error messages in the ECM

Here are the old shocks which were replaced with regular shocks.   The electronic shocks cost at least $500. each x 4 = $2,000. or more.   For the cost of one electronic shock,  I got 4 regular ones

Here are the regular ones which were bought on the internet from a Corvette forum member.  When electronic shocks are disconnected, the car computer presumes that there is a shock failure.  You get 3 error messages which cannot be cleared.  You hit reset but they keep coming back which is not just annoying BUT your Corvette is speed disabled.   I am sure you can imagine my stress of not being able to exceed 80 MPH . . .   more later if anyone is interested in how we fooled the computer

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Looking for a taste of Maine

Recently there was a promotion at one of our fast food outlets where they are offering a Lobster sandwich, for a limited time.

I remember last year when I was on a quest to have as many lobsters that I could when I rode my BMW R1200R to the Atlantic Coast.   I had lobsters all the way from Portland, Maine, Bar Harbor and up to Shediac, NB.   I thought that I could capture the feeling that I had by buying a lobster sandwich  Yes it was expensive for a mere 6" sandwich but I went for it

and had lunch at my desk at work.  I tried to savour every bite and remember the good times that I experienced last year on the East side of our Continent

Here's what my sandwich looked like.    Resembled more of a lobster salad sandwich.   Not quite the same as I had as I tried to relive the experience and trigger memories of one of the best riding summers I have ever had

I remember my first lobster roll in Portland, Maine home-made by Mike and his BRW (read here)

Turn back the clock to Monday, July 22nd, 2013 when we left Mike and BRW and headed towards Bar Harbor.   I was getting fatigued and I spotted a perfect spot for a rest break and a snack

    Here we are with Vstar Lady on the right

I don't know what happened but I was getting tired and nearly ran off the road.  We took turns taking the lead and I knew that I needed to stop and what luck to find this Restaurant by the water

Thankgoodness for photos.  Now I know where we were,  Waldoboro, Maine

Here are our meals (Snacks).   Mine was the lobster roll

I found out that most places prepare two types of Lobster rolls,   One with mayonnaise which is less expensive (but still pricey)

and then there are the Bare Naked Lobster rolls.   Can't wait to get back there to try the other one

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I love Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches & Cashews

The other day I had to do some business in Richmond.  I love Thai Chicken Sandwiches but the shop which makes them doesn't open until around 9am.   It is too far away for me to go there for lunch and I often pass the shop on my way to work, but at around 7am when they are not yet open

I have gotten into the habit of stopping here on my way to work after they open to buy my favourite Chicken sandwiches where I ask them to put on extra cilantro.  

I used to work around the corner and I used to come here a couple of times a week.   She still remembers me as I am the only one who discards all the pickled vegetables and instead gets a big dose of cilantro

Sorry, no photos of the sandwiches (I ate them too fast) but I have to let you know that they were very tasty, and here she is toasting the buns . . .

We were in the middle of a heat wave and this shop does not have air conditioning

When Ed was here I found out that he really likes cashews but my supply was getting low.   Since it was hot I told him that I didn't really want to turn on our oven,  but I WOULD if he wanted some .

Now that it is much cooler, today I made another batch

I spread some RAW cashews on a cooking sheet, all spread out in one layer

I set our oven to 350°F and put them in for about 15 minutes.  Then I took the tray out to check their progress.   Nope, not ready yet.   I set the timer for another 14 minutes and put them back into the 350°F heat.    I like the cashews roasted a bit darker, they have more crunch this way

I removed them and put then into a metal wok, sprinkled a bit of vegetable oil so that the salt could adhere.  Not too much salt but I have tried them "plain" and found that I prefer salted cashews

I waited a while to let them cool,   then I put them into a large jar

I've got no will-power.   I have to take a sample everytime I walk by . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ed is heading home

In order to get an earlier start on Wednesday morning we moved Ed's BMW R1200RT to take off position and packed most of his belongings on Tuesday evening

I have limited space so there is a lot of duck walking required to turn our bikes around and point them out my driveway.   The gravel driveway is sometimes a challenge to keep the rubber side down so to alieviate some stress in the morning I got the bright idea to do it ahead of time

Everything has it's place but sometimes the pieces don't fit and you wondered how the jigsaw fit in the first place.   We were sitting outside, because it was cooler, and chatting away about which route to take and where to stop and I was looking at my dirty bike and decided to give it it's yearly wash

I already cleaned the wheels and suspension bits a couple of weeks ago

and here is the result - -   finally, I have a clean bike to escort Ed out of town

Ed wanted to get on the road by 7am so I was up early and he finalizing his packing.  Soon it was time to head out.   I decided to lead him out of town on the newly opened NFPR:  North Fraser Perimeter Road.  It travels along the banks of the Fraser River and heads East and comes out at 176th Street in Surrey on Hwy 1,  the Trans Canada highway.   This is much easier than having to go through town and then be forced to pay the toll on the Port Mann Bridge.  The NFPR has no tolls and if you are coming into Vancouver, from the East this would be a time saver if you were heading to the southern part of the City (of Vancouver), or Richmond, or Tsawwassen.  This road is so new that it does not show on both of our GPS's

Soon it was time for Ed to depart.  We were actually leaving 20 minutes earlier than 7am

He put on his 'Stitch" with shorts underneath as I told him about how hot it would be when he reached Osoyoos

After a moment or two to set up his Go-Pro,  we were off to Langley which was about an hour away

It's better to top up with fuel when you have a chance.   After a gourmet breakfast, and a bit of chatting and saying our good byes

It was now time to part ways

This is always the saddest part for me and I remembered that day in London, Ontario where we parted ways last Summer, except that it was now his turn to ride the 3,000 miles back home to Toronto and it was me that had the short 1 hour ride home

Ed, safe travels and enjoy the scenery on Hwy 3 through the Mountains

and thank you again for the most wonderful dinner . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ed tours Vancouver (Day Two)

Today I was the official chauffeur and we started by walking over the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge

in North Vancouver.    We then headed over to Capilano Canyon and walked in the rain forest

It was getting near lunchtime as my stomach was grumbling, so off to Horseshoe Bay

for a shared sandwich.  We didn't wish to eat too much and spoil our dinner

Then a quick jaunt over to Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver

Where we just happened to stumble across some local wild life.  It was  fine day for criss crossing the City

Here we see Ed admiring some expensive homes on Eagle Island.   There is never enough time when you are having fun but Ed has to move on and leave tomorrow morning.

His bike is packed he is making some final notes as he is developing his route home.   Have a safe journey and we hope to see you again soon

Ed does Vancouver (day one)

We got a late start and headed down to Steveston for breakfast

It was forecast to be very warm so we ditched the ATGATT and the drive on 4 wheels

After breakfast we headed over to the boardwalk.  It is early and we beat the crowds

We headed over to the Government pier

To see the commercial fleet at rest

One of us forgot to unzip the legs but at least we are wearing hats (in the hot sun).   Later as we were heading West on 10th Avenue Ed wanted to stop and photograph the Maple trees

At least we think that they were Maple trees

I wonder what he is taking a photo of ?

A maple leaf I think . . .     Then we headed over to Granville Island to see the floating community

and stop to rest on this bench.

and I wanted to show Ed the market and take another photo with the Burrard Bridge in the background .

We even managed to stop for an ice cream and relax

at Jericho Beach.   That's the Vancouver skyline in the distance