Tuesday, November 30, 2010


That's the story of the last week.
I went to the Cities Monday for an eye doctor appointment, some household chores and Thanksgiving dinner but by Tuesday night the weather reports looked bad so I packed up and headed for Grand Marais Wednesday morning.
Once back up north it took me about 3 hours for track installation. I got back to the cabin late afternoon after packing the existing snow with our new tracks and learning some driving techniques to boot.

I spent some time packing our driveway so I had a nice flat spot to park and walk around the truck. As you can see, there was even some sun shinning.

This is what it looked like the next morning, Thanksgiving Day.
I was going to get my first real test of how well the tracks work and little did I know that yesterday's sun was the last I'd see for a very long time.

My first deep snow test run lasted about 500 feet before I ran into my first obstacle,
this large spruce tree fell under the weight of the new snow giving me a chance, once again, to practice backing up to our garage to get my chain saw. (I'm getting to really hate trees)

I backed down Jim's driveway in a full 16" of undisturbed snow,
and since then it's snowed some just about every day.

Observatory work has been nill other than clearing snow off the roof and packing some trails to it. All my free time has been spent getting our fleet of snowmobiles running, clearing snow at the storage building and pulling more snow off the roof of the cabin.

This will give you an idea of how much snow we're talking about.
It's looking like a long winter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hows This For Cool?

We haven't used the
Cool Shit-O-Meter
in a long time but today it hit a new high.

Lester and I did the big road trip over to Michigan to pick up the tracks and I have to say David at American Track Truck exceeded all my expectations.
He set us up with a nice place to say Tuesday night and was at the shop bright and early Wednesday morning to show us the installation procedures and test the fit of the system on our truck.

See what I mean, that's cool.

You can click on any photo to enlarge.

After a short test drive we pulled it back into the shop, removed the tracks and replaced the tires, loaded the trailer and got back on the road - in less then 2 hours!
This early start was good, we had found our way over in the dark and were looking forward to seeing the trip in the daylight but it didn't take long to make a wrong turn.
This wrong turn made us boot up the Ipad and google maps for help and it quickly showed us a new route, the route from Hell.
Logging road after logging road that kept getting worse and then we came to a crossroads where we were to turn left but there was one big problem, the locked gate across the road.
Out came the Ipad for new directions assuming the roads can't get any rougher, wrong again. Not only rougher but now we're back tracking, and this side trip only cost about 2 hours.
The second missed turn gave us a chance to visit the great town of Ontonagon,
no where close to being on our way home but we didn't let that stop us.
All in all our navigation skills cost about 3 1/2 hours but on the other hand without the Ipad we would still be some were in the middle of Michigan.

Again a big thanks to David at American Track Truck. Use this link for more information.
Can't wait to play in some deep snow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Strange 2 Weeks Ending With Snow

Looking down the road from the observatory driveway.

This was the view Saturday evening, by Sunday afternoon we had about 8" total.

Fair progress on the warm room, one hold up is my electrician. I'm not sure he's the brightest bulb in the pack but we'll get through it just fine.
Very happy to report the stereo is operational and the acoustics are great,
Jimmie Rodgers yodeling never sounded better.

Greg visited last week for some Jupiter watching and seeing was pretty good for early evening. After Jupiter we turned our attention to Cadwell 14 or NGC 869/884 Double Cluster.
NGC 869 is also known as h Persei and NGC 884 is also designated chi Persei. They are both located in close proximity towards the Perseus arm of our galaxy at a distance of 7000 light years, and are very young for galactic star clusters, NGC 869 being 5.6 million years old, and NGC 884 just 3.2 million years old. Each contains more than 100 stars. Their apparent size is 30 arc min each, about the diameter of the full moon.
This was a very nice target for my first real out of the solar system viewing session.

I have also been dealing with the Insurance company about my truck. I have to say I thought I'd take a beating, but State Farm's settlement was fair and I thank them.
Here's what was left after having the tree removed and I am already missing that truck!
A big hunk of the last two weeks have been either clean up from the wind storm or getting ready for winter.
This coming week I'm heading to the UP of Michigan to pick up our tracks. They would have sure come in handy today with all the new snow.

Sorry for the slow updates, I'll try to get back to at least once a week postings.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Observatory Number 2 at Murmur Creek

With absolutely no planing we now have our 2nd telescope and observatory,
Thank you Ebay!

That's a 20 power scope on a wedge.

Clip on constellation charts.

Most scientific educational toy of the year.
That year being 1958 (year I was born)

all this for $20.00 shipped to my door.