Sunday, February 27, 2011

How's Spring Treating You? Dumb Ass

This is just one of the colorful greetings
one receives after making a Nostradamus like prediction of spring 10 days ago.
Since then there has been:
rain fog mix
over a foot of new snow
a few nights below zero, Friday -18.6
So I guess what I'm saying is, I might have been wrong.

I was even thinking at the start of this week that I was going to get through the winter without getting sick,
Wrong Again.
Been laid up for 4 days with some crap I caught in town,
which is what happens when you travel into the big city of Grand Marais.
Had company up last weekend so all in all very little got done on the observatory in the last 10 days.
I'm hoping to get rid of this cold and make some progress this coming week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stop Being So Damn Negative

If I want to believe that spring is here just let me,
you all have to be negative with your
"We could get 4 more feet of snow before winter's over" or "It will still be well below zero", and my favorite the high school basketball winter storm annual prediction.
Some time it's hard to be the glass 1/2 full guy in a county full of glass 1/2 empty folks.

Today we experienced the best weather of the winter, 50 degrees and sunny.
I spent the day cleaning snow and ice off the cabin, observatory and warm room and got right down to the shingles.

Back side of cabin

Lake side and even the deck is clear, a week ago I would have guessed May before seeing the roof.

Now the entire week has been great but today can't be beat,
between scraping layers of snow off the roof I would sit in my recliner on the deck in my red European low cut Speedo getting some early season sun.
(good luck with that mental image)

We have also been overwhelmed with the interest in the tracked vehicles and we have started a company up here called

Remote Access
Tracked Vehicle Solutions

if you have any interest in seeing what it's all about or wanting a test drive just email me from this blog or at and I'll get back to you.

Other then that, sheetrock work continues in the warm room, using our new drag to do road grooming and I continue to attend the County Commissioner Meetings.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Rocking the Warm Room

Well the weather up here has let up some,
even though the rest of the country is getting snow, it's been better then a week since our last storm and I'm happy about that.
Pat and I just about have our road fixed back up using our old single blade drag,
the new drag is back over at Dean's where I need to make some modifications to the lifting mechanism. I hope to have it ready for the weekend's warm temps wich will make the snow more workable.
I spent some time sheet rocking in the warm room today and I have to say it was fun getting back to work on the observatory. We hung rock on the lower section of the ceiling and one end wall.

looking at the small end of the warm room

Large end.

This larger end of the room has a much higher ceiling so we will need to rent a panel lifter and also buy more sheet rock, but first I need to clean up so we have enough room to work.

Other then that the boys are bored of winter and are just trying to stay warm
in their favorite spot.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Arrowhead Electric Just Piles On During an Already Tough Winter

Pat and I spent yesterday cleaning up snow,
plowing around the storage building and running the new drag in and out of our road several times. When we parked the groomer last night the road was perfect and looked like a finely groomed snowmobile trail without a track of any kind on it.
I started the Rodeo around 8:30 am for our trip to town,
after letting it warm up we packed up our garbage, laundry and everything else needed to complete our errands and headed down the road.
I was talking pretty smart to Pat about "how good my road looked" and telling her just what a stud she married who could make a rood look this perfect when we noticed tracks in the middle. I stopped and got out to see what animal made them and to my surprise they ended up being boot tracks.
Getting back into the truck I informed Pat they were boot tracks leading both in and back out, driving around the next corner the boot tracks turned in to tire ruts dug deep into the snow pack and just around the next corner the ruts turned into a van stuck in the middle of the road and now I was Very Pissed Off.

I climbed out of my truck to find out it is Arrowhead's Meter Reader in a two wheel drive van. Keep in mind he has just traveled down 2.5 miles on a privately maintained road that's not even very good in the summer to read 8 electric meters where only 2 cabins are occupied in the winter.
After his first ass chewing, we pulled him forward with a tow strap into his own tracks figuring that was his only chance to get out of the mess he was in.
I turned our truck around and went back to the cabin to retrieve my forgotten cell phone and placed my first call to Arrowhead to let them know just how impressed I was with the situation.
Heading back down the road hoping he was able to back all the way out, we found him only feet from where we first found him, stuck again. With no way to get around the van I got out of the truck and gave him his second ass chewing of the day and asked him what his plan was now. He informed me the office was sending out a tracked machine to pull him out but it would take some time so we headed back to the cabin again where I made my second God I'm impressed phone call to the office just to make sure they knew just how pissed off I was and now it's after 9:15 am.
Noon and I'm done waiting for a call
so we tracked back down to see what's going on, where
we find them in my neighbors drive way at the very start of the unplowed road trying to decide if they should try to fix up what's left of my road. I was in no mood to talk so I told them to get their junk off the road and stay out till June, so off went the tracked rig in front with the van behind and us in the rear. Well the track rig would run 20 yards and stop, then 20 yards and stop at this rate it's 2 hours out to their truck so thankfully the operator drove into the woods so we could could get by. (thanks to him, first smart thing I've seen today)

We get out to the county road 3 miles from were the van was stuck to find this truck.

So this is what we find at 6:00 pm tonight on our way back home. Their broke down tracked rig still in the woods.

But wait there's still more!Getting home and checking emails I find this.
Arrowhead Electric Coop - Wired Newsletter

Home About Learn Billing Residential Commercial Contact

Managers Message

Dear Members,

2010 proved to be one of the most difficult years on record for Arrowhead Electric Cooperative. Fortunately, through hard work and the dedication of our employees we managed to ensure your cooperative met its required financial targets to keep your cooperative healthy. These financial targets are imperative to keeping the doors open and the lights on in Cook County.

As you are all to well aware, prices for goods and services continue to increase in all markets. Be it gas, milk, or electricity no one is immune from this struggling economy. Combined, economic forces and government legislation continually increase our wholesale power costs and the costs of materials we purchase on a daily basis.

In 2011, Arrowhead Electric Cooperative has increased its rates to account for our escalating costs. The rates can be found below and are reflected on your monthly statement. Increasing electric rates cannot continue to be the answer to our local, regional and national energy problems. Together, we must seek solutions to reduce energy costs, increase efficiency and facilitate the success of our community.

The employees of Arrowhead Electric Cooperative are responsible and accountable to you - our member owners. Personally, I have been humbled by the trust the board of directors has placed in me and I promise
to continually work on your behalf.

Jeanne Muntean, General Manager

2011 Electric Rates

2011 Electric Rates

2011 2010

Service availibility charge $43.50 $42.00

General service rate 0.1130 0.1000

Gen serv summer rate (Jun-Aug) 0.1270 0.1140

Off Peak Storage 0.0464 0.0454

Dual Fuel Interruptible 0.0570 0.0556

Arrowhead Electric Coop


© 2011 Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Email | 5401 West Highway 61 | PO Box 39 | Lutsen, MN 55612 | (218) 663-7239

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Talk about bad timing.

Quick recap
Read 8 meters
van and driver stuck 1/2 a day
road truck, trailer, operator and tracked machine dispatched from Lutsen
drive tracked machine 4 miles before breakdown
road truck, trailer and operator back to Lutsen
tracked machine still 2 miles from county road
still have to fix, drive and truck machine back to Lutsen

I have no idea what the total cost of reading 8 meters well end up to be but it's in the thousands for sure and now they want more money.
I don't piss off easy but this was too much to take and I will be at the Arrowhead Board Meeting
Feb 24th

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What a Drag!

The drag prototype was completed
with just a few more hours of work at Dean's shop and we then hooked it to the truck for it's 20 mile road trip to the storage building.
At the back of the drag is a swinging axle system
that locks down for road use or anytime
you need to back up.

Here's a photo of the back with the wheels down for the road.

Side view

Our new used truck that replaced the crushed Explorer.

Hooked to the Rodeo,
wheels up with drag down on the ground and ready to start grooming.

Video of the drag in action

Some other news,
our project surveyor Sam Parker is starting a blog and I would encourage anyone needing land surveying work or technical support to visit his site. Sam has always been very fair and helpful with a great attitude even when we didn't get it and he had to revert to remedial education!
He also did our pier alignment.
Here's his blog