Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Give Me a Hand

Last summer BJ commented that it would be nice to have a grab handle inside the door. We actually stopped at a Home Depot somewhere in Eastern Washington on our way to Spokane and purchased one, but held off on the installation thinking we might find something better.

Since we've given the handle six months to age, I figured it was time to get it off the bench and get it installed. It took longer to drive to the hardware store to get the right length screws and acorn nuts than it did to install the handle. The upper three screws use stainless washers since they're exposed on the back side of the stair bulkhead.

The lower three screws also use acorn nuts, but with cheaper washers since they're hidden inside the cabinet that forms the right hand side of the stairs.

Turns out, I rather like the handle and wonder why we didn't do it sooner.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More Lights

I was going to link this post to another, but it turns out I apparently never did a post when I added some additional LED lights, so this post will document what I did recently as well as what I did a couple years ago.

Every year I think there are no more mods to do on our Scamp, and every year we end up with a few things on the list by the end of our summer travels.

Our trailer doesn't have an oven. What it does have are two cavernous cabinets below the stove that are the definition of black holes. The upper cabinet typically has extra paper towels, paper plates, and bread.

The lower cabinet is even darker, and we use it as the home for our pots & pans.

A couple years ago we got a pair of Striberg lights from Ikea. One replaced the light below the communications shelf, and one added light on the mirror in the bathroom. These assemblies draw 3.5 watts when they're on. While these lights have a sensor for automatic operation, we didn't use that feature in either of the two initial installations.
The packaging makes you think the lights are 110v, but in fact, the included power supply converts the 110 AC to the 12 v. DC that the lights require. I toss the power supply and direct wire the lights to a 12 volt source.

I could have used more strip lighting, but thought the auto-on feature would be nice in these cabinets, so we sprung for a couple more Striberg lamps.

The lamp assemblies could be mounted with double-faced VHB tape, but I've had good success using the snap mounting bracket that Ikea includes in the package. They also include a pair of threaded stand-offs in the package - I've never found a good use for those!

It made for a clean installation. It was a bit challenging since I was installing it on the back side of the cabinet face frames, working in the blind and backwards, but the installation still went pretty quick.

I took this picture before I finished the wire routing. Real pleased with the lit cabinet. It will be much easier to find stuff.

Unfortunately, the auto-on feature isn't going to work. There's enough light gap around the cabinet doors, the light never goes out. Instead, we'll just use the switch when we need the light.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fountain Hills

Another one of those spots I've always driven past is the 'lake' in Fountain Hills. The fountain is rather famous. When it was built, it was the world's tallest fountain. Using all three 600 hp pumps, the fountain shoots 560 feet high. Normally they only use two pumps for a height of 300 feet. On the day I was there, the fountain wasn't operating.

The lake is filled with reclaimed water and thus no swimming or boating is allowed. There's a wide array of public art around the lake. When I was there it was abundantly clear that many of the local residents enjoy an early morning walk around the lake with their four-legged friends, although this was the only turtle spotted.

This sculpture intrigued me, in part because it seemed it was an open invitation for kids to climb on it.

This was the smallest sculpture that caught my eye,

but it was the horse that sucked me in. I must have spent 30+ minutes looking at the details of this fascinating piece of art.

Everywhere you looked, you'd spot another unlikely component to this horse. This is the left side

And this is the right side. Somewhere, there's an old, now empty, kitchen!

Yes, there's a geocache there somewhere. No, I didn't find it although others have since I was there. I'm going to have to go back with BJ since she spots stuff I can't find.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tempe Town Lake

For years while the town of Tempe was developing the Tempe Town Lake area, I would drive by everyday on my way to work. I never stopped to wander. It has really developed nicely and I took advantage of some shirt sleeve weather to wander around a section of the lake. Free parking was available at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

I hadn't expected the various public art pieces displayed along the way. I headed west on the left shore of the Salt River, starting just below the dam that creates the lake.

I found the public art fascinating, enjoying the way the talented artist-welder highlighted nature features.

Obviously, there were even famous mathematicians involved.

I did get a snicker out of the badly sunburned sign, especially the part about the 'fast currents.' It's been a long while since we had enough rain to have fast currents in this section of the Salt River.

The section below the dam does create an interesting riparian environment. Standing here on the Priest Avenue bridge provided a different viewpoint to watch the Great Blue Heron that were fishing.

Of all the public art on my walk around this section of the park, this one was my favorite. It's a very realistic looking tree until you get up close.

The tree is all metallic. The leaves each have the name of someone who donated funds to plant trees in this revitalized area.

If the last tree wasn't enough, further east on the north side of the lake are these three art trees that include even more names of donors.

I guess you could say that public art comes in all sizes. The origami building, better known as the Tempe Center for the Arts, is rather unique. Given its location on short final for Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, noise was a significant concern for the architects. Each of the three performance venues inside the building are separate structures from the outer envelope.

My favorite piece of functional art was the walking bridge. It crosses the lake (a dammed up portion of the Salt River) just upstream of the dam with the southern terminus right at the Center for the Arts. I imagine that is could be very busy with bikes and walkers at some times, but it certainly wasn't that way the morning I was there.

I'll be back to explore more of the area!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An Excuse

The new phone chimed last night with a notification that a new cache was published, not far from the house. As usual, I checked to see who and where before bolting out the door. This one had a few red flags flying. It was placed in an area that needed Park Supervisor approval but there was no mention of said approval. It came up as "disabled" but there was no log entry from the cache owner explaining the disabled status. The last flag was that the cache owner had fewer than 50 caches found, most recently over six years ago, and had never before placed a cache.

No sense going for a night hike with that many red flags, but since I only had one last chore to do before we headed off on a cruise, I decided the new cache would be a good excuse for a sunrise hike.

Since the GPS was already packed for the trip and I was too lazy to get it out, I decided to use my new phone, recognizing I didn't have any track record of its gps accuracy.

My phone's Ground Zero seemed to agree with the hint given in the new cache description but I didn't locate a cache at that location. There was similar location about 50' away so I checked that as well. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find a cache supposedly listed on a different website that hadn't been found since 2013. Meanwhile, the listing for the cache I'd been looking for was retracted.

Not to worry. Any excuse for an early morning walk in the desert is a good excuse!

I got back to the truck just in time to get a message from a friend who needed a 'health check' on one of her caches.

The resulting walk down a different trail was well worthwhile. It was there that I spotted that most elusive of desert phenomenon, a mud puddle!

Now it's time to go do that last chore.

The next step is to see how well the Google Fi phone works on our Panama Canal cruise. The blog will continue to autopost drivel on a weekly basis. One of these days we'll have some posts about the trip.