All posts by Jeff B.

Each Day As It Comes

Ardmore Stop and Hydrate

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The northern terminus of the Lakefront Path is a good resting spot and watering hole. Unfortunately there are only a few options to continue -- Evanston is not one of them.

When October comes around the days get cooler, the weather less predictable, and one must take each day as if might be the last opportunity to ride.  Our “Seniors” group tends to do Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at the beautiful Rulland Grove at DuSable Harbor.  North or South depending on wind to the end of the train and back using an alternative set of streets.  Routes that involve Evanston are rapidly becoming something that this author is putting on his “Do not ride” list.  Sheridan Road or Chicago/Clark are really not bicycle friendly.

Fall rides are especially colorful with both leave and hardy wild flowers along the way.  I need to bring my big, heavy, multi-lens SLR along to do justice to the scenery.

The Best Made Plans …

Sometimes the stars don’t align in the correct manner and regardless of what your meticulously prepared plans, just doesn’t turn out as expected.

As a amateur radio ham I am (or at least want to) participate in the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by operating portable in an official park.  There are several hundred of these locations.  The objective is to contact as many other hams as possible.  When you are operating in a park, then you are an activator.

The Chicago Portage is an affiliated area in this event, and it’s an easy drive from downtown.  I’ve been there dozens of times as it is an integral part of the I&M Canal and the history of Chicago.  Marquette and Joliet first traveled through this area in the late 1600’s.

So, I pack up my radio, antenna and other equipment and head out.  Setting up my Buddistick antenna was time consuming, even though I had a very good antenna analyzer to help.  I tried setting after setting, which on this antenna involves moving a clip on a coil of wire, up one turn, down another, etc. to get the perfect adjustment.

Finally, I’ve got it.

Antenna set and ready to go after a long period of adjustment.
Antenna set and ready to go after a long period of adjustment.
Needed: 13.6v and 100 amps.
Ready to jump start. I’m in the outhouse waiting.

Next I attach my radio to the antenna and hit the power on switch.  Nothing happens!  After a short while I realize that I left the headlights on in the car.  To power the radio I have to put the ignition in the ACC position, but that also leave accessories on. I remembered the AC and courtesy lights, but the headlamps!!!

OK, so I’m dead in the water.  No transmitting, no AC, no starting the car.  Thanks to AAA they were there in under 30 minutes.  We jumped and figured it best to just pack up and leave.  I’ll get this park activated or else, but next time I’m using an alternative battery source.

July 4th Dibs

The Griswold's Picnic
The Griswold’s Picnic

The Griswold family was on their way to Disneyland when they decided to stop off in Chicago for the fireworks at Navy Pier.  Clark had the large grill in the back of the station wagon with a cooler filled with sausages from Milwaukee.  They were clever to cordon off their private space using trash and recycling containers provided by the Chicago Park District and some left over crime scene yellow tape.  The actual show started at 9:30 pm but Clark had some of his own fireworks from a visit to Indiana where he gassed up the car (less tax).  By morning they had packed up and were taking US 66 to California.