Sunday, April 29, 2012

Power in the Pot Redux

Back in July, 2008, I made an audio amplifier from a kit for my friend, Bob Wilson. I called it "Power in the Pot" because I used a cooking pot as the power supply housing. It worked well, but unfortunately, Bob passed away in a motorcycle accident a little more than a year ago. His ex-wife, Karin, felt that the amplifier should come back to me, so late last summer, it arrived back at my house.
Through the fall, it sat in my project room, reminding me of Bob, but without any current use. I started thinking that I should find a way to use it, just to remember Bob. As always happens in these things, one thing led to another and now I am in the process of building a new pre-amp and even better power amp for my living room stereo.
A few weeks ago, I brought home my father's stereo, as he does want it at the moment and we are cleaning out his house. So last week, I married the Bob amp with speakers that my father built and made a stereo for my project room. Naturally, the sound is clear and very enjoyable. I'm playing the amp and speakers through my computer and an external sound card. Sometimes if feels like my computer is sitting on a piano. It's funny how objects help you remember people. I also like the connections, both literal and metaphysical, that happen when I combine Bob's amp and Papa's speakers.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dreamin' about Trips

A miner's railroad running into the mine. If memory serves, above Telluride, Colorado.

In my family, we have a common affliction. Every spring, each of our minds turns to travel. I could blame my fever on our friend John Deikis who recently returned from grand motorcycle travel adventures. Unfortunately, that doesn't explain my sister's itchy foot, nor my niece spending this week on an island off Brazil.

This year feels busy and I don't expect any grand trips, but in the back of my mind, I've been thinking about a motorcycle exploration of high country Colorado and Wyoming. As a matter of fact, I ran across some old photos which got the juices flowing, so here are some pics to intice you into summer. Excuse the picture quality. They are scans of 3 x 5 prints, so not great.

Speaking of Telluride, the town is in the canyon at the bottom of the valley in this picture. And Telluride is at 8800 feet elevation.

Sometimes, the stream is the road is the stream. If you look closely, you can see the nose of our Jeep in the lower left. We had just come up the stream bottom about a mile with 1 to 2 foot bolders and 2 feet of water flowing past. The stream had high rock banks that were so narrow that we couldn't open either door. Finally, at the exit of the stream, it widened enough to open the door and take this picture.

Ghost towns and even single ghost buildings are everywhere. I love the color of the wood on these old building.

Imogene Pass is over 13,000 feet elevation. It lies on the main route between Ouray and Telluride and there was mining almost to the pass on both sides. I find it interesting to see the mountains that are only a little higher than the pass, knowing that those mountains are 14,000 feet or more.

The Crystal City Power House is a classic photo perched as it is on a rock above the river. In Crystal City's heyday, there was a dam from the rock to the other side. The vertical box shaft under the house contained a vertical axis power screw that was driven by the water and generated electricity for this modern town.

Bird Camp Valley is one of the prettiest mountain valleys that I know. In summer it is filled with wild flowers of every color.

I'm really pleased with the framing and composition of these pictures. Of course, I don't take any credit. These pictures were taken by my father on our little off-road trip in 90's. I just found them sorting out things in his house. I guess I've still got a lot to learn from him.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Here is to the winter that never was

I miss winter.

I kept hoping we would get some good winter weather. Something beautiful and white, even if it was just a late season storm that lasted but a few days.

Well, Easter has come and gone, the plants and the weather are bound and determined to bring spring. Even I have to admit that the chance for a last blast of winter are gone.

So I dug up a few pics from previous winters, just to say goodbye and see you later.

Don't get me wrong, I like spring, summer, and fall just fine. In fact, I'm looking forward to more riding weather and have enjoyed outside activities without all the clothing. That said, wouldn't you enjoy watching a sunset like that through a window with the fireplace making snap, crackle, and pop sounds behind you?

Calumet, Michigan, early in winter, before the snow banks build up to a proper height.