we're not ATV people
Sunday, June 12 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
Knowing that at some point today Gretchen would want to take Ibrahim's ATV for a test drive down to the lake, this morning bright and early I cleared an alternative path around the east side of the cabin so we wouldn't be forced to try to drive that planet-hostile machine down the steep and erosion-prone artificial slope behind (north of) the cabin. The path I cleared seemed to follow the very degraded remnant of a segment of old logging road. I was able to clear the low-hanging branches and fallen logs using my small electric-powered chainsaw, but the ground itself was full of deep undulations that couldn't be fixed without earth moving equipment. Still, with a rugged ATV it looked like it might just be drivable.
Later I repainted parts of the upstairs bathroom that needed it, particularly around the new medicine cabinet, which I'd installed flush in the wall without any sort of trim, having filled in the spaces around it with spray foam, caulk, and finely-sanded joint compound. After consulting with Gretchen, I decided to paint the inside of the two narrow shelves on either side of the medicine cabinet proper (the part to be covered with a mirrored cabinet door) using the same paint used on the walls of the rest of the bathroom. I also tried to fix the paint adjacent to the line of silicone caulk along the edge of the wall tile near the bathtub, but there was enough smear of silicone on it that the paint didn't want to stick. Still, I know from experience that with multiple layers of paint slowly covering what can be covered, it's possible to paint over silicone if one is determined. And such paint holds up well; there's paint over silicone in the upstairs bedroom back in Hurley that hasn't cracked or delaminated after nearly two decades.
Then Gretchen announced that, yet again, Neville had peed on the bed. This time he'd done it in the morning, which was something of a first for him. Fortunately, it was all contained on the comforter, which could be washed and dried easily. But it represented an expansion of a bad habit that, a little over week ago, we'd thought he was cured of. (In addition to peeing on the bed twice in the Adirondacks last weekend, he peed on the bed once in Hurley during the week. And now this, his fourth incident in rapid succession.)
From there, we had a fairly normal Sunday morning at the cabin (it involved coffee and Spelling Bee) and then Gretchen and I went together down to the lake. Somewhat surprisingly, both dogs came along as well. This time I brought a few tools I knew I would need that weren't down there, especially a one-inch spade bit that could be driven by an impact driver (for some reason the conventional hex-shafted spade bit cannot). While Gretchen and the dogs hung out on the dock, I continued adding hardware to the hinged section of dock I'd framed out yesterday. Because none of the steel plates and brackets I was using (to make solid end connections) were designed to go together, I had to drill holes through them for nearly every bolt (carriage and hex, 5/16 or 3/8 inch) that I put through them. This was all going great until a hole I was drilling with the 3/8 inch bit through two plates and intervening wood intercepted a much smaller deck screw used to temporarily tack parts together. Evidently those are made of much harder steel than the plates I'd been cutting through fairly easily, because after I'd cut into it a short distance (and given up) that bit was never the same again. It now took a very long time for me to cut through a steel plate, and doing so made the impact driver hotter than I've ever experienced it getting. Worse than that, it deformed the hex shank on the bit in a way that made it initially impossible to remove from the driver. To get it out, I was forced to use a pair of small spanner wrenches as levers to pry it out. Thankfully, the driver then worked normally, but that bit was obviously a wreck, with a blunted blade and a deformed shank [though I was later able to file and sand both back into a form good enough to use the bit for drilling wood (at the minimum)].
As a break from that somewhat unpleasant work (getting peppered with hot metal filings is never fun), I decided to go on a rock hauling foray to the outflow bay. And when Ramona saw me in the canoe, she wanted to join me. This marked the first time I ever took on passengers from the new dock (though the tree dock is still more convenient and less damaging for launching watercraft). I managed to find a number of nice big stackable chunks of granite along the water's edge a hundred feet or so above the beaver dam, and loaded down the canoe with my biggest stone payload yet, which, back at the dock, significantly improved the causeway connecting it to the adjacent slope.
Gretchen and I returned to the cabin at slightly different times. But then, disappointingly, she said she wanted to go over to Ibrahim's parcel and try out his ATV. Remember, neither of us have ever driven an ATV, and I have concerns about Gretchen taking on too much risk in arenas where she has little understanding. So I went with her. I'd fixed up both bicycles, so we rode over on those. The ATV was down at the lake, which (as with our parcel) is some distance from the building envelope, so before we went down, we had a look at Ibrahim's foundation. It had looked kind of tiny in the distance, but when we were at it, it seemed to be plenty big enough. The walls look a little rough after the pour and there is no slab yet, but one big feature Ibrahim's foundation will have that ours lacks is styrofoam on the outside.
Down at the lake, we took the cover off Ibrahim's ATV and then we started it up. I was the one who initially turned it around so we could drive it up the hill, and everything about doing this was unpleasant. The ATV was very responsive to the throttle, which was difficult to operate subtly. Since the thing was so powerful, this made it buck like a bronco when trying to making the kind of small movements necessary to execute a three-point turnaround. Once I had it facing up the hill, Gretchen climbed on the back, and we rode it uphill for a distance. And then we swapped places and Gretchen drove it. She seemed to have finer control over the throttle than I'd had, and it didn't buck so much. But it was loud, smelling amd generally unpleasant, very unlike the electric-powered transportation solutions we prefer.
Up at our driveway, we encountered Neville, who had apparently followed after us when we gone off on our bicycles. I don't know if he recognized that we were driving the ATV, but the loud belching thing seemed to scare him in a way that almost nothing does, and he started trotting away from us as we followed slowly behind.
At our cabin, I thought I should be the one to attempt driving on the path I'd cleared this morning, since I knew it was rough and would have treacherous changes of grade and steepness. I managed to get down that part, but there were at least two place where it felt like the ATV was about to fall over on its side. No wonder there are so many gentlement in West Virginia paralyzed from the neck down collecting disability.
Below that new section of trail, most of the existing trail down to the lake was fairly easy driving. But the trail gets extremely steep and rough the last two hundred feet or so, and I had to take that part very slowly. Once we were at the lake, Gretchen and I judged that the trail along the lake to our dock was too narrow and tilted, so we went no further. While Gretchen went to the dock to get some things she'd left there, I made a five-point turnaround and then drove back up the trail to where it leveled out a bit. Climbing those steep parts was its own kind of terrifying as the ATV seemed to rear up on its hind wheels. A redneck who'd just asked someone to hold his beer might've been delighted by the power and the fact that the ATV had no trouble with such a slope, but nothing about this experience resonated with the person I am.
Gretchen joined me on the ATV for most of the ride back to the cabin, though I again took the newly-cleared section of trail without her. And then she drove us back to Ibrahim's dock. Along the way, we came upon Ramona out near where our driveway meets Woodworth Lake Road; apparently she'd followed us when we'd left on bicycles too. Her face was covered with deer flies and I momentarily thought I should get off the stupid ATV and give her some attention, but we kept going.
After we'd parked the ATV, Gretchen and I discussed what we'd just experience. Gretchen had initially hoped an ATV might provide transportation to and from our dock, but after driving one, she agreed with me that they're not our kind of vehicle. She said there's something about it that seems to defy and dominate nature that she wants no part in, similar to firearms. She understands that some people cannot enjoy nature without such toys, but she's not one of them. She added that she finds it odd that somewhat like Ibrahim, who seems otherwise simpatico with us, would find much use for an ATV. Gretchen then said that she was very happy to have had the experience of driving the ATV so as to know what she now did. I didn't agree at all with that sentiment, since I'd been sure from the start that ATVs (at least the gas-powered kind) are stupid. But I didn't say anything.
Back at our cabin, we realized that only Neville was there and that Ramona was not. Ramona has been acting strangely, like an old senile dog. She's been finding weird places to lie such as on the sand under the deck, and we wondered if somehow, in her addled state, she might've gone on down Woodworth Lake Road (either towards or away from the lake) thinking we'd gone that way. So I got in the Bolt and went looking. I drove down to the public beach and then down to the boat house (the only visible building on the lake) but couldn't find her. But she still wasn't back at the cabin and Gretchen was freaking out. So I went out again, driving out well past the gate looking for an addled old dog. I also drove down again to the boat house, where I saw some unfamiliar guy doing construction. I asked if he'd seen a black dog pass through, and he said he hadn't. There was a dog with him at the time who would've detected any dogs in the general area, so I was pretty sure now that Ramona hadn't gone that way. By now there was a part of me that was blaming the stupid ATV experience for having caused our dog to get lost, perhaps irretrievably, in the forest. This was unfair, but mentally I was blaming Gretchen.
Returning to the cabin, Gretchen was now in something of a panic. She set out on her bike, and I followed not far behind on foot, encouraging Neville to come in hopes he might be able to locate her scent trail. I took him to where I'd last seen Ramona and he began following a trail, but he seemed to be going the wrong direction on it. Then Gretchen appeared, having gone in the direction of the boat house and of course finding nothing. At that point I decided to walk down to Ibrahim's dock and go along the lake and come back to the cabin on our lake trail. As I did this, I heard dog noises in the distance, but it was that dog at the boat house, and it didn't seem to be related to Ramona. I also saw a loon swimming silently out near the center of the lake.
As I approached the cabin, Gretchen called out to me and said Ramona had returned. She had no idea where Ramona had been, but suddenly there she was, lying quietly on her dog bed as if she'd been there the whole time. Disaster somehow averted!
Now I could focus on the things I wanted to focus on, such as tweaking the algorithm of the Moxee hotspot watchdog so that it could also reboot itself after causing the hotspot to reboot more than a certain number of times in a certain time period.
Next I installed the medicine cabinet door and then used customized eyebolts (which I'd made into hookbolts) to secure an antique oval mirror to that door. It all turned out pretty good, though because it was a little hard to predict exactly where the hooks would end up, the mirror ended up slightly out-of-center.
Gretchen would be spending the rest of the week in the Adirondacks, but I'd decided to drive back to Hurley. It's possible I could work successfully from the cabin, but the internet is just a bit too slow there, and I hadn't yet done the experiments with a parabolic dish to figure out how to get an optimized cell signal. So I packed up the Bolt (since I would be doing the most driving over the next week, it made sense for me to take that), loaded up the dogs, said goodbye to Gretchen, and drove back to Hurley.
Since I would be sleeping alone tonight, I thought I'd have myself a recreational ambien experience. So I took 10 mg of ambien, fixed myself a gin & orange juice cocktail, and climbed into bed. My next memory (of course) was of waking up hours later with Oscar the Cat in my face, my light on, and my laptop balanced on my chest. I've had problems in the past in situations like this with laptops falling off my chest onto the floor and being damaged. So I'd put my sock basket and a pillow on the floor where it might land. But of course what happened this time was that soon after being startled awake, I reached over and knocked my still-mostly-undrunk cocktail off the bedside table, dumping it into my sock basket and onto that poor pillow. And after all that, I can't say the ambien had provided even a small amount of recreation.
Gretchen on the dock with the dogs Neville (in the back) and Ramona. Click to enlarge.
Neville and Gretchen on the dock, viewed from the south.
Click for a wider view.
Ramona in the grass near the dock and Gretchen on the chaise lounge on the dock. Click to enlarge.
Neville and Gretchen on the dock, viewed from the northwest.
Click for a wider view.
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