Doug's Blog

Adventures in tech support

I’ll preface this with the fact that, to my students over the years, I have constantly referred to Dell as the gold standard of customer support. That’s not just a reference to the computer industry, but customer service overall. I have stayed at some rather nice hotels over the years and they didn’t treat as well as Dell support has in the past.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

My old Dell Inspiron laptop, a 2010 model, finally started showing signs of moving on to that next plane. For example, when you open the optical drive, part of the physical drive carrier droops down. Yes, it’s been dropped.

I purchased a new laptop at Staples but returned it the next day because it had been used. Used, and not wiped, by the way. At that point, I decided that ordering a new one from Dell and waiting until it was shipped may be a better choice.

“May” is a very powerful word. After about five weeks, I started getting warning messages that the computer could not recognize the AC adapter and would no longer charge. This is where warranty service comes in, and armed with several previous dealings with Dell service support, I figured this would be pretty quick and dirty.

I’ll break this up by mentioning that Dell now outsources its call centre to somewhere in India. Many such centres use what is called by some outsourcing agencies as a “pay for performance” model. In short, when I submit my computer for repair, the person from the centre who convinces me to do so gets a commission.

So far, I have been given five different options for resolution and these have come from about 10 different techs. However, each of these wants me to acknowledge to them that I intend to go through with the repair, meaning, of course, that they will be the one who gets the commission. They actually have been, basically, competing to be the one who gets paid for this.

My options have been:

1. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via FedEx.
2. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via Purolator.
3. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via the mail.
4. I can arrange for onsite repair.
5. You have to provide your own shipping box and send it using a waybill I will send you.

Some of the others have provided the same suggestions, but have also asked that I confirm which one I will use with them specifically. A lot of these conversations have taken place through Twitter and their Dell Cares account.

As a note, I’ve found the Dell Cares account is just the technicians and any real social media manager for a major company should be having fits over the level of conversation conducted using their brand name. For example, I pointed out after the first (I’ve had several from several different people) mention that my warranty is supposed to provide onsite service. Dell hasn’t had an authorized technician here for years.

When my last Dell laptop needed a new keyboard under warranty, I did manage to convince the tech that I was able to replace it myself after he had spent about 20 minutes trying to find someone to replace it. I pointed this out and I was somewhat rudely informed that I obviously had access to a technician since my warranty called for onsite repair. Also, they certainly wouldn’t have sent a technician to replace a keyboard anyway, since the user would be expected to do that. I don’t quite think he or she understands the difference between replacing a desktop and laptop keyboard.

I seriously doubt that Dell is going to pay to send a repair tech from Prince George or Vancouver to come and replace my motherboard.

I got enough of both rude and repetitive from Dell Cares that I actually blocked their Twitter account. There’s probably enough Norse blood in my dating back from 1,000 years ago that I can go with burning the odd bridge every now and then.

So currently, I’m at the point where I don’t know which choice is actually the right method for sending it back, and quite frankly, I’m still not that sure where it’s supposed to go. I can think of a suggestion of what someone could do with it, but that may be anatomically difficult.

I have twice asked to deal with a supervisor, through the Dell Cares account and through their Facebook page. Times were arranged for them to call on two separate days, but no one called either time.

I do get a kick out of the attempt of one of their techs to blackmail me, namely, that he would arrange for a supervisor to contact me in a few hours, but first I should confirm to him that I was sending the computer back through arrangements he would set up.

In short, the concern is not how to best service my brand new laptop, but how to ensure that you are the one who gets the commission for getting it serviced.

A suggestion: unless you can be guaranteed that the computer will never need warranty work, you probably don’t want to buy a Dell computer…

Another month, and the end of another summer

Hic est September, to paraphrase my poorly retained high school Latin.

light

Late August light.

In the Yukon, September is fall. Let’s face it, fall starts in August with the change in light, the turning of the leaves, and the descent into cooler, wetter weather.

I grew up on the east coast, where fall was a riot of multicoloured leaves and cool evenings but warm days through into October. I remember walking the Clyburn valley one late October weekend with the temperatures above 28°C.

That extreme a temperature is not going to be found here. By September, we tend to be rainy and cooler. Currently, it’s trying rather hard to rain and 10°C.

This time of year is a reminder that those chores that need good weather are needing to be done soon. Any painting, siding, etc., that you’ve put off should be moved up the to do list rather soon. I will not be going this weekend for Labour Day, since I wouldn’t get a site this late and I have things to do that a long weekend allow me to approach with plenty of time, and according to the forecast, plenty of good weather.

However, I do have a fondness of fall camping. Actually, it’s a fondness for fall lake trout fishing with camping thrown in to season the adventure. It’s rather nice to go a lake close to home and commute this time of year. It’s still relatively light to make early morning drives a lot safer and there are campgrounds within a one-hour commute from home.I have a friend who, along with her husband, don’t even start camping until the Thanksgiving Day weekend in October. I’m considering extending my season until the end of October if possible this year, myself. And, with that in mind, I probably won’t miss summer that badly.

So, all things being equal, I’ll probably be out camping the weekend coming after this one. After all, there is wine needing to be consumed around a campfire, marshmallows needing roasting, and fish needing to be caught and fried up. Keep that in mind, since we do like company…

 

Kusawa Lake campground

August 11

We came out after 5 PM and it was a nice drive. Clara sat on the passenger seat with Furball on her lap as a bit if an experiment to see if he found the trip better that way. Darcy had her seat belt harness on in the back seat. All went reasonably well until the halfway mark when Furball left Clara, headed into the back seat, made a few mournful meows and promptly up chucked.

It took a few minutes on the side of the road to clean up and the poor little guy was pretty clingy at that point. He spent most of the rest of the drive on the console between the driver and passenger seat with his head on my lap. By the time we reached the campground, he seemed much better.

This was a first. He’s normally a road warrior, although he does meow quite a bit on the way. That being said, he normally is rather talkative, since he has a fair bit of Maine Coon in him and they can be rather vocal. I suspect that being on Clara’s lap and being exposed to all of the scenery may have been a bit overwhelming.

We got to the campground and got set up quickly. There were a few things to get done that I hadn’t been able to do at home. We barbecued a quick dinner and settled down for bed at a relatively early hour. First, though, I introduced Clara to the game of Yahtzee. I beat her rather soundly in a few games before we went to bed.

The weather was overcast and it rained a bit. I opted not to set the alarm  in hopes of catching some of the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. I’m hoping for better conditions tomorrow night.

August 12

Today could be summed up in one word: windy. It was far too rough to take the boat out, so we did a few things around the campsite. We read and I took the cats for a walk on their leads. We barbecued dinner. All told, a rather relaxing day.

I did stay overcast again so there wasn’t much hope of seeing meteors. However, it did get up to 23° so it was shorts weather. I’m not going to complain too loudly. There have been many years where I would have put my shorts away for the year by this point so it’s not that bad a thing.

Before going to bed, we discovered that Clara’s skills at Yahtzee have vastly improved and she won the majority of games from today.

August 13

I didn’t sleep well last night, so when 7 AM came around, and it was dead calm, I opted to go back to bed. By 11 AM, it was rather windy.

I did head out with the boat but really only made it as far as the second campground which is still partially sheltered. I trolled in front of it and the first campground loop for two passes, but there were very few fish on the fish finder. The ones I saw were all on the bottom, probably not feeding. I’ll try again after supper if the wind has dropped a bit.

Other than that, we spent the day reading and I took the cats out on their leads. Furball managed get under the motorhome and wrap himself around three struts and brackets before becoming completely stuck. Fortunately, there is enough ground clearance to rescue him easily enough.

I cooked dinner in the motorhome stove rather than barbecuing. It made for a nice dinner and a nice change. The wind did not drop off any over the rest of the day. In fact, it blew a bit harder by early evening. I’m going to have to set the alarm to try for about 6 AM and see if I can get down the lake a bit.

We played five games of Yahtzee. I only won the first one.

August 14

Today started with the wind. Over the course of the evening, Darcy became fixated on a moth on the window screen and tried to go out the screen after it. This involved jumping on me in the process. It took over an hour to calm her down and it was 3 hours before I got to sleep. Yes, I set the alarm for early fishing. No, that didn’t happen.

Because of the weather, we hung around the campsite. Much Yahtzee ensued, with Clara whomping me in some horrible example of how wedded bliss is not supposed to work.

That being said, Clara suggested the improbable  game of sequential Yahtzee, where you get the required matches in order. I clobbered here, including getting Yahtzee in the allotted roll. Try this sometime. It’s a riot.

By after dinner, the wind had died down in front of the campsite, so I did go out for an hour to try fishing at the point and in front of the first campground. I had a nibble but that was all. I am jinxed this year. It has been almost three years since I caught a fish in Kusawa Lake, where I have almost always been successful.

After fishing, I did put some of the campsite away. I figure that that will let me get away a little earlier, since it is Mom’s birthday and I would like to get home at a reasonable hour to call her.

By 10:15, it was starting to actually get dark. There are some clear patches so we may see a meteor or two before all is said and done. I think it’s been too cloudy to see the Persieds here for four or five years.

August 15

No meteors. We get up and headed back. Furball was fine. Darcy rode willingly in her crate along the Kusawa Lake Road. In fact, she walked into it herself. When we got to the Takhini Burn rest area, I let her out and she got into her normal favourite spot on the dash. There she rode like a little sphinx. However, I did learn something just outside of town. Rain landing on the windshield you’re resting against is apparently rather disturbing to little cats…

 

 

 

The leveling blocks

I finally got to building new leveling blocks for the motorhome. I opted for low-tech, and built them from lumber.

I used three levels, rather than the four I was originally considering, each 6 inches longer than the other. I also used preserved wood, although it’s a bit more than is needed since my blocks tend to break long before they rot.

level2

I went with three levels each, since the highest number of blocks I’ve needed was three. Also, if I was to need more, I could place a single block under the new ones.

Also, to keep me from rolling off unnecessarily, I added the 6″ pieces I was going to use as the top level on the end as a stop. You should feel hitting these if you go too far.

So, with the cut ends treated, here is the finished product. Next week, I get to find out how well the work…

level1

 

 

First trip to Lake Laberge

 

Lake Laberge

T’was on the marge of Lake Laberge
I cremated Sam McGee.
– Robert Service

 

July 27

I had hoped to have far more done before leaving this morning; however, that did not materialize as it should. For example, there was a bit more cleaning in the house to do before leaving, but I was worried about getting a site. Lake Laberge is a small campground, and many of the sites are not suitable for anything other than a car and tent. There are really only 16 sites at the campground and it is close to town and supposedly rather popular.

I did say supposedly. After all, Clara and I have never camped here before. And, for the first two evenings, it will only be me camping here. Clara is going to a funeral on Friday so probably won’t be coming out until then.

I did find lots of open sites, with the first grouping of campsites open other than one site. I found one after a couple of tries, since the first two I did try made leveling a bit of a chore. I still need to develop some better system for leveling the camper. It’s 25 feet in length, which means it doesn’t take too much of a slope to require quite a few blocks under the wheels.

fig 2

The campsite

 

We chose Lake Laberge since friends were also going there. It’s a rather easy commute to town, about 35 km from our house. One person was working in the daytime so the commute time was an issue.

There are a few things I don’t like about the campground. Sites here are rather small, and I had a choice of leveling the motorhome or putting my awning out fully (see the campsite picture above). I did put it out partially. My other issue is that some of the access roads are quite narrow and sites were harder than usual to back into. The campground was obviously designed for tent camping.

My other big peeve is that there is no wharf for tying up your boat. I have an inflatable and since the lake can blow up quite well, I don’t like it crashing on the shore when it’s just tied up on the beach. The beaches here are quite rocky to add to the problem. The alternative is to launch it every time you want to go fishing and then reload it onto the trailer when you’re done. This would involve breaking down camp since all I have with me is the camper.

However, with the small sites and the small number of places to camp, even though the campground is quite close to town, it should work out to be rather quiet. We’ll see how the weekend progresses.

fig 3

Many sites are quite small.

Weather wise, as I mentioned, today was rather windy. There was no consideration of going fishing.There were whitecaps on the lake and it seemed to have enough energy built up that it wasn’t going to flatten out this evening. The temperature got up to 20° C, so it was pleasant though. And, while the sun came out again after supper, there was light rain in the afternoon.

July 28

 It was a quiet night, despite the wind. That did die down over the course of the evening. I woke, and made a rather nice breakfast.

The wind blew up again, and was even stronger than yesterday. Around 11 AM, I put the awning back up because I was a little worried about the possibility it may get damaged. I would like to replace the fabric at some point, but not until I have to.

Camping at Laberge has reminded me that I have camped in a fair number of the Yukon Government campgrounds. I did get involved in a “How many campgrounds have you camped at?” thing a few years ago on Twitter. I think I really should review the list again:

  1. Lake Laberge
  2. Kusawa Lake
  3. Fox Lake
  4. Twin Lakes (first place we camped with the old tent trailer)
  5. Quiet Lake South
  6. Yukon River, Dawson (first place Clara and I ever camped together)
  7. Klondike River (working an archaeology contract)
  8. Lake Creek (coming back from Homer, AK)
  9. Watson Lake (easy one to remember since I almost broke my hip when the picnic table collapsed on me)
  10. Tagish Lake (before it was transferred to the First Nation)
  11. Wolf Creek
  12. Squanga Lake
  13. Snafu Lake
  14. Kathleen Lake
  15. Lapie Canyon (another archaeology project)
  16. Pine Lake
  17. Tatchun Creek

I should add one or two more, since, if the weather holds like it has the last three years, an October trip to the Takhini River campground sounds like a decent plan. While we’ve passed it numerous times, and stopped to use the bathrooms on the way to Kusawa Lake, we’ve never stayed there. I had wanted to get to Drury Creek campground this year, but the timing never worked out. Marsh Lake is quite close, and we’ve never camped there either. The boat launch is a bit far from the campground, but something may work out.

I went for a walk, about 2.3 km. This was to completely walk around the campground, including the suspicious campsite number 8. This is a nice site, near the boat launch. However, there was a black truck and camper there the other day, although they did leave Wednesday morning. When they left, they seemingly abandoned a Suzuki quad on their campsite. I walked up the Deep Creek Rd. as far as the bakery. I didn’t take my wallet, although I have more than enough baked goods in the camper as is and buying fresh bread to freeze it when you don’t have to makes little sense to me.

It started to warm up a bit during my walk. I’m glad for the wind, since the breeze made it seem a bit cooler. I was breaking a bit of a sweat when I got back to the camper, in spite of the wind.

fig 4

I was glad for the breeze.

After supper, I dropped in on our friends and after a bit, the wind did die down enough to try fishing. It was still a bit bumpy, although we kept to the leeward side of the lake. However, as the evening went on, it became obvious the wind and the lake were going to die off a bit. Neither of us had any luck, even though we trolled for a while and then tried or hand at casting for pike. However, we shall see what tomorrow offers, since it looks like the weather will turn nice tomorrow morning,

July 29

I woke about 9, when friends came over to visit. We followed that with another round of fishing, this time heading north around Richthofen Island. Fishing was not the most stunning. We did see some on the fish finder but they weren’t biting.

The lake was rough, but there wasn’t any wind. There was still a lot of built up wave energy from the wind the days before. We thought we might try across the lake, on the lee shore, but gave that idea up shortly after starting out. Instead, we decided to try the lee behind the island. On the north point, it was rather sheltered. We fished there for four hours but, as mentioned, had no luck,

Once we came out of the lee, we realised it was somewhat windy and had to deal with up to 3 foot waves on the way back. It was slow, and getting the boat onto the trailer was tricky, but nothing too much to manage.

A quick note on the rest of my weekend. When we were on the lake, between the shore and the island, I could get a bit of cell service and got a text from my Katrina that Clara would not be coming out tonight. I guess I’m on my own, and am now trying to decide if I’ll stay out tomorrow night or come back to town. Hmm. There are advantages to going back, but this is the last weekend of my vacation and I really should be catching fish rather than getting stuff ready for work.

The weather today was cooler, with a high of only 18° C and cloudy most of the day. Hopefully, things settle down and we get a nicer day tomorrow, which would also help me make up my mind about what to do. However, I did get a chance to sit down in front of the campfire finally, although there were a few black flies around. My bug lantern was enough to keep them down and I didn’t need to smother myself in insect repellent. However, I do need someone to explain to me why I brushed my teeth and then made s’mores.

July 30

A nice sunny morning, although there is a bit of a breeze. The outside temperature dropped to its lowest I’ve seen in a few months, 6° C. It got down to 10 in the camper. However, it was 17° when I woke so it was actually warmer outside than in. I went out to start the generator to make toast for breakfast and opened the door to warm things up.

Daryl had come to wake me earlier, probably to go fishing, but I had been up a lot last night and just wasn’t into getting up quite that early. I think I was lucky I could haul myself out by 9:30 as it was. I still haven’t looked at the lake so I don’t know how calm it is.

We did go fishing, actually, and it was probably the nicest day on the water this summer. While Daryl caught a single fish, and I only got two nibbles, the water was dead calm and the sun shone. In retrospect, I could have put a bit more sunscreen on; however, it was a nice day to run across the other side of the lake and into Upper Laberge to fish. We came back and tried the side of Richthofen Island as well.

After fishing for four hours, we came back in for supper and then went out again, fishing until 10 PM. It was still calm, and the lake was quite nice. I was really regretting forgetting my camera this trip. After we got back, I sat by the fire for a bit before turning in.

July 31

Where has my vacation gone? This is the last day, and I have to celebrate that by cleaning up after a camping trip. I woke at about 8:30. It was, about 13C with a small breeze. I made tea and started getting things ready to drive home. I will admit that the prospect of the short drive home does appeal to me; however, another trip has come to end and that usually isn’t that appealing.

This will probably be the last time I camp here. It’s simply too close to town, which makes it a prime party spot. I don’t know why people go to a campground to drink. It’s easier and safer to just stay and home and be hammered before 10 AM.

And, if rules aren’t your bag, stay out of campgrounds. For example, quiet hours run between 11 PM and 7 AM and you aren’t supposed to run a generator during that time. I saw one person, in a group of partiers that occupied the four sites around me, wait a few minutes after a Park Officer asked him to turn off his generator, and then take it and a long extension cord and put it across the campground boundary where the rules don’t apply. This doesn’t demonstrate your expert legal prowess. It means you’re a jerk…

 

Kusawa camping

July 6, 2016

sign2

My vaunted hopes of getting started early in the morning were dashed quickly when I realised I only had one complete large jerry can for boat gas. Since we were going to Kusawa, it would probably call for a fair amount of fishing, and gas requirements for that.

When I did pick up fuel for the boat and generator, and a cap for a second jerry can from downtown, Clara wasn’t feeling well. We waited a bit, but the threat of losing out on a campsite drove us to the compromise. I would head out today with the cats, and Clara would come out with the truck tomorrow. This would create one issue, in that launching the boat without help and with the motorhome is not an easy task. Therefore, Clara would come out in the truck, rather than her car, and we would use that to launch the boat.

I started off, and the drive was rather uneventful until we reached the turn off for the Kusawa Lake road. I was rather pleased with the condition of the highway. Although frost heaved in the usual locations, it wasn’t too bad at all. The Kusawa Lake road, however, was a mess. Most of the 25 km to the campground was washboard, and you couldn’t drive much more than 40 kph for the whole road. It took more than half an hour to get to the campground. It is more than time for Parks to get the road graded again.

I did get camp fully set up, though, since the option for fishing was gone. This included setting up the stabilizer jacks under the motorhome, which keep it from moving when you walk from one part to the other. Clara says this will eventually make her sea sick. I also bought a new camping tarp for the first time in four years and put it up. This is a more complete set up than I have bothered with for some time, and certainly the first this year.

site1

site2

The campsite.

The cats were far more at ease this trip, although neither expressed a great deal of happiness with the washboard road coming in. I put Furball in the larger carrier and he seemed OK with that. Like Darcy, he spend most of the run into the campground sleeping.

It was nowhere near as warm and sunny today as it was yesterday. It did climb up to 20° but was cloudy and muggy most of the day. Guessing that rain is coming sometime in the near future is not a huge issue. It did get a bit windy this afternoon, with whitecaps on the lake. This probably would have restricted my fishing anyway. Ah, aren’t the grapes sour? By 8 PM, though, the sun came out and the sky cleared.

walk

Walking scenery.

I used this as an excuse for a walk. I did a 2.2 km walk around the campground and out to the stream that runs between the first group of campsites and the second. It was a beautiful evening for a walk, with enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes from being a problem. I’ll knock on wood now, since in the three camping trips so far, I haven’t used insect repellent once. It’s been buggy in the back yard, particularly since I need to repair my mosquito vac, but not in the campgrounds. Since I’m looking to go to Lake Leberge at the end of the month, a lack of camping mosquitoes would be deeply appreciated, especially there.

 

Furball has spent his first camping day at the bottom step, looking out at the world. He really is my worst worry about running away. Darcy is quite the homebody, and she has spent most of the first day on the upper bunk, looking down on the rest of the world. I seriously suspect that, if I left the door open, she’d stay on the upper bunk.

I did take the guys out for a bit of a run, and quickly found a very good spot to put their tie-out stake. Furball, normally, was far more adventurous. He was particularly interested in the birds in the trees above him.

furball1.JPG

Furball, timber kitty.

And, a bit after 10 PM, it seemed time to just sit back, watch the fire, and read my book until it was time to go to bed. After all, it’s peaceful and what could there be to worry about?

sign1.JPG

Camping. What could go wrong?

July 7, 2016

I woke up during the night a few times, since Furball decided it would be a wonderful evening to see how many times he could stop the circulation in my legs by lying on them. Other than that, and some cramping in my poor left hip, I did have a great night.

This was the first night on the new mattress. When I was going for knee surgery, the plan was to sleep downstairs on the sofa bed for the first little while, rather than go up and down the stairs on crutches. However, a quick measurement proved that the sofa bed was far too low for me to comfortably get in and out. This necessitated a quick change of plans and I tried to find a inexpensive mattress that would the double bed and allow me to have a higher place to sleep. I ended up buying a rather nice memory foam mattress.

This quickly led to the consideration of adapting it to the motorhome bed. The corner of the bed is cut off to allow for more access into the bathroom. I was going to cut down the foam mattress and resew the cover, along with finally having the incentive to tailor the bed clothes for the bed. However, it only does stick out about a few inches, since the mattress is a little bit narrower than the bed itself. No modification of mattress, and bed sheets, required.

P.S. The mattress is far more comfortable than the old one that came with the motorhome.

Today started well, with me cooking a nice, but late, breakfast at 9 AM. This does seem to be our traditional wakeup time camping when I’m not getting up really early to go fishing.

After breakfast, I put the cats on their tie outs and did a bit of cleaning up. Then, I made coffee and went to read outside with the cats. They did surprise a vicious squirrel who was probably coming to kill us all and drive him away, or least, that’s Furball’s point of view. However, there are three dogs in the next campsite, and when the neighbours woke up and took the dogs out, Furball was quite frightened of them. He made a beeline for the door, but his line was tangled around a tree and he literally backed out of his harness. I did manage to grab him and pick him up but he was so frightened, he scratched me while I was trying to get him back to the camper. Note to self: time to restock the first aid kit.

This is kind of strange, since the dogs are all quite small and Furball hasn’t really shown any fear of dogs before. Darcy seemed a bit leery of them, as usual, but Furball was genuinely frightened. He probably is bigger than two of them to begin with, and the next campsite is about 50 feet away. I did buy off his consternation with wet food, the favourite treat in the house for both cats.

After a short while, Clara came with Katrina and Ryan. They drove up in their car and my truck. We used the truck to get the boat loaded and I took the kids for a bit of a ride, about 15 km in total. I ran it full out to see how well the boat would run. It was perfect. So, after that, I refilled the fuel tank and headed out to the first point on the other side of the lake to troll back. It did not run very well at all, surging again. If my problem was bad gas, why do I still have the same problem with new gas and fuel system cleaner in it?

I trolled on this side of the lake, therefore, in case it quit on me. I fished along the next bay, past the third campground. There were lots of fish on the fish finder, but they were all sitting on the lake bottom in about 50 feet of water. Not feeding, I’m afraid. So, I decided to see how much sputtering there would be if I ran it wide open on the way back to the campground. It ran without a hitch. I am confused.

Note that one thing was not confusing and ran perfectly. This was the fish finder from the old big boat. Since the boat was going so cheaply, I kept some of the items from it. This included the old Garmin fish finder, which works wonderfully on the little boat. One thing that did not work so well were the two cans of Coke I packed for the trip. The little cooler was still on the floor of the camper when I came back.

We made supper and then had a nap. After an hour, I decided to try the boat again. This was the worst it’s been, before and after being fixed. I had started for the first point again, but decided to come back to the dock since I didn’t think the motor was actually going to last long enough to get back. It simply does not want to run with any load on it. Half of me thought of packing up the camper and taking it back to Checkered Flag first thing in the morning to see if they could actually fix it. I also did consider just heading back with the boat early tomorrow morning, but since I probably wouldn’t get it looked at until at least next week anyway. I am a little bit tired of the motor’s issues this summer, since it hasn’t worked well this year at all.

I did come back and go for my walk. I didn’t get very far tonight, just 1.6 km. I did follow that up with two more smaller walks. Neither Darcy nor Furball were interested in being staked out with dogs on leads 50 feet away, so I took each for a walk individually. At about 9, I put a fire in. It was time for s ’mores anyway.

All told, the weather was nice although it did look like it was going to blow up from the north for a while. It was sunny and got up to 20° again today. The sunset, or as close as you get to it here with the mountains, was lovely, with Mount Vanier being licked by the last rays of the bright sunshine.

vanier.JPG

As we sat reading a bit before bed, along comes a fox down the campground road. He was quite the size, and a cross fox as well. We don’t normally see foxes in this campground. I wonder if this is the end year of the rabbit cycle, since I haven’t seen many of those this year either.

July 8, 2106

It rained overnight and the wind blew. All of the tent poles blew down on the tarp over the picnic table, which led to the cats being fascinated with the ropes blowing to and fro. There was a great deal of scrambling to determine who would have the best window vantage point to watch things swaying the wind.

Through most of the day, it was quite cloudy. The sun did manage to peek through about 4 PM (for a little while). We did spend some time sitting under the awning, watching the cats on their leads. The people in the site next door with three dogs left around lunch time, so they were quite content to be outdoors.

However, despite the sun, a large black cloud appeared across the lake, followed by several rumbles of thunder. It looked pretty bad, so I battened down the campsite, put away the tarp and much of the cooking things. I also went and pulled the boat up onto shore just in case. When the wind blows out of the north here, it tends to blow quite hard and the lake can get pretty rough rather quickly. However, it usually calms down just as fast.

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Storm clouds over Kusawa Lake.

 

I had started supper on the barbecue but finished it indoors because of the way the weather was turning.

About 8:30, all was sunny and calm again and the temperature went up to its rather consistent high of 20°. The low last night was only 13°, a nice temperature for sleeping. I went for a walk, about 1.3 km, and then remembered I had some fuel system cleaner in the motorhome. I pulled the boat back out far enough on the wharf to lower the engine and poured some of that in the fuel tank. I sloshed it around and ran the motor at idle for about 10 minutes. This won’t tell me if it works fine, which it has on occasion but not consistently, but will get a bit of the cleaner in the system to sit overnight and work, if, of course, that is the problem.

July 9, 2016

Morning started early, since I looked out the window when Darcy head-butted me awake a bit before 4 AM. This is normal, since she is a bit emotionally needy at times and needs her early morning cuddle to get through the night. However, I looked at the window at a lovely sunrise, so I grabbed the camera and walked down to the beach to get some pictures.

I quickly discovered the memory card was still in the computer, so walked back to get it. When I came back, a woman had set up her tripod on the same spot with much the same idea I had. She laughed and said, “I’m glad I’m not the only wingnut up at 4 AM.” I grabbed a few pictures, so I should throw one in for an example of what the mornings are like.

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Sunrise on Kusawa Lake.

We did go back to sleep and got up at a more reasonable hour. After breakfast, I got the dishes and got out the gear to try the boat… again. It worked fine. I ran her up under power and there was no power loss, no sputtering and no hesitation. I am confused. I did troll a bit near the campground, since I’m still a bit hesitant to trust going to the narrows, about 9 miles down the lake with a motor that’s been undependable. I did take another speed run after trolling a bit, since the fish were all about 1 or 2 feet off the bottom. They’re sleeping, rather than feeding, when they’re there. I came back in when it looked like the weather was going to blow up a bit. Sure enough, another afternoon thunderstorm came up.

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Thunderstorm.

With the storm, the lake was quite rough, although the bay in front of the campground was still quiet flat. The wind was blowing out of the south, and the point where the second and third campgrounds are does block off a fair amount of weather when there are southerlies.

I put a fire in a bit later, and wondered my standard epicurean question. Do marshmallows and chocolate go with a red or white? I read in front of the fire for a few hours, while Clara read inside the motorhome. I also managed to take each cat for a long walk, in spite of Darcy trying to pull a fast one and escape through the door when I was coming in. Both cats were far more adventurous than usual, and both went quite a ways. And, neither asked to come in for a change. They are rapidly becoming advanced camping kitties.

It stayed warm and muggy, even with the thunder. It hit a high of 21°, while the inside of the camper got to as high as 25°. Nighttime temperatures were quite comfortable though, every night.

I went back in, finished working on my log, and enjoyed a hot chocolate. Camping is strenuous.

July 10, 2016

During the evening, the cats raised quite a commotion. About 4 AM, they took turns running over us in the bed to the bedroom window, and then back to the kitchen window a few feet away. The were quite intent on something. This morning, when I was getting the generator started for the toaster (have I mentioned that camping is strenuous), there was a bit pile of fox crap right under our bedroom window. I think I get what the commotion was about.

I went to bed, feeling miserable with a headache and a sore throat. I woke up worse. We did grab a quick breakfast and started getting everything back together to come home. Clara drove my truck while I brought back the motorhome and the boat.

We also shared cats, with Clara taking Furball and me taking Darcy. Furball travelled with his seatbelt harness for the whole trip. He was good but was upset that I wasn’t in the truck with them. We met up at the Takhini Burn rest area, and he was fine after that.

I left Darcy in the carrier to the rest area, but put her in her seatbelt harness from that point on. She tried three time to get onto the dash, her favourite camping napping area, but fell since the lead was too short to let her get up. I succumbed, and reach over and unhooked her. She spent the rest of the trip on the dash in front of the passenger seat, happy as a clam. She sort of looked like a little sphinx, perched with her paws out in front of her, sound asleep…

 

 

 

 

Canada Post lockout looming

Canada Post has provided a 72-hour notice of lockout to its employees, taking effect on this coming Friday.

That does not necessarily result in a lockout at that time, but Canada Post will be allowed to “take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.”  The labour dispute, if it comes to fruition, will not be a strike. This is not action by the employees, but rather that of the management of the corporation shutting down mail operations rather than negotiating a settlement with its employees.

Since Canada Post is a crown corporation, a lockout does provide an unfair advantage to the employer. It isn’t really a company per se. With a regular company, locking out the employees for an extended period will eventually result in the business going bankrupt. If you don’t operate, than you make no income and eventually, that ends poorly. The system does provide for some incentive for the employees and employer to eventually come to some agreement. In the case of a crown corporation, this incentive is only on the heads of the employees, and the employer gets to act with impunity.

Therefore, here is my modest suggestion for federal crown corporations. To ensure that services are provided and labour relations function on a fair footing, in case of lockout, where management has opted to close the operations, managers should not be paid until the lockout ends. Suddenly, that equal incentive comes back into play…