2017 March 03

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Albany Pine Bush
Alfred E. Smith Building
Bulldozing the Albany Pine Bush
Overlook Mountain
Stewart State Forest

March 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

That roar or the wind is intense. Partly cloudy and 21 degrees in City of Albany. Breezy, 20 mph breeze from the west-northwest with gusts up to 31 mph. The current wind chill is 6. Winter is still here. Only a few more weeks. 

I got the low voltage disconnect in the mail today. Now the thing is figure out where to mount it. Wiring doesn’t look hard. I realized beside the cable I need between the disconnect and the battery, I need a fuse and fuse holder for safety. This will keep things from burning up should the relay catastrophically fail.  I should be able to get that cable that Autozone sells and splice it using my cutting pliers and a pocket knife. The fuse holders just use a hex wrench to crimp the cable. 

The big question is where I will mount the unit – its a fairly small relay but I lack space under the hood of my truck with the other isolator relay between the batteries. But wait, I have a better idea. 

Maybe I could mount it in the cab next to the inverter? That would save on running those extra control wires back into the cab for the reset control.  Then I would have to get a wire from the cab back out to the cap. I’d rather not drill a hole through the floor boards though. The Internet suggests there is a gasket back there I can run the hot back like on my old truck. Or through the vent holes. That makes a lot of sense and is a good opportunity to run a thicker wire back there in light of the growing 12v load in the truck cap with me using those various USB powered devices. 

Also got the LED dimmer for dimming the lights in the truck cap. Still waiting on the gang switches to control the truck cap lights. I will need those before I start wiring up the truck cap. 

Inflation, consumer prices for the United States

Red - Negative Inflation
Orange - Inflation above 5 percent
Green - Inflation between 0 and 5 percent

Inflation as measured by the consumer price index reflects the annual percentage change in the cost to the average consumer of acquiring a basket of goods and services that may be fixed or changed at specified intervals, such as yearly. The Laspeyres formula is generally used. International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics and data files.

World Bank, Inflation, consumer prices for the United States [FPCPITOTLZGUSA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FPCPITOTLZGUSA, March 3, 2017.

Happy Friday! Going home time. We have some bright sun filtering through after the earlier snow squall and 30 degrees in City of Albany. There is a west-northwest breeze at 15 mph. The current wind chill is 19. Ducking cold out. I look forward to the muggy summer days. Drive safely, so you can make it the weekend. People seem to be cranky on the road, probably because of the cold. 

Waxing Crescent Moon tonight with 41% illuminated. The moon will set around 12:36 am. The First Quarter Moon is on Sunday night with partly cloudy expected. The Full “Worm” Moon is on Sunday, March 12th. The sun will rise at 6:25 am with the first light at 5:57 am, which is 1 minutes and 39 seconds earlier then yesterday. Tonight will have 12 hours and 35 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 53 seconds over last night.

Tonight will have a chance of snow showers, mainly before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 11 degrees at 6am. 11 degrees below normal. Half the normal temperature. Gawd, I know it doesn’t work that way but it is cold. Wind chill values as low as -5. Blustery, with a northwest wind 17 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. In 2016, it got down to 18 degrees with periods of snow. The record low of -20 occurred back in 1950. But not that cold. 

No real plans for tomorrow. Going to be cold with temperatures only reaching 21 degrees with windchills pushing zero all day. Sunny though. Maybe I’ll stay home and do some reading and maybe cleaning. Somewhat warmer with temperatures around 32 degrees. Maybe go hiking locally on Sunday. I want to wash my truck. If Glenmont is still closed, I’ll have to wash it in Greenville. I do enjoy hiking at that town preserve. 

In four weeks on March 31 the sun will be setting at 7:20 pm (Daylight Savings Time), which is 1 hour and 32 minutes later then today. In 2016 on that day, we had rain and temperatures between 71 and 49 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 51 and 31 degrees. The record high of 89 degrees was set back in 1998.

Looking ahead, St. Patrick’s Day is in 2 weeks, Good Friday is in 6 weeks, Arbor Day is in 8 weeks, Cinco de Mayo is in 9 weeks, Memorial Day Weekend is in 12 weeks and Election Day 2020 is in 44 months. Election Day will be here before you know it. 

Map: Stewart State Forest

Map: Stewart State Forest

The 6700-acres of Stewart State Forest are unique in the northeast and increasingly rare in the Hudson Valley. A mix of wetlands, fields and woods, the site includes 18 miles of gravel roads and over 22 miles of major trails which provide unparalleled recreation - hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting, dog training and trials, skiing, snowmobiling, bird watching and fishing. Old farm fields take you to an earlier gentler time in our nation's history.

Hiking: Hiking is allowed on the property. Please see the attached map for trail locations. Please note that unless specifically posted as foot trails, all trails on the property are multiple use trails. Roadways on Stewart State Forest are accessible by car for people with disabilities, but a permit must first be obtained from DEC. Special arrangements must be made to obtain combinations for entry at selected gates.

Camping: Camping is only allowed by permit in specially designated group camping areas and must be greater than 150 feet from any trail, road or water body.

Snowmobiling: Allowed on designated trails.

Mountain biking: Allowed on designated trails or multiple use trails.

Horseback Riding: Allowed on all multiple use trails and roads.


Appalachian Regional Commission history

"Harry M. Caudill (1922-1990) was a mountain warrior who fought for Appalachia and his native Kentucky homeland. He fought with words and political action to preserve his land and local culture, writing books, becoming a citizen activist, winning a seat in the state legislature, and rising to national prominence as a spokesman for Appalachia. During the 1950s and 1960s especially, he rose on the issue of coal mining’s destructive effects on Kentucky land and its people."

"Caudill, after years of battling with the powers that be, had succeeded in drawing attention to the plight of Kentucky and the larger Appalachian Region. Kentucky then, and still today, is besieged by corporate interests who came for the region’s natural wealth, primarily its coal. Caudill not only did battle with the coal barons, but also local corruption and local politicians – often the handmaidens of the outside interests. The cover of one of his books is displayed at right, as its title and subtitle aptly capture what Harry Caudill railed against for much of his life."

Google Maps: Applachian Region – Poverty Rate, Percent Of U.S. Average, 2010–2014

Southern West Virginia and the portion of Kentucky have the greatest levels of poverty in 420-county region, covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission. In general, New York counties are in the middle when it comes to poverty in the Appalachian region.

Data Source: County Economic Status in Appalachia, FY 2017. 2010-2014 ACS Averages, Poverty Rate compared to National Average. https://www.arc.gov/research/MapsofAppalachia.asp?MAP_ID=116

Good morning! Yeah, it’s Friday! Two weeks to St. Patrick’s Day. Partly sunny and 23 degrees in Delmar. There is a west-northwest breeze at 11 mph. The current wind chill is 12. With the sun it doesn’t feel nearly that cold, at least when you are moving.

Today will be scattered snow showers, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high of 32 degrees at 2pm. Seven degrees below normal. West wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. A year ago, we had snow and a high of 29 degrees. The record high of 64 was set in 2002. 10.9 inches of snow fell back in 1994.

Cold day especially with that wind, but warmer then the weather we had back in 2016. Still those bright blue skies are a nice way to kick off the weekend. Warmer temperatures with spring around the corner is a good thing. Still a fair bit of snow in the Adirondacks but it looks like the snowmobile trails are rapidly turning to mud and closing or are already closed. We might get one more big snow storm but I think winter is mostly dead.

The sun will set at 5:48 pm with dusk around 6:16 pm, which is 1 minutes and 13 seconds later than yesterday. Today will have 11 hours and 22 minutes of daylight, an increase of 2 minutes and 52 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will be scattered snow showers, mainly before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 10 degrees at 6am. 12 degrees below normal. Wind chill values as low as -5. Northwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. In 2016, it got down to 18 degrees with periods of snow. The record low of -20 occurred back in 1950.

Back in 1972, an airplane crashes in suburban Albany, off Holmesdale Ave in Albany (near Colvin Avenue and Washington Ave). A regional carrier, Mohawk Airlines Flight 405 crashes as a result of a control malfunction and insufficient training in emergency procedures. Also today in 1873, U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” books through the mail. And in 1991, an amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. That was novel back then but much too common now with cellphone cameras.

I was thinking half seriously about getting a snowmobile this year, but I don’t see it as something I would get much use out of because locally in the Heldeberg Mountains we don’t get much snow anymore and I don’t want to have to drive all the way to the Adirondacks to ride. The local trails have been all but abandoned over the past five years due to the lack of snow. We could once again have a cold and snowy winter but that point they seem increasingly rare. I don’t like driving on snow-covered roads, and wouldn’t want to stay at some motel in the Adirondacks or Tug Hill. I have too much money in a savings account that isn’t barring enough interest to be worthwhile, so I’m thinking of buying a certificate of deposit instead of a sled. By autumn, I should have money replenished as additional savings that I bought as a C.D. that I could buy the sled, if I think winter looks good. Spring is better time though to buy. I could buy more stocks but I think that the market is due for a correction and I don’t want to tie up further funds while the market recovers. A higher fed rate would help.

I am thinking about building that box for storing my solar panel again. In 2014, I almost bought the plywood to build it, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a water-resistant floorboard treated with chemicals, plywood or chipboard. I think I’m going to go with plywood — which is the middle range of toxicity and cost — and I think it will hold up find for the occasional dampness the solar panel might be exposed too. It’s not going to be left out except when camping, and in heavy rain I would pull it under the tarp. While I would have to find the diagrams I sketched out, basically it would fold out like a pizza box on hinges, but provide safety for the panel when being hauled out to camp in my truck. It would also provide a secure place to tie it to a tree when I away from camp. Maybe build in some handles to make it handle better. I would use quick releases to unplug it quickly from the solar controller mounted in the truck.

This weekend I want to study the low-voltage disconnect and figure out where I have space under the hood of my truck to mount it. That’s easier to say then done, but I think I will find somewhere. Then I need to get a high-amperage battery-grade cable to connect between the accessory marine battery on the voltage disconnect. Then I will connect all the accessory loads to that. I also got to run a ground wire, and the two or three wires that will connect the override/voltage switch into the cab. I think I will remove the battery isolator override switch, which I never use, and was only instead to help with providing additional voltage to the starting battery with cold starting — but that has proven unnecessary. That will allow me to use two of those wires, so I will only have to run one more wire to control module.

As previously noted, there are 2 weeks until St. Patrick’s Day when the sun will be setting at 7:05 pm with dusk at 7:33 pm (Daylight Savings Time). On that day in 2016, we had fog, rain, thunderstorm and temperatures between 61 and 38 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 45 degrees. We hit a record high of 75 back in 1990. Let’s hope that the luck of the Irish means we have nice weather that day.