Friday, December 6, 2013

Damn Cold- Really!

The seven year old battery in the Lincoln would not begin to crank that big motor this morning. Dug her out. Jumped her from Dave's truck. Took a long time to warm up as well. It's down at about -27, and there is more snow on the way- so I decide to get an early jump on the weather. Tomorrow I'll play Wabigoon, ON, just east of Dryden, ON. Today, I'll try and do 250 km of icy roads. Plan is to beat the storm and get in early. I'm going to take my time. Well, there is no choice. You'd think they would of cleared the TransCanada by now. But apparently not...

Dave and I have had a big time playing with my old National amp- and with the new copy he constructed from the blue prints for this amp. Pretty cool little rig! His has also got a tone control. National, Supro, Valco, and Gretch all used the same basic circuit for this little, one speaker amplifier. We also played around with a tobacco can pre-amp that Dave had recently constructed. Exactly what my new cigar box needs to sound boss through this small amp, low volume set-up. Big gain at low volume, and filter down that treble side! My CBG is not actually playable yet, but I'm looking forward to having her join the show once she's ready! Every time I hang with Dave I learn a little more about amplifiers and the parts which make them work. He plays with circuits and parts the way some guys play music with guitars.

Canada's national highway. A mass of ice with a bare spot down the middle. An Australian company has been given the contract to maintain this section, but they won't lower the plough blades beyond a certain point- they want to save money and reduce wear. You don't see a whole lot of commerce coming down this road today. And I'm thankful. The semi trucks have enough weight to hold the road at a higher speed, so they'll tailgate the cars, bully them into the ditches as if nobody else has a right to be out here. Some "bad weather- no pass" trucking laws might save more than a few lives. And pretty much every day sees a serious truck wreck somewhere between Kenora and the Sault. These boys can't actually go as fast as they think. They'll slide, too. And hard.

I reach Dryden early enough to visit Canadian Tire and buy a new battery for the Lincoln. These guys want a full hour of shop time to install it for me- $90- plus taxes on the labour. I pass, and buy some vice grips on sale for $9.99. I'll change it myself in the parking lot. It is -30, and I don't have gloves or real winter clothing- and my leather cowboy boots on the ice are cold, believe me! It's so damn cold that the car is covered in frost just sitting there. As the sun goes down I'm wrestling with the battery- it won't come out! What gives here? Frozen right in? Nah, there must be a clamp under it somewhere! Damn! I can't get the battery out. I'm frozen now! And the garage is closed. Thankfully, the car starts on the old battery, and I drive across the road to check into a motel. I take the new battery into my room to keep it warm for the night, and I google up Lincoln battery removal... I still can't feel my thumbs or toes. I put my feet up on the window mounted heater and blast it as hot as it will go.

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