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the ramblings of ptschett
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2nd-Aug-2009 10:07 am - 400 mile KLR650 day
lego bulldozer
Start to 2nd fuel stop

2nd fuel stop to end

The 1st fuel stop was at Valley City, and I also filled up at Gwinner and Wheaton.

County visits:
ND: Cass, Barnes, Ransom, Sargent, Richland
SD: Marshall, Roberts
MN: Traverse, Big Stone, Grant, Wilkin
29th-Jul-2009 10:36 pm - Yes, I did this ride on a weekday
lego bulldozer
Overall Ride Route, 23 July 2009

As always Google Maps times are stupid. This took about 3 hours.
13th-Jul-2009 12:13 am - I'm not dead yet
lego bulldozer
To prove it, here's a motorcycle ride route:

Outbound route, 11 July 2009

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The return route was 120 miles of boring: from Lake Itasca east on MN-200 to US-71, 7 miles "north" (east) on US-71 to Hubbard County 4, down Hubbard 4 to Park Rapids, then MN-34 to Detroit Lakes, US-10 to MN-336, MN-336 to I-94, through Moorhead and home. The only noteworthy thing was that I was following a semi through the hilly woods country that actually was not only keeping up with traffic, but was about the fastest thing on the road. Guy wanted to go 75 if he had the chance. That and I had a Suburban riding my butt while I was behind the semi, and that same Suburban managed to be all of 1/4 mile ahead of me at the I-94 entrance ramp 60 miles later.

Edit: And why do I go ride out there? Because it looks like this:

And the topo map looks like this.
11th-Jun-2009 05:44 pm - IT helpdesk fail
lego bulldozer
As you know I work for an engineering consulting firm which had a number of people on-site at a customer here in town. That customer asked us to move our people off-site as part of its internal efforts to save money in the recession.

In theory this should be workable. Other than meetings and prototype builds, most of our work is based on the computer anyway, in the Pro/Engineer CAD package, the customer's customized drawing viewer and bill-of-material management programs, and the customer's PDM system (Product Data Management: the business function within product lifecycle management that is responsible for the creation, management and publication of product data, per Wikipedia.) So in theory we should be able to work in Pro/Engineer most of the workday without being connected to the customer's systems, and use a VPN for the internal Web applications and the PDM system as needed.

In practice, it hasn't worked so far. Our Pro/Engineer and PDM installations are based on our internal LAN, in the same configuration as the customer's but on our own server. When we connect to the VPN we lose our connections to the internal network, causing Pro/E to crash from losing its internal-network-based license, and PDM to just not run. We either had the data we needed to work with but no connection to the customer's computers, or the connection to the customer's computers but no data to work with. Everyone's called the customer's IT helpdesk to report the issue, and the helpdesk has had us adjust various settings in the VPN software but nothing has worked so far.

I figured there had to be a way to make this work. Obviously I still have a physical connection to my company's network since I have to go through that network, and though its gateway in order to see anything outside it.

I got sick of the issue and started searching. That led me to the concept of a split tunnel, where traffic meant for the VPN is sent that way, and traffic not meant for the VPN (i.e. general internet and local LAN) go through normally. Then I went to the VPN software's web site to verify if it supported split tunneling, and found that there is a server-side setting which manages whether a split tunnel is permitted, or it can be configured to simply trust local LANs (which would be necessary even if we simply wanted to print drawings to our networked printer.)

We sent this off to the customer's IT personnel, and now we finally have progress... but why did I have to research the problem myself? Why didn't someone in the 1st tier at the helpdesk pass it along to the 2nd tier people who actually are familiar with the software?
KLR rear wheel
Outbound route, 7 June
Return route, 7 June

The outbound is basically the same as the 2 May ride, except I took Buckboard Forest Road at the end of Height-of-Land road, and went to Lake Itasca. The return is quite different.

New county visits:
MN: Hubbard

Things I did not know:
-The Mississippi is just a tiny little thing where it leaves Lake Itasca. We're talking 7 feet wide and a foot deep tiny.
-Itasca State Park does random open house days when you don't have to have a vehicle permit, I happened to come along on one of those days. Score!
-People actually still do the walking across the rock covered dam at the outlet of Itasca. (Mostly kids.)
-The rock dam is manmade, someone in the 1930's didn't like how this major river got its start in a slough and decided to 'improve' the river's beginning.
-Rivers aren't necessarily defined as running all the way from the highest tributary at the headwaters. The Mississippi starts at the outlet of Itasca even though there are higher waterways flowing into Itasca.
-There is a town in Minnesota named "Zerkel". Zerkel is a fun word.
-Mississippi is a very fun word to type.
-It's easy to get your internal compass turned around with overcast skies on roads that aren't on a grid pattern. On the return trip near Round Lake, I turned north from Becker County #143 on to Becker County #35 thinking I was going to be going west. I realized my mistake when I got to the little settlement about a half mile in and thought 'this sure looks familiar' (since that site had been on my route around Elbow Lake on the way out).

This was my first big ride in a while; from the 5th of May till the 27th I was without a project at work, so my hours were cut back to 30/week, so I was taking long weekends and helping on the farm.
12th-May-2009 11:28 pm - Ride Report: Inspiration Peak
KLR rear wheel
Outbound route, 7 May
Return route, 7 May

Just a little ride out to Inspiration Peak, a walk up the hill, then back home again.

As usual, Google's times are whacked. 3+ hours to get 90-some miles in the country, in the springtime (after floods and snow are past), in the northern plains? O RLY?

New counties visited:
MN: Otter Tail, Wilkin
2nd-May-2009 08:02 pm - Hey kids, it's that time again!
KLR rear wheel
Time for motorcycle ride trip reports!

Outbound route:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Return route: (much less interesting, other than the flood-damaged roads that were only posted at one end so I didn't know they were closed...)

Counties visited:
North Dakota: Cass
Minnesota: Clay, Becker, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Norman
17th-Apr-2009 01:34 am - scary
lego bulldozer
That water isn't supposed to be there. Neither are the big holes in the dirt. (That's a dam, at the Clausen Spring park near Kathryn, ND.)

And why am I seemingly on a 26-hour-day schedule?!?
lego bulldozer
Are there any bands with a name like "(The) Joe Smith Band", where Joe Smith is the lead singer's actual name, that are tolerable to listen to?

'cause Dave Matthews and David Crowder are on the wrong side of that line where my ears are concerned.
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