Wow what a year! It has been way too long since my last post.
I won Cessna’s Learn to Fly contest at EAA’s Airventure 2008, after many months of delay they contacted me and I started ground school. During this time I jumped thru all the hoops and obtained my third class medical. That’s a story I will have to share sometime in the hope it will help others thru the process. I studied hard in ground school and scored well on the FAA written exam. I have been flying and learning a lot. Today I went on my third solo crosscountry flight from KAZO (Kalamazoo) to KMKG (Muskegon) down the coast and turned inland at KLWA (South Haven) and back to Kalazoo. Though I am gaining confidence, I still have a ways to go before I will be ready for my check ride.
Here is a picture of Holland, MI from todays flight

John Deere 4600 fuel shutoff solenoid

John Deere 4600

So another 4 months have gone by!
It’s not so much that I haven’t had things to share, it’s finding the time.

Winter has dumped snow on a regular basis, three inches here, 8 inches there.
It is getting tiresome shoveling snow out of a 600 foot drive way.
Oh Yeah! By hand. Seems the tractor suddenly decided to take February off!
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth I have finally determined that the fuel shutoff solenoid sticks when it is very cold.
Sure, it runs fine when it is above freezing.
As soon as it snows, no go.
After the usual fuel filter and air filter replacement, fuel additive addition, fuse and relay checks, no change.
I checked that the correct hold and start voltages were being sent to the solenoid.
I did notice that the PTO switch would freeze and would not move.
Aha! Changed the PTO switch (part of the interlock system).
Nope, still no go.
Saturday I paid a visit to the John Deere dealer in Battlecreek, MI.
I related my troubles and trials to a guy behind the counter, he had the name Todd on his shirt.
He said that the 4600 Hydrostatics had been known to have a bit of trouble with the fuel shutoff solenoid.
He suggested that I try to start the tractor and if it would not start to then use a hair dryer to warm the solenoid up until it was just warm to the touch.
Ta Da! It started right up! 1:45 hour later the road and drives were clear.
Seems the solenoid is sticking when it gets below freezing and prevents the shutoff from releasing.
No release, no fuel.
So it looks like I get to replace the fuel shutoff solenoid.
In 5 years of abuse this is the first instance of trouble (except dead battery) encountered.



I have had the good fortune to travel to Germany on business, first to Dusseldorf for the K2007 plastics show, and then to Markdorf for work.

Today I had the opportunity to travel to see Neuschwanstein castle.
This neo-romanesque style castle was started in 1868 by King Ludwig II, though never finished due to his untimely death at age 41 in 1888.
This Bavarian monument is located on a 200 meter high mountain in the lower Alps.
It was completed in a simplified form in 1892 and then opened to the public.

Both it and the Alps are impressive!

Germany is a wonderful place to visit and highly recommended as a travel destination.

Oh! Yeah,

Why do you always look down when taking you self portrait?Sometimes I get so busy I forget to do the things I want to do or even need to do,
Well, it’s not so much that I forget, it’s that others demand so much of my time I do not find the time to do what I want.
Like writing on this blog, mountain bike riding, hiking or flying.
I design cooling fans for the transportation industry, It seems every two years a new development in vehicles demands a better cooling fan to meet the emission requirements. The design process requires much innovation and hard work to create a new design that costs less, performs better, and is structurally sound to higher performance levels. Between Heavy Duty truck, Medium Duty truck, Light Pickup truck, Construction and Agricultural vehicles I stay pretty busy, Not to mention the fact that we supply the transportation industry all over the world. My company has manufacturing sites in America, Brazil, Germany, Korea, China, and India.
Typically I am working 3 to 5 tasks at any given time, 10 hour work days are normal. Thankfully I have to pick up Garrett from daycare by 6pm or I would be there 14 hours or more.
But I am fortunate that I have been allowed to visit most of the manufacturing sites. Travel to other nations is exciting and can have life changing effects on you.
Perhaps I will share some of the images and video from my trip to Ningbo, China earlier this year.

Then there is support for my son Garrett. Like Awana, Piano Lessons, and Soccer,

I man the recording sound board at the church I attend. That takes up Sundays from 7:45 am until 12:30pm and Wednesdays from 7:45pm until 9:30pm for practice.
Saturday typically involves Soccer games and food shopping.
For the last 6 months Saturday afternoons and evenings have been taken up with the continual repair of Daniel’s 87 Jetta. We converted it from gas to diesel. That was the easy part. Figuring out how to get an 84 engine with 81 externals into an 87 vehicle and making them work is the fun part. It has been a frustrating learning experience for us both.
However, it finally runs great, 50 miles to the gallon. Good news for a starving college student!

Funny thing, I was not aware that owning land was such a responsibility. I always wanted a large piece of land because I love the outdoors. I did not realize how much work it is to take care of it. It takes two full days to mow my 11 acres with a 5 foot brush hog! Of course the 600 foot gravel driveway and 3/8 mile gravel road has to be maintained as well. So 1 to 2 weekends a month are required to take care of the land and road.
Oh, did I mention I am in the process of finishing the basement? Hmmm, think I did some time ago.
That seems to be a winter project as the demands of summer have placed that on the back burner.

Ok, so what the point of all this moaning and groaning? Just trying to come up with a good excuse why I have not posted to this blog since Feb!

I doubt I’ve been missed.

However, Tria, I am sorry I did not get back to you. Yes I do have Family in Florida, but not out west.
email me…mike@surls.net.

Phea, if I can’t email you how can I contact you?
I wrote a full page reply and then noticed I could not send it to you!

To everyone else…live life like it matters…you do make a difference.