Howard Delo

This past week’s weather patterns have been typical for this time of year. We’ve had below freezing overnight temperatures, daytime highs into the high 50’s/low 60’s and, of course, rain. The skies have been gray and, in my yard, about half the leaves have fallen off the trees. The remaining leaves are showing some nice color. Winter is definitely on the way.

Usually I’m behind the curve when it comes to getting everything ready for the winter season. This year, since everything else is off kilter, I decided to get a step up on these chores.

Earlier this week, I took my riverboat over to Burkeshore Marina to get it in the water. I didn’t launch the boat, just backed it down the ramp to submerge the water intake so I could run it. I wanted to flush out the inboard and make sure everything was still running properly after the fiasco we encountered at Susitna Landing a while back trying to get out for some silver salmon fishing.

The engine fired right up and ran smoothly after it warmed some. The alternator was working fine, and the engine temperature held at just below 150 degrees after it got up to operating temperature. I would say at this point that the boat suffered no damage from our encounter with silt and rocks on the Kashwitna River, other than a couple of new shallow dents in the bottom of the boat.

I’ve got the boat backed into my storage building for the winter. I still need to drain the sand trap, the heat exchanger and check the exhaust manifolds to make sure they’re not holding any water. I also need to plug in the battery charger/conditioner to keep the batteries in good shape over the cold season. I might even attach the cloth cover enclosing the back half of the boat. The front half is enclosed in a cabin. I’m not too worried about things freezing up for a few days and plan to have everything done at least by the end of the weekend.

The “big boy toy” I’ve been chronically tardy getting ready for winter is our 22-foot Winnebago motorhome. I seem to always wait for the last minute before freeze-up to get the waterlines drained and winterized because I usually have plans for fall trips that don’t always work out. This year, I decided to do things correctly.

I drained the holding tanks and the freshwater tank, including the water heater system. I drove the RV to Cache Camper and had them winterize the waterlines. I picked up a small part while there. I know how to service the house batteries and ready them for winter. I also set up a small battery charger/conditioner for the engine battery to keep it in good shape this winter.

I topped off the fuel tank and had the propane tank refilled. I backed the RV into its storage slot earlier this afternoon. I still need to take care of the house batteries, but I’m way ahead of where I normally am this time of year.

After making some rearrangements earlier this year for items that normally live in my storage building, I’m pleased to note I gained some space in the building – nothing great but I can walk around the big items now, where I couldn’t before. I’ve still got some outside projects before the snow flies, but I’m feeling much better about taking some time and getting out to do some hunting now.

Along with the changing seasons, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission held its first meeting in half-a-year this past Thursday. Among items on the agenda is one pertaining to the commission adjusting to new membership. I’m not sure who all is moving on. One of the two Borough Assembly folks, Dan Mayfield, is termed out and running for state senate.

I’m writing this prior to the meeting so I’m speculating. One member recently had a baby and may leave to deal with the new family. One or two other members may decide to call it quits as well. I guess I’ll find out at the meeting who’s still a commission member and who isn’t.

I hope our core group of Mike Wood, Andy Couch, Larry Engel, and myself will still be active, but times do change, and folks develop other commitments. Regardless, there are many qualified folks out there who would do admirably if they choose to serve on this commission. We’ll know better as the fall season progresses.

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