Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wind Turbins and then some

Yesterday was our day for touring here at Webster City and it was fun.   For starters, it was off to see a "Wind Turbine" up close and friendly.  As expected, the steel involved in the tower is massive.  What I was surprised at was the depth of the concrete base.  There is a lot of it and I didn't think it was deep enough.  But they do stand, so it must work.    The big disappointment was that on Friday morning, there was no wind.  We were in a wind farm of about a hundred turbines and all of them sat there like bumps on a log!  Once in a while, one would move a little bit.

What I really wanted to hear was the noise that some claim to hear when the blades rotate.  Our tour guide explained that sometimes there is lots of swish noise from the blade tip when it is damaged.   The blade tip damage is from a lightening strike to a metal core wire in the blade.    The lightening strike instantly vaporizes any moisture contained in the blade.  The instant steam pressure explodes the blade tip, usually blowing a hole in the blade near the tip.  (They even have drain holes in the blade tip to let the moisture out.

When a blade is struck by lightening and damaged, they actually do a fiberglass repair on it.  They tie a harness to the hub and then bring a man up from the ground to do the repairs.  It quickly became obvious that being a tower technician is not a job I would want!   But thankfully, heights don't bother some people, especially when there is nothing below them!

In the PM, we visited the local museum in Webster City and we were given a nice tour by one of the local leaders.   The museum is on grounds that were originally homesteaded by the first settlers of the community.   It was next to the Boone River (for water power) and also a small stream for fresh water.  A young girl of the family kept a diary of family life through-out her years, which has been a blessing to many historians to understand life on the prairie.

Back at the county park campground, several of us men used my electric chain saw to cut some firewood from some dead and downed small trees in the nearby woods.  (It is permissible to cut the wood as long as we  didn't use a gas chain saw!)    After dinner we had a fire in the pit and every one formed a circle around the fire.   There was lots of light conversation and banter among the members.  It cooled off as the sun went down and I bailed out early.  I guess with little meat on my bones, I also cool off fast when just sitting around.

Our current plans after the rally are to head west to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.  However, with the games that the JOKERS in Washington, D.C. are playing, it makes us wonder if we ought to make other plans in case the government shuts down.   Sometimes life is not easy.  But then these problems are minor compared to the health problems some of my friends are battling.  We are so blessed to be able to travel.

Sandy just read my previous posting and it finally soaked in that she is doing more driving!  I guess it didn't register  on Thursday when she was driving.


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