Monday, August 10, 2009

Running Hot

I went out to pick up the paper this morning...before 11AM the driveway's still in the shade of a big cedar deodora, but I felt like I was in a commercial kitchen, walking by the Pizza Oven on a Saturday Night...better get after it early today.

A couple cups of coffee, and I'm back in the Folks' driveway putting my repaired radiator back in the Chevy 4X4. I'd cleaned a decade of CalTrans' finest "sand" from beneath the radiator, from the cross-members, the hard lines and hoses. The Chevy's radiator does triple-duty, keeping coolant, ATF, and engine oil temps in spec. It does this cleanly as long as accumulated road debris doesn't "hole" the core.

I have an aversion to loose fluids, all groomers do. Loose fluids always find their way into your snowcat and onto your shoes, and for groomers oily shoes make for Katarina Witt moments, another "slide for life" off frozen tracks, ending in who knows whatever solid encounter.

If you're a lucky guy, you won't hurt yourself, instead you'll track that spill into your personal vehicle, and home to the entry runner, the bathroom throw, and maybe the ottoman. These spills are insidious, they aren't puddles you can see and avoid. These spills are lurkers, hiding in the dark, even in "your" snowcat, waiting to spread to your shoes, your space, and to your life.

My mountain has spent hundreds of thousands on spill containment infrastructure over the years to mitigate the Big Scale version of this problem. Berms, vaults, catch basins, sumps, false floors with drains in the Oil Room and more are the frontline fortifications...Spill Kits, protocols, safety meeting discussions, MSDS's are the rear guard, still the goo-on-the-shoe eludes these sentinels to dirty my personal world.

So, I've learned to deal with it...steam clean the carpets every spring, spray lots of Shout on the clothes before they hit the laundry...RinoLiner floor mats for the Chevy take care of the garden variety contamination, but these measures are no match for spilt Off-Road Diesel Fuel.

Here in California, diesel fuel is as clean as the driven snow...ultra-low sulfur, cleaner-burning Cal-Spec, Gaia-loving, good-citizen diesel fuel. Clean, and clear as mountain spring water, unless you burn "Off-Road" Diesel Fuel...what's that? Same water-clear, clean fuel with Lucifer's Own Red Dye added to discourage scofflaws.

Off-Road blend isn't just for gearheads with too-tall 4X4 Rock Crawlers, Baja Buggies and off road toys of every description,'s for California machines who don't operate on Cali roads or highways, so they aren't obligated to pay CA Highway Tax, but ARE obligated to pay the Federal Excise Tax up front, CA Sales Tax, and other taxes I'm sure.

The State mandates the Red Dye because if you introduce the Red Diesel into a highway vehicle, it will stain the fuel system...pretty much forever...allowing the California Highway Patrol to catch the Tax Cheat during the next CHP Annual Inspection...California needs all the "Revenue" it can get these days...

This dye is death to groomer's duds. Shout goes hoarse tryin' to "Shout-it-out" water seems to set the stain...and subsequent washings are futile. I've had some success using orange based cleaners along with the Shout, but a couple of trips thru the laundry are usually called for before you can wear the darn thing to work again.

During the heart of ski season, I can go weeks without spilling a drop of fuel...the mountain has an IP Cam watching the Fuel Island, and fueling without your hand on the nozzle is a Firing Offense, Fuel Spill Rules are drummed into every employee's head during training, and repeated the Mountain keeps it's fuel in the tankage where it belongs.

After 29 years on my Mountain, I just want to know why am I always wearing a new T-Shirt, Carhartts, or Levis when I do slop a little Red Fuel on myself!


  1. HAH! Yet another reason I love it in flatland. You can have yer snow and salt, and sand crapping out radiators and such. I'll take wearing shorts and sandals on the sunny Winter day to go grocery shopping or for a walk in the park Damn, it is nice, living in God's country.

    Sure, snow is fine, for a week or two, but I like to make it down to the lumber yard or hardware store and back without freezing my hiney and dealing with chains or snow tires. No need to heat the shop either, except to burn off a morning chill.

    As for the red goo, hey, the reason I have so many "work" clothes is because, in my world, anything new only lasts about 1/2 hour before it gets slopped with one dang thing or another. It is a good thing I don't have to wear a suit and tie, the haberdashery and dry cleaning bills would kill me.

  2. Testing post name...

    Nope, I have no control under what name I post. The posting service takes the name from my Gmail account.

    Evidently I must have a profile to post under something other than my own first name.

    I haven't decided if ChicoMan should be my nom de blog comments, it doesn't have much panache. But what the heck, who cares? Lets try another ...

    Chico de Man Out