2013/12/07-12 (S-R) The Celebrations Begin

On Saturday morning I went to our local ham radio club breakfast as I usually do.  Linda stayed home, which is not usual, as I had a website meeting immediately following breakfast.  Club president Mike (W8XH) and I previewed the new club website for a small group that included the other two officers.  We provided them with logins so they could access the site, most of which is blocked from public view, and asked them to interact with it and provide feedback.

We had ordered garage door openers so each of our children could have one.  They arrived a couple of days earlier and we finally got around to programming them on Saturday afternoon.  They arrived just in time, too, as we were headed to Katie’s (grand-daughter #2) 17th birthday dinner that evening.  Our daughter (Meghan) and her husband (Chris, Katie’s dad) were there, as were our son (Brendan), his wife (Shawna), and their daughter (Madeline, grand-daughter #1).

Katie has developed quite a taste for sushi and selected Yotsuba in Ann Arbor, Michigan for her birthday meal.  Japanese restaurants were once a rare treat for us.  As with most restaurants that are not specifically vegan, or “vegan friendly” Japanese restaurants now pose a challenge for us.  But they had things we could eat, and they were very good.  Katie is very interested in science and decided she would like to start building a library with some quality leather-bound books in it.  She specifically requested Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species… and Linda was able to find a used, mint condition copy at Franklin Books (in New Jersey).

Brendan and Shawna had a social engagement after dinner so they left to put Madeline to bed.  Linda and I followed a short while later and did baby-sitting duty for a couple of hours until they returned.  By the time we got home it had been a long but very good day.

Sunday evening was the annual South Lyon Area Amateur Radio Club holiday dinner which is held in lieu of our regular second Sunday of the month business meeting and technical program.  The club decided to try a new venue this year and selected the Zukey Lake Tavern near Pinckney, Michigan from among three candidates.  Although not located in South Lyon, we had a portion of the restaurant to ourselves that was sufficient to accommodate the 40 people who showed up.  We were also allowed to order from the menu and had sufficient wait-staff to efficiently take our orders and deliver our food.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and like the food; at least they ate a lot of it!

Linda pulled her usual babysitting shift on Monday and I headed for Edwardsburg, Michigan to retrieve the bus.  I originally planned to winterize it and then drive to our friends’ place in Twelve Mile, Indiana to spend a couple of days tying up loose ends on the Zena auxiliary power generator project.  I was then going to take the bus to Martin Diesel in Defiance, Ohio to have them check, service, and adjust it before returning home.  As most of this work would be done outside, I decided to alter my plans when the weather forecast called for overnight low temperatures near zero (F) for most of the week.  Pat and Vickie Lintner from our FMCA Great Lakes Converted Coaches chapter had once again offered the use of a spare bedroom at the house in Elkhart, Indiana so I took them up on that.  That allowed me to spend the later afternoon and early evening working with Michele Henry at Phoenix Paint on an article I was writing about the exterior renovation of our coach that was done by her shop from October 2011 to August 2012.  I grabbed a salad for dinner at the Martin’s grocery store on SR-19 on the north side of Elkhart, Indiana and then headed to the Lintners’ for the evening.  (BTW:  If you are in the Elkhart area and want a really nice salad, the Martin’s salad bar is fabulous.  They also have a deli counter where you can get hot items, including potatoes.  They have fountain and bottled soft drinks and a Starbucks Coffee, all conveniently located next to a two-level seating area where you can sit and eat, and they have free Wi-Fi if you want to sit and work.)

On Tuesday morning I finished prepping the bus for travel, hooked up the car, and left Phoenix Paint around mid-morning for the drive back to our house in Howell, Michigan.  I like to change up my route, so this time I took US-12 to I-69 to I-96 to M-59 to our house, with a stop at the Mobile Truck Stop on I-96 at M-52 before exiting onto M-59.  I arrived home mid-afternoon with a full tank of diesel fuel, parked and leveled the bus, and plugged it in.  Linda was in holiday shopping mode, so she wasn’t there when I arrived.

I spent the next couple of days working at my desk trying to get a few last minute things taken care of on various websites and straightening up papers.  When we are gone for a while we prefer not to come home to clutter and chaos.  Linda went to the bakery for the day on Thursday and I headed over to Micro-Center in Madison Heights, Michigan to purchase a Buffalo Technologies LinkStation 421e dual drive Network Attached Storage (NAS) enclosure and two Toshiba 3.0 TB hard disk drives.  This new NAS was an addition to our existing Buffalo Technologies LinkStation Pro Duo 1.0 TB RAID 1 NAS, which we planned to take with us in the bus.

The drives were very easy to install in the LS421e.  On power up the LS421e initially configured itself as a RAID 0 NAS, which means it combined the HDDs to appear as a single 6.0 TB drive.  The NAS Navigator 2 software that came with the unit made it fairly easy to manage the device and I reconfigured it as a 3.0 TB RAID 1 NAS, in which the two drives are mirror images of each other.  If one drive fails it can be replaced with a drive of the same or larger capacity and the new drive will become an exact mirror of the other one.  The process required some patience, however, as the RAID 1 configuration took approximately 10 hours per Terabyte, or 30 hours total, to configure itself.  The NAS Navigator 2 software tells you this in advance, so it doesn’t come as a surprise, but it is a very long time.  A bonus to the NAS Navigator 2 software is that it will manage all Buffalo Technologies LinkStation and TeraStations on the network, so I was able to use it to manage the existing LinkStation.  That was an unexpected bonus as the existing LinkStation was originally installed and managed from a workstation computer that is no longer in service.

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