Learning to love the seat warmer

Being a die-hard Minnesotan, I’ve developed some habits that I need to break. Many of these are stubborn/stupid habits that simply come from getting old and always doing things the old way.

One of them is my insistence on not using seat warmers in cars. Mostly because my first encounter with them was unknowing. I was riding in someones fancy car (Lexus) and it detected that a butt was in the passenger seat. Combined with the outdoor temperature, the climate computer decided it should activate the heated seat. About a minute later I was wondering if I had peed my pants 😳🍑🔥

I decided then and there that it would be the first and last time I used a heated seat… But was it really?

Driving my Chevy Bolt in winter, the range is reduced due to several factors: batteries don’t like the cold, the factory heater is a resistance unit instead of an efficient heat pump like on the newer Teslas. Combined with the fact that my car is currently limited to an 80% charge, the juice gets used up much faster in the winter.

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Garden Railway Track Work Part 2 – Decking

Looking at several garden railway roadbed installation methods, I wanted to mount my track to boards for smooth operation. We’ll use the crusher fines as a base under the boards, […]

The post Garden Railway Track Work Part 2 – Decking appeared first on Meatball Racing.

Looking at several garden railway roadbed installation methods, I wanted to mount my track to boards for smooth operation. We’ll use the crusher fines as a base under the boards, and later on the top and sides as ballast.

I started by cutting my 1″x4″ cedar boards to the exact length needed for the straight sections. I did rough cuts for the curves on 1/2″ pressure treated plywood:

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Garden Railway Track Work Part 1 – Base

With my area leveled, I laid the track out to make sure everything would fit. This was when I discovered I had to make a few minor changes to my […]

The post Garden Railway Track Work Part 1 – Base appeared first on Meatball Racing.

With my area leveled, I laid the track out to make sure everything would fit. This was when I discovered I had to make a few minor changes to my design.

You can’t have a left turnout switch immediately following a right turnout switch. This is because the manual switch mechanism on the left-hand switch will interfere with the track coming off the right turnout. You have to put one straight section in-between the switches. You can see the first left-hand turnout operation switch between the tracks here:

You can also probably spot my SCX24 Subaru brat up there. I wanted to make sure there was room for a small fire road between the tracks and the garden edge.

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Garden Railway Bed Installation

After choosing a suitable layout and location for the crawler course and garden railway, it was time to lay the foundation. I called 811 to make sure I wasn’t going […]

The post Garden Railway Bed Installation appeared first on Meatball Racing.

After choosing a suitable layout and location for the crawler course and garden railway, it was time to lay the foundation.

I called 811 to make sure I wasn’t going to run into any buried pipes or wires, it was time to start digging ⛏ The issue I needed to solve is that the selected area for my garden railway and crawler course is sloped.

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Dual Charging EVs & Charging Schedules

I knew having two electric-powered vehicles in the garage would initially present some charging problems. We have a garage fridge and an air compressor that already like to trip the circuit breaker when both are running full-tilt. Charging two vehicles from that same 120V circuit was going to be tricky.

Offset Charging Schedules

Until we could add a dedicated 240V circuit, the first thing I did was set charging schedules for both vehicles. I set the Bolt to charge from Midnight to 4PM. Because I work from home, I tend to drive my car (usually to rehearsal) after work.

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Crawler Course & Garden Railway Design

We had a 1:24 scale Christmas last year, which was fun to set up under the tree. While the SCX24 RC crawler is small, the G-scale trains are decidedly big […]

The post Crawler Course & Garden Railway Design appeared first on Meatball Racing.

We had a 1:24 scale Christmas last year, which was fun to set up under the tree. While the SCX24 RC crawler is small, the G-scale trains are decidedly big once you factor in the layout. I’ve always loved model trains and had a layout as a kid, but in my home it would be impossible to dedicate a room to model trains. Why not go outside?

Large scale trains are popular for garden railways, and I had a section of yard that was completely unused. But it won’t be for just trains – I want it to be a multi-modal play area: trains, crawlers, maybe even a landing pad for an RC helicopter 🚂🚙🚁

This site isn’t transforming into a model railroad blog (at least not permanently), but the next few posts will be about the train setup as groundwork before the crawler course is installed. Hopefully you can enjoy it all under the guise of RC and Trail & Scale 😎

Garden Bed & Trains

For the area, I purchased some Vita 4’x4’x11″ vinyl garden beds from Costco. They came as a 2-pack that you can combine to make a 8’x8′ area. I bought two of those packs which let me combine them to make a 12’x20′ area.

Before I did any digging, I loosely fit the vinyl bed parts together in the yard to make sure I knew that the space would be appropriate

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800 Mile Bolt EV Road Trip

There’s a terrible article from the Detroit Free Press making its rounds – claiming to be a “study” comparing EV charging costs to gas costs. It has been picked up by USA Today and other news outlets. There have also been several rebuttals, most notably one from Car and Driver.

I took a road trip earlier this year in my new Chevy Bolt. While it’s not a study, I hope you’ll find my personal story and anecdotal evidence compelling.

TL;DR? I drove from Minneapolis to Chicago and back, and it cost me $45.90 in energy for the whole trip.

  1. $11.15 – Tomah, WI
  2. $14.62 – Rockford, IL
  3. $5 – Hotel
  4. $9.31 – Madison, WI
  5. $5.82 – Eau Claire, WI

Here are all of the details…

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Fitbit Charge 4 GPS woes

I was really getting to love my Fitbit Charge 4. It ticked all the boxes I needed:

All seemed great, until it wasn’t. I did a ride with a friend in April and it inexplicably dropped GPS signal after 5 miles.

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