Don’t Try This At Home

And please, don’t ask me to try it for you either. For a while now, I have noticed that my laptop has been getting really hot after it runs for a while and starts to really slow down. So for the past couple of days, I’ve been monitoring the main cooling fan and noticed that it wasn’t ever coming on. The first thing I tried was using a little bit of the compressed air. That didn’t help at all. Even while it was blowing, the fan wouldn’t rotate. I booted into the Dell Diagnostics to run the test for the cooling fan. Sure enough, it gave an error that the fan wasn’t spinning. I wrote done the error codes just in case I had to call Dell. I’ve found that if I can give the results of the various troubleshooting steps that will probably ask you to go through, I can save a lot of time of being on the phone with them.

Laptop Completely Taken ApartAfter my last experience with a Dell Contracted Technician working on my laptop, I decided to take my computer apart to get to the fan. Unfortunately, to get to the fan, I pretty much had to take my computer completely apart. Again, I don’t recommend this. Laptop parts are very fragile and are often held together by a hidden screw, so if you try to open it, don’t force anything. After a good 10 minutes or so, I was finally to the fan. I first checked to see that its cable looked good and was plugged in. Although the last guy should have never gotten to this step in disassembly, I almost expected that he did and forgot to plug the fan back up. When I took the fan top off, I found the source of the problem… a big ball of dust. I wonder just how many other people have run into this problem that has a fairly simple solution.

Dust Ball

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Big South Fork: Honey Creek Loop Trail

Honey Creek Loop
Honey Creek Loop Elevation

Slot CanyonHoney Creek Trail is probably one of the funnest trails you will encounter in Big South Fork. Yesterday I meet up with Bryan and some others from Brentwood Hills to do Honey Creek. This trail offers a wide variety of things to see and things to do. First off, there are 4 waterfalls along the trail, though being under a level D4 drought at this time, the waterfalls were nonexistent. This trail also offers a few rock caves that are very accessible. There is an overlook which gives you a good view of one of the most violent portions (class IV rapids) of the Cumberland River, but because of the drought it didn’t look all that particularly violent. Also this trail features some of Tennessee’s finest slot canyons. These slot canyons aren’t very big, nor or they all that difficult, especially if you compare them to the slot canyons you’d find in Utah. Tennessee isn’t exactly known for its canyons, so that makes this kind of unique.

Rock House CaveThe rock caves is one of the other features that make this trail so fun. Some are accessible just by climbing just a few feet, while others a ladder is already in place for you to climb. These caves don’t go underground and aren’t that deep. Most are just single chamber, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Several were probably used by the Native American’s as shelter. For example, this picture was taken from Indian Rock House Cave.

Well Marked SignsA word of warning though, this trail isn’t the best marked trail. The best way to hike this loop is to take the trailhead that is just up the road and end at the parking area. If you look at the elevation profile image above, ignore the distances. My program gives it as linear distance (aka, as the crow flies). The true distance is going to be terrain distance + climbing distance. Around the third mile, you will encounter a sign that says follow creek. This is where you could lose the trail if you aren’t careful. Make sure you don’t go too long without seeing the red trail blazes. This is the most dangerous part of the trail. Not only because you could get lost if you aren’t paying attention, but also because you are hiking along or in the creek. It is very slippery. This time the water was way down, but the last time I can remember the water being up and flowing pretty good. It was a tricky section of the trail to hike. This is definitely a trail you will want to avoid if it has recently rained or if rain is forecasted. You will also run into signs that are kind of ambiguous about where the main trail goes. This trail has a number of spur trails that either require turning around at the destination or rejoining the trail. When you encounter this sign, you want to take the trail that goes up. It is a little more difficult, but affords more scenery.

While most books and websites will tell you the elevation change on this trail is only 500 ft, I am going to give a way different number. This trail has a whole lot of up and down, there isn’t very many “flat” areas on this trail. Consequently, the total elevation gain is somewhere closer to 2500 ft.

The directions on how to get there I have found are usually pretty vague, so the last thing I want to do is give good directions on how to get to Honey Creek from Knoxville or anyplace you find yourself taking I-75. Take I-75 to exit 141. Turn left off the exit and head west on Highway 53. Stay on Highway 53 through Huntsville until it ends at a light at Highway 27. Turn left onto Highway 27 south. After a few miles you will cross over the New River Bridge. A little less than .5 mile from the bridge you will see a sign on the right hand side of the road that says Burnt Mill Bridge River Access 4.1 miles. Follow the signs to Burnt Mill Bridge. These are well marked, much better than trying to give road names. If you look in the guidebooks, some will say this bridge is closed to traffic, while others say it is open but 2 tons is the weight limit. I wasn’t sure if I should risk taking it and it being closed, but I did… And I’m very glad that I did. They have constructed a new bridge, so you can view the old one for its historic value, but pass using the new bridge. A little over 3 miles past the bridge, you will see the road split. At this split, go right. This takes you to the parking area or you can drive it all the way to the end at the overlook mentioned earlier.
Driving Map to Honey Creek

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Election Day Woes

Well its Election Day in Knoxville today. Shortly after I moved, I changed over my voter registration. At my old house it was nice that the voting place was in my back yard but I was surprised at how far my new place was from my house. They had me voting at Karns Middle School. I thought that it was odd, so I checked the politcal map on KGIS and sure enough, they had me at the edge of the precinct that votes at Karns Middle (63rd Precinct).

So this morning, before work, I was gonna swing by and vote. At my previous residence, it always took so long because of the long lines, having too few booths, people still uncomfortable with the machines, and workers who didn’t seem to know much of what they were doing in the first place. I was expecting the same thing to happen this time too. I would rather them eat into my morning than my evening though. So I drive all the way out to Karns Middle but I don’t see any signs that say vote here. I eventually find my way to the office and ask where the voting booths are at. They then tell me that voting is only going on in the city not in the county so I don’t have to vote today or I have gone to the wrong location. I show them my card that shows that I am in the city and that Karns Middle School is my voting location. They try calling up the election commission to figure out what to do with me. After about 10 minutes, they ask to speak to me on the phone. They ask for my name and tell me that I should be voting in the 42nd Precinct location at Pleasant Ridge Elementary (MUCH closer to my house).

So I travel back to Pleasant Ridge Elementary and vote. When I arrived, there was one other person there to vote. He was registering right as I arrived. There was 4 booths there, but when I arrived, they were all empty. After I registered, I got my access number and was immediately able to vote.

Today’s election for the most part is an uninteresting election. There are only four city council seats that need to be selected. Three of those are uncontested. It just so happens that the one seat that is contested has Joe Bailey (from Laurel) running for that seat.

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