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Bird Diverters

The things people do for the people they love.

For the past thirty(+) years Elaine has been the employee of an electrical engineering firm. A few of those years were spent with Elaine drawing plans and equipment specs for the controls at the local mega brewery. A few more years were spent drawing plans and specs at the oil refinery in the next state. Most of those thirty years were spent drawing and power poles and powerlines in rural areas across the western United States.

Elaine has kept me fascinated over the years by sharing her knowledge of powerlines. Imagine yourself driving in a car with Elaine and she screams, “That’s a KVXT-Rex pole, complete with bird diverters.” Fascinating, simply fascinating.

I am not admitting anything here, but I maybe or maybe not have driven off the road trying to see the difference between a KVXT-Rex pole and a KVXT-Rex2 pole.

Elaine’s knowledge and interest is not limited to power poles and cables. She know a lot about bird diverters and the birds that are to be diverted. For those of you with limited knowledge of bird diverters, they are “spikey” things on the top of power poles to prevent birds from sitting on the poles, spreading their wings, touching two things and frying themselves. They don’t work, but it keeps the bird people happy.

Elaine has become one of those bird people. She loves to identify the birds sitting on or next to the bird diverters. I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve needed to pull the car over, so I can let Elaine watch a three-year old, immature peregrine falcon sitting next to Simpson #64, Bird Diverters atop a KVXT-Rex2 power pole with a three foot sag in the cabling. I’ve asked Elaine to just look at her Spacebook account while I drive, but she insists on looking at every (construction language) pole.

I have learned a lot about powerlines from Elaine. I have learned that, not all powerlines are the same. Transmission lines carry electricity from power generating facilities to sub-stations where the electricity is divided and sent along to individual locations. Distribution lines carry the downsized electricity to homes, businesses, etc.

I have learned that the large, white windmills kill eagles. This makes Elaine angry. I have learned that many of the windmills are not operational because the transmission lines have not been finished. (Elaine and her employers are working as fast as they can.)

I have learned that the sag of the cable/wire between power poles is engineered. Yep, those cables are not pulled tight for a reason.

I am getting to the “people do things for people they love” part as fast as I can. This is just taking a while.

Elaine has drawn literally hundreds of power poles and transmission lines over the years. But, she has never has the opportunity to observe the construction of the transmission lines. Until now!

A couple weeks ago Elaine excitedly told me that everyone in the Transmission Line division of the company she works for was invited to watch the stringing of the electric cable between power poles across a mountain canyon in Southwest Colorado.

Elaine: The energy company invited us to watch the placement of the cables across the canyon. They will be using helicopters to pull the cable.

Me: Cool, when is that? Are you going?

Elaine: I’m not sure of the schedule. Do you want to go?

Me: I guess, will we get to ride in the helicopter?

Elaine: I doubt that, I’ll try to find out more details

Later on. Oh yeah, here comes the love part.

Elaine: It looks like they will be doing the work on a Wednesday. We can drive there on Tuesday and drive back on Thursday.

Me: Wow, that sounds great. (All the while I was thinking, drive ten hours, NOT ride in a helicopter, watch helicopters, and then drive ten hours.)

Elaine: I’m really looking forward to our trip. I’ve never seen anything I have drawn.

Me: Yeah, it will be fun. Plus, we will see some beautiful country. The leaves should be changing.

Elaine: Once we get there, they will give us a ride to the canyon, because the road is too rough for small SUV’s.

Me: That will be nice. (What I didn’t say was “That will means we will be stuck there without a car, if and when it gets boring.”)

Elaine informed me there might have been a snag in the plan. How did she know, I forgot to make hotel reservations? She reminded me twice. Turns out, the lack of hotel reservations was not the snag. It had something to do with insurance of the visitors.

Elaine was so excited. Me? I’ve been to those celebratory milestones of construction projects. I assumed Elaine and I would be sitting with the dignitaries. Each of us wearing new hardhats and safety vests. Somehow, the thrill of that is gone.

Another day past and Elaine told be everything has been worked out. The trip was back on. I promised to make hotel reservations the very next morning.

Lying in bed that night, Elaine received a text informing her that the trip was off, this time for good. With tears in her eyes, she told me no ten hour drives, no helicopters, no leaves, no dinners in new restaurants, no watching bald eagles sitting on bird diverters, and no days off. Elaine started using her second language, (construction language) while refering to the energy company. She might have said bad things about the company's logo.

Upon wakening the next morning, I looked at Elaine and asked, “It was me, wasn’t it? They won’t insure me.”

Elaine: I didn’t want to tell you. (Love part.)

Me: I will drive you down there. (Love part)

Elaine: I won’t go without you. (That’s the love part.)

Me: Good thing I didn’t make hotel reservations.

Elaine: We can go to another project, belonging to a different energy company later on.

Me: Will I need to wear a new hardhat and safety vest? (Another love part)

Elaine’s employer promised Elaine there was another opportunity around the corner. If it doesn’t happen before Christmas, I’m buying Elaine a new hardhat and safety vest. (Love part.) We can go out together, wearing our vests and look at the distribution line and pole on our property. Maybe a Golden Eagle will land.

Obviously, this story has nothing to do with a yarn store. The Sipes family, appreciates your input in finding new locations for classes. We are looking into all possibilities. The Wild West Knitting Retreat will return in 2021. However, we will be changing the dates from Labor Day Weekend. Stay tuned. You are going to want to reserve early. Brick and Mortar, Your Daily Fiber is on track to close October 17th. Plans to move the operation to our home are ongoing. Our new home storage facility should be arriving after Oct. 1. Stay tuned.

Our crazy lives!


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