Monthly Archives: June 2012

Father’s Day 2012: The Direction of Adventure!

The morning of Father’s Day started rather early for me, as I had to head in to work around 6:30 a.m. for an early-morning planned maintenance. The whole team was there early to help out, so at least there was some camaraderie. The maintenance ended after church had already started, so even though I drove like the wind, I still missed most of church. Luckily, this sort of maintenance doesn’t happen very often.

Early Morning Work

Early Morning Work

For Father’s Day this year, Rebecca planned a surprise outing for me. I had no idea where we were going until we got there, which is not typical for me, but was exciting!

The "Plans"

The “Plans”

After church, we headed over on Route 62 towards I-95. I thought we were going to get on I-95 North, but I was surprised as Rebecca went past it. I expressed my surprise, pointing at the I-95 sign and saying that I thought we’d be going that way, because “That’s the direction of adventure!”

As it turns out, we were just stopping to get gas. But shortly after that, we doubled back and, indeed, headed “in the direction of adventure!”

I-95 North: The Direction of Adventure!

I-95 North: The Direction of Adventure!

As it turns out, our destination was the Portsmouth, NH area. This marks the third Father’s Day that I’ve spent there. One year we went on a cruise out to the Isles of Shoals, and another year we visited the USS Albacore. This time, our first stop was for lunch at Street 360, a funky little restaurant that celebrates street food from all over the world.

Me and the girls at Street 360

Me and the girls at Street 360

In addition to enjoying the funky atmosphere of the restaurant, and noticing that they used a wall-mounted iPad as an order-entry device, we thought the food was great. I enjoyed a ‘Singapore Salad,’ which was a bowl of salad that had: “Daikon, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, celery, scallions, zucchini, cilantro, mint, Thai basil and peanuts with fresh and delicious sesame ginger dressing.” I also chose to add avocado slices and grilled chicken to the mix. It made for a very tasty, hearty and filling salad.

After lunch, Rebecca drove us to our next mystery destination, for which I had been instructed to pack ‘adventuring clothes’. I soon learned that we were visiting Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, NH. We changed into our adventure clothes, and then headed out for a nice long walk along the rocky shores, through the woods, and around the ruins of a World War II-era coastal gun battery installation.

Rocky Shores

Rocky Shores

Gun battery

Gun battery

Papa, Catherine and Esme are "sea monsters"

Papa, Catherine and Esme are “sea monsters”

Great food and great adventure was the perfect way to spend Father’s Day with my girls. I’m thankful to Rebecca for her efforts in helping plan out a great day, and I highly recommend Portsmouth, NH and the surrounding area for great adventures, Father’s Day or otherwise!

For all of the photos from the day, visit the gallery.

Spark Plugs

The “Check Engine” light in our 2002 Subaru Legacy came on a while back. The symptoms were a sputtering, jumpy engine only on cold or wet mornings. The symptoms went away after the car had been driven for a few minutes. An OBD check revealed that the issue was a cylinder misfire. My mechanic said that it could either be bad spark plugs or bad wires going to the spark plugs. It would have cost several hundred dollars to have him do the replacement, so we put it off for a while. The spark plugs are the cheaper of the two parts to replace, so eventually, I decided that I’d like to try replacing them myself to see if it fixed the problem. I have the Haynes manual for our Legacy, which details the procedure, so I felt like it was pretty do-able. In additional, I also found this video that details the entire process on the exact same engine as we have.

The process went pretty smoothly overall. I had to remove some unrelated parts from under the hood in order to get access to the plugs, which are mounted on the sides of the engine. The air intake had to come off completely, and the wiper fluid reservoir had to be disconnected and moved out of the way. Other than that, it was pretty straightforward.

New spark plug

New spark plug

It was a bit nerve-racking as I prepared to turn the engine on for the first time after the replacement. I wondered what would happen if I hadn’t installed things quite right. But I had nothing to worry about, as the engine started up just fine. I took a test drive and everything ran smoothly. That was a week ago, and the car has been running great ever since! No bad starts, and the check engine light turned itself off. The cost for the spark plugs was only $10, and I also had to buy a longer extender for my ratcheting wrench so that it could reach far enough to grab the spark plugs, but other than that it was pretty cheap and a good investment of my time.

You can see some more pics from the procedure in the gallery.