Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year.  

Time just keeps marching on.  It seems like it was only yesterday that there was the great concern that the world would stop turning when  the year 2000 arrived.   A friend of ours put it very nicely when he told a news reporter when she asked what his opinion was of the Year 2000 issue. He responded "It is only an issue created by a few people so that they can write volumes of books and get everyone excited about it so that their books sell!"  Such was the case.

Sandy and I are enjoying a quiet evening here in our motorhome, both of us on the computer becoming more educated about the world around us.  I read lots of news articles and Sandy searches the internet for appetizing sounding dishes that she can make while we're boondocking.   (We leave our park (with full hookups) on Tuesday with the intent to boondock (i.e. no hookups) until April.)   We may weaken a day or two between rendezvous  That is why we have a Passport America membership.

.We had a first in the park today.   A member of the park fell off of the steps of her RV and severely gashed her head.  We learned about it when the local siren sounded off.  It was then only a minute or so until about a half dozen golf carts went zipping by.   Then it was only 2 or 3 minutes until the local fire district EMS truck arrived.  The truck was guided by a local resident who met the truck at the road gate.  In another 5 minutes, the big fire truck showed up and shortly thereafter an ambulance arrived.

In summary it was very satisfying to see how the park residents responded to the emergency, since we are several miles out of town.  Some members served as traffic control, others grabbed the medical equipment and everyone converged at the accident site.   (I didn't stick around to get in the way, so I'm not sure what caused the lady to fall.)  Considering the age of the park residents, we're fortunate to have so many willing volunteers.

Again, Happy New Year.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrapping up 2011, looking forward to 2012

We've had a moderately relaxing week here at Paradise Park.  Nothing earth-shattering that upset the apple cart.  (And we like it that way.)  We thought that there would be some comments about a "Mud Track" west of the park two miles that has a 3 day event starting today.   But it is not to be.  Friends who went into town said that everything went well, no lines or hold ups for them going either way.  Considering all of the stories that were going around earlier, we're happy to hear that it was a nothing today.

Yesterday we worked on Lavonne bathroom stool.  What a pain.  Airstream has the stool in a little room so small that you can't even get your hand down beside it.   I had to lay on the floor to un-bolt it.   Plus the water line had to be removed by feel.   We took the stool out to see why it would not hold water in the bowl.  I thought that they problem was a lime build up on the active surface of the seal.  So we used lime away and cleaned the seal as best as we could.  But this morning, she reported that all of my effort was wasted.  It did not hold water.  (I guess as a friend in the service used to say, "You win some; you loose some and some get rained out."

On Wednesday, I helped Lee replace a since faucet in Lavonne's shed behind the trailer.  This job was a little bit easier.  The problem was that we could only rotate the sink, not pull it into the open.  Miraculously, the four screw on connections held water.   I guess it helps when they are not cross threaded to begin with.

A friend came over yesterday morning with his computer and his Mi-fi card.  He had taken his computer into Office Depot to be speeded up and now he can't get onto his Mi-Fi.   It was our first look at a Mi-Fi and it was impressive.   His problem was that they had taken his wireless driver out of his startup file, so the wireless adapter never ran.   We fell into the solution real quick.  However, when we tried to connect our notebook to the Mi-Fi, it was a no go.  As we talked with him, we learned that the Mi-Fi is a replacement for him.  When they sent it too him,  they had told him to switch the "chip" from the old unit to the replacement unit. The end result is that Mi-Fi has an attached label that is wrong.  It is no problem until he needs to replace his computer and now doesn't know what the security code is.  We sent him on his way with instructions to lean on Verizon until they tell him what the code is.  He needs it if he gets a new computer or e-book.

We are really done with any productive work here in the park.  Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and it will be a quiet one in this house.  Sunday will be a quiet day as most of the folks have stayed up well beyond their bed time hours.  Monday is our last day here, so we're putting the final touches on our stuff and Tuesday we hit the road again, pull the anchor up or what ever you want to call it.  Tuesday, we're headed off to another location to join our "Boondocking" friends!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One week left to empty my bucket list!

We  leave the park one week from today and so far our list of things to get done is getting whittled down.  I think we'll make it.   Today we went with Lavonne to Arcadia for fuel (her car) and to give her moral support to pump it herself.   I feel like a hick standing there while she pumps it, but that is the only way she will learn how it is done.  One of her problems is that she has difficulty reading the LCD panels at the pumps.

While there it was grocery time, but that came second to Sandy getting her Kindle touch.  We turned in her Kindle 3G last Friday and the Punta Gorda store was out of the touch.   So now she has her toy!  She decided that the 3G version was un-necessary since we have a router and she does not intend to buy books from Amazon.   She has learned of a number of sites where she can obtain books for free via libraries and another place.   (The 3G version would also do the wi-fi to our router, but she didn't need the 3G capability, which costs and extra 50 bucks.)

Back at the park, we briefly worked on our backup LP tank connection.   We are carrying a 20 pound LP tank to use when the main tank runs empty.  At least that is the plan.  The reason is that the gauges on LP tanks are wildly in-accurate and  too often we find that we are filling when we still had nearly a half of tank of gas. Now we can run it nearly empty if we want to!  (And not be in trouble if it does run out.)

I've been kind of bragging about the weather here for the last month.  Well, the worm has turned, briefly we hope.  This evenings temperatures outside are 15 degrees lower then they were yesterday.  They may get into the 40s tonight.

Enough for tonight!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day and we're winding down

Christmas day is nearly spent and we're relaxing here in the rig.  Of course, our tummy is still well satisfied from dinner at 2 pm today.  A late afternoon walk did not wear it down either.  I guess like so many other things in life, "Just give it some time and all will settle down."

I was pleased to learn a little tid-bit about hip replacements today.  One of the fellows at our table sitting next to Sandy had a hip replaced not too long ago using a new approach.  He was ecstatic about how well it worked for him.  I was enough impressed with his comments that I looked up his surgeon online to see what was said about the surgery.   I've known for years that since my mother had both hips replaced, my dad had one hip replaced and three sisters have each had one hip replaced, it is probably something that I can expect.

The only fly in the ointment is that last summer as part of my physical, they x-rayed my hips.   The results were, "yes, I had a problem developing in the right hip, but it is the left hip that needs replacing".  I think they looked at the slides backwards!  One thing it did do is to convince me that when the time comes, I want a second opinion!

For those of you that are envious of our temperatures here in south Florida, you'll be happy  to  hear that on Wednesday, it will drop by about 10 degrees.   The days will be in the mid 70s and the nights about to the mid 50s.  I think we can hand that okay!

We trust all of our friends have enjoyed Christmas also. God bless you all.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

MERRY CHRISTMAS  (and remember the reason for the season.)

What a Joy it is to celebrate another of Christ's births.  Here we relax in the sunshine of south Florida where if anyone is complaining, it is because the temperature is headed for 85 degrees again today.   No bundling up or putting a coat on around here.   We've had our morning walk (to the dumpsters) and Sandy is currently out for her morning walk around the park. With the fog about gone and the sun beginning to appear, it  is going to be another nice day.  As a friend says, "Another great day in Paradise".

We went to the early Christmas Eve service last night at church so that we could return to the park before it was too dark.  (At 6:30, it was really dark!)   We had little time to waste, but for some reason, I was driving  with the cruise control on at 50 mph.   Suddenly we noticed a dark blob in the right ditch that was moving towards the road. Instinctively, we hit the brakes and watched a black wild hog cross the road in front of us.  We cleared it by ten to fifteen feet as it darted across the road.  One gives thanks immediately that we missed it.

For those from the farm, Texas and Florida wild hogs are usually coal black and flat as a pancake side to side, perhaps five inches at most. I suspect that they are about 200 pounds more or less.  We've often seen the results of their rooting in the ditches but this was first one that we've seen at night.  Let's hope it is also the last one.  (We learned that it is better to drive below 50 mph while in the Everglades 3 weeks ago.   The speed limit on the Tamiami Trail  between the Everglades NP and the Big Cypress Preserve is 60 in the daytime and 45 at night, in an effort to reduce car-panther collisions.)

Friday was our shopping trip to the big city so that Sandy could return her newly purchased Kendle 3G back to Walmart.   The advantage of the Kendle 3G over the cheaper model is that the 3G version has unlimited access online, but only to the Amazon bookstore to buy books, so she found out.   But why does she want that when she can get all of the books she needs free from many online library sources?  Plus the unit automatically reverts to the wifi link if there is an active wifi in range.  So since our Cradlepoint router is always on (if we have AC to the rig), her Kendle would be using our wifi, not the 3G service. When using the wifi service, the Kendle has unlimited online access via the used network.   She returned the 3G model and then we went to buy the cheaper wifi only version.  Sorry, but they were out of stock.  Come back next week!

This afternoon we'll join the others in the park for our Christmas dinner.   I was a little late again this year about pushing to change how the park does the Christmas dinner.   We sign up on a table of 8 for the dinner. The park provides the meat and gravy and the members of the table provide the rest, usually one item per couple.  I'd like to see it done in a table setting of 16 (2 eight foot tables).   Then you have two choices of everything.   However, it has always been with a table of 8 and a table of 8 it shall be!

I finally  made a temporary fixture for one of the LED lamps I've purchased via eBay from Hong Kong.  I put the lamp  in a tin can with aluminium foil to provide a reflector.  Well, the house chairman vetoed it as a suitable lamp.  The light it too blue-esh.    So I'm back in the market for a suitable fixture.  Someday we'll find one.   (I love it because the lamp is very low power and saves on  my battery when boondocking.)

Again,  Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We're getting into the park routine and out of the writing routine

I just realized this evening that we haven't been posting anything to our blog.  An even greater misfortune is that we haven't been updating our journal which is a daily diary of our activities.  Perhaps we're too busy?  Or perhaps we can blame it on the fact that we now have electrical hookups, and we're surfing too much.   But it has only been four days since the previous posting.

We're gradually getting things crossed off of our bucket list (our to do list).   I did get a call back finally from Shurflo about our water pump problem.   He asked if I needed it right away and I said "no, we are using a friend's pump!"  His reason for asking was that he'd like to  not send me a pump for about a month, after which  he'll have a new version of the pump.  (Of course, the new version will be better, more reliable etc.)  I agreed to wait a month or more so that we can have the better pump.  We hope it is better.

Yesterday, our renter from last year stopped in and returned our gate opener control.  We had asked them about it and they thought they had turned it into the park.  But they just found it and realized where it belonged.   So we returned the one we checked out from the park.  Now if we could only get the opener we have for our park in Casa Grande to do both gates!  It has two buttons.

For those of you not following the weather, it turned bitterly cold Sunday night. Yesterday morning the low was 55 degrees and we turned some heat on in the motorhome.  Tomorrow is to be a bit better.  The high today must have been up to 80, which was just fine for us.

In the cool of the morning sunshine today,  we decided to work on our black tank drain valve.   (We emptied the tanks, then use the jacks to tilt the motorhome so that there is no drippage out of the tank.  Then I can pull the valve to clean it.  The problem is that the inside of the tank, drain tubing and valve pick up a layer of lime.  The lime is rough and is like sand paper, which will eventually cut the valve seal.  We noticed that the valve was dragging some, so we cleaned it before it ruined the seal.   Interestingly, the lime problem is only in the black tank.  The gray tank lining is smooth as silk, probably the result of the various soaps that we use.

One of the joys of being here for 2 weeks is that we can get our mail and have other things shipped in.  We've ordered four LED lamp assemblies from Hong Kong, so we hope they'll make it also.   The lamp is one of the best ones we've seen for light output. (It only has 120 LEDs.) The other benefit of the lamp is that the current draw is only 0.6 Amps, about one fourth of the other lamps.

One of the downers of getting our mail is all of the "stuff" we get from our Medicare provider.  There were some major changes in our health insurance this year and we hope that we end up covered about the same way.  I'm sure we'll have less coverage and it will cost more, all part of Obama-care.  (Enough about politics!)


Friday, December 16, 2011

We're back in Paradise Park near Punta Gorda, FL

(This should have been posted last night.)

Yesterday was the last day we could stay free at Monument Lake, so we  (like just about everyone else in the campground)  bailed out.  It was a decent drive to our park with a stop at the small town of Immokalee, which is  a migrant and farmers' business community.  English is rarely heard and the town is nearly over-run with semis hauling farmers' products now.   We decided to do some exploring at the local commerical exchange for the growers.  

The first problem was finding a parking place for the RV and car.   Then I went to the market while Sandy stayed with the RV in case someone didn't like the way we were parked.   I've never seen so much in the way of  good garden product and it looked great.  We decided to price a lug of grapefruit and when she told me $6 for the lug, I decided I could carry it back to the RV.   (They may not speak much English, but they all know how to price the produce in American dollars!)

It was then another 20 miles on up the road to the next small town where we refilled the pantry.   Sandy was able to get what we needed but she complained  about the prices (not Wally prices).  We finally reached Florida highway 74 and headed west to our park.  What a refreshing drive, finally we had a tail
 wind!  (While heading north, we had a strong cross wind.)

Once in the park, we settled in and relaxed.   It is always a great feeling at the end of the day to be able to  park it, hit the automatic levelers, plug in the power cord and relax.   Friday starts our list of "to do" items, which needs to be done in two and a half weeks.  Already Sandy is complaining that she'll barely get used to living with connections when we'll pull up and head back to the world of boondocking.

Life moves on.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winding up our stay

Today has been our last full day here in the Monument Lake Campground and also our stay in the Big Cypress Swamp Preserve.   Did we do a lot?  I'm not sure but the time flew.  Did we learn anything?  Yes, duck (really duck) when there is a mangrove branch coming your way in the canoe.   Were there a lot of birds and alligators?  No, the water is too high so the alligators are not congregating at the large watering holes and it is too warm so the birds are still up north!

This morning Sandy and I served pancakes to the other two rigs here using our electric griddle and the Honda generator.  It worked fine until we ran out of gas.  Thankfully, we had more in the jug!  It was really a shake down test for our outing in about 3 weeks.

Our biggest challenge has been trying to burn the green fire wood we picked up on our first day here.  It will burn, but not willingly.  One needs to have a bed of coals to boil the moisture out of it first. Thankfully, a late arriving couple from Ft. Meyers brought us some dry oak, so we've had success getting the bed of coals ready.   The local oak is even reasonably straight and splits well with the splitting maul I  have along (If I can hit the log.)  Another fellow told me that I must have a non-standard handle because he  also  has trouble hitting the log.

The weather here has been either fantastic or the pits depending upon how you want to look at it.  The last 3 or 4 days have been somewhat windy with intermittent very light showers.   On the other hand, we ought not to complain, as they told us on the TV tonight that a year ago, the early morning temperature was in the mid 30s.  (For the last week, the night time low has been in the low 60s and the highs have often just hit 80.  We can handle that.)

We've spent each evening solving the world's problems sitting around the camp fire.  There have been a few mosquitoes, but they haven't bothered us too bad.  Perhaps the smoke from our green wood has helped control them.   (When the sun goes down, Sandy heads for the motorhome and does not fight the few bugs around.)

We've had 4 rigs here for the last two weeks and tomorrow we head in 4 different directions.   One couple headed home yesterday to Fort Meyers, Florida to spend Christmas with the children.  One of our party is heading for a campground in Everglades National Park with a trip to Key West eventually.  Another member is moving a whole 7 miles to another campground.   (This campground starts charging $16 a night tomorrow and he is moving to another campground here in the preserve that is free until January 6th.  It is classified as a "hunting camp", with no bath house with flush toilets.)   To close it out, we're heading to our RV Resort Park 100 miles  north of here where we'll be living in luxury with water, electric and sewer connections  Plus we have paved streets and neighbors every 30 feet on both sides of the road.  What a switch from our style here.  (I should add that we have to go 50 miles for groceries here verses only 25 miles from our resort park.)  Life can be tough at times!

We've had a wonderful time here at the Rendezvous with our Escapee friends.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Taking a peek at the Everglades

A group decision today said that we'd head for Shark Valley 25 miles east of  here to see the gators and what else they had.  So we piled into 2 vehicles and headed east after lunch.

Shark Valley is a tourist information area for everyone interested in seeing the Everglades. However, since today was Monday and most tourists are weekenders, it was very quiet today. Our first observation was that the tourists forgot what the day was and they all stayed home.  (Shark Valley was nearly deserted by the tourists and by the alligators.)  The speaker said that the alligators are still around, but since it rained two days ago, the alligators are still dispersed with the high water.  We also realized that the quantity of birds was really down.  Again the birds are dispersed because of the warm weather.   So we'll have to see them another day.!

It is late and I'm tired, so again a shorter than normal blog. Have a nice day.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Going for groceries

 It has been a couple of days since the last update and this time, there is real reporting to do.   We're fine and enjoying some real Florida sunshine and warm temperatures.  It turned cold last night and today the morning temperatures were in the mid 60s, (cold).  But on Thursday, it starts to warm up (to the low 80s).

Yesterday was Sandy's day to push the keyboard while Gene went canoeing on the Turner River here in the swamp.   All went pretty well although I do have a few deep scratches on my scalp.  (I lost my hat when I apparently  was using my head as a battering ram as we went under one of several low tree limbs.  It did hurt.)

We were on the water for 5 hours, of which 2 of them were in a very narrow channel that was carved out of a mangrove forest.  The route must have been laid out by a drunken sailor, as at times making the turns with the canoe was a challenge.  On the return, we used our hands on the brush instead of using the paddles.  In our group of 5 canoes, no  one tipped over although we had a very close call!  The channel depth was from 18 to 48 inches, so there was no real danger.

We were planning to  have a fire last night to relax a bit. Unfortunately, the wood we picked up is still TOO green and would not burn.  However, this morning almost all of the wood in the fire ring is gone.  I think it turned to charcoal and smoldered all night.  At least for tonight, we have some dry ends that didn't burn!

Today we went to Naples, Florida for groceries and to do our laundry.  Naples is a classy city, very neat and it looks to be expensive.  We found a laundromat for that duty and then the Walmart.   We didn't go to the nearest one, as we called in a a prescription refill to one 6 miles up the highway.   (There are 6 Walmarts in the Naples metropolitan area. )


Monday, December 5, 2011

It is 80 degrees out and NICE.

It is just plain hard to get too excited about anything around here today or even the last week.  It is in the 80s and we're loving it.   Perhaps a bit windy,  but we're not about to complain.  For you folks north and west, we're sorry to hear about your troubles.  Just hang in and it will improve.

I didn't realize that it has been 4 days since we have posted a blog.  I guess when we're having fun, the priorities get switched around.  The first day on site was a work day.  3 of us fellows put the chain saw in a pickup and went about 10 miles to a pile of wood.  The bad news is that I think it is too green to even burn, but we'll try it anyway.

Saturday was spent at the visitor's center attending some history seminars.  I didn't learn that much, but the seminars were well done and informative, especially for anyone who hasn't spent much time in the area.  But it was a good refresher for us.   Sunday night we went on a night walk on a observation boardwalk.   I hate to say it, but at my age, walking in the dark is a challenge, at least to go   in a straight line.   We had no problems, but we were aware of different environment.   There was very little wildlife seen or heard.  But the lead ranger gave a good tutorial as we went.

Tomorrow we're going to check out a museum in Everglades City.    Then to a sandwich shop for lunch followed by another museum near by.   On Wednesday, I'm going on a 5 hour canoe trip.   We have been told to bring a change of clothes in case we roll the canoe.  I also understand that the path is not always very wide or tall, so we may have a few battles with the brush on the way.    

That is about enough for one report.   Our solar panels seem to almost do a good job.  About every other day, we need to run the generator an hour in the morning.   The downer has been a couple of days with a heavy cloud cover.  But we're doing well otherwise.

Have a great day (we are!)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monument Lake Campground and loving it

Today was moving day and we went a whole 120 miles, from our RV Resort park near Punta Gorda to Monument Lake Campground, on highway 41 or the Tamiami Trail or we're in the Cypress National Preserve or we're just on the north edge of the Everglades National Park or 20 miles east of Everglades City.  But let it be said that we have lots of room, it is quiet and the alligators haven't bothered us at all.

We had a pleasant drive here and an even better one when our friends from the Pow-Wow arrived (very late) to tell us that they had two blow-outs this afternoon on the interstate.  It was not a good day for them,  but no  one was hurt and road service took good care of them.

We stopped in Immokalee for my  B-12 prescription and took care of that little issue. We had stopped earlier to  top off the pantry stocks so that we'd have enough food for the next two weeks.   We're parked in what used to be the group camping area.   However, they have changed the rules and will only let us have one RV per picnic table.  So far we're okay.

But I dare not complain, as we also asked about a campfire on the ground, which they said no, no!   The local host said he'd see if he could find a fire ring for us, which I doubted if it would happen.  However, 2 hours later, in comes a maintenance worker with a brand new campfire ring with a grill on top.  Now my problem is to get some firewood.  The host has told us where there was some available,  so we'll check it out in the morning.  I have the chainsaw along plus a splitting mall and a wedge.   We're going to have a fire!

We're mighty  happy to be here, especially when we hear about the winds in California and the cold air in Colorado and Iowa.  We have been blessed to be here, with a predicted low next week to be 68 each day.  (I can handle that.)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At Paradise Park, Punta Gorda, Florida

As I mentioned last night,  we arrived at the park last evening and settled in.  What a great feeling to be off of the road again.  So today it was housekeeping activities.   Laundry was a must and I expected to be vacuuming the motorhome.    The laundry was done and the vacumning will happen tomorrow plus she threw another one at me, defrosting the freezer compartments.   I guess we can get both done tomorrow.

It was laundry day and did we have a load of clothes, plus sheets and pillow cases.   Thankfully, the laundromat was not busy, but only 3 of the 4 machines were available.    But eventually we finished it and we were back in the rig by noon.

I also spent more time trying to locate a source for my injectable vitamin B-12 and a location that would inject it for me.  We found a Walgreens in a small town we're heading through on Thursday.  However, the problem is finding a location that will do the injection.   Unless you are a patient of theirs, forget it.   We did find one clinic that said they'd do it, and the office call charge was $35.   Perhaps I need to man up to it and learn how to do it myself.   (Better yet, train my other half to do it for me.)  The pharmacy will train me how to do it, but?  Getting a shot is painful.

We also did a little bit of visiting in the park. It is always fun to meet up with old friends when there is so much to catch up on.  Also, we picked up some information on the gate wireless connection.   We bought a door opener for our park in Casa Grande and we'd like to use the same one here.  However,  the instructions are not very clear to me.  I guess we'll try it and see how it goes.  While at the office, we saw the local vegetable vendor, so we bought a few items.  Finally, we are able to get grapefruit at a reasonable price.  (I love the red or pink ones.)

While at the laundromat,  I looked at the ads on lots for sale or rent.  I guess the housing crunch has finally hit here.  Bare lot prices similar to what we have are about 50 percent of what they were a year ago.  That is not good news for seniors who might need to sell the winter home or parking location.  (Our lot value in Casa Grande was down some, but still above what we paid for it.)  At least for us, we are invested for the long term.

For  you yankees wanting to come south for a few weeks and stroll the beaches, slow it down.  We saw on the news that there is a large area west of Florida that has a  "Red Tide" problem.  The Red Tide kills the fish and poisons the clams.  That won't bother us, as we're not beach walkers.  (Some of the beaches also have a very pungent smell from the decaying fish.)

I love this winter temperature.


Monday, November 28, 2011

We have arrived at our Park near Punta Gorda, FL

We put in a full day moving ourselves from the Pow-wow near Ocala to our park near Punta Gorda in the south of Florida (about 250 miles).    It rained about half of the time, but the real killer was the gusty winds that were mostly head on.   Our mileage probably really took a hit.

We stopped at the Best Buy in Ocala to look at a Kindle Touch for Sandy (Ouch).  No purchase yet, but it is getting close.  While there, she had to take in a couple of yarn shops for good measure.   We finally departed Ocala by 11 AM and put in a steady day heading south.   I remember the weather map from last night as a straight line of showers, N to S and I suspect that we were driving in it all the way.  The traffic was moderate.

We stopped at Arcadia for fuel, groceries and to see if I could get my B-12 shot.  In the end, the shot idea was for naught, as Walgreens didn't have it in stock.  I guess I'll see if I can find it on down the road.  One complication is that in Florida, the pharmacy can administer shots for the flu, but nothing else.  So we  have to pick up the prescription and then find a nurse that will give us the shot.  (I'm chicken and can't do it myself.)

Upon arriving at the park, Sandy went to the call box and announced our presence so that they would open the gate.  Thankfully, the rain was only a heavy mist at the time.  (We don't have a remote opener yet.)  All the little things that aren't important until you're here.  Tomorrow is laundry day so that we have some clean clothes again.   The laundry bag is full and needs to be worked on, but: I drug my feet for two reasons, a:) I didn't want to take time away from the Pow-wow and b:) It is much cheaper here in the park and much more convenient!   We're here only two days, and presently, no plans to leave the park until we head for the Rendezvous in Cypress Preserve (near the Everglades).

I may have trouble sleeping tonight.  There are no chickens nearby  to crow, nor are there any dogs barking now and then.   Also, we're far enough from the road I think so that there is not any road noise. In short, it is so quiet here that it may be hard to take.  But I'm sure we'll enjoy it!

One thing I failed to mention was how great it felt when we had finally parked this beast on the lot and turned the engine off.  It was time for my glass of wine while Sandy was busy preparing supper.   (I avoid eating much during the day while driving, so dinner in the evening is a real treat.)

The challenge tomorrow will be getting my to do list done in spite of the neighbors stopping by to welcome us into the park again.  We'll not tell them that we leave on the First of December again.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2011 Chandler's Farm Pow-wow is History

My apologies,  but I slipped up on yesterday's blog.   No excuses, other than we were so busy with the shut eye that I couldn't type it in.    I guess I fell asleep early in the evening and when Sandy woke me up, it was time for the sack!

Tonight it was a tad batter.   I wasn't sleeping, but we had a long phone call from an old friend from my home town area and college.   We talked for about 3/4 of an hour and it was great to visit again.   Afterwards, we sent him an email, and posted some other stuff and I was ready for the sack.  But then we remembered, we had more work to do.  (Find a phone number of a Walgreens, transfer some money to cover a check, and write a blog entry for today.)   So here I am with the first two items done.

I think that in the last entry, I had mentioned that we both had some food poisoning.   I recovered rather fast, but Sandy has had to struggle with it.  Today (Sunday) has really been a better day finally.  I think it will still be another day or two for her system to get back into the swing of things.    After all, you have to reload all of the food processing after it has been cleaned out.  Such is life!

We went to the final Pow-Wow activities this afternoon.   It may been good, but the mind can only absorb so much after the posterior has had enough.  (We even took our own good lawn chairs.)  Of course, one never knows when things will happen here either.   The local joke is that it starts at 1 PM (IT).  (The IT stands for Indian Time, which means it will happen sometime today!)   Starting time for the previous evening activities has always been listed as (6:00 or 7:00) PM.   On Thursday, it was shortly after 7.  On Friday, it was shortly after 6 and Saturday night was closer to 6:30 pm.  So one never knows.

With most of us leaving tomorrow, there has been a lot of activity about where each is going and when.   Plus there has been some help sessions to resolve some questions on the RV.   In a group like this, there are numerous experts, with some more expert than others.   One of the issues has been phantom electrical loads on the battery.   This has become a front and center issue since we are boondocking here on the farm this weekend. Suddenly folks get real concerned about their battery charge.  

No one has been stranded or left without power, since I think everyone has a generator.  But they do ask what voltage reading they should look for when they are not plugged in.   Also, how long to run the generator?

When we leave tomorrow, we're heading a Best Buy store in Ocala where Sandy wants to see an e-book reader (or something similar I think).   She feels left out when others talk about all of these items and she has no idea what it really is.  I guess we'll be getting one sooner verses later.

We sprung for a new GPS this weekend also.  She has been mumbling a little about her current GPS has not been updated and has an old map.   So I decided that a new Trucker's GPS by Garmin would be the better solution.  (After all, the RV is really the same as a medium sized truck.)  But it will take a while to get it to us, as it has to go to daughter's house first before being included in our mail bag.  Hopefully, we'll get it before Christmas.

It is close to midnight, so maybe I'll sleep the night through!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday was a bummer

This is a rare event, as we are cranking out two blog entries in one day.   The first one this morning at 4:30 AM and this one at 8 PM.  But there is a reason.   What I didn't mention this morning was that both of us were up early  because we were suffering from a case of food poisoning.  I was up at 4:15  and went back to bed in 10 minutes. Sandy rose at 4:30 and I was back up at 4:40 AM.  

Sandy's first comment was, "Was it about 12 hours ago that we ate dinner?"   I'm not sure which poisoning it is, but I seem to remember that it takes about 12 hours to hit you.  Needless to say, we didn't do much for most of the day.  (Sandy suffered much more than I did.)   By evening,  I was pretty well back to par while Sandy was very weak.   We've now had dinner and an evening shower and she appears to be much better.

We know that it was food poisoning because about a third of our group here suffered.   I went out to the morning fire this morning and those there seemed to be pretty normal.  Finally I decided to raise the question about every one's health and my concern for any singles and explained our problem.   Suddenly about half of that group admitted that one or both in their RV had a problem.  We compared notes on who ate what and concluded that it had to be the turkey or the gravy.  ( The turkey had been picked off of the bones and was not even warm when we were served.)  Since no gloves were used in the serving line, we suspect that no gloves were used when the meat was removed from the bones.  I intend to speak with the head cook tomorrow.

Otherwise, there isn't much to report.   The sunshine continued to brighten our day with temperatures in the mid 70s.  We can handle that.


Thanksgiving, 2011

We in this country, especially ourselves, have much to be thankful for.  Especially while many of our friends suffer through the cold in the north, we relax here in Florida (north end, about 45 Friday this morning).  We're not fighting airline delays or highway traffic problems.

Enough of that. I had troublle sleeping this morning, so we decided to rise early and bang out the blog that I missed last night.  (I'm sorry, I was napping at the switch.)  I sometimes think I'm getting my nights and morning mixed up.  I want to sleep in the evening in my chair and then this morning after 4 AM, I'm wide awake in bed.  A very revolting development.  Or is it genetic, as I remember that my dad used to rise very early.

Or do I blame it on the local  rooster contingent, which started crowing (with gusto) at 4 AM?  Normally they announce the new day by 2 AM!

The Pow-Wow started yesterday at 1 PM and continues on for the rest of the weekend.  By Sunday evening, the boom, boom, boom of the drums will be well set in our heads.  (Last night long after the program ended, someone here in the parking area either had a recording or else he was practicing with his new drum set.)

Enough for this morning.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Rally has started, the rains have stopped!

We started the day as a very cloudy and dreary looking day, but by night fall, things have brightened up.   We had our first meeting of the group, a potluck meal. There was plenty of food and I think all were happy.  Also a fire was included for any that wanted to sit around the fire.

We were joined by 6 or 8 more motorhomes from the FMCA chapter and I think they have been merged into the group.  The grounds have been marked with lots of  yellow ribbons for various reasons.  The only one that is obvious is there seems to be a 5 foot square marked out at several ground hog holes where a very small palm tree is planted.  I'm not really sure if the two are connected, but that is what it appears to be.   I think the trees are recent plantings, as not all of them are alive.

We drove into Fort McCoy again today to get our mail, which was in.  I still wonder why two post offices have the same zip code.  Some others here have avoided that problem by ordering their mail to a town 6 miles north of us.   Should we return, I'll keep that in mind.

Tonight Sandy is getting frustrated trying to make sure she orders the correct Garmin Trucker's GPS with Lifetime Updates.   No, we don't have a truck, but the trucker's version allows the user to program several options for big rigs.  (I think she has ordered it.  Now to get it to us.  It is being sent to daughter's house.)  I wanted to order a power cord, but I can't find my bid snip web site.  (I found it later  - Snipeswipe).  I tell them what my maximum bid is and they submit it in the last few seconds of the bidding.  Supposedly this prevents others from raising their bid at the last minute.  Ah, the games people play!

We have been quoting from the "An Old Farmer's Advice", as printed in a classmate's Memorial program.  You may find it online by doing a Google for "the old farmer's advice".  There are several variations so I  have found.  Here is one site:


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It is raining, and we should be cheering

It may sound kind of strange that we're camping in the rough and we are still cheering about rain.  But these people need the rain and I'm not about to object.  What little I've seen of some ponds and water holes, they need lots liquid sunshine!   Everyone may be happy that the south eastern part of the U.S.A. hasn't been hit by a hurricane this year, but it is those hurricane rains that fill the ponds and swamps.

A few more RV'rs arrived today and again to my embarrassment, I didn't remember a lady from an earlier event.   After she was parked and came to the social circle for introductions, when it came my turn, she said, "I was parked next to you last year!"    I guess in a nutshell, her presence last year didn't register with me.    I haven't counted faces, but I'd guess that about half of the members here now claim to recognize me from earlier encounters.

I mentioned last night about the many subjects that were addressed during the social discussions.   I really tried to record some of the subjects today and sometimes it was hard to summarize in a couple of words what the subject was.  The subjects ranged from Buffalo herds in Custer State Park in South Dakota to guns when crossing the borders to Hobo Pies.  At least we're not getting bored being around each other.

We went into Fort McCoy today to pick up our mail.   Well, just as in previous years, it went to the other post office that has the same ZIP code.   That is right, two post offices here have the same ZIP code.  So even though it was addressed to Fort McCoy, FL  , they sent it to Salt Springs, FL.  Two years ago when we wanted our mail to be in Salt Springs, it went to Fort McCoy.   So they'll send it to Fort McCoy tonight and I  can get it tomorrow.  Such is the life of wandering senior citizen.

According to our hostess, we're supposed to get another dozen or so RV's tomorrow from an FMCA chapter.   however, several of them have canceled because Cynthia was not providing them with a 50 amp connection.  I guess roughing it is not in their vocabulary.    

The old farmer's advice: "Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God."


Monday, November 21, 2011

Social Hour, all day long

This is a first full day of being at the Chamber's farm for the pow wow and we've certainly used the time.  There has been one nearly continuous social hour outside of our door.  I mentioned last night that I should have kept track of the various subjects addressed.  Well, I was reminded of that this morning by Tom, but I was too lazy to start writing.  How can you be a part of the conversation if you're trying to keep notes?  Sometimes the subjects change very fast!

Sandy and I did take a break and walked the field from north to south where the cars will be parked.  We needed the exercise and I wanted to see what was under the trees along the border.  We did learn that there is running water (a hose bib) about every hundred yards.   So the grounds can accommodate lots of tent campers. Also, the area under the trees to the west has been somewhat cleared of the underbrush.   Back at the site, later we walked up to the area where the vendors will be parking and the event circle is located.  People are showing up, but all was quiet.

Back at the motorhome, Tom helped us perform a little performance test on our solar panels.  We covered all of the panels but one to see how much power was being obtained from the uncovered panel.  We did this for the four panels and I was disappointed that all are working (more or less).  I was kind of hoping that one of the panels would be kaput so we could fix it.   Then we could expect more solar power in the days to come.   But I guess we'll live with what we have.  (The batteries were recharged by 2 pm, so things aren't too bad.   Tom who is parked next to us mentioned what his solar package is, so we ended up doing an inspection of each.  Our package has about 10 percent more collector capacity than his and we're getting about the same power out of the system.  So we concluded that both systems are probably working correctly.

There were many subjects addressed by the group.   For starters, when one talks solar, one has to talk about batteries. (Lots of hot air spent there.)   Of course, when talking solar, one also has to talk about Quartzsite and the SLABs, where a good solar installer is located.     We were interrupted once when my sister called to ask if I wanted to talk with my mother?   Of course we do.  (Mother is in a care center and has no phone in her room.  So sister calls me so that I can call the office to take the cordless phone to mother.)  She is very hard of hearing and conversation is at best difficult.  But she knows me and we know she is doing well (at the age of 100 plus).

There were several other subjects addressed, most like a bump  in the road, "here and gone in an instant!"  but everyone gets to have their input, if they can out talk the dominate talkers.  (Watch that one bite me later.)

We're back on the farm and one could be up with the chickens.  We have several in the neighborhood and they certainly seem to sound off very early.  However, we try to sleep in a little longer!

The old farmer's advice:   If you get to thinkin' that you're a person of influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

We're at Chamber's Farm north of Fort McCoy, Florida

It was about 11 AM this morning when we pulled into the grounds.   We spent 50 miles on I-10, which had only moderate traffic.  However, traffic on I-75 was much worse.   But we made it with no problems.

We were pleased to meet some old friends that we haven't seen in years.  One fellow told us that we helped him with his PC about 6 years ago.  Okay, but I've seen so many computers, any individual help session becomes a blurr.  I'm sorry, but that is the way it is.  (Or am I a candidate for loosing my mind?)

This PM, about 8 of us sat under our awning solving the world's problems.   Someday, I ought to keep a log of what is discussed.  The subjects are very wide-ranging.

We got a late start on writing this blog tonight, so we'll keep it short.

The old farmer's advice:  Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

We're in Florida, almost to our first stop.

Today we made the big trek from Alabama into the heart of Florida (Live Oak, FL).   Another hundred miles and we'll reach our first destination, Fort McCoy.  All has been going well other than fuel prices are around $4 a gallon for diesel and we've been pushing a gusty head wind all day.   I guess that makes up for the tail winds we've had sometimes.

I was almost in the sack when I realized that we hadn't published our blog.   Sandy commented that we have been so busy this evening (I took a nap after 8 pm.)   So we'll kick out a quick report and leave it go at that.

We're parked in our friendly Walmart here at Live Oak, FL, along with 4 other rigs.  It was a bit noisy early in the evening, but it has quieted down now.  I think we can handle it.   Before dinner, Sandy did her grocery shopping for the next week plus we fueled up the coach.  I think Walmart came out ahead on the deal.  But it is convenient any way you cut it.

The old Farmer's Advice:  Good judgement comes from experience; and a lot of that comes from bad judgement!


Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day of Rest before hitting the road.

We've been here at the Plantation RV Park west of Summerdale, Alabama for 2 days and it has been great.  Have we done much? NO.  Have we relaxed? Yes.   So tomorrow we hit the road again.  As I mentioned yesterday, we're boondocking here and last night we had second thoughts.  It was just plain cold even though we piled on the blankets.  This morning, it was 51 degrees in the bedroom and 44 degrees in the kitchen/living room.  I was surprised that body heat would raise the bedroom that much.  But since we're planning to boondock throughout Florida this winter, I guess we need to become accustomed to the cold!

Our goal tomorrow is the SuperWalmart at Live Oak, Florida, just off of the interstate.   Yes, we called and a polite telephone operator said yes, we can park there, as long as it is away from the building. That is good enough for us.  Besides, if one parks near the building, there is lots of traffic.

We used the house battery pretty heavy last night and it was cloudy this morning, so we fired up the Honda generator for 90 minutes to recharge our batteries.  It worked, as by noon, the solar system had finished the recharging. That is the recommended approach and it works.  (Use the generator to do the initial bulk charging and let the solar system do the finishing charge.) We used the generator again in the evening when Sandy wanted to bake a squash for dinner.   Our Honda 2000i is just large enough to power the convection oven in either oven or microwave mode.  Isn't technology wonderful?

It is a 310 mile run tomorrow on almost all interstate which should make it a decent drive.  On Sunday, we only have a hundred miles to cover.

The old Farmer's Advice:  Always drink upstream from the herd!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Summerdale, AL and now taking a day of rest

We left Jennings, LA this morning in bright sunshine and headed east, fully expecting to run into some showers.  However, we traveled all day going east and the storm front stayed ahead of us.  From the news reports, I'm happy we didn't drive into it.

We planned to stop at the Walmart north of Biloxi, MS this afternoon.  However, when we got there the parking lot was nearly full, similar to the pre-Christmas rush.   We walked the entire lot and decided that the only place to park would have been next to the road, which was where we were 3 years ago. It was noisy then and probably not any better today.  So we pressed on.

Our next parking option was the Walmart at Daphne, AL where we were also going to fuel up.  That parking lot was only about a third full with lots of space available.  BUT there were signs on several posts of: "No truck or trailer Parking".  Perhaps we should have visited the store, but we decided to just leave and go to the SKP park (15 miles) at Summerdale at $5 a night for Boondocking.  When I finally got into the motorhome, Sandy's comment was "only if I get electric tonight".   So much for being cheap.  However, when we arrived at the park, she insisted that we get a "dry camping" spot.

So here we are settled in, living on battery and our trusty inverter.  We watched the evening news plus Sandy got her "Wheel of Fortune" fix.  Now we're both surfing.

The old farmer's advice:   The biggest trouble maker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today we traveled through Dry East Texas

Today we meandered our way through east Texas and finally arrived at a little town near Lake Charles, LA.   We found a very nice laundromat  in Jasper, TX that is probably the largest one we've been in and we were the only customers. Plus the parking lot was large enough to accommodate our motorhome and toad.

Since leaving Hillsboro (Texas) we've been on highways 287 and 190.   What surprised us was the variability of the surfaces. The highways went from divided 4 lane to a very narrow two lane with zero shoulder if you fell off of the asphalt and back again. But we successfully managed to travel it with no problems.

We're parked tonight at a friendly Walmart in Jennings, Louisiana  The entry was a challenge until we found the last entrance.  At the third entrance, there was a sign on a post of  "Trucks and RVs use last entrance".  So we knew that they were thinking of us.  We went to customer service to get permission and the gal there was very accommodating.  They don't want us parking near the building, which is understandable.  So we're tucked in a far out corner away from all of the traffic, which is great.

The old farmer's advice:  Sometimes you Get and sometimes you get Got!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaving Texas finally

We're not gone yet, but we're getting close to the border on the east.  Texas is a big state, no matter how you cross it.  We have about a hundred miles to go before we exit it.   We left our friends this morning shortly after 8 AM and pushed east.  It was Whitney, Hillsboro, and a few more small towns.   We picked up highway 287 and have been following it until we got to Woodville when we picked up highway 190.  287 ranges from a four lane highway to a very narrow 2 lane highway, with zero  shoulders.  But we took it easy plus we had a strong cross wind most of the day. Mileage will not be good.

I had a list of things I was going to talk about tonight.  But it is all for naught.  They have done disappeared from the memory bank.  Tonight we are resting in luxuries comfort in a COE park.  (Our plan was to stop at a Walmart along the way; this is much better and only $9.)  The park is flat as a pancake and really spaced out.  No crowding here.   When I called to see if it was open, the fellow on the line was very hesitant until I said it was for only one night.  Apparently this campground will filll up and be over flowing by Thanksgiving.  (Most of the sites have a reserved sticker on them telling us that we can't stay long.)  It is a very nice, spaced out place.  Sandy has even mentioned that a second night here would be okay.  Was that a hint?

Tomorrow we'll cross over into Louisiana, drop down to Lake Charles and then push east on I-10/12.  It warmed up yesterday and tonight the temperatures must be in the high 70s yet.   No frost on the pumpkin around here tonight.  The forecast is for rain tomorrow afternoon, so that will be a small incentive to  keep moving east.  On the other hand, Texas needs the rain, lots of it.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting ready to roll east shortly

We spent Sunday (today) relaxing our time away with friends.  It just felt nice to be off of the road.  But we're getting in the mood to hit the road again.   We've planned out the route and are looking forward to "getting their".

The last couple of days have been a warm-up to our more extended boondocking plans.   We did not plug into  our friends AC but depended upon our solar to carry us through.  And it did a fine job of keeping the lights on and providing power for the inverter to power the computers.   We anticipate that one the road, we'll be staying at Walmart parking lots, and it is all boondocking (parking without hookups).

We've had a wonderful time here in Lakeside Village visiting friends of ours from the days when we went to  Pharr, TX each winter.   Lou is a real computer whiz and it was great listing to him tell about the trials and tribulations of fixing other peoples machines.   The price is right (free) and he enjoys helping others.   The grapevine works very well to bring in more business (which he really isn't after.)

The old Farmer's Advice:  Timing has a lot to do with the outcome  of  a rain dance!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home, It is great to be back in the RV!

It was early afternoon today when we arrived back at our stored RV.  What a great feeling to be safely  off the road and into familiar surroundings.  Tonight, my very own bed again.  I almost get tired just dreaming of sleeping in my own bed.   (I can't complain really about our motel stays, or when we stayed with Lavonne.  There never was a noise problem any night.)

I failed to mention much last night about our dinner location.  It was a Western Sizzler, similar to a Ryan's, a dinner buffet place.  For starters, the price just about blew me over for the buffet only  ($28.00 for two).  I'm not sure if the price was up because it was Friday and they had an assortment of fish on the menu, including lobster.  The problem was that I wasn't in the mood for fish, or was I interested in crushing the shells for a meal.

So tonight, it was again a buffet, here at the local volunteer Firehouse.  It was hosted by the local fireman's axillary, and I like it.  I cleaned my plate, and yes, I feel stuffed.  I loved the piece of pecan pie that I had afterwards.  It was good, no matter what you say about it.

Our original travel plans were to return to the motorhome and immediately hit the road again tomorrow.  However, we have decided that our schedule will allow us a day of rest, so we're going to really rest here.  We have 8 or 9 days to make it to northeastern Florida, so we should be able to handle that challenge.

We have unpacked and everything is stored away in the motorhome.  But one item missing is my listing of the Old Farmer's Advice.  And now in my looking for it, I deleted the active page of the blog. Thankfully, Google had saved a copy for me to recover.  It sure is nice when others look out for you.  I'll get a copy of the  advice via Google.  Success!

The old Farmer's Advice:  Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none!


Friday, November 11, 2011

McAlester Oklahoma with one more day on the road

Today we went from Bethany, MO to McAlester, OK.  I  thought we were going to make it to Texas until Sandy told me that we had another hundred miles to go.   She had misread her GPS, so our goal was here, not Paris, TX.

Isn't it funny how one can have all kinds of subjects to write about until one gets the computer open.  While behind the wheel, the ideas just floated to my mind.  Now I can't remember a thing to write about.

When we got to Joplin, MO, we found our way into the city and we were appalled by the destruction.  All of the demolished houses have been cleaned up.  You can easily see how much damage there was by the number of basement slabs that are bare.  Thank goodness for the GPS, as there were no street signs either.  We were planning to stop at a church that has served as a recovery center.  However, the parking lot was full of cars from various states, all worker crews that are on site.  We decided our presence would be a distraction.

I'm tired and mislaid my listing of the Old Farmer's Advice.  Next time.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bethany, MO and heading south

Yes, we're headed south finally, but only after going north 180 miles this morning.  Sandy learned last night that a cousin of hers had lost her husband and we felt that we ought to pay our respects to the family.   So we were up early this morning to drive the 180 miles north before 10:30 AM today.

After the funeral, grave side service and luncheon at the church, we were finally able to leave.  However, we continued going north to see Sandy's brother who is in a care center about 30 miles north.   Of course, it was a joy to see him for the short visit. (He suffers from some right side paralysis as a result of a stroke.)   He was obviously very surprised to see us.

Finally we broke away from all of the visiting and headed south.   Our first observation was that we were  getting better gas mileage, since the northwest wind was now a little bit behind us.  It appears that the Honda mileage went from 25 mpg while going north to about 30 mpg while going south.   Of course we're on the interstate and we were holding the speed close to about 65 mph more or less.   We cleared Des Moines at 4 PM and traffic was busy, but not slowing up the traffic.

We have spent the last 5 days with Lavonne helping her some as she recovers from the loss of her husband Dennis after 50 years of marriage.   We spent lost of time looking through computer items, both hardware and paper.  Dennis had everything filed or boxed, so it was easy to look at it and ask the question, "Is this something Lavonne will use?" (Or is it obsolete by newer versions?)  In the basement, I looked for items that were amateur radio related and should be grouped accordingly.  (None of the relatives helping Lavonne are familiar with amateur radio equipment.)  One item that I did not find is an antenna that is about 40 inches long and has a bayonet mount.  I removed the mount from the car, but the actual antenna is missing.  (Lavonne remembers that Denny didn't like it left on the Suburban because the antenna would hit the overhead in the garage or the beams in a parking garage.  He used the antenna only when traveling during the summer or in the south during the winter.)

One of the pains of using the computer in the motel as we travel is that I don't have my nice easy chair to sit in and trying to work on a computer while relaxing on the bed is the pits.  (Sandy has the easy chair.)  I guess I could rent a bigger room, but I'm too cheap to do  that!   Give me a couple of days and we'll be back in the bus!

The old farmer's advice:  Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you can enjoy it a second time.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Snow, it is not welcome

We're here in Iowa for another day or so.  To our great disappointment, it snowed last night.  Not much and it melted off by noon, but it was cold, especially  since we left Arizona about 2 weeks ago when we were using the AC to keep cool.   Give us about 3 days and we'll be warmer I hope.

Today we went to visit with my mother again in the care center.  We had made prior arrangements to eat with her and what a joy.  We had a cloth covered table outside of the main dining room.  I wasn't really turned on with the menu, but it was more than adequate.

We've about wrapped up our efforts here to sort the computer equipment and the radio equipment.   Even today we found another box on his work bench instead of stacked with the radio equipment.  It was a radio antenna tester that I didn't even realize Denny had.

Sandy resorted our bags so that we have everything we need for the next few days in one bag.   One of the advantages of doing that is that we also now have more room in our bedroom.  This living out of a suitcase (or  2 plus 3 tote bags) is a pain.  The problem is that I can't remember what is where.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Live a good honorable life.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winter is still here

When we poked our nose out of the door this morning, it was cold and raining, which is what it did all day.  Tonight, we went to a friend's house for dinner and it seemed like it was colder.    It certainly is time to get serious about heading to warmer climates.  Our plan is to head south on Thursday, and it won't be soon enough.

We spent more time sorting and looking for a few items.  We're trying to gather all of the radio equipment together so that when non-radio people help Lavonne, they won't dispose of something that the radio needs. The antenna I'm looking for is probably about 36 to 48 inches long with a bayonet mount.  It probably also has a center loading coil.  Thus it is a unique piece of equipment and should be easily recognized.

We've spent some time this afternoon plotting our route south.  It is about 950 miles, so it ought to be an easy 3 days.  (Very little of it is interstate and much of it is on roads that we have traveled before.)  It will be nearly straight south and finally angling west  to pass south of Dallas,  I'm ready to hit the road.

The Old Farmer's Advice:   Remember that Silence is sometimes the best answer!


Monday, November 7, 2011

More sorting and little stuff

We did some sorting on Sunday and lots more today.  Sandy and Lavonne went to Iowa City for an appointment (2 of them)  for Lavonne.  Just before she was to leave, she said that she had pulled out two computer cases from under the bed.   They were too heavy for  her to lift (15 pound limit), so we moved them into the living room and then all of us left.

I ran some errands and then returned to the house.  So why not see what was in the cases.  One had a 3.5 inch USB drive plus lots of papers and some miscellaneous stuff.  The second case had a Dell Inspiron 5100 that Denny had used up until 4 years ago.  As I recall, Denny replaced it because it was "so slow".    So we plugged it in and he was right, it took for ever to boot up.

We also noticed that one of the hinges is broke (or breaking).   I ran one clean up program on it and it helped.  I think what I'll do is take it with us and later this winter, I'll run some of my other clean up programs.  Perhaps we can get it back to a more normal speed so that Lavonne can give it to a one of her relatives children.  To fix the broken hinge, I'll probably have to see if we can beef up the plastic lid in that area.

We have rounded up all of Denny's radio equipment, except for one mobile antenna.  It is a special CB antenna with a snap mount onto a base.   We have the base, and the antenna has to be around here, as it is probably 40 to 50 inches tall.  Lavonne says that they usually removed it since it hit the top of the garage door frame.  We think we've looked everywhere, but obviously not all!

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Don't judge people by their relatives!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sorting through someone else's computer stuff

We've been here with Lavonne since Friday and already we've missed one daily blog.  I intended to put out something last night and suddenly we realized that it was bed time and the computer was off.  Oh well, skip  it tonight.

Lavonne asked for help to determine what was useful computer equipment and literature in the spare bedroom, which was also their "computer room".   So we have had fun looking, sorting and checking if things are working. For starters, just about everything labeled as  "Windows 95" was pitched.  Such books as "Windows 95 for Dummies" were given the boot!  It sure pains me to think that such books are no longer useful, considering their cost.   (I think most were being packaged for a distant relative of Lavonne's.  If they can't use them, they can pitch them. )

Sandy and Beth worked with the computer equipment and books.  The entire issue is one of down sizing and what Lavonne needs.  Plus Denny had lots of things filed neatly in marked and unmarked envelopes.   There is enough stuff there for Lavonne to spend 100 percent of her time with the computer.

We also pulled the amateur radio equipment out of the cabinet and out of the trailer. It was pretty easy going until I got to the antenna on top of the trailer.  Every bolt (small) was rusty and refused to release with the screw driver.  Finally, I pulled the antenna base out and left the bracket.   We've found all of the radio equipment and coax I think.

Tomorrow Sandy takes Lavonne to Iowa City for some medical appointments while I need to run some errands here in Williamsburg.  It will cause a few strange looks from friends who don't know that I'm back in town  (but not for long).

The old Farmer's Advice:  Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen, anyway!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Arrived in Williamsburg, Off the road for a while

We put into two long hard days on the road with the Honda and made it to our destination in Williamsburg, Iowa. We are staying with the recent widow of a life long friend from our days in high school.  So much to help her with in our short time here.

We did succeed in cracking a code for one of his computer connections.  We found the needed information in a little notebook that he wrote everything in.  Our real challenge was deciphering his hand  writing.   We have one more computer challenge to resolve to make life easier.  It is to figure out the password for his linksys network.  If push comes to shove, we'll press the reset button and set it up again.  The embarrassing thing is that I think I  gave him the router and set up years ago.    I think it is a WRT-11, so we'll do some searching online before we do the reset.  Plus I'll get my old XP machine in so that I can find way through the network stuff.

The Old Farmer's Advice:   (my book is in the car, so we'll skip  it tonight.)


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wichita,KS after a long day

We were  up early (after being up very late) and had hoped to get an early start.  Well, it was before 9 AM.  We didn't want to leave before 8 AM because if we did, we'd probably get tangled up in RUSH hour traffic.   Anyway, we pulled out at 8:45  and traffic was moderate (or heavy in my opinion).

I should say that going through Ft. Worth was a lot better this time since Sandy had her GPS programmed to lead the way.   She would give me a "head's up" warning about which lane or side of the highway I needed to be in.  In fact, it went very well.

After we cleared Ft. Worth, Sandy took over the driving duties for a couple of hours.  It was wonderful for me to sit there in the passenger seat of the Honda and watch the world go by.  I was so relaxed that I even found myself  sleeping some.   We found Oklahoma City to also be busy with lots of cars, but again Sandy and her GPS gave us good directions so that we could be in the right lanes at the right time.

When we reached Kansas, we stopped at the first visitors rest area so that we could learn where the motels were at in Wichita.  In the visitor's center, we moved to the far end to read the literature and call the motels.  I was a little taken back when the girl behind the desk showed up right near us and apologized that she was going to run the carpet sweeper.   Okay we moved to the front of center.  Shortly, she was near us again with her loud carpet sweeper roaring away.   Sandy and I decided it was time to leave.  I should have given her a piece of my mind, but I quietly left.  Her actions were totally uncalled for.

When we reached Wichita, traffic was terrible.  It was 5:05 PM and I think just about every employee in Wichita was getting off of work.    So instead of finding a motel, we found a restaurant and got off of the street.  An hour later, traffic was more reasonable.   It was great  to hang up driving for the day.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  The Best Sermons are lived, not preached.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lakeside Village, TX (south of Ft. Worth) and it is late.

We made it to the little village of Lakeside Village, which is about half way from anywhere.   For starters, it is here that we're going to leave our motorhome with some friends for 10 to 12 days.  It is parked right where everyone can see it.  I wonder how many folks will think Lou and Ginny have acquired another RV?

Sandy said that we put in almost the same mileage that we did yesterday.   How often do you split it that close and have the two days travels being only a mile different?  Today I was glad when it ended, as the wind was picking up.  Also tonight, the cold air set in and there was no doubt that winter is here.

It has been a long day, so this is going to be short, like real short.  It is late, past midnight, which is extremely late for us.  Sandy has made me pack everything I need and be ready to travel.   We'll see if we can clear out of here by 8 AM tomorrow morning?   We hope so.

The old Farmer's Advice:  "When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty!"


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the move, currently at Seminole, TX

We put in a full day at the wheel and made it to Seminole, TX where we're hole'd up in a free city park, with 30 Amp electric.  But we're paying for it  also.  I think the park is where the local kids hang out.  There is a lot of car traffic it seems.  On the other hand, it may be only one or two cars with loud pipes going round and round.  So we'll ignore them at this hour (9pm).

Some people have asked "How do we find these city parks with free camping sites?"   It is through a fellow in the Escapee's RV club, who has made it his mission to log free and low cost stopping places.  He makes the list available to members of the Escapee's RV club.

Since the listing is created from information provided by various individuals, all of which may have different rules than we do, we always stay flexible  as to where we're stopping.   I refer to it as having a backup plan in case the first option does not meet our needs.   This park was described as having 6 back-in 30 foot sites. That is a bit short for us.  (Our backup site was 40 miles on down the road.)  However, since we're the only one here, we parallel parked the rig  and there is plenty of room.  We had to call on the police department to open the lock so that we could plug in.  No real problem, other than they only provided a 7 digit phone number!   So what area code do we use?  We decided to just go visit city hall and solve it.  But city hall has temporally moved.  We finally spotted a police car parked (at the police station), so we finally got our message to the right people.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to  our friends location south of Ft. Worth/Dallas.  They are gone for the evening, but we'll  make do.   We obviously will visit with them a while late into the evening, but hopefully we can get enough sleep to get a decent start on Thursday for Iowa.  Since the interstate goes right through downtown Ft. Worth, we plan to be a little late.  Hopefully, rush hour will be past when we get into Ft. Worth.  (They are about a hour south of Ft. Worth.)  The motorhome stays and we'll only drive the car north to Iowa.  We'll try living out of a suitcase again.

It is now 9:35 and things have really quieted down outside.  Perhaps it won't be too bad here tonight.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  You cannot unsay a cruel word.


Monday, October 31, 2011

A good day with lots of show stoppers!

Today was to be a day of relaxation for us while we did a few little things.  It was true but it seems that everything was a challenge.  For starters, we were slow getting out and heading for the border town to buy our bi-annual supply of vanilla.  We passed the first filling station because the gas price was too high.  The next one was on the wrong side of the busy road.  Finally, as we were leaving Deming, we found a station and the gas was even higher.OUCH,  but we filled up.  Yep, a mile down the road was another station 20 cents cheaper.  We were about half way to Columbus when Sandy suddenly said, "We forgot our passports!"  That is a real show stopper if you are crossing the border, as we were.

So it was back to Deming where we had lunch before trying it again.  Yes, we dug out the passports and headed south.  For the rest of that activity, all went well and we were back in about 90 minutes (30 miles south, 10 minutes to walk to The Pink Store and get 7 liters of real vanilla and 30 miles back to Deming. (Some of the vanilla is for friends.)  Then there was a quick stop at Walmart before we went to the motorhome.

Back at the motorhome, we dug into a problem that was bothering us for the last couple of days.  I thought our friendly SHURFLO water pump was getting air and refusing to pump again.  Finally we figured out that the problem was the presure switch in the SHURFLO pump was not turning the pump on to pump water when the pressure dropped.  The problem would only manifest itself if the pump sat there for a little while under full pressure before being asked it to pump again.

Eventually we figured out that by turning the pump off and back on, the pump would restart on its own.  Needless to say, I was very exasperated.  We fought that problem last winter with one of our many pumps and the current pump was given to me (new pump) by the Shurflo technician at the Winnebago National Rally at Forest City in July.  It has worked flawlessly since then.  It was not used while at Casa Grande and now that we need it, we have our problem again.

I want to call the service technician who gave it to me, but I can't find his calling card.  So tomorrow we call Winnebago and find out his name.  There is a pressure adjustment on the pump, but I'm trying to be a good user and not twiddling with everything until the expert says to.  At least now we can make it pump on demand.

Tomorrow we are going to call and maybe stop at one of two major RV stores in Las Cruces in hopes of getting a "three-way ball valve" to replace the leaky one in the rig.   The real challenge is to find  one that is a direct replacement.  Perhaps I could order it from Winnebago, but where do we have it shipped ?   We're on the road again.   Another challenge of this life style.

The old Farmer's Advice:  It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Deming, NM again

We left the casino early this morning, like at 7:30 AM.  For some reason neither one of us could sleep long, so we were both up by 6 AM.   The good news of that is that traffic was light on the road and no wind.

Right now, it is way past our bed time.  I just realized as we were getting ready for bed that I hadn't kicked out a blog and I try to do that, especially when we've moved.  We're at the Escapee's Dream Catcher RV park here in Deming, NM, which is a typical RV park.  But for now, it is only half full, so lots of empty spaces around us and I'm not complaining.  We like it that way.  We're here for two nights.

Tonight when Sandy wanted to wash the dishes, we couldn't get water out of the faucet.  It seemed that our old problem of a leaky valve down by the water pump was leaking air again into the inlet side of the pump and then the pump can't get enough prime to really pump water.   The valve is a switch for adding anti-freeze to the system should we want to winterize it the motorhome.  We don't use it that way ourselves.  We use the inlet to draw water in from the barrel on the farm while parked their.  Anyway, we'll try to find a replacement tomorrow after we return from Mexico.  Then of course, there is the problem of crawling inside of the basement to change it out.

This afternoon, we went to the park ice cream social in the club house at 4 PM.  I love the ice cream, but it sure ruins any need for dinner.  And the ice cream servings are not small.  So Sandy took a nap and I guess I may have also dropped off some.

I was reading my book  on Napoleon Bonaparte and I'm in the area where he came back from his first expulsion.  He returned to France, reclaimed his position, created an army of  200,000 or 300,000 men and proceeded to go attack the British in Belgium.  He was badly beaten again and ended up getting thrown out of France for good and exiled to a distant island.   Sandy and I  visited the battlefield outside of Brussels several years ago, thus my interest in the details.

Monday we go to a Mexico border town to get some Mexican vanilla, which Sandy loves to use in the kitchen.  The locals here say that it is a safe town and that they go often.  So if we don't make it back, you know what happened.  Hopefully, we'll be back soon enough so that I can get the part I need to fix the air leak in our water system.

(It is not a problem, just another opportunity to learn what is in the system and how it goes together.)

The Old Farmer's Advice:   Don't corner something that you know is meaner than you!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dinner at the Desert Diamond Casino, Green Valley, (Tuscon), AZ

True to our planning, we left the park this morning.  What a great feeling that the shed is done and we're on the road again.  Okay, it was only a 76 mile jaunt, but we're moving.   Tonight we had dinner in the casino (paying our parking fee) with my cousin Larry Siems and his wife Carol.   We've done this often, since they moved here a few years ago.

We're actually boondocking in the casino parking lot with about 20 other RVs.   It is quiet, other than the constant road noise from the interstate nearby.  I guess that will put us to sleep tonight.  It could be worse, such as a train every 30 minutes, or big trucks starting and stopping.  Tonight, all I  hear are cars, cars and more cars.

Since it was a short drive this morning, we took a long nap this afternoon during the heat of the day.  It was to get up to 85 or so today.   We made it okay.

Paul:  I responded to your comment with another comment this morning.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Forgive your enemies.  It messes up their heads.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday night, we're ready to roll

Here it is Friday night and we're ready to roll.  In fact, I've been goofing off for a day or two.  But better that way verses being late.    Just now I realized that I've been so busy that I have forgotten to fill our water tank with fresh water.  (I did empty the holding tanks yesterday afternoon.)

While here in the park, I have read two books that I had a hard time putting down.   Two years ago, I read the book by Steven Ambrose called "The Band of Brothers".  It is the WW2 history of Easy Company of  (I forget the details.)  I really enjoyed it.  In the park library are two more books related to the Band of Brothers.  The first one was by Dick Winters (Major) who went from being a Lt. with a squad to being the battalion commander.  Lt. Winters was a "People Person" who earned the respect of his men and ended up being Battalion commander after the airplane with the command staff  was shot down and all hands aboard were lost on D-Day. Lt Winters knew what the mission was and made it happen.  Dick Winters wrote his book after Steven Ambrose returned all of the notes that Ambrose had gathered in order to write his book.

Dick Winters looked at the notes and realized that a lot of what he thought was important was left out, so Dick Winters wrote what was really a biography of his military career. It obviously was written showing the trials and tribulations of a leader placed in an extremely difficult position.  

The second book was written by two GI's in the company.  It is written from their prospective as two GI's who were often called to do the impossible.  Both books were easy  reading for me.

As we hit the road tomorrow, I  have a thick book about Napoleon Bonaparte that I haven't finished yet.  It is an interesting work detailing the ups and downs of Napoleon's career.  The one problem I have is that it was written by a Frenchman, who often left quotes in French verses giving the English version.

The reason we came here this fall was to get a shed onto our lot, one way or another.  Three years ago, the local committee rejected my request because it was too close to a power transformer.   Well, nothing moved. However, we have new members on the committee and after they looked at the permit request and the rules on the transformer, they said, "It looks okay to us."  So we bought a metal shed from Home Depot and last week, we assembled it.    This week, we had a load of gravel delivered and leveled and later we had the anchors installed for our shed.

With all of that done, we're ready to leave.  (And the really good news is that the lot is rented for the rest of the season.)

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Meanness don't just happen overnight.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winding down our stay

Believe it or not, but we're on our last days here at Sunscape.  The gravel is leveled, the bills are paid and the shed has been hosed out.   If we're not careful, we'll be ready to leave tomorrow, rain or shine.   On the road again.

Today has been a fantastic day so far temperature wise.  Inside the motorhome, it is 80 degrees, with only the vent fan running on low.  It is delightful.  I understand that in 2 or 3 days, another heat wave will roll in. We should be long gone by then.

Sandy was even outside this morning with the scrub brush and bucket, washing the windshield of the motorhome.  She has a real adversion to spots on the windows or on my glasses.

Since we've not done much, there isn't much to write about.  So we'll sign off for now.

Old Farmer's Advice:  Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Cotton Tour that wasn't

We were up early so that we could  go on a cotton tour.   We found the tour starting point, only to learn that the cotton plants were too green to harvest. (When the mechanical cotton picker rubs on the green leaves, it picks up a green residue which then rubs onto the white cotton.  The stained cotton is thus graded poorer verses a pure white cotton fiber.)  Thus, no cotton tour today.

Perhaps I need to tell you about the Visitor's Center where the Cotton Tour was to begin.  It is located adjacent to a small town that has a divided 4 lane highway for main street (with lots of pot holes).  Very few of the streets are paved.  In other words, there isn't much money in the town.

With no Cotton Tour, we were leaving the building and noticed a fellow out on the sidewalk talking like he knew much of the local background.   So we decided to stick around and listen for a while. When there was a break and he had been talking about irrigation, I asked him how deep the water table was or is?   It turns out that when the first farmers showed up in the area, the water table was down about 40 feet.  However, today the water table is typically down 800 feet.  (To pump water from 800 feet down costs lots of money, thus we see lots of abandoned irrigation fields.)

As we listened, he started to tell us about the schools that were on the visitor center grounds.  There were two schools on the grounds, one school for the Anglos and Hispanics  and the other school for the blacks.  Each school had their own privy, the white kids had indoor facilities while the black kids had to use an outdoor privy.  What was interesting was that the class schedule was such that recess was at the same time so that all of the kids could play together.

In the white kids school, there were showers in both bathrooms The standard morning was for the kids to be inspected by the school nurse for cleanliness.  If she felt that a kid was dirty,  she sent them to the showers.   (His comment was that most of the homes had very little water, and the kids bathed in the irrigation ditch.)  The black kids school was about the size of a  country school and made out of wood.   The white kids school was made out of brick and concrete and was about twice the black school size.  Both schools were built in the late 30s.

Our speaker was a local volunteer who enjoyed telling everyone what it was like way back when.  (He had lived in the area all of his life.)  The two schools were being refurbished and would be used as the town museum.  So the Visitor's Center was actually a mobile home on the museum grounds.

Back at the RV park, we did a few things and waited for 10 tons of gravel to be delivered for our lot.  In Iowa, the gravel would be very wet, but not so here in Arizona.  When he dumped the gravel, there was a big cloud of dust created.   I tried to water it down and finally gave up.  Later in the week, the maintenance man is bringing the tractor and bucket to spread the gravel out.  It would take me a month or longer to do it with a wheel barrow.  Isn't technology great?

The Old Farmer's Advice:  A bumblebee is considerably faster than an International Tractor.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Is it Wrapping up or Winding down our stay at Casa Grande ?

This was a great day for us.  What we wanted to get done happened, so we're pleased.  For starters, we stopped at the Walgreen's drug store to get a vitamin B twelve shot and  there was a minor hiccup, but in the end, we succeeded.

Then we headed down the freeway to a sand and gravel place to buy a  load of gravel to put on our lot in the park.  We were there at 10:30 AM this morning and probably we could have had the gravel on our lot by noon. I think you can say that business is kind of slow.  They will bring the gravel out after lunch tomorrow (Tuesday).

From the gravel pit, we headed to downtown Casa Grande for more stops, all of which were successful.  As Sandy said when we left Casa Grande, "To think we had 6 stops on our schedule and all were successful.  That is 6 fewer stops we won't have to make later in the week.

Our plan is to  leave here on Saturday and it looks like it will work out.   We're probably leaving just as the weather turns much cooler (highs only in the 70s.)

Per the old Farmer:  Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday, our day of rest

We really made this our day of rest.  We were not even in the shed except to get our bicycle out for a ride around the park.  I think I also took a nap this afternoon in the chair.

We've got our list of things to get done in the next week.  Bearing some show stopper, we should have it done by Saturday.  The catch is that so much of it depends upon someone else.    So there is always some question of will we get the service we're expecting.

When we leave here, our first stop is at a Casino on the south of Tuscon along I-19.   It is convenient to the highway, has a good restaurant and free parking for our RV.  We'll spend one night here and have dinner with Larry and Carol Siems, a cousin.  Our next stop is Deming, NM.  We'll spend two nights there so that we can make a drive south to Columbus, NM and walk across the border to get some Mexican Vanilla.  Then it is on to Dallas and visiting a friend from our time visiting south Texas.  That is enough planning for now.

The temperature here in Casa Grande hit 93 degrees today again.  By Wednesday,  they are saying it should break, with the high in the lower 80s.  We're ready forit.

An old Farmer's Advice:  Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Life of Leasure

One would think that with the shed construction complete and no other big projects on the way for the lot in Casa Grande, we'd be relaxing.   Well, perhaps some day, but not now. I guess it is like having extra space in the RV; if you have the space, you just have to fill it.  In this case, I gave myself a week to wrap up any remaining details. and the list keeps growing.

Monday I get a vitamin B12 shot; Then we go visit a gravel dealer to order some crushed stone for the lot parking area.  Tuesday we join a park tour to see how cotton is harvested and processed.  Wednesday,  the fellow from the maintenance shop  is going to drill 6 holes in the shed pad to anchor the shed.   Hopefully, the gravel we want will be delivered. Thursday will be the day to have the park tractor level the gravel.  Friday is the day to wrap up what we missed earlier.  Saturday we'll think about leaving, assuming that nothing breaks or bends in the mean time.

A whirl wind went through the middle of our RV and I had to re-stack my flat file system.  In the process, I came across the handout that I picked up at a classmates funeral.  Gerald was a real country boy and enjoyed life to the fullest.  One page of the handout was a saying from the "Old Farmers Almanac"   So you'll see a line per posting for a while.

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull strong.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The SHED is finished, and are we happy!

We spent a couple of hours this morning putting on the finishing touches to our storage shed.  What a relief to have it done!  Perhaps the most frustrating part was that we could only put in 3 or 4 hours of work each day before the heat drove us into cooler surroundings.

The one remaining issue is the need to anchor the shed to the concrete pad.  We have made arrangements for the park maintenance department to drill the needed holes.   They have a drill that is both a hammer and a drill.  It is also a real workhorse verses the little drill I have.

Since the shed is finished and we have some time on our hands,  we are getting a load of gravel to spread on the lot parking area.  We need it for two reasons.  The original gravel is a pea gravel and does not pack down.  Thus it is like walking on (or in) dry sand.  The other reason is that it is a very thin layer and during a heavy rain, past renters have told me that the parking area is a big sloppy mess.  At least a good layer of coarse gravel will provide a solid surface to walk on, rain or shine.

With the shed done, we have started thinking about traveling, perhaps in a week or two.  If for nothing else, we would love to find a cooler climate. I'm tired of these temperatures!