Grandson Alex and the Human Kids

Oops…no posting for 11 days…but I got my reasons as ya’ll will understand in a bit.

Before I get to that though…a slight discourse into Reality Based Blogging or RBB as it’s known around here. If ya don’t want to read this part…feel to skip ahead to the first photo and just resume reading there.

Let’s talk about impeachment.

First off…this has nothing to do with us being supporters of the President or not…my views are about the process and hypocrisy we’re seeing. As I’ve stated before on these pages…we’re not great fans of the President and think he does a lot of dumb things…and his constant tweeting of said dumb things…well, he’s almost his own worst enemy. No matter whether you like or dislike him…the fact remains that he did win the election and as a Democratic president once said…elections have consequences. In this case though…the other side wasn’t interested in those consequences and have been talking impeachment since before he was inaugurated. Come on people…give the man a chance. We’re not against impeachment if it’s warranted ‘round these parts…but come on, it’s gotta be a fair process and have some resemblance to a legal proceeding instead of just being a political hatchet job.

So we’ve got “impeachment inquiry hearings” going on…but we’ve had no vote in the House to authorize those proceedings. In my opinion…there are really only two possible reasons for that. First…Speaker Pelosi wants to give her party moderates that were elected in mostly Republican districts a little political cover by not forcing them to vote on an “inquiry”…second, and more importantly in my opinion is that whether you like her politics or not…she’s a brilliant politician and vote counter. My guess is that when counting the votes it was close enough to not passing that she’s not sure it will pass…especially if some of those swing district moderate Democrats vote against it so as to help get reelected a year from now. As a politician…she really didn’t want anything on impeachment because she realizes the political consequences it will subject her party to in the 2020 election…but there are enough wacko/he’s guilty/my mind is made up liberals in her caucus that if she didn’t allow at least the inquiry she might very well lose her position as Speaker…and as I noted before…she’s an excellent politician so will do whatever is necessary to prevent that

So instead of having an “impeachment inquiry” full House vote to authorize the hearings…and instead of setting up appropriate due process protections for the other party and potentially impeached party…she just announced that the inquiry was in progress and let the chairpersons of the six committees she’s designated setup the rules…and those six committee heads are all part of the rabid impeachment crowd.

The Republicans have complained…rightly so in my opinion…that this is unfair. Democrats have pointed out that there are no rules in the Constitution on how impeachments are to be conducted…and technically they could be correct. The wording in the Constitution says…”The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Democrats say that this means that the only full vote of the House that is required is the actual impeachment vote and that the committee hearings do not require full House authorization. Republicans…naturally, since the President is of their party…say the opposite.

The problem here for the Democrats is precedent. While I’ve not found any specific information about the process used by the House back in the 1800s against President Andrew Johnson…there is precident based on the only other Presidential impeachments since and in the more numerous impeachments of other officers including both executive branch officials and judicial branch judges.

In both Presidential impeachments…the abortive one against President Nixon as he resigned before the full House vote to actually impeach as well as the successful impeachment effort against President Clinton…there was a full House vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry itself.

In at least the two Presidential cases…the full House voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry by the Judicial Committee and laid down ground rules for those hearings. The rules included allowing the President’s legal team to attend the hearings, to allow both party members of the committee to question witnesses, to have the hearings public to the maximum extent possible, and laid down requirements that essentially mirror the due process rights that all criminal defendants have.

In this case…the 6 committee heads have set the rules.

All hearings have been private…ostensibly because of security classification requirements…but then all the juicy parts that seem to implicate the President are somehow leaked. My guess is that the heads know that the majority of the country’s citizens recognize this as mostly a politically motivated process and they are trying to try their case in the press in an attempt to turn public opinion to their side.

Republicans have been barred from the hearings…not the Republican members of the committee holding the hearings but those from other committees. For instance…the ranking Republican on the Judicial Committee was kicked out of the hearing by the Intelligence Committee chairman because he wasn’t on the Intelligence committee. This just adds to the perception that the process is unfair.

Witnesses have been guaranteed anonymity by the committee chairmen…despite the fact that the whistleblower act specifically does not allow this to happen. What the whistleblower act says is that a whistleblower is protected against “retaliation in the workplace”. No more…no less.

The President’s legal folks have likewise been barred from the hearings.

Now let’s assume that the Democrats are successful in impeaching the President. It seems that a lot of their mouthpieces seem to think that is the end of it and he will be removed from office. Not so fast though…there’s going to be a trial in the Senate to see if the impeachment is upheld or not…and let’s not forget that the Senate is controlled by the Republicans.

Numerous Democratic Senators running for President have already announced that they will vote guilty in the Senate trial…essentially Senators serve as the jury. Now…in every other trial in America…jurors are dismissed from the jury for talking about the case, doing independent research, and the like…they are required to vote solely based on whether the evidence presented by the prosecutor in court leads them to a guilty or innocent verdict. How is pre-announcing your vote…with no access to the actual facts of the case…not prejudicial to due process?

The Senate will set the rules for the trial…and you can bet your last nickel that they at least will ensure that due process is afforded and that both sides get to ask questions. I can guarantee you that the name of the whistleblower will come out…because in America you get to face your accuser.

Also in America…an accusation based on hearsay evidence does not meet the requirements for beyond a reasonable doubt…and hearsay is exactly what this whistleblower has. He or she was not involved in the phone call, did not see the transcript, did not listen to the recording (assuming one was made)…but rather “heard” from other people that the President demanded a quid pro quo from the President of Ukraine.

Having read the actual transcript as released by the White House…and seen the texts back and forth between senior State Department people who actually asked the President…there doesn’t appear to be quid pro quo nearly as obviously as the Democrats claim. The President merely asked the Ukranian President to investigate possible wrongdoing in Ukraine over the 2016 election…and the facts bear out at least the appearance of impropriety by Vice President Biden in his recommendation to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the appointment of the VP’s son to the board of the oil company in Ukraine despite no experience with either the oil industry or on corporate boards at a ridiculous salary ($50K per month).

The Constitution authorizes the President to conduct foreign policy…and requires that he uphold the laws of the US. Now meddling in a US election by a foreign entity clearly is illegal under US law…and hence the President can make a valid legal claim that he is upholding his Constitutional responsibilities by requesting that foreign leaders investigate in their country. The fact that such an investigation in Ukraine might politically benefit the President is not illegal under the Constitution…and the courts have not ruled either way. On the other hand…Federal Election law which is subservient to the Constitution makes it illegal for a candidate to solicit influence by a foreigner in US elections. These two laws seem to be in 100% opposition to me…if a candidate is obeying one he is violating the other…and until the courts vote on which takes precedence it’s not clear that the Democrats have a valid legal case.

So…in the end…this all comes down to politics. The Democrats have been trying to re-run the 2016 election ever since the day after the election and this is just the latest attempt to do so.

I have even seen suggestions by leading Democrats trying to influence the Republicans to allow them to succeed. The Constitution states that it takes a 2/3 majority of those present and voting to actually convict in an impeachment trial…that means 67 votes in the Senate assuming all 100 vote. Since the Republicans have the majority…let’s assume that all 45 Democrats and both Independents are righteously convinced by the evidence and vote guilty…that leaves them 22 votes short of conviction. Republicans are likely to find the evidence unconvincing and vote for acquittal…despite the press already trumpeting that if they do this they will be placing party above country…and simultaneously denying that Democrats voting guilty…and pre-announcing their vote…are not placing party above country as the President is obviously guilty. While it’s possible that a few Republicans might agree that the President is guilty…the likelihood that 22 of the 53 (41%) will do so is remote to nonexistent…and that doesn’t even count that some of the Democrat Senators might vote on the actual evidence and not party demands and therefore vote to acquit. 

The latest suggestion by “leading Democrats” is that Republicans should either boycott the final jury vote or abstain from voting…thereby lowering the number of votes to convict enough so that the 47 Democrat/Independent guilty votes…and we know that they’ll vote in lockstep not because of party but because the President is obviously guilty…are enough to convict.

Fat. Chance.

As I said…this is all political BS.

Didja see Senator Warren has been caught in…believe it or not…and I know this is shocking news…another lie? She’s been claiming on the campaign trail that she was fired from her first teaching job because she was pregnant. That’s what it says in her book and what she keeps saying at her rallies. Too bad she forgot about the video from years ago where she admitted she took time off to be with her child…or the interview where she told a completely different story and said she took time off to get teaching credentials then decided that instead of teaching she wanted to be a politician instead…or the previously published paperwork from her school district that offered her a job for another year of teaching at the same time she claims she was “fired for being pregnant”. I guess she figured that “I was fired for being pregnant” would get her more votes than “I quit teaching to raise my child”. Never mind that there isn’t enough money held by “the rich” to fund all of her massively expensive giveaway programs…or that her plan to impose a wealth tax which will just confiscate a percentage of your wealth every year…not income but accumulated wealth…is obviously unconstitutional…but then as a liberal Democrat she’s never bothered to learn civics, how the government works, or what makes you a Native American…and never learned to answer a simple Yes/No question as she did 8 times during last evening’s debate.

OK…enough of that…here’s the image I said you could scroll down to if you didn’t want to read that part.

Dieting

When last we left our heroes…they had made it to Coolville OH, gotten Big Red’s batteries replaced and were embarking on Fun Stuff©.

Then the colds happened. Neil came down with one a couple days before we left Hocking Hills…then he eventually gave it to Connie despite his best efforts to prevent doing so. We ended up canceling the day over on the island, boat trip, and carriage ride and just stayed home. 

Pro tip…don’t use almost 3 month old chicken stock from the fridge…you’ll make yourselves sick. Neil used some to make lemon sauce for pork piccata one night at Coolville. He looked at the date on the box and thought maybe it was too old…but it passed the smell test and it passed the “has it congealed into jelly test” so he used it. Both of them spent the overnight hours with tummy cramps but they had passed by noon or so the next day…they were talking about it and it came to them that it was probably bad. We’ve used it after a month and a half in the fridge after opening and it was fine…but he’s decided that in the future he’ll just toss it after a month and open a new box…it’s only $2.29 a quart or so and we always have a spare box in the pantry. 

We headed out early Monday morning to Lexington VA…right near where I-81 and I-64 intersect…for an overnight stop at Lee Hi Travel Stop…a small overnighter (mostly) campground in back of a truck stop. We had dinner in town at the Palms then headed out again Tuesday morning to Cozy Acres campground in Powhatan VA about 20 miles west of Midlothian where the kids live. By that time…we were mostly over our colds so we went over and visited everybody on Wednesday…turns out that Bryan was also suffering from a cold that he claimed Jenny and Alex gave him…more on that later.

Thursday we headed 420 miles west with Big Red to Knoxville TN to pick up the furniture that Baby Sis had been house sitting for us ever since 2012 when we sold our home in Fairfax VA and set out on our vagabond gypsy lifestyle. We got there, picked up the U-Haul trailer Neil had reserved and headed over to her home on Wenlock Road. Loaded up our furniture with a welcome assist from Alex who lives across the street then went over to our hotel, parked and got registered. Walked to the Tavern nearby and had dinner and brews, then came back to the hotel and crashed.

Friday we got up, had breakfast, and attempted to leave…but Big Red wouldn’t start…the batteries were so dead that the starter solenoid didn’t even click. We got one of the hotel maintenance guys to come around and jump start us…and Neil found that he had inadvertently left the storage compartment lights on when we backed into our site at Cozy Acres in the dark. We headed the 420 miles back to Richmond, met Bryan at our storage unit and offloaded the furniture and headed for the U-Haul place…everybody felt great at this time. By the time we got there, dropped the trailer off and drove to Cozy Acres…Neil was feeling sickish again…aches, pains, cough, sore throat and all.

We had dinner and by bedtime he was feeling worse than he’s felt since Connie gave him norovirus back in 2014…every joint ached and even his skin hurt, plus fever and all the other symptoms. By Saturday mid day…the aches were mostly gone but he’s been on cold pills every 12 hours and 3 Advil every 6 hours ever since…although feeling better each day. We were supposed to move on Sunday over to Pocahontas State Park for 5 nights…but (a) he still didn’t feel great and (b) it was supposed to rain all day Sunday and (c) if we had been smarter we would have done this when we originally made the reservation here at Cozy Acres a couple weeks back…but it turned out that our site at Cozy Acres was not reserved until Thursday night…which was when we would be departing so we just extended here and didn’t move over to Pocahontas in the rain. 

Connie was…mostly…feeling pretty good so we were hopeful that she would not catch this from again…those hopes were dashed Tuesday afternoon as she started getting the sore throat  and by the time we had dinner with the kids and got home she was really feeling bad. He got her some of his drugs and took care of her until bedtime…and today she’s feeling a little better. Hopefully she will improve every day as he did and be back to normal in a couple of days.

Tomorrow we’re heading 270 miles south to Fort Mill SC…we’ll have a 4 night stop there to see our friends Bill and Linda and also her sister Cindy and her husband and daughter on Saturday and Friday respectively. Sunday we’ll rest, attend. Mass, and get groceries…then Monday we’ll be off on a 2 day travel…328 miles to Brunswick GA for an overnight at Coastal Georgia Resort where we’ve stayed before then another 200 miles on Tuesday to the Low Key Hideaway site 3 in Cedar Key FL for the final 10 days of travel season…backed up to the water, doing some end of travel season cleaning of the rig (we’ll spread that over 2 or 3 days depending on how we feel), and going to Happy Hour at the Tiki Bar 40 feet away nightly of course.

Friday November 1 we’ll head out again for the last 250 miles to our winter home at Seminole Campground site 101 in North Fort Myers.

On to some Fun Stuff© photos.

Jen and Alex at dinner on Wednesday night last week…Bryan was working the close shift at Burlington so we took them out to a local Italian/pizza place.

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Looking up from the lake behind site 117 to the rig…the bottom of the photo is right at “path around the lake” level and the water is 2 feet or so below the path. This is a cozy little park and will likely be our new destination when we’re in this area to see the kids and Alex. This shot and the following 2 were taken on a nice blue sky day…but I missed getting the flat calm lake reflection shots by about 10 minutes.

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Neil went back out Tuesday morning early and it was flat calm again so he got some nice shots of the lake.

Pano of the entire lake.

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And a few closer shots of various things.

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Interesting stuff found on the net…although most of this was found in emails from various friends…but it came in from the net so Ima sticking to my “on the net” statement since none of them claimed to be the originators of the enclosed items and they found them on the net (or got them in email).

ArtistWrongWords

Snowbirds

This is the earliest known selfie…they had to use the technology available to them at the time I guess.

EarliestSelfie

The Origins of Golf…or How Man Learned to Swear.

OrignsOfGolfr

Ever notice how your GPS will give you a different route…and different time to travel…when going from A to B and then returning from B to A? Turns out there is a precedent for this.

WalkTimes

KidsVSMapleLeafs

This is similar to one I’ve posted before.

JesusInGroceryStore

Laundry

PeopleWhoWrongMe

Cyas.

Posted in Reality Based Blogging, RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Coolville OH Transit and Fun Stuff

Well, after our power issue the other night and subsequent cancellation of Fun Stuff© in order to get the breaker on our site’s pedestal fixed…we were looking forward to a nice easy travel day on Thursday. It started out most excellently until Neil walked across the street to the bath house where Big Red was parked to move him over to our site so that he could load stuff in. He got in, pushed the start button…and the starter solenoid went click but did not engage to crank the engine over. He recognized the symptoms…it happened to BAT (our first truck the F450) in a similar manner. Big Red is a 2016 model that came off the line in Oct 2015 so that puts him…and his batteries…right at 4 years old…so he was pretty sure that at least one of the two batteries was toast…which means the starter won’t crank as they are in parallel.

That led to a wasted 45 minutes or so while we pulled Li’l Red over and jumped it…after which he was very careful not to turn the engine off. He looked up and there was a RAM dealer with a heavy truck facility in Parkersburg WV which was just across the river from our next campground in Coolville OH. Connie thought we would never get in…but he told her they were good old boys from West Virginia and would take care of us. He called them, described the problem and told them we were RVers transiting the area…and that we could be there by about 1430…they close at 1700…and he said “sure, bring ‘im in and we’ll fix ‘im up”.

With that in hand…we finished hitching up and departed Hocking Hills State Park about 1130. The first dozen miles of the trip were a bit dicey as we had to head up the 3 number state road to Logan…curvy and up/down as well as narrow…but it was better than the trip on the same road getting to the park from the other side. After that…we hopped on US-33 and then US-50 and had smooth sailing all the way to Carthage Gap RV Resort in Coolville OH.

After navigating the one lane only between two ponds with 10 feet drop-offs to the water on both sides…we quickly got checked in and then Teresa the owner guided us to site F4…a nice 80 or 90 foot long pull through gravel site with full hookups…slightly downhill from back to front but easily leveled. We put on power, unhitched, deployed slides and turned on the A/C units as it was getting on towards 90 degrees…then headed out to the RAM dealer.

Service there was excellent…the tech came back about 15 minutes later and confirmed that one of our batteries was bad. We told him to replace both as they were the same age and we didn’t want to get stranded again later. He came back a few minutes later and said they had no batteries in stock…but that they could run up the street and get two from Advance Auto Parts which had the same specs as the OEM batteries…and that they routinely got batteries from them when needed. We agreed and an hour or so later were heading home…we got the original sales certificate for the batteries from Advance so if we need warranty service later on it’s easy-peasy.

By the time we got home we were beat…but Neil finished leveling and hooking up utilities then we baked a pot pie for dinner. Watched some TV until bedtime…we missed last Friday’s shows we normally watch as we had no satellite visibility but DirecTV streaming got them for us easily. Right before bedtime we turned the A/C off and opened up as weather for our remaining 3 days would be wonderful…cool and definitely open-window-worthy.

We were up early Friday morning for our first Fun Stuff…a drive over to the McDonough Wildlife Refuge for a hike on the Main Loop trail…a 2.25 mile loop with about 400 feet of elevation change. According to the signs…there would be numerous chances to see wildlife from foxes to coyotes to deer to birds at the wetlands. We stopped at Chick-Fil-A and got a couple of chicken and egg burritos for breakfast…the size of that particular tasty breakfast treat has increased considerably since we had them our only other time a couple of years back.

We donned our hiking shoes and set off with our hiking poles…and as advertised within 100 yards of entering the trail we spotted our first wildlife sighting…Neil spotted this li’l guy alongside the trail.

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Unfortunately…that was also the last wildlife sighting on our hike…but we enjoyed it anyway. The weather was cool so we didn’t get overheated and the uphills were a bit challenging but fortunately they weren’t too long individually so we had plenty of time to recover.

This is the “wetlands”…more of a pond really and no wildlife at all…probably because of the concentration of algae floating on the surface. There was a small open spot in the middle…and the dead calm wind would have resulted in a great reflection shot except for the algae…but I did what I could and included a shot cropped differently so you can see what reflections there were.

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Cattails.

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Along the hike…turns out that we’ve been classifying trails slightly inaccurately ever since we took our first trip to Maine some years back. Lemme ‘splain for ya.

On that first trip…we discovered that all trails in Maine are rocky and covered with roots…so we deemed trails like that as R&R trails…for rocks and roots of course.

Today however…as we headed up the first incline on our hike…Connie said that was a R&R&R trail for rocks, roots, and ruts…which Neil immediately classified as a Triple R Trail. Unfortunately…that got him started down a mental rathole and he wondered if we had possibly misnamed the R&R trail years back due to insufficient information. By the time we got to our second rest stop on a conveniently located bench at the top of a hill…he had figgered it out and after discussing it with her we now have the new and improved trail classification system.

So…rocks, roots, and ruts…notice those are in alphabetical order. The new classification system is R&R Type 1 (or 2 or 3)…with the r words selected as 1 & 2, 2 & 3, or 1 & 3…obviously for rocks and roots, roots and ruts, and rocks and ruts respectively. We’re sure that this new system will better enable us to describe our trail experiences for ya.

After the hike…we stopped by Home Depot for a list of hardware stuff we needed, Kroger for a few vittles, and a different Kroger that had a liquor store for some rum before heading home.

We were going to…originally…sit outside in the breeze…but took a nap inside instead before doing a few chores and then having some leftover skirt steak with onions and peppers in corn tortillas for dinner…they were quite yummy.

Saturday we were going to go over to this island in the river near Parkersburg including a boat ride, carriage ride, and museum tour…but Connie wasn’t feeling very well so we just stayed home instead.

Sunday it’s going to rain on and of all day…so we have no plans other than Mass in the morning, then we’ll head out for a 2 day travel period on Monday…overnighting at Lexington VA and then arriving in Powatan VA just west of the human kids on Tuesday. Wednesday we’ll see them and install the tow ball assembly that Neil bought for Big Red. Thursday we’ll drive Big Red to Knoxville, pick up a U-haul trailer and pick up some furniture that Baby Sis was house sitting for us as her estate is putting the house on the market with proceeds to go into her younger daughter’s trust. We’ll get a hotel in Knoxville and come back to Midlothian Friday…meeting Bryan to put the furniture into our storage unit. Saturday we’ll drive up to Fairfax for the annual Cassaday Financial Symposium…at least that’s the current plan…then Sunday we’ll move over to Pocahontas State Park for a few days before heading south. On the way south…with our new and revised plan…we’ll really only have 2 stops. We’ll stop in NC to see our friends Bill and Linda as well as Connie’s older sister…then a 2 day transit to Cedar Key for a 10 day stop at the Low Key Hideaway…then a final 1 day transit to North Fort Myers where the travel season will come to an end.

I don’t know if we’ll have anything else that really classifies as Fun Stuff© before our arrival back at our winter home…if I do I’ll post…and if I don’t then I’ll think of something else to write about.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

RanAroundTheBlock

ChipMonk

CellPhones

LifeAfterDeath

NotABear

DeadVsStupid

DoYouNeedAParachute

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Hocking Hills Ohio

My last post included our first Fun Stuff© day at Hocking Hills State Park…which turns out to be pretty much fun-less as we saw the waterless falls and came home…that was on Friday.

Our plans were to do nothing over the weekend…as a state park not too far of a drive from Cincinnati and Columbus we figured it would fill up to capacity. So our plan was to sit under the awning on the veranda and watch the world go by. We were on the shade side of the rig for a change and the weather while in the 80s was pretty dry and there was a little breeze so it was quite comfortable sitting out there with an adult beverage and waving/chatting with folks as they walked by. Neil grilled carne asada carnitas pork one night and a skirt steak the other night…both were pretty outstanding. We went up to Logan OH about 12 miles northeast for Mass but other than that the weekend was a do-nothing weekend.

Monday we had a day trip down to Chillicothe OH to see the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park…which is essentially some Indian burial mounds. Neil was not really thinking that these would be worthwhile…but as it turned out he was incorrect and they were much more interesting than he thought.

So…Hopewell Indian culture…what is it? Well…it’s not actually about the Hopewell Indians as we don’t know what they called themselves as they had no written language. The people inhabited this area of Ohio from 2000 BC to 1500 BC, but rather than living in villages they predominantly lived in small scale (2-3 huts) groups that were probably familial in nature. Despite this dispersed culture…they were responsible for creating the largest earthworks in North America…some of them requiring as many as 1.5 million baskets of earth to be moved…and the works were not just piled up dirt but had multiple layers of gravel, sand, straw, and dirt with a 20 inch layer of gravel on top of both the mounds and the surrounding walls. The name Hopewell comes from Captain Mordecai Hopewell who owned the farm where the first site was excavated in the 1890s.

The mounds are primarily…but not exclusively…burial sites containing cremated remains and artifacts at the center of the mound…most are round ranging up to 60 feet in diameter and a dozen or more feet high with a few elliptical mounds the same night but about 140 feet long and 30 feet wide. There are 5 major sites…most of which contain a square, large circle, and smaller circle. The sizes of the walls are consistent throughout the sites despite them being up to 60 miles apart and all are oriented the same geographically in line with constellations or solstices depending on which archeologist you choose to believe. The burial mounds are always in the large circle if a site contains all 3 shapes (4 of 5 are this way) and they are in the square at the main site which only has the square and the small circle. The square dimensions fit precisely inside the large circle where they are present…and the arrangement of the 3 structures is pretty consistent. The bottom line is that for whatever reason they were built…they were pretty much built the same way.

The main site…Hopewell Mound City…which we visited, has the largest number (40) of burial mounds and the largest mound all located within the square. The square and circle walls are about 10 feet wide and 6 feet or so tall. At Mound City…all of the mounds have been archeologically excavated and then reconstructed…although whether they were reconstructed to the original layered construction was not mentioned in either the excellent movie at this site or any of the information signs posted throughout.

The Indians obviously had a wide ranging trade system in place…as the mounds contain artifacts made out of obsidian from Colorado, copper from the Great Lakes region, shark teeth and shells from the Gulf of Mexico, silver from the Ontario region, and mica from the local area. The copper was found as small nuggets which were then pounded flat, then multiple flat pieces pounded to form a single sheet, then formed into various artifacts.

Pano taken from the back door of the visitor center looking out towards the square. These structures are huge…the squares are all about 20 acres, the large circles 27 acres, and the smaller circles about 60% of the size of the large circles. 

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The wall of the square…this is the same area at the end of the sidewalk in the center of the above pano.

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Looking out at the mounds.

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This tree obviously didn’t survive the recent lightning strike.

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Mound 7…this is the largest single mound…I left the people in for scale.

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Elliptical mound…which to our eyes was much larger in volume than mound 7 albeit slightly shorter and narrower but 5 or 6 times in length.

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More mounds in the far corner of the square.

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Some interior shots of the museum…copper hands.

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This is a bear according to the label…but it don’t look much like me so Ima not convinced. Looks more like a hippo or pig to me.

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Bone tools on the left and obsidian ear stretchers on the right. The latter are about 1 inch in diameter and fit into and stretch a hole pierced through the lower earlobe…they look quite uncomfortable to install.

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Deer antlers made of copper.

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Carved stone.

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All in all…it was actually pretty interesting and way better than Neil thought it would be.

We headed home and then went out for dinner at this fancy-schmancy restaurant nearby…the Inn at Cedar Falls. Somewhat pricey as our bill before tip was $95 but that included 6 glasses of wine and 2 entrees…we sampled Merlot and Pinot Noir during Happy Hour at the bar and then had Sauvignon Blanc to go with our Bourbon-Maple Salmon (Connie) and Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta (Neil). Both dishes were excellent as was the wine…it’s probably the best $100 meal we’ve had in quite a long time. The only drawback was that they screwed up the check and filled out a “charge it to my room” ticket instead of charging it to the card Neil gave the waitress…who was actually the manager as it turned out the next day when we went the 2 miles back there to fix their screwup.

We had another Fun Stuff© day scheduled for Wednesday…but it was unavoidably cancelled due to power issues in the rig. Along about 0130 this morning…our Progressive electrical management system tripped us off the shore power cable and after 30 minutes of troubleshooting we had no joy so we just opened the windows, turned off the A/C units, and pretended we were boon docking on the battery overnight. We had scheduled an early departure for a couple of hikes back down in Chillicothe…but after troubleshooting the problem for a couple of hours and finding out it was the 50 amp circuit breaker in our power pedestal…then waiting until the park maintenance guy came by and replaced it…well by that time it was almost 1000 so we just cancelled the trip…it would have been too hot to hike much by the time we got down there at lunchtime which was the reason for our originally planned early departure. So…we’ll just hang out again today.

Tomorrow we’re off 65 miles east to Coolville, OH which is just across the river from Parkersburg WV…where we’ll have Fun Stuff© Friday and Saturday, sit at home on the rainy day on Sunday, then head out for a 2 day travel to grand baby Alex on Monday via Lexington VA.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

MelonCollie

InBread

CatAndComma

CuriosityCat

CatTreadmills

WetMoppedFloor

ThinMints

MomFoundPipeInCar

Cyas.

 

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At Least One Of Us Is Feeling Better :-)

Sorry ‘bout no post in 11 days…but we were sorta overcome by a series of events that prevented us from posting…thats my story and Ima stickin’ to it.

When last we left our heroes…they had finished up bearing maintenance at the MORryde factory in Elkhart IN and were getting ready to head over to White Pigeon MI to the Quadra Bigfoot factory where we were scheduled for maintenance on our jacks.

Neil woke up the last day in Elkhart coming down with a cold and spent the next week and a day feeling lousy, then better, then lousy but not as lousy as before then better again pretty much by yesterday. Connie carefully avoided kissing him, breathing the same air as him, and sharing glasses, utensils, and the like but she ended up coming down with probably the same cold about 6 days into his bout with it. As of today…he’s feeling pretty much back to normal and she’s still suffering some with it…but overall it looks like she’s on the way out of it instead of the way in.

Nonetheless…an update on our 11 days.

We headed over to White Pigeon as scheduled and our maintenance there was complete by about 1300 Thursday afternoon and we had no campground reservation until Saturday. He called down to Winton Woods Campground in Cincinnati to see if we could get in early…no joy there so we looked at a couple other options and ended up getting 2 nights at the Wapakoneta OH KoA about 140 miles south from Elkhart. As it turned out…it was a good thing we couldn’t get into Cincinnati early as that was another 120 miles down the road and it was about 1800 by the time we got parked anyway. With Neil feeling poorly…we didn’t do anything in Wapakoneta…didn’t even go out of the campground…just stayed in and vegetated in site 23, a nice pull through gravel full hookup site.

Saturday morning he was still feeling lousy but after drugging himself up we headed out to Cincinnati…it was a shorter drive so we had to coordinate leaving the KoA right about checkout time so as not to have to waste too much time on the way down…but we still had most of an hour to kill so we had lunch and rest period at a rest area as we headed south. We pulled into Winton Woods…which is a county park…and got quickly setup in site 7F for a 5 night stay. We had a couple things scheduled for Fun Stuff© in Cincinnati…but as it turned out we ditched some of them as he was not recovered yet and she was in the initial stages of the disease.

We headed out along the bluff overlooking the Ohio River hoping for some nice views down into the river valley…and we had a wildlife sighting…yeah, this was it for the entire post…a super huge praying mantis. It turned its head towards Neil while he was taking its portrait…and I’m not sure whether it was staring him down or calculating whether he could be lunch…take a look at the closeup and see what ya think.

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Here it is from the other side…it was sitting on the fence post by where we parked in Shawnee Lockout Park and was still there when we left 15 minutes later…it had to be 7 inches long.

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Couple of little known facts for ya…first…hummingbirds are found only in North America although there are some fossilized ones from a bazillion years ago that were found in Europe…second…praying mantis sometimes prey on them. Don’t know where it’s going to put that lunch…but not my problem.

PrayingMantisHummingbird

In the park there is a spring house dating from the early 1800s and a restored cabin from 1795.

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The bluff turned out to be mostly a bust…it was what we call a North Carolina overlook…since we first observed the custom of building an overlook but not bothering to trim the trees/bushes so that you could actually overlook something in North Carolina. This is the best Neil could do.

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Another day we went to the William Howard Taft Historic Site…which is the house he was born in. It fell into extreme disrepair and was basically falling down before it was designated in the 1970s and then restored in the 1980s. It’s basically like Disneyland though…there are only a few artifacts that actually belonged to the Taft family and even the inside has been restored based not on any photos of the interior but on looking at payment documents found in the house that had things like wallpaper and tile patterns noted on them.

This clock is one of the few Taft owned pieces…the remainder of the furnishings beyond a few portraits and a silver platter is period accurate but not Taft family owned.

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The exterior of the house…front door on the right facing side and even the house isn’t original to when the Taft family purchased it. The original house at purchase consisted of just the front half of the house back about to the drainpipe you can see coming down…the portion to the left at the back of the house was built in the years following their purchase. The house went out of and then back into Taft family ownership (they’re pretty famous and important people in Cincinnati over the generations) before being deeded to the park service in the 1970s. 

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We drove by the Mushroom House…a private residence in Cincinnati…

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And then stopped at Fleishmann Gardens which has the largest gingko tree in the state of OH. Not sure why that’s important…but apparently it is.

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With our work in Cincinnati done…we headed out another 150 or so miles east to Hocking Hills State Park and quickly got parked in site 24, a nice back in paved full hookup site. We wondered if we had made a mistake with this reservation on the way into the park…as it’s really steep, curvy, and wooded along the access road…but it turned out to be a pretty decent place…luckily our passenger side faces north so that provides us nice shady places to sit in the afternoons of our week’s stay.

The first day here…we headed out on a 2 mile hike…Connie still felt poorly but decided to bore on…to see three waterfalls…or as I guess I should say waterless falls…there’s a drought in OH right now and the creek/river is not only not flowing, it’s mostly dried up with just a few puddles in places and nary a drop coming over the falls. Neil did take a picture of one of them…but it is too depressing so I’m not posting it here. We ended up shortening our hike and going back to the rig sooner than planned.

On second thought…Connie will want him to post it anyway…so here it is…a place called the BathTub because Upper Falls empties into it.

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It’s Sunday afternoon as I post this…and we’ll be here until Thursday morning. We have a few more Fun Stuff© things on the list but depending on how Connie feels we may…or may not…do them. We did pick out a fancy-schmancy dinner place…the Inn at Cedar Falls…that we’ll head out to one night.

Interesting things found on the net.

Not sure how the process would work for this one if it actually happened.

MogrelMix

WindowRepair

Ya don’t see this at every wedding.

DontSeeThisAtEveryWedding

ArgueWithWoman

BestKarateInstructor

CatHumor

Groundhog

GlueStick

Cyas.

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Transit to Elkhart IN

This could be subtitled as “Worst Travel Day Ever”.

We rolled out of Higginsville IL Sunday morning for a 600 mile trip to Elkhart for bearing maintenance on the rig. We aimed for Casey IL about 330 miles east on I-70 which would leave about 260 remaining for Monday to Indianapolis then north to South Bend on US-31 and east on US-20 to Elkhart.

About 30 miles before we got to St. Louis…we ran into the back end of a 45 minute traffic delay due to an accident. That one wasn’t too bad…at least we were moving most of the time. When we finally got clear of that we continued on eastward until we were almost to Altamont IL…and then the worst travel day ever really got started.

Connie was following Neil and there was an accident about 200 or 300 yards in front of him…he was in the right hand lane and had a birds eye view…albeit from a distance…of the interaction between a semi, two pickups towing trailers, and a VW Tiguan…at least that’s what we think it was.

We had seen the VW for about the last 30 or 40 miles…the driver was alternately slowing to about 40 and then speeding up to 80 or so…speed limit was 65 or 70 on that part of the freeway. He wasn’t texting or weaving…just changing speed dramatically. At one point…the VW was somewhere in front of him and he observed a red car flipping over a couple times in the left lane and a truck towing a trailer full of horse trailers fishtailing and then heading off the right shoulder.

Here’s a shot of the aftermath…Neil was first in line and we sat there for 5 hours at 90 degrees.

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Neil and another fella were on the scene within about 90 seconds of the crash and did what they could for the participants. After wandering around during the delay…here’s what he thinks happened based on looking at the damage to the various vehicles…although as I said he never saw the Tiguan or semi involved.

The semi was in front followed by the black truck with the trailer in the right hand lane…the red car was on the trailer. The driver of that truck was just coming back east from Arizona where he attended his mother’s funeral…that was her car and possessions on the trailer. The Tiguan…which after the accident was about 8 feet long and 3 feet tall…it’s upside down just off the right shoulder below the white trailers in the shot; there’s a dark blue shirted cop next to it…anyway it was following behind the black truck/trailer and based on what happened it had to be one of the times when the Tiguan was at about the same speed as the truck.

The truck with the trailer full of white horse trailers…up on the shoulder in the woods in the picture…came up from behind and smacked the Tiguan square in the rear…he must have been considerably faster as the back end of the Tiguan was crushed in about 4 or 5 feet and the front of that pickup crushed about 3 feet. The Tiguan swerved to the right from the impact then tried to correct back to the left…but by that time it was next to the black trailer but on the shoulder…he went up and over the trailer knocking the red car into the left lane and flipping it a couple times. He then bounced off the front of the black truck with the trailer…the Tiguan’s front end is crushed in as is the front of the black truck…flipped, and went over into the ditch. The horse trailer trailer ended up smacking into the back of the semi and then bounced off the road into the woods to the final position it is in..

Looks pretty clear to him that the white truck with the horse trailers was not paying attention and going too fast…he had passed Neil and Connie behind him a minute or so before at a pretty good clip…they were doing 65 which is their normal cruise speed on travel days.

Unfortunately…the driver of the Tiguan didn’t make it…when Neil and the other fellow got there he was barely breathing and choking/wheezing…lots of blood but by the time EMS got there less than 10 minutes later he had passed away.

In the photo above…Big Red is about 50 feet forward of the initial impact point. After about an hour and a half or so…the accident reconstruction team got there and spent an hour moving all the stopped vehicles back, onto the shoulders, and into the left lane to clear the initial impact point. They originally wanted Neil to back 3/4 of a mile down the shoulder with the ditch on the side…he suggested that would be practically impossible…the reconstruction guys agreed and he just backed straight back a hundred feet or so once the remainder of the the vehicles behind him cleared.

And then we sat.

And sat.

And then sat some more.

It started about 1530…and about 1800 Neil called our CG for the day to see about late checkin…told the nice lady there we were stuck and where (about 50 miles from the park). She said to call her back when we cleared the accident and let her know when we would be arriving and she would come up to check us in.

We finally got moving and ended up at the park at 2120…we had some cookies and Goldfish crackers for dinner while waiting for hours…Neil put on power, slides went out and we went to bed.

Monday morning…he dumped our tanks and filled the fresh with water for our expected 4 or 5 nights with no hookups while in Elkhart…then we had a blessedly calm travel day on to Elkhart.

Tuesday morning…we were up at 0430 to be ready to pull into the service bay at 0600. By 1300 or so we were done, bearings greased and everything checked for any other service needed, and back out in the parking lot. Neil tried to get our appointment at Quadra (jack builder) moved from Thursday to Wednesday…no joy there…so we checked with Brian from MORryde and he said it would be no problem to just stay 2 more nights. So that’s what we did. Tuesday night we had leftover ribs from the BBQ Shanty in Higginsville…the ribs were only OK while the pulled pork and brisket were pretty outstanding…Wednesday we ran over to Yoder’s Meats and picked up some meat then went out to Iechyd Da brewery for dinner…a couple of very nice brews and an outstanding pizza…ham, mozzarella, roasted garlic, balsamic, and arugula on top. Coming home…we had some maple nut fudge from Yoder’s for dessert and then it was TV until bed.

We’ll be off 20odd miles to White Pigeon MI for jack service tomorrow…then off to Cincinnati OH…I’ll post again later on.

No interesting stuff from the net today…in view of the fatality accident I discussed earlier it just didna seem right.

Cyas.

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Junction City KS, Repairs, and Higginsville MO

With our stay in North Platte NE complete…we departed last Sunday for the 330something mile trip down to Junction City CO…birthplace of our Majestic at the New Horizons RV factory. We pulled in about 1500 and got ourselves parked in front of the repair bays on the right side of the property…then had some leftovers for dinner and had an early bedtime as we were tired and had to meet Ken (service manager) early Monday morning.

We went and visited Ken at 0631 right after he started work on Monday morning…figuring we needed to be first in line in order to be done by Friday afternoon…we have an appointment in Elkhart for bearing maintenance next Monday. Gave him our list which included 3 items…adding a support for our microwave at the rear, we replaced it a couple years back and the bracket that holds it to the wall is failing meaning only the bolts from the cabinet above are holding it…repainting the lower front end under the bedroom and behind the kingpin with rock guard paint…and repairing the T-molding on the rear of the LR slide that was damaged in northern CA when we inadvertently dumped the passenger side wheels into a rut in the dirt turnaround. He said fine…we told him we needed to be done by Friday…he said fine and headed off. To our amazement by 1300 on Monday the bracket was installed and the molding installed and ready for paint…and the rock guard paint was on order from the local supplier they use for paint. Late Monday he told us that he would probably get us into the paint booth Wednesday evening which meant we would sit around doing nothing on Tuesday. We figured that was situation normal for service visits based on past history.

Tuesday about noontime…he knocked on our door and told us he had changed his plan…we would go into the paint booth Tuesday evening so we needed to move out. We headed over to the Motel 6 (Tom Bodett left the light on for us) about 1500 after they took the rig off for painting. We showed back up about 0820 Wednesday morning and the painting was done and we were back in front of the service bay…it al looks great. That meant we were done but by the time we officially figured that out it was about 1200 so we decided to just stay and head out Thursday. We were scheduled to overnight in Higginsville MO about 30 miles east of Kansas City on Saturday night anyway…and after checking to ensure site availability we went ahead and setup a reservation for Thursday through Saturday nights. We went out and had some sushi for dinner…amazingly pretty good for Kansas…way, way better than the sushi in Cody WY…then stopped at Walmart for some groceries. 

Our friend Robert had arrived Monday for some work…and although we had time to chat with him for a couple of short periods he is in the throes of battery and tire issues…and with us being at the hotel on Tuesday night we didn’t get a chance to have dinner with him and a detailed chat about life since we saw each other last.

Thursday morning we hitched up and were ready to go a bit after 1100…we knocked on Robert’s door to say our “until next times”…no answer…turned out he was asleep so he didn’t hear either that or the text or phone ring.

I have to say…things have improved considerably for service at the New Horizons factory. Ken moved from the main building out to an office in the service facility…which gets him out of sight of the customer lounge and employee lounge. In addition…the new CEO Brian is slowly changing the culture of the company to be more customer and service oriented…and we have to say it’s a most definite up-tick. I can’t say for sure what improved things…but this is the first time ever that we had no issues with getting what we needed accomplished and ahead of schedule to the good.

We headed east out of Junction City and south around Kansas City ending up at Great Escape Campground in Higginsville MO. We had stayed here before…and we recognized the buildings and layout when we arrived…but at least as far as Neil was concerned it wasn’t what he thought it would be even though he recognized it when we pulled in. He was thinking of another place we overnighted in the past somewhere in the middle of the country…it was located in the same place relative to the freeway exit as Great Escape is and somehow he got the two of them mixed up. No worries though…we quickly checked in and pulled into site 57…one of their super sites which means it’s wider and longer than most…right down by what they call the lake but we would call it a pond. It had poured rain as we headed toward Kansas City…but by the time we got east of town most of the storm had thankfully passed north and west of us so it was dry in Higginsville. 

We went over to the local winery/brewpub/eatery for dinner…had a decent but not really worth $20 bottle of wine and an outstanding mushroom and roasted garlic pizza…it had fermented sourdough crust that was really, really tasty…too bad there wasn’t just a bit more of it.

We’ve got nothing at all planned for our stay here in Higginsville…we need to go fill Big Red with diesel as we need to fill up once between Kansas and Elkhart and we’re already unhitched here while our next stop is just an overnight no unhitch required site. We’ll need some DEF before we get to Elkhart but will just pull around in the truck stop where you can pump it instead of having to get multiple boxes and put them in. Neil’s grilling some lamb chops today with fresh grilled corn and grilled balsamic mushrooms…and we’ll finish last night’s white wine at Happy Hour and open something or other to go with the lamb. Tomorrow is the Alabama game then off to Mass and an eatery she found up in town. 

Sunday we’ll be off 330 miles through St. Louis to Casey IL then another 265 via Indianapolis IN on Monday to Elkhart where we’ll park at the MORRyde factory for our scheduled service on Tuesday Sep 17. We’ve got another appointment at the Quadra Bigfoot Leveler factory in nearby White Pigeon MI on Thursday…and then a scheduled stop in Cincinnati 269 miles south on Saturday Sep 21. If we get done early enough and can move Quadra to Wednesday…we’ll head on over there and if we’re done early we’ll see about getting into Cincinnati OH a day or two early…but mostly we’ll be hit and miss for those few days not knowing where we’ll really overnight until the day before probably. 

Once we get to Cincinnati…we’ll be back on schedule for the eastbound portion of the US-50 trip having just missed a little of it between Kansas City and Cincinnati…after our extended stay in Cody we’re looking forward to some Fun Stuff©…although I’ve got none of that for ya today.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

I don’t know what to think about the Democratic presidential candidates…apparently since basic Civics is no longer a required course in high school none of them learned about things like constitutional rights and what is and isn’t legal. For example…O’Rourke says that “Hell yes, we’re going to forcibly take your AR-15s and AK-47s”…but there’s a little trouble with that. First off…an AK-47 is a fully automatic military rifle that is already illegal under the Federal Firearms Act of 1934 unless you have a federal firearms permit. Second…the AR-15…despite what you read in the media about it being an “military style assault rifle”…is nothing more than your basic semiautomatic rifle…just like every other rifle in the world except for single shot bolt action rifles or muzzle loaders. The difference is that it has a detachable magazine…which may or may not have a lot of capacity…and it is black and looks scary. It’s also arguably the most popular hunting and target plinking rifle in the country depending on which source you believe…and it was the target of the much lamented by liberals Clinton era Assault Weapons Ban which did pretty much nothing to reduce crime. However…I can understand that liberals and gun haters want to get rid of them…but then there’s that pesky second amendment. I’m even fine with liberals and gun haters trying to get an amendment passed and ratified to repeal the second amendment. However…they claim that’s too hard and that is why we need “common sense gun control”…essentially they don’t have support to repeal the amendment so they want to nibble around the edges…just a little now but then next time they’ll be back wanting another nibble. Nope…ain’t happening. The amendment is pretty clear…and despite the liberals claims that it doesn’t apply to “military weapons”…as I noted the AR-15 isn’t a military weapon and back in the late 1700s private citizens could own their own artillery pieces if they wanted to…so the amendment clearly didn’t limit by intention or by wording. As I said…go ahead and try to change it…it’s hard but that’s because the founding fathers deliberately made it hard…because they wanted to prevent politicians from screwing it up without a real majority of the population supporting things.

Another example…Medicare for all…which not even the liberals most fervent partners in labor unions support. It will cost the government somewhere between $10 trillion (Democrat estimate) and $20 trillion (Republican estimate) over the next 10 years to implement. Even at the low end…that’s another trillion a year added to the current $4 trillion federal outlay…a 25 percent increase. Obviously…this will require a massive tax increase to fund…at least Bernie Sanders admits that this is true but all the rest claim that it will be paid for “out of savings”. Not sure how that works…and it’s all BS anyway…but that’s what they claim.

Third example…Ms. Warren’s wealth tax. She wants to tax…in addition to increasing income tax on rich people…the net worth of people over $50 million by 1 or 2 percent a year depending on how much money you have. This is essentially just a confiscation…but there are a couple of problems with it. First…it would require determining every year the net worth of all of those rich people…and that’s pretty impossible to determine. For instance…how much is a Van Gogh painting worth if it’s not sold…or how much is a privately held business the size of say MORRyde where we’ll be next week worth? Second…even if this impossible valuation could be done…it could certainly not be accomplished by any government bureaucracy on an annual basis. And the biggest problem…it’s unconstitutional. The constitution specifically says that any direct tax shall be apportioned according to population with the sole exception as authorized in the 16th amendment that an income tax can be applied directly to individuals. Some Democrats are claiming that the 16th allows a wealth tax…I guess they just can’t read. That’s the problem with loose construction of the Constitution as opposed to strict construction. The latter says that “the constitution says what it says” and the former says “it means whatever we want it to mean today” and “it’s a living document that needs to be reinterpreted for modern times. Strict constructionists (i.e., conservatives) believe that you can apply the rules and words in the constitution to modern times but you can’t just invent new rights out of thin air.

Don’t any of those people know how the government is supposed to work according to the constitution? Apparently not.

StepLadder2

297808 horse funny

EasterEgg

HomeDepotCats

Pillage

 

ShootTheMessenger

 

CanaryIslands

Got ya on that one…didn’t I?

Cyas.

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Transit to and Fun Stuff© in North Platte NE

Well…after finishing up Labor Day weekend in Cody WY…we were up and about early the next morning for our 600 mile trip to North Platte NE with an overnight stop in Douglas WY. We were out of the campground by about 0950 and headed south down US-20 through Wind River Canyon and Casper WY where we got on I-25 and continued on over to Douglas WY where we pulled into the KOA for the evening.

On arrival…we discovered that we broke the rear bolt in our LR slide deployment mechanism…haven’t broken one in almost 2 years as we figured out the correct way to position the rig to prevent this sort of occurrence previously. However…our site in Cody was somewhat less than level and we didn’t actually get ourselves leveled properly on the wheels with no twist to the rig before pulling in the rig. Luckily it was the rear bolt which is way easier to replace…and luckily Neil has 6 of them in the parts bin…so it was a pretty quick 20 minute or so repair to get ourselves fully functional again.

Why Douglas WY? Well…first and foremost it was more or less (actually slightly less) than halfway to North Platte but second we wanted to go and view the world record holder…as well as the previous world record holder…of one of the most feared creatures in the west.

This vicious beast can weight as probably 1,500 pounds…the size of a full grown bison…and I have to tell you it has many, many deadly weapons at it’s disposal. It can kick you with legs that have serious amounts of power such that a kick would fracture every bone in your body. It has tremendously long and razor sharp horns that can impale you. Finally…with it’s speed and agility it can easily chase you down, knock you down, and then sit down on you crushing the life out of you as surely as an anaconda or python.

So what is this deadly creature we went to see?

Why…it’s none other than the world famous Jackalope. It was first discovered in 1932 by Douglas Herrick and his unnamed brother when they brought one into a local taxidermy shop in Douglas WY. It’s since only been successfully hunted a few times…all around the Douglas WY area and many local drinking establishments have a taxidermied head of the fearsome beast hung on their walls. In fact…the 2 largest specimens ever taken have been mounted in their entirety and are on display in the town. Here they are…runner up first.

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Mighty fearsome beasts I say…although the record holder seems sorta lean and mean compared to the runner up. In any event…I especially wouldn’t want to run into one in a dark alley outside of a drinking establishment…and since their favorite drink is whiskey that’s the most likely place to run into one. So…Pro Tip…when in Douglas if you’ve perhaps mebbe over-imbibed a bit jus’ make sure ya stay outa the gosh darned alley lest ye meet your doom.

We popped into a local restaurant for dinner…a brew each and some chicken wings and jalapeño poppers as we weren’t overly hungry before heading home to the rig.

Early the next morning…rinse and repeat. It was a quick setup since we only had slides, power, and front jacks to do…and Big Red remained hitched overnight. Back onto I-25 and then onto US-26 just north of the CO border. The GPS wanted us to stay on 25 and then take I-80 east…it prefers freeways to at grade roads. That way was 50 miles farther and we were mostly out in the middle of nowheresville WY and NE…so we took the road less traveled by. We did have to slow momentarily at 3 or 4 towns as we passed through…but otherwise easily maintained the same 64 mph cruise control speed we would have used on the freeway…so the couple of minutes we lost in the small towns were more than compensated for by the 50 mile shorter route.

Arriving in North Platte…we quickly set up in site 0 at the I-80 Lakeside Campground just east and south of the city. Neil dumped and flushed our tanks on arrival…the indicators were not working properly so we did our standard half full, add 4 gallons of vinegar and a cup of Dawn degreaser dish detergent and let it slosh around for 2 days travel to wash all the gunk off the inside of the tank. Our level indicators are ultrasonic based and read the fluid level from outside…but they do get confused by grease or stuff stuck on the inside of the tank and we routinely do this trick at least once during each travel season as well as again just before arriving in FL for the winter. After that it was leftovers for dinner from Labor Day.

Thursday…we were up early for the first of 3 Fun Stuff© outings here in North Platte…the Sandhill Crane Drive…it’s about a 30 mile loop around where the Sandhill Cranes roost during their migration. Actually they only roost here in the spring as they head north…in the fall as they head south they apparently don’t stop here…so we didn’t really think we would see any of them (we seen plenty of them in the past) but we figured we would see other waterfowl and that would make it worth the trip.

We headed out right at prime bird watching time…just after sunrise…but what we didn’t anticipate was it would be pretty seriously foggy and thus with limited visibility we would not see much.

We spotted 3 female mule deer walking through a field but were unable to get any photos before they disappeared into the woods. However…we had pulled into the driveway of a farm to try and catch them and we did spot a flock of wild turkeys.

Ya know…back in the 80s there was this movie Gorillas in the Mist that made Sigourney Weaver famous as she played the treehugger Diane Fossey…I wonder if I can get famous for Turkeys and Trees in the Mist?

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Neil especially liked this tree in the mist with the early morning sunrise behind and to the left.

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As wildlife drives go it was pretty slim…but we did enjoy finding the turkeys…we ended up seeing 3 or 4 other rafters (that’s the term) of them as we proceeded on our drive. The term rafter comes from either the fact that large heavy birds like turkeys tend to roost on the branches of trees which are similar to rafters in height…or from the fact that when they panic their paths tend to crisscross and weave as they run and the root word from Arabic for weaving is raff. 

We finished the day with a nap, lunch, and a steak that Neil broiled for dinner. He was too lazy to get the grill out for one meal…and it was hot…so he just dragged the Breville oven outside and used it instead. Not quite as tasty as a grilled one would have been…but we schmeared roasted garlic cloves all over it when it was done and that outstanding flavor covers a lot of other minor issues.

Friday we did laundry and a winery/brewery tour in town. The wine was good as was the beer and the pizza we had was the best one we’ve had in many months.

Saturday…we headed off on the Wild Horse Canyon Scenic Drive…but it turned out to be pretty much a bust. Nothing to see…not really a canyon that we would call a canyon, and no wildlife. We did spot some glossy ibis (they’re black) but they flew off before we could get a picture.

Cyas.

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