It’s Crazy Talk I Tellya…Crazy Talk

We’re in Florida…southern Florida…and it was 31 freaking degrees this morning. Way too cold for us but with with the fireplace and furnace we’re surviving. To hear them talking on the news last night it was hazardous to human and animal life out there. Really? At 31 degrees? Sure…it’s cold for southern Florida and way colder than we want to be but the weather folk on TV are carrying on just a mite much I think.

Anyway…Connie’s off this morning for the Ladies of Elks luncheon as our lodge is hosting this month…so Neil’s home working on travel plans. Connie finished up with the schedule for this summer yesterday…we’re reprising our cancelled 2016 trip to the Canadian Maritimes. She had done a whole bunch of research back then and a lot of the things we want to do are limited to certain days…so we just made sure we got to the first stop over the border on the right day of the week…that way all of the previous planning is still good. We’ll head out from here and stop at Savannah GA on the way to Midlothian to see grand baby Alex then after a stop in Boston we’ll bounce up the ME coast and cross into Canuckistan in early June and after touring around New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and eastern Quebec we’ll cross back into ME in mid August…after that we’ll bum around ME, NH, VT, CT, and MA before heading southward in mid October for another stop to see Alex and then our normal end of the travel season stop in Cedar Key FL at the Low Key Hideaway before arriving back in North Fort Myers on 1 November. It’s only about 7,000 or so miles towing this year which seems short but on reviewing our past travel seasons while it is less than our average of just over 9,000 towing miles per year. However…our average is somewhat skewed by the almost 15,000 we did in 2015 on our Alaska trip…without that our average is a shade over 9,000…so I guess it is a short year.

After I wrote the above…Neil discovered we had a slight malfunction in our planning…long story short is that in order to catch the ferry back to the mainland from Newfoundland in mid July I had us driving  537 miles in one day…and that just ain’t likely to happen. Fortunately…it’s a relatively easy fix…we’ll just catch the ferry in Argentia instead of Port aux Bacques to come back the night before our original plan…and spend an extra day at Cape Breton Islands National Park to make the schedule come out the same. Dumb mistake on his part…but at least he figgered it out before it was hard and required changing reservations and such.

The eaglets continue to grow…here’s a screenshot from today…you can see they’re considerably larger than they were 3 weeks ago at hatching.

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 12 55 36 PM

Looking forward to our friends Bill and Linda arriving on Saturday for a week or so…he sent us a photo their neighbor took of their house in NC and it’s got 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground…I’m thinking they’re glad they’re here and not there.

Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

A couple weather related ones…

 MakeFunOfSnow

Although this particular one was for the British…it’s pretty much what the weather folks said last night on TV.

EnglishWeatherWarning

Australian road sign

DriveLikeAWanker

From the personals…but he doesn’t want any weirdos.

NoWeirdosPlease

What wedding RSVP forms would say if they were honest.

RealisticWeddingRSVP

Yeah…still truth here too

Truth 2

Cyas.

 

Advertisements
Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Closing Out Another Football Season

The football season is over as of a couple of days ago…Jan 8 was the Championship Game. College football only ‘round these parts…the NFL is dead to us. It’s always been pretty much an afterthought for us but with the taking a knee crap and management’s refusal to enforce the existing rules about what players are supposed to do during the National Anthem…well it’s dead. I saw on the news that the playoffs are going on but we don’t even know…much less care…even what teams are in.

The real football playoffs started off on New Year’s Day with the Rose Bowl pitting Oklahoma against Georgia in the afternoon and Alabama vs Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in the evening. After the conference championship games earlier in December…the Playoff Selection Committee picked the top 4 teams and seeded them. Oklahoma, Clemson, and Georgia were all obvious choices being conference champions but the fourth seed came down to a choice between Ohio State, ‘Bama, and the University of Central Florida as a slightly more distant option. The committee selected Alabama…which caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press corps…even though the committee carefully explained why they made the decision they did. What it came down to was that Ohio State was a 2 loss team with one of those losses being by 31 to an unranked team…vs Alabama having 1 loss to Auburn who finished at 10-3 after the SEC Championship Game. In addition…the OSU boosters wanted to discount ‘Bama’s win over Florida State who ended up at 6-5 or something like that…but FSU was ranked in the top 10 at the beginning of the season and unfortunately lost their QB late in the ‘Bama game and with no real backup they struggled offensively. UCF was discounted because although finishing the regular season undefeated they played no highly ranked teams…although they did upset Auburn in their bowl game. The committee’s charge is to pick the 4 best teams for the playoffs regardless of conference championships and it turned out to be hard to discount a team that was ranked at the top the entire regular season until losing the Iron Bowl to Auburn.

An any event…the field was set and the Rose Bowl was a thrilling game with the lead going back and forth…Georgia finally won in double over time to advance to the championship. ‘Bama vs Clemson was more of a defensive struggle with Clemson basically stymied offensively while our offense put up 2 short TD drives after turnovers and scored another on defense with a pick 6.

The championship game…which most of you probably watched anyway…was another classic contest…’Bama was outscored and out gained in the first half but came back with a strong second half and overtime. They missed a field goal to win on the last play of regulation and in overtime scored a TD after Georgia kicked a field goal…final score 26-23 for ‘Bama’s 5th national championship in the last 9 years with Coach Saban tying the late great Bear Bryant’s record of 6 championships.

Coach Saban has a potential problem though…he pulled the starting QB who is primarily a runner who throws the ball adequately when we’re throwing on our terms at halftime and put in the true freshman backup…Georgia’s coach Kirby Smart was ‘Bama’s long time Defensive Coordinator and put together an excellent game plan which was to basically stop ‘Bama from running the ball and force QB Hurts to throw…which just isn’t his forte. The backup is not as good a runner but a far superior passer…throwing 2 TD passes in the second half and the game winner in overtime. Although I’m sure it’s not a QB controversy in his mind…the talking heads and headline writers are certainly trying to make it one. Must be a real struggle…figuring out which of your two very good QBs should start…maybe he’ll decide to play both of them and alternate series as each has strong points the other doesn’t. Jalen Hurts can throw adequately…he only had one interception all year…and is an outstanding runner and the freshman Tua Tagovailoa is an outstanding passer and better than average running QB…they’ve got complementary skillsets and I’m sure Coach Saban will figure out how to make best use of both.  

It’s a long time until September when the games start up again…but we’re so looking forward to it.

Our local eaglets seem to be thriving…at least they’re both growing rapidly and they’re a bit over 2 weeks old today. Here’s a screen capture of Harriet and the two eaglets sitting on the nest this afternoon. One is sort of huddling underneath momma and the other is down at the lower right corner of the nest.

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 2 22 14 PM

Not much else going on here…we ordered ourselves a Sleep Number bed which arrived today and will get installed by Neil tomorrow. Also ordered a couple of new folding chairs for our dinette…one of the originals broke so we bought the better quality ones that New Horizons is now providing. Our LR ventilation fan broke…the control board failed but we have a new one on the way. We also had a failure of our black tank level gauge sensor…long story short is that Neil was in idiot and broke it…but again we have a new one in hand and installation of the sensor, new fan board and whatever other trailer projects come to mind.

Ok, on to interesting stuff found on the net.

Meanwhile…in Florida.

MoveToSide

Meanwhile…in Scotland.

MeanwhileInScotland

Truer words never spoken.

TheOppositeOfAProblem

Shark stepped on a Lego.

SharkLego

Obviously Boeing has a critical design flaw in their plane.

CrucialDesignFlaw

The To Do List.

ToDoList

It’s a tragedy I tellya.

ItsATragedy

Ya think?

YaThink

I was confused but now it’s become clear.

Confused

And finally…this is a shot from the Balloon Fiesta we attended last fall…not one of our shots but taken from one of the balloons after liftoff. We recognize a bunch of those balloons so it was obviously taken this year…based on the perspective it’s very nearly overhead from where we were camped while attending.

BalloonFiestaFromTheAir

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

2017 Wrap Up

Well…another travel season (and calendar year) is in the books. Yeah…I know I said that last year and I’ll probably say it again next year…but heck, it’s true so why not go ahead and say it.

We opened 2017 with Connie still having eye problems. She had undergone dual eye surgeries back in late 2016 to correct her detached retina and then to remove the scar tissue and her vision improved after those surgeries…but then got worse again. Another trip down to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples to verify that the common side effect of a vitrectomy had occurred…sure enough…it did and she had a cataract in her one working eye. 

So…we went ahead and she had cataract surgery…much less stressful than the first two…and by early May she was good to go so we headed off for our summer’s travels on May 15.

Our first real stop was Camp Horizons in Junction City KS to get the slide seals on our rig replaced…the intense sun of 5 winters in FL resulted in deterioration of the exposed portions of the driver side seals…those are the ones that face south when we’re at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers. While we were there we went ahead and had all of them replaced as well as our electric cord reel which was showing signs of impending failure. We spent 12 glorious (not) days in Junction City before heading west for some actual Fun Stuff©.

We transited across CO and into northeast UT…we thought about stopping at the National Parks in CO but decided since they were all pretty much located on or close to US Route 50 decided to leave them until the 2019 travel season when we’ll reschedule our Route 50 trip to include (at least what we’re thinking as of now) a drive westward from Boston to OR on US Route 20 then back eastward on US 50 from San Francisco to Ocean City MD before heading back down the east coast at the end of travel season 2019. Given that decision…our first real stop for the summer was Arches National Park in Moab UT…we were there in 2013 but it was just after Neil recovered from his broken foot and we missed many of the hikes we wanted to do…he just couldn’t walk very far that fall. 

 D71 8598 2

D71 8687 AuroraHDR2018 edit

From Moab we headed south and visited Mesa Verde NP in SW CO, Four Corners Monument, Monument Valley, Lake Powell on the Colorado River, Grand Canyon NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Cedar Breaks NM, and Zion NP…all pretty much in the desert SW in the middle of summer…yeah, I know…not the smartest time of the year to visit that area. I gotta tell ya…it was hot but that actually wasn’t the worst part of the summer temperature wise. 

 D71 9106 2

FullSizeRender 5

DSC 3008

D71 9235

DSC 3159

D71 9282

D71 9313 2

DSC 3190

D71 9374

D71 9430

D71 9439

DSC 3733

D71 0690

DSC 4189

D71 0807

DSC 4384

D71 1103

Next…we headed north to Salt Lake City and then Reno NV before continuing on into northern CA where we visited Mount Shasta SP and Lassen NP…and the hottest weather we had all summer was the week we stayed in Redding CA…112 degrees several days and this was actually most of two months before the fires in that area.

 DSC 4746 2

D71 1455 2

D71 1493 HDR 2

D71 1681 Edit 2

After a stop in Canyonville OR for a week we continued on up to Salem OR where we were on the edge of the total solar eclipse path…then onwards to Port Angeles WA on the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of Puget Sound…where we spent 10 days in Olympic National Park. We caught the solar eclipse in late August outside of Salem OR…we weren’t quite in the totality path so Neil got the best photo of it he could.

DSC 4828 2

D71 1877 2

D71 2256 2

D71 2315 2

D71 2353 2

D71 2371 2

D71 2494 2

Heading eastward…we stopped in Coeur d’Alene ID to visit our college friend Joe Claxton and his bride Nicki…then in Missoula MT and West Yellowstone MT to visit Yellowstone NP and Grand Tetons NP. 

D71 2964

D71 2974

D71 2989

D71 3172

D71 3387 2

D71 3574 2

D71 3660 2

D71 4060 2

Continuing eastward…we arrived in Spearfish SD for the every 18 month NH Owners Group rally. At the completion of the rally we departed in company with our friends Bill and Linda Napier to Longmont CO to visit Rocky Mountain NP and then Colorado Springs CO before arriving in Albuquerque NM for the Balloon Fiesta…where we spent 5 days boondocking, running the generator in the morning to recharge batteries, and watching hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes inflate, take off, and land.

D71 4290 AuroraHDR2018 edit

D71 4237 2

D71 4344 2

D71 4796 2 2

After 5 days…we had all had enough of hot air balloons so we bid adieu to Bill and Linda as they were continuing south into Arizona for missionary work related to their church back in NC. We headed east across I-40 and were mostly in transit mode with stops in Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Jackson MS (although we did stay 2 nights in Jackson to visit the Vicksburg Battlefield) to Foley AL where we stayed for 5 nights before continuing onto the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key FL for 10 nights…then continued on to North Fort Myers where we pulled into our site 101 at Seminole Campground on November 1.

 D71 5155 2

IMG 2604 2

First up on our arrival was getting setup for the winter of course…we sandwiched that around choosing and buying the latest addition to our family…Little Red the Mazda CX-5. As you know…we started full timing with both a truck and a car but donated the car in May 2016 when Connie suffered her detached retina. We’ve been a single vehicle family since then…and both of our thoughts on 1 vs 2 vehicles have changed. Previous to her surgery…Connie was firmly in the two vehicle camp but her experience traveling in the truck with Neil the past 2 seasons has changed her mind and she would have been happy to stay with just the truck. Neil on the other hand…was originally in the 2 vehicle camp but not as firmly as she was. After spending 2 travel seasons with just the truck…he can see why a lot of people like to travel that way. However…from a “the big truck is a pain to park” standpoint he’s of the mind that having the car in addition is worth it and from an economic standpoint having two vehicles isn’t much more cost than having just the truck. Sure…there’s extra gas, insurance and maintenance on the car but that expense is mostly made up by the drastic reduction in annual mileage on the not very efficient truck. For instance…we’ve put almost 40,000 miles on Big Red since picking him up in May 2016…but only 10,500 of them have been towing…the rest were either Fun Stuff© miles during travel season or daily driver stuff last winter. The additional 25,000 miles work out to about about 2,000 gallons of diesel where in a car it would have been about 900 gallons of gas…considerably less fuel cost for the not towing situation. The single vehicle still wins out overall dollars wise…but it’s only a couple hundred bucks a month tops and unless cost is the driving factor the convenience of parking wins out in his opinion.

We quickly got into our regular winter routine…choir practice an Elks bingo on Tuesday, Tacos at the Elks on Thursday most of the time, and at least 1 (sometimes 2) other nights at the Elks along with bike rides, grilling, eating dinner with our friend Jeff on most Sundays, and just generally enjoying the warm weather.

We did take a quick trip in early December up to Midlothian VA to see the human kids Jen and Bryan new house…but mostly to see grand baby Alex who had his 3rd birthday the week after we were there. He’s right at the great age where he’s old enough to have a conversation with and to be able to help you with various things…but still young enough to be interested in having a conversation and helping with things. We’re planning on stopping by in early May on the way north to the Canadian Maritimes and he’s excited about coming over and spending the night at granny’s house.

Our travel plans for next season are pretty much firmed up from a high level point of view…we’ll travel north starting May 1 with stops in Midlothian for grand baby time and Fairfax VA for financial guys time before continuing up to Boston again and then up the coast of ME on US 1 to the border. We’ll cross in mid June and spend until about Labor Day in Canuckistan. Mostly we’ll follow our aborted plans from 2016 that were overcome by the eye surgery…with some minor rerouting due to crossing the border near St. Andrews on the coast instead of farther north…and including the ferry trip for 3 weeks or so over in Newfoundland. We’ll add a couple weeks to the schedule to pick up some of the areas we passed on originally before getting back into ME in early September. From there…we’ll watch the leaves turn and attend New England fall festivals until it’s time to head first for Midlothian to see Alex again and then another 10 days in Cedar Key FL before arriving back in Fort Myers on November 1.

Alabama’s football team had another pretty successful season…losing only to Auburn in the Iron Bowl during the regular season but still was selected for the playoffs.

Stats for the year

  • States visited: 25…we’ve now parked overnight and done something in 49 states…I’m pretty sure we ain’t getting the rig to HI anytime soon
  • Big Red miles: 21,955
  • Towing miles: 9,207 miles on 39 towing days
  • Car miles: 3,418
  • Campgrounds: 29
  • Northernmost and southernmost points: Fort Myers FL (26.721138 N, 81.810228 W)  and Cape Flattery WA (48.385567 N, 124.726170 W) Cape Flattery is the northwestern most point in the lower 48 states.
  • Easternmost and westernmost points: Fort Myers FL (26.721138 N, 81.810228 W)  and Cape Flattery WA (48.385567 N, 124.726170 W)
  • Connie Meets the Town Drunk: 0
  • Bicycling miles: 545 on 44 rides during the 6 months we were in FL…there were only a couple during the travel season
  • Hiking miles: 28 on 16 hikes…this came from Neil’s tracking program but we didn’t always use it…there were actually more like 30 hikes…I’ll try to do better
  • Photos taken:12,246 for 443 GB
  • Photos published: 926
  • Blog posts published: 60
  • Blog views: 5,068…no blog comment stats as WordPress stopped sending the summary out and I’m way too lazy to add them up myself

 

That’s about it…glad you could ride along with us. I’ll keep posting the rest of the winter here in sunny and warm (well, actually pretty cool the early part of January 2018 when I’m typing this)…but there won’t be nearly as much Fun Stuff© as there is during the travel season. That will start up again on May 1.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Aaaaannnnd We have Eaglets

Yup…we have two new brandy new newly hatched baby eagles or eaglets today. Harriet and her mate M15 down at the local eagle nest have been incubating two eggs since late November. Egg 1 hatched into E10 at 2054 EST Dec 26 and his/her little brother/sister hatched into E11 at 1625 on the 27th.

It’s been a bit cool since then so most of the time…at least when they’re not feeding…either mom or dad is roosting on top of the eaglets to help keep them warm…they’re both still cloaked in the down-like feathers they have in the egg…the more typical brown plumage will start to develop in a couple of weeks and the flight feathers in a month to two months.s Harriet and M will be busy bee eagles for the next 3 months or so until the eaglets fledge (fly for the first time) in order to feed their constantly growing bodies…and unfortunately the amount of food needed will only increase as they grow. Fortunately…the “they have to be fed” phase where mom/dad have to tear up their food and beak-feed them is pretty short…within a month they should start to be able to feed themselves from small pieces that mom and dad tear off for them and at about 2 months or so mom and dad will cease that and just dump the food into the nest.

The good news is that with all the feeding mom and dad will be coming and going frequently so Neil will head down there the first nice morning to see if he can get some photos…obviously the eaglets can’t be seen over the rim of the nest for awhile but adult comings and goings should provide some decent flight photo opportunities.

You can track the eaglets progress at the North Fort Myers Eaglecam…but in the meantime here are a couple of screenshots Neil grabbed.

M15 brooding the two eaglets…you can see half of their fish breakfast at the upper left and what looks like takeout squirrel that will be served for lunch at lower right.

Screen Shot 2017 12 29 at 10 11 00 AM

Here is a shot of the two eaglets alone and then one o fM15 feeding them a bit earlier today. There’s a bit of sibling rivalry going on…as the older one being slightly bigger and more coordinated at this state of life tries to hog all the food but both the adults are making sure that both babies get their share…this will continue through the beak feeding stage.. Once they get to the “tear apart their own chunks of food” phase…mom and dad will put chunks on opposite sides of the nest for each of them and the rivalry will diminish.

Screen Shot 2017 12 29 at 10 14 48 AM

Screen Shot 2017 12 29 at 10 15 02 AM

Lessee…what else is going on? Connie won 30 bucks at park bingo last night, Neil’s cold is improving and he went on a slower than normal and shorter than normal bike ride yesterday…that seemed to help melt a bunch of the crud out of his head with the additional heat generated by exercise. 

Neil checked on the status of the recall parts for Big Red…back in September a recall was issued for all RAM 2500/3500/4500/5500 diesels from 2012 to 2017 for a problem with the water pump…several under the hood fires have been reported. It’s obviously not a huge problem as it took 5 years over 4 different models of truck to become significant. No parts are currently available…although at least there is a Chrysler recall number (T-51) for it now. We’ll stand by for a notice that parts are available…but as of today they’re only replacing failed pumps and they’re still using the parts that got recalled so any repair would eventually have to be done again. It’s an overheating leading to a potential fire problem…and if we didn’t over heat Big Red out in UT and CA at 115 degrees last summer then I think we can safely say that we stress tested it.

Neil bought Connie a new iPad (well, actually he bought him a new iPad and will give his 1 year old iPad Pro (that he got last year when the touch screen on his old one failed) to Connie…this is for a couple of reasons. First off…he’s the IT Department Head ‘round these parts and the computer guys always…repeat always…get the new stuff first…gotta test it out first before we release it on our unsuspecting users ya know. Second off…if she got the new one…she would have had to hear…her words now, not his…and most definitely an incorrect assumption…that she was on the cutting edge of technology and he was in the dustbin. Me…I figure that it’s only computer dollars and much like dog years they depreciate much faster than regular ordinary dollars.

Connie got herself some AirPods for Christmas…they’re basically wireless Bluetooth earphones. She listens to podcasts a lot and wireless means no wires. She really likes them. She also got a new bathrobe…and of course the aforementioned iPad upgrade. She also got a new lightweight bathrobe as hers was getting pretty ratty.

Neil got some new slippers, a couple of the latest Clive Cussler adventure novels for his Kindle, and a fedora…he always wears a ball cap these days and she said he needed a semi-formal hat to wear to things like concerts where ball caps aren’t…again, her misguided idea…weren’t appropriate. He also got some peppermint bark…but actually Connie bought this for both of them as we like it and it’s only available at the holidays.

We had lunch at Lobster Lady one day this week with our next door neighbors Dennis and Janet…the lobstah rolls were pretty good and will give us a starting point for our lobstah roll comparison that we have scheduled for the travel season. We’re on the way to the Canadian Maritimes and figure we’ll just hopscotch up the Maine coast from Boston to the border on the way to sample several…there was an article in Yankee Magazine last month of the 10 best lobstah rolls on the Maine coast. While at the Lobster Lady…they unpacked a crustacean to put into their tank…it was 12 pounds…huuuuge. Janet got a photo on her phone…I’ll get a copy of it to show ya.

On to interesting things found on the net…we found a few more Christmas/winter related ones.

You know what this is…doncha? Well, you should since ya prolly kissed underneath it either already or will over the upcoming New Year weekend.

KissUnderMistletoe

It’s Missile-Toe of course.

Gingerbread house.

GingerBreadHouse

Fred Flintstone was here.

FredFlintstonWasHere

She said she wanted “Frozen” stuff from Santa.

FrozenStuff

Another you should figure out easily…especially with the release last week of The Last Jedi.

StarWarsSpoiler

…it’s a Star Wars Spoiler…natch.

The education system has failed us.

EducationSystemHasFailedUs

 

Let’s pick the most flattering photo of Grandma we have for her obituary…notice the mug shot name indicator she’s holding up.

MostFlatteringGrandmaPhoto

Walmart greeter qualifications.

WalmartGreeterQualifications

You know there’s a story behind this one.

BatteryWarning

Bet that hurt.

BetThatHurt

This is probably the last post of the year…so ya’ll be good…don’t party too hardy this weekend…and if’n ya do…then party a little for us.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas to All…It’s 70 Degrees Here

Well…as Connie would say…the week from “H E double toothpicks” for the choir is almost over. We went to Mass on Sunday…which also happened to be Christmas Eve…so the choir could sing at the 0900 Mass. Then we were back at 1445 for Midnight Mass…hey, I know it ain’t midnight by normal people time but (a) it’s midnight somewhere and (b) 1600 is midnight by OPT (Old People Time). Then today on Christmas morning Connie’s off again for the 1000 Mass…Neil stayed home today as (a) he’s already been to Christmas Mass, (b) he heard the concert yesterday before Mass, (c) he’s got a cold and doesn’t feel that well, and finally (d) he’s gotta cook Blackberry Crisp for dessert later on after our duck breast dinner.

Otherwise…we’re having a pretty good week I guess…Neil’s been down with a cold the last few days and not feeling very chipper or Christmas-like…but he’s boring on nonetheless and just taking a lot of breaks between tasks as this cold is mostly one of the “I’m exhausted” variety rather than being mostly sinus and lung symptoms.

I guess I should just go ahead and put out some seasons greetings…so…

DemocratRepublican XmasGreeting

Or in a more traditional way…this one shamelessly borrowed from my buddy Greg White’s website.

MerryXmas

We got a couple of videos this morning from the human kids…this is Alex’s 3 year old Christmas and it’s the first one that he’ll likely really remember as he grows up…and in any event it’s the first one where he’s holding conversations and making sense. Take a look…he’s not really buying that whole “Santa came down the chimney” thing.

Alex Christmas 1

Alex Christmas 2

Other than that…the rest of this post is just some Christmas Funnies along with the obligatory Interesting Things from the net this week…I just mixed them all together.

The reason for the season…jus sayin’.

OriginalKingSizedBed

First up is the launch earlier this week of a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg AFB in southern CA…it was launching a bunch of satellites for the Iridium satellite phone constellation. Usually there’s a launch window for a satellite launch…this is based on getting it’s payload to orbit in the correct places in the constellation based on the motion of the existing satellites in the same constellation…basically you figure out how long it will take the booster to get the payload to the right orbit then back up the launch time so the empty slot in the constellation matches up with the payload deployment point. Anyways…this particular launch had a 1 second long launch window instead of the more normal minutes to hours long launch window. It launched from Vandenberg heading directly south as the Iridium satellites are in a polar orbit…and although it was after sunset on the ground it was still daylight up at 100 miles high or so…so the launch was backlit by the setting sun. This shot was taken looking westward (well, actually slight north of west) from Orange County CA. The left end is the exhaust fro the second stage…you can see how the plume changes shape over time as the vehicle gets higher and starts to exit the atmosphere. Further behind that is the first stage plume and the interstage section where the first stage shuts down and separates.

SpaceXLaunchSoCal

Here’s a shot of M15 (Harriet the eagle’s mate) sitting on the nest this morning incubating their two eggs. The first egg is going on 2 days past expected hatch time and the second one still has almost two days left…eagle incubation period is 34-36 days but something like 90% of the time it’s right on 35 days…so at coming up on 2 days overdue it looks like the first egg might not be viable. Harriet is about 15 years old with an average lifetime of 20 years in the wild…so maybe her egg making capability is starting to have eagle menopause as this will be the second year in a row for a non viable egg if that turns out to be the case.

M15EagleCamXmas17

You can follow along with the progress here if you’re of a mind to.

You know how there’s always an angel on top of the Christmas tree? Ever wonder why? Well, here’s the story.

WhyAngelOnTree

Some Christmas one liners.

Christmas1Liners1

Christmas1Liners2

ChristmasGroupTherapy

SantaSexToy

SantaOuthouse

SantaSeatBelt

SnowmanStickup

EvilRudolph

OrnamentsAnonymous

NailedIt

ForLeaseNavidad

Bad Ass of the Week.

PolarBearBadAss

Finally…a quiz for ya.

Everybody knows that after Jesus was born that an “angel appeared to the shepherds who where watching their flocks by night” and what the angel and a multitude of the heavenly host said to the shepherds.

However…and here’s the quiz part…what was the name of the first angel that appeared. I’ll wait while you go get out your bible and look it up in scripture.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

…faint rendition of the Jeopardy theme heard in the background…and now in your mind as well…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Buzzzzt…sorry…your time is up…and you didn’t phrase it in the form of a question anyway…the Jeopardy theme shoulda given you a giant rap with the clue stick.

The correct answer is “Lo”.

It’s right there in Luke’s Gospel…chapter 2 verse 9…here it is from the King James version.

“And, Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” In some versions the angel’s name is Behold…but Ima taking the fleet average here.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

It’s Christmas Season

We’ve been well entrenched in Christmas preps since we arrived back from visiting grand baby Alex…between putting up decorations and extra choir rehearsals…not to mention the running around and getting presents for the various charity giving trees we support at the Elks and St. Therese Parish…then add in all the normal stuff like bike rides, groceries, bingo, Taco night, campfires and whatever else have you…well it’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks.

Neil bought himself a new camera…he started with a Nikon D7000 which became Connie’s when he bought his D7100. Anyways…the D7000 was about on it’s last legs as some of the switches weren’t always working as they’re supposed to. In addition…he discovered that there’s a design limitation in the size of the image buffer in the D7100…what that means is when he’s got the shutter set for continuous high speed release where it’s supposed to take 6 frames a second you only get about 7 or 8 frames when shooting RAW (which he does for image quality) before the buffer fills and hence the frame rate slows way down. Not really ideal for getting action sequences of birds in flight or whales jumping or any other fast paced action. So he started looking for a new one…quickly deciding to stay with the DX sensor size rather than the full frame sensor size due to cost…a full frame body costs well over $3,000 just for the body and he would need all new lenses since his are all DX sensor lenses…and he’s not willing to spend that much money. The second thing he was looking for was better performance at higher ISO numbers. While the D7100 is fine up to about ISO 400 it starts to get a little more noise in the sensor beyond that and higher ISOs support higher shutter speeds which support better freezing of the motion of the aforementioned birds in flight.

He decided on a D7500…and also traded his 18-200mm lens for an 18-300mm lens…he’s still got the telephoto we call the Bird Lens of course…but the zoom is his everyday walking around lens and he takes probably 90% of his photos with it…and another 100mm on the long end means he’ll have to pull out the Bird Lens less for routine hiking excursions.

He went down yesterday to the eagle nest…didn’t see much of either of the eagles but mostly wanted to check out the new camera body, new lens, and also test how well the various additional autofocus modes the D7500 has work for action shots like birds in flight.

M15 (Harriet’s mate) sitting on a tree. He left about 5 minutes after Neil got there and he didn’t even have the Bird Lens out yet so this is with the 18-300 zoomed all the way out.

DSC 0077

Horses in the field below the nest tree.

DSC 0082

DSC 0128

DSC 0150

Harriet poking her head out and looking around for M15’s return…this was 2+ hours after he left and he never did return before Neil headed out for a haircut.

DSC 0139

DSC 0209

DSC 0222

Cattle egret under the nesting tree. I’ve never been able to figure out why the eagles don’t prey on these…there are dozens in the field and they don’t move that fast so I would think an eagle wouldn’t have any trouble catching one.

DSC 0250

Since there weren’t many eagle photos…here are some shots of a group of Wood Storks that were circling overhead. It’s quite a beautiful bird when flying…and from a distance…but up close it’s got a face only a mother could love.

DSC 0259

DSC 0275

DSC 0292

DSC 0302

OK, on to interesting things of the week…I found some Christmas related ones for ya’.

First up…here’s some edumacation for you non-southerners…ya know that nut that one makes pies and pralines out of? Well…ya’ll Yankees are forever mispronouncing that word so I found a good explanation for ya.

TheseArePeeCans

Say it with me now…the nuts are pronounced pee-khans.

This is how Santa tests reindeer for flight use.

SantaTestingReindeer

And this is a hipster Nativity scene.

HipsterNativity

Reindeer deodorizers.

ReindeerDeodorizers

If only…

FaithfullPeople

You know what this is…doncha?

UFOOnTape

It’s a UFO on tape of course…can’t believe ya needed me to ‘splain it to ya.

Here’s an explanation of the US tax system done by an Economics professor…only he explains it in beer.

TaxSystemInBeer

I’m not sure what they expected to find here.

NotSureWhatTheyExpectedToFind

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 5 Comments

Visiting Grand Baby Alex

Before I get into something actually interesting in this post…like grand baby Alex…I gotta digress for a few. Although this is about politics…it ain’t political…but if you’re easily offended, bored by politics or just don’t want to read about them any more…feel free to skip down a bit.

This week…we saw 3 resignations from congress…one Senator and two House members. Mr. Conyers may…and I stress may as I’ll discuss in a minute…have done something he needed to resign for. Mr. Franken…well ‘round these parts we think he’s an idiot and most definitely don’t agree with much he says…but he was also hounded out of office…primarily by his own side…and most definitely not deserved. Mr. Franks also resigned.

Now the official reason all of these members resigned…not to mention Weinstein, Spacey, and the other dozen (at least) high profile folks who’ve gotten into trouble the past few weeks…is because of inappropriate actions, sexual harassment, assault, or whatever it’s being called today.

Meanwhile…over on Fox a female commentator made what seems to me to be a perfectly valid point. She asked why we anointed the statements of the female victims of these actions as gospel truth without any investigation and what happened to innocent until proven guilty…and said that we needed to stop the current trial by social media. She did not say that the women should be disbelieved…she said that why should what they say be considered absolute truth and whatever the man in the situation said be considered as completely false. She encouraged investigating allegations…and if they were proven the perpetrators be punished…but insisted that due process be provided to determine the facts.

Mr. Franken was forced out by his own party for political purposes…the Democrats want to be able to say they took the high ground so that in the event Mr. Moore wins the Senate race down in AL they can demand his immediate ouster. As far as I’ve read…and I’ll admit I have not researched it in excruciating detail as Ima getting tired of it…none of his actions took place while he was a Senator but are leftovers from his previous career as a comedian. Back in the day…he was one of those comedians that specialized in being a jerk…I’m not approving of his actions but I find it strange that the woman involved didn’t complain back in 1998 or whatever it was but waited until now.

I’m obviously against sexual harassment and assault…who wouldn’t be…but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. When a woman (or man as in the Spacey case) alleges something…by all means investigate. The police, House Ethics Committee, district attorney or whoever the appropriate party is should determine the facts and if warranted then either charge the offender with a crime, force them to resign, or whatever other action is appropriate.

What should not happen is what is currently happening…with all the #Metoo hashtags and Silence Breakers as Time called them…is that any woman can allege anything about any man…and she will be believed absolutely…and the man will not be believed and his career and life as he knows it is effectively over. 

That just ain’t right.

I think this from the Internet sums it up quite well…don’t read anything into it being Ms. Pelosi’s photo as her party does not have a monopoly on stupidity.

NationInDistress

Come on people…we’re better than that. Investigate and punish the guilty rather than just punish before finding out any facts.

Ok, on to something more interesting…ya’ll that skipped down before can start reading here.

We had a great visit with Alex and his mom and dad the past week. Leaving last Sunday after Mass we stopped over night just about the GA/SC border and proceeded on up to Midlothian the next day. We spent 4 great days seeing Bryan, Jen and Alex…cooked dinner for them one night, ate out, baby sat Alex, and just generally did the grand parent thing.

Here’s a shot of Alex and his granny on the couch.

IMG 7021

He’s actually a pretty smart kid it seems to us…and he’s at that age where you can actually have an intelligent conversation with him…and when he’s still interested in being helpful.

After our visit was done…we headed back south Friday morning. Dropping Alex off at Isabel’s grand mother’s house for a play date about 0730 we bought gas, cokes, and bagels and headed south. It rained pretty much the whole day…and by 1100 when we were half way through NC we saw it was snowing in Midlothian…we got out of there in the nick of time I guess…and they had 4 or 5 inches I guess by the time it was done. 

We stopped 650 miles later in Gainesville FL after a long day of driving in the rain…and got up Saturday morning and did the last 250 miles back to Seminole where we picked up our 4 packages that came in during the week and got unpacked. Weather is pretty cool in FL when we got back…it’s only about 70 and overcast and rainy.

All in all…a good time and we were so glad to see both the kids and Alex for a visit. We’ll see them again in the spring and fall to bookend our travel season this year as we’re headed to the Canadian Maritime provinces which means we’ll go up the east coast and then back down.

Interesting things from the net this week.

Everybody has heard the story of Sleeping Beauty…but have you ever heard the origins of the story? Check out the details here.

SleepingBeauty

This link…If Scientists Wrote Christmas Carols…comes from facebook and is a short video showing you how Christmas Carols would be different if they were written by scientists. Thanks to Jen for this one.

For those of you who still have that 4 letter word W-O-R-K in their life…just be glad you don’t work for Johnson and Johnson.

IHateMyJobDay

Here’s an article about a guy whose shed was getting burglarized who called the cops.

RoundLikeAShot

Mother Nature is just showing off out in Hawaii on the big island where the volcano is erupting.

MotherNatureShowingOff

And in the Christmas spirit…

JollySanta

This is the most Russian headline I’ve ever seen.

MostRussianHeadlineEver

Some town up north got themselves a new salt/sand spreader for the winter…go ahead and hum along with this one if you’re over 50…you know you want to. For those of you under the age of 50 who just don’t understand…google Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and their song from 1959 sung by Brian Hyland about a shy lass that wore a revealing bikini at the beach.

BestNameEver

And finally…the Lord’s Prayer as rewritten by a publican (that’s a bar owner for those of you under the age of 50)

ThePublicansPrayer

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment