And Then More Life Happened…

Well…I wish I could say that really cool stuff happened in the last 18 days…but then I would be fibbin’…so I won’t say that. Instead I’ll just admit that nuttin’ really interesting happened and bore you with the details of the mostly minor stuff that we been doing.

Mostly…it’s just been day to day living…choir practice, Bingo, bike rides, cooling dinner and normal life stuff.

We did get to spend last Sunday evening at the emergency room at Gulf Coast Medical Center. Connie started feeling bad last Thursday afternoon and was pretty sure it was another diverticulitis attack…her last full one was back in 2003 or so. She’s had a couple of kinda sorta it was coming on over the years since but has usually been able to control it with more fiber and forcing fluids. She was feeling worse on Friday but decided to try and make it until Monday morning then call her GI doctor for an appointment and evaluation. That worked pretty well until Sunday when she decided to have Neil take her in as it was just hurting too bad by evening.

Long story short…it was actually a pretty decent ER visit by time standards…we arrived at 1815 and were on the way home shortly after 2100 including evaluation, a CT scan to verify the diagnosis, and getting some prescriptions to get filled.

Long story longer…the PA she saw actually gave her two antibiotics…one was Flagyl which is well known to mess up your stomach. The second was Cipro which is contraindicated for retina surgery patients…that was listed in her record with Lee Health but prescribed anyway…we did not get the Cipro filled. Second was the Tramidol they gave her for pain…it’s contraindicated with Cipro…but then we didn’t fill the Cipro so that was still OK. Next morning…she called her GI doctor and they told her to cease and desist taking Cipro and take the Augmentin they were prescribing instead as the second antibiotic.

She’s on the mend…the diverticulitis is getting better and the nausea medication is keeping her from tossing her cookies…and she’s quit taking the Tramidol since it messes with her head and the pain is better. She’s of the opinion that the cure is almost worse than the disease…she’s not in pain any more but feeling sick to her stomach all the time sucks she says.

Wednesday we drove over to West Palm Beach to get her dependent DoD ID renewed…it expires next month. It’s a little Naval Support Center where we went and they actually had more security than the Pentagon back in then days when Neil worked in the 5 sided puzzle palace. It’s only good until she turns 65 in 2019 as is Neil’s ID…so we’ll both need renewals in 2019 once we become Medicare and Tricare for Life eligible.

We got another overdue bill for her cataract surgery last March…it’s a paperwork drill and we’ve now talked to Bascom Palmer 4 times trying to get it resolved. The problem is that even though we’re Tricare for insurance and Bascom Palmer is a Tricare in-network provider…the surgery center in Naples was newly opened when she had her surgery. Tricare had already paid for the vitrectomy she got in October of 2016 over in Miami…and rightly collected the Tricare co-pay in March 2017 when she had the cataract surgery…but then Tricare rejected the claim. There were two problems…first was that the Naples surgery facility had no federal facility number assigned yet and second once they did the facility has to be activated with Tricare. We’ve ben round this with Bascom Palmer billing folks 3 times before today including a 3 way phone conversation with Connie, Bascom, and Tricare…and explained to Bascom that they need to fix the problem to get paid. We’re making progress…they now have a facility number but it’s still not activated. So Neil called the Patient Services folks instead and spoke to them…supposedly Giovanni will be chasing this down and getting it fixed and the claim resubmitted. We won’t know unless/until he calls us back and says it’s fixed or until we get the next overdue bill notice next month.

In other news…well, there really isn’t much other news. We cancelled a lot of planned activities this week due to Connie’s not feeling well…in fact we cancelled pretty much everything but the trip over to West Palm to get her ID and visit her mom and dad’s graves…but then we had an appointment for that and she wasn’t driving so feeling miserable in the car is no worse than feeling miserable at home.

The eaglets E10 and E11 are still growing as you can see in the screen capture below…one of the adults is on the right side and the babies…although they’re not babies much at this point just about 58 days after hatching…are in the center and left. They should be fledging (taking their first flight) in another 14-30 days.

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Neil’s been following a couple of ongoing discussions on his favorite RV forum at RV-Dreams…the first one is this ‘expert’ who claims that he’s going to buy his RV solar panels directly from China and thus get around the ‘outrageous’ markup that the suppliers here in the US charge and that with this 400 watts of solar and ‘massive’ (according to him) battery capacity of 400 amp hours will enable him to live completely off grid without a generator in the southwest where he can get a campground for the entire winter for a cost of $550…total. He’s been told that that’s not enough solar or battery capacity…and that parking for $550 a year might be possible but then you have to get water and dump tanks somehow…but his mind’s made up and he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts. The second one is this guy that says his inverter manual tells him to turn it off when he’s not using it to ‘increase it’s lifespan’. Again…he’s been told that turning electronic equipment on and off is far worse than just leaving it on…and that whatever loads are running off of the inverter usually won’t work at all without the inverter on because of how RVs are typically wired…but again he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts.

Interesting things found on the net.

This is what happens on your “Welcome to Heaven” tour.

HolyCrap

Proof positive that technology…while it may be complicated…ain’t necessarily smart.

LoginLogout

Scottish words of wisdom.

ScottishWordsOfWisdom

What happens at your IKEA job interview.

IKEAJobInterview

Supposedly…these are actual tenant complaints to the council in the UK.

TenantComplaints

I’m confused…seriously confused.

NonDairyDairy

Math nerd humor.

MathNerdHumor

And finally…the most ridiculous politically correct (or politically incorrect or perhaps even stupid depending on your point of view) apology ever goes to New York University (NYU) as described on this web page.  No picture…but for those who don’t follow the link the cafeteria there served watermelon flavored water and collard greens for lunch one day during Black History Month. One of their snowflake students complained to NYU administration that this was “racially insensitive” and “stereotypical”. NYU has publicly apologized and lambasted Aramark (their food service provider) as being inexcusably insensitive. Aramark in turn has fired all employees involved…including the head of food service…because of their “longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Seems to me that some people are just looking for things to be offended over.

Two comments on that web page illustrate the absurdity of this argument. The article itself refers to deferring to black students to determine what is valid to serve during Black History Month. The first comment says that it’s insensitive to focus on traditional black culture food selections and simultaneously says it’s insensitive not to focus on them…and the poster is confused. The second one asks if this means that it would be insensitive to serve bratwurst and sauerkraut during Oktoberfest or Potato Soup on Saint Patricks Day.

Inmates running the asylum I tell ya…way, way, way too damn much political correctness. Even the commenters on the article that admit to being black/brown/African American/race descriptive term of your choice think this is stupid.

Cyas.

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And Then Life Happened…

Apparently I’ve been derelict in my blogging duties…but there’s a reason Ima tellin’ ya.

It’s that whole nuttin goin’ on thang I say…just nuttin goin’ on atall.

Either that or I need to start this post with “Pardon me internet for I have sinned…it’s been 2.5 weeks since my last post.”

The real problem is that there just isn’t much goin’ on while we’re parked for the winter here in warm (well, now it is) Fort Myers. It ain’t like we got all sorts of Fun Stuff© to keep ourselves busy with…and it ain’t like we’re traveling every few days so there’s no put away, hitching, moving, unhitching, and putting things back out to keep ourselves busy…and you can only say we’re just ambling on through the winter so many times.

Our friends Bill and Linda Napier did spend a week down here after the Tampa RV Show…they were over at Cypress Trails Resort across the river…so we had dinner with them and fixed trailers just about every day. Neil made burgers, halibut, and ham/chicken gumbo on the days he cooked and Linda did steaks one night and pork tenderloin another night…there musta been another one but I forgot to write it down…we went out for sushi one night and Bill/Neil went over to the Nauti Parrot one evening while Linda/Connie were eating hot dogs at the Elks Quarter Auction. Linda also brought over home made brownies and apple crisp for our dinners. 

Beyond that…we fixed Bill’s fan, got some parts shipped into us for them, fixed our hydraulic brake reservoir leak, and fixed our black tank level sensor…well the last one he did the day before they arrived so it doesn’t count. We also significantly increased our ice cream usage as we were feeding 4 instead of just the normal 2 of us.

Beyond eatin’/fixin’/visitin’…let’s see what other interesting stuff we’ve been up to.

  • Dumped holding tanks
  • Regenerated water softener
  • Bingo at the lodge and park
  • Taco night at the lodge
  • Grocery shopping
  • Laundry
  • Nails done
  • Skipped the symphony concert this past weekend in Sarasota…there was crummy music on the program and it wasn’t worth an afternoon and 150 mile round trip…so we donated the tickets back to the orchestra to re-sell and we’ll get a couple bucks off our taxes
  • Continued gathering tax paperwork
  • Replaced the control board in our broken living room ventilation fan…this partially fixed it’s issue as the fan now runs. The raise/lower motor still doesn’t work but the AirXcel folks are sending us a new motor and gear assembly for it at no charge. Hopefully that will solve the problem.
  • Continued working on planning for the upcoming travel season.

Yeah…as you can see it’s just been a thrill a minute ‘round these parts.

Tomorrow we’ve got a busier day planned…Neil has an oil change appointment for Li’l Red in the morning and Connie has choir practice after lunch…it starts and ends early this week. Then instead of bingo at the Elks Lodge we’re heading over to the St. Therese Mardi Gras dinner and dance…yeah, I know it ain’t Mardi Gras until next week but that’s when they scheduled it. 

Anyways…on the travel season planning front as I reported last time Neil had figured out how to recover from his “can’t get 537 miles across Newfoundland and still make an 1145 ferry” miscalculation…he figured that we would just catch the longer (and more expensive overnight) ferry instead. Connie suggested that we leave St. John’s Newfoundland as scheduled and just make a 2 day trip back across the island to Port aux Basques and catch the ferry one day later than planned…then take that day out of our first stop back on the mainland. Since the overnight camping stop, fuel, and shorter ferry save money compared to the longer overnight ferry…that requires you to either buy a cabin as well as vehicle passage or else spend the night in a deck chair…that makes more sense anyway

We’re down to about a half dozen parks that we haven’t finalized yet…he’s got email or voice mail or web forms filled out for all of them and we’re just waiting to hear back…he’ll likely double check on those this week.

The super bowl was yesterday…apparently the Iggles won…we didn’t watch it. We did review the supposedly good Super Bowl commercials this morning and they were uniformly poor in our opinion. The Tide ones were at least amusing…well, some of them anyway…and the Danny DeVito M&M one was almost amusing. The rest of them…not so much. And Philadelphia got trashed last night…who woulda thunk that. I can never understand why people riot when their sports team loses the game…much less than when the team wins.

Interesting things found on the net.

You’ll never look at Australia the same way again.

Australia

Not all heroes wear capes…our kinda guy.

NotAllHeroesWearCapes

The way nice countries fight wars.

HowNiceCountriesFightWars

Basic helicopter rules…the only one I would add is that there is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.

BasicHelicopterRules

Cyas.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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