Memorial Day 2017

Ya know…Neil is a retired naval officer and drove submarines…but all of his shipboard service was during the Cold War and although he was kinda/sorta in harms way…nobody was shooting at him and his shipboard service was all in peacetime. Gulf War 1 (Desert Storm) happened while he was at Naval Sea Systems Command buying Mk 48 ADCAP submarine heavyweight torpedoes but essentially he served in peacetime.

He holds all veterans in high regard…but specifically those that gave their lives for the country or came home maimed in either body or mind…it takes a special kind of person to run into bullets.

Monday is Memorial Day…a day dedicated to all veterans but especially to those who died in service to this country. It’s not a day for car sales, it’s not a day for fireworks, it’s not a day for the Blue Light Special down at K-Mart. It’s a day to honor those brave men and women.

We saw it on a t-shirt a bar-back was wearing a few weeks back…”America. Home of the free…because of the brave.”

Let’s keep it that way. Hero’s don’t wear capes…they wear dog-tags.

Sorry…no funny stuff today…this is serious stuff the sacrifices of the brave men and women who went before us are what we all should be thinking about this weekend. Here are a few links you might like to take a look at along that line.

Honor the Fallen.

American Hero, Texas Son. Raul Perez “Roy” Benavides was a brave son of a gun…jumped onto a helicopter he wasn’t supposed to be a crewman on and flew into a hot landing zone in Vietnam to save his fellow soldiers.

In case you thought it was about a 3-Day weekend.

Mike Rowe’s experience with Travis Mills.

All of you…think about the fallen…and thank whatever God or gods you worship for the freedom they won for you. If you know any veterans or currently serving members…buy them a beer or pay for their meal. Going back to the Revolutionary War in 1775…over 660,000 have given their lives and almost 3 million have been wounded…and the number of gravely maimed coming home has seriously increased since the Vietnam War due to advances in battlefield medicine. And pray for those who sacrificed so that the rest of us might be free. The political left deplores the military and everything it stands for…and lives for their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest. They just forget to give a damn about the fact the freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of speech for those that agree with you and they certainly don’t give a damn about the folks that ensured their right to protest exists.

NewImage

NewImage

Veterans and currently serving members alike…we all owe our way of life to you.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Repairs Apparently Complete

Well…our time here at Camp Horizons has improved considerably since our previous visits. While I still wouldn’t call it fast and efficient…our experience overall was much improved. My guess is that the old culture of laissez-faire slow rolling everything started at the top of the company. Phil was a great guy and ran a good company…but at heart he was a banker/bean counter type and some of the production and service stuff just wasn’t his forte. Bryan T who is now the CEO with the company owned by Karen (Phil’s widow as he passed back around Christmas) was formerly with another RV builder as a senior manager and has managed to institute a good deal of promptness and efficiency. There’s still a ways to go since cultures don’t change overnight…but all in all we were much more pleased with our experience the past week.

As you know…we arrived shortly after noon on Friday May 19 for our service appointment last Monday May 22. Our original work list only consisted of having the seals replaced on our slides as they were dissolving on the side that’s faced the southern sun the past 5 years down in Fort Myers. By the time we got here we had discovered two more problems…our power cord reel was shot and needed replacement and somewhere along the way a truck in a truck stop dinged the side of the rig just forward of the entrance door…so we added those two items.

We were in the service building early Monday morning by about 0830 and Mike/Jeffrey got right to work on the seals. They were pretty much done with those by Wednesday midday and even the one that we thought would be really hard to do…the forward galley seal…turned out to  be easier than we thought it would be. It’s not a perfect, good as brand new production seal installation would be…but given that the other alternative would be to remove the slide entirely which means disassembling and reassembling the cabinets, gas lines, plumbing in the kitchen and countertops…it’s good enough.

Our old power reel feed off the bottom of the reel to the outside…and naturally this model is no longer made and New Horizons has moved along to a new vendor for this item…which feeds off of the top. We had just a small door (it’s been remounted in the new big door in the photo below) that let the plug go out but no maintenance was really possible. Ken here at New Horizons spent a couple hours looking for a new bottom feed reel to no avail and we were starting to think about just having the old style twist plug put in instead and storing the cord separately when Mike came up with what turned out to be the winning idea. His suggestion was to remove the small door and cut a big enough door to allow replacement or maintenance on the reel without disassembling the rig…then to remount the little door at the top of the big door for the new top feed reel. So that’s what we did…here’s a shot of our newly installed an painted door. The small door that the cord is coming out of used to be mounted down where the handle on the new door is located. The little door to the right is the cover over the switch to operate the reel.

IMG 3653

Here’s a shot with the large door open. Without this door they would have had to remove the entire lower fiberglass panel you can see in the first shot along with the horizontal trim strip and the vertical trim strip that you could see if the photo covered another 2 or 3 inches to the right. That’s about 6 hours of labor to remove and reinstall and usually results in some paint cracking which means more painting, more masking, and the associated cost. Mike’s idea was that since he’s replaced a half dozen of these power cord reels just this year he might as well make it easier on either himself or a future repairman to work on the reel as needed.

IMG 1763

To make sure we can still get power when/if this power reel fails…we also added a transfer switch and the old style twist plug up in the basement so in the event of a failure we can stick a twist dongle into the old twist style connector and plug it into a regular 50 amp extension cord. The transfer switch serves to ensure that you can’t plug in both the standard cord and the emergency connection simultaneously…that could make things go boom.

Neil disassembled the old cord reel and put the 25 foot 50 amp cord into Big Red’s storage bay. He’s got one 25 foot 50 amp extension cord and a 50 foot 30 amp one…mostly because the 25 foot 50 amp one costs $200 and a 50 foot 50 amp one costs about $450 and weighs most of 100 pounds. He’ll buy a standard female 50 amp connector for $12 or so and make himself another 50 amp extension.

We were done with work and paint about 1500 Friday and Ken moved us around to the south end of the building with the forklift. We did attempt to find a place to stay over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend but to no avail…even the KOA in Goodland KS (our next stop) was full. We didn’t figure they would be as Goodland is a farm town in the middle of western KS…but they could get us in Monday instead of Tuesday as everybody checks out on the Monday holiday. That didn’t make much sense so we’ll just hang out here and leave Tuesday morning.

We met up here with Robert Schwartz…he’s a fellow Floridian and PI who does a lot of work for wrongfully convicted people. Both our friend Bill Napier and Neil have answered many questions, emails, and phone calls for him as he designed his rig and got it built…and then run into the various problems that new RV owners run into.

We’ll do laundry and grocery shopping over the weekend and basically chill out for the holiday. Tuesday morning we’ll meet again with Ken, pay our bill, and get on the road.

We did have to spend Thursday night in a local hotel…they were painting and doing clear coat until about 2200 and the clear coat really stinks…and you can’t turn on any ventilation as it will cause dust to settle on the not yet dry clear coat.

Okay, on to interesting things.

So true…

WhatsWrongWithSociety

This is a great way to lighten up the mood at your next Thanksgiving family celebration.

ThanksgivingMoodChange

Sign seen in the pub.

HidingFromWife

Best film synopsis ever.

BestFilmSynopsis

Alaskan chicken roaster.

RubeGoldbergChickenRoaster

My next post should be from Goodland KS next week sometime…although other than chill out I’m not sure we’re really going to do anything there.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Transit to Junction City KS

We’re baaaaack……

At least, we’ve successfully arrived at Camp Horizons and at least according to one person here for service things have improved since Bryan T came on as general manager (or whatever his title is). We’ll see whether things have really improved starting next week. We have confirmed that we really don’t want to travel 5 days in a row unless we have some time constraint or emergency to meet…it’s just too hard. This would have been a better travel week if we traveled 3 days then took a day break before doing the other two travel days…but that would have meant we wouldn’t be first in line for next week’s service visits. I’m not sure that being first in line really makes any difference to your repair time…but at least you get your choice of parking spaces and over by the service bays is a heckovalot better than over in the low rent neighborhood to the south side of the factory. 

We had a total of 1587 miles to transit from North Fort Myers to Junction City…so we were, almost exclusively, just driving down the freeway. However…a few interesting things did happen so let me quickly summarize.

Heading out early Monday morning 15 May…Neil had finished all the pre-underway stuff earlier so we were on the road by 0900ish for the 330 miles to Lake City FL. We had no issues and stayed overnight at Casey Jones RV…had leftover white pasta bolognese for dinner.

Tuesday we transited to Cartersville KOA in Cartersville GA…since we weren’t planning on dumping we just paid the lower rate for W/E hookups…but we choose poorly. The site had about a 3.5 degree tilt to port and we weren’t unhitching so leveling was not possible…but it was only overnight so we just lived with it. We walked about 1/3 of a mile up to the 2nd Half Sports Pub and Grill for dinner and sat down at the only two empty chairs at the bar. Connie was next to this guy that…at least on first blush…was a serious candidate for “Connie Meets the Town Drunk #7”. Yeah…Stevie was a couple of beers ahead of us but turned out to (a) not really be drunk, and (b) was actually a pretty interesting guy to talk to. He’s lived in both the US and the Philippines and is a long haul trucker living out of his rig. He told us about this time that he had rescued a toddler from a burning car…we weren’t sure whether this was a sea story or not until he pulled up the video from CNN of “Heroic Trucker Rescues Toddler in Jacksonville”. Sure enough…same guy so he was telling the truth at least about that…although I’m not so sure about his claim to have stayed in 4 of the 5 (or 5 of the 6, can’t remember) 5 Star resorts in the Philippines, which he said meant they cost $10,000 per night…not sure how a long haul trucker could afford that but I digress. Anyways…we passed a pleasant hour at the pub with a couple of frosty brews and a couple of mighty darn good Italian Sausage sandwiches with onions and peppers. Great place to stop but Pro Tip©…make sure you stay in the premium sites if you stop at this particular KOA.

Wednesday we pressed on to Eddyville KY and overnighted at Murphy’s Outback RV…another pretty decent campground pick by the DLETC. Dinner was fish filets from the freezer and leftover corn casserole from Mothers Day.

Thursday was the long day…416 miles to Higginsville MO where we overnighted at Great Escape RV. We were watching the weather on the way west after getting past St. Louis and there were severe thunderstorms and tornado watches in the Junction City area…and it was all heading directly east towards Higginsville so we kept an eye on it. Dinner was a meatball sub from Subway an we put our satellite dish down before we went to bed just in case. We had a severe thunderstorm watch but no tornado warnings for Higginsville and only got a little weather…5 minutes of small hail, 20 minutes of 40 or so miles an hour wind but it was from directly behind us so didn’t bother us much, and a couple of hours of rain with maybe 30 minutes of hard rain.

Friday we headed the last 220 miles or so to Junction City…we always get off of I-70 on the way through there to avoid the tolls on the Kansas Turnpike. Our normal route is I-435 south and then KS-10 and US-40 over to Topeka and then back onto I-70…but construction and an overturned vehicle on I-435 meant the GPS (more on that in a bit)  gave us warning of a 30+ minute delay and suggested an alternate route through the city. Since she had done so well the day before taking us straight through St. Louis on I-70 with little traffic…we decided to follow her suggestion and took I-70 into the city then I-35 south to Edgerton then KS-56, KS-59, US-75, and I-470 back to I-70 at Topeka. Nice roads and all 4 lane limited access highway except for 22 miles on KS-59. We drove through some serious rain on the way over but it had mostly cleared by the time we got here…and Neil rescued a small turtle at a potty break (details in a minute as well). Instead of just parking in front of the service bay like we originally thought…Connie went in to verity with Ken that he didn’t need us parked somewhere else…that took up 15 minutes as he was on the phone which meant that by the time we got parked it was raining again. We got power on and the front jacks down and headed inside to wait out the now torrential rain. 

Naturally…since we were expecting it and since DirectTV told us it was on the way…our Genie HD DVR upgrade did not arrive…I swear those morons have worse service than even phone companies…so while waiting out the rain Neil called and verified that our tech was still on track for install Monday morning and would have a unit with him. The tech guy put some notes in the work order…and supposedly that will be sufficient for the tech to actually do the activation in an RV as they make this process way, way harder than it needs to be.

The rain stopped for a couple hours and we got unhitched, leveled, and utilities on then hit the Elks Lodge for dinner. We met our friend Robert Schwartz in ‘meat space’ for the first time as opposed to all previous meetings being in virtual space…and are going to have brews and dinner with him today.

Ok…turtle rescue time. We had stopped at Jim Bob’s Truck Stop somewhere west of KC…we needed a potty break and a donut for Morning Snack© and on the way out of the store there we headed back towards the truck…when out of nowhere in the middle of a concrete pad probably 100 yards square Neil spies this little turtle about 2 inches long running for his life…but he was running (a) toward the center of the concrete and (b) right where the trucks were gonna pull out of the fuel pumps. So…being a nature kinda guy…Neil grabbed him and carried him over to the grass outside the concrete behind where he had parked the rig. Cute little guy.

RescuedTurtle

So here we sit…at least we’re almost the only rig here so the internet connectivity on the NH Service access point is really pretty good.

I was going to tell ya about our new GPS…when we hit the road we got ourselves a Garmin Nevi 465 which is a trucker GPS. The good thing about it is that you can put in your height, length, width, and weight and (mostly at least) it will route you around overpasses and bridges you should not be on. The bad thing was that due to limited memory and CPU power it also put you on the USDoT approved truck route and sometimes wanted to route you around places that RVs were allowed on but not trucks…this means a less convenient route. It also only had a 4 inch or so diagonal screen which was large for the day but is now pretty small. Anyway…after 5 summers on the road the battery (naturally a non replaceable one) was at the end of it’s useful life and while the unit still worked you had to reprogram it every time you stopped because it only worked when plugged in. So we went looking for a new one and found the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S. This is an RV specific unit with a 7 inch diagonal much brighter screen. Still has the dimensions capability but since it’s RV specific it doesn’t do that whole truck route thing. It’s also got voice command, full North American continent maps, lifetime traffic support, a more sophisticated routing/traffic avoidance algorithm due to having more CPU horsepower available, and an extensive database of speed limit changes, truck stops, campgrounds, Walmarts, eateries, sightseeing stuff, and pretty much everything else you could ask for…including a more sensitive GPS receiver so you can actually do your route planning inside the rig, with the old one you had to go outside so it could find the satellites. It was about $400 and so far has proven pretty reliable at getting you around delays and such. It will even connect via bluetooth to your phone for making hands free calls…but we skipped setting this up because Neil’s phone is paired with his auditory enablers (hearing aids…darn submarine engine room noise did his hearing in) and Big Red already lets you make hands free calls anyway.

It’s controls are a bit different from the old model 465 we had but we’re getting used to it and…mostly…it works like any of the other Garmin do. I can’t say whether a Rand McNally or other brand is any better or worse…my guess is not since the navigational and mapping data is all the same no matter what brand you buy and the only thing proprietary is the routing algorithm and even that starts from a common open source code base. But it works for us and we’re glad we got it. We kept the old one in Big Red for a spare since it does still work.

The new one also has direct connect to wifi capability for doing updates…this works way better than using the Garmin Express application which we’ve been using both on Neil’s MacBook Pro and under Windows 10 using the Parallels Desktop application…both of those apps have been problematic at actually communicating with the GPS unit in the past so putting the unit directly on wifi bypasses that and actually updates more quickly. 

On to other interesting things of the week.

Who knew?

WhoKnew

And like they say in real estate…location, location, location.

LocationLocationLocation

Here’s a guy that showed up to pick up his date for the prom…and got a couple of pointers from her dad’s bro’s…they probably said something like “no drinking, absolutely” and “when she says no…she means no”…while her expression clearly says “what the hell, dad.”

BeforeTheProm

This is only advice from a tree of course…but it’s pretty darned good advice.

TreeAdvice

This is what golfers would call a water hazard.

WaterHazard

Ya know what this is doncha…why it’s For Lease Navidad.

ForLeaseNavidad

Guess there’s no bow or rifle season for ‘em here.

HuntingChildren

Cyas…hopefully our seal repair, power cord replacement and fiberglass ding (some trucker banked us in the parking lot along the way from FL…no idea where…but at least it’s just a small ding and a little putty and paint and “she’ll be raight” as the Aussies would say).

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Ready to Get Underway

Wow…another long time between posts…but at least this time we got an excuse…we been humpin’ to get all our stuff down so we can hit the road…and I can now say that we’re officially done with our wintertime stay here at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers.

Since my last post on April 26…we’ve gotten Connie new glasses and prescription sunglasses…on the way home from the Walmart when we picked them up she kept saying things like “wow, the trees have bark” and “look at the birds”. She’s so happy that she can see again and is really, really, really looking forward to getting out on the road again and doing Fun Stuff©.

Other than that…we setup ourselves a list with all the pre-underway stuff we needed to finish up and the favorite bars and eateries we wanted to go to again before we left. Next we put all that on the calendar so that we could (a) space it out and (b) not forget any of it.

So Neil’s been working outside a lot the past couple of weeks…he spaced it out so that he could start by about 0830 or so and be done for the day before it got too hot. Have I mentioned that it’s been brutal the last 3 weeks…well, it has. Highs in the upper 80s to mid 90s and only down to 70s in the nighttime…so we’ve had to have the A/C on almost continuously…although we did get a couple of nights where it was cool enough and low enough humidity that we opened up for the night just to get some fresh air into the rig.

Checking air pressures, greasing things, washing the rig…yeah…we done it all and today was the grand finale. Neil spent about 3 hours outside putting everything that’s been taken out back where it goes…had to find a new place for a few things but he’s not got it all stowed away and we’re ready to travel except for slides and utilities Monday morning.

Still need to dump and flush our black and gray tanks tomorrow and then fill them half way and toss in some vinegar and Dawn degreasing dish soap…our gray tank in particular gets a film on the inside from all the grease from the kitchen drains and then the level gauges don’t work right. We have SeeLevel tank level systems installed which use a strip sensor external to the tank…it can tell whether there’s water or air on the other side of the tank wall and hence knows where the water level in the tank is. Unfortunately…greasy buildup on the tank walls makes it not work right…it thinks there’s water when there’s actually air. The solution is to fill it halfway and then dump in 3 gallons of vinegar and a couple cups of dish detergent then tow the rig on a travel day…followed by dump/flush immediately on arrival…the gray tank water when you do this looks like milk even though you fill it halfway with clean water. Neil usually has to do this trick twice on our departure from Seminole and then the tank reads right all summer…he does it twice again just before we get back here for the winter.

Our local eagle family has finished their nesting duties for the season…eaglet E9 fledged on March 14 and hasn’t been seen at the nest since May 2…it and it’s parents Harriet and M15 haven’t been seen much either as they’re all off teaching E9 how to hunt, fish, and survive.

Here’s a shot of Connie with her new glasses…they’re Sophia Loren frames…she got slightly larger ones than she had before.

IMG 3705

And here’s a shot of our last foray over to the Ragged Ass Saloon on Pine Island…another great time had by all. As you an see from the bumper stickers and signs in the background…this place has character. We had our usual Italian sausage stuffed banana peppers and a Caribbean pizza along with a couple of brews.

IMG 3830

Let’s see what other interesting stuff Neil found for ya.

Didn’t get a photo of it…but at the Nauti Parrot the other night the bar back had a t-shirt that said “Land of the free…because of the brave.”. He was a Marine (no such thing as an ex Marine) who served over in the Gulf…we thanked him for his service and agreed with the sentiment on his shirt.

Ya know what these are doncha…bacon seedlings.

BaconSeed2

Cloud musings.

CloudMusings

It actually does exist.

ItDoesExist

They’re not wrong.

TheyreNotWrong

The parenting game.

ParentingGame

Ninja squirrel.

WaterBendingSquirrel

Not so sure this is a great place for an electrical outlet…Ima thinking it’s probably not up to code.

PerfectOutletLocation

This park is on a street named Busty View.

StreetNamedBustyView

And finally…we would really, really like to find out what the back story behind this sign is.

NoOreosInLibrary

We’re on the road early Monday morning…will post again but probably not until we get to the New Horizons factory in Junction City KS…we’re driving 5 straight days to get there, that will be our highest number of consecutive travel days since we hit the road in 2012.

Cyas.

(Added 3 hours later.)

I know I already said my normal Cyas…but I gotta tell ya about this truly outstanding dinner Neil made. It’s so good I’m gonna make him cook it for Bill and Linda when we see them.

He thought he was inventing it…he was making Bolognese sauce (that’s meat and tomato pasta) sauce…but he was going to do it with white wine and cream instead of tomato. Turns out that this is actually a normal Italian dish called White Bolognese with Rigatoni…so somebody thought of it first. The key idea here is the 2:1 ration of meat to pasta…and the way you reduce the sauce before putting it in the pasta. He was really amazed that something he essentially was making up as he went along turned out to be a normal (albeit not seen much in America as opposed to Italy) recipe.

OK…here’s what it is. To feed 4 (we were making leftovers for Monday night on the road) you need 8 oz of rigatoni or other tube type pasta…the kind with ridges is better but any will really do. 

Saute an onion and 1/2 of a green pepper (if you have it) in some olive oil until mostly done. He also put in about 2 tablespoons of dried celery (or about a half cup of chopped if you have fresh…which we never have.) Then add about 8 oz of Italian sausage chopped into 1/2 inch pieces…although we actually used pound venison sausage instead because we had some from our friend Jeff (thanks Jeff…it went really great in this dish)…and 8 oz of ground beef (or veal or pork of whatever you want…doesn’t matter). Cook all that until it’s done and then the last couple of minutes add 3 or 4 cloves of chopped garlic (or powder if you must). Once all is done…go ahead and start cooking the pasta (you shoulda started boiling the water already since it’s supposed to start cooking now instead of starting to heat the water now) and put in 8 oz of rigatoni (for 4 really generous servings) If ya ain’t got rigatoni…then you can use linguini or macaroni or noodles or whatever pasta you like…since all pasta pretty much tastes the same…but rigatoni with the ridges holds the sauce better. If you’re using fresh chopped mushrooms add them (8 or 10 chopped) about 2-3 minutes before the garlic. If using canned…just add them anytime since they’re already cooked. While the pasta is cooking …add a cup of white wine to the meat/veggie mixture and cook until almost dry. Then add 1 cup of chicken stock (or water) with 1 beef bullion cube in it along with the liquid from the mushroom can (or a little more chicken stock if not) and again cook until almost dry. Then add 3/4 cup or so of half and half or cream and a whole bunch of basil and marjoram…we were using fresh that our notary gave us last week so it’s like 30 leaves of basil and 20 or so marjoram…if you’re using dry then I would use like 2 tablespoons of basil and 3/4 teaspoon of marjoram. Turn the sauce off…and check salt/pepper to taste.

When the pasta is done…save about a cup of the pasta water, drain the rest of the water, and put the pasta back into the pan you cooked it in and add the sauce. Let cook over medium heat another minute or two and add as much pasta water (it’s got starch in it to thicken the sauce) as seems right. The final result should be wet but not soupy/saucy.

Put into bowls and top with fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese (or that crappy stuff in the can if you insist…but we always, always have a chunk of Italian imported Parmesan Reggiano in our fridge…just get it as it’s so much better than the green canned stuff. Sure…it costs 14 bucks a pound but a pound lasts easily 6 months even at the rate we eat pasta and never pre-grate it…it just ruins it.)

Neil (and Connie) thought that this would be decent but not great…but I gotta tell you this is the best thing he cooked in a couple of months. Really, really good. I gotta tell ya’…he may have made his last pot of tomato Bolognese…Connie likes that but the tomato sauce acidity gives her tummy issues with her acid reflux problem. The technique of cooking the sauce until the wine and then the stock is almost dry before adding the cream to concentrate the flavors also helps achieve the final result.

Really, really good…in fact it’s the best thing he’s made since the duck breast he cooked on Easter.

Ok, Cyas squared.

Posted in RV, Travel | 5 Comments

Final Eye Appointment

Yeah! Final eye appointment for the whole detached retina/vitrectomy/cataract surgery ordeal today and Connie’s got a new glasses prescription. She’s -3.0 diopters in the left eye (the one with the problems) and remains at the previous -4.25 in the right eye. She’s got a prescription for new glasses and with it she’s now seeing at 20//30 in the left eye which means she can drive again.

Neil’s really happy about this…not only does he not have to schlep her everywhere but it gives her a sense of independence that she hasn’t had since last May. Tomorrow we’re off to Wally World to get her a new frames and lenses…and assuming she can see fine we’ll get new prescription sunglasses (you know, the sun never sets when you’re cool!) early next week. So…great news for both of us.

After her appointment we slowly made our way back to Seminole Campground…it was rush hour by that time…and Neil made some Saurbrauten out of left over steak from last night, onion, mushrooms, noodle and some spices…and it was de-lish. Had some wine with it and watched TV until bedtime. Tomorrow is tacos at the Elks Lodge…

So we’re now officially on track to be on the road on Monday May 15 with our initial destination the New Horizons factor in Junction City that Friday…we’ll get our slide fixed and then head west for Fun Stuff ©…it seems like so long since we’ve had any of that but we’re really looking forward to it.

Our friends (in the next site) Dennis and Janet are headed off tomorrow morning for a summer in the Indianapolis area where their kids and grand babies live…they’ll be back right around Nov 1 when we get here. We’ll see them off in the AM and Neil is going to give the rig it’s annual washing. He figures that the universe got it dirty so the universe needs to get it clean…unfortunately the universe isn’t holding up it’s end of the deal so we have to occasionally wash it.

No other news this week…so it’s on to interesting stuff found on the internet.

This one wasn’t actually found on the internet…it’s Neil, Connie and grand baby Alex last week while we were in Midlothian…the brews on the table are a local brewery’s Breakfast Stout…which was a really great beer even though it cost us 16 bucks a pint. Mighty expensive but really, really good.

NeilConnieAlex

Don’t ever, ever mess with Russian women.

RussianWomanVsWolf

Never dress as your plate of breakfast.

DressedsThePlate

Jesus must be working today.

JesusIsWorkingToday

Best road sign…ever.

BestRoadSignEver

Anybody with kids knows the truth of this one.

IKnewIt

And finally…all of us RVers have seen rigs that were seriously overloaded on the truck…this guy clearly didn’t want to have any issues…we’re talking serious overkill on his tow vehicle.

TruckOverkill

And finally 2…have to add this one. It’s a gingerbread house of course.

GingerbreadHouse

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 1 Comment

Eye Update and Firming Up the Jello

OK, things are lookin’ up ‘round these parts so I figured I would update ya’ll on stuff.

Connie’s cataract surgery appears to have been a success…she’s essentially healed from the surgery but is still a little blurry at distance since she doesn’t have new glasses prescription yet…that comes on the 26th. She’s reading fine though and we are both extremely happy ‘bout that. After her final followup on the 26th she’ll be “free to move about the country” and we have been firming up our travel schedule and reservations for the summer this week.

We’ll be heading up to VA the day after Easter to visit grand baby Alex and coming back the following Saturday for choir on Sunday. Neil has written down the Master Departure Action List of stuff we still need to do before we leave and we’re down to about 5 weeks left to get it all done.

We left 2 weeks of slop in the schedule just in case and because she needs to order and pickup new glasses…then we’ll hit the road on Monday May 15. Our itinerary from then is as follows:

  • Transit to Junction City for a week at Camp Horizons to get our galley seal fixed
  • Transit to Goodland KS the Tuesday after Labor Day for a week…this is mostly an expansion joint stop as there’s not much in Goodland but after the quick trip to Kansas and a week hassling with Ken there in the service department we might need a few days off…and it’s a nice spot that we can lengthen or shorten our stay as needed based on whether Ken needs more than 5 days to do the seals.
  • Transit via an overnight stop at Denver to Silt CO; then stops of 5-10 days at the following
  • Moab UT 
  • Blanding UT 
  • Page AZ 
  • Bryce UT 
  • Virgin UT 
  • Salt Lake City UT
  • Reno NV
  • Redding CA 
  • Canyonville OR
  • Salem OR
  • Port Angeles WA
  • Coeur d’Alene ID
  • Missoula MT
  • West Yellowstone MT
  • Crow Agency MT
  • Spearfish SD for the NHOG Rally
  • Denver CO
  • Albuquerque NM with our friends Bill and Linda for the Balloon Festival

From Albuquerque we’ll have 10 days and 1,600 miles to get to our reservation at the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key FL before arriving back here in North Fort Myers on Nov 1. At this point we’re still talking about the route back…Neil’s first idea was to head straight to Foley AL and stay at the Elks Lodge there for 5-6 days before heading to Cedar Key but that part hasn’t been firmed up yet. 

All of that travel will result in a lot of photos and a whole lot more blog posts…I know we haven’t posted much this winter but by and large we’re just living and getting stuff done…so nothing really exciting to talk about.

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for Connie’s surgery and recovery and things appear to be going swimmingly as one would say.

On to interesting things from the net,

BatmanJustice

You know what these are…doncha…

Scottish Headges

Why they’re Head-ges of course:-)

So very true…

ColdBeerAndBBQ

This guy has a Sikh sense of humor

SikhSenseOfHumor

The Empire’s great question.

Deathstar memorial

Nailed it.

NailedIt

How to respond to a panic attack.

Panic whiskey

Guess bri has some issues.

ShesWhat

Cyas.

 

Posted in RV, Travel | 1 Comment

Connie and the Adventure of the Amazing Cataract Surgery

Ima thinking we’re doing this whole retirement thing wrong…here it is Wednesday afternoon and so far this week starting on Sunday our alarm clocks have been set for 0530, 0530, 0500, and 0600. Add in another 0600 tomorrow for laundry (gotta get up there early or it’s wait time) and 0500 on Friday so Neil can get to the RAM truck place on time for Big Red’s maintenance…and Ima tellin’ ya we’re just doing it wrong somehow.

Weather report for today…90 degrees, 36% relative humidity, light winds, and brilliant almost cloudless skies. I think we can safely say that winter is over here in Fort Myers. We’ve had the A/C on for almost a week now and doesn’t look like we’ll have the windows open anytime in the next 10 days or so at least…although we do try to open up early in the morning a couple times a week when it’s cooler and get some fresh, no-smelly air. 

Little known fact that you probably don’t care about…this is Gunther’s 500th post on the blog along with another 100 or so from Kara.

Anyhoos…the reason we’ve been getting up early…after Mass and choir on Sunday morning…was Connie’s cataract surgery on her left eye…which was the good one until she had her separated retina last May. Her right eye has been blurry, useless in the daylight, and B&W only since age 12 but with the retina detachment, subsequent vitrectomy to get rid of the scar tissue and yesterday’s cataract surgery brought on by the air inside her eye during the vitrectomy it’s been quite the year.

We got there at 0700 yesterday and by 0710 she was gone into pre-op…Neil sat in the waiting room until 0840 when they came out and got him as she was done…she had been back in recovery for maybe 10 minutes when he got there. She was woozy naturally…well, she’s pretty loopy anyway but it was even more so than usual…and had a patch over her eye. She literally couldn’t see anything once we got outside due to the glare in the light and her limited useful vision right eye.

We got home and had lunch…then dinner…and she spent most of the time sitting quietly with her eyes shut. Popped some Advil a couple of times and felt like there was something in her eye most of the night but was feeling a bit better by this morning.

We headed down again for her 0930 followup appointment today…she was reading on the 20/50 line which is about -1.5 diopters based on the Googles…the surgeon said he was aiming for -3.0 diopters so either he missed on the good side a bit or the Google conversion chart is off. In any event she’s fine, doing better than he expected, and he expects it to continue to improve over the next week or so. She’s got a final followup on April 26 at which time they’ll release her from care and do a complete refraction for her so that she can get new glasses. In the meantime…she’s gonna wait until Monday for a bit of the swelling to go down and then either just deal with it until then or get some reading glasses from the CVS to tide her over…she did try Neil’s -1.5 cheaters today and could read better than without them.

We came on home…stopping by the Just Ride Along LBS (local bike shop) to pick up Neil’s Cannondale bad boy…after 5½ years and somewhere north of 5100 miles in the saddle it was time for some maintenance. New chain, chain ring, crankset bearing cartridge, cassette, and brake pads and a mere $355 later we were out the door. Labor was just $75 for the tuneup charge and all the rest was parts. Neil can change tires and tubes himself but the rest of it just needs too many specialized tools, jigs and know-how that he just doesn’t have…so he hires a professional. So he’s good for another half decade or so although he’ll need new tires by the end of the summer. 

We had lunch then Neil and Connie went over and moved our friend Jeff’s 5ver from the site he was in over to site 55 where his rig will be permanently on Seminole’s Store and Stay program. You pay $150 a month and it sits on the site with power while you’re not here and the normal monthly rate while you’re in residence. Storage back in the back with no power is $90 a month but by the time you pay Seminole the move to and move from storage fee it’s just $100 or so to just leave it in place on your site. We hitched his rig up and Neil pulled it around…Connie came up and was the Mombacker for him. You know what a Mombacker is doncha? I’m sure you’ve heard them if you ever watched a southern garbage truck do it’s work…there’s one guy driving it and another guy out back yelling “Momback, Momback.” While Neil was perfectly comfortable pulling Jeff’s 32 foot or so rig around…and he did it quite professionally according to the peanut gallery watching him…he’s really not comfortable with anybody but Connie guiding him back in via the walkie talkie. Mostly he can see to back in just fine but she knows the things to look out for so he doesn’t back into a tree or power pedestal or whatever. Got in with one go although pride did force him to pull forward and then back to get it properly positioned fore and aft in the site and parallel to the patio…he didn’t want to leave it angled to the pad like some rookie would ya know…gimme a break.

After that we had a shower…I did mention it was 90 degrees, right…and are done for the day except for Happy Hour and dinner.

We’re really glad that her long struggle with the left eye is pretty much over…by the time the end of next month rolls around and we get her new glasses prescription it will have been just about a year to the day since the retina detached…it’s been a struggle for her but there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel…we just hope it’s not an oncoming train.

Ok, on to interesting things from the net.

Ever notice how Billy Joel looks *exactly* like Darth Vader with his helmet off?

BillyJoelVader

Coolest duck evah.

CoolestDuckEver

Now we know that our readers probably have varying propensities to use…well let’s call it colorful language I guess…but there are really a few times in life when it’s perfectly acceptable to use the F-word. I won’t actually use it here…but provide the following photographic guidance on when it is OK to just go ahead and say it.

FWord1

FWord2

FWord3

FWord4

FWord5

You recognize this one right…it’s an emotional outlet.

EmotionalOutlet

For those times when you just can’t find the book you’re looking for…it can probably be found here.

CannotFindThatBook

Why Yes…Yes they do.

AdultJuiceBoxes

Not safe RVing (may have used this one before).

NotSafeRVing

I knew there was an explanation.

MysterySolvedAtLast

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments