T Minus Eight and Counting

Ok…starting the last week here so it’s time for a report on our preparations.

Connie had her followup this week from her colonoscopy/endoscopy and got a clean bill of health…all of her biopsies were negative, she doesn’t have Barrett’s Esophagus as the doc thought was a possibility, and her drugs for her acid reflux are doing the job so she’s pretty much controlling that with no further treatment necessary at this point. She’ll need a repeat of both procedures in 5 years but other than that is “free to move about the country” as the car rental ad used to say.

Neil continued this banging stuff of the pre-underway checklist…everything is pretty much done except for refilling our propane tank and dump/flush/half fill the waste tanks with water, vinegar and Dawn but that will get done the last day before we leave. The idea is to leave them half full or so with the vinegar and degreaser and let the tank sloshing during travel clean the insides of them so that the tank level indicators will work correctly…they’re always starting to get a little flaky by the time we’ve been parked for the winter. We’ll let them slosh around the first two travel days and then dump/flush again when we arrive in Savannah GA on May 2.

Beyond that…it’s just normal packing before we leave…bikes on the rack, grill in the basement, take down the flagpole, sign, and our outside lights…and we’ll be pretty much ready to go.

Lets see…what else is goin’ on.

We keep heading out to the Elks on Tuesdays for Bingo, most Thursday’s for Tacos, and occasional Monday or Friday visits for chicken/fish respectively…we did increase the latter couple once we were into April as the snowbird crowd is mostly gone and hence the lines are shorter.

Connie’s been singing in what’s called the Resurrection Choir at St. Therese…there are a lot of Memorial Masses down here for folks that died and were buried up North but who had friends in both places. There seem to be a lot more of those than actual Funeral Masses…although the only real difference is that there’s no coffin at a Memorial Mass, urns turn up frequently though. She’s even scheduled herself for one the day before we leave…middle of the day next Monday…Neil told her she might have chosen……poorly as the aged knight would say…she decided to wait and see how busy we’re going to be that day before making up her mind and heading out…Neil will be busy that day flushing tanks but the likelihood she’ll participate in that is approximately somewhere between zero and negative infinity…and we’re doing the Broasted Chicken dinner at the Lodge that night to pass along our “until next times” to the our friends here and to generate leftovers for Tuesday night when we’ll be overnighting in Citra FL about 250 miles north of here. There’s a bar and grill across the street from the RV park that got decent reviews on Yelp…but it’s always good to have what we call…options.

We also need to pickup and put away all the stuff that gets left out inside for the winter…during travel season we have to do a better job of keeping things put away than we do when we’re parked.

Here’s a shot of the two eaglets today…

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As you can see…they’re pretty much full grown at this point 116 days out from hatching. The adults are still bringing them food…at this point I would have thought they would be solely hunting on their own but apparently the adults will feed them until they actually depart the nesting area. Both are showing a lot of independence according to the blog on the eagle cam site…I actually thought they would be more independent at this point in life…previous years eaglets have been.

One photo for ya…a reprocessed shot of one of last year’s sunrise shots at Bryce Canyon UT…we got up at like 0330 for these. Neil took one of last summer’s unposted shots and worked with it in Luminar to get it looking a lot more like what it looked like with the eyeball. Like the bull elk shot I posted last time…it’s a lot easier to get photos that really pop with Luminar than it is with just Lightroom and it’s settings. Luminar is also going to include sometime this year a lot of the cataloging and image management features that Lightroom already has…if that comes to fruition and they’re actually worth using then he can see shifting over to Luminar as his primary management software. He’s taking a wait and see approach…he can always continue to manage in Lightroom and it includes the capability for export to Luminar/auto re-import the finished product to Lightroom. Adobe really would prefer you to export to Photoshop…which gives Adobe more money…and use it as the post processing program…but for non-experts getting great results is a lot more difficult in Photoshop as it’s got too many options and not enough “help the user” features in it. Luminar has filters with meaningful names like Smart Enhance, Golden Hour and the like…each of them has multiple sliders for the various settings unique to that filter so it’s not a matter of just clicking the filter…you still need to adjust the sliders in it to suit your needs for each image…but once you pick a filter…and you can stack the effects easily and mask them so they only affect parts of the image…there are a smaller set of slider options so one doesn’t get lost in the software. I’m sure that Photoshop could actually do everything Luminar does…but it’s a lot more work.

I really like the way this one came out…perfectly captures what it actually looked like that morning…crisp and cool with that really great yellow orange cast to the light and the sunbeams coming through the clouds as the sun rose just out of frame to the left. This shot was taken at Sunrise Point looking southward over the canyon. Sunset Point is a half mile or so to the west (right out of frame) and gets similar lighting to this but at sunset instead of sunrise…we visited both albeit Sunset Point was during the day and it was so crowded that we gave up trying to go back at sunset…besides the light is usually better at dawn anyway and the crowds were smaller. Not zero mind you…there were probably 50-75 peopled there that morning at 0535 when we arrived…the early rise time was so we could get coffee and drive the 45 minutes from the RV park which was literally right outside the gate of the park to the canyon itself, find a parking spot, and walk the 1/4 mile or so over to the point itself.

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Interesting things found on the net this week…

Sounds ‘bout right to Connie…

SoundsReasonableToMe

The engineer’s view

EngineersView

Extreme hopscotch

ExtremeHopscotch

How true this one is

HowTrue

Just in case you were wondering

InCaseYouDidNotKnow

I think I’ll turn back now

ThinkIWillTurnBack

Not so secret then

NotSoSecretThen

Cyas.

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Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Two Weeks to Go Before Travel Season Starts

Sorry I haven’t posted since the first of the month…but we’ve actually been pretty busy ‘round these parts. We’re down to the last two weeks before we depart Seminole…and Neil has been hard at work checking off items on the pre-underway list.

We started with about 62 different items divided between Neil and Connie depending on who needed to do them and including a half dozen that are actually things we need to do either in the Richmond area while we’re visiting the human kids or in the DC area when we stop by there and we’re down just about 10 items left besides the Richmond and Fairfax ones.

Connie had a colonoscopy and endoscopy last week…and once again the prep is way worse than the actual procedure. She was on no nuts or seeds for 4 days then a liquid only diet on the day before…and then the dreaded clean out procedure starting in the afternoon the day before. Neil took care of her as best he could bringing her bullion, water, and various other things so she didn’t have to move around much. Last Tuesday she had her procedures…everything came out pretty much as expected so that’s one of the major items off the list.

Besides that…Neil’s accomplished a whole bunch of stuff like

  • Air up tires and check lug bolt torque
  • Grease trailer bearings
  • New front tires for Big Red
  • Fixed our living room fan
  • Ordered and received a bunch of spare parts we need
  • Pressure wash Big Red, Little Red, and parts of the rig
  • Finished up our federal and Alabama tax returns…we’re Florida residents so no state return there but our income from the Laubenthal Land and Timber Company is earned in and taxable by Alabama
  • Check fluids and filters on Big Red and Little Red
  • Finish ordering tickets and the last couple of reservations we need to have for the summer
  • Schedule an oil change for Big Red while we’re in the Fairfax area

As you can see…he’s been busy. It’s been hot so between the days that we had doctors appointments we’ve been getting up early so he can start on the day’s scheduled jobs by about 0830, that way he’s done by 1030 or 1100 before it gets too hot. 

Let’s see…what else.

The eaglets have fledged the nest…although they’re still getting food delivered by the parents they’re actually as large as the adults are now. Here’s a shot of them sitting on the branch near the nest.

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Neil’s also been working with his new photo processing software…Luminar as well as checking some new techniques with Aurora his HDR application. Here are a couple of shots from last travel season that he reprocessed.

These two shots came from the same exposure taken up at the Mammoth Hot Springs area in Yellowstone National Park…one was processed with Aurora and the other with Luminar. He likes the way both of them turned out.

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Yellow aspen leaves in the fall at Rocky Mountain National Park…this is actually much more realistic to what it looked like with our eyes than the previous aspen shots I posted last fall.

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A ram Bighorn Sheep along with one of his harem…this was taken near Rocky Mountain National Park but actually outside the park boundary on the river through the pass that leads to the park.

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Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point just after dawn…he’s not really satisfied with this one yet…processing the dawn shots still needs a little more practice.

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The Narrows on the Zion River at Zion National Park.

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 Bull elk crossing the Madison River between West Yellowstone MT and the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park…this was taken about 10 minutes after sunrise. The processing makes it look like a lot brighter than it really was…but I decided that being a bit brighter actually improved the photo…I did leave the Golden Hour orange light effect intact.

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Sorry they’re mostly photos you’ve already seen similar shots of …although none of them are exact duplicates of what I posted last fall…but I figured I would give ya a little taste of what’s to come starting in just about 2 weeks. The scenery and wildlife up the east coast and into Canuckistan will be different than out west…not better but different. We’re really looking forward to getting back into the Fun Stuff© routine.

Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

Enhanced Water

EnhancedWater

Urine Danger?

UrineDanger

Instruction manual

UnderstandingWomen

This guy has the world’s longest arm

WorldsLongestArm

Anybody who was around in the ’60s should clearly understand what this is

ChairwayToHeaven

Why…it’s the Chairway to Heaven of course.

Meanwhile…in Tobleroneistan

Tobleronistan

Brilliant!!

MostIrishThingEver

Sign for a Bong Smoking Skateboarding Horse crossing I guess

BongSmokingSkateboardHorses

And finally…ya know what these are of course

797000 spring buds

Spring Buds obviously.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Happy Easter and April Fool’s Day

And happy pre-anniversary greetings (April 2 is actually the say) to the adults ‘round these parts as well. It was lo those many years ago back in 19 and 76 that Neil was driving Connie to their local drinking establishment down in Coral Gables FL at the University of Miami and uttered those famous words “Here, hold this.”…and dropped her engagement ring into her hand. Quite the romantic ain’t he?

Then just about 10,000 days later…again on April 2 and again in the car on the way to another local drinking establishment…that once again he repeated those famous words (well, they’re at least famous in our family lore anyway)…and dropped an even better diamond ring in her hand.

Anyhoo…not really much going on here the past couple of weeks. We had some lab work done and have doctor’s appointments in a couple of weeks, Connie got her colonoscopy and endoscopy (yea!) scheduled, we got new front tires for Big Red…yeah, all sorts of really cool stuff like that. 

The eaglets have fledged the nest and are increasing their flying range and capabilities as well as learning to hunt for themselves…but these days they’re mostly gone from the nest with mom and dad learning stuff.

We’ve got quite a list of things to complete before we leave…but made ourselves a checklist so that we don’t miss any of them…maintenance items and the like mostly. Nothing major, just time consuming so Neil will try and do a couple every day so that it’s not a rush the end of the month before we leave on May 1.

I don’t have any photos to share…so let’s get on to the Interesting Things Found on the Net.

Poor guy…tells the truth and where does it get him?

218084 budweiser

Our friend Bill Napier sent us this one…this is the strangest 5th wheel setup we’ve ever seen. Putting the RV on a low-boy trailer with a Jeep on the back is just nuts. We did some figgeratin’ on the pin weight and either that truck’s rear axle is seriously overloaded or the owner has a heavy duty truck and they just used the pickup to move it around the lot.  

TotallyNutsTrailer

How did man first learn to swear.

HowManLearnedToSwear

Nothing’s that good…nothing.

NothingsThatGood

Helping people keep stayin’ alive.

HelpingPeopleStayAlive

Amen.

Amen

The sky crashed.

SkyCrashed

Cyas.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Visit

Well…as advertised…the humans headed off early yesterday morning to see what they could see. Talk about early…they set their darned alarm clocks for 0500 freaking o’clock…how’s a bear supposed to get his beauty rest when they get up that early. Ima blaming it on the damn birds…ya gotta be at the bird site at sunrise in order to get any decent pictures because by 0900 the amount of bird activity drops way, way off. 

At least they were up and out of the rig quick…so I was able to catch a couple more hours of zzzs while they took their darned fool butts off to wander ‘round the swamp. Here’s their report…

We arrived at the parking lot at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary about 40 miles south of here a bit after 0700 with sunrise scheduled for about 0735…we had stopped by Loves and picked up a couple of cups of coffee instead of making it ourselves before we left. Once we got to the lot…there were 3…count ‘em 3…other cars there and at least one of ‘em belonged to the lady in the gift shop. We ate a croissant that we had saved for breakfast and about 0715 we headed into the shop for a much needed bathroom break and to pay our $14 each entrance fee. Once that was done we looked out side and decided it was light enough so we headed out.

Now the basic layout of the sanctuary…which is owned and operated by the Audubon Society…is a big loop heading mostly northward from the visitor center with a lookout over the grassland at the far end. The right (west) side which is the advertised path…mostly goes through grassy/tree filled areas and has mostly song birds and raptors/hawks in it along with a few grassland birds.Based on our previous visits…wildlife sightings are much less common over on that side. The eastern side of the loop is in the swamp and goes past a couple of areas named Upper and Lower Lettuce Lake…they’re fairly large (a couple of acres probably) in size and the water is low enough by this time of year that the wader birds are close to the lake as most of the non-lake areas of the swamp have pretty much dried up by now.

Before I get into the photos…let’s talk about the effect of Hurricane Irma on the sanctuary last September/October (can’t remember which it was). The dry side of the boardwalk stays pretty dry most of the year but in the rainy season (June to December) there are a few streams and rivulets over on that side. In the dry season (December to May…that side is pretty dry. The swamp side is fairly deep in the rainy season…the water probably averages 4 feet deep which is way too deep for any of the wading birds and the water level is maybe 1-2 feet below the boardwalk. In the dry season…the water is 18 inches or less deep mostly and the level is 3-4 feet below the boardwalk.

The problem is that Irma came ashore just south of Naples and pretty much went right over the sanctuary…since it’s all connected to the Everglades ecosystem I’m guessing that the boardwalk was under 2 or 3 feet of water at the height of the flooding. It is designed to survive that but as you’ll see in the photos below there was some damage due mostly to things falling onto the boardwalk.

It’s pretty much back to normal now…a few areas remain closed and the boardwalk is pretty beat upbeat they’ll eventually get the rest of it fixed I guess. Anyways…on to the photos. I’ll turn it back over to the bear for his commentary.

This is a double processing of the same shot…the first is done just with Lightroom and the second with Luminar…and I can’t decide which I like better. The brightness in the first is closer to what he remembered but the colors are closer in the second one. I guess I should have upped the exposure in the second one just a tad and it would be spot on.

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D71 5214 Luminar2018 edit

And yes…you’re right…that is a bird at the top of the tree in the center of the shot…Connie took the above with her lens but Neil was able to get a little closer shot with his 750mm lens…it’s a Red Shouldered Hawk.

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Another shot Connie took of the sunrise.

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Here’s a sequence of a Great Egret that Connie took…she had her shutter speed a bit low but was afraid to push her ISO any more…her old camera started to get noise at ISO 2000 but her new one (Neil’s old D7100). She could have gone up to 4000 easily but I kinda like the bit of motion blur the shutter speed gave the shots.

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Cowbird.

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Wood Stork.

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General scenery and plant life…Connie likes these and refuses to carry a long enough lens (too heavy) for really close up wildlife…although she did pretty good as the Great Egret, Wood Stork, and Cowbird above were all her shots.

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She got some really cool reflection shots as well…the water was dead still and with the early morning light it was really beautiful.

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Neil’s fave reflection shot of the day…she took it but he processed it in Luminar to bring out the colors and reflections.

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Great Egret…Neil got this one as he had the Bird Lens© and tripod installed.

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Juvenile (immature) Yellow Crowned Night Heron…we originally thought this was an American Bittern but on further review and looking at Peterson’s we changed to the correct species.

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What you talking’ ‘bout Willis?

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More Wood Storks.

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In flight…this species is one of the most striking birds you’ll see. Long white wings with black trailing edges and neck extended. Up close however…it’s the ugliest thing one can imagine…a face only a mother could love and I’m not even sure ‘bout that.

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Juvenile Yellow Crowned again…Neil is pretty sure all of the shots in this post are of the same individual.

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The only Great Blue Heron we saw today…usually these are like lice and are everywhere but strangely absent today. We did spot a Tricolored Heron which is very similar but were not able to get a photo of it.

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Male Anhinga in breeding plumage.

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And the juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron after he caught breakfast.

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Some of the hurricane damage. This is the sign that used to mark one of the named very old Cypress trees in the sanctuary.

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And here’s Guy Bradley today.

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It’s about 6 feet in diameter and was pushed right over by the wind.

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The Anhingas again…same pair as the shot above with the male staying very close to his lady friend to keep any rivals from seducing her away…male to the left.

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And another shot of the same pair…I put this one because we never realized until today how bright green Anhinga eyes are…we’ve seen literally thousands of them and never noticed.

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More Hurricane Irma damage…this short offshoot of the boardwalk is going to be left permanently closed to show the effects of the storm.

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Adult Black Crowned Night Heron.

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Limpkin.

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Another tree that came down during Irma…although this one fell cross the boardwalk. The staff cut a section out and rebuilt the boardwalk late last year.

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Another Great Egret.

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Kingfisher butt…sorry about the lousy shot but it’s the best Neil could do. They’re hellishly hard to get a shot of as they rarely sit still more than 5 seconds or so. Add in their small size and getting a closeup is really, really hard.  This shot was taken at maximum zoom on his bird lens and then cropped to about 1/7 of it’s original size.

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Barred Owl. We heard this individual all morning and finally spotted it on the way out of the boardwalk about 1000. There was a hawk of some sort harassing it…probably a territorial thing…but we never were able to get a shot.

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Cowbird launch.

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Couple of Little Blue Heron.

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Great Egret on the hunt…Neil was never able to get a shot of it when it struck at a fish.

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Another Black Crowned Night Heron.

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And this is the adult Yellow Crowned Night Heron…what the juvenile above will grow into eventually. Compare this with the shot above and you’ll figure out why the Yellow Crowned and Black Crowned names came about.

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And finally…this is the stork sculpture located outside the visitor center…they even decorated for Saint Paddy’s Day.

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Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

Seems suspicious to me.

SeemsSuspiciousToMe

More truth.

MoreTruth

How you get off the bus in Canuckistan.

CanadianBusStop

I’m glad somebody’s thinking of the teachers.

ThinkingOfTheTeachers

Drawbacks of being 100 years old.

DrawbacksOfBeing100

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Dang…This is Gettin’ Old

Yeah…I know I’ve already said it a couple of times…but dang it there just still ain’t much going on. No worries though…tomorrow is Friday and we’re headed down to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It’s late enough in the dry season that the water will be lower and the water birds will be more abundant close to the boardwalk.

So…I’ll hopefully have some more photos of various things tomorrow and will do another post then. However…sinceI dun already started this one before I ‘membered that we were going out tomorrow I’ll just keep at it.

We’re continuing to work on our final few reservations and such that we need for the upcoming travel season…Neil’s having trouble getting hold of the place we’re planning on staying in CT in September. We’ve also got a symphony concert up in Sarasota this Sunday and will be meeting our friend Robert for dinner afterwards. 

Our list of pre-underway checks is up to over 20 items…but most of them are ticky-tack and will be easy to bang out. He’s included all of the “order this stuff before you leave so you’ll have enough for the summer” things as well as maintenance, checking fluids and the like so that when we hit the road we’ll not have to worry about any of those…in fact he just thought of and added 3…no make that 4…more things while I was writing this very paragraph.

Connie’s off to an Ladies of Elks lunch thing this morning and we’ll likely skip the tacos at the lodge tonight as we’re most likely going to head down and have the fish dinner tomorrow night. Neil took out a steak form K&J’s that we’ll cook either tonight or Saturday. We’ve mostly been buying our meat at Costco for the past couple of years but some friends down here turned us on to K&J’s and we headed up…saved a bunch of money over what we normally would spend for the same amount of meat at Costco and so far the pork tenderloin was excellent last night. They are located about 35 miles from here so you need to save enough to pay for the gas…but last week we got our normal 1 package of pork tenderloins, 6 of the largest chicken breasts we’ve ever seen and 8 steaks…along with a bunch of fresh produce…for 86 bucks…our normal Costco bill for that much meat would have been 125-135 so we’re clearly ahead of the game on cost. The steaks aren’t quite as thick as Costco’s although I’m sure they would cut us some thicker ones if we asked…but they’re ribeyes for $5.99 a pound and that’s quite a bargain.

Just a couple of photos for ya today…although the actual shots are from his eagle visit a week or so ago he processed them in a new-to-him processing application. He’s still using Lightroom to manage his photo library but kinda likes the processing features in his new application Luminar 2018 a little better. Luminar doesn’t do any photo library management yet…that’s coming in an update later this year…so he’ll try that out when it’s available as he really doesn’t like paying Adobe a monthly 10 bucks subscription fee to use Lightroom…he would much rather just buy his software outright because the subscription stuff quits working if you end the subscription.

First up is a shot of M15…although on further review as they say he’s really not as satisfied with this shot as he could be…the eye just isn’t quite as tack sharp focus as it should be. He’s still learning the ins and outs of his new camera though…and he had it on Group Focus for this shot instead of Single Point Focus and the camera focused on the needles in front of him…Neil should have changed to Single Point instead of Group and put it on his head…and he should have used a slightly higher ISO or lower shutter speed so he could get a smaller aperture and hence a bit more depth of field…I’ll make sure he works on this tomorrow at Corkscrew.

DSC 0582 Luminar2018 edit

Here’s another shot of the blown over by Irma tree…only this one I’ve included both the originally Lightroom only edited version as well as the Luminar only edited version…the Luminar version has a little more pop and brightening up the shadowed portion on the lower right was a lot easier/better in Luminar.

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DSC 0463 Luminar2018 edit

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

Think you know how politicians will treat you…this is most definitely the way to help you do that.

NeverForget

Medication.

Medication

Why one should always remember to wear underwear.

AlwaysWearUnderwear

Pro tip…how to tell your twins apart.

TellTwinsApart

Bit harsh for a sympathy card…doncha think?

BitHarshEh

And finally…instant karma.

KarmaManKarma

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

The Eaglets are Growing Up

The two eaglets down at the local nesting site are 68 and 69 days old today…which means they’re right at the beginning of the two week period during which they should fledge the nest…which means they take their first flight. Since they’re now big enough to hop around the nest…Neil got up at the ungodly hour of 0500 this morning so that he could be there just about sunrise to get some photos.

He arrived and got set up a couple of minutes before 0700…and had just missed M15…the male half of the mated pair…fly off towards the south in search of breakfast…shoulda got there 5 minutes before and he could have gotten some shots of that. He did observe Harriet…the female adult…perched on an upper branch and she stayed there until without moving until he left about 0930. The babies…E10 and E11 based on hatching order…but then they’re really not babies any more as they’re almost as large as the adults…were hopping around the nest, up to what’s called the veranda and also to another branch over the nest and almost continuously stretching and testing their wings…from the way they almost lifted off on the downbeats they’re getting pretty close to fledging.

About 0820 or so M15 returned with a single small fish which was immediately claimed by E10 as it’s a little larger…from their size with only a single day in between hatching E10 looks to be female and E10 male as it’s smaller. He then had a conversation with Harriet for a couple ofd minutes and flew off for more breakfast…heading west. He returned after Neil came home with some sort of mammal road kill and fed E11.

Once he got bored and came home he made a couple of chicken sandwiches out of leftovers from Sunday and then Connie headed off to choir…she’ll pick him up later for dinner and Bingo at the Elks.

On to the photos.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s amore.

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And here’s the amore part…a couple of likely mated wood storks that flew by.

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One of the eaglets on the nest.

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Then one of the storks came back and landed on a nearby tree…stayed a couple of minutes and departed. Neil got a nice sequence of it’s somewhat ungainly takeoff roll…definitely STOL (short take off and landing) capable but not pretty…and again, a bird with a face that only a mother could love.

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More eaglets.

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And mom…although Neil walked around the nesting tree about 90 degrees clockwise and took this one from the street side instead of the church parking lot where he was for the rest.

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This is a tree just inside the posted No Trespassing area where the nest is…it was a casualty of the Hurricane Irma back in the fall.

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The head of the local branch of the Hell’s Angels.

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M15 right after he dropped the fish off that E10 claimed…Neil didn’t see him coming so didn’t get any cool flight shots of him today.

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A family portrait of the eagles…Harriet at upper left and M15 to the right…with E11 off to the far left and E10 is just barely visible to the left of the main trunk…he’s head down and butt up at this point eating the fish.

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One of the horses in the posted area with the nest.

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Nothing much else going on here…we’re down to our last 2 months here at Seminole and our planning and reservations for the upcoming travel season are pretty much done. We’ve got a list of pre-underway tasks going and will be checking them off as we do them…maintenance and preparation for departure mostly.

Interesting things found on the net.

Commentary on the current “ban guns” debate. Funny how progressives have a different way of reading the Constitution depending on which part they’re reading. If it’s the 2nd amendment…they want to parse it and figure out a way to enact “sensible gun control” despite numerous affirmations by the Supremes that the amendment distinctly grants an individual right to own. Progressives ignore that and continue to try and nibble around the edges. However…when it comes to voting rights…which by Constitution are limited to citizens…when states pass laws to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote and proof of identity when voting…they get all up in arms and demand that no laws can be passed that infringe on this right. Funny…we have to have an ID to buy booze or drive but not to vote…I’m even OK with requiring presentation of an ID to buy a firearm…but not in favor of registering all of them with the government…which pretty much makes presenting an ID to buy an exercise in futility.

IWantToBanGunsShe’s the Queen…she can move in any direction.

SheCanMoveInAnyDirection

So that’s why they died out.

SoThatsWhatHappened

Pro tip for cooking kale.

CookingKaleProTip

Cannibalism at it’s finest.

Cannibalism

Don’t speed in Michigan…they have some serious potholes.

DontSpeedInMichigan

God Bless the USMC…when there’s a crisis that needs solving the President wants to know two things…where are the carriers and where are the closest Marines. 

OohRahMarines

Ya’ call that a pothole?

ThatsAPothole

Evil at it’s finest.

EvilAtItsFinest

And finally…more truth.

Truth2

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

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.

Screen Shot 2018 02 23 at 10 56 31 AM

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.

Posted in RV, Travel | 1 Comment