Saturday, July 28, 2012

Please be patient

As most of you know by now, Gene Teggatz passed away unexpectedly on Friday, July 6th, from a massive stroke.

Sandy, his beloved wife of 51 years, is hoping to continue this blog eventually, but she's a bit overwhelmed at the moment as she learns all the ins-and-outs of the mechanical side of the RV.  As her daughter said the other day, "If the key to keeping the brain from atrophying is to continue to learn new things, Mom will be in good shape for years to come."

Stop back here in the future to see insights into the world from Sandy's perspective.

--written by the younger daughter

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rockwell, IA on the Fourth of July

We really didn't want to travel today, but the schedule just seemed like we ought to. So we arrived here today and found a nice level camp site down by the river.  It had been vacated by another party who came for the Fourth, saw the fireworks last night and decided to skip the rest and go back to the house where I'm sure the temperatures are much more moderate.  (There are 12 empty spaces out of 40.)

We stopped here for two reasons: a) Sandy has a brother here in the care center and b)It is the last place before the Mason City Walmart with a hookup for our air conditioner.  Sandy said that we would park where there was AC to power the air conditioner.

After getting parked this afternoon, we went to the care center only to find that her brother was out for the day.   That is really good news meaning that he is well enough to be out and about some.  So it was back to the park where we pretty much hibernated in the camper and kept cool.  We'll go back to the care center to see  Buford in the morning.

Our stop at Walmart is to fuel up our rig plus to lay in a supply of food for the full timers rally that we're hosting next week.  Since prices are much better at Walmart, Wally gets our business to the extent that we can plan.  We'll still buy plenty of stuff in Forest City.

Before we left the farm, Sandy and I hung a blanket up behind us with the intention that it would retain more cold air up front around us.  However, as we neared Rockwell, I told Sandy that I didn't think the engine air conditioning was working very well.  However, once we had parked the rig and I stepped back into the living room area, I decided that the engine air conditioner was working well.  The temperature at the kitchen area was a cool 92 degrees and definitely warmer than where we were sitting.  Once we were plugged in, it didn't take long for the coach air conditioning to make it livable inside.

After visiting with her brother tomorrow morning, it is on to Walmart to fuel up the motorhome, lay in a supply of groceries and then head on up the road to Forest City.  Hopefully there will be space at the Visitor's Center for us, otherwise we'll have to pay good money and stay in the city park for two nights before we check in. At least we'll be off of the road as all of the Holiday travelers burn up the rubber.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back on the Farm, another Hot afternoon

The rally was over today and we headed back to the farm. It was a pleasant drive, only about 84 miles and we arrived shortly after noon.  Near Albia, we met several pickups, each pulling a heavy duty utility trailer carrying  an old restored tractor.   There was a bit of an urge to return to Albia so that I could admire all of the restored tractors.

It has been 3 or 4 days since the last blog and there were events that I was intending to remember to write about.  But here it is, and I don't remember a thing that we saw, talked about or what ever.  During my employed years, I used to carry a couple 3 by 5 cards in my pocket to make notes on.  Perhaps I ought to do that again.

Saturday was spent touring the Iowa State fish hatchery by Lake Rathbun.  Afterwards we toured some of the lake surroundings before returning to the motorhome. One of the items I wanted to see was the "Resort" park that Iowa built about 10 years ago. The Chamber of Commerce lady said that it had been good for Albia. I'm not sure that it has been good for the State of Iowa. (Sometimes it has been referred to as a Money Sink!)

A few years ago, I was told that the original rules for the C.O.E when they developed the adjoining campgrounds was that one of them had to be free.  There is indeed a free campground on Lake Rathbun.  It had 3 tents and a church youth group using it.  In other words, not busy with only 5 sites out of 35 being used.  The other campgrounds were packed with wall to wall campers.  I guess most of the campers wanted to have AC so that they could use the air conditioning!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A real Mouse Trap tour

We're at a rally in Albia, IA at the fairgrounds.   For our RVing friends, this is a super fairgrounds (level, 50Amp, and water)  but sadly, no dump.  They don't really have a building.  However, they just finished building a new swine building and poured the floor last week. So guess what we used.

Today we toured a local factory that has been around for 75 years, and is still  wholly owned for the founders offspring. It makes mouse traps, lots of them.  It employs about 50 people, which is a fair number for the small town of Albia.  Their popular snap trap is fantastic.  It is a one hand setup.  I'm really impressed.  You  can release the dead critter and reset it via one hand.

What really impressed us was that when the tour was over, everyone on the tour was given a unit. It isn't often that you see a business doing that.  They have several traps of different sizes.  The largest live trap is suitable for wily coyote.   However, they sell very few of them because the shipping cost is just too much for a box the size of an adult coffin.  In the mouse size, they have a large live trap that can catch up to 20 rodents in one setting.  The next size can catch 7 critters before it has to be reset.  On the single mouse size, that have a simple rocking trap that catches one critter and then it has to be reloaded.  Most of their traps are only sold by small  vendors.  They don't sell via big box stores because big box stores want too many custom changes, such as packaging, size, etc.    The product name is Kness.   They have some concealed cases that allow resturants to use the traps without making it obvious.  The case looks like an air vent cover.

Okay, let's see how well we did this time.  Sandy gave me a small at-ta box for the last blog posting. So after about 3 or 4 years, one finally passed!!  Something must be wrong.  I'm sure there are one or two minor errors here, but I think you'll get the message just as well.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

It is our big day anniversary

Here it is June 17 and Sandy and I are both inside the RV with the A/C running.  Something about keeping cool or being lazy.  Actually, it is keeping cool for Sandy and being lazy for Gene.

It was 51 years ago  today when we were married in northern Iowa.  I think it was about as hot then  as it is today!  But we made it.  Of course, there isn't too much I really remember of it.  Sandy  remembers the details like what gift someone gave us.

We both have had our annual physicals and I think we've passed with flying colors.  At least Sandy is cleared and I'm waiting for the blood test results. (I'm not sure if they'll call no matter what or only call if there is a problem.)  So far, no call.

Last weekend I attended a conference on solar and wind power.  As a result, I'm hot to add some more solar to my solar farm on the roof top.  Prices have come down dramatically since we first started adding solar.  My heart burn now is that I really need only one more panel and the shipping cost is about half of the cost of a panel.  Perhaps it will become a winter project when we're back in Florida and there will not be a shipping cost.

I don't remember if  I told you about our need for a new waterheater.  The old one did a "back burn" when wind blew in the exhaust.  The result was that it melted some of the wires together and knocked out the controller.  I wanted to hire someone to replace it, but the RV shop I was going to use went out of business, so we decided to do it myself.  It involved a fair amount of laying on my back, but we got it done.

The next day the local electric service came to replace our power pole and they left the old pole for me to burn.   So naturally I needed to start the chain saw, which went pretty well.  We cut a number of sections and then I split them for easier burning.  Then when I was going to restart the saw, I pulled something in my left shoulder. and quickly decided that we'd done enough cutting for a while.  I guess I'm just not as agile as I used to be.  (The bummer is that they gave me 4 other posts to burn and they need to be cut up.)

It is very dry here on the farm, as it is in the rest of the Midwest.  We have been blessed with two recent  showers of a quarter of an inch of rain each, which has been a blessing to the crops, which really need about 2 to 4 inches more.  I guess we'll let the Lord take care of it for us.  In the past, it always seem to arrive a day before it is too late.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A quick trip North to Mason City (by toad)

About a month ago, I got myself in deep trouble when I told our Escapee Chapter President that we would host a July rally  if no one else came through for him.   One little detail I forgot was tell Sandy about it.  So for the last couple of weeks, I've been suffering from verbal abuse because we don't have our rally planned and "what are we going to do?".   So today we changed that.  We took the Honda and drove to Mason City.

All went well really.  It is a long drive, but we survived it well. On the way (nearly there), we stopped at a care center to visit with Sandy's brother.  He had stroke last summer and he is what he is. At least he can talk, which is a blessing..

Then on to Mason city where we located an eating establishment, then a Frank Lloyd Wright hotel and bank building (together) and a FLW house.  On the way to the hotel, we also said, Yep, there is Music Man Square which we'll also tour (Meredith Wilson memorabilia).   It looks like we'll have enough tours for the rally.

We then headed north to a County Nature Center to see if it was high on our list of "we need to tour it!"  However, after spending 30 plus minutes there, we decided that it didn't measure up.  It does have lots of stuffed water birds and birds of prey, but nothing really pulled our chain.

It was then on to the county park that we intend to use.  It was as expected and if we can occupy  the sites near the shelter, it also will be ours for the duration.  (No reservations allowed.)

Then it was a long drive back to the farm.  I gave up part way and turned the job over to Sandy and I guess I sacked out.   I did take over the driving later.   We are  home, safe and both of us are very tired. We'll sleep very well tonight!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Water Heater is replaced

The title says it all!!!!!   I was able to  replace the water heater today.  I removed the bad one and installed the replacement and quit at 3 pm.  I have some minor things to put back, but nothing serious..  To top it off, I think the heater works on both gas and electric.  That is what I'm really thankful for since the origin of the package was a bankrupt motorhome factory.  When I say package, I should say that it was an "un-packed" stock item.  So there is always the possibility that it didn't work for the first user.  However, looking at the unit, it has never been installed or wired in. I think I picked up a winner!

I do need to give credit to Winnebago for the way they installed the unit.  The two water lines were not quick disconnects, but they were reasonable to access.  What a joy to have that task out of the way.

We are patiently waiting for a good spring rain. Sadly, the weather man isn't giving us much hope for any moisture soon.  But as I've told a local, it always has rained at least the day before it is too late.  We'll leave it to the Lord again for us.

Yesterday was Cedar Rapids for a physical for Sandy.  Tomorrow it is Cedar Rapids for a dental appointment for both of us.  They Friday it is again Cedar Rapids for Sandy for a heart check up.   Perhaps that will be it until fall when I let the doctor have a shot at me.