Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Mid Rally Point

We're about to the mid point in the rally schedule and all seems to be going well. The biggest frustration is that our internet connection here is almost the pits. It worked well very early in the morning and again late in the evening. In between, it was really a bummer. I think it is just too many users on a limited Verizon tower.

We're headed to New Jersey with a schedule of about mid October or later. I'm sure glad that it isn't soon, considering the hurricane that is churning up the ocean off of the coast. I'm sure we'll get a report from Julie who lives between Philadelphia and Atlantic City (they ought to be well off.)

The weather continues to be very warm and muggie here, with perhaps a break in the heat wave tomorrow afternoon. Yes, it is to rain, but cooler will be better. When we left Iowa, they were talking about it being perhaps the wettest August in history. Well, the local TV station is saying that this dry spell in Indiana may be one of the driest in recent history. We did notice lots of irrigation booms working as we crossed the IL to IN border.

The air conditioner continues to get a good work out.


Day 4 back on the Road

On Day 3 of our travel, we were planning to boondock at a Walmart in or near Elkhart, IN. However, we decided that with the warmer than usual temperatures, perhaps we needed to head to a campground so we could turn the air conditioner on. Obviously, the logical campground was the campground we were headed for on Monday. So we arrived a day early and did it feel great.

We checked in, parked our motorhome, plugged in the power cord and turned on the air conditioner, which worked wonderfully well. We met some of our neigbors today and checked in with the rally organizer to get our name tag (showing that we have paid the rally fees.)

The official rally opening was this afternoon followed by vendor introductions. The evening entertainment was several drawings for door prices. In short, it is a pretty laid back group of people.

Sandy commented this morning that she hadn't seen many people that we recognized. However, after the two meetings this afternoon and evening, it is apparent that we know many more folks than we expected. Tomorrow the seminars start and we are going to carry our own chairs along. Folding steel chairs are just too hard on our posterior. Besides, we're only 100 yards from the seminars.

Have a nice day.


Friday, August 27, 2010

On the Road Again

It is Friday, August 27 and we're headed east and then south. East for a couple of Rallies and eventually see family in New Jersey and south for the winter. Yes, a bit early, but Sandy says "No Lady Bugs this winter!" Tonight we're at the Flying J in Peru, IL and all was quiet until about 10 minutes ago when a fellow pulled in next to us and fired up his generator (old style) to run his AC. That is a bummer.

It was a very uneventful day on the road. We like them that way! A big let down was the Welcome Center just into Illinois on 80 was closed. No money. The restrooms were open and they had a rack of papers outside of the doors. I'm sure we'll see more of this this winter.

We have often driven by a canal in Illinois referred to as the Hennipen canal. So today we decided we had the time and stopped at the visitors center. Okay, a typical state boondoggle. Back at the turn of the century (1900), the local politicians convinced the big politicians to dig a canal to haul their grain to market because the railroads were too expensive. It did operate for 50 years and is now a recreation trail. Besides boating and hiking, they have primitive camping for a reasonable price of $8 a night. Plus no requirement to buy a pass like so many states have in place.

As we left the farm this morning, it looked kind of ratty. The grass was in need of mowing! But we kind of became lazy bums. I love to mow the grass, but twice a week was too much. It just grows and grows and grows some more. In the last week, we've seen our local doe and her fawn a couple of times. Two or three weeks ago, the local turkey hen paraded her brood of 5 chicks across the lawn and has never returned (to be seen). They were almost big enough to fly.

I've heard complaints that my postings are too long. So we'll shorten them and hopefully do it more often.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Wrapping up our Stay on the Farm

I didn't realize how delinquent I have been until I looked at the previous posting. It has been over a week since we updated it. No excuse!

Last week we took a monumental test that seems to be very popular for lots of people. My doctor suggested that I needed to take a sleep test. So we took the test a week ago Friday. When I finished, I had certain reservations, feeling that I didn't sleep well. (not unusual for me in a strange bed.) One thing we did learn is that I don't stop breathing, such that a sleep apnea machine would help.

Tuesday I got a call from the doctor's office and was informed that I didn't sleep well enough to have any meaningful results. I need to retake the test. We said "forget it for now, we're headed south." Looking back at the accommodations, I know what happened. I should have asked for another blanket or two because I really wasn't warm enough. The bed was so tightly made that I never was able to pull the sheet and blanket up around my neck and shoulders. Plus I wasn't able to kick the sheet out so that I could confortalbly lay on my back with my feet straight up. I should have been more outspoken and made the bed more comfortable. When I retake the test, I'll initially get in bed and make sure I'm comfortable before I let them wire me up. (I had so many wires on me, I was reluctant to move too much.

This week is going very quickly. We have our "to do" list and will finish it by Thursday. Departure day is Friday. it is a bit early, but it gives us more time with the grand daughters.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding a Rally Site

This weekend was a busy few days for us. For starters, we headed to Sandy's home area for a family reunion. It is always good to see familiar faces, that now and then seem to age markedly for a strange reason. There are others that look no worse for the wear, but once you hear the medical problems, you hold your breath that all will be okay. One also learns a little bit about history.

Sandy's cousins husband served in the Pacific during WWII and had previously told me about some of his activities. He was a diesel mechanic and was responsible for keeping the generators running for the communications center. A critical activity, but one that fit into his interest and training. Training was really OJT (On the Job Training). He would be assigned 2 or 3 young privates to be trained on the power system. There was no formal course or test to work with. However, when replacements were needed for other islands, they'd ask Joe, "Could so and so do the job?" If the answer was "Yes", he was sent out and some replacements brought in.

This time Joe related to me a little bit of the reaction of the troops when the A Bomb was dropped. Everyone was interested in how big was it? Could it really wipe out a city? Would the Japanese finally surrender? What he had never mentioned to me earlier was that he was part of the early forces to go into Japan. His first assignment was to take a translator and a jeep and take a communications inventory of the Japanese communications equipment near where they were. As a GI who had never been on the front, they moved out into the city with great trepidation. While the emperor had said that they had surrendered, at the grunt level, there was a lot of nervousness, such that they stayed close to the jeep and always had their rifles on their shoulder. (There was never a problem.)

On the way to the reunion, we stopped by a county park where I'd like to host a chapter rally next summer..(Sandy thinks I'm nuts!) We found the park and looked the campground area over. There are no hookups and it is really suitable for tent camping. In fact, dodging the trees could be a problem for motor homes and long fifth wheel RV units. So it didn't look good.

On the way out, we noticed where the park maintenance shed was and noticed that two fellows were working in a class C RV. We stopped to visit with them. One of them was the park ranger and when we told him what we were interested in, he was very receptive. We wouldn't have to park in the regular camping area, but we could park in a nice meadow near a picnic shelter. The shelter had a large brick fireplace plus a fire pit out behind that the scouts often use. So it didn't take long to convince me that we had found a winner.

Back at the car, Sandy expressed her concern about "what if it rains?" Gene's position is that we need to trust mother nature some. After all, the Des Moines Astronomy society is out there every Saturday night to demonstrate their small observatory. If you can see the heavens, the rains aren't going to be too bad! So we have a site and a built in Saturday evening entertainment. What more can we ask for?

One downer for me was that Jasper County Conservation Board decided this year that free camping was just too good of a deal, so they now charge $7 a night camping fees. But for that, we have a shelter, picnic tables, a fire pit and probably firewood (I forgot to ask if we could cut some dead trees in the forest. So we have some calling to do this week.

I thought it was a great site. (I didn't let Sandy vote!) Stay tuned!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Un-readable comments

Will the person who left a comment to the previous blog entry please email at Edteggatz@gmail.com, as I have a question or two.

I a nutshell, I can't read your comment, as it seems to be posted in a non-standard format.

Better blog tomorrow. I know, there is no excuse since we have the AC on tonight.


Monday, August 9, 2010

In the Doghouse Again

I think these are the dog days of summer and we can feel it. The low tonight is only 73 and the dew point is 77. That means it is very humid out. I don't recall what the temperature was here in Iowa today, but it had to be something over 90 again.

This afternoon Sandy decided that she'd like to go to the library in town and down load some files with their high speed internet connection. Since the last time she tried it and failed, I decided to go along, taking three of our other computers. (If one doesn't succeed, try try again.)

We went into the library and the librarian told us right away that they had a new router. So we were expecting great things. But alas, Sandy could not get her machine (Vista) to link up with their unsecured wifi. Of course, my XP was linked in no time, so after she tried 2 or 3 times, I suggested that she download her stuff onto my machine and let me see if I could resolve her problem (Vista).

I really don't know anything about Vista, don't like Vista and really can't stand Vista, but we went through the routine 2 or 3 times and presto, my magic fingers had her machine linked up. Doing that might give one the impresson that I'd be the "hero for the day", but it was not to be. When I gave the machine back to her, she asked what did I do? My answer that I didn't know didn't go over well at all. So I guess you can win the battle, but you still loose the war!

So with that success (or failure) in the bag, I left the library and visited the local TV shop on the square. I'm looking for a used digital TV Converter unit. As expected, they didn't have any and suggested that I need to search the local garage sales. She claimed that she's seen them often for 10 bucks. At that price, I'll take two (identical ones). She didn't understand why I wanted one since our TV has a built in digital tuner. So we explained to her that all new TVs do not have a built in channel strength readout and it is a very desireable feature when traveling in an RV. (RV users, note this. You need an old digital converter unit to help you point your RV antenna.)

So back to the library and Sandy was finished. It doesn't take long to download anything on a 1.5 megabit DSL line. Open office had given her some fits, but she finally got the newest version installed and when it opened, it told her what version it was.

As we left the library, the librarian asked how it worked? I indicated that Sandy did have a problem, but we had resolved it. She then said, "Oh yes, it has a problem with Vista. Just ignore it and it will work!"

All is quiet tonight on the weather front, but the prediction is that we get more showers late tonight. However, a quick look at the weather map shows "NO showers" anywhere in Iowa. Maybe we can get a full nights sleep (minus the nature call interruptions.)

Tomorrow is another day.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Second weekend in August

We've been on the farm for a week and we have been busy. At least it seems that way, although I can't really remember how much we have accomplished. For starters, we finally got the forms submitted to get the title and registration for our new Honda CR-V. The dealership claimed that they knew how to do it and didn't. But their only communication to us was to say that this is a refund on the SD taxes. We finally put two and two together and realized that they didn't know what they were doing. We ended up paying a $12 penalty for late registration plus putting on some extra miles. I guess that is part of the pain for being a full timer.

For starters this week, we checked the second air conditioner compressor and decided it was not running again. Later we realized that it was a tripped breaker That lead us to check out our 50 amp pole connection and we realized that it had a very bad contact. Perhaps there is a reason for the popped breaker. So we're now back on a 30 amp circuit until I can get a new 50 amp socket at Menards.

We then dug into the automatic transfer switch in the RV that let us down last week. Removing it was straight forward, just some very stiff wires. With the switch on the work bench (picnic table), we proceeded to carefully look at it. At first glance, one would expect that it ought to do the job. However, after careful examination, we concluded that one contact of the 50 amp relay just barely made the connection. There was no extra pressure or wiping action on the flipper So we applied a little country boy solution with our trusty screw driver. Not much bending, but hopefully enough to eliminate future problems.

Re-installing the ATS was the real challenge. Working with number 6 and #4 wires is not fun and even less fun when it is in a restricted area. Eventually, we got it all together and it works.

Wednesday found us making a quick trip to Amana to see my mother. She is only 99 and slowly failing. The biggest problem visiting with her is that she can't hear very well (or at all). She refuses to use a hearing aid, so we tolerate it.

In between the other stuff, we did a lot of grass mowing here on the farm. With the excessive amount of rain this summer, the grass is taking advantage of it. We're probably mowing more than we need to, but it does improve the looks. Of course there is no prize for that other than one's own personal satisfaction.

We've checked this text more than once so hopefully our chief critic (and proof reader) won't find too many errors. (She only gets to read it after it is published!) Even when I proof read something, I obviously am skimming it, either seeing words that aren't there or using my dad's German English and reversing parts of the sentence. I think you get the idea most of the time. Thanks to spell checker, most of the spelling errors are out, but a few glaring word errors do slip in.

Have a great day.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Back on the Farm

We're back on the farm and I feel great. I know that it is hot, but at least it is peaceful and quiet. No extraneous generators, no high speed cars going by or nor gravel dust flying about. In short, I like it here, even if it is only for a short time. With our long list of "to do" items, I'm not sure we'll get it all done before we head off for the season. Our first stop is the Gypsy Journal Rally in Elkhart, IN on the 30th of August, and that isn't far off.

We pulled out of the EAA show a bit early for various reasons. For one, I didn't want to be around on Sunday when I understand it gets to be a real crowd. I'm not sure what you'd call it mid week, but there were plenty of people.

The EAA Show is a very interesting gathering, especially if you're interested in airplanes, flying and WW2 air history. The last subject is going to be history soon, as all of the speakers were only in their mid 80s or older. Some of them still have trouble speaking about some of it, but they also want us to know what happened from their perspective.

We listened to a very interesting speaker on the Wright Brothers and how they were able to come up with the first flyable heavier than air craft. For having a very modest education, they really were a remarkable team. They wrote a brief spec for the engine they needed and after no one could provide something close, they designed and built one in about 3 weeks. They drew up the plans and had a very talented technician in the shop that could turn drawings into hardware.

Time to turn it in tonight.