Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At Paradise Park, Punta Gorda, Florida

As I mentioned last night,  we arrived at the park last evening and settled in.  What a great feeling to be off of the road again.  So today it was housekeeping activities.   Laundry was a must and I expected to be vacuuming the motorhome.    The laundry was done and the vacumning will happen tomorrow plus she threw another one at me, defrosting the freezer compartments.   I guess we can get both done tomorrow.

It was laundry day and did we have a load of clothes, plus sheets and pillow cases.   Thankfully, the laundromat was not busy, but only 3 of the 4 machines were available.    But eventually we finished it and we were back in the rig by noon.

I also spent more time trying to locate a source for my injectable vitamin B-12 and a location that would inject it for me.  We found a Walgreens in a small town we're heading through on Thursday.  However, the problem is finding a location that will do the injection.   Unless you are a patient of theirs, forget it.   We did find one clinic that said they'd do it, and the office call charge was $35.   Perhaps I need to man up to it and learn how to do it myself.   (Better yet, train my other half to do it for me.)  The pharmacy will train me how to do it, but?  Getting a shot is painful.

We also did a little bit of visiting in the park. It is always fun to meet up with old friends when there is so much to catch up on.  Also, we picked up some information on the gate wireless connection.   We bought a door opener for our park in Casa Grande and we'd like to use the same one here.  However,  the instructions are not very clear to me.  I guess we'll try it and see how it goes.  While at the office, we saw the local vegetable vendor, so we bought a few items.  Finally, we are able to get grapefruit at a reasonable price.  (I love the red or pink ones.)

While at the laundromat,  I looked at the ads on lots for sale or rent.  I guess the housing crunch has finally hit here.  Bare lot prices similar to what we have are about 50 percent of what they were a year ago.  That is not good news for seniors who might need to sell the winter home or parking location.  (Our lot value in Casa Grande was down some, but still above what we paid for it.)  At least for us, we are invested for the long term.

For  you yankees wanting to come south for a few weeks and stroll the beaches, slow it down.  We saw on the news that there is a large area west of Florida that has a  "Red Tide" problem.  The Red Tide kills the fish and poisons the clams.  That won't bother us, as we're not beach walkers.  (Some of the beaches also have a very pungent smell from the decaying fish.)

I love this winter temperature.


Monday, November 28, 2011

We have arrived at our Park near Punta Gorda, FL

We put in a full day moving ourselves from the Pow-wow near Ocala to our park near Punta Gorda in the south of Florida (about 250 miles).    It rained about half of the time, but the real killer was the gusty winds that were mostly head on.   Our mileage probably really took a hit.

We stopped at the Best Buy in Ocala to look at a Kindle Touch for Sandy (Ouch).  No purchase yet, but it is getting close.  While there, she had to take in a couple of yarn shops for good measure.   We finally departed Ocala by 11 AM and put in a steady day heading south.   I remember the weather map from last night as a straight line of showers, N to S and I suspect that we were driving in it all the way.  The traffic was moderate.

We stopped at Arcadia for fuel, groceries and to see if I could get my B-12 shot.  In the end, the shot idea was for naught, as Walgreens didn't have it in stock.  I guess I'll see if I can find it on down the road.  One complication is that in Florida, the pharmacy can administer shots for the flu, but nothing else.  So we  have to pick up the prescription and then find a nurse that will give us the shot.  (I'm chicken and can't do it myself.)

Upon arriving at the park, Sandy went to the call box and announced our presence so that they would open the gate.  Thankfully, the rain was only a heavy mist at the time.  (We don't have a remote opener yet.)  All the little things that aren't important until you're here.  Tomorrow is laundry day so that we have some clean clothes again.   The laundry bag is full and needs to be worked on, but: I drug my feet for two reasons, a:) I didn't want to take time away from the Pow-wow and b:) It is much cheaper here in the park and much more convenient!   We're here only two days, and presently, no plans to leave the park until we head for the Rendezvous in Cypress Preserve (near the Everglades).

I may have trouble sleeping tonight.  There are no chickens nearby  to crow, nor are there any dogs barking now and then.   Also, we're far enough from the road I think so that there is not any road noise. In short, it is so quiet here that it may be hard to take.  But I'm sure we'll enjoy it!

One thing I failed to mention was how great it felt when we had finally parked this beast on the lot and turned the engine off.  It was time for my glass of wine while Sandy was busy preparing supper.   (I avoid eating much during the day while driving, so dinner in the evening is a real treat.)

The challenge tomorrow will be getting my to do list done in spite of the neighbors stopping by to welcome us into the park again.  We'll not tell them that we leave on the First of December again.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2011 Chandler's Farm Pow-wow is History

My apologies,  but I slipped up on yesterday's blog.   No excuses, other than we were so busy with the shut eye that I couldn't type it in.    I guess I fell asleep early in the evening and when Sandy woke me up, it was time for the sack!

Tonight it was a tad batter.   I wasn't sleeping, but we had a long phone call from an old friend from my home town area and college.   We talked for about 3/4 of an hour and it was great to visit again.   Afterwards, we sent him an email, and posted some other stuff and I was ready for the sack.  But then we remembered, we had more work to do.  (Find a phone number of a Walgreens, transfer some money to cover a check, and write a blog entry for today.)   So here I am with the first two items done.

I think that in the last entry, I had mentioned that we both had some food poisoning.   I recovered rather fast, but Sandy has had to struggle with it.  Today (Sunday) has really been a better day finally.  I think it will still be another day or two for her system to get back into the swing of things.    After all, you have to reload all of the food processing after it has been cleaned out.  Such is life!

We went to the final Pow-Wow activities this afternoon.   It may been good, but the mind can only absorb so much after the posterior has had enough.  (We even took our own good lawn chairs.)  Of course, one never knows when things will happen here either.   The local joke is that it starts at 1 PM (IT).  (The IT stands for Indian Time, which means it will happen sometime today!)   Starting time for the previous evening activities has always been listed as (6:00 or 7:00) PM.   On Thursday, it was shortly after 7.  On Friday, it was shortly after 6 and Saturday night was closer to 6:30 pm.  So one never knows.

With most of us leaving tomorrow, there has been a lot of activity about where each is going and when.   Plus there has been some help sessions to resolve some questions on the RV.   In a group like this, there are numerous experts, with some more expert than others.   One of the issues has been phantom electrical loads on the battery.   This has become a front and center issue since we are boondocking here on the farm this weekend. Suddenly folks get real concerned about their battery charge.  

No one has been stranded or left without power, since I think everyone has a generator.  But they do ask what voltage reading they should look for when they are not plugged in.   Also, how long to run the generator?

When we leave tomorrow, we're heading a Best Buy store in Ocala where Sandy wants to see an e-book reader (or something similar I think).   She feels left out when others talk about all of these items and she has no idea what it really is.  I guess we'll be getting one sooner verses later.

We sprung for a new GPS this weekend also.  She has been mumbling a little about her current GPS has not been updated and has an old map.   So I decided that a new Trucker's GPS by Garmin would be the better solution.  (After all, the RV is really the same as a medium sized truck.)  But it will take a while to get it to us, as it has to go to daughter's house first before being included in our mail bag.  Hopefully, we'll get it before Christmas.

It is close to midnight, so maybe I'll sleep the night through!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday was a bummer

This is a rare event, as we are cranking out two blog entries in one day.   The first one this morning at 4:30 AM and this one at 8 PM.  But there is a reason.   What I didn't mention this morning was that both of us were up early  because we were suffering from a case of food poisoning.  I was up at 4:15  and went back to bed in 10 minutes. Sandy rose at 4:30 and I was back up at 4:40 AM.  

Sandy's first comment was, "Was it about 12 hours ago that we ate dinner?"   I'm not sure which poisoning it is, but I seem to remember that it takes about 12 hours to hit you.  Needless to say, we didn't do much for most of the day.  (Sandy suffered much more than I did.)   By evening,  I was pretty well back to par while Sandy was very weak.   We've now had dinner and an evening shower and she appears to be much better.

We know that it was food poisoning because about a third of our group here suffered.   I went out to the morning fire this morning and those there seemed to be pretty normal.  Finally I decided to raise the question about every one's health and my concern for any singles and explained our problem.   Suddenly about half of that group admitted that one or both in their RV had a problem.  We compared notes on who ate what and concluded that it had to be the turkey or the gravy.  ( The turkey had been picked off of the bones and was not even warm when we were served.)  Since no gloves were used in the serving line, we suspect that no gloves were used when the meat was removed from the bones.  I intend to speak with the head cook tomorrow.

Otherwise, there isn't much to report.   The sunshine continued to brighten our day with temperatures in the mid 70s.  We can handle that.


Thanksgiving, 2011

We in this country, especially ourselves, have much to be thankful for.  Especially while many of our friends suffer through the cold in the north, we relax here in Florida (north end, about 45 Friday this morning).  We're not fighting airline delays or highway traffic problems.

Enough of that. I had troublle sleeping this morning, so we decided to rise early and bang out the blog that I missed last night.  (I'm sorry, I was napping at the switch.)  I sometimes think I'm getting my nights and morning mixed up.  I want to sleep in the evening in my chair and then this morning after 4 AM, I'm wide awake in bed.  A very revolting development.  Or is it genetic, as I remember that my dad used to rise very early.

Or do I blame it on the local  rooster contingent, which started crowing (with gusto) at 4 AM?  Normally they announce the new day by 2 AM!

The Pow-Wow started yesterday at 1 PM and continues on for the rest of the weekend.  By Sunday evening, the boom, boom, boom of the drums will be well set in our heads.  (Last night long after the program ended, someone here in the parking area either had a recording or else he was practicing with his new drum set.)

Enough for this morning.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Rally has started, the rains have stopped!

We started the day as a very cloudy and dreary looking day, but by night fall, things have brightened up.   We had our first meeting of the group, a potluck meal. There was plenty of food and I think all were happy.  Also a fire was included for any that wanted to sit around the fire.

We were joined by 6 or 8 more motorhomes from the FMCA chapter and I think they have been merged into the group.  The grounds have been marked with lots of  yellow ribbons for various reasons.  The only one that is obvious is there seems to be a 5 foot square marked out at several ground hog holes where a very small palm tree is planted.  I'm not really sure if the two are connected, but that is what it appears to be.   I think the trees are recent plantings, as not all of them are alive.

We drove into Fort McCoy again today to get our mail, which was in.  I still wonder why two post offices have the same zip code.  Some others here have avoided that problem by ordering their mail to a town 6 miles north of us.   Should we return, I'll keep that in mind.

Tonight Sandy is getting frustrated trying to make sure she orders the correct Garmin Trucker's GPS with Lifetime Updates.   No, we don't have a truck, but the trucker's version allows the user to program several options for big rigs.  (I think she has ordered it.  Now to get it to us.  It is being sent to daughter's house.)  I wanted to order a power cord, but I can't find my bid snip web site.  (I found it later  - Snipeswipe).  I tell them what my maximum bid is and they submit it in the last few seconds of the bidding.  Supposedly this prevents others from raising their bid at the last minute.  Ah, the games people play!

We have been quoting from the "An Old Farmer's Advice", as printed in a classmate's Memorial program.  You may find it online by doing a Google for "the old farmer's advice".  There are several variations so I  have found.  Here is one site:  http://www.appleseeds.org/Farmers-Advice.htm


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It is raining, and we should be cheering

It may sound kind of strange that we're camping in the rough and we are still cheering about rain.  But these people need the rain and I'm not about to object.  What little I've seen of some ponds and water holes, they need lots liquid sunshine!   Everyone may be happy that the south eastern part of the U.S.A. hasn't been hit by a hurricane this year, but it is those hurricane rains that fill the ponds and swamps.

A few more RV'rs arrived today and again to my embarrassment, I didn't remember a lady from an earlier event.   After she was parked and came to the social circle for introductions, when it came my turn, she said, "I was parked next to you last year!"    I guess in a nutshell, her presence last year didn't register with me.    I haven't counted faces, but I'd guess that about half of the members here now claim to recognize me from earlier encounters.

I mentioned last night about the many subjects that were addressed during the social discussions.   I really tried to record some of the subjects today and sometimes it was hard to summarize in a couple of words what the subject was.  The subjects ranged from Buffalo herds in Custer State Park in South Dakota to guns when crossing the borders to Hobo Pies.  At least we're not getting bored being around each other.

We went into Fort McCoy today to pick up our mail.   Well, just as in previous years, it went to the other post office that has the same ZIP code.   That is right, two post offices here have the same ZIP code.  So even though it was addressed to Fort McCoy, FL  , they sent it to Salt Springs, FL.  Two years ago when we wanted our mail to be in Salt Springs, it went to Fort McCoy.   So they'll send it to Fort McCoy tonight and I  can get it tomorrow.  Such is the life of wandering senior citizen.

According to our hostess, we're supposed to get another dozen or so RV's tomorrow from an FMCA chapter.   however, several of them have canceled because Cynthia was not providing them with a 50 amp connection.  I guess roughing it is not in their vocabulary.    

The old farmer's advice: "Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God."


Monday, November 21, 2011

Social Hour, all day long

This is a first full day of being at the Chamber's farm for the pow wow and we've certainly used the time.  There has been one nearly continuous social hour outside of our door.  I mentioned last night that I should have kept track of the various subjects addressed.  Well, I was reminded of that this morning by Tom, but I was too lazy to start writing.  How can you be a part of the conversation if you're trying to keep notes?  Sometimes the subjects change very fast!

Sandy and I did take a break and walked the field from north to south where the cars will be parked.  We needed the exercise and I wanted to see what was under the trees along the border.  We did learn that there is running water (a hose bib) about every hundred yards.   So the grounds can accommodate lots of tent campers. Also, the area under the trees to the west has been somewhat cleared of the underbrush.   Back at the site, later we walked up to the area where the vendors will be parking and the event circle is located.  People are showing up, but all was quiet.

Back at the motorhome, Tom helped us perform a little performance test on our solar panels.  We covered all of the panels but one to see how much power was being obtained from the uncovered panel.  We did this for the four panels and I was disappointed that all are working (more or less).  I was kind of hoping that one of the panels would be kaput so we could fix it.   Then we could expect more solar power in the days to come.   But I guess we'll live with what we have.  (The batteries were recharged by 2 pm, so things aren't too bad.   Tom who is parked next to us mentioned what his solar package is, so we ended up doing an inspection of each.  Our package has about 10 percent more collector capacity than his and we're getting about the same power out of the system.  So we concluded that both systems are probably working correctly.

There were many subjects addressed by the group.   For starters, when one talks solar, one has to talk about batteries. (Lots of hot air spent there.)   Of course, when talking solar, one also has to talk about Quartzsite and the SLABs, where a good solar installer is located.     We were interrupted once when my sister called to ask if I wanted to talk with my mother?   Of course we do.  (Mother is in a care center and has no phone in her room.  So sister calls me so that I can call the office to take the cordless phone to mother.)  She is very hard of hearing and conversation is at best difficult.  But she knows me and we know she is doing well (at the age of 100 plus).

There were several other subjects addressed, most like a bump  in the road, "here and gone in an instant!"  but everyone gets to have their input, if they can out talk the dominate talkers.  (Watch that one bite me later.)

We're back on the farm and one could be up with the chickens.  We have several in the neighborhood and they certainly seem to sound off very early.  However, we try to sleep in a little longer!

The old farmer's advice:   If you get to thinkin' that you're a person of influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

We're at Chamber's Farm north of Fort McCoy, Florida

It was about 11 AM this morning when we pulled into the grounds.   We spent 50 miles on I-10, which had only moderate traffic.  However, traffic on I-75 was much worse.   But we made it with no problems.

We were pleased to meet some old friends that we haven't seen in years.  One fellow told us that we helped him with his PC about 6 years ago.  Okay, but I've seen so many computers, any individual help session becomes a blurr.  I'm sorry, but that is the way it is.  (Or am I a candidate for loosing my mind?)

This PM, about 8 of us sat under our awning solving the world's problems.   Someday, I ought to keep a log of what is discussed.  The subjects are very wide-ranging.

We got a late start on writing this blog tonight, so we'll keep it short.

The old farmer's advice:  Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

We're in Florida, almost to our first stop.

Today we made the big trek from Alabama into the heart of Florida (Live Oak, FL).   Another hundred miles and we'll reach our first destination, Fort McCoy.  All has been going well other than fuel prices are around $4 a gallon for diesel and we've been pushing a gusty head wind all day.   I guess that makes up for the tail winds we've had sometimes.

I was almost in the sack when I realized that we hadn't published our blog.   Sandy commented that we have been so busy this evening (I took a nap after 8 pm.)   So we'll kick out a quick report and leave it go at that.

We're parked in our friendly Walmart here at Live Oak, FL, along with 4 other rigs.  It was a bit noisy early in the evening, but it has quieted down now.  I think we can handle it.   Before dinner, Sandy did her grocery shopping for the next week plus we fueled up the coach.  I think Walmart came out ahead on the deal.  But it is convenient any way you cut it.

The old Farmer's Advice:  Good judgement comes from experience; and a lot of that comes from bad judgement!


Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day of Rest before hitting the road.

We've been here at the Plantation RV Park west of Summerdale, Alabama for 2 days and it has been great.  Have we done much? NO.  Have we relaxed? Yes.   So tomorrow we hit the road again.  As I mentioned yesterday, we're boondocking here and last night we had second thoughts.  It was just plain cold even though we piled on the blankets.  This morning, it was 51 degrees in the bedroom and 44 degrees in the kitchen/living room.  I was surprised that body heat would raise the bedroom that much.  But since we're planning to boondock throughout Florida this winter, I guess we need to become accustomed to the cold!

Our goal tomorrow is the SuperWalmart at Live Oak, Florida, just off of the interstate.   Yes, we called and a polite telephone operator said yes, we can park there, as long as it is away from the building. That is good enough for us.  Besides, if one parks near the building, there is lots of traffic.

We used the house battery pretty heavy last night and it was cloudy this morning, so we fired up the Honda generator for 90 minutes to recharge our batteries.  It worked, as by noon, the solar system had finished the recharging. That is the recommended approach and it works.  (Use the generator to do the initial bulk charging and let the solar system do the finishing charge.) We used the generator again in the evening when Sandy wanted to bake a squash for dinner.   Our Honda 2000i is just large enough to power the convection oven in either oven or microwave mode.  Isn't technology wonderful?

It is a 310 mile run tomorrow on almost all interstate which should make it a decent drive.  On Sunday, we only have a hundred miles to cover.

The old Farmer's Advice:  Always drink upstream from the herd!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Summerdale, AL and now taking a day of rest

We left Jennings, LA this morning in bright sunshine and headed east, fully expecting to run into some showers.  However, we traveled all day going east and the storm front stayed ahead of us.  From the news reports, I'm happy we didn't drive into it.

We planned to stop at the Walmart north of Biloxi, MS this afternoon.  However, when we got there the parking lot was nearly full, similar to the pre-Christmas rush.   We walked the entire lot and decided that the only place to park would have been next to the road, which was where we were 3 years ago. It was noisy then and probably not any better today.  So we pressed on.

Our next parking option was the Walmart at Daphne, AL where we were also going to fuel up.  That parking lot was only about a third full with lots of space available.  BUT there were signs on several posts of: "No truck or trailer Parking".  Perhaps we should have visited the store, but we decided to just leave and go to the SKP park (15 miles) at Summerdale at $5 a night for Boondocking.  When I finally got into the motorhome, Sandy's comment was "only if I get electric tonight".   So much for being cheap.  However, when we arrived at the park, she insisted that we get a "dry camping" spot.

So here we are settled in, living on battery and our trusty inverter.  We watched the evening news plus Sandy got her "Wheel of Fortune" fix.  Now we're both surfing.

The old farmer's advice:   The biggest trouble maker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today we traveled through Dry East Texas

Today we meandered our way through east Texas and finally arrived at a little town near Lake Charles, LA.   We found a very nice laundromat  in Jasper, TX that is probably the largest one we've been in and we were the only customers. Plus the parking lot was large enough to accommodate our motorhome and toad.

Since leaving Hillsboro (Texas) we've been on highways 287 and 190.   What surprised us was the variability of the surfaces. The highways went from divided 4 lane to a very narrow two lane with zero shoulder if you fell off of the asphalt and back again. But we successfully managed to travel it with no problems.

We're parked tonight at a friendly Walmart in Jennings, Louisiana  The entry was a challenge until we found the last entrance.  At the third entrance, there was a sign on a post of  "Trucks and RVs use last entrance".  So we knew that they were thinking of us.  We went to customer service to get permission and the gal there was very accommodating.  They don't want us parking near the building, which is understandable.  So we're tucked in a far out corner away from all of the traffic, which is great.

The old farmer's advice:  Sometimes you Get and sometimes you get Got!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaving Texas finally

We're not gone yet, but we're getting close to the border on the east.  Texas is a big state, no matter how you cross it.  We have about a hundred miles to go before we exit it.   We left our friends this morning shortly after 8 AM and pushed east.  It was Whitney, Hillsboro, and a few more small towns.   We picked up highway 287 and have been following it until we got to Woodville when we picked up highway 190.  287 ranges from a four lane highway to a very narrow 2 lane highway, with zero  shoulders.  But we took it easy plus we had a strong cross wind most of the day. Mileage will not be good.

I had a list of things I was going to talk about tonight.  But it is all for naught.  They have done disappeared from the memory bank.  Tonight we are resting in luxuries comfort in a COE park.  (Our plan was to stop at a Walmart along the way; this is much better and only $9.)  The park is flat as a pancake and really spaced out.  No crowding here.   When I called to see if it was open, the fellow on the line was very hesitant until I said it was for only one night.  Apparently this campground will filll up and be over flowing by Thanksgiving.  (Most of the sites have a reserved sticker on them telling us that we can't stay long.)  It is a very nice, spaced out place.  Sandy has even mentioned that a second night here would be okay.  Was that a hint?

Tomorrow we'll cross over into Louisiana, drop down to Lake Charles and then push east on I-10/12.  It warmed up yesterday and tonight the temperatures must be in the high 70s yet.   No frost on the pumpkin around here tonight.  The forecast is for rain tomorrow afternoon, so that will be a small incentive to  keep moving east.  On the other hand, Texas needs the rain, lots of it.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting ready to roll east shortly

We spent Sunday (today) relaxing our time away with friends.  It just felt nice to be off of the road.  But we're getting in the mood to hit the road again.   We've planned out the route and are looking forward to "getting their".

The last couple of days have been a warm-up to our more extended boondocking plans.   We did not plug into  our friends AC but depended upon our solar to carry us through.  And it did a fine job of keeping the lights on and providing power for the inverter to power the computers.   We anticipate that one the road, we'll be staying at Walmart parking lots, and it is all boondocking (parking without hookups).

We've had a wonderful time here in Lakeside Village visiting friends of ours from the days when we went to  Pharr, TX each winter.   Lou is a real computer whiz and it was great listing to him tell about the trials and tribulations of fixing other peoples machines.   The price is right (free) and he enjoys helping others.   The grapevine works very well to bring in more business (which he really isn't after.)

The old Farmer's Advice:  Timing has a lot to do with the outcome  of  a rain dance!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home, It is great to be back in the RV!

It was early afternoon today when we arrived back at our stored RV.  What a great feeling to be safely  off the road and into familiar surroundings.  Tonight, my very own bed again.  I almost get tired just dreaming of sleeping in my own bed.   (I can't complain really about our motel stays, or when we stayed with Lavonne.  There never was a noise problem any night.)

I failed to mention much last night about our dinner location.  It was a Western Sizzler, similar to a Ryan's, a dinner buffet place.  For starters, the price just about blew me over for the buffet only  ($28.00 for two).  I'm not sure if the price was up because it was Friday and they had an assortment of fish on the menu, including lobster.  The problem was that I wasn't in the mood for fish, or was I interested in crushing the shells for a meal.

So tonight, it was again a buffet, here at the local volunteer Firehouse.  It was hosted by the local fireman's axillary, and I like it.  I cleaned my plate, and yes, I feel stuffed.  I loved the piece of pecan pie that I had afterwards.  It was good, no matter what you say about it.

Our original travel plans were to return to the motorhome and immediately hit the road again tomorrow.  However, we have decided that our schedule will allow us a day of rest, so we're going to really rest here.  We have 8 or 9 days to make it to northeastern Florida, so we should be able to handle that challenge.

We have unpacked and everything is stored away in the motorhome.  But one item missing is my listing of the Old Farmer's Advice.  And now in my looking for it, I deleted the active page of the blog. Thankfully, Google had saved a copy for me to recover.  It sure is nice when others look out for you.  I'll get a copy of the  advice via Google.  Success!

The old Farmer's Advice:  Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none!


Friday, November 11, 2011

McAlester Oklahoma with one more day on the road

Today we went from Bethany, MO to McAlester, OK.  I  thought we were going to make it to Texas until Sandy told me that we had another hundred miles to go.   She had misread her GPS, so our goal was here, not Paris, TX.

Isn't it funny how one can have all kinds of subjects to write about until one gets the computer open.  While behind the wheel, the ideas just floated to my mind.  Now I can't remember a thing to write about.

When we got to Joplin, MO, we found our way into the city and we were appalled by the destruction.  All of the demolished houses have been cleaned up.  You can easily see how much damage there was by the number of basement slabs that are bare.  Thank goodness for the GPS, as there were no street signs either.  We were planning to stop at a church that has served as a recovery center.  However, the parking lot was full of cars from various states, all worker crews that are on site.  We decided our presence would be a distraction.

I'm tired and mislaid my listing of the Old Farmer's Advice.  Next time.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bethany, MO and heading south

Yes, we're headed south finally, but only after going north 180 miles this morning.  Sandy learned last night that a cousin of hers had lost her husband and we felt that we ought to pay our respects to the family.   So we were up early this morning to drive the 180 miles north before 10:30 AM today.

After the funeral, grave side service and luncheon at the church, we were finally able to leave.  However, we continued going north to see Sandy's brother who is in a care center about 30 miles north.   Of course, it was a joy to see him for the short visit. (He suffers from some right side paralysis as a result of a stroke.)   He was obviously very surprised to see us.

Finally we broke away from all of the visiting and headed south.   Our first observation was that we were  getting better gas mileage, since the northwest wind was now a little bit behind us.  It appears that the Honda mileage went from 25 mpg while going north to about 30 mpg while going south.   Of course we're on the interstate and we were holding the speed close to about 65 mph more or less.   We cleared Des Moines at 4 PM and traffic was busy, but not slowing up the traffic.

We have spent the last 5 days with Lavonne helping her some as she recovers from the loss of her husband Dennis after 50 years of marriage.   We spent lost of time looking through computer items, both hardware and paper.  Dennis had everything filed or boxed, so it was easy to look at it and ask the question, "Is this something Lavonne will use?" (Or is it obsolete by newer versions?)  In the basement, I looked for items that were amateur radio related and should be grouped accordingly.  (None of the relatives helping Lavonne are familiar with amateur radio equipment.)  One item that I did not find is an antenna that is about 40 inches long and has a bayonet mount.  I removed the mount from the car, but the actual antenna is missing.  (Lavonne remembers that Denny didn't like it left on the Suburban because the antenna would hit the overhead in the garage or the beams in a parking garage.  He used the antenna only when traveling during the summer or in the south during the winter.)

One of the pains of using the computer in the motel as we travel is that I don't have my nice easy chair to sit in and trying to work on a computer while relaxing on the bed is the pits.  (Sandy has the easy chair.)  I guess I could rent a bigger room, but I'm too cheap to do  that!   Give me a couple of days and we'll be back in the bus!

The old farmer's advice:  Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you can enjoy it a second time.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Snow, it is not welcome

We're here in Iowa for another day or so.  To our great disappointment, it snowed last night.  Not much and it melted off by noon, but it was cold, especially  since we left Arizona about 2 weeks ago when we were using the AC to keep cool.   Give us about 3 days and we'll be warmer I hope.

Today we went to visit with my mother again in the care center.  We had made prior arrangements to eat with her and what a joy.  We had a cloth covered table outside of the main dining room.  I wasn't really turned on with the menu, but it was more than adequate.

We've about wrapped up our efforts here to sort the computer equipment and the radio equipment.   Even today we found another box on his work bench instead of stacked with the radio equipment.  It was a radio antenna tester that I didn't even realize Denny had.

Sandy resorted our bags so that we have everything we need for the next few days in one bag.   One of the advantages of doing that is that we also now have more room in our bedroom.  This living out of a suitcase (or  2 plus 3 tote bags) is a pain.  The problem is that I can't remember what is where.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Live a good honorable life.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winter is still here

When we poked our nose out of the door this morning, it was cold and raining, which is what it did all day.  Tonight, we went to a friend's house for dinner and it seemed like it was colder.    It certainly is time to get serious about heading to warmer climates.  Our plan is to head south on Thursday, and it won't be soon enough.

We spent more time sorting and looking for a few items.  We're trying to gather all of the radio equipment together so that when non-radio people help Lavonne, they won't dispose of something that the radio needs. The antenna I'm looking for is probably about 36 to 48 inches long with a bayonet mount.  It probably also has a center loading coil.  Thus it is a unique piece of equipment and should be easily recognized.

We've spent some time this afternoon plotting our route south.  It is about 950 miles, so it ought to be an easy 3 days.  (Very little of it is interstate and much of it is on roads that we have traveled before.)  It will be nearly straight south and finally angling west  to pass south of Dallas,  I'm ready to hit the road.

The Old Farmer's Advice:   Remember that Silence is sometimes the best answer!


Monday, November 7, 2011

More sorting and little stuff

We did some sorting on Sunday and lots more today.  Sandy and Lavonne went to Iowa City for an appointment (2 of them)  for Lavonne.  Just before she was to leave, she said that she had pulled out two computer cases from under the bed.   They were too heavy for  her to lift (15 pound limit), so we moved them into the living room and then all of us left.

I ran some errands and then returned to the house.  So why not see what was in the cases.  One had a 3.5 inch USB drive plus lots of papers and some miscellaneous stuff.  The second case had a Dell Inspiron 5100 that Denny had used up until 4 years ago.  As I recall, Denny replaced it because it was "so slow".    So we plugged it in and he was right, it took for ever to boot up.

We also noticed that one of the hinges is broke (or breaking).   I ran one clean up program on it and it helped.  I think what I'll do is take it with us and later this winter, I'll run some of my other clean up programs.  Perhaps we can get it back to a more normal speed so that Lavonne can give it to a one of her relatives children.  To fix the broken hinge, I'll probably have to see if we can beef up the plastic lid in that area.

We have rounded up all of Denny's radio equipment, except for one mobile antenna.  It is a special CB antenna with a snap mount onto a base.   We have the base, and the antenna has to be around here, as it is probably 40 to 50 inches tall.  Lavonne says that they usually removed it since it hit the top of the garage door frame.  We think we've looked everywhere, but obviously not all!

The Old Farmer's Advice:  Don't judge people by their relatives!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sorting through someone else's computer stuff

We've been here with Lavonne since Friday and already we've missed one daily blog.  I intended to put out something last night and suddenly we realized that it was bed time and the computer was off.  Oh well, skip  it tonight.

Lavonne asked for help to determine what was useful computer equipment and literature in the spare bedroom, which was also their "computer room".   So we have had fun looking, sorting and checking if things are working. For starters, just about everything labeled as  "Windows 95" was pitched.  Such books as "Windows 95 for Dummies" were given the boot!  It sure pains me to think that such books are no longer useful, considering their cost.   (I think most were being packaged for a distant relative of Lavonne's.  If they can't use them, they can pitch them. )

Sandy and Beth worked with the computer equipment and books.  The entire issue is one of down sizing and what Lavonne needs.  Plus Denny had lots of things filed neatly in marked and unmarked envelopes.   There is enough stuff there for Lavonne to spend 100 percent of her time with the computer.

We also pulled the amateur radio equipment out of the cabinet and out of the trailer. It was pretty easy going until I got to the antenna on top of the trailer.  Every bolt (small) was rusty and refused to release with the screw driver.  Finally, I pulled the antenna base out and left the bracket.   We've found all of the radio equipment and coax I think.

Tomorrow Sandy takes Lavonne to Iowa City for some medical appointments while I need to run some errands here in Williamsburg.  It will cause a few strange looks from friends who don't know that I'm back in town  (but not for long).

The old Farmer's Advice:  Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen, anyway!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Arrived in Williamsburg, Off the road for a while

We put into two long hard days on the road with the Honda and made it to our destination in Williamsburg, Iowa. We are staying with the recent widow of a life long friend from our days in high school.  So much to help her with in our short time here.

We did succeed in cracking a code for one of his computer connections.  We found the needed information in a little notebook that he wrote everything in.  Our real challenge was deciphering his hand  writing.   We have one more computer challenge to resolve to make life easier.  It is to figure out the password for his linksys network.  If push comes to shove, we'll press the reset button and set it up again.  The embarrassing thing is that I think I  gave him the router and set up years ago.    I think it is a WRT-11, so we'll do some searching online before we do the reset.  Plus I'll get my old XP machine in so that I can find way through the network stuff.

The Old Farmer's Advice:   (my book is in the car, so we'll skip  it tonight.)


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wichita,KS after a long day

We were  up early (after being up very late) and had hoped to get an early start.  Well, it was before 9 AM.  We didn't want to leave before 8 AM because if we did, we'd probably get tangled up in RUSH hour traffic.   Anyway, we pulled out at 8:45  and traffic was moderate (or heavy in my opinion).

I should say that going through Ft. Worth was a lot better this time since Sandy had her GPS programmed to lead the way.   She would give me a "head's up" warning about which lane or side of the highway I needed to be in.  In fact, it went very well.

After we cleared Ft. Worth, Sandy took over the driving duties for a couple of hours.  It was wonderful for me to sit there in the passenger seat of the Honda and watch the world go by.  I was so relaxed that I even found myself  sleeping some.   We found Oklahoma City to also be busy with lots of cars, but again Sandy and her GPS gave us good directions so that we could be in the right lanes at the right time.

When we reached Kansas, we stopped at the first visitors rest area so that we could learn where the motels were at in Wichita.  In the visitor's center, we moved to the far end to read the literature and call the motels.  I was a little taken back when the girl behind the desk showed up right near us and apologized that she was going to run the carpet sweeper.   Okay we moved to the front of center.  Shortly, she was near us again with her loud carpet sweeper roaring away.   Sandy and I decided it was time to leave.  I should have given her a piece of my mind, but I quietly left.  Her actions were totally uncalled for.

When we reached Wichita, traffic was terrible.  It was 5:05 PM and I think just about every employee in Wichita was getting off of work.    So instead of finding a motel, we found a restaurant and got off of the street.  An hour later, traffic was more reasonable.   It was great  to hang up driving for the day.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  The Best Sermons are lived, not preached.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lakeside Village, TX (south of Ft. Worth) and it is late.

We made it to the little village of Lakeside Village, which is about half way from anywhere.   For starters, it is here that we're going to leave our motorhome with some friends for 10 to 12 days.  It is parked right where everyone can see it.  I wonder how many folks will think Lou and Ginny have acquired another RV?

Sandy said that we put in almost the same mileage that we did yesterday.   How often do you split it that close and have the two days travels being only a mile different?  Today I was glad when it ended, as the wind was picking up.  Also tonight, the cold air set in and there was no doubt that winter is here.

It has been a long day, so this is going to be short, like real short.  It is late, past midnight, which is extremely late for us.  Sandy has made me pack everything I need and be ready to travel.   We'll see if we can clear out of here by 8 AM tomorrow morning?   We hope so.

The old Farmer's Advice:  "When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty!"


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the move, currently at Seminole, TX

We put in a full day at the wheel and made it to Seminole, TX where we're hole'd up in a free city park, with 30 Amp electric.  But we're paying for it  also.  I think the park is where the local kids hang out.  There is a lot of car traffic it seems.  On the other hand, it may be only one or two cars with loud pipes going round and round.  So we'll ignore them at this hour (9pm).

Some people have asked "How do we find these city parks with free camping sites?"   It is through a fellow in the Escapee's RV club, who has made it his mission to log free and low cost stopping places.  He makes the list available to members of the Escapee's RV club.

Since the listing is created from information provided by various individuals, all of which may have different rules than we do, we always stay flexible  as to where we're stopping.   I refer to it as having a backup plan in case the first option does not meet our needs.   This park was described as having 6 back-in 30 foot sites. That is a bit short for us.  (Our backup site was 40 miles on down the road.)  However, since we're the only one here, we parallel parked the rig  and there is plenty of room.  We had to call on the police department to open the lock so that we could plug in.  No real problem, other than they only provided a 7 digit phone number!   So what area code do we use?  We decided to just go visit city hall and solve it.  But city hall has temporally moved.  We finally spotted a police car parked (at the police station), so we finally got our message to the right people.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to  our friends location south of Ft. Worth/Dallas.  They are gone for the evening, but we'll  make do.   We obviously will visit with them a while late into the evening, but hopefully we can get enough sleep to get a decent start on Thursday for Iowa.  Since the interstate goes right through downtown Ft. Worth, we plan to be a little late.  Hopefully, rush hour will be past when we get into Ft. Worth.  (They are about a hour south of Ft. Worth.)  The motorhome stays and we'll only drive the car north to Iowa.  We'll try living out of a suitcase again.

It is now 9:35 and things have really quieted down outside.  Perhaps it won't be too bad here tonight.

The Old Farmer's Advice:  You cannot unsay a cruel word.