Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting ready to head to the lake.

Today we mowed the yard. Loyce handled the trim mower and I did the tractor bit. That didn’t take too long, until we decided to do some edging. I have an edger that attaches to the weed eater motor.

I don’t remember the name of the system, but the attachments come off the motor, and we have the string trimmer and the blower. And the infernal edger. I say that because it is really too heavy for the motor, and gets caught up in the sidewalk, and stops the blade.

It has a slip clutch that spins, allowing the engine to keep on running, even though the blade has stopped. It brought out the perspiration from me instantly. Loyce was doing the broom and bag part, cleaning up what I cut free.

I’m not a fan of yard work, can you tell! I would full time in a heartbeat, but Loyce really likes her house, and all of its stuff. I would miss my tools, but then perhaps I wouldn’t need to fix so much!

We are preparing to go back to Lake Ozark on Wednesday! We will stay thru the fourth weekend. That’s how we got the Lake house in the first place, many years ago. We could never get reservations at good campgrounds for the big holidays. It was the only time we had off.

We sold our class C motorhome and bought a condo on the lake. Must have been about 1984. Didn’t own an RV for 23 years. But then we didn’t need any reservations either!

Now we have unlimited time off, but still need to match up with the kids time off in order to see the grandkids. Schedules!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weather Station and YoVille

Oh my, I was messing with YoVille on Facebook and almost forgot to post!

I still do not see the point with YoVille, but I mess with it just the same. I keep getting gifts of stuff that I don’t know what to do with.  So tonight I bought an old trailer house just to put the stuff in.

But I have managed to lock the game up somehow.  I made the teleports work, and can pass freely from Apartment to the Trailer, but when I was messing with the inside of the trailer, it locked.

Well so much for YoVille. 

Today was a ‘hang around’ day.  I should have mowed the yard, and it did cool down a bunch too, but I couldn’t get motivated.  Instead I rode the scooter over to Home Depot and purchased a weather station, like my friend out at Field Day had.

You know the deal, he had one and I thought it was cool, so I ran and bought one so I could be cool too.  It is wireless and does inside and outside temp and humidity.  It has wind speed and direction, and a barometer.  The clock is an atomic clock that syncs up with WWVB and always has the right time.

The whole thing runs on batteries, with two in each of the senders that go outside, and three in the receiver display that is here indoors. 

It all looks neat enough, but I am wondering, if you put the wind speed and direction sender up on the end of the house so it has a chance of actually working for the wind, how do you get up to it to change the batteries?  Need a ladder to put it up, so a ladder to change the batteries will also be the norm. ?????

So that is the hidden little drawback.  Ah heck, they will only run down in the middle of January when the wind is blowing 50 mph and the temperature is 20 below.

Perhaps I will be in Phoenix at that time and it won’t matter then anyway!

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amateur Radio Field Day 2009


Two of my club brothers intently trying to get that distant station.

This is the first year that we have used this particular park in Olathe, Kansas. But it worked well. It was close enough to the center of town to attract some attention, but yet on a lightly traveled road so that traffic wasn’t much of an issue.

It started with setup way early, before I even had breakfast. I calmly rode the scooter over about 10 AM. It was to get really hot today, so I decided there had to be some limits.

It wasn’t too long, and we were in a dismantle and discuss theory mode, on one of the antennas that was causing grief. After a lot of testing, it was decided that the antenna was really OK. So again we had grief. But this time the feed wire was tested and found to be broken. So some quick trips to garages came up with some different stuff. Problems solved.

It was really getting hot, like 95, so I slipped over to a Wendy’s on the bike for some lunch and a cool drink. Their ice machine was on the fritz, and I only got the smallest scoop of ice, in a large ice water! They had called the fridge man, but he hadn’t shown up yet.

Back at the site, the contacts were flying by at a furious pace, and I was again helping cut up veggies for cucumber salad. I was drafted three years ago for KP, and it seems the tradition continues.

By mid afternoon, we saw 97 again on the weather station, and 75 percent humidity. OK that’s it, I need a break! I rode the scooter home.

I chugged a 20 OZ gatorade and fell fast asleep, in the AC.

Tonight we had the dinner at 5 PM. It was decided to be all cold stuff this year. So pot luck cold salads, chicken salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, pasta salad, cucumber salad, coleslaw, and cool fruit trays, were served along with the purchased sub style cold meat sandwiches. Mmmm, I had seconds.

We did have to wait out a thunderstorm, for a while as we were eating, but it never tracked directly over us. We did have the big new shelter house, so we would have stayed dry, but it slid by to the South with a lightening show.

Tonight they will make contacts all night. But that is for the younger folks, as I am home by 10 PM, with another field day in the books!

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Travel Day

We were up a little after 7 and began to get things ready to move, almost at once. Loyce was cleaning and packing stuff back into its storage locations, since we would be stuffing the RV back into the storage lot.

She keeps the pillows and blankets in plastic zipper storage bags when we are not traveling. They fit nicely under the dinette seats and couch. She does this to combat the dust accumulation of storage. Seems it is always dirty inside after it sits unused for a while.

I had never unhitched the truck, since we had the car with us to drive locally. So the outside jobs were concentrated on the leveling jacks and tongue jack. The ever present duties of flushing the black and gray tanks and all the hoses.

It seemed slow because the heat of the morning came pouring on about 8:30. I wrecked a shirt in short order. Once it was all packed and ready to roll, I slid over to the bath house and had a quick cool shower. Driving in clean clothes is always nicer.

We retraced our drive back to KC on the same roads we had come down on. This worked well, except it was mid afternoon, and the day saw 97F in Springfield, Mo.

We stopped somewhere South of Clinton at a country truck stop to make lunch. At 97, the trailer, with its slides all pulled in, was too hot to make the sandwiches in, but we suffered through it and got back on the road.

It was almost 4 1/2 hours of driving, but I didn’t measure the miles. We were glad that we had completed all the organizing in the morning as we unloaded in rapid fashion. I was headed to storage in less that an hour after we arrived. We have this RVing thing down to a science. I still have a bunch of stuff in the back of the truck, for tomorrow mornings cooler time.

But tomorrow is field day for the amateur radio folks. The fourth Saturday of June every year. Tonight we met as a club in the Picnic shelter that is on the grounds of the Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop in Olathe, Kansas. And another site Here

This historical farmstead served as the stagecoach stop outside of Kansas City for years. It is now a museum. It will be electrified with ham radio tomorrow.

I’ll report on that exercise tomorrow!

Retired Rod

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Day in Branson

When we were on the pontoon boat on Tuesday, Emerson and Delaney posed for their picture. The sun was bright and Delaney wasn’t too happy about it.


Today we rented a deck boat and Ema is coming up the ladder, but do you see anything different?


Why is it that you are five when your front teeth fall out, and you can’t say five without them? She lost the second one during our lunch on the boat!


It was only 97 out on the water today, and we were relieved that it didn’t make it to 100. But 97 still feels as though you might boil in your own skin.

We stopped along this high cliff wall. There were several boats and swimmers going over to the cliff from their respective boats. We couldn’t see what the attraction was.


Unless you really look along the line from the trees above and the center person on the rocks. You will see a rope, with a handle on it. Perhaps a ski rope that someone has installed from the trees above.


The telephoto on my pocket point and shoot was not up to the task, but the fellow in the blue trunks has his arms and hands on the handle of the rope.


They were swinging out away from the wall as far as they could and then letting go of the rope. We were enjoying watching them, as we ate our sandwiches and chips.

The wind came up all at once, and we noticed it was quite dark to our North. Thunderstorm. We quickly loaded everyone back into the boat and high tailed it to the highway 13 bridge by Kimberling City.

We sat under the bridge for about a half an hour letting the worst of the storm pass beyond us. The bridge is at least 30 feet from the water, so it only provided minimal protection from the wind and rain. But it was a refuge of sorts.

Once it let up somewhat, we sped back to the East, and out of the path of the clouds. It was almost too cool in the storm, but once back in the sun, the 97 degrees came right back.

We went and found a resort that we had stayed at as a family back in the late 70’s. It was still there, and was much unchanged. Ben was reminiscing how he and his brother had terrorized the place. He was about Caden’s age when we were there. He remembers it like yesterday. Vacations are like that, so they are special.

Tonight we went to an authentic Mexican restaurant that is in Old Downtown Holister. Little Hacienda. I ordered the mas pecante salsa. The waiter asked me in Spanish, are you sure? Si! It was beyond what I have ever had. Muy, muy, mas PECANTE!!! I ate every drop. Perspired thru a dozen napkins and a second glass of Coke dieta.

I put the rest of it on my burrito, and had to cool it down with some extra sour cream, that we had ordered. Now it is 11 PM and I am still enjoying the meal----Burp!

So that will be our vacation ending celebration meal, as we are traveling back to Kansas City in the morning. We have to leave the campground here, as they made sure I understood that our site was rented on Friday, when we checked in.

They are full up for the Holiday! That’s ok, as we will be going to the Lake of the Ozarks to boat in our own pontoon, next week. But Branson has been fun!

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More fun in Branson


Ride the Ducks.

Hey these things aren’t old. They have modern wheels and tires. Some appear to be older than others, but none were made in 1942. What gives?

They are made here in the Branson area, by Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing, a subsidiary of the Ride the Ducks company. These folks are nation wide with a long list of Cities that have the attraction.

It seems that the original DUKW military vehicle was made by the GMC division of GM back in 1942 and DUKW is an acronym. Which the military is known for. The D stood for 1942, the U for utility vehicle, the K for 4 wheel drive, and the W for tandem rear axles. But people took the DUKW and pronounced it as duck.

But today these tourist attraction boats are manufactured as just that, tourist attractions. They are US Coast Guard Approved and have ooodles of trips on them as amphibious tour rides. Hmm, maybe I ought to go get a ticket! Na that would be wasting money! I’m tight, remember……

We did reach 100 degrees again today on the car dash thermometer. I’m certain that the official temperature was something less, but then I was feeling what the car was feeling so who cares about official.

We drove up to Springfield to the Camping World and looked some at new and used motorhomes. Not that we were going to buy any time soon, mind you, but I had seen them on the internet, and wanted to look in person.

It was way too hot to be looking at RV’s that were setting out in the sun. You kind of dashed in and dashed out. They have some good prices, designed to move them, but the market is soft.

Loyce and I decided that we would have to be absolutely certain that the vehicle was what we wanted forever, because that would be how long you would own it. No ones going to buy it off of you any time soon.

We went to a place called Montana Mikes steak house tonight. It was much like all the other steak places that are chains. I did have a pepper corn blackened sirloin that was fairly tasty, but it made me wonder what they were covering up with all the pepper.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the water, Table Rock Lake

I wrote this last night in the middle of the night, but it didn't post for some reason. So now I am force posting it.

The rental pontoon boat was 25 feet long and had a 90 hp Suzuki engine. While not exactly like the one we have on Lake Ozark, it did nicely for us today.


It was hot and we about boiled over waiting to get the thing rented. So the very first order of business was a dip in the lake.


Ride the ducks, world war II amphibious vehicles carefully restored into an adventure ride. Seen here plunging into the lake. They get a run for it and splash into the water.


Once in the water they are a boat and head out into the lake. The entrance is right next to the dock for the Branson Belle Showboat. And it is part of the attraction. These pictures were taken from our pontoon.


This got us right up close to the back end of the show boat, and the stern wheels are definitely fake. They are not connected to any power source what so ever. They turn as the boat is propelled forward by the underwater propellers.


Quite a size difference, but then the show boat holds 700 patrons.


I had to have a picture of the entire boat. She’s 278 feet long and 78 feet wide. The old steam engine stacks are fake as well. The diesel engines were running and exhausting out the side near the water line.


We had to go over to Ben’s campground, and check it out from the water. They had closed the bunk ends of the expandable trailer to try and get the air conditioner to partially keep up with the heat of the day.


We boated from 10:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon. Four hours of on the water fun. We were most of the way South towards Arkansas, and then back West most of the way to Kimberling City. We used about 10 gallons of gas, and 2 gallons of sunscreen. It was as hot as I have ever been on the water.

When we got back to the car, and I started it up to head out, the dash indicated the outside temperature to be 100. That would be about 38 C for my readers up North. That is as much as I can stand.

We spent the afternoon at our respective campgrounds, while the grandkids all crashed for nap time. And grandpa fell asleep here as well, until Loyce came back and slammed the RV door. I jumped over the moon.

So since I was now awake, it was time to get a shower so we could go back into town for supper. To where else------------Fuddruckers, of course. I think I have a problem. But boy those sweet potato fries were good. And this Fudd’s had some smoky fry dipping sauce. It was better than the goopy cheese sauce that all the Fudd’s have.

Everyone of these restaurants is just a little different. So that makes it fun.

Tonight we went to the strip, where the kids got to ride the go carts. They have a cart for every size kid. Caden got to drive the bigger carts since he was over 4 feet tall. and Ema got to ride the littler ones since she was under 4 feet.

Delaney rode the mini ferris wheel. She was not all that enthused with the ride, wondering how she could make it stop. But then she was in the car all by herself and she is only 2.

So I’m killed tonight, and Loyce is already in bed as I write this. Too much going on in the 100 degree day. But then that is why we came here, to have a lot going on.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A day at Branson

We awoke to a steamy sunny morning here in the ABC. Self proclaimed America’s Best Campground. Well if they think so. This place has gravel pull thru sites that are stair stepped up the hills, while the roads are blacktop.

The bathrooms are clean and air conditioned. The main office and store is really nice, and has lots of stuff.

So there is nothing wrong with this park, but it won’t hold a candle to Mesa Spirit from Arizona last winter, or the Buckhorn Lake park in Kerrville, Texas where Howard and Linda are holding this years RV Dreams rally in October.

But we are comfortable here and it works as far as being right close to town and the attractions.

But tonight we went out to see Ben’s Core of Engineers park over on the West side of the lake. Old 86 campground. This was about a 25 mile drive from where we are here North of Branson.

I took this picture from his picnic table. This looks back at the dam on the East side. This was taken with the blackberry phone, so its only a 3.2 Mp resolution and the phone has little for a lens.


This was a zoom at dusk which gave up much more of the resolution, I didn’t have to begin with.

The Branson Belle stern wheeler, is a true stern wheel propelled boat.


I say that but could not find anywhere to back up that statement. They say it will go 11 mph and that seems quite fast unless there are helper propellers underneath. Here is their web site. This is a dinner and show boat. One wonders why bother going out on the water, if your are in a theater enjoying a show. They have talking dogs at the end of the show.

Over all it was overly hot today ( mid 90’s), and we could hardly leave the AC in the car. We drove all over the area, but did not see nearly as many vacationers as we did two years ago.

We have been told that most all of the headliner stars that made Branson their home, have left for greener places. The shows are now second line entertainers, who are good but not nearly the attraction as before. The stars still do show up in the fall and at Christmas time

The shopping centers were poorly crowded, or not crowded at all. It may be the economy, or lack of big name entertainers or just overall sentiment to not spend money like before, but something is missing here.

The traffic is not jam packed as it was before, and Silver Dollar City had many empty parking lots, and no line to enter.

We are discussing a boat rental for tomorrow, so we will see how that comes along in its planning.

Retired Rod

Monday, June 22, 2009

Traveling to Branson

We did get off almost at 10:30 like I anticipated.  I forgot to look, but it was around 11 when we crossed into Missouri.  We detoured around an interchange on Hwy 71 that has been completely torn out, and went thru old Belton in the process.

Once South on 71, we headed for Harrisonville and Hwy 7.  This took us to Clinton where we connected with Mo Hwy 13.  We pulled into Springfield about 2:30 and needed a break.

This was at a Wendy’s and the gas station next door.  We have our granddaughter Delaney with us and she was in need of some chicken nuggets.  But by the time we arrived, she had fallen asleep and missed the entire rest stop.

The traffic in Springfield seemed relentless.  We traveled on toward Branson, and arrived here at the America’s Best Campground before 4.  It was hot, and humid.  Seemed as though the sun was going to burn right thru me as I set up the rig.  I didn’t unhitch the truck, but rather leveled the trailer with its tongue jack, leaving the truck perched up high on its back springs.

Loyce drove the Camry and followed as we traveled.  We find that having the car along is so convenient, that the pain of driving it, is well worth it to us.  We got this idea from reading Howard and Linda Payne’s blog RV-Dreams.  They routinely follow the truck and trailer with their Jeep.  Like them we keep in contact with two way radios, and really do not have much of a sensation that we are not together.

This is a big RV park that is only a few miles North of the strip in Branson where all the shows and shopping is located.  I drove into town tonight seeking a sandwich for supper, and re familiarized myself with the roads.  It has been two years since we were here last, and roads have changed in that period of time.

We have a new shopping center a little ways North of here that has a new Wally World in it as well as a Target and Home Depot.  This area only had a really old Wal-Mart without groceries, in the oldest part of the strip.  It was still there and packed with cars, when I went by tonight, but we shopped at the new one and found it to have all the stuff we expect at our Wal-Marts.

To me traveling on the road pulling the RV and heading to new adventure is the very best way that one could spend a father’s day.  I traveled professionally in my jobs and miss that a great deal in retirement.

I am out RVing, what could be better?  Happy Fathers Day!

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ready to Leave, almost……

Packing out is a big deal here at our house.  We seem to need so much stuff to go somewhere for a few days.  Why is that?

We have been loading up all this stuff most of the day, and I’ll need to go carry more here in a minute.  We plan on leaving at the crack of…… well maybe 10:30 or so.  That will be early for us.

We will drive down US 71 to Clinton, and then go over to 65 and Springfield.  The last 30 miles are up and down the big hills, Mountains, before you get to Branson.  That will make the truck struggle, but then it did Eisenhower Pass in Colorado, so Branson shouldn’t be too bad.

Our next post should be from the America’s Best Campground North of Branson, so we will report in then.

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 20, 2009

DMV and Working on the Rig

The licenses for the Kansas cars expire at the end of the month, and our days are becoming full between now and then, so I hustled over to the DMV to pay my thousand dollars that the licenses would cost.

In Kansas, they really know how to charge for auto plates. They add the property tax right on to the tag cost. It took me over an hours wait just to get to the window. I was told that Fridays are always like this.

Well then, now that I got rid of all that dirty old money, I spent a few minutes at home pasting the four little stickers on the plates of three cars and the scooter. All registrations in glove boxes with that ever important insurance card. I had to sort a while to come up with the insurance cards, since you have to present them at the window to get the renewals.

Late in the afternoon, I went back over to the Missouri storage lot and brought home the RV, backing it ever so carefully into the driveway. It is almost too long for our drive, but again it is against the law to leave it in the street.

So tonight I was going thru the check list making sure everything was ready to travel.

Tire pressure is one of the important checks, and for the first time since we have had the rig, all tires were right up to their 50 pound spec. Even when the unit was new, one or more tires would slowly leak, Seems that since we have now had to replace two of the four on the ground, we have taken care of the leakers. The spare always did stay up. I was happy about the tires, as I worry when we are traveling. On November 2, 2008 we weren’t so lucky. Click Here to read that blog.

So we are one day closer to our Sunday morning departure.

Retired Rod

Friday, June 19, 2009

Washer crazy / Chicken Clubs

I seem to be getting a bunch of good use out of the new Husky pressure washer.  I get it hooked up to the hose and its cord plugged into a garage socket, and away I go. I had added the outlet on the inside of the garage right next to the door, when we installed the yard irrigation system a year ago.

It is only a 15 amp circuit, but it seems to carry the washer adequately.  I have to unplug the controller for the irrigation system, but it must have battery backup because it never looses any time.

So even though it was 96 or so outside, I was out washing the truck.  I started under the hood with the engine.  I blasted for quite a long while, but it still has dirty spots after it dried.  But the rest of the truck is much cleaner now.

Then it was the motorscooter’s turn.  The underside of a bike picks up all the road dirt, as well as the wheels and tires.  The pressure washer did a really nice job here.

After that it was the John Deere garden tractor.  It has been exceptionally wet here this spring, and the tractor had caked on layers of dead grass.  With much of it up under the tractor on the top of the mower deck.

I sprayed and sprayed, most of it came off but again it is a job in progress.  Well then the lawnboy lawn mower was next.  By now I was about killed and my clothes were soaked completely from perspiration and water from the washer.

Tonight, I went over to Chick-fil-a to get some chicken club sandwiches.  I went thru the drive thru with the motor bike.  The kid took a double take as I pulled up to the window.  I asked him if he had much scooter traffic.  “Well none that I can remember.”  I stashed the bag with the sandwiches under the seat, and headed home.  They were broiled and fairly good!

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This and that on a hot afternoon.

I did find the place to set up the posting from the Black berry, and changed the setting.  Should now work.  That might come in handy from the road.  Kind of like a facebook one line post, only right onto the blog.  See the previous post!

Today was much like yesterday in that it got into the 90’s and the humidity was over 70 percent.  Heat index was 101 when I checked.  That was steamy mid afternoon.

I mowed the lawn in the morning, but it was already up to 87 when I started.  I rode the tractor quickly, but still sweat thru my shirt.  I have a bunch of trimming that has to be done with the hand mower, and that is slow.  And steamy.  I traded my cycle time for green tractor time, bummer.

Ema was back again today to go to the pool with grandma.  They didn’t stay as long, but she has more sunburn tonight even in the shorter time.  That’s ok because she will need to be tan for next week.  We are fair skinned redheads in this family, and all burn quickly.  It is to be hot in Branson, on the ten day forecast.

We are beginning to pack stuff to load in the RV.  We have to load all at once since we can’t keep the trailer here at the house for more than 48 hours.  Maybe I’ll go get it on Friday, and be gone Sunday Morning.

In the heat of the afternoon, I went to the barber shop over in Martin City, Mo.  That’s just across stateline road from us here in Kansas.  Hang out with the guys and talk KC sports.  Or maybe cry about KC sports.  They are all hoping that football will be up some this fall.  New coach, new system,  new sets, I’ll bet it takes them a while to find themselves.  Oh and I did get a haircut in the process.

Another slow day in the lives.  But then that’s what retirement is supposed to be!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blackberry Posting

This is a try it out posting from the blackberry phone. It should post to the web page in the normal fashion. Typing on such a tiny keyboard is a real challenge.
Perhaps that is best since it will limit long winded posts.
Wouldn't want it to be too convenient you know.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

It showed up as a draft, but did not post. I will look for this setting as soon as we come home from the restaurant.

But now off to become fatter. LOL

Sun and Humidity

It quit raining!  Yea!  But then it got hot and cooked the moisture back out of the ground.  The air conditioner has never stopped all day.

Loyce went and got Ema from the day care center, and they went to our sub division pool.  Came home and had lunch and went right back.  I’m an old fuddy duddy, and won’t go.

So I rode off on the motor scooter.  Making up errands just to ride there.  But it was hot, and waiting for lights behind hot cars with their AC on tests your endurance.  Then fairly soon your zooming along at 40.  The helmet is still hot, but I do not ride without it.

By mid afternoon, it was just too much, so I came back to the house.  Time for the computer.  Got all busy looking up used and new motorhomes on RV trader.  A guy can dream, but nothing that really trips my trigger.  Not enough to make a call anyway.

Tonight we were over to Ben and Danielle’s making plans for next week’s trip to
Branson.  And we had to take Ema back too.

A laid back day with some scooter time.  Just the way I like it!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Clean RV / Dinner Party

So why is it raining in torrents, with large lightening bolts cracking all around us? Because I decided that I should wash the RV travel trailer today, of course.

Its not just passively raining off and on, its a deluge, with white flashes of lightening that is turning night into daylight.

Since we are not driving in the rain, I am hopeful that the RV will come out even more washed than before. It has sat in one spot in the storage lot since I parked it in late March. It even has seen snow but not enough to accumulate in that time.

But it was extremely dirty, so I used the new pressure washer on it, here at the house. It was 90 or more on our thermometer, and the humidity was beyond measurement. I rained sweat all during the process, but it looked good for about an hour. I also hooked up the pressure hose to the city connection and washed out the pink stuff from all the plumbing. We have no leaks, which was reassuring.

We can’t leave the trailer here overnight, without it being parked in our driveway. City ordinance as we found out last fall. The neighbor lady called the cops. See October 31, 2008 blog.

So it went home around 5:30. We attended a dinner put on by our oldest son and his wife at their house. Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes. It was quite good. But Loyce got some serious grandma time in with the newborn grandchild, Abby!

She would have skipped the whole dinner, and just did the grandma part if you let her. But we had fun! We had chipmint chocolate cake, frozen pie that Loyce had made. Those are quite good, but of course I couldn’t have any.

June storms, about wash you away!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old Fords

Old Ford 8N tractors.  They’re everywhere, and a fellow in Chilhowee, Missouri must restore them.  I stopped and looked at some that were for sale last year, and took some pictures.  Those pictures are somewhere on one of my archived disks, but who knows where.

But as I was returning to KC yesterday, I spotted that again this year, there are more.  So I stopped again.  This time Loyce wasn’t with me to ask why I wanted to take pictures of 60 plus year old tractors.  Because!

IMG00016-20090613-1stL IMG00011-20090613-1stR

This is the second tractor, but is almost identical to the first one.  Note the new style alternator, not too original. LOL



And a third, judging by the darker gray, this one must be a bunch older.  It has not been so extensively repainted.  Perhaps it is a 9N.  Headlights are different.

IMG00013-20090613-3rdR IMG00014-20090613-3rdL

I know that the wheel bolt patterns depict what the models are, but not enough to report here with any certainty.

My granddad on my mother’s side was a vegetable farmer on an 80 acre plot North of Des Moines.  They sold on the city market in those years, during the depression and the war.  He had these Ford tractors in the mid thirties, with the original 9’s and later as he became older, the farm became an apple orchard.

He purchased new 8N’s in the late 40’s, and that was about the time I was born.  I fondly remember as a youngster, riding on the fender as we headed out into the trees.  He passed in 1957.

So now why, in 2009 do I haul over and take pictures of 60 year old tractors based on a model A Ford engine?    I dunno!

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out the door to KC

I was up and at it before 8 this morning, as I needed to finish up and get on the road.

I say finish up but I can't paint the wall behind the headboard, as the bed is an old waterbed frame with a regular king mattress in it. I will need to take the whole frame apart to paint behind the bed. And since that wall is 12 or more feet high at the peak, an extension ladder on the bed is not going to work. The bed must be moved.

So I need Loyce to help me handle the mattress and bed frame pieces once I get it taken apart. We always liked the waterbed frame since it is made from oak. But it is heavier than heck. That will be a days project without any painting. All of that just to paint a bedroom wall.

I left and drove back to KC this afternoon, arriving about 5. When I got back, I started looking at the new electric pressure washer and realized it was broken.

It has a windup reel in the handle to wrap the hose on, and the reel was clearly broken when I opened the box lid. I quickly found the receipt and into the car I went, returning to the Home Depot where I bought it. They only had three left, where on Monday they had about twenty. But I got it replaced, and checked inside the box to make sure the new one wasn't broken too.

After assembling the handle on the washer and checking to make sure it worked, we went back to the local Fuddruckers. Tonight I ordered regular fries since I had the sweet potato fries at Wobbly Boots two days ago. There is something about the fresh ground burger and freshly hand made bun, that has me captivated by the place, so I keep going back.

The one here in Overland Park is really an old dump, and I fully expect to go one of these nights and find it closed,,,,,,permenantly.

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 13, 2009

T Shirt Town and the Car Show

Painted again today, but progress was slow. Had to take down the curtains and climb up and down the ladder since we have a vaulted ceiling. Paint a spot, then move the ladder, back up and paint and the process repeats all day.

Tonight when I went into town, I drove over the dam to the strip as they call the very old carnival area just over the dam. It is mostly T shirt shaks and amusement stuff. Oh, and biker bars.

But I didn’t get quite half way across the dam, and we came to a complete stop. Oh oh, what’s going on in town? It took another 15 minutes to get off the dam. Once in the town, I took a wooded road that most tourists do not know where goes. That got me all the way around the downtown area.

Every year they host an old Hot Rod style car show. And tonight was the kickoff. I knew this, but had spaced it off. There were custom cars lined up the center of the main street for the entire four block length. Traffic was mostly gawkers. Folks were walking, in and out of the traffic and those folks driving were looking for parking.

Since I was headed back to my old standby restaurant, Bandana’s, I drove away feeling lucky that I knew the back road.

I could go back up there in the morning, and walk around some, but I think I will paint one more small area and head back to KC. I have been here all by my self since Monday and the isolation, while peaceful, is monotonous.

I wonder how Tioga George can be all by himself all the time? No wonder he talks to the motorhome and it answers him back. LOL

Retired Rod

Friday, June 12, 2009

King of the Innertube / Wobbly Boots

The painting continues. I am slower than molasses at this since I don’t get up and down ladders very fast. The paint will dry in the brush before I can get it on the wall.

Well not really, but I have to stop and look at the lake every little bit. The kids were playing King of the Innertube out in front of the houses. Of course the biggest kid would get up on the tube and knock all the other kids back into the water.

But then they ganged up on him and held him under the water for as long as they could. Served him right, but he came up and dunked a bunch of them in revenge. Oh to be a kid again.

It did make for a little fun while I was eating lunch.

Tonight I went into town and went to Wobbly Boots Bar B Cue. This was recommended to me by a fellow retired co worker. He has a condo here at the lake, and often reads this blog.

They have sweet potato fries, and Jack sent me an email alerting me to the fact.

It was a bar room restaurant with the stage in the back and TV’s everywhere. I walked in and the waitress ignored me. I sat right in the middle of the bar room where I could see almost all the TV’s and after 15 minutes I was still ignored. Seemed that no one had my table, or I was too fat and ugly, LOL. But finally I got the bar tenders attention and held my hands out palms up and shrugged my shoulders.

He came over and asked what I wanted to drink, and said he would get a waitress. But then he didn’t bring me the drink. Just not his job. Finally a young waitress came from the back room and begrudgingly waited on me and brought me the drink.

The food was OK and the fries were as good as they should be, but by then, the folks were beyond redemption. I ate and left, and yes I did give them a tip.

So I now have another source for sweet potato fries here at the lake. Maybe on my next visit, the cranky waitress will have a night off. LOL

The weekend is here and I will more than likely go back to KC. I will run out of clean clothes and pills. But I do have a washer, if I could figure out how to run it!

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Painting and thoughts

I was up really early for me today. I guess I was restless because I hadn’t finished painting the bathroom connected to our master bedroom. I had become too tired to continue yesterday and quit right in the middle of the project.

So at 6 AM I was masking all the woodwork and crawling around under the toilet with a paint brush. Painting is so slow, and I end up spending as much time cleaning the paint off of things as I do putting paint on them.

After spending time on Farm Town, a time waster, but you get caught up in not letting things go to waste. There are time limits and your crops will be of no value, so they have you hooked into going back at a certain time.

That of course causes you to hit the web site routinely, which makes for advertising revenues. Big hit count!

By about noon, I started on the bedroom walls. This room has a vaulted ceiling, and I had to get the extension ladder out in order to reach the top. Again trimming standing on a ladder leaned on the wall. I rolled about half of the South wall and suddenly I knew I had reached the limit of my endurance on the ladder.

So I quit again, just like yesterday. No sense making myself sore and stiff. I sat down and had a sandwich, and began to read some web sites. Instant nap, since I had got up so early.

It is quiet as a church mouse here at the Lake, as we are out from town almost 4 miles. No one to talk to. Most of the houses are weekenders, and are empty during most weeks. I washed the humming bird feeder, and mixed some new red stuff. Even in the rain, the little birds found the feeder renewed and came almost instantly. Humming birds as a companion?

Tonight one of my friends from Des Moines called on Skpye and that was the first voice I had heard all day. Oh, I guess I had talked to Ben for a few minutes in the morning.

We are planning to go to Branson in another week, and are coordinating our reservations. They will stay at a COE park right on the waters edge. These sites are electric, or primitive. Loyce wants a full service campground, so we will be staying at the America’s Best Campground where Linda and Howard of RV-Dreams held their rally last year. It is a nice place, but somewhat pricey.

We will be there from Sunday until the following Friday morning. That will be more than enough time to spend on the strip spending too much money! LOL

Tonight there was another round of thunderstorms that came thru around 7 PM. It was dark as night and the rain just poured. It lasted for most of an hour. We didn’t have any damaging winds with the storms, and the rain came mostly straight down. I waited until the storms were mostly passed before heading into town for a fast food burger.

I have resisted the call of the paint brush tonight, no sense overdoing it.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rain Rain go away.

The day started sunny here awakening me at 7 AM to bright sun.  I started in with my painting project as the day seemed cheery.  But not long into the project I looked outside and found the sun had been replaced by misty foggy overcast.

Well I was painting a bathroom with only glass block as a window so I couldn’t see outside anyway.  After breaking for some breakfast and a quick farming experience on farm town in facebook, it was back to painting.

I had completed one bathroom and moved on to a second, when I surfaced to find it was three o’clock in the afternoon.  My back was killing me and it was time to wash out the brushes.  The second bathroom isn’t done, but I was.

Then we had the rain.  The sky became black as night.  It was like it was dusk outside.  and the rain blew through the screen porch almost sideways.  I had to close the door to the house, even though it is ten feet away from the screens.

Tonight I went and tried a new Pizza house in Lake Ozark.  It was mostly a bread pizza with very little toppings.  No wonder I haven’t gone before.  They said they had been open for two years.  Since I am not giving them a rave review, I will leave their name out.  No sense getting sued.  LOL

It is still stormy and lightening strikes every little while as I sit here tonight.  The forecast is for more of the same for the next several days.  Bummer!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To the lake and painting

Its after midnight, and I haven’t read a blog since 10 this morning.  That is when I decided that today would be a good day to begin the long put off paint job of some of the interior of the lake home.

We have speculated on the color that we would use for a couple of months, but today I presented paint samples to the boss, and asked directly “which one.”

We narrowed it down to two, and a “it depends.”  So I drove to the lake this afternoon.  Well now wait a minute, I went over to another Home Depot, and found the Husky washer that I wanted yesterday, when the first stores didn’t have it.  That’s the beauty of living in KC, one store doesn’t have what you want, drive to another sub division and chance are they will.

The Olathe store had so many that I couldn’t count them.  They had the cheap one too.   And a lot of the cheap one.  So when I get back home, the washer will have to come out of the box and perhaps I’ll do a review of sorts here on the blog.

I didn’t arrive here until almost 7 tonight, and I had to stand and talk with the neighbors that had stayed on until Monday from their weekend.  We compared notes and decided how the community should run.  LOL

But then into town to eat Bar B Cue, and buy some paint.  It was quite clear which of the two samples was the right color, once I arrived at the lake and matched them to the drapes and carpet in the house.  Hope Loyce agrees.

Of course it took three associates to mix the bucket and they had to argue about me wanting a Bher color mixed in Glidden white tint base.  But they have the computer analysis, analyze the bher paint swatch.  Da!

And all this at Home Depot, whom you might remember I was praising the other day.  I guess they have their deep thinker types too.  I know I shouldn’t be so quick to come down on them, they just want to do it right, and not get yelled at by their boss.

So I have spent the last two hours painting the entrance bathroom.  It is so small, that I can barely sit on the floor in front of the commode.  It has all those crooks and crannies that need to be painted.  I got about half of it done but behind the stool will have to wait until tomorrow.  That is if I can ever get up off the floor.

Retired Rod

Monday, June 8, 2009

Looking at small power washers

We had an even slower day today.  I have to get a better hobby or something.  Playing with the computer all day seems like such a waste of time.

I did ride the scooter over to the lumberyard and look at an electric power washer that was on sale.  It was really light weight, and almost toy like.  Called a Husky, but it was anything but.

The next model up seemed too expensive at $199, and had the same GPH as the small one.  It did have a better hose, but $300 buys a newer gas model. I have an older gas model that has a Briggs engine, but the carb is all messed up with old gas that went to varnish.

It is almost impossible to get that straightened out, as you have trouble getting kits that match the older engines.  And the hose is about shot too, so buying repairs on the engine and a new hose is more than a new one.

I didn’t buy anything.  I ride the bike over and look, which makes me come home for the truck to get it.  That makes me think about it for a while.

Something will pop up.  I have one of the Husky models at the lake, but it is a lot better than the one I looked at today.  This one was down right throw away.  And that was before you got it home.

We had big storms again come thru the Kansas City area tonight.  They passed to the North of the city, more up by St. Joe.  Traveling Northeast up into Iowa.  It is cooler up there so they dissipate before doing much damage.  But while they are here in Kansas, everyone ducks for cover.  This is the real deal around here.  I was from Iowa, and we had storms that did damage too.  But not like Kansas!

Tonight I had a chat in the YoVille game on facebook for the first time.  It was a pleasant experience.  I haven’t been much for YoVille, as I fail to see the point of the game.  Perhaps my apartment is really my chat room.  With little avatars as people.  I’ll stick to Farm Town, since I understand planting and harvesting.

Again its addictive and a total waste of time.  LOL

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Looking at somewhat new 5vers

After going to a quilt store in Independence, Mo, I drug Loyce to the RV dealer in Grain City, Mo. They are a Jayco dealer, and we have a Jayco so I was curious to see if they would take it on trade.

All day, any day. Was the answer to the trade bit. I didn’t have it with me so how much wasn’t asked. So we proceeded to look over the new stuff. We would like to get a better unit, and the Eagle line is just more of the same thing we already have.

Its OK, and very serviceable, but does not have Pizzazz! So we looked at the Designer fifth wheel. They only had three. Two of them are 2008 holdovers. They are nice, and discounted to about 70 percent, which is somewhere near invoice.

They still have cloth furniture, and not too good of bedding. They had premium wood inside and the 2K shiny fiberglass outside option. Many extra’s, like 2nd AC’s and more ride axles and pin boxes.

But we both came away under enthused. The units have set on the lots since July of 2007, and are dirty and broken from being shown constantly. And quite frankly they are two years old. So the idea of new ‘old stock’ comes to mind.

Who wants dirty tracked up carpet in their 5ver. Even if you got it for cost. And if you look it up in the current bluebook, it isn’t worth nearly what you would have to pay, ten seconds after you take possession.

So we thanked the fellow and took a brochure and came back home.

Tonight we had a birthday party for Melissa here at our house. Everyone took turns holding the new baby, and the other grand kids were quite impressed with their cousin. Claire announced that she was "her baby sister!"

Grandkid parties break up before 10PM. Man we are getting old!

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 6, 2009

To clamp or not

Today is another day of retirement. Didn’t do anything productive.  We’re retired after all.

I did ride the scooter over to the Home Depot, to learn if I had really put the poly pipe back correctly.  In one of the comments to this blog, reader ANT-Zee challenged me as to why I wouldn’t use clamps.

So I challenged the plumbing guy at the Home Depot the same way.  Just to see what his opinion might be.  Here is the short version.

Contractors use black poly between the valves and the sprinkler heads, since there is never any pressure to speak of, as the water is flowing out the sprayers onto the grass.  Since they pull the pipe with vibrator machines, they seldom use clamps, because they don’t pull too well.  The friction of the inside barb is adequate to hold it all together.

But he said most ‘do it your selfers’, do use clamps since they are not as worried about the cost, and they burry the pipe with a shovel.  He asked if I tried to pull the pipe back apart once I had put it together.  “Well yes, and I’m not sure I’m strong enough without a lot of twisting and bending”.  “Then what else do you need to know” he asked?   

So I’m not inclined to dig it back up, unless the ground becomes soaked.  There’s a whole lot more joints in the yard without clamps, so I would really have my work cut out for me, if I wanted to install clamps.

Other than that, we have worked on the Blackberry to learn more about it.  It is a full computer, and can be quite a challenge to learn everything.  If you could learn everything.   It amazes me that it could be so small and do so much.

I could even write this blog with it if necessary.  The itty bitty keyboard would be a real challenge for blog writing.   Why do I keep using the word ’challenge’?

Our temps here were in the early 80’s, with overcast to sunny skies.  Beautiful!

Today is Abby’s mom’s birthday!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY Melissa!!!!!!!

Retired Rod

Friday, June 5, 2009

Abby comes home, and Claire goes home.

This was a slow day, as I spent the morning mowing and blowing and weed eating the lawn.  Not too exciting.

In the afternoon, son Chris and I went to the Brokerage office and deposited a check in our accounts.  Next we went to the dog groomers and picked up our Bichion, Brandy.  She now has her summer tight to the skin clip.

Word had it that she was not a happy camper at the groomers, barking and whining once she was done and crated waiting to be picked up.  But we found that all she really needed was a trip to the grass.  She will not do her thing in a crate.  She is blind and doesn’t understand the mesh floor concept.  She gets killed for going inside, and will not unless she just can’t stand it any more.

Our new grand daughter came home this afternoon, and came by with her parents to collect her older sister this evening.  This will be the first time that Claire has been home since Monday.  We think she was ready to go home, but she was more infatuated with her new sister than anything else.

It seems so quiet here now with none of the kids running around.  You can hear a pin drop.  That really makes for a slow evening.

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fixing the sprinkler

As you know, I found a sprinkler pipe in the ground when I was digging a hole day before yesterday. And in the process, I managed to cut it with the spade.

It was off on the side of the hole just barely visible, after I scooped all the dirt out. So I turned on the water to that zone, and instantly we had a fountain out of a dirt hole. Ohhh, not good.

With the new baby arriving yesterday and rain off and on all day, I covered the hole and put it off for another day. But in the afternoon, I shopped for repair parts.

First I went to Lowe’s. They had a section of irrigation parts in the plumbing aisle. The smallest piece of 1 inch poly pipe was a 100 foot roll. They didn’t have the straight inside nipple to connect one pipe to the next. This is a basic component. I walked around and found an associate and inquired about the pipe in smaller lengths.

They had to get the gal in charge of that aisle, and I sat and waited for a period of time until she showed up. She led me over to the white CPVC pipe and told me to use it as a repair. For the inside nipple, she led me to the plastic parts designed for clear plastic tubing like fish aquarium tubing. Offering me a 5/8ths fitting for the one inch pipe. She didn’t have a clue how any of the stuff in her aisle was used, or what it was for.

This is fairly typical of my experience in Lowe’s. They have a lot of stuff, and if you are knowledgeable enough to pick out what you need then that’s great. But they will always be missing critical parts that seem the most basic. Not just out of it, which I would understand, but rather they don’t carry them at all.

Next it was to Home Depot. Farther away, but more of a lumber yard, rather than a home do it your self place. (My opinion) I went to the irrigation aisle and the associate walked right over to me and asked to help me. I said that I had a split in my poly, and that I had dug it up yesterday before the rain.

He walked over to a bin, and handed me a 2 foot section of 1 inch poly irrigation pipe and the 2 inside nipples to attach it to the existing pipe. He wanted to know if I had the shears to cut the pipe, and I replied that I would use my tree pruning shears. Well,,,,,, that will work, but not exactly what they were intended for.

He never asked me what size the pipe was or what parts I wanted, he knew exactly how it was plumbed without my explanation. They had bins with various lengths of the pipe pre cut in several sizes. And they had the pipe connectors in 100 count boxes for contractors, as well as sold singly.

Total cost for the pipe was $1.47 and each nipple was .47. The encounter took longer to type out here than it did at the store.

So today I spent the morning digging out the hole larger around the pipe. Without messing up the plastic tubing! The dirt is full of gravel from when they built the house, and it digs like concrete. The pipe is in and the grass is back in place. I haven’t turned on the sprinkler yet though.

If it leaks underground, what the heck, its an irrigation system right?

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our New Granddaughter

Today we were blessed with our fifth grand child.  Abigail Lynn Ivers.  She came to this world a few minutes after noon, and weighed in at eight pounds.IMG00031

We went up to the room about 4PM to meet her for the first time. 

We had this picture sent via blackberry within minutes after her birth.  When we showed it to her sister Claire here on the computer, Claire reached out and kissed the screen.  I was quite touched by that.

Her parents, Chris and Melissa, had a chocolate birthday pie, that they were awarding pieces to each guest.  Mel’s parents were there and Abby was being snuggled by each of us in turn.  I got quite a long turn to hold her, but the wife finally declared it was her turn again.

Tonight our other son, Ben and his family were going up to the room to meet Abby, so we slipped away, and went to Cracker Barrel.

So now I am full of country cookin, and quite sleepy.  But we are so blessed with Abby’s arrival and all 5 of our grandkids.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just a little hole

I was digging and made a hole in a sprinkler pipe!!!  Ouch.  It leaks a bunch, so today, its after midnight, I get to go find some plumbing parts to fix it.

Or fess up to the sprinkler folks and hire them to come and tell me how dumb I am.  And then charge the sh/t outta me.  I’ll try my way first.

Maybe I should go on strike on the ‘Honey Do’ list.   Would have been way easier to have Loyce put the hole in the pipe and then harass her.  Just kidding dear!  Its only my ego.  And my wallet, LOL.

We had another, in the 90’s day here and I sissied out and stayed in the A/C paying bills for most of the day.  We didn’t have that many bills but that’s my excuse.

Tonight we have the grand daughter again, so maybe one of these days our family will be one larger!!!!!!!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two cars and the truck

One of those days when all you do is work.  Yuk!  I didn’t do all that much, but I am slow at it.

I decided to change oil in Loyce’s Ford SUV, and that took a couple of hours.  Its not near as fast when you have to crawl on the garage floor on your back to get to the drain plugs and the filters.

And the oil has to be bottled back up to take back over to Wal Mart where they dispose of it.

But as if I hadn’t had enough of being oily, I started on the Camry.  It has a small 4 cylinder engine, but still it is so low to the ground that this fat boy had it up on a ten foot jack, just to slide under it.  Well maybe an 18 inch jack.

So the day was getting long, when I decided that the truck too, needed its oil changed.  I was riding the scoot over and getting the oil and filters, so as not to get the cars too hot.  I do not like hot oil down my sleeve. 

Finally I jugged up all the waste oil and took it over to the back door of Wal Mart.  If they catch you, you have to sign the used oil book inside, and I am always all gooky by the time I take the jugs over. So I sneak and dump the stuff off.  The guys out in the drive have work to do and don’t give a darn.  The lady inside would have a fit, but she generally doesn’t know about it.

Your  signature has your address and a guarantee that you didn’t bring oil with contaminates like antifreeze.   I sure hope my oil doesn’t have bad stuff in it, but how can I guarantee that it doesn’t?  One of the vehicles could have a problem, and I may not know it.

I am glad that I do not have to work in a garage on a daily basis.  With the problems I have with my health, I think it would kill me.

Retired Rod