Monday, May 31, 2010

Swimmin and Such!

More of the same!  We headed out in the pontoon boat before noon, to go cove out.  Now for those of you that are not lake ozark savey, coving out refers to going to another cove other than your own, and parking in the back on the anchor and swimming and playing in their cove.

So we went and coved out in a cove about 7 miles up the river from us.  This cove has a really shallow back end where we could anchor with only minimum anchor rope.  Hanging out where you could touch bottom if you stood up really straight.  We won't let the kids dive or jump in from the boat when we are in these shallow areas, but they were having fun just the same.

We had sandwiches along, and the kids dug into them as we pulled the anchor to head back.  We drove around some of the other coves along the way back to our own cove.  It is kind of, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence situation.

Lake Ozark is formed by the Bagnel Dam that was built way back in 1929 and closed in 1931.  They started work on the project just as black Friday and the crash of the stock market occurred.  We have over 100 miles of river that is dammed up until you get to the next dam at Warsaw, Mo.  That becomes Truman Lake and goes for miles again.

Since this area is very hilly, bordering on mountainous, there is cove after cove up every creek.  I think there is around 1,700 miles of shoreline.  So coving out can take many forms.  We have never boated more than halfway to Truman Dam, and that took all day.  It has been many years since we did that as well.

Tonight we enjoyed pork chop and veggi skewers on the grill, and then went to the fireworks show on the water with the boat. 

A local hotel, the Lodge of the Four Seasons has had fireworks for as many years as I can remember, but we think the length of the show was much shorter tonight.  Its the economy, as we didn't feel the lake was as busy with boats today either.

Still we managed to tire the grandkids out as they crashed to sleep on the pontoon ride back home.  The moon hasn't come up yet, and the ride across the water is dark, but all the homes on the shoreline are lit with yellow bug lights.  The docks have blue markers on them, so it is really neat at night.

Not wanting to give up and go to bed ourselves, we are telling old stories about many years ago out on the screened porch, arguing as to our memories of the events so long ago.  I'm sure my version is more close to the way it happened than how you told it!!

Well anyway, have a Happy Memorial Day!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holiday Fun

We are doing the family thing here at the lake tonight.  We spent the day on the dock having fun in the sun. 

Tonight was a big dinner with taco's as the main entree.  We stuffed ourselves, and are hanging out, as the grandkids sleep.

So I hope this finds you having fun and enjoying your family where ever you have landed for this holiday.

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ready for the big weekend.

I'm ready for the big weekend!!!   The dock has been cleaned from end to end, and the cover is off of the pontoon and the engine has been started.  I was amazed that the battery didn't really need charged after all winter's dormancy.

But I put the charger on anyway and left it for a couple of hours just to make sure.  Again, I spent all day out on the dock.  In the afternoon, Loyce came out and ran that blasted washer on the lounge chairs.  That gave me some down time away from the machine.

Tonight, we went to Bandanna's bar be cue, a favorite for us here in Lake Ozark.  I have blogged several times about the chain and this restaurant in particular, so it will suffice to say we enjoy going there.

So bring on the family, as we are as ready as we will ever be.

Retired Rod

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cleaning up winters mess.

Its the middle of the night, and I am sitting here wondering what I did all day.  That is because  I ran the pressure washer on the dock all afternoon washing away the winter filth.  We had a rather nasty winter here in Missouri, and it left a mound of grunge on everything.

I washed and washed, and it is only about half done!  That is not good as I have sore arms from the wand and vibration of the machine.  But, if we are going to come anywhere close to enjoying the use of the dock, I must not stop in this job.  So tomorrow will be more of the same.

I washed the cover of the pontoon boat as well, but the real work comes when I remove the cover, as the big grungy couches are underneath.  So clean clean clean.

Tonight we made another Wal Mart run, as if the car full of stuff we brought from KC wasn’t going to be enough.  Our supplies here are quite low, as we have not used the house to live in since last September.  I’ve spent some nights here, but only to do maintenance stuff.  We didn’t entertain.  That is quite different.

So not much to blog about, except that I need to get the battery charger going in the morning so motors can be brought back to life.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back at Lake Ozark for the Holiday

Now that the Canadians have Victoria Day all in the books, it is time for us US bound people to begin our Memorial Day.  And since campgrounds become impossible over these big holidays, we for one park the Motorhome in the very back part of the lot and hope that it doesn't get out of the fence while the crazy's are out and about.

It is this very thing that caused us to sell our RV's back in the late 70s and become lake property owners.  At least we had a reservation at our own place, that wouldn't be given away before we got there.  We spent some nights in parking lots when we had our Class C, and that always put a dim light on our supposed good time.

But with that said, we never like all the work that goes into a lake cabin, and that is why we are here several days early, because there is so much work to get ready to have guests.  I have been here several times during the winter, but Loyce has not been here since last Labor Day.   And it goes without saying that I can't clean like she can or does, so we start anew.

Our day was packing the car and driving three and a half hours to get to Lake Ozark.  Then the unpacking part.  One of the smoke detectors was beeping as we opened the door, so that had to be silenced almost immediately.  Luckily I found a supply of new batteries.

I think we will just hang out tonight, as the work will not go anywhere, but will be right here when we get up in the morning.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Kitchen Faucet

This was supposed to be the day we put the new faucet into the RV, but when I went to start the truck, it wouldn't start.  Remember it wouldn't start up in Des Moines. And now it has failed to proceed three times.  That's it, the battery has had it.

So a trip to Sam's Club with the old battery and a charge card and now it all needed installed.

The UPS guy delivered the new faucet, and it had the entire kit, but we just need the valve body so it was unpacked in the house.

Looks like the old one, and it had the instructions.  

After Al said he could have put his New faucet in and wouldn't hire it done again, that pretty much sealed it that I would be the installer.

I'm good at ripping stuff apart, so I removed the big long nut that holds the half moon washer and it all came apart.  The old valve has the broken hot water line and the new one is beside it.

From underneath, you can see the white plugs I had put into the lines so we could turn the water back on up in Des Moines.  Those had to come out too.  Note the broken end of the hot pipe.

From here I fed the new pipes down the hole in the counter.  They have to go one at a time.

From underneath I tightened the long nut that holds the half moon washer with a 7/16 ths deep socket and rachet.  Note the teflon tape on the new water lines.  Looks like I still didn't have those plugs out yet.

Here the new lines are plumbed into the water lines from below the floor, and the supply line is pushed over the Tee that is on the bottom of the spout.  It has a coulet grabber mechanism that goes on but doesn't come back off , unless you hold it in while pulling on the line.

These pipes are what I should inspect every now and then.  Especially after the rig has been stored for winter.  If water freezes in these lines it will expand the stainless steel webbing and the plastic pipe inside.

Here are the threaded hose style connections that connect the PEX pipe to the faucet lines.  The PEX is red and blue for hot and cold.  Older rigs may well be all white pipe.  I did not have teflon tape on the old faucet, but I decided that since it is really cheap and I had it on hand, why not use some?  It certainly can't hurt anything.

And this is what I wanted to see!!!!!  Water!!!  And none came out of the plumbing underneath.

We have never had the coach in freezing weather, so it couldn't have frozen while I owned it.  With that said, remember that we bought this rig as a hold over that haden't been sold in 2009. 

It is a 2008 model, so it sat in freezing weather up in Des Moines for its first winter.  Sooooooo,  perhaps the winterization that year left something to be desired.  Or it may just be a failure of new products in their first year of service.  But I seriously doubt it.

We have always used a pressure regulator, but not one of the really expensive models that have the round gage and variable pressure.  Is that really necessary? 

All of these pictures were taken with my little cell phone, so some of the focus suffers, but at least you can tell how things were completed.

I would enjoy comments on how you might have proceeded differently, as I am an accountant not a plumber.  I can run the ten key adding machine quite fast, but wrenches are more of a mystery!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Staying Away from the RV

With the RV gods in the snit that they are presently in, I never went any where near the Motor home today.  I decided to let well enough alone.

Al's comment about the slides not going in and the legs not retracting being the worst fear of the RVer is right on.  And we purposely purchased a coach that does not use hydraulics for any of these functions.  Our jacks are screw style mechanical, and the slides are also gear in slotted track driven just because of the hydraulic issues that seem to crop up.

With that said, some folks have troubles with shear keys in the mechanical models and I don't have any idea where the shear keys are or how to replace them.  Nor do I carry any spares.  Should I look into this?

Today was your ordinary back in town day, with the way too high lawn big on the priority list.  It was to be hot in the afternoon, so I was out there in the AM and was all done before noon.

I also washed on the truck  that sat over in the storage lot and the Camry that went to Des Moines.  They were both filthy.  The truck was splattered by a big muddy dump truck on the way over to the Doctor's office on the day we left.

I rode the motor scooter in the afternoon, but wasn't able to make it all the way up to Ontario and buzz by Sandra's street and make a bunch of noise to bother her.  Well actually this bike is whisper quiet, so I think Sandra would approve.  LOL   Link

I spent the rest of the day looking up bills, and paying them.  Didn't I just do that before we left?  How can there be so many more in five days away?

That is one of the things that bugs me while we are off for the snow bird bit in the winter.  The bills pile up.  Seems like several of the companies have no way to look up how much you owe.  They rely on old fashioned snail mail.

My son brings all the mail into the house while we are gone, but making him go thru it and find the bills would be asking way too much in my opinion.  So I attempt to get online accounts set up for all the bills, where I can just go in and look how much I owe.

I use my brokerage account to pay the bills, as that is one of their many services, and it works quite well.  But what do you do with the water company, or the sewer company that are anchored in 1960, mailing out paper billings?  I call to find out, but even then they act like it is a complete inconvenience to look up the amount.  I realize these are snow bird problems, and full timers don't care about the home water bill.

But for now, I think I have it down to only two bills that have to be called each month when we are away.  And since it is a routine, I call even when we are home too.  That's way easier than looking for that paper bill.

It was hot here today, as we were in the 90s and I saw one marquee that said 33 C.  Now I think summer has really arrived!

Retired Rod

Monday, May 24, 2010

More troubles

I'm not sure what I did to enrage the RV gods, but it is fairly appearant that they are not happy.  Case In Point.

As I was all packed up and ready to depart the RV park today about 11:30 in the morning, I pressed the button to retract the jacks under the rig, and they began to retract.

The all of a sudden, they just stopped and all the lights on the panel began to flash.  In unison, and all at once.  No button that was pressed would gain attention of the locked up computer brain inside.

The jacks were still in contact with the ground, all four of them.  I wasn't going a place.  I turned off the engine, and shut down the entire coach, but to no avail, it all came back on flashing.

I got out the really big bag of books that Tiffin places in every coach they build, and began the sorting process to find the Atwood Level Legs manual.  I don't have a manual, but rather the installation guide. It had some suggestions, but everything I pressed was ignored as the brains seemed locked in a never ending loop.

I shut it all down again and waited as though some magic might reset things, but it didn't.

Finally, I held the brakes and put the transmission into drive gear.  Oh my land, it didn't like that!!!!!  The alarms sounded, and the lights flashed in a different pattern, and it scared me into Park gear instantly.

To my surprise, the jack under my seat rammed home in its up position.  Clack Clack Clack.  Followed by others, but I didn't hear all four.  I raced out the door, and did the inspection, and all four were in the up position.

Back in the driver's seat, the lights were all four green, and I was able to turn the panel off.  Not knowing if they would cycle again, I quickly decided that I would leave well enough alone, until I was safely parked in a place where it wouldn't matter so much if it failed again.

After driving to KC and unloading here at the house, I went to the storage lot where I parked on my spot, and turned on the jacks to auto level.  They all sprang into action, but the point of level is now gone.  One of the back ones fully extended, but the computer announced that we were now level.  No we weren't, so the memory has been erased.

I retracted the jacks, and they retracted normally.  Now I will have to re read the book, to learn again how to set a level point,  but it was just about dark, so that will have to come another day.

I confused it somehow, but the emergency retract command must have presidence over everything else, as it saved my bacon!

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The burst part.

Randy asked for pictures.  But getting pictures of the bottom of the faucet requires laying on my back on the wet carpet in the bottom of the cabinet under the sink.  So today I put a fan under there and hoped for dryer weather.

I did take a shot of the stub end of the faucet line that I removed from the PEX plumbing under the sink.

The water pressure over time expanded the stainless steel braid over this pipe.  Finally the braid parted, and the plastic ballooned until it burst.  I did not cut the stainless steel webbing, the water pressure did all the damage.  The plastic pipe was burst laterally as a split, and I did cut the plastic with a knife.

So this is why we all need to be using a pressure regulator on our hose as we hook it up to the city faucet.  Which I do every time.  So why did it fail?  I will probably never know.

These pipes in the vacation grade travel trailer were only plastic, and did not have the stainless steel webbing over them.  But in my house, the pipes to the faucets and toilets all have this braided cover.  So I feel that we had a quality faucet to begin with.  Also the parts guy at the Tiffin factory indicated that they use only residential quality fixtures, where they are available, so try to go figure that out.

He said that I should be able to purchase an ordinary Price Pfister  faucet and it would fit right in the counter top.  But then he offered to send me one, so a readily agreed.

Perhaps inspection of the visible plumbing lines from time to time would be a good thing, but who is going to empty out all the stuff under the sink or bath vanity in order to take his flashlight and lay on the floor doing this inspection?  Obviously I didn't.

When I get the old parts out of the counter, and new parts installed, I promise I will take more pictures of the failed pieces.  As Randy said for instructional purposes.

We will pack up here tomorrow and head on back to KC, as other members of the family are here and can take over our duties.  It was in the high 80's today and the wind blew from the South at a high rate of speed.  We rocked and rolled with slide toppers flapping for most of the afternoon, so lets hope that subsides for tomorrow's drive  South.

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Drying Out

Wow! It wasn't bad enough to warrant calling the insurance company, but we really do appreciate all the best wishes from everyone.  We are lucky in that most of the water was running down the entry stair and out under the door.

Our floor in the center of the main living area is a tile, that is a composite material.  It looks like it is stone, but is light weight.  It is glued into place when the floor is first assembled before the walls go on.  It was wet, but had most of the water running for the door.  We were luckily tipped somewhat toward that way.  We had no wet carpet except for the piece in the bottom of the cupboard.

I still haven't tried the heater that is in that slide, but it is in its own compartment.  The drawers were full of water, but only for about an hour or less, so we dumped them out and set them up to dry.  So our water damage seems minimal.  Mostly just dry stuff out.

I went into town to a hardware and lumber store where purchased the correct size plastic PVC plugs. They went  into the faucet  fittings to plug them off, so we could turn the water back on this morning.  Then I called the folks at Red Bay Alabama, since we are still under warranty.

They feel that the piping on the faucet must be defective, since I have always used a pressure regulator, and will ship a brand new faucet yet today (Friday) to our home address. I will evaluate how complicated it is to install once I get the new parts.  If it is not too bad, I'll do it myself, but should I not understand, I will have to employ the local RV place.

Red Bay was instantly wanting me to stop by on my travels, but I explained that we were 800 miles away, so that would not be happening as just a casual trip.

So we can't use the kitchen sink for now, but the bathroom all works, and we were going home on Sunday anyway.

Our afternoon was consumed by errands to repair and eventually replace the hearing device that Loyce's dad uses.  The old one was broken and worn, so it was decided to just get a new one.  I hope he likes it as well as he did the broken one.

Tonight we all went to Cucina Bravo Italliano, a restaurant at the new Jordan Creek mall in West Des Moines.  It is one of those places where it looks like you were in Italy inside.  It has the brick oven that you can see burning from all over the room.  They bake fresh Italian bread and bring it out as an appetizer.  It was fairly dynamite!

So what seemed like a drippy mess in the middle of a rainy night, is much better once the sun comes out and stuff dries out.  But it may be a while until we can cook in here without the kitchen sink having water.  More restaurant time!!!!

Retired Rod

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Des Moines with a flood.

The day was routine until a little while ago.  I went back to the Doctor's office, and had a good visit, where we revamped my prescriptions.  Of course later in the day, I was called by the old pharmacy service that my insurance company let go, that they couldn't fill the scripts.

That is because the Dr.'s office faxed them to the wrong company, even after I explained that there was a new company, and that they had to be faxed to the new company......  but that's only a minor issue.

We are in a suburb of Des Moines, at the campground we routinely use here, and Loyce helped move her dad, so we went out to supper at the local Fuddruckers, only to find out they don't have sweet potato fries.  But I even got along with that all right.

But when we got back to the Motor Home, we had water pouring out of the kitchen slide and the entrance door all over the ground, and running away down the hill in the gravel road.  I ran and shut off the water at the entrance hose.

The short version is that the faucet pipes burst under the sink.  The kitchen drawers are full of water with the utensils.  All the stuff under the sink is soaked, and all the cardboard boxes are ruined.  What do you do with a soggy roll of aluminum foil, or Glad wrap?

Without the ability to turn on the water, or water pump, we are totally without any water in the rig.  Our kitchen is in a slide, so that is plumbed back into the main part of the rig under the shower floor.  It is dark under all the cabinets, so perhaps this needs to be addressed tomorrow.

So for now, we are here precariously without any way to wash up or cook.  And we have stuff stacked all over drying out since we had a regular flood when we opened the door.

This is the city where we purchased the rig, but they are a division of their Minneapolis store, so I don't hold much faith that we will get help from them, but at least that is a good place to start.  And yes I had a pressure regulator in the hose at the CG faucet.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RVing back to Des Moines

We had rain all day, and I had to go to the doctor's office for lab draws.  It is mundane to say the least.  I only waited about a half hour after my appointed time, and that is really good.  It sometimes is a lot longer.

The rest of the day, we had some of the grand kids here and that turns into play and more play.  Fun, but not much to blog about.

We have decided to head back up to Des Moines tomorrow with the RV.  We are concerned about Loyce's father again as he will be admitted to a skilled care facility, and she wants to be there for the admission.

I have to go back to the Doctor's office in the morning, so that will slow the process down of getting the RV ready, but Loyce will not wait for me so she can be on time. 

This is not what I envisioned as heading out with the RV for an adventure, but perhaps it will help with the hitch itch somewhat.  So we will be turning expensive diesel fuel into smoke!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hitch itch and a motorcycle that moans.

What's wrong with me?  I was home all of about 12 hours and I was thinking about where we should go with the RV next.  It was as if the car and motel trip to Ohio didn't count.

I didn't have the nerve to bring it up to Loyce, as she seems perfectly content to stay here in KC and do her crafts and babysitting.  But my wheels are spinning in place already.

I have to stay here for a while, since I need new prescriptions, and that means that I have to go see the doctor.  Boo, hiss, but then he has the keys to the safe that holds all the new pills necessary for my conditions.  How did it get like this?

So like the good boy that I am, I will keep my thoughts to myself, and go peacefully to the Lab appointment that I have tomorrow.  That is where the vampire lab tech will drain about a quart of blood from my arm, and then I should get the appointment to come back and see the doc next week.

If all goes well, maybe I can sneek off somewhere when no one is looking.

Since I was soo nervous, I headed out on the Maxi Scooter today, first trying to find the new building that the doctor's office had moved to.  I felt kind of sheepish, when it was just next door to the old building, but then who knew?

Then I stopped by the Suzuki dealership to inquire about the noise that the scooter makes when you shut it down, or put up the kickstand too quickly.

It's kind of a moaning whistle.  Wierd, but it made it right while the tech was riding it around in the parking lot.  He was baffled!  Finally telling me I needed to leave it for a while so he could analyze it more thouroghly.  It was a sunny and 70 kind of a day, so that wasn't going to happen.

I rode out in the country, on the many blacktop roads we have South of the city, here in Johnson county.  After filling up the gas tank, the noise went away for a while.

The short story on the noise came from the BurgmanUSA website.  They refer to it as the Burgman fart.  Seems that the gas tank builds up pressure from the pump system, and has a pressure relief valve system to pass this over pressure gas.  This release kind of whistles and makes a moan sound all at the same time.

It happens more on warm days, when the gas tank is more empty.  It has been a problem for years, and no one has sought fit to decide that it needs to be fixed.  It is kind of like a cross between an whistle and a sigh.  Huuuuhhhh, with kind of a errie moan added in for good measure.

The web sight said to ignore it and keep riding.  Its normal........

But surely the folks at the dealership knew all about this sound, but they said they would look into it later when I brought it in for the 600 mile service.  Don't you wonder how many folks they tell that too?

I still want to go somewhere........

Retired Rod

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Returned home to KC

I slept soundly last night, but still awoke tired and lifeless.  Perhaps I am in a sleep deficit.   But I headed out to the South side of Des Moines.  We had a luncheon date.

As a post mortem, we gathered at the local Cheers Bar that we all frequent, Francie's.   Of course I am not a regular anymore, but still enjoy any time I can get there.

Larry, one of the fellows that drove his truck to Dayton had emptied the trailer and returned it to Des Moines from his farm in the Stewart area, so we hooked it to my truck and I was off after the lunch.

It still takes 3 and a half hours to get to the house here in KC, and this afternoon I arrived to the North side of town right at 5 PM.  So I added on another hour to drive oh so slowly thru the freeway traffic, stop and go parking lot.

Finally I arrived home, and began washing up the trailer to place it in storage.  I know it will just get all dirty again over there, but atleast the road grime will be gone.  It rained off an on all day yesterday as we were driving the 600 mile run.  And that always creates the grunge.

So tonight I am again falling asleep at the computer keyboard.  I am three days behind in reading blogs, but can't seem to stay awake enough to read any of them...........z.z.zzzz.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back in Des Moines

We drove all day again retracing our steps thru Indy and out to Illinois. Indy on Sunday morning was a piece of cake. Well with the help of the GPS anyway.

Tonight it is another motel room, but I donot have to get up for anything until I want to tomorrow. That will be good as I am too tired to even plug in the computer.

Not much of a blog for tonight, but it wouldn't make much sense anyway. LOL.

Retired Rod

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Day two of the show.

Our day today started at 6am after retiring at midnight the night before.  To say it was early, made my head numb.  But we ate breakfast and headed for the show.  The begins slowly and quietly at the show.

At first, the only people on the grounds are the exhibitors.  They tend to organize and get ready for the flood of people.  We unload the trailer and set up our displays in our store.  Our store was  a 9 x 18 arched roof tent.  It contained a door at its front and the walls consisted of tables with the stuff for sale.

As it neared 8 AM we went up to the ticket area and sold our remaining tickets at the pre show price.  That saved two folks  a five dollar bill.  The show is $25 at the door, but since we purchased the tickets last month, we sold them for the $20 they cost.

Once the gates are open, everything moves all at once. Crowds move from spot to spot and sales begin.  It becomes a blur.

At 9 AM the vendors inside the buildings open and the retail folks begin to sell their wares.  This is when I begin to watch the inside booth where I work.. We are the overflow people, that arrive when times become so hectic that the employee staff cannot keep up.  Eventually none of us can keep up.

It became noon in a flash, and by 3 PM we were beginning to slow the pace.  That is when we went back to our outside duties.  Somewhere in there I had a burger that one of the fellows went after.

Tonight we disassembled the outside tent, and stored everything back in the trailer.  The show is essentially over.  Only two of us help the inside vendor, which we started many years ago.  We were invited to their evening final meal, which meant we left our other brothers for the night.

We went to Lone Star, and had a very nice meal that was subsidized by the company.   Other than our ticket into the show and this meal, we do not actually get any pay.  I'm not sure how this arrangement came about, but our vendor ticket opens all the doors available to the highest level of exhibitor.  That in itself is worth the small amount of actual work we might do.

Tomorrow we will pack up and depart the hotel, spend a couple of hours at the show, and drive back to Des Moines.  That is mind boggling as I type it, so I think I need to get some sleep!!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday at the Hamfest.

The Dayton show is really two days long, if you don't count the setup day, and Sunday morning when you have to tear down and get ready to leave.

We drive back to Des Moines, as many of the guys that I go with are still working, and need to be back to work.  Ugh, that four letter word starting with W.  But I plan on staying Sunday night in Des Moines and returning to KC on Monday.  We will have driven or ridden the entire 600 miles from Dayton when we arrive back in Des Moines, and another 4 hours to KC is over the top.

I have done it in prior years, but it is not my smartest decision.

Today was the first full day of the show.  We spent the morning waiting on the trade at our tent booth in the flea market.  We had many things to sell, and many of them were sold today.  As it became noon, I went inside and helped the folks at WB0W in their retail indoor sales store.

Retail vendors rent large table layouts inside the buildings to set up their retail stores.  I think there were 8 of us behind the tables for most of the afternoon.  Customers seemed to have us busy almost all the time.  But, I feel that our closing ratio of sales, was way off this year.  Seems like no matter what I did, I couldn't get folks to say yes I want to buy that.  Its the economy!

So today was a big day, with work and play.  It is kind of blurry whether I was working or playing.  but I spent most of the afternoon doing what ever I was doing.  Again the day is over and we are headed to the second full day.

Tonight we went to a D Star meeting, that we had hopes of being informative, but it turned out to be rather weak.  So after a while we all snuck out and went to Cracker Barrel.  Ummm.\

Tomorrow is another day so I need to finish this and hit the rack!

Retired Rod

Friday, May 14, 2010

Over to the Show and the AF Museum

Today we hauled the trailer over to the three spaces that we rent in the outside flea market.  We have a new tent like structure that needed to be assembled, and much of the electronic goodies that we had in the trailer had to be unpacked.

Several of our group wanted to go to the Liquidation retailer downtown in Dayton.  Mendelson's.  I'm not sure how to describe this old factory building other than lots of stuff.  Mostly factory and Liquidation stuff.  They buy out old parts and pieces of stuff that is left over as production runs are changed to new products.

There is everything imaginable.  All in one old building.  The entire third floor is stuff from electronics manufacturers.  Us fellows can spend hours in this place.  It is dirty dingy and old.  And delightful!

After attempting to round up everyone, we moved on to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum.  This is five giant hangars of every old plane ever made.  Well maybe not every one, but almost anything that counted in warfare anyway.  The most notable plane is a B 29 named Bock's Car.  This is the plane that dropped the Fat Man nuclear warhead on Nagasaki, Japan.  It just makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, everytime I stand in front of it.  So much history, so long ago.  Many visitors are Japanese, and I can't help to wonder what they are saying in their excited staccato discussions in its presence.

We spent the afternoon roaming the museum from hangar to hangar.  Finally we went back the the Hamvention, where our brothers were busy selling the wares from the trailer.

After leaving, we went to a favorite hangout "Marion's Pizza."  This place was voted best pizza in Dayton, and we seem to always seem to include it on one of the nights.

Tonight, we are just hanging around the room, as tomorrow at 6 AM will come really early, as the show officially starts for the general public, that are not exhibitors.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From Dayton Ohio

We went from 8 to 25 followers in one day, Wow.  I really do appreciate all of you joining as followers.  I hoped that I had folks that stopped by, and I do have a counter at the very bottom of the blog, but I never really watch the numbers as they increment.  Again thank you for stopping by.

We awakened to drenching rain in Des Moines this morning, and it made packing the car a mess.  Thank goodness we had the trailer all packed and only personal stuff was stuffed in on top.

We drove all day.  600 miles, but we had four folks in the car to drive and spell each other so while the day seemed long, we never had grueling drive times.  So we are here and its late at night in the motel and in the Eastern time zone.

That automatically makes it bed time, so off we go.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I have never added the followers widget, mainly because I was fairly embarrassed that I didn't have any.  But as the comment added today points out, the widget allows folks to add themselves as a follower.

So after making the comment on Al's blog about very few followers, and having folks reassure me that they do in fact read the blog, I have added the follower widget. 

It is reassuring to know that someone does read what you write, and I agree completely that the folks you thought you were writing the blog for (family, friends) usually haven't visited in weeks!  But, I am even more reassured by the fact that blogging has opened the opportunity to acquire so many more friends that really do read the blog!  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gone to Des Moines

Tonight I am in Des Moines at a motel all by myself. It isn't often that I find myself completely alone, but tonight is one of them.

So I called an old neighbor and we went to dinner. Roger and Dianne lived across the street from us for almost 30 years, so we just pick up where we left off. They were great company!

I am posting this with the blackberry tonight as the computer is packed ready to go in the morning.

I'm always excited and never sleep very well. So tomorrow is the big travel day.

Not much to blog about and a really small key board, so I'll just end off and get back later.

Next time we will be in Ohio.

Retired Rod

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Packing up, and a lawn chair!

Well this is the night before the big week.  Dayton Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio.  Tomorrow is departure for Des Moines, where I will join up with nine other fellows for our annual trek East.

I have been trying to think of all the stuff I need to get ready, but as I age, thinking off all the stuff gets more difficult.  So simpler is now my mantra.  Who needs all that stuff anyway?

Clothes, camera, Pills, medications to go with all the pills, and lets see did I get the clothes?  Oh a new lawn chair, like the one my son Ben had this weekend on the campout.

He got it at Sam's Club, and when I got back yesterday I went over there and they didn't have any more!  Drat!   So I thought about it some and decided they might have some over at the store in South KC on the Missouri side.

So in the driving rain about 5 PM, I drove to Missouri.  About 15 miles from here, and went to the Sam's Club there.  I wandered the store and didn't find any.  I was about to give up, when I did something very un male like!  I found a clerk, that was kind of rough and tumble, ya know, like me,  LOL, and I (shudder)  ........ asked if he still had some.......

He imediately said "ya I think so"  and led me to a shelf back by the wall.  And lo and behold they still had four.  Two Red, and two Lime Green.  Ben's were Blue but it didn't take me too long to decide that there wouldn't be any lime green ones at my house.

More like lima bean green, ugg!  So the two red ones are in the back of the pickup.

Stuff is laying out all over the house, but if it quits raining some in the morning, I'll get it out in the truck.  I got all day to get up to Des Moines, and its only a 200 mile drive.

So I do have somewhere to go, but yes I have all day to get there.

Retired Rod

Monday, May 10, 2010

The rest of the campout.

As it turned out, our warmest day was Friday, the day we arrived at Lake Melvern.  Saturday's blustery cool winds did have some sun along, but were just too cool to sit outside for very long.

I left the door open in the afternoon, but as the wind picked up I had to go close it about dinner time.  We grilled skewers outside, but the grill lid had to be closed to get the meat done.  The veggies never did brown much, and they remained crisp.  We had them with fried potato crowns and green beans.  It was a good meal.

The campfire at dark was almost a bonfire.  We kept tossing on logs, while the kids did s'mores.  It was hard not to flame the marshmallowes, but the heat was welcome as the cold air came off the lake.  Caden, our eight year old, ate a lot of the chocolate.  And Claire, the five year old, had melted marshmallow all over her clothes, and hands, and face....

I think we had at least four bundles of wood.  After the last stick of wood went on the fire, I gave up and went to bed.  I know it was well past midnight before the rest gave up.

On Sunday morning we had a wonderful mothers day breakfast prepared by Melissa, our daughter in law.  We never cooked a thing, it all came from their camper warm and delicious. 

We did our mothers day visiting until around noon, when it became checkout time.  Kansas Parks are strict about leaving at checkout, but it was cold and overcast.  The wind was flapping the slide awnings, so we didn't think they would enforce the time thing.  But then it began to rain, so we rolled anyway.

Tonight the rig is empty and parked at storage, and we are back at the much warmer sticks and bricks home.  Onward to the next adventure!!

Dayton, Ohio and the Hamvention.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More Melvern Lake

Today was a very cool day in Kansas.  Melvern Lake is about 10 miles North of I 35 on US 75.  This is the highway that leads into Topeka if you travel it for another 40 miles or so.  And of course you could just stay on the Interstate toll road from Emporia and it would take you to Topeka, but what fun is that?

We are about an hour South of Olathe, Kansas which is the start of the KC city metro area.  We drive over to I 35 from our house on a country road, which skirts all that city, so we miss Olathe.

Today after playing with the grand kids in the morning, we decided to go 20 miles back North up the interstate and do a quick Wal Mart run.  Seems like we never run out of stuff to get at a Wal Mart.  I'm sure they appreciate all our business.  Not!

Any way, we just messed around all day and here it is dark again so another campfire is in the offing. 

It was too cool to do anything with the lake, other than just sit here a look at it most of the day.  But then what else would you have us do?

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Melvern Lake

We are at the Melvern, Kansas Corps of Engineers Lake, just South of Lyndon, Kansas.  The town of Melvern is a few miles East of the lake.  There are several campgrounds here, and the COE campground is actually on the tailwater from the dam.  It is a gorgeous park, but is all reservable.  And the weekends are booked up almost all year.  So we are not there.

We are at the Eisenhower State Park that is on the North Shore of the actual lake.  This park is run by the state of Kansas, and requires a Kansas State Park sticker for access.  It costs 4.75 a day, or $24 a year.  We also had the car, so that took another half price sticker since we paid for the motorhome as well.

Then, we are on a premium site, and have water and electric so that was another $20 a day, so it becomes a bit pricey, if you were to stay here for a while.  My oldest son has purchased an annual camping pass as well as his annual sticker, and he can camp as much as he wants, in any Kansas park.  He does have to register, and pay utilities by the day.

So for us, it is higher  for our first time out this year since we had to buy the park stickers too.  


This is a premium site, as the lake goes all the way around this point.  You can walk right out the back door, and fish in the lake.  They have a swimming beach, but in the summer the kids also swim from these sites.


This is on a point, and the water goes all around the yard.  The next site to our left is about a hundred yards away, but to our right side the next camper is about 40 feet.  Our oldest son Chris is on that site with his family.


Then next site after Chris is our younger son Ben and his family.  We got three in a row, all lake front.  It is still early in the year, so the park is not as full as it will be later on.  Once it is warmer, three in a row will be a dream, not reality.

I’ll go ahead and post this even though I will date it for tomorrow.  Have to get back out and enjoy a site that has some IT Factor, while we have it.

Retired Rod

Friday, May 7, 2010

Camping for the Weekend.

Work Work Work!  Today was an all day work day outside.  It was before 8 AM when I saw the last of the folks leave for their office.  That was my cue, to go start up the lawn mower.  I use a Lawnboy for trimming, and ran it for about a half hour.

It is realatively quiet compared to the John Deere garden tractor that came next.  Still the tractor is just a residential model, with about an 11 horse Koehler engine.  But it does pop much louder than the little two cycle pusher.

The yard was cleaned up about 11 am and I headed out to do some errands on the scooter.  I was gone for over an hour.  After lunch, I went over and traded the pickup for the motorhome at the storage lot.

So with the motorhome back here, it was out with the pressure washer and bucket and brush.   I washed all the way around the coach, and of course, it now looks like it will rain any minute. 

Still feeling industrious, I washed the Camry, and the new Suzuki motor scooter.  So now it will rain durnig our drive to the campground tomorrow. 

Our plan is to head for Melvern, Kansas, and call our son to see where they land.  They are checking where we can get in, ahead of us, so I will just have to report how it all works out.  Assuming I can get verizon internet where we end up.

It is really spotty once you leave the interstate, in central Kansas.  It might be that we only have the blackberry, as that is on T-Moblie, or we may have none of it.

The satellite TV should work if we are not under any trees that block the South.  Beyond that we need to build a big campfire to keep us occupied.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The day got away!

Today was a go on errands day.  On the motor scooter!  Well the first errand was to fix the handle bar end on the bike.  As I learned it just pulls out, and has a rubber expansion piece that crushes inside the hollow end of the bar.

I had never seen it apart, so I thought it best to let them put it back on.  Their power was out as they are building a new addition onto the building, and today the old electric system was being married into the new panels.  I waited for a while, but finally the salesman went and got a few tools and fixed it in the drive.

From there I went to the bank, to do some simple banking.  They always look at you like a criminal when you arrive in a motorcycle jacket.  Stereotypes!

From there it was on to the barbershop.  I've been going there since we moved to KC, and have become good friends.  And they had moved to a new shop.  All new fixtures and furniture, so I had to go brag it up.  They straightened out the last do from the old shop, that was less than expected.

After that I stopped at the Honda dealer and sat in a CRV, trying to make the little car appeal to me more.  Hey, its nice and everything, but just a bit small for a big fat german fellow like myself.  And expensive too.  Never talked any money.  I know I won't like the deal, because I know how bad it will really be.

Once back at home, after a Wendy's 2.99 burger deal, man those are small, I started in on the blog reading.

From there the day just slipped away.  We did have home made tacos that Melissa brought over tonight in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  But not one beer touched my lips, boring!

We are planning a weekend camping trip with the sons and all the grandkids, for Mothers day this weekend.  More on that later, as it begins to develop.  I have more questions than plans as of now.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hose Cart

I spent a lot of the day messing around with the new hose cart.  In the morning, I went to Lowes looking for a hose cart, that wasn't made by Suncast.  I've had several of the Suncast reel products over the last few years, and I always haul them away broken.

This year was no exception, as Loyce took the reel box we purchased three years ago to the dumpster last night.  It was broken in a zillion pieces down in the reel mechanism.  I could barely unreel the hose, in order to toss it out.  But then we have had a nasty winter and I suppose the freezing of the snow around and in the reel box did it in.  I should take it in, but never do, so it is my fault.

Lowes had just the ticket.

This one is listed at $200 on their web site, but the one I bought was only $89, and is somewhat smaller.  It holds 250 ft of hose, and this one holds 300 ft.

I thought of Al up in Bayfield as I selected the box that was not assembled.  My thinking was that this way I could tighten all the bolts and see to it that all the pieces went where they belonged.

That kind of bit me in the posterior, as when I was sorting stuff out, I found that I was missing a bolt.  A metric carriage bolt.  But I went ahead and put together what I had.

Later in the day, I went back over to Lowes, and inquired about the bolt.  They didn't have one like I needed, but did find a pack of metric number 6 bolts.  Regular bolts, not carraige.  That was as good as they could do.  Otherwise bring it back and exchange it.

Also on that trip, I stopped at Wal Mart with my truck, and told them it was leaking oil all over my drive.  They finished the car they were working on and backed my truck into the bay from the finished side of the garage.  I suggested that the filter might have two gaskets on it.  The old one and the new one that came on the new filter.

They removed the filter and no there was only one gasket.  They put it back on and it still leaked.  Even worse now.  They were perplexed, and talked among themselves.  After a while, they went in and asked the supervisor if they could put on another filter.  These things cost about $4,  but they had to have his OK.  Then I had lost about 2 quarts of oil, so they had to add that back.  They never asked permission on that one.

I guess that Fram has changed the rubber gaskets on their oil filters to a new orange plastic material, from the old black rubber that we are familiar with.  The new gaskets are giving them trouble.  So much for buying Fram Filters!!

Tonight, the truck is still dripping oil all over the driveway, as it is covered in oil on the underside.  I crawled under and checked the filter, and it seems to be dry for now.  The truck will have to drip until it quits.

When I got back from the oil change lane, I pulled up and parked and got out to notice that there was a bolt laying in the driveway.  Now I had looked all over for that bolt before going back to Lowes, but there it was just laying there.  It must have fallen from the package, or gremlins took it, or who knows.

So the hose reel is now together with the chinese bolts that came with it.  And it has 200 feet of hose on it.  Its metal! Now, if I will convince myself to take it in next winter......

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Soccer Practice

We went to Soccer practice today, for our 5 year old grand daughter Claire.  It was quite the experience!  Kindergarten is such a hoot, as there is nothing quite like a room full of 5 year olds.  They seem to be all on their own tangent, all at once.

Now listen up!


At this rare moment, they all pretty much seem to be paying attention to the coach.

That was somewhat of a unique occurrence during the time that we watched.  But they all were having fun, in their own way!


Shot on goal practice!


This boy seemed to be quite big for his age, and could easily outrun the others.  Perhaps he is older than most of the other kids.  He took it right to the net!  The girl behind him gave up chasing!

Today was their last practice for this season, and that was kind of sad, but perhaps the spark is set and we may be looking at professional players at their first organized class.

Other than the practice, we went over to the Rig this morning and took some pictures of the corners of the new Diamond Shield where they have pealed loose in the last week.  I am working with someone from the company in New York, about possibly having those areas re done.  Again we played some phone tag while we went to the soccer practice, so perhaps I will know more tomorrow.

I took a scooter ride late in the day, just to keep up with the daily learning experience.  It does not seem nearly as big and heavy now, and perhaps I will not need those training wheels that Al from the Bayfield Bunch graciously offered last week!


Retired Rod

Monday, May 3, 2010

Considering a new Toad!

As I wrote about it last night, I had stopped by the Ford dealer to look at the Escape as a possibility for a new vehicle to tow, so Loyce doesn't have to follow in a car every where we go.  The 2009 and 2010 Escapes are now towable.  They have the new 6 speed transmission that was jointly designed by GM, Ford, Mazda and others. 

After I wrote that, I went on to study more about the 2009 Escape, and ran into a log jam of bad press.  I was on and  Also on, I couldn't believe the troubles that Ford has had with the little SUV.  Seems that folks are burning up the transmissions one after another.  Some people have had as many as four trannies in their car.

At about 200 miles the oil in the transmission overheats and froths.  At that point it no longer lubricates and the whole thing gets hot hot hot.  It throws out the oil thru the breather and dip stick and then freezes up.  Ford at first denied any thing was wrong.  The after replacing many units, began to blame the RVers for their tow procedures.

Finally they began to have everyone lower the amount of oil in the transmission to the bottom most mark on the dip stick.  Then they started to replace the dip sticks.  I assume the marks are lower on the new sticks.  But even their own mechanics do not know about the service bulletins and top up the oil, causing yet more failures.

So even though I like the Ford product better than the others, I wouldn't know why you would take a chance on buying an Escape when you know they have caused untold grief for unsuspecting owners.  The sales force says that they are fine, and the owners manuals have instructions that are in error.

All of these problems seem to come to an end as the 2010 models arrive, and the owners manuals now explain to leave the oil at the lowest mark on the new dip stick, but no where did I find the simple words, that we found out what was wrong, and WE FIXED IT.

Even if they have corrected the problem, I am sure that I would worry and worry that it was back there burning and literally on fire, the entire time I was pulling it.

So for now, there will not be another Ford Escape in our future.

I wish I liked the Honda CRV, as it seems to be the car of choice, other than the Jeeps, but they get such horrible gas mileage I wouldn't consider them.  I never have liked the GM products, so I am my own worst enemy.

I spent most of the day researching all this on the computer, and before I knew it, I almost didn't have any time left for a scooter ride.  But I did go out and ride over to the rig storage lot to get yet more stuff out to bring home.  I keep thinking of another something, so that is why we just had to get the storage lot so much closer this year.

Tonight, I spent much of my time talking to my ham friends in Des Moines, as we plan to go to Dayton, Ohio.  Even though we talk and talk it thru, we'll mess up and forget something in all our planning.  That's just how it goes!

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cleaning Bugs!

Still more rain.  It rained again during the night and left the pavement wet and the sky overcast.  I  tried to sleep in, but then we had the two grand daughters here for the night last night, and they don't sleep in.

The wife got up at 6:30 with them, and they went to the kitchen to make breakfast.  There was no end to the noise.  So sleep was not to happen.  But I held out with the pillow over my head.  Still, I gave up and was up at 7 :30.

I went over to the storage and fired up the motorhome, driving it back to the house mid morning.  It needed the bugs removed from the new diamond shield vinyl bra.  I was told to remove them immediately, but in this case that was several days.

I scrubbed and scrubbed.  They were like concrete, but slowly they came loose.  You are not to use the pressure washer on high on the vinyl as it will wash loose the covering.  So the brush and soapy water are the only means.

Since it was overcast and stormy cloudy, I only washed back to the doors and slide on each side.  The rain will mess up any wash job anyway.  But with the front clean, I had to go get some 303 treatment.

303 is a UV protectant that is indicated to keep the Diamond Shield from damage in the sun.  It is $16 for a little 16 oz spray bottle.  We find it here in Olathe at Chux Trux.  A truck specialty store.  You are to treat the coating every time you wash it.  I think we could go broke!

I did ride the bike over to the truck place, and on the way back the overcast began to break.  Since you are not supposed to put the 303 on in direct sunlight, of course that is when the sun shines brightly.  I stopped by Wendy's for a cheap burger.

After the rig was back in its storage place, I stopped by the local Ford Dealer, to look at newer Escapes.  They are now towable, and have some rebate attached to them.  Also the salesman indicated that they now have electric assisted brakes, which makes them a nice alternative to the Honda CRV.  I can't get excited, because we have had an Escape for 6 years.  We are just tired of it.

When I got back home, I promptly fell asleep.  Seems that early morning kido thing took its toll on me too.

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Glass

Boy I got that yard mowed yesterday in the nick of time.  Last night after I wrote the blog and went to bed, I heard that first clap of thunder!  It was promptly followed by a driving rainshower.  And then off and on all night long we had the rainies.  First with the wind, but then the wind died.

By morning it was still raining, and that sort of sunk our plans.  You see we had a broken windshield in the pickup truck.  We had nasty rock strikes last summer that were stars and not repairable with the liquid stuff.  And during the winter as it snowed and melted while we were out West, the stars began to crack across the bottom.

That wasn't too bad until I moved the truck.  And tink! It cracked across the drivers side right where I had to look.   So today was the day to get it fixed.

Now we had hoped that they could come and do it in the drive, but nooooo, we had the rain coming down, so it had to go to their garage.  That required Loyce to follow me over to the glass place and bring me back.

By mid afternoon, it was done, and by then the rains had subsided.  Melissa our DIL brought over the girls for another babysitting session and I had her run me back to the windshield shop.

From there it was on to the local Wal Mart to get the oil changed in the truck as well.  There were four ahead of me so I sat and waited.  That spent the rest of the day!  But the truck is now ready for more fun and games.  We take it down to the lake in the summer to put the jet ski back in the water, along with clean up duties.

Tonight we made pizza for our girls, and played the evening away reading books and cutting construction paper and gluing things together. The markers add creativity.

Another day in the books.  No scooter riding, bah!

Retired Rod