Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Last night I acted all cavalier that we could have a quick day at the lake and just head on out to KC.  But that is not as easy as I made it.  Nothing went wrong, and we are here in KC, but it all takes time, and it was 10:30 by the time we got home.

If you remember several days ago, we had the air conditioner man out here to service our AC and he added a couple of pounds of freon.  Well last Thursday just as we were ready to leave for the lake, the AC began to refuse to start.  Too much freon is my guess, but then I am not a refrigeration guy.

I called the service people, but they were all booked up and said Tuesday was the day.  The first day they could come.  So that is tomorrow, or as you read this it is already today.  I have my breath held because this could get expensive rather quickly.  The AC is only 5 years old, but things aren't made like they used to be.

We did have a nice time on the lake this afternoon with the boat and the new jet ski.  Today was in the mid 80s but the wind had kicked up and made the lake rough.  We went North up into the Gravois Arm, and it wasn't as bad up there.

We didn't get on the road until almost 7 PM, as we knew it was without AC back here in KC.  No sense arriving any too early.  But tonight it is about 78 outside and threatening rain.  The wind is still with us, and we seem to have a good cross ventilation going with the windows open.

Neither of us remember opening the windows and doing without the AC since we have lived here.  I wonder how quickly it will become hot in the morning.  The AC guy did not give us a specific time when he would arrive, so it could be later in the day.......Ugh..

Retired Rod

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Sun Came Out!

This Sammy, our grand dog.  He visits and is the most laid back doggie.  He takes the kids for a walk, LOL.

Down on the dock, the new Jet Ski was never parked!

Chris is backing the ski into the dock slip to finally park it.

The grandkids try to tame the new tube before being pulled by the Jet Ski.

And not a single one of them is strong enough to pull themselves up onto its top.

Some hours later, it was Happy Birthday to Abby, who is now a whopping 2 years old.

And another big Memorial Day at the lake comes to an end, with the kids totally killed and out like a light.

Tomorrow we play for a while in the early part of the day, and then its back to KC in the late afternoon.

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Folks have wondered how three families can fit into the lake home here and still get along.  The answer is that we are tight.  When we built this house, we only had one grandchild, and at the time it was hard to envision that we would have five someday.

This is a two story house with the upstairs on the parking lot level with an attached garage.  The upstairs has the living room and the master bedroom.  The kitchen is an alcove off of the living room. 

The lower level is walkout and has a second family room with surrounding bedrooms.  One side has a large guest bedroom with an attached bath.  The other side has two bedrooms with a center bath.  So one family has the large suite and a bath, and the other family has two bedrooms and a bath.

It works for now, but as the girls grow, they will kick the oldest boy out of the bedroom, so we have a sleeper sofa in the family room for him.  Still four girls in the small kids bedroom will be an all night party waiting to happen.  But given the cost of housing down here in Lake Ozark, I don't think we will be trading houses anytime soon.

We only have a 60 foot wide lot and lake frontage, so the house is small by some folks standards, but then we don't actually live here.........it is just a lake cabin.

When I was a boy, we used to go to Clear Lake up in Northern Iowa and the cabins were 2x4 framing with lap siding on the outside of the walls.   The wiring was just stapled to the wood on the inside in plain sight.  No wall board at all.

The plumbing came up out of the floor from underneath, and the entire building sat on concrete blocks. They did paint the interior walls and frame work with a kind of lime green paint.  The windows were single pane, and there was no insulation at all.

In my college years, we went to school up there, and I remember working for one of the owners of the cabins blowing the water out of the plumbing and sealing up the windows with plastic for the winter.  The buildings had no heat.

So by those standards we are really lucky to have drywall interior walls with heat and air conditioning. This is a year round home, but it does not become nearly as cold in Missouri as it did up by the Minnesota state line in Northern Iowa.  Winter was brutal up there....

Here in Lake Ozark today, we spent the day under overcast conditions, and I think it might have made 70 degrees late in the afternoon.  My son Chris and I ran the power washer and scrub brush all afternoon on the dock.  The trees here give off a green sticky pollen, and it was thick on everything.  The water ran yellow green on everything we washed.

It was a ardous task, but by late afternoon, we decided to put the new jet ski in the lake.  So once on the back of the pickup, we headed over to the public ramp.  Chris hopped on and I backed him into the water.  I finally got deep enough that he was able to just back it off of the trailer.

I came back with the pickup, and he rode around for a little while, but was back and on the lift rather quickly.  I guess he took a drenching out in the main channel and was cold.  Not a good day for jet skiing........ 

He reports that the new ski has waaaay more power than the 15 year old one we traded off.  He says it is almost frightning.  He of course had to see how fast it went wide open, and it indicated just a little short of 60.  Say 57 to 59, but that changes as you bounce in the waves.  But perhaps it will suffice to say it goes like heck!!

I am sure that I will never try that one out, as it beats your insides when it bounces on the waves.  No one has had the machine out again.  They thought it might be warmer tomorrow, and at least the sun might be comming out then.

Of course I was teasing them that in their younger days they wouldn't have let the thing set for more than a minute, and would have run all the gas out before they put it up for the night.  The grandkids moms wouldn't let any of them put their swim suits on as they said it is just toooooo cold, so they could only watch.

Tonight we are hard at it telling more stories and doing what families do when they don't get together as much as they would like to.

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Family Arrives

Loyce cleaned and cleaned all day, but the outside was way too cool to go clean up the dock or the boat, so I stayed inside.  Mostly out of the way of the ongoing cleanup.  She of course said I was lazy, but then I wouldn't do it up to par if I helped much.  At least that's my excuse, and I am sticking to it...

We did head on out to do some power shopping at the outlet mall here in the lake area.  They call it the premium outlet mall, because it has all those same stores that most of the manufacturer outlet malls have.  Loyce likes the children's store Carter, and I ducked over to Hagar, but didn't find anything that tripped my purchase impulse.  Anyway she was done, so I had to rush back and get her.

We went thru the Wendy's drive thru for me, and she had a salad that she had made at home, and then it was off to Wal Mart for some more items for the larder.  Our fridge here is bare empty, as we haven't been here enough to let things build up this summer.

We tend to buy stuff as we come down and then not take a lot of it back to KC.  By fall, it is full of condiments and non aging stuff in jars and bottles.  Then once we close up shop for the longer haul of winter, we take it all home all at once.  Or, if there isn't much in a bottle, we just toss the stuff.  Same with the freezer, it collects a lot of half used packages, and they get tossed in late October.

Any way we had our oldest son and his wife and two of the five grandkids arrive tonight about 8 PM.  Claire the six year old, had to play Angry Birds with grandpa on the smart phone.  She sometimes can play it on her mom's phone, but mom can be quite protective of the phone as well.  So we used grandpa's phone, together.  But then she had to go to bed.

Tomorrow we are having the second family arriving, which will add three more kids, so we will have all five running at once.  The youngest is now two, so she can run with the best of them.  Pandemonium will be the best description.  Loyce was putting things in the bedroom that she didn't want to be played with, but the kids will find the stuff in there too.  Good luck!!

Chris our son, said they stopped in Sedalia to eat on the way down here, and that the parts of town that didn't have damage were open as usual, and that the highway was back open.  Unlike Joplin, where they have a much larger area that is damaged including the downtown area.

It still rained off and on all day long and the temps were never more than 60, so this may be a really cold holiday.  Perhaps fishing on the dock will be the best activity for the weekend as the water is really cold for swimming.

Let the chaos begin!

Retired Rod

Friday, May 27, 2011

Holiday Weekend

Just a quick note to say that I see that everyone is complaining about blogger and comments.  I am using windows 7 tonight on the lap top, and Chrome as a browser.  In the last few days I have had no problems commenting on blogs running blogger.  I think it is because Chrome is Google, and so is Blogger.  They seem to be compatible with each other.

So as a last resort, try using chrome to read and comment on blogs.  And erase all of your history and cookies, as well.  Perhaps I have just been lucky, but as a last resort it can't hurt to have another browser loaded.  Oh and as a disclaimer, I have found programs where Chrome won't work either, so I have Firefox on here as well.

We are in Lake Ozark tonight, getting ready for the kids and grandkids to arrive for the big holiday weekend.  It started sunny back in KC today, but it was still cooler at about 60ish.  But when we got down here to Central Missouri, the sun went under and it seems rather cold.

On the way down here we avoided the town of Sedalia, Missouri, since the emergency officials had requested that folks stay away as much as they could.  They did take a tornado strike last night, of an EF-2.  I understand that they have a 3/4 mile wide swath of damage and destruction right thru the South side of their town.  At least there were no deaths, but I read that there were 25 folks injured.  We obliged the request to stay away, and traveled to the South on the next highway that crosses the state.

We evidently had some wind here as well, since leaves and branches were all over the place.  I had just been here on Monday, and it wasn't like that then.  That will give us a project to get ready for our company.

I do hope it warms up a bit, as we are looking forward to trying out the new jet ski this weekend, but perhaps the weather man has other plans.

It takes so much stuff to pull off one of these holiday weekends we had to drive the Ford Pickup truck down here.  It has a topper on the back, and that covers the bed, so rain was not a problem.  The floor of the truck bed is not sealed completely so sometimes we get a little water from the wheels of the truck, but for the most part it is dry back there.  We have thought we would sell the truck for the last couple of years, but never actually do it.  Just when you think you don't need it, an item needs to be moved that doesn't fit in the cars.

Lets hope tomorrow will be sunny and a tad warmer.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Storms

The entire story around here continues to be the weather.  It is very unsettled, and the tornado producing clouds come rolling in at a moments notice.

We were watching it rain and the sky was very dark off to the East of us about noon today, when the sirens began to blow.  We are on the line between towns, and the town to the East is Overland Park, and their sirens started first.

We turned on the TV to see what the deal was, and found that a twister had been sighted about three and one half miles to our East, and it was tracking Northeast.  Away from us.Then not long after, the sirens began to blow in Olathe, but there wasn't any nasty clouds over them.

We watched the radar and channel surfed until we found the channel with the helicopter that was flying around the clouds with the funnel dropping out of it.  That fellow is one brave pilot!!!  But he did the 360 degree swing with the camera on the bottom of his chopper, and we could see that the nasty stuff was headed away.   So we didn't head for the basement.

The problem with this is that the motorhome storage lot is right over in the line where the storm had tracked.  Eww, we just had it fixed from the last one.  The sirens continued, and the line of storms tracked all across the downtown of KC, Mo.  And then off to the Northeast out in the country.  There was also some damage reported in Sedalia  Mo.  One of the towns that we drive thru to go to the lake.

Tonight at about supper time, the clouds became dark again, and then the sky got all green and we thought we were in for it again, but the sky opened up and it only poured rain, not wind.

That was six hours ago, and it is still raining outside quite steadily.  I have lost track how much rain we have had, but it is enough to have standing water in the back yard.   The sump pump is running about every 5 minutes in the basement.

Biscuit has been terrified, and won't go outside to do her duty.  She begs to get back in without even trying to relieve herself.  Loyce had to go stand with her in the rain and demand that she went.

In the middle of the afternoon, the roofer came back and explained that the insurance company was not going to pay them any more money up front, other than what we already had, and he said he couldn't do it for that.  So now I guess we will have to pay the difference.

I'm not too sure I want them tearing the roof off right now anyway, at least until we get out of this unstable pattern........

I did go look at the motorhome tonight about dark, and the storm didn't damage anything in the storage lot.  It did tear up a cemetery to the South of town and wreck some trees, but I couldn't see any damage from the main streets.  I didn't go searching the neighborhoods, as I was sure I would have heard about any major problems on the TV.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tornado Watch

We are under another tornado watch until 3 AM in the morning.

I copied this from the Weather Underground site a few minutes ago, and we are currently in the gray area between the two lines of storms.  But the dark red line has moved over into Missouri now, and appears to be the worst of it.  We still have lightening and thunder in the distance to the West.

You can see the city of Joplin that was largely demolished by the tornado in the bottom of the picture, as they continue to get hit with nasty rain storms and are still in the tornado watch area.

Today has been like this most of the day, as we would be dry for an hour or two, but just when you thought it might be over, another rain shower drowned any hope for a nice day.

I made several phone calls here today, and talked to the credit card people in the large eastern city where one of our cards was issued.  Seems that I somehow misplaced it on the big trip this past week.

At least no one was charging big ticket items on it unlike last Christmas, when we were buying Apple computers in upstate New York, even though we were in Arizona.  I seem to have the worst luck with this card, a comedy of errors mostly my fault.

So it was a hang at home day, and now we are hiding at home ready to head to the basement if things get nasty.  This spring has been a real doozy weather wise to be sure.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back in KC......

Last fall we purchased an new Jet Ski for the lake property.  Our old one was a 1995 two cycle 750 cc three person ski.  We purchased it brand new, and it was the biggest ski available at that time.

The one we replaced it with is a 1500 cc four cycle four cylinder model, that is the smallest engine that Kawasaki makes now.  Isn't it interesting that the smallest ski is twice as large as the biggest from fifteen years ago.  Our family of young grand kids does not require anything larger at this time.  None of the kids are old enough to ride by themselves, and hopefully buying a small one will keep them safe when they do get old enough.

The main reason for going back to Lake Ozark, was to return that ski to the dealer in order to have him install the battery and add fuel and service the bike so that it will be ready for the holiday weekend.  So this morning, I towed the bike over for this service.

But during the time that it was there, we had the severe thunderstorm come thru town.  I waited it out, and gave them more time than they said they needed to complete the work.  Once the storms were mostly gone, I returned and picked up the now running bike.  But it was still raining and much colder when I got home.  The forecast was for more rain tomorrow, so I made a decision.

I stuffed the ski in the garage, and headed for KC!  I couldn't have done much in the way of cleaning the dock and the pontoon boat in the rainy and cool conditions.  And riding the jet ski back to the dock from the boat launch will definitely require a sunny and warmer day.  Perhaps one of the boys will do that job for me!  At best, I will only be a casual rider of the jet ski, because it smacks down on the water with a quite violent whack as it goes over waves in rough conditions.  This is not for folks in their 60s with recent surgeries in their history!

Maybe on a calm day with no other boats in sight!!!  LOL

Retired Rod

Monday, May 23, 2011


As most of you know by now, Joplin, Mo was hit hard by a tornado that seemed to be a mile wide.  That city is about 145 miles South of Overland Park, Kansas.  Loyce and Biscuit were at home in Kansas, and I was at our Lake cabin in Lake Ozark, Mo.

Lake Ozark, is about 165 miles North and East of Joplin, and is about 40 miles North of I 44 that angles Northeast from the Joplin Springfield area to St. Louis.  These storms quite often seem to track right up the I 44.

It is about 11 AM as I write this and we just had another of these nasty storm cells track right thru the Lake Ozark area.  It turned the sky dark as night and has swirling gusty winds and a line of heavy thunder showers and lightening precipitation.

The lake turned over white caps as this wind passed on thru, but everything here in Lake Ozark is fine.  I talked to Loyce last night in Overland Park, and she said that KC was fine as well.

As I watch the weather channel looking at the devastation, my heart pours out for the folks in South West Missouri.

Retired Rod

Back in Lake Ozark!

We always go over to the hamfest site on Sunday morning, and decide if we should buy something that we find on special from the retail vendors.  Sometimes things can be ordered for delivery to your home which eliminates paying sales tax in Ohio, so Sunday seems special.

But as we went back into the buildings this morning, it seems that we spent all of our time finding our friends that we hadn't seen and just shaking hands and catching up with things since we had seen each other last year.

So the time was gone almost before it began, and soon it was 9:30 when we agree that we should leave for home.  Really it is only 8:30 because we are headed back to the Central time zone, but if you look at it that way, it was 4:30 when the alarm got us up this morning too.

We were on the road by 9 AM Central and never stopped except for Wendy's and a couple of gas stops.  I traveled 8 hours and arrived here in Lake Ozark about 5:30 tonight.  500 miles is a lot of driving when you are by yourself, but for some of the afternoon, I had the ham radio on and we were traveling with other hams that had left about the same time.

That helped pass the time as we recounted the hamfest and the things that happened.  The most notable of which was that the water system ruptured below the flea market parking lot.  Water came rushing to the surface and flooded everything in that area of the show.  But it didn't end there, as the water floated the sewer line to the surface and it ruptured as well spilling sewage and requiring pumping trucks and the application of bleach and lime.

Folks had to be relocated within the show and the entire area was cordoned off.  Over night excavation began to repair the lines and things had returned to normal inside the buildings that had lost their plumbing.    So we had some fun recapping the happenings and the response of the officials that were responsible for decisions.  Both good and bad.

Tonight I am killed as I write this, and I hope this makes some sense.  But my bed tonight is my own here at the lake cottage, and there are no loud noises out in the hall at early morning hours.  So I am looking forward to a night of sound sleep so I can address the many projects that need attention tomorrow.

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 22, 2011

McDonalds Fun In Dayton

Today was a repeat of yesterday, only I went to MeDonalds instead of Wendy's to get lunch.  I wasn't nearly as successful at this drive thru.  I ordered only 4 burgers and 4 fries, and three double apple pies.  Simple I thought.

But after giving them the credit card, and getting a receipt, I was told to pull ahead to wait for the bag to be brought out to me.  Ugh, that is not good.  I sat for five minutes, and finally a young worker came out and said they wouldn't be making the apple pies.  What? That's the reason we came to McDonalds instead of Wendy's, so go make some!

Well I sat for another 5 minutes, and the patrons were honking at me to move and giving me the finger when I wouldn't, and things kind of went down hill from there.  I got out and went inside, but could not get anywhere near the counter.......

I gave up and went back outside and got in between the cars and demanded to know where my order was at the drive up window.  I was just standing outside the window, as my car was still pulled up in front blocking everything.  What order?  Why are you blocking my driveway?  Where's your receipt?  We don't have any order for these items.  Did you pay???

They took my receipt and went back into the computer and said I already had my food.  I asked for the manager, and then had to wait again for about another 10 minutes for the $25 order to be made again.  Did they give the food to someone else?  Who knows, but getting lunch for the guys took over an hour and the restaurant is only about a mile away.

Otherwise we had a normal Hamvention day and tomorrow is a wrap up......

I'll report from being on the road to home later in the evening.

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Hamvention Day!

The days of the hamfest are rapid paced and hard to explain at the same time.  Dayton Hamvention is a indoor vendor show, and an outside flea market at the same time.  The buildings are convention center based but also contain a hockey arena as well.

I started by walking some of the thousands of outside flea market vendors, looking at everything but nothing in particular.  I purchased a few small items, and then went inside to look at the commercial vendors.  While in there, I ended up at the Amateur Radio Relay League booths and many tables.  But then was sidetracked by a seminar put on by the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio group called TAPR.  This seminar is about as technical as it is possible to get in amateur radio, and is beyond the scope of this blog to even begin to explain.

I was in the seminar for over two hours, but never fell asleep once!  Since I had the car that was outside of the wire and available to go get lunch, I went to Wendy's to get value meal Burgers and Chicken nuggets.  I bought a large bag of food, that came with string handles, with individual inside bags of fries and hot chicken nuggets.  The folks devoured the entire sack of lunch over then next hour.

For most of the afternoon, we sat in our outside enclosure store and sold our wares to folks as they stopped by our booth.  Each of us in our turn went out on tours around the flea market to find goodies to bring back and show off with pride to our other members.  You know, the "what the heck are you going to do with that?" moment.......

And tonight we went to the family restaurant here by the motel that is across the main highway.  It was fish all you can eat night, but I had breakfast for supper entrees.  Most of us died after one beer back here at the motel............

Tomorrow will come early again.

Retired Rod

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arrived in Dayton

This morning a alarm clock wasn't necessary, like most times you stay in a motel every one gets up at 6 AM and begins to take showers and bang the outside doors.  And for some reason folks still warm up their cars for ten minutes before driving off.  Even with gas being over $4 a gallon.

So I was up and out of the room by about 8 AM.  But remember I am driving East and into the Eastern time zone, so it was really 9AM where I was going.  So I went ahead and set my watches and clocks to the Eastern zone before I left.  It really messes me up to change the time half way thru a day!

In about two hours, I was entering Indianapolis from the Southwest.  Indy has some of the worst traffic I have seen, right after Dallas that is.  And like most days, it was an absolute zoo.  And to make things even more intolerable, there is construction on most of the intown freeways.  So I decided to stay on the Southside beltway I 465.  It had construction around the I65 intersection, and I hoped off about then and filled up with gas, but for the most part, we rolled right along.

Still the traffic is tight, with very little space between the cars, and with big trucks right next to you as well, you stay tense the entire time you are driving in the metro.  I just make sure I have on my most aware attitude and come on thru.  Still traffic can come to an abrupt stop at a moments notice!

I got off for a Wendy's at about the Ohio and Indiana state line, and my friend Larry called about then and wanted to know where the heck I was.  I told him I would be there in about a half an hour, and that turned out to be accurate.

From then on, the day was a blur, as I got the admittance badge and a parking pass.  I got parked in the VIP lot, and came on in to the show.  Today was setup day, and unless you are an exhibitor, you can't get in.  But we have four parking spaces with a trailer parked and a canvas tent like enclosure, which turned out to be great, because it poured rain for quite a while in the middle of the afternoon.

Tonight was dinner at the Ice Cream store that is all over here in the East, "Friendly's."  We had hours of fellowship, long after our meal was complete, and it is now getting late as I type this.  Since we have to get up at the stroke of dawn, I need to cut this short and try for some sleep.

The guy in the next room just started his C PAP machine, so it sounds like I will be sleeping next to an air compressor all night......  Motels!...

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heading to the Hamfest.

I decided to head over to Dayton, Ohio for the Hamfest by my self this year.  My friends left from Des Moines today, and have a room for me to use when I get there, so it is just a matter of driving myself over there.

I left about 2 PM and drove over thru St Louis about 5:30.  Man do they have a traffic jam in that town!  I went in on I 70, but turned on I 270 to the North so as not to go thru the downtown area, and it is shorter that way anyway.

Well we came to a complete stop and waited for something imaginary because there was no accident or anything stopping the lanes.  But we stopped because everyone else stopped.  Traffic in big cities can be frustrating.  We never see much of it in KC because we live soooo far South that we are on the edge of the country.  And we don't commute to work so we just avoid the traffic jams.

I am holed up in a cheap motel over in Effingham, Illinois.  When I am by myself, I don't need much other than a bed and a potty.

It is 600 miles over to Dayton, and I drove 350 this afternoon so its about 250 on into town.  But you have to drive thru Indianapolis, and that can take an hour extra, so that is why I drove farther tonight.

Nothing else to report, except a rainy interstate, and very slow speed limits in Illinois.  If goes on forever.......

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Messin with the new camera.

The new camera did arrive yesterday, and it is a good news and not so good news deal.  The good news was that it was not damaged in its long trip from Hong Kong, and it worked just as it should have when I finally got the battery charged and the strap fastened on.

But, I have to report that the company pulled a fast one on me, because they said it had a USA warranty. But they didn't say it had a USA warranty card!  Because they drop shipped it from Hong Kong, it is the international version, and comes with all the funny overseas electric plugs to plug in to foreign countries plugs.

The USA warranty is a card that says that Simply Electronics.com will warrant that the camera is free from defects for one year.  That is about as good as having no warranty at all.  Nikon USA will not honor that for a minute, and may not work on the camera ever, since they didn't import or sell it.  I should pack the thing up and send it back to the company, but I just don't feel like going thru the fight.

So, I am on the trust that it will continue to work for the first year.  The panasonic didn't make it a year, but then that is probably my fault.  Lets hope I can do a better job with this one, because it is a whole lot more money!

And because several of you have ranted about owners manuals, I did get a paper manual, and a DVD with the big owners manual on it.   The paper manual is about 70 pages and does a quick overview of the various settings and menus.  But it does not go into depth on each of the various selections and options.  That is what the DVD is for.

So when I just need to find a setting in the menus, the paper booklet will do that for me.  But if I need an in depth review of all the options under that setting with the lengthy explanations, its on the DVD.   I guess I am OK with that, because it is a whole lot lighter to carry in the camera bag, and it is a rare time indeed that I am without my laptop.  (Never!)

I could go on for several days about all the stuff this camera does, but perhaps I wouldn't have any readers left, so lets just say it takes 16 mega pixel pictures with oodles of scene settings as presets.  It is more consumer oriented than professional, but does have all the full manual settings as well if you have to be in control of your F stop and shutter speed.  Or if you like to use program mode you can just adjust the Exposure Values.

It has several flash mode sync settings so you can do stuff like slow flash and rear curtain blur flash to streak movement either in front or behind the object that is moving. Also, because it is consumer oriented, it does video at 1080P at 30 FPS.  And new to this camera over the D90, it will auto focus while it is taking a video.  So it is a complete high def video camera.

And best of all it uses the lenses that I already own from the last DSLR.  And that is good because you can spend a bunch of money on those quite quickly.  Enough of the camera........

Today I went back after the Camry in the middle of the afternoon, and even though they said it was done, they hadn't changed out the bright molding around the windows.  They were still all dented up just like the hail left them.  Replacing them was clearly on the estimate from the insurance company, and they had been paid the money to do it.  So I had to gripe!!!

Oh,  we must have forgotten those....... we normally don't do that kind of work....... we'll have to order those..........  maybe you can bring it back next week......I lost track of the excuses.  But folks, if you take on the work, that means you are going to do it doesn't it?  They got all the money, so I may never get the new moldings.  I just don't trust folks too well any more.......  Oh well, give them the chance to do it right.

The hail had broken a place in the windshield, but the insurance company had called it a rock strike and wouldn't fix it.  So I went over to the glass place and asked if it was hail or a rock strike, and unlike the insurance adjuster, they said it could be either since many really hard frozen hail stones will leave a point of impact just like a rock.  This is a small ding about the size of a half pence so they put the pressure machine on it and filled it with the repair goop.  And then they billed the whole thing to the insurance company!!!  Go figure.  I think the insurance folks didn't want to buy me a new windshield since the deductable is usually as much as the entire window.  So by declining to cover it they knew I would go get it repaired and then bill them anyway.  Man the games we have to play.

And then later tonight I rode the motorscooter over to study phones some more at the T Mobile store.  Loyce needs a newer phone and her contract is up.  But remember she dunked her phone and is using a little no contract Samsung with the sim card out of the ruined phone.  I came away more confused than before I went in.  We will have to talk about it before we make a final decision.

This is long enough, I didn't mean to write a book!

Retired Rod

And thanks for the well wishes about loosing Biscuit.  We thought she was a goner, and our hearts were very heavy.  And here she was in the bedroom all along.....

I have to repost Al's comment from yesterday because he has such a way with words,

"I know that terrible feeling in one's heart when you suddenly realize a pet is missing. It's a heart stopping moment to see an open gate, a door ajar or an empty collar at the end of an outside leash. I know the fear, frustration, self doubt & anguish driving around looking for a beloved Pal. I know that hopeless sinking feeling inside as hours pass. And, I also know that euphoric feeling inside when a little bark or whimper is heard, a wagging tail is seen & a priceless treasure is re-found. So glad for all three of you that your long day had a happy ending:))"

Thanks Al

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Routine day and then a scare!

Its the middle of the night, and its too late to write much of a blog.  It all went down today as planned.  The Camry went to the Dr Dent place to get its dents pounded out.

I went to the Dr. Office for another of the on going treatments.  And had to come home and hang out for a couple of hours. And by mid afternoon, the A/C guy arrived and tested out the bent up A/C..  No leaks could be detected.  But get this, it was 2 pounds low on Freon.  If it don't leak, where did it go?

The A/C guy said it must have frozen over last Friday when the cooler weather arrived, and that was what I saw all over the pipes and the back side of the outdoor unit.

And then tonight we couldn't find Biscuit anywhere in the house.  We were frantic, she must have gotten out somehow.  She will run madly if you even drop her leash for a moment.  We spent three hours driving around looking in all the yards, and of course it was after dark.

We had given up, and thought she was gone.......  But then Loyce heard a cry  from her bedroom and started a search in the house again.  And there she was in the grandkids spare bedroom.   She had gotten back behind the bed, and must have gone to sleep back in there.

So that is why it is almost 2 AM as I post this..............................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Retired Rod

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sitting out the cool weather.

I just kind of wasted today, as it was quite cool again.  The sun never came out, and the clouds seemed angry for most of the day.  Tonight it is 48 degrees as I type away on this post.

Long blue jeans and sweatshirts became the uniform of the day, and by about mid afternoon I gave up and started the oil filled electric heater here in the hearth room.  Its been several weeks since we had to use that fellow.

After Mike McFall suggested that I look into a new display for the Panasonic Lumix camera, I spent a while today trying to find a display for the model I have.  I have a ZS7, and I cannot find that display as a replacement part.  They seem to have the one for a ZS3, which is also a 3 inch 400,000 pixel display, but I've found no where to confirm that they are the same piece.  And at $40 a piece, I would hate to order the wrong one.

But I did find a you tube video that demonstrated how to take the display out of the camera and put the new one back in.  It was done in German, but that didn't matter because just watching the process is all it takes to get you over the hump of not knowing how to go about it.  Perhaps I will make some calls and see what I can find out.  Seems like a shame to not use a $300 camera.

At any rate I sat here and watched a way too long watch show on the TV tonight and didn't accomplish a thing. But tomorrow the car goes in for hail damage repair, and I go in for more medical treatments, so perhaps just enjoying the day is the right thing to do.  Oh, and the A/C repairman is scheduled in the afternoon too.

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Camera is in the US, and A/C fails

Nothing new here, it is still cold and we are wearing our sweat shirt and long pants.  I never even noted the high temperature today because it wasn't good if you like things warmer.  And the sun was hidden all day too.

But today I did have a good news, as when I checked on the D5100 camera tracking, I found that it had arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Well now, that makes me feel a lot better about my chances to receive this product.  I guess I shouldn't be concerned since the cameras are produced in the far East, and they all have to be shipped here.  I'm just not used to ordering something from so far away.

Actually I am beginning to become excited that it will be here in a few days and I will get to learn about all its new features.

Personally, I spent much of the day working on paper work concerning my finances.  This seems to be an ongoing endeavor in our volatile markets.  Things change very rapidly, and I find that staying on top of that change is almost a full time job.  And since that isn't the most exciting topic, it doesn't give me a lot to blog about.

On a different subject, I learned yesterday that our air conditioner unit that is outside of the house was damaged by the hail storm more that we had originally suspected.  I think the insurance adjuster gave me  $100 to get the fins combed out.  But as I was mowing the yard, I noticed that the copper lines are leaking both freon and oil.  The pipe had a frothy spew of oily foam dripping from it onto the ground.  Uh,,, not good!!

So I called the A/C folks, and as usual, they are backed up until next week sometime, so the fact that it is cooler is really a benefit right now.  But if it gets cold enough to need the heat pump, remember that is the same compressor running in the opposite direction.  And that means it won't work either.

None the less, you can't go without the A/C working so I made the appointment.  Will this ever end?

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lawn mowing in the winter

Blogger is back up now, and I see that my post from day before yesterday has re appeared too.  But the comments that were on it are long gone.  I can't remember what comments were there, but perhaps if someone had questions they wanted answered or needed to stress a point, they will re comment today.

I did type out a post last night, and save it on the editor on Linux.  That way when the system came back up this afternoon, all I had to do was copy and paste the post into blogger.  It is amazing how we take this service for granted, until it is gone......

Today, winter came back to Kansas again.  At least it isn't cold enough to be freezing or snowing like the folks up in Canada reported a couple of days ago.  But it is barely 50 tonight, and we still have the furnace in A/C mode from it being 90 a couple of days ago.

I went out and mowed the yard with Loyce this morning, and had my shorts on.  That caused me to drive rather fast on the John Deere, because I needed to get back inside.  But I did run the string trimmer for quite a while and the blower, and so forth.  But when I put the motorcycle back into the garage, I wasn't tempted to take any joy rides.  At least not in shorts anyway.   I usually won't ride in shorts even when its 100 outside, so there is no reason to do it at 50.

Tonight I just flipped on the gas log fireplace and we are allowing the warmth to help out the room. We haven't used it much since we have lived here, because it doesn't put out much heat, it is more ornamental.  And the big TV is in an enclosure above it.  The TV is not supposed to have heat on it, so we just don't use it much.  That one is one of those, what were they thinking deals.

Last week I attempted to order a new camera body for my older big SLR camera.  Digital cameras are like computers in that they are outdated very quickly.  The old one is a Nikon D70s from the spring of 2005, just 6 years ago.  It is a 6 megapixel.  That was huge at the time as the point and shoots were 2 and some were 4.  But now point and shoots are at least 12.

And as you know, we purchased a Panasonic last summer that was 12 mp, but it lost its display about November when we went to Arizona.  You can kind of see what you are taking a picture of, if you imagine about half of it.  The camera must have been bumped or banged somehow is all we could determine.   We were just sick over it, but decided not to order another one of the same thing.

I had planned to order a Nikon D90 at some point, but now that it is two years old, and it is only 12 MP  Nikon has moved on to the D7000 with 16 MP.  But that thing is seriously expensive, so we balked.  But here in April, they came out with a replacement for the D5000, a D5100.  It has the 16MP  sensor of the 7000, but is designed like the 5000.  And it has more of the 5000's price.  So I broke down and ordered the body.  For now I'll use the old lens.  It is more of a consumer camera, where the 90 is a little more professional.  But for me it will do all I need, or have the expertise to use.

I had hoped that is would come thru by the end of this week, but alas I had to call the company out in Boston that I ordered it thru.  I used the google shopping widget to order it and find this company.  And they must just be an order desk because it is to be drop shipped from Nikon.............. In Hong Kong!!

They gave me the tracking number, but the package hasn't left China yet.  I wonder how long that is going to take.  I used pay pal to pay for it because I didn't trust this company too much.  I can only hope that was the right thing to do.  No one stateside had just the body.  They all want to sell you the worthless kit lens that comes along with it for about $125 more.  But there were kits here in the US.  But then I was being frugal again...   That usually gets me into more trouble than its is worth.

Retired Rod

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last nights post!

Even though Blogger is down tonight, I will make this post on the text editor and post it later when they come back on line.

It was so pleasant to get back to our sticks and bricks bedroom and the bed that we know best.  If we were full timers, that would be our motorhome, but since we spend the majority of our time here at home, the bed here is home.  But we are off of the business end of the airport here in Overland Park, and it is only 2 miles away so screaming jets at 6:30 AM are a rule of thumb.  Not airliners, but rather private jets, but they are loud enough.

But today was the try and figure out what is wrong with the motor home jack system day, so I went and got the coach.  I disassembled the dash and followed the wires underneath, but could not find anything that looked wrong.  Giving up, I called Tiffin again!

This time I got a different customer service fellow, and he had the exact experience in my problem.  Since I had it apart he began to instruct my testing procedures.  Like me he surmised that the problem was not under the dash, but rather at the other end of the cable connected to the control panel in the dash.  But I had no idea where it went.  Well, to the locker behind the front passenger wheel of course.  The same locker with all the circuit breakers that I was scrambling around it out on the highway.

But this time it was a different box, or panel if you like, that was fastened to the roof of the compartment behind the Xantrex Inverter.  I haden't noticed this little box before, but it was right in plain sight, once you looked up there and studied what it was.

He rang off while I took the thing apart, thinking I just had a loose wire.  And yes I did have that loose wire, but not like we susspected.  One of the individual wires had come out of the back side of the connector that was plugged into the panel.  The plug was all there, but the wire was loose out of the plug.  And it is soooooo small, that I had no way of putting it back in.  So I called him back and described the problem.  He decided to go talk to his friend out on the repair floor, and he would call me back again with what they decided.

I went out and tried to get this little plug apart, but the tiny metal thing that was no longer crimped on the end of the wire would be wrecked if I just punched it out of the plastic.  I did jamb the wire back into the part long enough to make the control panel work as it should have.  First deploying the jacks and then retracting them to their upright position.  That proved that I had indeed found the trouble.

Eventually I did get called back from Tiffin, and they had a plan.  They said that removing the cable from the engine compartment was way too time consuming and difficult, but rather they were having a cable end made by the cable manufacturer.  I should cut the old cable end off of the wire and I was to "butt splice" the new cable end onto the wire.  He copied down my address and said it would take the manufacturer a while to send the custom made end out to me, but that he would turn it around immediately.

I inquired about paying for this part, but he would have none of that.  He said the part should not fail, and that the cable manufacturer had agreed to make it for me.  Ah, the power of the big purchase order!!  But anyway Tiffin held my hand all the way thru this, and guided me on the phone, returning my calls within an hour or less.  It was not something that was related to the work they completed this past week, but rather a completely new broken piece.  But still all of this is still no charge??

His parting thought was for me to call him up when I got the part and installed it.  He wanted to know how it went even if everything turns out ok.  Said he would note the follow up in my file, so it could be referenced at a later date.  (And probably for the next owner as well, when the memories of this repair were completely gone there would still be some trail.)

I put it all back together and drove the motor home back over to storage tonight before dark.  But I have much more peace of mind tonight knowing that I don't have to run out and buy a new controller brain box.  I have read that they are priced in the thousands.  That would not have been good!

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Had to get back to KC!!

We drove the 400 miles back here to the house today, arriving about 6PM.  We were off before 10 AM which is early for us, but then we had a little problem or it would have been earlier.

With the slides retracted, we started the jack sequence, and the control panel would not do a thing.  It sat there and blinked like it should work, but the buttons were just dead.  We were up on all four jacks that can take 500 turns each with a half inch wrench to retract manually.  Some folks use a drill motor to do it, but I wasn't looking forward to that.

After about 30 minutes of messing around, I wondered if it would respond to an emergency retract.  That's where you hold your foot on the brake, and put the coach into gear like you are going to drive off with the jacks down.

The alarms all went off instantly and the panel started to flash all the LEDs at me all at once, but the jacks started to retract.  I just left it in gear and waited until they dogged up.  I got out and looked at all four to make sure they were completely up and they were.

Turning off the coach and then restarting, cleared the emergency. But the panel would still not respond to any input from the buttons other than off and on.  So going on home was the only option, since you are not supposed to run the slides unless the jacks are down.  Also if you are out of level, the refrigerator will destroy its self ever so slowly.  So the RV is unusable as it sits.

I went over and put it on its storage lot tonight, and I am to call Tiffin in the morning when I get it to a place where I can again follow the tech's advice.  This time we have to take the dash apart and see what wires may have been dislodged when they worked on the dash last week.

They did say we could use it if we could find a really level campsite that didn't bind the slide rooms.  Uh, everything in Missouri is built on the side of a hill folks........

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clearing Red Bay and then Trouble.

Good land, where do I begin to describe today...

I was up and showered in time for the 7 AM door opening for my repair guy in Bay 15.  I had found that I needed further repair on my dragging screen and storm door, when we were on the jacks.  He drove over to our site in a car, and did some further adjusting.  With a rubber mallet!  Wow, I wasn't ready for that.

Then we became engrossed in changing a small light fixture on the underside of the mirror arm.  I had gone over to the parts store and purchased the right light, in a LED fixture, but hadn't been able to get the wires out right.

The tech even had trouble, and then we were both working on it with my tools.  We got it after a bit of fumbling.  He knew how it came apart, and that knowledge is the reason I keep going back to Alabama.

Next I went over and paid the billing.  Most of it was the insurance money for the hail damage but I got to chip in a bunch too.  They did warranty one little job behind the drivers door where the wall paper wasn't laminated correctly, but otherwise all repairs were on my tab.

We hooked up the car and decided to head out, after going up and checking out of the campground.  Free!  If your going to hire us at $95 an hour for multiple thousands, camping in on us!

It was 11 AM by now, as we left the town.  Leaving the town is also leaving Alabama, as the city limit is the state line too.  We drove to Corinth, Ms where we stopped at Wendy's and the fuel station in front of the Kroeger store.  Diesel was $3.89.  We bought the pump limit of $125.

Onward to Memphis, where as we were in the busiest part of the freeway, the motorhome dash went dark!!!!  The air conditioning  went off and everything was dead, except the diesel engine.  We kept right on driving, as we had to get out of that busy town.

We opened up windows and I started the generator and the roof a/c's.  As we crossed the Mississippi river bridge, it looked like a massive ocean to the South.  Water for as far as you could see.  Again it was right at the side of the road, so there was no way we were stopping here either.

Once we cleared the I 40 interchange and were soundly on I55 headed to St Louis, we stopped in a truck rest area.  Just parking and trash cans.

With my volt meter, I determined we had lost the fuse panel power for the fuses on the top of the dash board.  I had no idea where the power came from that drove those busses.  Loyce suggested that we call Tiffin back and see what they recommended, so I did.  leaving a message to call me back before they went home.

I got back on the road, and headed North toward St Louis, not Jonesboro, Arkansas.  We might need some serious help.  After about 30 minutes the service tech called back, and explained that the resetable breaker that drove the fuse panel was in the locker behind the front wheel on the passenger side.

He suggested that I pull over and he would walk me thru it.  After exiting the interstate and parking along the exit ramp, I was out on my hands and knees with all the stuff pulled out of this locker, and up on top of the frame rail, once a panel was removed was the master electrical panel.  What a mess of wires and relays.

Of course I didn't know what I was looking at, but with his description and the help of the volt meter, we managed to get it back on.  And I learned a lot about my rig in the process.  I was dirty from crawling in the gravel, and sweaty from the heat of the day and engine, but the a/c in the dash was back on.  Along with the radio and our gps and the brakes in the car and so forth.

After all of that, we drove up to Ed and Marylin's favorite Hinton's campground in Sikeston, Mo.  Sikeston is  where they have  Lamberts restaurant.  Home of the throwed rolls as featured on the food channel.

This campground is surrounded with flooding on three sides, but is slightly higher than the water, which they claim has crested.  We drove thru the water on the exit ramp.  We also drove thru water on the interstate that was sand bagged.  They had tractors hooked to pumps lowering the level on the road.  I hope it has crested or I 55 will be closed soon.

And to make sure that the day's problems weren't over, the Atwood Jacks would not actuate once we were on the campsite.  So the book and instructions had to come out again while we got that logic panel reset.  By now, I was not a happy camper, and just wanted the whole thing to come to an end.

We did get the jacks down and re leveled, and the new settings stored into the memory after about a half hour of messing around.  I had written myself some notes, the last time this happened, which served us well.  The brains go out after the loss of power, or if you put the transmission in gear while the jacks are extended.  Beepers blare and lights flash wildly.

So tonight wasn't throwed rolls, it was more like TV dinners, and dancing with the stars.  At least this place has a nice cable TV connection, and green grass and with the good sam discount, it was under $30.

Lets hope we don't have as much excitement tomorrow!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reunited with our rolling home!

We are back in Alegro Campground in Red Bay, Alabama.  The trip here was totally uneventful even when we drove thru Memphis.  The Mississippi river is beyond full, and the river front area that is referred to as the port, was completely under water.

As we approached the bridge from the West side of the river, water was well beyond where it would have normally been.  If there were to be another 5 or 6 feet, the water would go over the road in places, but it is reported that the crest will be tomorrow and be about 14 feet above what is considered normal level.

Much of Arkansas is also under water, and we saw signs that I 40 was closed to the West, and read on the internet that it was at the White River bridge, but since we didn't turn West, we can not report on it.

We didn't see much devastation from the tornadoes until we reached  Belmont, Ms where one of the Tiffin factories is located.  We did see some buildings that were heavily damaged, but they were not Tiffin's factories, but some older commercial stuff to the North of town.  What ever did that damage, was a narrow but powerful thing.  Stuff was just in splinters and the grass was mostly gone as well.

The employees here at the plant indicated that the damage is like that all over.  Stuff is just gone for a little ways, and then just like that the damage ends.  Red Bay seems to be here just as before, but does have roofs with big blue tarps over the missing shingles.

Our rig was still in the paint booth, as they were buffing out the clear application on the basement doors.  But we were able to take it to a camp site by about 4PM and we happily moved in.  Yea, no more motel.....

We didn't do too well in the motel, as it kept Biscuit up for most of the night, which kept us awake as well.  And then as we did finally get settled, she heard the next door guy get ready to leave at 5 AM.  Starting at about 6, it was a regular parade of folks slamming their doors and starting the cars parked across the sidewalk from our door.

We kind of waited it all out and then went back to sleep for about an hour starting at 7:30, but we were out and on the road by 9 AM.

After some lunch in Northern Mississippi, we arrived here about 2.

We have some questions for the folks about things that we had fixed, and we need to settle the bill in the morning, so we may not get out of here too quickly.

Retired Rod

Pidge asked about finding a Pet friendly Hotel, and that is exactly what I type into google.  Say " pet friendly hotel wichita.  It seems to pop up an available list in short order.  We found that the up charge for the dog, was $10 in all the ones we called.  Price fixing?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tonight we are in Jonesboro, Arkansas again, but this time we are in a poorly remodeled motel that at one time might have been a franchise property.  We do not recognize the franchise and can't speculate about it.

It looked fairly inexpensive from the road, and was pet friendly but as we were two folks with a dog, the additionals began to raise the price. Dog $10 extra, two people $10 extra, double beds $5 extra, and so forth.  It makes the $25 campground fee we paid here two weeks ago seem really cheap.

But then we had a lot of diesel fuel to get here with the motorhome that the car doesn't cost.  Camping is a lifestyle, it is not cheaper with fuel prices the way they are.

Biscuit has never stayed in a motel before and hears all the folks in the adjacent rooms going in and out of their rooms.  She is in her crate and is whining and barking at all the noise.  It may be a long night unless she settles down and goes to sleep.  She is still very much a puppy.

We went back to the same Cracker Barrel that we went to the last time we were here in town, and had the Mother's Day celebration meal.  Loyce had a fish entree which was a special for the day, and I had the hamburger steak.  Not a bad meal, but not really special either.

We drove around this town for a while after we left the restaurant, since going back to the stinky motel room didn't seem appealing.  This is the home of Arkansas State University, and the college seems to be a thriving operation.  The downtown was very old and mostly vacant, but the business out here on the highway are mostly new.

It is a convenient stop for us before we reach Memphis and all the related traffic and hullabaloo of getting thru there.  We will try and slip thru there after rush hour tomorrow morning.  And of course they have a bunch of construction.

Time to go lights out here so I will sign out for now!

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!

To all my loyal readers, please have a Happy Mother's Day!!!

The various stories about the roof damages in our area.

I think it is interesting about how the various insurance companies are adjusting the houses here on our street.  My neighbors have various stories about how damaged their roofs are.  My next door neighbor has damage on only the West side of his roof and it was under 5K.

And since it was a smaller amount they wrote him a check on the spot.   Ours was a big deal, and we had to wait about a week for the check.  And we have to prove that we had it fixed as well, but then it is for about twice the money.

Ya just can't convince me that the neighbor's adjuster doesn't know the entire roof is damaged.  He just judged my young neighbor as a fellow that will cash the check and do nothing about fixing the damage.  So they rip off a smaller price settlement and see if it will make the claimant happy.  Blinded by cash in hand so to speak.

The neighbor across the street spent quite a bit of time telling me that his damage is only on one side as well.  He hopes to get a quick check and pocket it too.  They are being played by the adjusters and the insurance companies.  Sorry Mike out in Congress, Az, but that is how it appears from here.  Just get the release signed for as little as possible, and be done with it.

I think I had just better stay the heck out of the other folks troubles, for now.  I will just get myself into more trouble.  And in ten years I will more than likely not be here to see it when they wonder how come their roof is so bad.  They were thirty year shingles when it was built!!!  By then it will take 20K to replace the roof.  That $4500 check they pocketed will seem rather small at that point in time.

I'm not sure what we did today, but it seemed to take all day anyway.  I was gathering stuff to get ready to head back to Red Bay.  I rode the motorscooter over to the post office and mailed off the insurance checks to the bank to be deposited,  since I will have to write the payment check to Tiffin on about Tuesday.

I also dug up the sprinkler box in the front yard and turned on the watering system.  It was off at the stop.  I had the drains closed by the fellow that blew out the system with air last fall, so all I had to do was turn it back on.  Then I ran each zone in turn to blow out the air and see if all the heads worked.  We seemed to not have any broken pieces, as all worked well.  Bring on the big watering bills!!!

Oh, and I went over and got a mothers day card for Loyce.  She always says, "I'm not your mother."  But I know she likes the cards just the same.  Maybe we can stop somewhere on the road for a nice lunch or dinner in honor of the occasion.

They came and put one of those roofing company signs in our front yard this morning, and that stopped the door knockers cold in their tracks.  That was a relief, as I was getting tired of answering the door bell so many times!!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Plans and a bike ride.

I think we have determined that the motor home will be complete by Monday or Tuesday.  And since it takes a couple of days to drive to Alabama, we will try to leave on Sunday or so.  We really don't like to stay in a motel, so we will drive as far as possible.

But it is too far to do in one day, unless you flat out kill yourself, and we won't do that for pleasure.  Makes no sense at all.

That leaves us finding a pet friendly motel somewhere in South Missouri or North Arkansas.  We can stay in the coach once we get to the campground even if they aren't done with it.  But we will have to get there before 4:30, because the gals that work in the office go home by then, and it could get locked up in the bays.

So its a plan anyway.  

Today was in the 70s here and about beautiful.  Loyce and I mowed the lawn in anticipation of our travel.  She ran the trim mower, while I used mr john deere.  I did a little weed whacking and we called it complete.

After lunch, she was going shopping, and that was my excuse to jump on the motorscooter and head out.  First to Wendy's, and then over to our local Suzuki dealership.  I didn't buy anything, but rather just checked out the new bikes and overall made sure that they were still doing business this year.  The owner said they had been there for thirty years, and that they would bury him out back somewhere when he passed.  LOL

Well from there, I headed out into the country West of Olathe, over toward the old ammunition plant.  This was a bullet and powder factory for world war II and was used during Viet Nam too.  It covers about 10 square miles out in the country, and has no signs to let you know what it is.  Lots of no trespassing and keep out signs, with the federal seal on them.  Think G men in the bushes!!

From there, I went South and circled back to the West side of Olathe, and then thru town to our house.  About a 50 mile circle.  It was 77 degrees, but the wind had me leaning over toward the South to stay going straight.  That wouldn't be so hard, except that it was really gusty, and the lean had to vary with the gusts.

We had more roofers ringing the door bell again tonight.  The neighborhood is crawling with them.  They seem so broken hearted when you tell them you have already signed a contract with someone else.  I told one fellow he was a day late, and he was distraught, because my neighbor from across the street had sent him over.  They usually give $100 as a referral fee.  This is one of the neighbors that isn't too keen on the motorhome out in the street, when we bring it over here to load it up.  

But I'm his buddy, when he thinks I'm worth a referral fee.  LOL

Retired Rod

Friday, May 6, 2011

On to the roof estimate!

Today was the roof company fellow.  He didn't estimate the roof at all, he just wanted a copy of the adjusters settlement.  He will take it home and calculate all that is wrong with it and seek additional monies before he starts.

Now that implies that he can't come close to replacing the roof for what they estimated.  So therefore he won't start until he gets a lot more from them.  At least that is how I read it.  They use some satellite image to estimate the size and slope of your shingles, and they didn't even climb up and look at the roof.

I have no idea if this is normal.....  But then I didn't give him any money, all I did was sign the contract to let them do the work for a yet to be determined amount.  I suppose he could write in a million dollars and hold me to it, but then that's what lawyers are for.  Who knows?

Otherwise we had Delaney our 4 year old grad daughter over here today, and she was having fun going everywhere with grandma.  Especially when they went to McDonalds and the play land  over in the shopping center on our corner.  That kept them out of our hair while I was working with the insurance guy.

It rained most of the afternoon, and it was really quite cool outside.  Way too cool to do anything that required outdoor time, so the computer entertained me again.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I can't drink anymore, so it is just a memory for me, but perhaps you could celebrate it for me.

Retired Rod

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Keeping on top of the job.

Tonight I must report that there is a reason that we keep going back to Red Bay, Alabama for motor home repairs.  Other than the fact that they are the factory and have an almost unlimited stock of parts and associated vendors that will ship parts that they do not have on hand.

This morning, I was called mid morning by the painter that is working on our coach.  Not some foreman in the office, mind you, the actual guy with the paint gun.  This is the second time he has called, and the third call we have received since we left last Monday.

He reports that the color is on the new doors and that he was ready to spray the coach with the clear coat that will protect the paint and make it shiny.  Once that is done, they will allow the coach to sit in the booth for the rest of the day, and tomorrow they will start to buff the paint out to its final shine.

This translates to the fact that the coach will be done sometime in the near future, barring any problems, that are unforeseen.  So even though I am 600 miles away, I know almost as much as if I was right there. Of course I haven't been there to inspect the process as it was going along, but since they paint coaches all day long every day of the year, I am not sure I could add anything that they wouldn't already know anyway.

I was also called by the roofing company that will estimate the roof replacement for the house.  It will be interesting to see how much more they think the job is worth than our insurance company.  They will be arriving tomorrow, so we won't have to wait long for that outcome.

Other than that, this was another of my medical days over at the doctor's office so that fairly much wasted the rest of the day, and doesn't give me much to write about.

We did have our youngest grand daughter again today, and we were playing for much of the day, so it was a fun day just the same.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A surprise phone call

I was sitting here this morning trying to understand the settlement check the insurance company sent in the mail, when the phone rang.  I was a lady from the insurance adjusters office, wanting to know if I wanted the additional check mailed, or would I pick it up?

My first reaction was "what additional check", but I didn't say that.  "I'll be over and get it!" I blurted out.  And about twenty minutes later, I had another check in hand that when added to the first settlement on the motorhome equaled the amount that Tiffin had estimated.  I acted all matter of fact over at the company and didn't look surprised or shocked.

More like "Yep, there's the rest of it!"  She thanked me and went to the next customer.   We certainly had a change of heart somewhere during the night.  I'm not even going to ask how or why, just movin on...

Now they are still a grand short on the car claim, but they told me to get the appointment, so I did.  Perhaps there will be another make up check for that when the time comes.  I tried to not get all worked up yesterday over at their office, and it must have worked.

I called a company to come out and estimate our roof replacement today as well, but they never called me back, like the lady said they would.  Everyone in the South end of this city needs a new roof, so that may take a while to get started on.  I can't help but wonder how short that adjustment amount will turn out to be.  I guess time will tell, and they seem to have started back on the right foot again.

I was out this afternoon an went to the barbershop for a hair cut, and some entertainment.  Of course all us old guys were talking about the raid that got Osama, and then our experiences in Viet Nam.  Made the afternoon pass by rather quickly.....

Retired Rod

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Insurance Woes!

I have had it out  today with the insurance adjusters that seem  to think that things are free in the world and that they don't really have to pay for the damages that we have sustained in the recent hail storms.

I went to the dent and hail damage fellow this afternoon and had an estimate on the car,  it was $3700 and the insurance fellows seem to think I only need $2600.  And on the motorhome they think the $7200 damages are only $2500.  I am distraught.

So they intend to pay about half of the total cost of our losses.  I offered to litigate, and they said I shouldn't to that.  I made sure that they understood that I would do it in a heart beat even if it ended up costing me more money than I collected, but that we would be seeking attorney fees as well.

They had me make the appointment with the dent guy for two weeks from now.  I guess they will go over and beat him up on his estimate, but that takes me out of the fight, and that will help my disposition a bit.

I spent some of the afternoon watching the talking heads on the demise of Osama Bin Laden.  I am not convinced that we can believe much of what the media reports, as they seem to make up the story on the fly, even when they don't have the facts to support what they report.  But the Western world is overjoyed at this outcome even after ten years.  Perhaps we really haven't forgotten those awful days in September.

I am a former Navy man, and I was delighted to see that the Navy Seals pulled off this mission and managed to get back out with their lives and the objective.  But with all due respect, I think the Army would have done just fine as well.  Our fighting forces are truly the finest in the world, and we all owe them a great deal of gratitude as we sleep soundly tonight.

Retired Rod

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winter in May?

Its cold here today, as I think winter returned.  Its says May 1st on my computer screen, but with the overcast and cloudy conditions, it could say November 1st just as easy.  I'm not sure we every made 50 degrees, and when I went out to get a sandwich tonight it was 46.

I am sure we will be getting warmer one of these days, but my poor motorscooter has almost the same mileage on it now as when we returned from Arizona.

I sat here in my recliner today and did internet stuff all day.  Funny how when the weather is bad the computer seems to fill in the gap like that.  In the early evening I spent an hour or so with a friend up in DesMoines on the phone.  He is one of my Dayton, Ohio Hamfest buddies, and we were plotting how I might be able to go, if I left from KC and went directly.

Just one of those days.  I thought about my sons out in the campground packing up their belongings in the cool rain, and decided that is was a good thing that the motorhome is down at the factory in Red Bay, or otherwise it would have been me out there stowing stuff for the drive home too.

Retired Rod

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Camping without a camper!

Now that is kind of hard to do unless you are tent campers, which I did a lot of when I was a scout leader a number of years ago.  But Loyce didn't and wouldn't go along.  So today was a day camping trip.  We are back home tonight, for a good nights sleep in our comfy bed here at the home front.

Our son's and their families have always liked to go out camping on the weekends and both have RVs that are sized for their families.  It just so happens that they both have conventional travel trailers that they pull with regular pickups or large SUVs.  And they go camping together on a lot of the weekends.

So it was an` instant decision to head on out and go see them this afternoon in the Camp Ground.  They camp about 60 miles away from the Olathe area to the West in Kansas.  This is a state park on Pamona lake at the small town of Vassar, Kansas.

So we headed out in the late morning, and arrived at about lunch time.  In time for the picnic on the picnic table under the awning.  We played lawn darts, with magnetic darts, and ladder golf with the golf balls on a rope, and sat under a new awning dining fly tent thing that Chris had purchased for the occasion.  I'm not sure where the afternoon went, but it was gone fairly quickly.

This evening we stayed for the pickled pork, red beans and rice that had been simmering in the crock pot for most of the day.  It was served along with fresh andouille sausage grilled on the bar b cue.  That stuff is hotter than hot!

What a fun day, and I was missing the motorhome a lot, because we had full hookups in this nice little state park.  The lake has a marina and is primarily a fishing impoundment, but also has a swimming beach and recreational boating.  We were there with our travel trailer about two years ago in the fall, but have not been back.  The kids have gone there repeatedly on weekends, but we end up down at lake ozark instead.

So I am sitting here smelling of smoke from the camp fire and have a tinge of red from the sun, but have enjoyed our day with the family.

Retired Rod