Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Piecing the ceiling tile together

I realize that all these posts about working on our basement project are almost as exciting as me watching the paint that I just put on the wall dry, but that is again what happened today.  Only this time it was the ceiling in the small office/bedroom that held my attention.

I started with this project yesterday afternoon when I went to Home Depot and purchased the supplies.  Once home, it was lug everything down to the basement from the back of the pickup.  The metal rails for the suspended ceiling are 12 feet long so they don't go around the corners in the stair well on the way down, without some maneuvering.

The cases of the 2 by 2 foot tiles have 16 pieces in them, and are quite heavy.  Luckily I only needed two cases for the little room.  But when we go after the bigger room it will be a much different story.

Anyway, today was spent cutting and piecing together the metal frame and the many tiles.   It is quite time consuming and requires climbing the step ladder over and over.  I was just exhausted tonight at about 7 PM.  The worst of it was that I still need to cut all the perimeter tiles to size and install them.  That will be the slowest part of all.

But tomorrow is another medical day for me, as I am having yet another procedure where I have to be at the doctors office at 7:30.  Since I am not an AM kind of person, that will about kill me.  And it is totally boring and doesn't give me anything to blog about.  Oh well.....

Retired Rod

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Basement progress

This was a work in the basement day right from the beginning.  I had painted some of the walls last night, but today it was the small bedroom/office that I worked on.

I have not fired up the sprayer since I changed to the finish paint.  The paint requires back rolling, in order to apply the egg shell finish to it as is drys, so I have been rolling from the paint pan.  I could go purchase the fancy power roller attachment for $80 but it seems pricey just to have paint come into the roller thru the handle.

I say to myself that I will start the sprayer tomorrow when I have all day, but that hasn't happened.  After painting the smaller bedroom, I got started finishing the electrical work that was roughed in before the insulation went up.

As I am digging out the boxes that are full of drywall compound, I learned that the sheet rock hanging folks damaged a lot of the wiring with their roto zip tool.  As I was digging out the wires sometimes I was getting arching fire, where insulation was torn away with the tool.  Some of the wires just fell out on the floor once the drywall mud was scraped away.

As an old electrician, I am not overly religious about turning off the power when I install the duplex receptacles.  Just being careful not to short things out and make sparks is the rule of thumb.  But eventually I managed to short out the box where the insulation was gone, which blew the breaker in the panel.  So I guess that turned off the circuit by default.  And yes, every once in a while I will shock myself, but I am somewhat used to that.

Dad always said that the shock didn't hurt you, but it was what you jammed your elbow into behind you that did the damage.  But he checked light sockets by licking the end of his finger and touching the center button of the socket to see if it was hot!  I'm not nearly that brazen.

Late in the afternoon, I went over to Home Depot, and purchased some of the hanging ceiling panels and grid work for the small bedroom.  Once back home, I carried it all down stairs and began to install the perimeter metal pieces.  But by about 7:30 I was shot and turned out the lights.

Just working away in the basement isn't very exciting for blogging, but it is what is happening around here.

Retired Rod

Monday, August 29, 2011

Camping at the state park

Returning home from the weekend camping trip is always a bummer because it only lasts for the weekend.  It seems like we just arrived when we are now leaving......

But we had fun while it lasted hanging out at each other's camp sites and the kids spent all Saturday morning long in the motorhome with grandma.  With all four of the girls inside all at once, I busied myself outside and drove around the state park reminding myself of the surroundings.

It is horribly dry in Kansas now and the grass and trees are almost browned out.  It wouldn't take any stray fire to burn most of Kansas down.  We did our part and refrained from the campfire.   Heck it was in the mid 90s every day so I wasn't motivated to have a fire.

And as I reported in the cell phone post, we went to Emporia to drive the old downtown street, but didn't stop much of anywhere other than a quilt shop for Loyce.  The town is really old, and is rapidly becoming overcome with immigrants from our neighboring country to the South.  Loyce and I both wonder what will become of Rural America..........

We had the awning out and our portable sun shade canopy in the side yard next to the fire ring.  The sites are beautifully wide in the state parks here in Kansas.   We had an open grass field behind us that had been mowed recently.  It was at least 60 acres rimmed with trees.  Our site was a full hookup 50 Amp for $18.50, but there is a $4.50 vehicle daily fee.  And since we had the car, we were charged $9 for our vehicles.  Trucks with trailers only had to pay one fee, still $27.50 for FHU on such a large site isn't bad at all.

Sitting under the sun canopy late Saturday afternoon.

See that white 5 gallon paint bucket hanging from the mirror on the motor home?  I made a night light out of it by putting a compact florescent bulb inside in a lamp socket.  The bulb is deep blue and the white bucket glows almost purple.  It isn't really very bright, but almost has a black light effect to it in the otherwise very dark campground.  Several folks had to stop and check it out wondering where I got that idea.  From some other camper in a different CG......

Sleepy afternoon  (The latest watch addition LOL)
 We drove back to the campground and I became engrossed with cleaning out the under carriage lockers on the motorhome.  Since we had all 7 bin doors replaced in Red Bay in May, the body shop dust accumulated inside the lockers when the doors were off.  Stuff was covered in the gray bondo dust from the shop.  It was nasty hot almost 100 as I was doing this job, so going really slow was necessary.

Our family did gather under the awning at Chris' trailer for the evening chat session.  The kids were watching a DVD over at Ben's trailer so the big kids chatted up the night.  Slowly people wandered off to bed.  Of course Chris and Melissa and myself stayed up to past midnight.

Again Sunday it was quite hot, but I packed up the easy up sun canopy fairly early in the morning while it was still cool outside.  But before long we all rejoined the morning brunch and chat session.  Chris made Southwestern scrambled eggs and Mel did a monkey bread from scratch.  Umm!  We finally left the park by about 2 PM making it back to KC before 4.

Another weekend in the books........

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Camped at Pamona Lake

We are camped at Pamona State Park on Pamona Lake in central Kansas. Our sons come here quite often, but we only make it once a year or less.
Everyone that is a regular here knows all the other campers, and walks around after supper talking to everyone else. Of course we are outsiders to this process, but were able to join in on most of the activities.
This afternoon I am typing this on my cell phone while Loyce is shopping in a quilt store in Emporia, Kansas. We have no cell service at the State Park on T Mobile or Verizon. Its been a long time since we have been that remote and cut off from the rest of the world.
Retired Rod

Friday, August 26, 2011

No internet?

Another screw up the last time we were at the lake, occurred when I forgot to pack up the air card as we were leaving.  I should really use a check list as we depart these places.  So, as we plan to take a little weekend jaunt for a Kansas Lake to our West, there is no air card to go along.

But if I remember correctly, Verizon doesn't have any signal at that local campground anyway.....  So with that said we may be out of reach for blog entries for a while.  So Mr blabber fingers here will just have to make do without internet!!!   Gasp!

Today was another paint until you drop day.  I managed to get the airless paint machine together correctly, and primed into a small bucket.  Once any water is out of the system, you stick the prime hose back into the supply bucket until the air is out of the system.

My adversary!  Mine isn't blue any more.

If you take the nozzle off of the gun, you can evacuate the air out of the main hose back into your supply bucket as well.  But..... you must do so with the trigger pulled so as not to build up pressure in the hose.  With pressure in the hose, you get quite a splatter when you open the trigger, even without the nozzle on the gun.   Then it is back to the sink to clean your glasses again.

By mid day, I was washing up the sprayer and changing from primer to color paint.  I did manage to put a finish coat on a couple of the smaller walls just to see how the color works out.

And of course the paint was supposed to match the color of the upstairs of the house.  But changing brands of paint did not allow for that.  The difference is quite marked, but there is no place where the two paints will be side by side so I just said what the heck and moved on.

Our weekend outing is only tentative based on my son's camper coming out of the repair facility tomorrow.  So we may go somewhere and maybe not.  It is supposed to be almost 100 degrees again so staying put here at the house may not be a bad option.

But if I stay home, then I will have to paint some more.........  better go!

Retired Rod

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No more exploding paint!

I am glad that I can add some humor to your morning blog reading pleasure here in KC.   As I was reassembling the airless paint machine today, I was trying to understand what I had done wrong yesterday.  The only thing I can see, is that I must have cross threaded the paint gun hose.

With the treads crossed if felt like it had spun tight, but in fact it wasn't even on the threads.  So when I moved the prime lever over to the paint position, it just blew the hose off of the fitting.  When you start the motor, you are supposed to have the lever on prime.  The paint sucks up the draw hose into the machine, but then comes out of a prime hose at lower pressure into a catch bucket.  Once the machine is primed, you move the lever to the paint position.  That directs the pressure into the gun hose.  That's when it exploded off of the front of the machine, right into my face.

The sprayer delivers 3,000 pounds per square inches of pressure, so it could have really caused a problem for me, but I had the pressure set back on prime like the DVD told me to.  And yes the paint is white so I was cleaning the goop out of my hair and glasses late last night.

Today went a lot better, as I got the machine set up and made certain that all hoses were infact on the machine correctly.  Painting is so boring, but the sprayer makes it move along at a better pace.  I still have a lot more of the room to finish with primer but it is over half way done.  But then I have to do the finish coat which will start the process over again.

Most of my morning was spent in my wife's sewing craft room since we had the dry wall repaired from a water leak in the roof.  Most of that painting was done with a brush and bucket.  I primed it with the Kilz product and then painted the ceiling over with color to match.  That was sloooooow going and over my head.

Not an exciting day but the clean up went quicker tonight..........LOL

Retired Rod

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sanding and painting

The sanders showed up this morning, but it was more like 10:30 when they got here.  Only one of them spoke English, and he was broken.  That never makes me feel too comfortable, so I hung right down there with them as they did their work.

I busied myself with a broom sweeping up the powder as they finished an area.  Of course the air was white and thick with the dust, so my sweeping was mostly a waste of time, but after about an hour and a half, they just walked out.  Not even so much as a good bye.  Just gone.

So once they had left, I began to clean up in earnest.  And the dust settled as I swept.  Took another hour or more and several shovels full of dust in the garbage bin.  But eventually it was back to somewhat acceptable.

So I went to Lowe's and purchased a airless paint sprayer and 10 gallons of Kilz primer paint.  I drug that all down to the basement and set it up.  Had to watch the DVD that came with the sprayer, and thought I understood how to get it going.

Well, not exactly, because I must have not gotten one of the hoses on correctly, because as I was sucking up paint out of the 5 gallon bucket, the hose under pressure blew off suddenly.  I had to put my hand over the squirting paint while turning the pump off.  I was covered from head to foot.  So was the new machine.

I did manage to paint the new office/bedroom and a couple of walls in the main room, but mostly I spent the rest of the evening cleaning the paint off of the machine and myself.  Amazing how just a small amount of paint sprayed under pressure can cover everything.

And it is Kilz which adhears like glue.  I am still trying to get it off of myself.  It doesn't wash off even with a stiff brush.  My skin doesn't take too much of that stiff brush business.

So perhaps tomorrow things will dry up from all the water I had to use to clean up the room, and maybe I will get it put together right the first time and get on with the paint job.  LOL  Because of the sanding on the new dry wall, you have to back roll all of the paint with a roller and handle after you spray the wall.  So it is slow going even though you are using power equipment.

Surely I can do a little painting by myself with out hiring it out, but it didn't look like it today........

Retired Rod

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More dry wall work.

We received the last coat of dry wall mud on the walls in the basement today as the fellow was out in front of our house at about 7:30 waiting to come in.  Loyce went out and got him saying he could start any time he wanted to.

I mostly just left him alone today, as all he was doing was slathering the final layer of compound over the existing walls.  At about noon or so, I went down with a scraper and a dust broom and began to scrape the floors.  As mud fell on the floor, this fellow was really quite good about bending over and scraping up the spills.  But even with that there were a lot of places where mud had dried and caked on the floor.

I worked at that quite steady until the fellow declared that he was done for the day.  Once he had cleaned up his mess and carted it out to his truck, I was able to clean up the rest of the dust.  But that is only temporary, as the sand crew will be here in the morning to sand all the walls smooth.  The dust will fly fast and furious for a while.

I was advised to turn off the furnace blower during this procedure, as we will have dry wall powder all over anyway.  Oh great, I am looking forward to this procedure........

Tonight, I was over at Lowe's pricing paint and a sprayer to apply it.  That won't be cheap either, but not near as much as if I hire it done.  We will have to see how that plays out.......

Nothing much else happened here today, and I am looking forward to tomorrows progress....

Retired Rod

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lazy day but we seem to stay busy.

It seems like Sunday is our day of just lazing around and doing nothing much.  And today was no exception.  We just hung around the house and read the internet today.

I didn't even go start the motorscooter or get it out of the garage.  When we went outside it seemed oh so humid so we were not motivated to do much outside.  Loyce did go to Wal Mart for some groceries, but i just hung around here and read stories that were highlighted on Twitter.

I am enjoying the breaking news feed on Twitter especially today as the news was breaking in Lybia.  Every few minutes they were finding the latest story as the revolution was escalating.  I was comparing the coverage to the news feed on my Android phone, and found that the twitter feed was remarkably faster.  I am glad that I took Rick Doyle's advice and signed myself up!  I don't plan on tweeting anything much, but rather to use it as a lurker service.

Yesterday Loyce announce that her TV up in our bedroom had totally shot itself. It was rolling and rolling like older TVs did years ago.  Back then we had an adjustment that stopped that, but now it is just broken when that happens.

So a visit to our local Best Buy was in order.  After deciding that 32 inch diagonal was the size we needed, they had a special on a no name brand that would work for a bedroom tv.  At least I had never heard of Dynex, but I decided to take a chance and bring one home.

It is not unique in any way, other than they had it on special for $250.  It was in a lineup of several big name brands.  While it was not exactly like the pictures on the others that cost twice as much, it was really close. So we are now learning to run this new set.

We have it hooked up to the cable system box here at home, so I had to spend time trying to reprogram the cable box remote to run this new tv.  I couldn't figure it out.  I tried everything.  My male pride, not withstanding, I gave up and called the cable company because it was their equipment.

After about a half hour on the phone with the tech gal at the office, we gave up and called a supervisor techie fellow in the back office of the company.  She dropped off the line, and he started all over again trying to program the remote by giving me instructions.  After another 20 minutes he failed too.  The ending decision is that they are mailing another remote of a newer design to match the newer tv.

Once I hung up with the folks at the cable office, I continued to mess with the remote and I think I found the code to enter and make it work.    But what the heck, I got a new remote coming now so  I didn't call them back.

Tomorrow is another day in the basement with the dry wall craftsmen.  And they come at exactly 8 AM so I need to sign off for now.

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Helping Chris with the RV

Today my son Chris and I were whomping up a lash up to connect his camper to the electricity.  Like all of us, when he puts his rig in the driveway, he wants to connect it to electricity.  But the plugs in the garage are just 15 amp wired with 14 gauge wire.

This will not begin to run the stuff in his trailer.  Perhaps some of it one at a time, but not much.

He has a wash room just inside the house from the garage that has both a washer and dryer.  He had used  12 gauge drop cords and plugged into the 20 amp circuit for the washer but it still will only barely run the AC.  And then everything else needs to be left off.

So I was eyeing the dryer plug.......  It is 220 volt and has a 30 amp breaker in the service panel.  I stopped by our local Lowes and started to sort thru the plugs and receptacles they had in the bins.  I finally found a plug that would fit his dryer wall receptacle and a 6 foot piece of 10 gauge three conductor stranded wire.   Black, White and Green in a Rubber jacket, perfect!

To my surprise they had an RV 30 Amp wall receptacle as well.  These pieces were not cheap, as Lowes does not sell a lot of them.  But with a metal box and some careful assembly we rigged up a cord that would plug into the 220 volt socket but that only had a wire on one side of the line giving us 30 Amp 110v.

After stopping at the local Wal Mart, for a 30 foot 30 Amp extension cord available in the RV section, we were in business.  Of course the dryer is unplugged while this is in use, but it gives them the ability to run all of the normal stuff that they would in a campground, including the AC while it is in their driveway.

It is so handy to have the AC running and the fridge on electric all at the same time while you are packing up the rig.  Seems like you can barely stand it inside one of these rigs in the summer if the AC isn't on.  For kicks we were running the microwave as well just to see if we could drop the breaker, but we never did.

Now if our motorhome wasn't 50 Amp 220v perhaps we could make a connection here, but the dryer is in our upstairs...........   I'm fresh out of ideas....... short of completely installing the service to the front of the house.

50 Amp extension cords are nasty priced items at camping supply stores, before you ever even think about installing the outside service.  So that won't happen anytime soon...

Retired Rod

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Boy these guys are ready to go...

And the dry wall folks were here right at 8 AM just like they promised.........   At least Loyce was up drinking her gigantic cup of Joe by the time they knocked.  I had made it to the shower...............

They spread mud on the walls again for most of the day, until mid afternoon.  I kind of floated in and out of the rooms as the job progressed.  I am amazed at how fast the work gets done as compared to my poor skills at this trade.  It is truly an art to spread the mud and have it come out smooth.

We set up two fans to dry out the thicker layers of compound that they applied today, and it should be hard like a rock when they return on Monday.  I am told that they will apply a finish coat then, and sanding will start on Tuesday.  That is the dusty part, and we are not looking forward to the cleanup after that.

This afternoon turned into another Doctors visit for me, and wiped out the rest of the entire day.  Nothing but computer time catching up on all the blogs after that.

Oh, and at Rick's suggestion, I have signed up for Twitter!  Not that I have anything to tweet about, but more to select news and information sites to follow.  It is more like headline news and information when you click on the bookmark.  I'm sure I will stay a lurker for now, but sometimes I just have to make a comment on some of the stuff........  Never could keep my mouth shut like I should....

Retired Rod

Friday, August 19, 2011

Manual Training and Dry Wallers

J B asks about Manual Training at the Mission, and I do think I understand what that means.  Many of the Indians that lived here were not native to this area.  The Shawnee and many others were transplanted here from back East.    They were deemed to be in the way of European settlers and shipped to Kansas.  They called this area the great American Desert, and deemed the ground to be worthless.  So it was given to the Indians.

The people were hunter gatherer folks in the woods back East, but we didn't have nearly as many wooded areas here.  So the Chiefs asked for Missionaries to train the younger folks in farming and its associated skills like blacksmith and Implement skills.   These things were called Manual Training.  They actually farmed a good deal of the land around the mission in those days.  Today it is all city.......

When you go into the buildings there are a lot of pictures depicting the life these folks lived and the training they received.  The study of the Indians and how they were treated and mistreated here in Johnson county could fill several blogs and is beyond the scope of my writings.  But needless to say they were cheated out of their rights and belongings by the white men.


Today, we started back on the basement project again.  Our general contractor had lined up dry wall subs and brought them over to look at the job.   By mid afternoon, we had agreed upon a price and work was well in hand.

It is amazing how skilled craftsmen can make a job that seems so insurmountable, pass in relatively short periods of time.  They used four boxes of drywall mud and as many rolls of tape before they went home for the day.  I hung around for the afternoon more to learn their skills than for any other purpose.

They will need to return for the next several days as the work dries for the next steps involved.  They are happy that we have a weekend coming to allow for additional drying time before they start sanding on Monday.

Like I first read about in Jo Ann and Fred Wishnie's blog, Fred always said his most important tool was his ink pen and checkbook.  So that is kind of how this will go also.

I did go out on the scooter tonight after dark on a quick shopping excursion, but did not purchase much.  I was looking for a good holistic drug shop, but only found a GNC and they didn't have what I was looking for.  But at least it was cooler in the mid 80s after the sun set.

Tomorrow the dry wall folks are to be here first thing in the morning, and I don't do first thing very well any more so I will hang up this keyboard for now....

Retired Rod

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shawnee Indian Mission

Out riding on the black scooter today and I did have the camera in my pocket!

So I stopped by the Indian Mission that makes this area so famous.  Long time readers will remember that we had Amateur Radio Field Day here several years ago.

"The Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas served as a manual training school for children from the Shawnee, Delaware and other Indian nations from 1839-1854 and continued as a school without manual training until 1862. The territorial governor, Andrew Reeder, established his offices at the mission in 1854. The first territorial legislature met at the mission in 1855 after adjourning from the first territorial capital at present day Fort Riley. During the legislative session the "bogus laws" were passed in an attempt to further slavery in Kansas."  Information here was copied from the Shawnee Indian Mission web site.

This is the main building.

Grounds behind with period buildings

Low building way back was a barn.

Main building housed boys on the second and top floors under the roof
"The mission was also a supply point on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails and an Union camp during the Civil War." 

North Building for girls

West Bilding

"Thomas Johnson, the Methodist missionary who founded Shawnee Indian Mission, is buried in the nearby Shawnee Methodist Mission Cemetery. He was killed in 1865 for his antislavery sentiments."

This big monument says "Johnson" at the bottom front.

Many of the family members are also buried here as well.

There is several stories about Rev Thomas Johnson's death and who the perpetrators were.  Some folks have the story that Johnson had acquired several thousand dollars from collecting a loan and was challenged late at night for the money by would be robbers.  They shot him thru the front door to his home.  It is thought that these fellows were Southern sympathizers so the quoted story above is now official.  Johnson was a slave owner, but had signed on with the Union as a politician, so the Southern fellows weren't very happy with him.  But now you know why our county is named "Johnson County."

While Overland Park was founded in as a first class city in 1960, its roots go way back to this indian mission from the 1830s.  The Mission still stands today and is operated by the Kansas Historical people.  The oldest part of the city was plotted in 1905.  Its history is here.

This cemetery is literally in peoples back yards along busy Mission Parkway.  I had to park on a side street and walk back up here to get these pictures.  A neighbor mowing his yard looked at me as I took the photos with a perturbed look.  You can see him in this last photo in the upper right in front of the car.  Perhaps they have had trouble before.  I was in a motorcycle suit with a helmet on.....  Damn.... bikers.

Otherwise today, I managed to mow our yard this morning and it turned out to be a nice 90+ degree day.  I rode for several hours this afternoon around the old area of our metroplex.  It was already in the 80s when I was mowing the yard at about 8AM so our dew was long gone, if there ever was any.  Its still summer here.

Retired Rod


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cold in Canada?

I know why I am not Canadian.........  Brenda up in Alberta is talking about 7 C and rain in the morning..........Yikes......  For the rest of us down here in the lower 48, that is 45 degrees in mid August!

And then I just read Al from Bayfield, and he was talking about wearing his boots out in the morning to go search for dew drenched spider webs.........  It was wet around here this morning too, but it was because it was raining as a thunder storm passed directly thru the KC area.  But it was still in the 70s as the sun came up.

This afternoon I was out on the black motor scooter over at Sam's Club looking for cheap medicine.  As I was filling the bike up at the pumps I felt kind of chilled.  I had my rip stop jacket on, but it is see thru fabric for the summer.  So I looked at the temp on the bike dash, and it said 86.  And I was chilled as I was riding?  That's what too many days over 100 will do for you.

So while Canadians are writing about the change in the season arriving, it hasn't happened around here yet.  We are just now realizing that it isn't above 90 in the middle of the afternoon.  And that is a welcome relief for now.

I should have gone out and started that mowing job this afternoon, but I wimped out since the ground was still quite wet from the all morning rain.   Maybe tomorrow.......   but then they are calling for more rain.........  Ah the dog days of summer.........

Retired Rod

And no I didn't take the camera with me........  Maybe when Al starts carrying his cell phone!!! LOL

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Doggy you haven't met!

Since Rod posted twice yesterday, I thought I would introduce myself!


I'm Sammy, and I live over at Rod's oldest son's house and take care of all the Kids that live there....

Let's see there is Chris my daddy, and Melissa my mommy, and Claire and Abby my bestest pals.....

I go camping with them in our travel trailer almost every weekend.   We go to a lot of lakes in the Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri area, and I guard the trailer all weekend.  But you have to come pull my tail or something to get me very riled up......

Anyway, glad to meet you!!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Pictures

I tend to write the blog way late at night, and it is after a time when I can even think about pictures.  I don't generally ever take a camera with me anywhere I go.  That is kind of like Al with a cell phone, I have to physically think about taking pictures like it is a job.  It just doesn't occur to me, while others live for it.

Also I tend not to post pictures that have been posted before, but I need to realize that many folks are not long time readers and therefore have not seen photos that have been posted before so.....  I was looking in the blogger archives for some of the pictures that were requested in the comments.

2009 Kymco People 200

2009 Suzuki Burgman 650

The Burgman was not manufactured in 2010 as there were way many carryover bikes from 2009.  So I purchased this in the spring of 2010 but it is labeled as a 2009.

Burgman tied down in the utility trailer.

Motorhome parked over in the storage lot
On this particular day most of the other rigs were gone, so I snapped this picture when you could see the entire motor home.  I had ridden over to the storage on the Burgman scooter, but it isn't stored there.

I grabbed these from older blog posts, but it took me quite a while to find them.  With over 1300 posts, the pictures area that blogger will allow me to put pictures on is about full.  I will have to start paying for storage here one of these days.  I don't think it is too much money though.

I have begun to export all the pictures in Picasa to a smaller size before loading them up in order to limit the storage that they take up.  Have any of you folks run into the limit on Blogger?

I was looking, and I do have somewhere around 3,000 pictures in the blogger and picasa albums.  I just added them to the share feature of Google + .  So if you are a member of google plus you can fire off a friend request and see all the pictures since 2007 when I started to write these blogs.  And if your not on Google + ask myself or Rick for an invitation and we will be glad to send it.

AND  I have been trying to include more pictures lately, and I am guilty as charged by Al, when it gets late at night and I haven't written a blog yet.........

Retired Rod

Kansas countryside as seen from the windshield of the Burgman 650   
I finally found this picture taken while sitting at a country intersection on the motorscooter.

Returning Home with the Red Scooter.

Today was even slower as we packed up to return back to KC.  I rode the scooter up town and spent about an hour doing all the back roads that I normally wouldn't drive on in a car.  Seems like you can drive all over the place in the little scoot and no one thinks a thing about you buzzing around on the little red bike.

Its quiet and I don't ride it very fast, so folks just see it like it was another bicycle riding around the neighborhood.  Finally I filled it up with gas at the local station and it took about .9 of a gallon.  That was for all day today and about 40 miles yesterday too.  It holds about 1.8 gallons when it is way down.

Then in the middle of the afternoon, I loaded the scoot in the back of the utility trailer and strapped it down.  I have a wheel chock in the front that has the tip in mechanism that grabs the front tire.  I use it on both the bigger bike and this little one.

So between three and six this afternoon, the truck and trailer made its way back to KC.  I'm not certain why we had so much stuff, but it took a long time to unload once we were back here.  Then the trailer had to go over to its storage lot, and I got trapped behind a looooong BNSF train that was headed South. But just for good measure another train came on the parallel track heading North.  I gave up waiting and went to a local fuel station for truck fuel.

So as the sun was setting, tonight I was moving stuff in the garage to get both scooters in at the same time.  Its been quite a while since we did that, because the red bike hasn't been here in over a year.

Oh, and did I mention that the yard has jumped about 6 inches since I mowed last week?  I turned the water system down too, but it is mostly in the 80s now and the grass seems to really like that temperature.......

Seems like the projects never end around here.

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Big Breakfast and a Scooter Trip!

I'm not sure where today went, but it got away just the same.  We had the big family breakfast that didn't get started very early as we were all sleepy heads.  Except for the kids, but they were parked in front of the downstairs TV and Saturday cartoons.

Once the day was fully warm outside, the grands all headed for the dock and swimming.  Or perhaps a day of jumping in on top of each other.  I'm not overly sure that they actually swim much other than back over to the ladder to get out and jump in again.  I would tire fairly quickly of this routine, but then I am somewhat older than 9 years old.

So Grandpa decided that he needed an extended scooter ride.  We have the Red Kymco People 200 bike here at the lake place, so I headed out on it riding North thru the back country.  Not a car in sight on that road, so I just poked along about 40 or so.  The Missouri foliage is quite overgrown now, and it is hard to see very far back into many of the places along the road.  Mostly it just seems like a forested road now.

I was enjoying the ride just the same, and eventually reached the little town of Eldon.  This is on the main highway, and has the usual trappings, McDonalds, and Wal Mart along with several gas stations.  But just for kicks I went downtown to the old central business district.  And like all little towns the stores were mostly empty. But I did see an abundance of second hand stores.  I didn't get off and do any browsing.

Essentially I just rode back to the lake place, but on a slightly different road.  There was more traffic on this highway, and I had to keep up with the cars a little better.  So that runs the scoot mostly at about full out to go 60 miles an hour.  But since it doesn't get ridden all that much anymore, it is probably good for it to run the cobs out once and a while.

I got back in time to see Ben and Danielle and the kids off for Kansas City.  They had been here for a week, and it took them a while to get all packed up.  It seems sooooo quiet here now that they have left.  Grandma and I don't make much noise, and Biscuit whined all the rest of the afternoon since her playmates were now gone.

We did go into town for a while tonight, and Biscuit was good company as we waited in the truck for the head shopper to go into the stores she missed yesterday. Another good day at the lake!!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rain at the Lake.

Today started nice enough, and we were making plans too, when the clouds came rushing over.  By early  in the afternoon, the sky was dark and rain blanketed the area.  Lightening and limited visibility reduced the view out over the lake to barely across the cove.

But by that time the gals, Loyce and Danielle had taken both trucks and all the kids on a in town shopping spree.  That left Ben and I marooned here at the lake house with only one little 200 cc scooter and a very wet pontoon boat for transportation.   We sat tight in the screen porch....

I'm not sure what we talked about all afternoon but we managed to not fall asleep anyway.  So without any excitement to blog about, it will suffice to say we had a restful day.

Tonight, Loyce and I are the baby sitters, for the evening.  The grands had big Ice Cream sundaes at Mc Donalds after our supper at home.  They were all asleep in the back of the pickup on the trip home.  I think I am glad that all that shopping didn't include me, or I might have been asleep on the way home too.

Retired Rod

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Day at the Lake.

It seems like where ever I go, there are a bunch of projects waiting for me that didn't get done the last time we were here.  So when everyone went down on the dock to go swimming and jet ski riding, I noticed that my key fob still didn't work for the boat lift.

Let me drop back a bit and explain things.  We have a pontoon boat, and it is on a floating boat lift.  The lift is fastened to the floating dock, which is connected to the sea wall with a ramp.  The floating lift goes up and down with a vacuum cleaner style motor that blows air into the logs under the boat.  When the steel tank logs are inflated, they float and raise the boat out of the water.

But it is hard to take the boat off of the lift, and have to go tie it up along side the dock and then come back and run the controls on the dock console.   So I purchased a remote control gizmo that runs the controls from a key fob that is fastened to the boat keys.

So you get on the boat and push the button and the lift goes down and dumps you into the water.  You back off from the dock, and push the button again and the lift comes back up without the boat on it, and you are free to go fishing or sight seeing.

When you come back to the dock, you push the down button and the lift descends below the water so you can pull back on again.  But it didn't work...........  I had switched to the spare fob earlier in the spring, but it quit working too.  So today I had to take the little screw out of the fob and decided what kind of battery went inside and see if Wal Mart had such a thing.

So as the family was swimming I was in Wal Mart looking for this little battery.  Nope, not in photo, try automotive......  And yes...... they did have them in automotive.  So after some lunch and several jugs of gasoline to put in the jet ski I was back at the house replacing batteries.  I bought two, one for each fob.  That took about an hour and a half!

I did manage to find the license tag sticker and get it applied to the red motor scooter license plate and the registration into the folder under the seat.  Just project stuff, but enough to keep me from taking the family boating.

But after a while they sent my son up to see why we weren't headed out with the pontoon.  So by about 4 PM, we departed and headed up the river to almost the 20 mile mark.  We live at the 2, so that was quite a ways.  Of course we nose around looking at all the stuff on shore along the way so it takes us quite a while to go that far.  But when we could see Bandanna's  Barbecue from the lake we suddenly got hungry.

So we buzzed home in a toot, and went up town for the barbecue.  Its midnight now as I type this and I am still overstuffed........  The kids had to play bumper boats in the T shirt town up by the dam tonight and we didn't get back until 10 PM.  They were zonked almost instantly when we got home.

Another day at the lake.

Retired Rod

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lake visit for the grands

Our son Ben and his wife Danielle and the three grand kids have been spending the week at our lake home in Lake Ozark.  School starts on Monday of next week, so this is the last hurrah for summer 2011 for the kids.  The older kids understand this quite well, but the five year old just goes with the tide.

Loyce and I decided that we wanted to be with the kids during this last week, so we packed all of our stuff that we normally take with us to the lake, and Biscuit. Seems like her doggy stuff takes up more space than our things.

We kind of messed around all morning without much purpose, knowing that we would come together  at the final time before we left.  And it did all come together about 1:30 in the afternoon as we were off for the lake.

We are pulling our cargo trailer with the pickup truck in hopes of bringing home the smaller scooter that was purchased two years ago.  Perhaps we can use it more effectively in the KC area, rather than leaving it here at the lake.  Seems like it just sits here and is seldom driven.  But on the other side of the coin, we have much less space to park it back in KC.

When we arrived, the kids were all down on the dock swimming in the lake and riding on the Jet Ski.  We had called ahead, so they knew we had arrived but went on with the aquatic activities.  They were quite tired when they came back upstairs, but still we had barbequed chicken and watched some TV but everyone was soon off to bed.

We have high hopes for fun activities in the morning............

Retired Rod

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mowing and keys!

Nothing much to report from KC today other than going to Doctor's offices and mowing the grass that was taller than my high top shoes.

We have a watering system in the yard, and I had set it to go every day when we left for South Dakota.  And while it was soo hot, it was needed, but it cooled off mid week and I wasn't here to set the system back on every other day.  Anybody got a baler they can loan me?

Mr John Deere cut her down with out too much trouble but I usually mulch  the grass.  That wasn't happening too well tonight, so it took multiple passes to get it chopped up enough to be considered mulch.  Even so I will be going back over it with the bagger if it turns brown and clumps together, like you know it will.

I did go over and get some keys made for the motorhome this afternoon thinking that we will add to our third set that we keep in the car for emergencies.  We managed to get the main door locked when we were leaving the campground in Mt Rushmore.  The keys were in the ignition and Loyce's purse was still in the coach as well.  The engine was running as I was hitching the CRV to the back of the MH. Luckily the drivers door was unlocked and I just crawled up the steep steps on the side of the coach and into the drivers seat.  I could have sworn that door was locked but luckily not!

So perhaps the extra key in the glove box of the car is the correct move here.  Or we can hide a key somewhere on the coach, but I'm not too sure about that one because everyone can guess right where to look.  If you put it in one of the bins, what if it is locked too?  I could ask for suggestions on this, but that would give away where you folks hide yours, so that isn't a good idea.

Anyway we have the extra key on the master ring tonight, we just have to decide where to stick it!!!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The run home.....

It is always such a peacful night when we stay at the Timberline Campground.  This is an 80 acre farm that is mostly seeded into prairie grass as it would have been before settlers came to Iowa.

There is a long lane that comes from a rural road back behind the trees.  Once around a corner, you see the barn that has been converted into the campground maintenance shed.  The campground map lists it as the wash barn.  Not sure I have ever seen that description before.

There are several buildings that make up the activities area including the house with the campground office in one end.  We like to camp way out in the back row against the fence.  About three of the sites are 50 amp with sewer that have no tree cover, which allows for our satellite to see her bird. That gives us full coverage TV as there is no cable coverage this far out in the country.  It is 15 miles back to the West side of West Des Moines from here.

I slept in like a log this morning, as Loyce had left the MH for a walk with Biscuit and I never even heard her leave.  It had rained during the night, and everything had that lush green fresh air to it.  They mow a lot of ground here, so it really is a park.  Kids were swimming in the pool while I was doing the clean out chores for the holding tanks.

But sadly we needed to leave, so when things were cleaned for storage when we  arrive home, we headed out.  Four hours later we were in KC right at evening drive time.  Ick........

I 35 enteres from the Northeast and we live on the Southwest corner of town.  I hadn't taken on any fuel since we were in Sioux Falls, SD the day before, so a trip thru the Quick Trip fuel stop was in order.  I pulled in along with the 18 wheelers.  Unlike South Dakota where they trust you to fill it up and come in and "settle up" as the cashier told us.  Here you have to go pay ahead and they set the pump for exactly the amount you say.

That's kind of a pain in the patutee because you have to estimate how much you will take.  I gave them $160 for fuel at $3.75.  Turned out to be 43.5 gallons which was short of filling us up but close.  I had spent $145 for fuel in Sioux Falls so about $320 for the trip home adding some for the tank not being totally full.  It was about 840 miles with our detour to Des Moines since I 29 was blocked by water over the road.

We came very close to 10 miles per gallon pulling the CRV, which is quite respectable.  We have the newer engine with all the polution gizmos so our mileage cannot compete with the older ISB cumins engines.

Tonight was the same old boring load out into the house and go store the MH back over on the lot.  That was after scrubbing the gooey layer of bugs from the front of the coach.

So back to the KC grind......

Retired Rod

For those of you that gave me heck about the no cute puppy pictures, I swiped a picture of Betsy's new puppy from her face book page.  This was taken at the breeders before she came home to Iowa.  She's bigger now and not nearly so innocent.   LOL

Monday, August 8, 2011

The hurried trip home.

We are at the Timberline Campground West of Des Moines, Iowa tonight.  We have stayed here many times over the last few years since we moved to Kansas City.  We left the Black Hills on Saturday morning, and drove East on I 90 all day.

About the most interesting thing that we found in the trip on the interstate was the tremendous numbers of motorcycles headed to Sturgis.  We attempted to count the numbers of bikes that we passed to understand how rapidly riders were pouring into the area for the Monday start of the rally.

We finally began to realize that there were just as many bikes in the back of pickups and in trailers pulled by pickups, as there were actually being ridden by bikers.  We would pass groups of bikes riding together, and the average would be about 12 bikes in a group.  But then we would count at least that many in trailers and pickup beds again.

Finally we settled on 700 to 800 bikes an hour going by us.  But we still might be low on that estimate.  We drove all day, and made it back to the KOA campground in Mitchell, SD.  That was about 275 miles East of Rapid City.  We had driven from Mt Rushmore in the morning and left the Rapid City area about noon.  We arrived about 7 PM, but didn't have any reservations.

As I rounded the drive into the campground the entire tent area was full of motorcycles and tents.  I kind of sucked in air wondering if there was going to be anyplace to camp.  But checking with the guys at the office only confirmed that all the 50 amp spots were gone, but he had 30 amps with water left.  So we took one of those.

I cashed in some of my points that have built up on the KOA account, so it only cost $20 for the night.

In addition to the Sturgis people, it was Saturday night and the ordinary weekend family campers were burning the usual fires and staying up most of the night telling stories.

I was too tired to care what was going on in the rest of the campground, but began working on the post with all the pictures of the animals in the Custer State Park.  To add to the evening, it was later than I thought, because we had traveled back into the Central time zone again and lost an hour as well.

We slept in to almost 9 AM on Sunday morning, and by the time we were packing up, the Sturgis folks were long gone.  We messed around and still had to use the dump station before we could leave.  It was Sunday and there was a line there too.

Once on the road, we didn't stop for anything.  Well, once for diesel, and about a half hour to eat some lunch, but otherwise we ended up in Des Moines about 6 PM.  The lady that owns the Timberline                 park, recognized  me as I walked in the office.  "Now I remember who you are," she said.

So we are here for the night, and went over to see my wife's sister for a few hours.  We had to meet her new puppy for the first time, but I completely spaced off taking the camera.  So go ahead and scream at me for not getting the cute puppy shot!

Tomorrow is on into KC, as we have the contractor waiting!

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Custer State Park

Our park here is the Mt Rushmore KOA, but is also known as Palmer Gultch.  We have decided that this was a private concern before joining the KOA system.  The camp is massive and covers the entire gultch, with older cabins and the horse farm.  In the center of all of it is this grassy field that folks enjoy activities on.  But do not camp on it.  The office is way off in the distance beyond where the campers end.

We decided to drive back into the Custer Sate Park today and I did stop for a few pictures.  This is called the eye of the needle tunnel.

We had a park ranger on each end of the tunnel directing the one way traffic.  It is only 8 ft 4 inches at the narrowest point in the tunnel, but somehow a tour bus made its way thru behind me yesterday.  I watched in my mirror and didn't believe what I was seeing.

We drove from the eye of the needle thru the needles highway and stopped to take a couple of shots of them.

Needles Highway is narrow

The Cathedral Needles 

These Run of the mill needles surround 6 miles of roadway
Once down on the main highway thru the center of the park, we decided to take the wild life loop.  This is an 18 mile drive that takes you thru the Southern end of the park, then returning back to the main road in the center.

Antelope are everywhere

The Park's Mooching Burros

Careful how many windows you open at once!

When we just sat there in the car she decided that the grass was more important than we were a threat.

The Buffalo heard is huge

But the heard stays quite far from the road.
The male Antelope stay way far away from the road and watch the cars from the distance.

We spent quite a bit of time off of the main blacktop roads, as the park allows you to drive the many gravel roads as well.  There were miles and miles of them though and we didn't have enough time to see too many of them.

Skittish Doe Deer

And her brother the Spiked Buck hiding in the shadows

Sadly we are on a limited time budget for this trip to the Black Hills and had to leave on Saturday morning.  We need to be back in the KC area next week, so it is all over for now.

We wanted to do much more and wished we could have looked up Mike and Pat McFall among other bloggers that we read, but we must just tip our hat and hope for another time.

Also we read that Doug Dubrouillet has passed away Friday morning.  Doug has battled Cancer for several years and finally succumbed  to the disease.  We have read Doug and Joann's blog for years now and finally met them in Doc Justin's Diamond J campground in 2009.  Later we saw them again at Quartszite, the following year.  No finer people are on the road than these folks.

So it is with a heavy heart that we learned of this outcome.  We wish the very best to JoAnn and the extended family in the future.  Doug will be missed by all that had the opportunity to know him!

Retired Rod

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More of the Black Hills

We decided that even though we were in Mt Rushmore, we needed to see Deadwood.  So we drove all the way back up there to see the town.  We hung around for a while but didn't find any stores we were too interested in.  Some of the saloons have names from the past like Hickok's  here on the right of this picture.

Deadwood's main street

Its a modern town today.

Not a ruthless desperado in sight

Unless its all the motorcyclists on the other side of the street
Deadwood is right across the interstate from Sturgis and since we are several days before the big biker rally, we decided to go check out the town as well.

My pictures were taken thru the windshield of the CRV so they have reflection from the afternoon sun but the idea of the place is still the same.

Stand along the highway

On Main street headed West

This will be closed to traffic when the Rally opens on Monday

Stands selling biker stuff on every corner

The Liquor store had that big bottle of Jack on top

I turned around and came back to the East

Pictures are better without the sun on the windshield

Need a tattoo or body piercing?

The area where the bikers congregate is about eight blocks long
Most of the curbs were lined with bikes  in all of the pictures, but when the rally is on cars will not be allowed down mainstreet, and bikes will be parked in the center of the street in double rows as well.  People will be shoulder to shoulder for the entire center of town.  If you like crowds........

They were still setting up many of the booths along the highway, and many of the stores are bike related and seemed to be operated mostly during the event.  I wonder what the daily requirement for body piercing is in December?

This is the rest of Thursday's activities, but with so many pictures, it will tax the park wifi.  So I had better quit right here and see if it will upload.  Tomorrow we will have pictures from the Custer State Park, and no discussion of motorcycles.  But there are thousands of them here so it is impossible to take a picture that doesn't include one somewhere!

Retired Rod