Monday, April 30, 2012

More On Gazebo, Shoulder and RV Show

As I said yesterday, Mia and I spent a lot of time walking around our 240 acre camping complex this past weekend.  As we walked, we talked and admired some of the great Gazebo's that our neighbors had built and of course we took picture with my new smart phone.  So nice to not lug around my Rebel SLR.
Looks like a bar
I suspect there must be a bartender involved with this one or perhaps it is a roadside hamburger place.

 The one above isn't quite up to the standard of half wall solid, half glass or screen.
 This one doesn't meet the standard either and it is very small.
 This one is huge with what looks like a loft area.  It is closer to the standard but still lacks removable panels.
 The one above is a normal barn shed that someone has cut doors into.  Each door drops opening the inside to the outside.  I assume there are screens inside to keep the bugs out.  An ingenious way to do it.
 The one above is the one I like the best.  Large sliding windows with screens, yet enclosed.

As you can see Mia and Honey are constantly waiting for the old guy to catch up.  I swear we must have walked 70% of the park this past weekend.

It is a neat place and somewhat drab as you can see, when the weather isn't nice.  As I said before the park allows people to stay for 270 days as long as you leave 1 day every 30 days.  So we have some folks who have chosen to live in the park.  Considering the dues and propane are the only overhead, it can be a very economical way to live.  We have had some older folks who have lost their life partner and been stranded in the park because they can't drive and their kids don't care to visit.  Others try to help but isn't the same when you stuck with no transportation and this isn't exactly downtown Seattle.

There are several lots with park model trailers for sale.  And I suspect some of them are very nice and Mia and I could easily adjust to living in one and having the travel trailer to hit the road those three or four months we would need to be out of the park.  But the question arises regarding what to do when one or both of us can no longer drive or go on trips.  Then there is the question of medical.  The closest hospital is Monroe and they aren't exactly getting the cream of the crop in a relatively rural area.  I think I could handle it but it is a long ways for the kids to come to help us if something should happen.  We are just thinking.  But take a look at these.

 A 2000 Casa Villa 40' with two tip outs, a shed, gazebo for $18,500.

A 1995 Snowbird 33' with two slide outs, furniture and a shed for $14,500
Or this nice 1996 Prowler 39' with two tip outs, sheds, gazebo, and furniture for $30,000

There are more but you get the idea.  An look at those pictures.  The sun is out in all but one of them and doesn't it look pleasant?  Then consider the two swimming pools, Family center and activities.

The winter time would likely be the pits but look what you have to look forward to in the summer.

Like I said yesterday, it is all talk.

Enjoy yourselves and thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Talk About A Short Weekend

Mia picked me up at 4:00 o'clock Saturday afternoon and we headed up to Gold Bar with hopes of getting a few things done.  The list included washing the trailer and the weather forecast was looking good.  Since I don't have Monday off I had to get everything done in the short time we had.  Well mother nature saved me again.  It rained most of Saturday night and it was misty, damp, soggy, cloudy and just ugly on Sunday.  While it was okay weather to walk throughout the campground, working wasn't at the top of the list.

As we walked through the park we were looking at and taking pictures of gazebos that other folks have built.  I think I like the square design from a builders standpoint (not so many combine miter cuts) and I like the standard four-sided hip roof with a weather vane or something on the top at the peak.  I'll have to work up a design, materials list and I suspect I can talk my grandson into helping me build it.

We also discussed the possibility of living the RV life permanently in the park.  Several people do it but they are limited to 270 days in a calendar year.  That would be perfect for us cause we plan to travel.  One of the issues that comes up is when we can't or don't want to continue the traveling, what do we do for the remaining days.  I doubt we could afford to move back to a house or condo.  We are talking, just talking.

Took some pictures of our site all set up and being lived in.  Looks pretty good to me.
Really Short Driveway

Honey wonders what Dad is doing

We love this place

 As we are walking through the park we saw this. It is what is left of a trailer that the owner tried to move after it had been sitting for decades.
I told you I was having issues with my shoulder and the doctor suspects a compressed vertabea may be the culprit.  I can tell you that the pain is getting worse and at times is unbearable.  Usually at night or whenever I am laying down.  I have got to get to the doctor and get resolve to this.

I hope everyone is enjoying themselves....I know we are.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Golf Cart Out, Gazebo In

As I said yesterday I went out looking at golf carts yesterday.  The object was to find something inexpensive that Zach and I could fix up and us in the park at Gold Bar.  With 1200 sites in 273 acres our private little campground can be a daunting task to commute thus the thought, as many of our neighbors have done, a golf cart to move around the park.  Well I looked at used golf carts at a couple of different dealers yesterday and you can spend a lot of money on something that runs.  Sure, you could buy one of the $300. heaps out back covered with mildew, in need of new batteries and charger, upholstery, a roof, seats and tires or you could sink your fortune into something a little more practical.  At $1495.00 it runs, with 2010 Trojan batteries and comes with a charger.  The tires are iffy.
Okay, okay it does look okay
Then you see the inside
Don't forget to step to the rear

Yes paint spilled on it

My problem with this is the cost. If you could get something like this for six or seven hundred and drop another five hundred into it to fix it up I might be willing to go along but then you start researching the cost of motors and parts for these. And don't forget those batteries. We RV's know about batteries and golf carts use the same deep cycle batteries that we use and they ain't cheap.

My lovely wife would rather have a Gazebo on the site at the back of our trailer for those days when the sun is really hot, the bugs are really nasty and you want your food without extra protein.  We are allowed to build a 120 square foot Gazebo that can be 12' high and have solid walls halfway up the structure and screen mesh for the remainder of the wall.  Of course you are allowed to install solid panels during the winter but it is not supposed to be used as a storage shed or sleeping area.
I am thinking something like this.  And I am sure I would enjoy this more than a golf cart.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Fun Weekend

Since I had to work Saturday, Zach and Mia waited until closing time to come and pick me up.  We set out for Gold Bar at about 4:10 pm and the weather was beautiful.  We arrived at the park with plenty of light and Mia went off to fix dinner and Zach and I started to put things back together and get the trailer ready.  Turned on the gas, attached to water hose, turned off the hot water heater bypass and got ready to bleed the antifreeze out of the water system.  I turned on the water and the initial pressure blew my water filter completely apart.  Since we use and outside filter it was no big deal.  Just disconnected it and went on with the preparations.  We filled and drained the fresh water tank, but we didn't take any bleach with us thinking we had some up there.  So I guess we'll need to take some this next weekend.  Pulled open the awning and got my customary shower.  That tube sure holds a lot of water.

Dinner was ready so we sat down and ate.  Zach wanted to go see if any of his friends were in the park so  we let him off the hook for the night.  We cleaned up a little and proceeded to watch an old mystery movie.  We purchased a CD boxed set this past winter and it has around 50 old (30's and 40's) mystery movies.  We watched Bulldog Drummond Comes Back, with John Barrymore from 1937.  It was fun because you knew who the bad guy was the whole time and the jokes and comments had you laughing while watching the mystery plot unfold.  I love old movies like this and we have around 49 more to watch.

Zach enjoys the peace, though still connected
We slept well our first night back (10 hours for me).  That is unheard of when it comes to me.  We had a hearty breakfast and proceeded to take Honey for her first long distance walk in the park.  She had a ball. We tied her outside while we worked cleaning the lot.  Zach cut back all of the ferns and we help him clean them up.  I messed around with the trailer, burned some clumps of grass in the gravel and discovered that we have lake front property behind our shed.  Seems that there is a beaver family on the creek that runs alongside the park and the greenbelt between us and the lots behind us has turned into a small lake.  We let the park manager know about it and he came down and took a look.  I suspect they will be filling it in sometime in the future and building a berm to keep the water out of the park.

Zach helps Honey
Once we finished our chores, we made a list of things we need, ate lunch and generally sat around enjoying the early part of Sunday, knowing we would soon have to go home.  We left in mid afternoon and Mia dropped me off at work so I could pickup the car.  I drove Zach home and came home exhausted.  Neither Mia or I did much Sunday evening.

This morning I went to Camping World to collect some needed supplies, Auburn to look at golf carts (story for a different day), grocery shopping, Harbor Tools for some needed items, home to wash the truck, oil those chairs that I have been waiting for warm weather to get done and then I fixed spaghetti dinner so Mia could relax tonight.  All in all, a wonderful weekend.  Back to work tomorrow.

Monday's Dinner

My chairs are done

Be safe out there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Where Is That Guy?

My daughter scanned a picture of me standing next to my 1967 Cobalt Blue Volkswagen Beetle when I was in my early 20's.  I put the picture on the blog so you to could wonder, "Where is that Guy?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was Mia's Birthday as well as our daughter in law Emily's.  We had a small, impromptu party in my son's new back yard.  We didn't make a big deal out of them but the family got together and caught up in person.  It was sunny, in the mid 50's and chilly at times but we had a good time.

Since yesterday, the 15th, fell on a Sunday, we Americans get an extra day to file our income taxes (we had ours done months ago).  Today is Emancipation Day, a holiday that is only celebrated in Washington D.C..  All governmental offices are close thus giving the procrastinating tax payer an extra day to get their taxes sent.  Emancipation Day is a holiday to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Eamcipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16.  In the rest of the country it is business as usual.

Mia and I are about to leave on a fairly long, one day road trip that I will discuss at a later date.  I have been up since 3:30 am and it has been raining very hard this morning.  Quite a change from yesterday.  Honey is not going to enjoy her walk with me this morning.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where The Heck Is Common Courtesy?

On my way home this afternoon, I decided to take a little scenic tour down to Redondo Beach Drive.  To get there I must exit the freeway and drive on a city street that winds down the hill to the beach.  Before I can wind down the hill there is a stop light that is generally red with several cars waiting.  About five hundred feet back from the intersection is a driveway that goes in and out of a strip mall.  When there are enough cars stopped at the stop light and my crossing the driveway would cause it to  be blocked, I tend to wait on the other side of the driveway as a courtesy to those who are exiting the driveway on to the street.
Apparently a lady in an Acura thought she was better than everyone else and she went around me on the right side and pulled in where I would have been had I chose to block the driveway.  Where the heck is common courtesy?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Discretion and Valor

As I stated yesterday, the vehicle I was driving while visiting Ellensburg some 117 miles from my home decided not to start when Zach and I were ready to leave.  Since discretion is the better part of valor I am going to say that we were able to get assistance and have the vehicle towed back to the west side of the mountains.  Beyond that, I believe I will plead the 5th and just choose to keep my mouth shut about the actual circumstances (beyond my control) that led to our demise and a long ride in a tow truck.

Here are some more pictures from the beautiful campus

Mia, Zach and I will be heading to Gold Bar this weekend to open the trailer and dewinterize it.  I am so looking forward to spending some time up there.  What is not to love about this site and the trailer in the woods.

Hope you are having a great week.  I am.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Central Washington University And A Day With Zach

We pulled out of Covington just off Highway 18 a little before 10:00 o'clock AM to head east to Ellensburg.  We had not a care in the world as the sun was shining and we were listening to old radio classics on the XM radio.
The first half of our journey went smoothly until there was a need for a rest stop.  I usually stop at the top of Snoqualmie Pass to make sure I can get to the next rest stop.  There were mounds of snow still left alongside the roadway.  In fact you couldn't see most of the businesses from the street as the snow was stacked high in front of them.  Each had a driveway leading in and the parking lots were plowed but they were surrounded by huge fences made out of snow.  Zach put himself high on one of the mounds and had some issues getting down, but get down he did and we moved on.

It can be a beautiful site with the hills covered in snow.

We started down the pass and found out that the state of Washington was getting an early start on their road construction projects.  A slow moving, two mile, down to one lane caravan as we approached to bottom of the pass.  One lane was closed and it was a real bottleneck.  The rest of the trip to Ellensburg was uneventful.  We got off the freeway and went to locate the Welcome Center.  After finding that we decided to visit a cafe my son suggested, The Yellow Chapel Cafe.  If you're in the area you have to try this place.  We both had Angus burgers with cheese on something called Heavenly Bread and let me tell you that it was heavenly.  A cheesy, pull apart bread that was to die for.
Then across the street was a 70's Beetle in pretty good shape.  Looks to be a Super Beetle, one probably a 1971 vintage because it has a flat windshield and not the curved variety found on the later models.  The front fenders give it away.
Down the street from the Cafe was Dick and Jane's Spot.  This is a residence that has gone hog wild over art design using everything from bottle caps, reflectors to bottles and anything else they could glue, staple, or nail to something.

Just a few of the quirky items to be found and my favorite:

Standing dead center in the front yard is this young lady who appears to have some 1953 Volkswagen Beetle tail lights for (you'll understand if I don't continue, as this is a family blog).
I nearly forgot the reason we drove over here...the college.  We had a very nice tour by a very well educated young man who knew way too much about the University, the buildings, housing, food, meal plans and anything else you wanted to know.  There are 9600 students in the school but you sure couldn't tell it by walking around the campus.  A couple of classes only had 20 or 30 students in them.  He said this was the norm.  I was certainly surprised that it had the big college feel and yet it felt somewhat small and intimate.

These are a few of the many pictures of the campus that I took during to tour.

Then it was time to head home.  Oh did I forget to tell you that the car wouldn't start after we parked waiting for the tour to begin.  That is a story for a different day, tomorrow.  You'll enjoy the next episode.

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Verizon, Truck Upgrades and Central Washington University

As I stated in an earlier posting we switched to Verizon.  Today I received my first billing and it was a whopper.  Over $300. in charges and they are charging me for a phone number I don't even have.  Wow, it should be an interesting visit to the Verizon store early next week.

My wife and her friends seem to have difficulty entering and exiting our 2 wheel drive Silverado, so today  I remedied the situation.  I installed new side steps much to the chagrin of my shoulder which is now hurting non stop.  I got these nice new side rails from and they were delivered free of charge to my wifes place of work, we have Prime.  Here they are wrapped securely in the box they came in.
I have to say that the packaging was excellent. Not a scratch on them.

First you have to crawl under the truck and remove the body bolts.  Those long bolts that hold the body to the frame and go thru some big rubber bushings.  You then take the supplied brackets and install them on the designated body bolt.  It takes three brackets per side and the bolts are a lot of fun (remember my shoulder) to get loose.  But loose they were and here is a picture of the brackets loosely installed.

And yes I am quite aware of the filthy truck.

The next step is to bring the side rail out and lay it alongside the truck so you can lift it up and insert the mounting bolts.  So you get out a drop cloth and lay it on the ground along side the truck so you don't scratch the new side rail by dragging it on the pavement.  I turned to go into the garage to unwrap and bring out the side rail and this is what I find when I return.  As you can see there is no place to put the side rail and she looks really comfortable.  Unfortunately she had to move and we had success at last.

Here they are installed and tightened as tight as I could get them. I ended up going to Lowe's and getting a one inch diameter, 24 inch long piece of pipe to put on my ratchet to give my weak shoulder more leverage and was able to tighten them farther than I had before.  I took a side view picture but I was really saddened by the condition of the truck, so what could I do?

Give it a bath.  Of course we didn't stop with just a bath, we did the inside and the windows and the works.  Now it looks really good with the new side steps on a clean truck.  And they weren't that hard to install.  I think I spent all of an hour putting them on.
I think Honey approves...I am never quite sure.

Tomorrow it is off to Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.  We must travel I90 over the mountains and down into the farmlands of the east side of the state.  My grandson has a 2:00 o'clock p.m. tour scheduled and I plan to enjoy the town and campus as he learns about the possibilities that may await him.  I have said before that he is nuts about geology and this university has a fantastic geology sciences program.  I hope he likes it and continues to study hard so he can go to college, something that only my son has accomplished in my family so far.

Hope everyone had a great Easter.  I think I'd better take Honey for a walk before we have an accident.

Happy Easter

Another Spring has arrived and it is time to reflect on new beginnings.  New plants popping up, new birth of animals across the farmland of America and new beginnings for those who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


This past week has been tough.

First, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche passes away at age 76.  Not an engineer like his father and grandfather before him but one fantastic designer who designed and developed the Porsche 911.  Since the introduction in 1963 the 911 has proven to be the most successful design that Porsche ever introduced and was my very first love of European fast moving two seaters.  Though I never owned one I did have an opportunity to work in a dealership in the late 60's that sold Porsche.  The owner of the dealership, Mr. Jim Cleland and his general manager Barry Arnett both drove new 911 models that I got the opportunity to drive because it was my job to keep them clean.  There were some fun times.

Then we lost Thomas Kinkade a well known American painter whose ability to bring light to just about any landscape was uncanny.  He once said that his art was for the masses.  He wasn't without detractors but I still enjoy a lot of his works and Mia and I had an opportunity to visit his museum in Watertown, SD during a visit to relatives in the area.  I was fond of many of the scenes of American life that he depicted, much as I was with Norman Rockwell during my younger years.  There seems to be a very spiritual sense to many of his scenes.

Looking forward to Easter and the sun was out today.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Flying Cars?

I don't know about you but I live in a state where the thought of people with flying cars is really scary.  The majority can't figure out how to drive with four wheels on the ground.
Today Woburn, Mass. - based Terrafugia Inc. informed the world that their prototype flying car made it off the ground and landed again.  The Transition has two wings, four wheels and two seats and the wings fold up alongside the body so you can legally drive on the street.  Last month it flew at 1400 feet and stayed in the air for 8 minutes.
At least 100 folks world wide have plunked down the $10,000 deposit to get their hands on one of these.
Don't get to excited.  It is no help in rush hour traffic, it still needs a runway.

I'd show you a picture but I can't seem to get the MAC to save on and post it to my blog.

So I am reminded of a song about driving (actually heard it today on the way home).  It is by the Playmates and if you can remember them and the song, well lets just say you are of a certain age.......

Get me out of second gear......

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April Fools Day Update

As I sit here watching the sun fade in between rain squalls, listening to Don McLean belt out American Pie on Pandora I wonder what the heck is going on with this country. With apologies to our Canadian readers, I listened to Meet the Press this morning and I have to agree with the round table discussion. We have all these major issues pending and we can't seem to find a way to get together and find a solution that will work. At the local state level we have the same issue. Our state representatives are in special session trying to come up with a budget proposal. Do you think they can? Hell no. I'd say it is time for another party but unless the other two are gone, nothing will get done. Hell, they can't get anything done when one party is in the majority. I just hope and pray (yes pray) that the politicians don't screw this country up so bad there is not place for my family to live.

Okay, enough of that. I am still working as hard as every and really enjoying it. I got to spend a lot of time on the counter helping customers this week and I really had a good time. Then I had to go do all the paperwork. I am scheduled off tomorrow but since Saturday was the technical end of the month I will be going in early in the morning to finish up and then I'll be out of there around 9:00 am. I plan to come home and do some work around the condo. It won't belong before we are spending weekends at the trailer and we need to make sure the home tasks are done.

I did accomplish our change over and we now have Verizon 4G smart phones and high speed cable internet. We decided on the Samsung Stratosphere phone. I have had Samsung phones and have been very happy with them. So far this one is meeting my expectations, even though I am not quite sure what they (my expectations) should have been. This is a picture of the phone with Honey as the wallpaper picture.

The cable set up required a replacement router and modem. I have a spaghetti mess next to the desk upstairs and I can't use the little TV I have on the stand next to the desk.

I have read with great interest the blogs of the past week. Seems we have had service issues, vehicle problems, issues with Mr. Murphy, 80 - 90 degrees in one part of the country while another is freezing in the wind and rain. The great snowbird migration has officially began and Easter Sunday is just around the corner. I am looking for new beginnings like better weather, time to camp, time to travel and time to enjoy family and friends.

Hope everything is well....Take care out there.