Monday, May 28, 2012

Reflecting Brings Weird Memories

I was reflecting on Memorial Day and the meaning and got to thinking about the past and searched the Internet for stuff that I thought of during my reflection.
In the early 70's I was working in VW dealerships in the Seattle area.  It was entry level stuff but it was the midpoint of VW as a cheap alternative to the Detroit muscle car.  You could spend a tenth of the money hopping up a Beetle and have a very formidable competitor on race day.  Bracket drag racing, autocross and rallies were big back then and we could take a Beetle to the track and race it, bone stock, against muscle cars and depending on the driver and the reaction time actually beating cars much more powerful.  It was all about dialing in.
To dial in you needed to know how fast your car ran through the 1/4 mile.  After several practice passes you would come up with a dial in time.  During the actual bracket racing you were not allowed to go faster than your dial in time or you were out.  Obviously, consistency plays a large part in racing brackets.  If your car runs a consistent time each time down the track it is much easier to dial in.  Of course, you can always dial in at a much slower time and stand on the brakes if you're going too fast at the end of the race.  It was part strategy and part consistency.  And it was tons of fun to get a head start down the track while a bigger more powerful muscle car sat at the start line for an extra couple of seconds and then had to try and catch you before the finish line.
That was just one of the memories I had during this time.  We used to make all kinds of things out of the little Beetle.  Dune Buggies, Woodies, Sand Rails, Race Cars, Air Planes, Boats and RV's.  Yes, I said RV's.  There was this guy who sold a set of plans to build a Beetle camper.  It was shown and described in Mechanic Illustrated.  The plans cost $55.00 and it was said you could build one for $1500. plus a Beetle.  While several were built it didn't become a real big fad.
Just to bring you up to date, the shoulder is now painfully waiting for an MRI.  The orthopedic doctor that I saw last week seems to believe that I have torn something in my shoulder and has order the MRI to see if we can find out what the issue is.  In the meantime, my right knee has started to ache at times.  Jeez getting old is the pits.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest where Saturday the temperature hit 73 degrees on a clear and sunny day, ending up today where the temperature will be  lucky to hit 55 degrees and it is currently overcast with predictions of rain showers before the day ends.  It kind of strikes me as incredible the way the weather can fluctuate from day to day.  I stand in awe of the force of nature.

As the Memorial Day weekend proceeds we are looking forward to a drive to Gold Bar this afternoon to celebrate a close family friends 70th birthday.  Our daughter and her clan are already at our trailer and my son and his family will join us later this afternoon for the big surprise party.  We decided not to spend the weekend at the trailer because, as I have said before, we don't care for the huge crowds that seem to gather on the three day weekends.  I suspect this one will be much worse with the current cost of fuel and folks wanting to stay closer to home.

I just checked the last two paragraphs at and it would appear that my writing skills can be understood by the average 8th grader.  I guess that might be a good thing when it comes to reading a blog.  Making it hard to understand by using higher levels of writing skills might make it hard to read for some.  What bothers me is that I did graduate from high school and I should be able to write at a 10th grade level.  So what happened to my ability to write a more formal prose?  I got old and I don't really care.

I will leave you to contemplate my previous remarks and say that I genuinely appreciate the service and ultimate sacrifice that individuals have taken throughout the history of this nation that allows us the freedoms that we enjoy today.  Thank you to the families as well.  Their sacrifice will never be understood by those of us who have not sacrificed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Remember Father Knows Best

As I drove home from work this afternoon I was listing to the Radio Classics channel on Sirius Radio in my demonstrator.  As I listed to Father Knows Best I was reminded of how something relatively simple can turn into a huge production on to end up back where it started.

Margaret wanted some pictures of the children and she had an old camera that still had a couple of shots left on the film.  She was about to take the pictures when Jim arrives and turns an otherwise simple task into a hugh production that ends up costing tons of money and they still end up taking the pictures with the camera Margaret want to use in the beginning.

Sometimes it seems we make mountains out of molehills......

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being In The Right Place At The Right Time

So much of landscape photography is being in the right place at the right time.  Such is the case with these two pictures.  Allow me to explain.

Two Sunsets In The Same Picture

Two Sunsets In The Same Picture

It is my practice the first night of a stay in a strange city and after all the meetings are done for the day, to take a long walk around the surrounding area.  I was on such a walk when I took this picture.  I had just finished talking with my wife on the phone and was very disappointed that the direction I had chosen to go left me with absolutely nothing to look at.  In fact there were a lot of closed  businesses and buildings were for sale.  So I decided to go back the other way and as I walked by the hotel property I noticed this shot was available.  With the giant tree in the foreground it is a rather dramatic picture of what can happen when you're in the right place at the right time.  As the sunset moves across the horizon it casts a reflection off the windows of this tower that is a part of the hotel.

Hotel Tower

If you look in the far left corner of the shot, you can see the tower building.  The second sunset is a reflection cast in the windows of the tower, however it looks like two sunsets.  I saw it before I took the shot and was very impressed with the outcome.  Had I chose to crop the picture I could have made the tower disappear from the scene completely.  Integrity (learned from Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma) made me do the right thing and post the un-cropped picture.

Hope you're having fun on the road.  I love all the pictures and blogs that I read.  I had 167 in my feed box when I got home and I read them all.  I commented on a couple.  Sorry but I am sure you all realize that we have time constraints.  Honey is begging me to go for a walk.  Have a great day.

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms who read this blog.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trippin" Off To Dallas

My co-worker and I left early Wednesday morning for Dallas via American Airlines.  Everything went well at security except when I got on the other side my daily drug and vitamin package had disappeared and no one could seem to find it.  I went on without it.  We had a good flight even with a full load.  One person was upset to find lots of overhead storage after he had checked his bag.  Seems he had lost two bags previously on American.  Then I sudden realized I lost two hours as I flew from Seattle to Dallas.  Bummer.
Was in meetings all day, everyday until 2:30 Friday afternoon when we headed to the airport for the flight home.  I am glad to say we are home and I, for one, am exhausted.  We went steady from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm and sometimes later.  Thursday night the manufacturer took us downtown to the Dallas House of Blues and we got a special show from Jim Belushi.  I had actually returned to the hotel before he went on stage.  I am not a drinker and I along with several other folks went back to the hotel and sat in the lobby and chatted for a while before going to bed.  Those that stayed had a wonderful time.  They said the show was great and there were so people who didn't look too good Friday morning.
It was a great meeting full of interesting information and I will share some of it with you in the coming weeks.  Here are some pictures from the hotel and meeting.

Thanks for dropping by.
The hotel grounds

One of many ponds

1967 totally restored VW Mini Camper
Parked outside the House of Blues

The House of Blues

Amazing free floating sculpture

Atrium over the lobby

Everything is bigger in Texas

Two sunsets in one picture

Hotel towers

Other set of towers

Will Rogers

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Myself and a co-worker are leaving for Dallas in the morning to attend one of our manufacturers Parts and Service Managers convention.  Lately it has been an annual trek to somewhere different to attend a meeting with all kinds of interesting stuff designed to get us to spend more money, while retaining more customers and selling more parts and accessories, not to mention new cars.

It is a chance to go somewhere different, meet up with old friends and share experiences as well.  I usually get something out of every trip.  I am not too old to continue to learn.

I don't want to be too long winded that I put you to sleep so I will thank you for dropping by and pray you are having a wonderful week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Fantastic Weekend

Mia picked me up at work right on schedule and we drove up to Gold Bar taking the scenic route because it was pouring buckets of rain and the traffic on I90 and I405 was at a standstill.  We headed east on I90 to the Preston exit and dropped down the hill into Fall City.  From there we take a nice meander thru rural farm land and pass through Carnation, Duvall and into Monroe where we hook up with Highway 2 that takes us east to Gold Bar.  It may be a little further to go but driving along the country roads beats sitting in rush hour traffic.

We got to the trailer and unpacked the truck.  The rain was coming down hard and Honey wanted nothing to do with staying outside to go do her business.  So I decided to put up the awning to try and give her a place to go that wasn't wet.  Rookie mistake number one.  The rain was coming down and I was in shirt sleeves hurrying to get it set up.  Of course when I pulled it out I got a slight show in addition to the many droplets that were hitting me from every angle.  In my rush to finish I didn't put one end down lower than the other and the results are seen below.

Awning badly bowed

I could have taken a bath 

Another view

That is a heck of a lot of water. Consider that it poured all night long until early morning. I mean poured. So rookie mistake number two, you ask. I tried to lower one side slightly instead of grabbing a broom or similar device and pushing some of the water up and off the awning. Can you guess what happen? Yep, I couldn't hold it and it fell to the stop and the water just gushed off the awning. Luckily the awning still works and I'll have to chalk it up to experience even though I did know better.

Saturday consisted of visiting our friends and helped him get a new stove into his trailer so he could install it.  Then we did some yard work around the trailer in between showers.  I had hoped to wash the trailer but the weather and temperature just weren't cooperating and my shoulder was giving me fits.  We took Honey for walks and since it was so wet had to use the outside shower to clean her underbelly when we got back to the trailer.  We cut down a tree that was leaning into our shed.  I used a small chain saw.  I used to have to drink a six pack of beer before I would start to saw anything.  I put that caption on a picture I posted on Facebook and my daughter came back with a comment that, "You would have missed the shed, too".  She's right.  I only hit something once.  Mia is cleaning up the aftermath of my chainsaw work.

We watched a couple of old mystery movies from our collection and hit the sack.

I awoke to a cooler morning and got up to turn on the furnace.  Honey sounded impatient so I got dressed, made a pot of coffee and while it perked we headed out to see what kind of day we might expect.  When she was done we returned to the trailer to find Mia still in bed so I put some food in a bowl for her and sat down to read.  I think she was having anxiety attacks because Mia hadn't gotten up and she didn't quite understand what to do.  She didn't eat until Mia got up and told her it was okay.  I fixed breakfast and we went out for another hike around the park.  It seems we always find something different each time.  Witness another burned building and the trailer on the lot is gone.

Looks like a deck piled up on the left lower part of the lower picture.  The glass exploded in the building and there are several garbage cans full of stuff.  I can't find any record in the news about this one but I suspect it is another older trailer that might and caught fire and lit this building and the deck in the process.  
Again I say it.  Make certain you check your propane lines every single year, one in the fall and once in the spring.  There are too many pilot-lites that can lead to disaster.

We went to visit our friends for a few minutes and went back home to try and get some work done.  This morning was perfectly beautiful in the park.  The sun was shining and it was cool but bearable.   When we got home I went up on the roof of the trailer and was surprised to find it in decent shape.  There is the green stuff growing but with the aid of my leaf blower I got the majority of the pine needles off the roof and cleaned the edge along the awning.  Then I got out the hose and some cleaner and cleaned along the edge of the awning and roof.  The section you see after it rolls up was getting pretty green.  A little cleaner and some scrubbing produced a nice white section.  I hosed off the remainder of the roof but I still need to clean the accessories and actually clean the roof.

I got down off the trailer and right or wrong decided to give the whole thing a bath.  My shoulder had be ripping me a good one all night but I tend to do what needs to be done and damn the consequences.  Such is the case today.  I did wash the entire trailer and I think it looks pretty damned good in the afternoon sun.
My shoulder, on the other hand, no so much.

Last week we found out that we actually had water front property.  I took some pictures to give you an idea of the large drainage problem the park has, right behind our shed.

We are told there are plans afoot to do something about it in the fall.  I can hardly wait to see what they have in store.

I am off to Dallas at the middle of the week, returning late Friday night.  Mia has plans with her friends.
So it is unlikely we will get back up to the trailer until the weekend before Memorial Day.  We are going to let our daughter and her family use the trailer that weekend.  I just don't feel like fighting the crowds.

Hope everyone has a great week.  See you on the flip side.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Is Happening to RV's and The Shoulder Diagnosis

Had a nice time at the doctors but I still don't know anymore than I did when I walked in the door.  She seems to think that it may be some kind of inflammation but it doesn't have the characteristics of some of the more common shoulder issues.  So off I go to another specialist.  I'll have to make an appointment tomorrow.  The good news is that the doctor I must see now is close to work so I can slip away and come back.  I hope I have resolve to it soon.

After the doctor and some X-rays I headed to the Puyallup Fair Grounds to the RV Show I mentioned.  As you can see by the picture below it is doing what it does best in Seattle...pouring buckets.
The Parking Lot Is Wet and Empty

Looking Thru The Windshield

Going to the RV show on a Thursday in the pouring down rain definitely has its advantages but there are some disadvantages.  First of all you don't have to worry about crowds, there aren't any.  If you had plans to look at some of the really big, expensive top of the line A class motorhomes, forget it.  They were all parked outside and there were puddles of water around them.  Needless to say the doors were closed and folks weren't exactly being invited it.  Since there aren't very many folks looking there are a lot of sales folks with nothing to do.  In fact, there may have been more sales people than there were people looking and they all wanted to be very helpful.  They could not just hang out and not pester you.

Okay, the RV's.  I was just looking so don't think we are in the mood to buy another unit.  Some of them are very nice.  The bottom end units not so much but some of the high end fifth wheelers and travel trailers are really like homes on wheels.  I don't think I want to haul my home with me.  Fireplaces, big kitchens, on board vacuum systems, compressors, generators, leveling systems, closets all over (some good, some not so good), huge bathrooms and some with four slide outs.  I am guessing you had better be planning an extend stay when you hook some of these up.

Nice Motorhome

Looks Comfortable

Small Street Side Galley

Nice Shower...But Wait Theres More

A Very Large Step Down
The motorhome above was nicely laid out until I looked at the shower.  It is in the hallway on the way to the bedroom and just behind the kitchen area, open to the living area.  It wasn't completely obvious how you closed it off from the living area.  The good news is the toilet and wash basin are across the hall in and enclosed room with a real door.  That step down is huge for some of the older folks who might want to buy a C class motorhome.

Of course you can always take you home with you as shown below.   Sliding doors and park it and leave it for extended periods.  Would work great in Gold Bar if we had a bigger lot.  This thing has three or four slide outs.

Not sure what they were doing as I peered thru the sliding door

A fireplace, really?

I would prefer this kitchen set to my bunks

Nice reading lights

Huge window and nice kitchen

Closet space

The view out the front windows

The view in the front windows

Then you get into the bigger more expensive fifth wheelers.  An they are big and load with space and equipment.  Some have some really strange cupboards and storage areas.

One of the few fifth wheelers with two real doors

The Montana invites you in

Can't say the price isn't steep

Two leather chairs and look at the kitchen

A beautiful couch

What kind of closet space is this

Big screen TV

Real dining tables

Nice Kitchen

Lots of storage

There you have it.  I saw some interesting stuff but nothing made me want to spend any money.  I am packed up and ready to hit the road for Gold Bar tomorrow evening.  Mia is picking me up at work again and we will get the full two days of fun in the park this weekend.  Rumor has it that our friends will be there as well, so I am sure we will have a great time.

Hope everything is good and thanks for dropping by.