Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Phone

They say buying a car is one of the worst emotional crisis' you can have next to going to the dentist or taking a car in for repairs.  Going in to get a new phone and change your plan has to be up there somewhere between these.  I have never been so confused in all my life and I did some research before I went in.

My old plan was costing us a couple of hundred dollars a month with no hotspot, just 4GB of data, 1000 messages and 700 minutes.  I was hoping to save money while getting a hotspot but that isn't possible and the senior program with my carrier sucks so I didn't take it.  I ended up with fewer minutes, less data with the new Galaxy S5, very strong competition for the IPhone.  It cost me more than I will save to upgrade the phone but I felt it was necessary for our pending trips.

I haven't had the opportunity to do much with the phone yet but there are many options that I believe will enhance my future picture taking as well as our ability to communicate on the road.  The phone is larger than my previous Stratosphere and doesn't have a flip style keyboard but Samsung has made the touch screen bigger and easier to use.  Just in the little time I have had it, texting is a breeze.

Mia doesn't use the smart phone to the extent that I do so I downgraded her to a basic flip style LG Revere 2 phone.  She can still text and get calls and even access email and the internet but it is unlikely she will do much but make and receive calls.  The downgrade will save us a couple of bucks on the monthly bill but certainly not enough to cover the cost of the Samsung.  The good news is her phone was free with at 2 year plan.

After we "really" retire and stop traveling (three years) I suspect that I will move away from the smart phone to a basic phone and leave the internet and email to other devices in my possession.

Hope everyone is well.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where Is Waldo (Ken)

No where in particular, just don't feel like writing.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Trip Planning

I have been trying to decide where to go, when to go and how long to go for the past three weeks since retiring.  I joke to the wife that the only thing I feel qualified to do is right a blog that nobody reads.  I can't seem to figure this out so I am looking for help from followers of this blog who travel.

How do you decide where to go?  When to go?  And how long you will be gone?  What about mail?  Bills?

I am looking at two different modes of travel.  One involves towing the trailer, the other involves travel by truck, hotels/motels and a lot of eating out.  Which would you choose and why?

Thanks in advance for your participation.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Hayseed 400

This is a semi annual event that my daughter and her best friend have attended for years.  We never have because of scheduling.  Being retired we can go have fun once in awhile.

My daughter's best friend is Marie and her husband Jason and a whole bunch of what some would call rednecks go over to the Roslyn area every six months for what is termed, "The Hayseed 400".  We arrived around 4:30 to a large piece of acreage with some really nice looking places around it.  It looked like the entrance to a race track.
There are several people camping in the yard with trailers, motorhomes, and tents.  Across the street is a very pastoral scene and I can't help wondering what they think of this semi annual event.
In front of the house is the pit area for the owner of the property and Jason's car.  Really the whole event comes down to these two guys.  I was told that it is pretty much a race between the two of them.
Jason's car is the Mustang on the right.  The other car next to the trailer is our host's, Aaron's, real dirt track car but it is out of service.  You can barely see Aaron's car at the garbage door.  These guys are here to have fun.

Our host is a construction supervisor who allows other folks who might be rednecks to come to his place for a weekend of fun and racing.  Of course the adult beverages flow freely and this being redneck country you are liable to see just about anything painted on these $500 wrecks that they race.  Both of these cars have seen several of these events and both competitors are concerned about whether or not they will last past this race.

There were several other competitors and neither Jason or Aaron won the race.  I have attempted to censor most of the rude stuff but Mia chose to ride along with Jason and it may not be suitable for all audiences.
Mia, wearing my hat, waves as Jason speeds by.  He took her around the muddy circle track several times and she had a ball.  It was cold as heck as the wind was blowing pretty bad and it didn't stop when the sun went down.  Here are some more pictures of the event.
Aaron sprays the spectators

Jason kicks up some dust

Other competitors


Just about anything can race


Art around the place

Huge after race bon fire

Zach hams it up

I did say anything

Even an all wheel drive Subaru Justy

Crazy people

There were 4 people riding along
They all were having fun and none of them were leaving the yard.  It was a kick to watch them cut loose and have some fun.  Unfortunately my camera battery dropped dead and I was unable to continue shooting.

Hope all is well.  Thanks for dropping by.

Back Home After A Week Of Fun In The Sun

It is a cooler, overcast morning here in the Pacific Northwest on this Saturday morning.  We arrived home from Gold Bar late yesterday morning and did some laundry and got ready for another road trip.  More on that later.

While in Gold Bar we enjoyed getting our lot further cleaned up and spent some time with the modification to the wall in the trailer.  I was able to cut away the part that I wanted gone and now I have to modify a piece of the old wall that I brought home to fit into an unexpected gap that we found.  The finish molding in trailers has a ridge running down the backside in the center to help hold it into the wall.  This requires a kerf cut in the stud that the molding is covering.  Unfortunately there was no kerf cut in the portion of the wall I cut off.  In fact, there was a big void with no stud in the lower area of my wall.  Fortunately I saved the old wall pieces and I have a section that can be modified and glued into the void to give me a place to put my molding.  Then I'll just cut it to length, insert it, nail down the end and presto the wall is gone and it looks like it was never there to begin with.  I can tell you from recent experience, it is much easier to get in and out of bed with that wall gone.

We did a lot of walking around the park and spent time enjoying the days.  I can't help but wonder what people are thinking when they buy into a property such as this and then just let it go to the weeds.  Take a look at the link below for an example.  There is a quality trailer on the lot that is worth at least $14,000 and the lot is big with a shed.  Most lots are going for $2 - $3,000 bare with no storage shed.  This lot should be $19,000.  Now they likely won't get that but $8,000 is a steal.  But look at the pictures.  Obviously they haven't been to the park in some time and both the lot and the trailer show the lack of attention.  How does one spend this much money in the beginning and let it sit and rot while paying dues.  There are other examples far worse that this one.  Units with trees growing from their roofs, that no one has been up to look at for decades and yet they continue to pay dues and do nothing about cleaning or disposing of the property.  I hope I never get to that stage.

Speaking of that, Tuff Shed arrived right on time Wednesday morning.  It was a sunny, warm morning when they showed up with promises of very warm temperatures by mid afternoon.  The promise came true but these guys were fantastic.  They worked steady for six hours and took a truck load of parts and turned them into my new barn style gazebo.
Truck load of parts

First, lay everything out

Metal floor joists, yes!

Up we go

Look, it's a box

Some rafters and trim

Felt and shingles

Presto, new building ready for paint
After the fellows cleaned up (everything left the lot with them) we sat down to Root Beer Floats that Mia made and discussed the process during the warranty term.  Pretty straight forward stuff.  We had some dinner and then it was time for Ken to grab a caulking gun and caulk all the seams and trim.  I spent the majority of the evening doing just that.  It was hot and I was off to a cool refreshing shower when I finished.  The pools weren't open yet or I would have bared this miserable excuse for  a body and jumped in.  Sadly they open this weekend and we are home.

We got up Thursday morning determined to get as much painting as possible done.  It was again hot and humid but we pressed on and managed to get everything but the front of the building in two coats of the primary color and one coat of the trim color.  We are going back this next weekend, Memorial Day, to finish the job but I think it came out really get.

A great new addition to our lot and it gives a whole much more options.

As for what happened last night.  See the next posting.  Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day Surprise

I am punching this greeting out on my cell phone. While we have bad internet service the Verizon data does work.  It is a pain to punch out message with the tiny keyboard.
We got a pleasant surprise when our daughter, grandson and her boyfriend brought us lunch.
Happy mom's day to Mia and all the ladies that follow this blog.
Hope all is well.

Friday, May 9, 2014

All Kinds Of Good Stuff And Big Bertha

Wednesday as I walked around the complex I definitely spied on Spring.  The sun was out and everything was looking great...then came the weather forecast for the rest of the week.  Spring might be here but Winter isn't about to give up without a skirmish.   But there is beauty everywhere you look.

We are preparing to go back up to Gold Bar today.  We plan to visit some friends on Camano Island on Saturday and it will be a shorter trip.

We got a call from Tuff Shed yesterday afternoon confirming our order and going over the details with us.  They surprised me when they indicated they could be in Gold Bar next Wednesday to build it on our lot.  I am a happy camper.  It comes primed so I will need to paint it.  If the weather is good I will stay and do just that otherwise I will return home to do a project for my ex-boss.  If I stay, I'll have to come up with a way to do the project while up there with the weak wifi and no printer.  Might have to come home for a few hours or go to Monroe and find a Starbucks and a Staples store.

Yesterday we went shopping and finalizing the plans for the trip with our grandson in mid-June to early-July.  I have the route figured out and I know where we are stopping for our overnight stays on the way to Pocatello, Idaho and Glacier, Montana.  We will be spending 5 to  6 days in both places giving Zach, Mia and I a chance to not only see the surrounding areas but go on day hikes.

The rains came yesterday and it was really messy.  As night closed in the winds picked up and the rain just poured down from the heavens.  I was laying in bed reading "American Icon" at about 8:30 pm when all hell broke loose and the wind picked up and we got dumped on.  The window in the bedroom was open as was the one in the back bedroom.  The wind gusted through my window and slammed the bedroom door.  It was pretty amazing stuff.  This morning there is no wind and only a light sprinkle.

I emailed Northwood Manufacturing about my broken screen clip about a week ago.  I had not heard from them so I went down to Sumner RV to see if they could order some.  The young lady said she would order them in and I should get a call in a week or so.  I haven't heard from her and I never got a response from Northwood.  I did get 11 clips in the mail from Northwood at no charge.  This is the second time that I have asked for something expecting to pay for it and getting it for nothing.  I can't say enough about these guys and their service.  If you are looking for a 4 seasons trailer or camper look to further than Northwood.

Finally it occurs to me that with all of our mechanical expertise we still can't get it done.  We have this local project in Seattle digging a tunnel to replace an old viaduct.  The device the state is using is called, "Big Bertha".  It was built by Hitachi in Osaka Japan costing $80,000,000.
She is currently stopped dead in her tracks and it doesn't look like she will be digging again until sometime next year.  A special hole is being dug to extract the cutter head so bearings and new improved rubber seals can be installed.  All this technology and we can't dig a simple hole.

Then I remember back to the days when man dug the holes with pick axes, trucks, steam shovels, and back breaking work.  Like the ones we found on the Iron Goat Trail.

Dug out of a shear granite cliff by hand.

Or the Great Northern railroad tunnel completed in 1904 and still in use today was dug by 350 men with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows.  At the time one of the biggest tunnels in the U.S. and it has seen and survived four major earthquakes.
This was a real hostile work place with no rules or safety equipment.  Note the lack of hardhats.  Perhaps we should reconsider the cost of Big Bertha verses the cost of a few good men with strong backs and a willingness to get it done.

Hope all is well, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do Nothing Day

I left the house early this morning and went into the dealership that I used to work at to visit my ex-boss while on the way to one of his other dealerships to get my truck serviced.  I got there really early just after five in the morning and rolled up into the wash bay and washed the truck.  It was around fifty degrees but not raining so it wasn't that bad washing and drying it.  It looked really good sitting out in front of the dealership.  After I finished I went in and visited with some of the other folks who arrive at the dealership early.  Today was my third week anniversary and nothing looked broken.  The fellow who took my place has some issues but he is dealing with them and I suspect he will be just fine.

I had an opportunity to sit down with the owner and we talked at length for a half hour or so about a lot of personal stuff and a little business.  I can't say that I haven't missed him because I really have.  He and I are of the same generation and sometimes we commiserate with each other over the differences in the generations.  As long as he owns the place I will always have a home.  And if they need help and I don't have travel plans, I am more than willing to go in and work.  I just don't want the long hours and stress that goes with management.

I left at around seven and headed out to North Bend Chevrolet.  The guys out there were great.  I arrived just before they opened and left a half an hour later complete serviced and on the road.  It rained all the way out there and most of the way home.  Figures, wash the truck and instant rain.  I got home and the truck looked pretty good considering all the weather in went through.

Mia and I went shopping for a frame for a picture I purchased in Leavenworth and I think we found the perfect one.
Beyond that, nothing...absolutely nothing....isn't retirement good?

Hope everyone is well and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Travel Day, Shed Ordered

It was a travel day and since I pretty much had everything done last night before I went to bed it was just a matter of getting up eating some breakfast, walking Honey, disconnecting the electric, water and cable and we were back on the road again.  While it wasn't raining when we left Leavenworth, as we  headed west on Highway 2 through downtown we could see some pretty ominous clouds sneaking over the foothills.  We made it to the rest stop 15 miles out of town before the rains came.  It was in the form of spring showers.  On and off again.  It was dark and dismal when we pulled into
Gold Bar but it didn't rain long enough for me to detach the trailer and set it up.

We then headed for the Home Depot store in Snohomish.  As I have said before we wanted to order a building that will act as a gazebo at our lot.  We ordered a Tuff Shed 10' X 10' X 11'7" with a transom window, two 3' X 2' windows in one of the walls, 20 square feet of loft, 8' of ridge vent, and the treated floor upgrade.  This a slick deal because 3 of the 5 options were free.  Tuff Shed builds about the bed shed I can find.  It sits on 2" X 6" galvanized steel floor joists.  The building costs a little more but everything is included, even delivery.  Based on previous experience the steel floor joists are worth the extra cost alone.  The picture below gives you and idea of the shape.  There will be a single 4" X 6" Door  and the windows will be in the black side wall.  No skylight or vent like depicted.  There will be pictures as the unit goes together some time before month end we are told.

The rest of the day is just that...the rest of the day.  We are doing nothing.  I am going to take our truck to the Chevrolet dealer to have the differential serviced tomorrow morning and I thought since tomorrow is the three week anniversary of my retirement, I would stop off and visit with the ex-boss on the way out and maybe wash the truck at the store.  I texted him and his response gave me a good laugh.  I won't publish what he said because who knows what might happen.

Hope everyone is well and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday, Rest and Visiting With Family

I awoke this morning to the sound of a shower on the roof of the trailer.  By the time (5:35am) I drug myself out of bed and went outside the shower had stopped and I was presented with Mother Natures morning.  You might be surprised to learn after looking at the picture below that there is bright sunshine all around me just one hour and forty five minutes later.
Last night I was having issues with the Blogger downloading my pictures.  I don't know if it was an issue with the Blogger or the KOA wireless but it was taking a long time to download.  This morning things seem to be a little faster so I thought I would put some more pictures on this blog and save it as a draft for later editing.

Yesterday afternoon we went out and drove a large loop around Leavenworth that took us through some smaller towns and the many apple orchards that dot the area.  My love of agriculture things has not diminished.

 As we rounded a corner in between orchards we saw what looked like an elk standing just below the tree line on a hillside above a farmhouse.  We were nearly a half mile, many more, away from the target.  I switched to telephoto and took this shot.  Unfortunately my telephoto lens is not a really expensive one with auto focus and stabilization.  It is a cheaper version with none of the above.  I also don't have a tripod and we were in a hazardous position on the road where getting out of the truck might not have been a real good plan.  I took the shot hoping for the best and this is the best I got.  Mia thought it was a statue but I am pretty sure head movement indicates life.  Anyway, it was an unexpected sighting.

After breakfast this morning we took off and headed down to the downtown park that runs between Leavenworth and the Wenatchee River.  It was overcast, cool and dripping a little bit but we decided to tough it out and go.  I am glad we did.  We ended up walking most of the trail, stopping and talking with dozens of other people (mainly dog owners) and just thoroughly enjoyed the weather as the sun began to sneak out and give us a nice walk.

As you can see Honey enjoys her walks.  She loves to peer over anything.  Logs, bridges, cliffs, the edge of the water.  It is even more fun if she catches a glimpse of something like a duck or chipmunk.  It is fun to have her along although it does tie your hands when want to shop or eat.

Our son and his family came to visit us and he told us all about his trip to China.  It sounds like it was a combination of the things he liked about his Japan trip and all the things he didn't enjoy during his trip to India.  It was really interesting to listen to some of the political stuff and the difference in perception regarding issues from the eastern verses western point of view.  As always our grandson was a joy and made sure he was the center of attention.  We really enjoyed the visit and having lunch with them at one of our favorite restaurants in downtown Leavenworth,  Andreas Keller.

It is in the basement and they have a great staff and a wonderful menu of all things German.

Hope everyone is well.

Thanks for dropping by, it might be a couple of days before I update the blog as we are moving back to Gold Bar tomorrow.