Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Travel finally!

We've been moving on.  After escaping Utah without accident, we moved on into Idaho and Montana.  This was mostly Interstate driving as we were really trying to get a few miles up the road.  All these states are fixing roads because, after all, doing so in winter isn't much of an option.  In Montana I noticed something kind of funny.  They are working on some bridges and typically close one lane, reduce the speed limit and get to work.  We came over this ridge and saw work going on down in the valley.  They reduce the speed limit to 55 mph; I've always figured that I'd be an idiot to get a speeding ticket while towing 8,000 lb of trailer so I'm pretty sure to be below whatever the limit might be.  Well, this time there were three or four white vehicles and one black one way at the end.  I was doing about 52 mph and guess what, the black vehicle was a police car!  The guys behind me who had been probably cursing were now probably pretty happy.  That was a nice ending.  Then it happened again the next day!  These cops are having just way too much fun. 

Our objective on this trip was to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.  It was a great place!  We stayed in the town of Medora, North Dakota.  It's pretty much a tourist trap for folks staying at the park.   We stayed at the Red Trails Camp Ground; nice enough place but average.  We had lunch in one place that was great; then we had dinner at a place one of the locals recommended that was worse than awful.  Amazing.

The national park is divided into a North and a South portion.  We only visited the South.  There is a 36 mile drive going around the park; fantastic views all over the place.  There are hiking trails all over the place but we didn't do well with them.  We tried two and each started with a bunch of steps carved out of a hillside.  We flatlanders just didn't want to do that.  They brag about the number of buffalo; we only saw them at a distance until nearly the end of the loop when we rounded a corner and there was a big bull dining on grass in the ditch.  We were so shocked we didn't even get a photo.  They brag about wild horses; didn't see a one.  They 'brag' about having lots of prarrie dogs; well they sure have them!  We also got to visit the Painted Staircase area:  it's got some great overviews of the park.

Here's a buffalo - far away and showing us his ass!

It's a tough place even for a tree.

Here is an overview of what much of the park looks like.  It was taken from the Painted Canyon ranger area.

Anyway, we moved on to Dickenson, ND.  Dickenson is living the oil boom.  Shale oil workers and money are making the town exciting.  There is lots of building; the restaurants and service industry people are doing well.  It all makes us folks who live in the slow growing areas envious.  I guess the oil industry can inject a lot of money in an area. 

From Dickenson we took a quick trip on the Interstate to check out Bismark, ND - the state capital.  It was weird.  First of all, it was Labor Day so everything was closed.  Secondly, the state capital building was strange:  it looks like an office building!  So we ended up having lunch at Pizza Hut just because there wasn't anywhere else but McDonalds.  

We'll be moving south now.  More info later!  Have a good one.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gone Walkaway....

Ok, we wandered off finally.  Photos:  oh hell no!  Not trying to make lots of miles but landed in Leeds, UT for our first time. The Leed's park is a nice little place off the highway; we have been here before; didn't go to the Zion Park just because we'd been at the park before.  Drove on to Salt Lake City today.  Nice quite drive until.....

We were in Salt Lake City coming off I-15 coming onto Westbound I-80 and it was just crazy.  First of all I must admit that my wife and I have different ideas about what happened.  I'm kind of supporting her version but that's because I was busy at the time.  Let's face it, I'm driving and I don't have the universal view.  Here's the deal.

While we were coming off I-15 towards I-80 Westbound we saw an accident.  My wife says that a vehicle ran up onto the INSIDE of the curve, turned over and stuff flew out.  I don't know, I was too busy avoiding the guy in front of us who moved over into our lane.  Happily, there wasn't anyone in the lane to our right so I was able to escape him.  I was also able to escape a LOT of sharp rock that the rolling vehicle had tossed into our lane.  We called 911 and reported the wreck but we didn't really want to park a 50+ foor rig on the side of the road and block things up even more! 

So now we are in Salt Lake City and headed north.  We'll update you from time to time.  Hope there aren't any more accidents!  Take care.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dummy Alert!

Oh boy, did we do a dumb thing the other day.  We have the trailer out of it's shed and next to the house because we are doing a little work on it - the new bathroom sink.  So we opened the awning to keep the morning sun off the side so it would be cooler.  So far so good but then comes the dumb moment:  we left the awning out and came into the house.  You know what happens next:  the wind comes up and suddenly I hear this whacking sound.  The awning was doing it's best to try to rip itself to bits.  I ran out and grabbed it but it was too much for me.  Happily my wife heard it as well so she followed me out after a minute or two.

We tried flipping the lever to roll it up but it was jammed and wouldn't roll up.  Finally I had the bright idea to release the awning legs from the side of the trailer and just let the awning hang down against the side of the trailer.  My wife couldn't get her end of the awning to release but I managed it and that released all the strain from the 'roll up' lever and we managed to get the awning rolled up.  Damn, that was a near thing!  We've been running around in trailers for almost 15 years that's too long to be making a rookie screwup.

We do have a new sink though.  It looks good and hopefully we'll get the plumbing done later this afternoon.  My wife is the family plumber; all I do is hand her the tools.  I won't be taking any photos of that! Here's a photo of the old sink propped up in the cutout for the new one.

And here is the new sink happily installed.  What a difference!

My computer is officially screwed up.  My battery icon gives me a message that says "6% available (plugged in, not charging)".  It's almost exactly 5 years old and when I took the battery out, it's leaking.  It's just a bad deal.  I checked out batteries online and they are running about $30.  I checked out the ones at the local BatteriesPlus store in Las Vegas:  $100.  Hmmmm.  Guess I'll be buying online again.  On the other hand, there is a nice Toshiba Click 2 advertised for $530.  It's small but maybe I could get used to it.  We'll see what happens.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jeez, I'm getting worse!

Ok, I haven't updated the blog in over three weeks.  In my defense, it's been pretty dull around here!  This is our 'monsoon' season so we've had several storms blow through leaving their usual .002 inch of rain.  That ain't much even in millimeters.  The mountains between here and Vegas catch all the rain and they have had some flooding.  We got a little mud on the roadway but not a lot.  We did have one really cool storm in the night with a lot of lightning hitting the desert floor.  Pretty unusual and totally beyond my ability as a photographer but it was cool.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

These days excitement is defined by stuff like having a guy come and powerwash our tile.  Well, at least it is expensive if not exciting.  He suggested we should be sure the gap between the tile and the baseboard is sealed so I spent two wonderful days crawling around with the caulking gun and a tube of silicone.  Then there were the two days laying around groaning about the crawling around.  Gotta tell you 65+ year old guys who are overweight just really don't like crawling very much especially on a hard surface like tile.  I used a pad but couldn't stay on it the whole time and my knees knew.

My wife had a birthday recently and we celebrated by going into Las Vegas for Dim Sum.  We went to a place called Ping Pang Pong in the Gold Coast Casino.  It is pretty well rated and got a good mention in some national magazine (like Travel and Leisure but don't quote me on that).  Two of the other Dim Sum restaurants in Vegas have been closed by the health department within the last two months so we just kind of knocked them out of consideration without hesitation.  Anyway, I was pretty surprised because the place was really quite small.    I've never had Dim Sum before but thought the food was pretty good.  Carts are brought around with various little plates on them.  You get like three dumplings on a plate.  Plates are between $2.50 and $7 at this place and there are a few things that are more.  We got some bbq pork that was a quite large serving for $9.  There were a few things that I didn't like.  First it was so noisy that I couldn't hear the cart ladies nor could my wife so we ended up with a few things we wouldn't have ordered.  (There was way too much shrimp for someone like me with a shellfish allergy.)  Secondly, the cart ladies all circled around at once so we ended up getting lots of food on the table whereas had we gone a little slower it would have been a better experience and the food would have been warmer.  I suppose that is our fault though; they didn't twist our arms to take food!  Finally, and perhaps the largest complaint is that we were standing in line outside the place for a full 30 minutes.  We had read in reviews about the wait but we were hoping that mid-week at 1 p.m. it wouldn't be quite so bad.  It was.  I think next time I might try someplace less popular.

This morning I'm waiting for a guy from DIGIS, our internet provider.  They use some kind of radio signal to get to our house so we have an antenna, much like a DirectTV dish, for the internet.  They put a new one on a couple weeks ago so we have quite good service. (Ping is 61ms; download speed 10.94 mbps, upload is 1.98 mbps for those who know about such numbers.  They are claiming that when the installation is right and their tower gets upgraded next week we should see 15 mbps download.  We'll see.)  Unfortunately they used 4 lag screws to hold the dish on and two have already fallen out.  Not exactly a wonderful installation so they have to come back and fix it.  Not something that's worth taking photos of either! 

Our staghorn cactus is trying to have a flower.  It's not quite open yet but I need to get a photo when I can.  The flower doesn't stay around very long.
If it sticks around and I can get better photos I'll do so. 

Anyway, that's life in the slow lane.  We'll do something crazy soon, I promise.  Until then, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No I'm not dead....

We've been having more fun than you can imagine getting that oven installed.  We bought the oven from an Amazon affiliate; mostly because it was $800 less than at Home Depot or Sears.  However, there was a slight delivery problem.  It was a week late arriving here.  Grrr!  My wife was about ready to fly to New York and kill someone.  However, finally it showed up.  The guys unpacked it and we inspected it carefully.  Happily it was just fine.  The only problem is that the thing weighs something over 300 lb (135kg)! 

Now that we had the oven we felt comfortable getting in touch with the electrician.  They couldn't come immediately so it took a couple days and we had the new oven sitting in our nook.  Now we felt comfortable about taking the old one out but it was a little heavy for my wife to help me.  So we waited for the electrician.  He showed up and was great.  He helped me pull the old one out and unhooked it.  Then he wired up the new one and helped me put it in.  It fits like a glove!  Happy days.  Well, almost.

The instructions for the oven tell you to remove the oven doors prior to installation so we did that; then we couldn't get them back on!  Jeez, let me tell you, we tried!  We tried time and again but finally had to admit defeat.  I called our local appliance repair person and got on their schedule.  Finally, the day comes around and the guy shows up.  I've got to give him credit; he didn't even laugh!  It took him about half an hour but he did get the damn doors back on.  Finally we could trip the breaker and we have an oven again.  Jeez!

We've tried a couple things and so far it's working well.  It has all kinds of bells and whistles that will never be used.  For example, you can connect it to your wireless network so you can use a smartphone to fire up the oven before you get home.  Really?  Gradually we are getting the various settings modified to our liking.  There are a few things to get finished, like painting, but nothing too challenging.  And we get to eat in the meantime. 

We did take the old ovens and microwave to the recycling center.  It was 300 lbs of various metals and glass; we got $20 for it.  It's hardly worth doing but I like the idea that it will be something else someday rather than just taking up room in a landfill. 

There are a few other things going on but I can't talk about them right now.  Besides, I have some kitchen duties calling me.  Have a good one!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Oh gee, crappy blogging again!

Here's a headline that talked to me; except I'm not so stupid as to try to hide my knife.  When we were in China I forgot to pack my Swiss Army knife in my luggage one time.  When I admitted this to our guide, he recommeded leaving it behind.  He even called a friend to come 'find' it.  Well, it was a great way for the 'friend' to get  a nice pocket knife but I figure it would probably found it's way to a landfill otherwise so I guess I'm ok with the friend having it.  I've had two Swiss Amry knives:  one from when I was about 21 and visited Switzerland for the first time; the other from my mid 40t's after the first started being kind of sloppy.  Well, now I've got a third.  Same version but just tighter.  Too bad we can't get a new body like we get a new knife!  LOL!

Things have been rather quiet around the homestead these days.  We pulled out the over-the-stove microwave/vent hood and replaced it with a regular stove vent hood.  The old one didn't do a very good job of venting the stove AND somehow grease found it's way into the thing to drip into the microwave.   Weird but nasty.  So now we have a dedicated vent hood.  I'm really sorry to say it took us all day to change it out!  Guess that we made almost every error known to humans.  I even made a template which did help in positioning the screws but was a bit off.  Gee, wish the maker had thought to give us one.  $400 noisy POS! 

We are waiting, impatiently, for a new double oven to replace the one we currently have.  The new guy will have convection in both ovens and the self cleaning feature as well.  The current ones are just a pain in the a55.  We should get them next week and after the torture of installing them, I'll post a before and after photo. 

Gotta wander off now.   It's almost 22:00 and time for old guys to be in bed.  Take care!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is he so interested in?

I saw the cat sitting by the back door, very intent on something.

Hmmm,, guess this would be it!
Don't know if it is the birds or the bunny but there has to be some breakfast out there somehow!

We haven't done much in the last couple of days; just working on the every longer 'honey-do' list.  I work out in the garage but by 09:00 it's way too warm to keep going.  Don't you just hate it when you sweat on something you just painted?

Thanks for stopping by.  Take care.