Palm Trees in southern Florida

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Too fast

We were out on the road with the RV,  this is a pig at the best of times so fuel use is an issue and speed really cuts in to the mpg.
Too slow is just not right,  I'm already in the way of most traffic just because of the size and too slow is trouble.  60 mph is comfortable & usually not too slow.

Then you see a sign like this....

Wow, even thinking about taking this pig up to the speed limit is nuts!  Would this box on wheels be stable at those speeds?  Could I live with actually watching the gas gauge move as I drove?

I'm not planning on finding the answers to those two question...

The co-pilot didn't really care.

I was using the GPS to navigate & for the most part toll roads are not the end of the world so I have not checked the block to avoid them.
Later, after a number of picture taking toll crossings I came across this sign...

Then I remembered all the stories I'd heard about Texas building the roads, then selling them to a foreign company to run, for profit.  (Follow The Money)
How healthy a profit we'll find out when our mail catches up with us next week.  Maybe not checking the block on the GPS was a big mistake?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lines in the road

Have you ever stopped to really look at the broken lines in the middle of a road?

You need a deserted road to measure the lines, they were longer than I thought. 

This was actually the old bridge across Copano Bay in Rockport TX

There were more things to see out there besides the lines in the road.
It's a fishing bridge now, $3/pole

The real bridge
See how the supports are different?
A jelly fish

I wonder if the cement truck drivers get paid for sea duty?
Building another bridge
Plus it was a real nice day.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Television. You may think it's the tool that allowed civilization's downfall or the best babysitter ever, either view may be correct but television is a fact of life.
And yes, it can be turned off, put away and just never dealt with if that's what you want.
I like some TV.

My home comes with a crank up antenna outside that's wired to a plate in the ceiling, the plate has a 12v receptacle, a coax male fitting, an on/off switch & a little red light. There were no directions with this....
The switch turns on the 'booster', the little red light and allows the signal to come thru the coax fitting. I have a TV & a TV dongle for my laptop hooked up to the coax fitting (thru a cable splitter), we CAN get broadcast channels on the TV & the computer (I use the Windows Media Center on the computer as a DVR & tuner for the laptop).
The TV & computer sometimes get the same channels and sometimes they don't.

Standard Winegard RV antenna, works good most of the time

Some places I'd get good TV reception and other places I didn't.
In Quartzsite I didn't with the standard RV crank up antenna, so I bought one of the fancy looking antenna's they sold around town. With that on 20+ feet of pole I had broadcast TV!  (I cut my two 10' poles into 5' sections (for transport) when we left Quartzsite, I figured "how hard could it be to get unions for those anywhere?" Turns out they are not to be found in Rockport Texas).
The fancy 'new" antenna I picked up in Quartzsite

In Iowa (and many places) the RV antenna worked great but here in this part of Texas it doesn't. Before I broke out my Quartzsite antenna I did some research on satellite service.
I did NOT go and ask any professionals I went to the internet, to the Directv & Dish network sites. I wanted the broadcast network channels but there are a few on cable that I would not mind watching if I'm going to be spending the money anyway, I went and looked.

Directv wants a 2 year contract, Dish has a month to month plan, month to month I can deal with!  So I looked some more.
Dish has this Tailgater set up, you set this small white box out & tell it the zip code it takes care of the rest. It comes with 50' of coax, in HD & with a control box for $450. For another $40 you can get them to allow you to plug in an external hard drive (that gives you a DVR). That's up to $490...
To get the channels I want it's going to cost $50 a month, Dish can "maybe" get me local channels for an extra $10 a month. $60 a month for TV, lot's of TV, all the TV I could ever want (except HBO & Showtime ...)! 
$500 now & $60 a month for however long I care to pay them... because I want to watch broadcast TV.

Almost sounds like a deal!

I pulled out the Quartzsite antenna (it was disassembled & stored in two different places) & with the one union I had I bungeed 10' of pole to my crank up antenna, and tried it out. It worked! 20 plus channels! 
Not the greatest place to be mounted.
I went to town & picked up a new 10' pole, used my union to attach that to a 5 footer then tried that 15 foot of antenna pole resting on the ground next to the RV.  Yes!  We have reception!

Cheap thrills...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Missouri and grits for breakfast

I was sitting in a restaurant in Missouri waiting for breakfast, I don't recall seeing grits on the menu.  
I've long thought you'd know you were in the 'south' when grits came with breakfast without being asked, I'm paying attention to this stuff while I travel!
But like I said I don't recall even seeing grits mentioned.

That started me thinking about Missouri, some of it's history and it's relationship to 'the south'.
I had to look it up, I have a computer in my pocket, (it's called a phone) so I used that to look up the history in wikipedia.

Missouri is an old place. 
I'm a west coast kid, things from the 1700's are different enough to get my attention, I was really impressed on my first trip to NC and I saw things dated from the 1600's! That makes Missouri 'old' in my book.
The "Missouri Comprise" in 1820 & statehood in 1821, as a slave state.....
Settled by people up from the south and from back east (German immigrants) led to troubled times in the years leading up to the civil war. The state did not succeed from the Union but they tried to.

Rolling hills covered in prairie grass & trees, nice country (it was like that all the way thru Kansas too). We spent the night at a rest area just inside Missouri on I-35. (I had to find the relay for the electric fuel pump, I hate "having" to do stuff like that).
The next night we stayed at Clinton State Park in Lawrence Kansas. I had to read up on the history of Lawrence, the town was started by an eastern company that went out and started towns! Definitely different times. 
For me, Lawrence's claim to fame was that Quantrill came up from Missiouri to sack and burn the town during the war.

Clinton State Park was a nice place too, unusual bathhouse.

The bath house from the outside

The shower viewed from inside the bath house!

Not much camping here in the winter is my guess...

Had to pull out the Audubon Handbook (eastern trees) & look this one up..Horse Apple

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Adventureland workcamping review

Our first season of workcamping at the Adventureland Amusement Park just outside of Des Moines Iowa (Altoona) is finished, we lived in our RV at the Adventureland RV park.

Adventureland park is to the west of the RV park & just to the east is a casino, hotel & thorough bred horse racing establishment. Big name entertainment and good food too.

A Super Walmart within a mile and two other grocery stores not much farther away. The usual collection of fast food, pizza & BBQ all close by. Nothing in the Des Moines area is too far away....

The RV park was open for workcampers the 1st of April and we have to be out by the 14th of October. If you work the whole season the only charge is $160 for June and another $160 for July.  FHU, good water, 30 & 50 amp sites, numerous bath houses with outstanding water pressure and a coin laundry at the back of each bath house. Wash was $1.25 & $1 for 45 min of drying.  That's 6 months of everything for $320.  It's an older park with a lot of trees and paved parking spots, many are pull thru. There is a community room with coin operated games, another laundry area and a pool. The pool is open Memorial Day thru the Labor Day weekend. Mail is delivered to the office every day so you have an address.

We are right next to the amusement park and you can hear people making loud happy sounds when the park is open.

The work.

We heard about this gig at the Adventureland booth at the Quartzsite RV show, it sounded good. We talked it over and decided to try it.
They were looking for workers for food, games, retail & rides. You were paid for all the hours worked, rides & food were $7.50/hr, games & retail were $7.25/hr.

I worked rides and loved it, I never had a 40 hr week but more hours were available. My wife worked retail and several times she was scheduled for a double shift (open to close) and several weeks were over 40 hrs. Getting more hours was always possible if you wanted them.

The work is not physically hard, & the people I worked with & for were just great.  Working with the public who came to the park for a good time was outstanding!  It was actually fun.
I am now a professional Tee Shirt reader!

The money....

Over the six month season (between the 5th of April and the 7th of Oct) the rent & utilities were taken care of, plus I had $3,388.00 deposited to my account and my wife had $3,522.80 deposited to hers.

It was fun, the area is nice, the rent was right and we they put money in our bank every two weeks.
I plan to come back!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Time for something new

It's time for something new here but I don't have anything new... I've been too busy to observe ANYTHING from the road.

With brakes on the RV & the brakes on the '90 Chevy van I've spent way too much time on my back, on the road under the vehicle.  On the bright side it looks like everything is working now...

The Adventureland RV park has a lot of room now as the workcampers go on to whatever it is they are going to do next, a lot of them are going to work for Amazon & should be there this week. There was a big exodus the first 2 days then it slowed down but has not stopped.
We are still getting our act together but as I remind myself I'm not in a hurry. Probably be moving tomorrow.

I am looking forward to getting the 'stuff' done AND seeing the sun rise from the water. 

Next week.

I needed to add a picture!

 If you like volcanoes here's a couple in central Oregon.