Palm Trees in southern Florida

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The American Moon

In 1972 the moon was American. 
Today an American has to buy a ticket from the Russians to go into space.
Anyone know what happened?

The last man to walk on the moon in 1972

A few days back Captain Eugene Cernan USN (Ret)  passed away. He was the last man to walk on the moon, that was Apollo 17 back in 1972.
In those days the moon was American.
In 1961 JFK gave his speech that established having an American walk on the moon was a national priority. In 1969 we did walk on the moon ... in 1972 we went home.

From the public announcement that we would do it to when we got bored of it was just 11 years. Today when an American goes into space he buys a ticket from a Russian...

I am saddened by this, something great has been lost by my country.

Is it the money? Is it the time involved? Is the risk to American lives?  No... I don't think so.

The Apollo program cost $134.3 billion in 2013 dollars, took 11 years & 3 lives were lost.

Just as a comparison let's look at Afghanistan.  2001 to today is about 15 years in Afghanistan, $685.6 billion dollars as of 2013 & and 2386 lives lost as of October 18th of last year (2016).

To keep these dollars in perspective in 2008 we gave the banking industry $700 billion dollars to cover their gambling debts. That's $757 in 2013 dollars.

So it's not the money, it's not the time & it's not the lives. Why did we give up space?

Beats me... maybe the money was just going to the wrong places?

Friday, January 20, 2017


We bought a house, well, a 37' 5th wheel to leave on our lot & call it a house.
It's been awhile since either of us had a proper home of our own. 

Backing the house in to the lot

We were about ready to head for Arizona when this deal came by, and we couldn't pass it up even if it was going to require time & money that had been earmarked for something else.
The RV gathering in Quartzsite  will be there next year.

I am sure there are some who would poo poo the notion that a 5th wheel RV could be a home but it has everything the two of us want.

Ceiling fan

Deep sinks in 'just' enough kitchen
An electric fireplace

It does take more than just a house to make a home, that took some time & a little money.

We had a friend come over with his pickup to pull the 5th wheel 14 feet forward into the perfect spot. We had a truck load of gravel delivered to the driveway/parking area out front. He did a fine job spreading the load out and we finished it with shovels & a rake.

The 5th wheel in it's spot & gravel spread out

I needed to get the weight off the wheels/axles/springs & needed to get it level.
When you crack an egg into a hot frying pan and it slides to one edge of the pan the house is not level. When you move fast from one part to another (like chasing your naked wife <g>) & the house bounces a little.... it needs some support.

Concrete bricks & lumber were the answer.

Using the built-in manual scissor jacks at the end of the 5th wheel, with the built-in electric hydraulic jacks at the front (they move in tandem), a torpedo level at the stove and a six ton hydraulic bottle jack we were able to get the house high enough that it did not bounce on the springs as you walked and it was level.

Six concrete blocks & a 2 x 6

Bricks were stacked at three different places on each side. Lumber was used to shim the stacks as close as we could get to the metal beams that support the structure.
Then the house was let down onto the supports. The level was checked at the stove, the center of the house at the kitchen, the forward bedroom and the far aft reading table. The doors were positioned to see if they swung on their own.
A frying pan was put on the stove & a small amount of water was added to the pan.  It just sat there! Success!


I did make a few observations in this whole process. Re-learned a little even.

The concrete bricks seem heavier than they were some years back :-)
A minivan can have too many bricks in it.
No matter how easy it is to pick up a single block by hand & walk with it, it's still easier on everything to put 4 blocks in a borrowed wheelbarrow and move them like that.
Red Georgia clay is slippery when wet & can make a mess on the floor.

It's good to have a home & I'm now ready to travel!  I've been trying to get to Key West for some years now... maybe this is the time?

Monday, January 9, 2017

The complexity of life

How do you measure complexity? I'm sure there are a lot of different ways (if you really wanted to measure complexity) but I think keys may be a good way to it.

I was swapping my pants this morning and looked at all the keys I'm carrying today. Two keys for the house, three keys for the RV, one key for my van, one key for my wife's van, one key for the mailbox and my p-38 can opener.

January 9th 2017

All necessary for "my" life today. Plus there is one more key for the house that I don't need to carry around for the outside boxes and several more for my life on the west coast. The west coast keys are on a ring in my travel back pack...

Then I thought about how it was less than a year ago. 
I had two Ford keys & my p-38 when I had the Ford van, when I moved to the Chrysler Town & Country I was down to one big car key & my p-38. The T&C electronic key was more a lump in my pocket than the two Ford keys but not really bad.

April 1st 2016

Then things changed.... Another person in my life, more things that have keys, more keys in my pocket.

More complex, yes, but better!

Complex is not necessarily bad, it's just complex. Good or bad is what you make of what you have....


Sunday, January 1, 2017

The end of 2016

Hello 2017!

For me, 2016 was a great year & a year of many changes.

I started getting Social Security, I met a wonderful woman, fell in love, got married & we acquired a house in Georgia.

I went from the 1987 Ford E250 oil burning diesel van as a home to a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country to a 1997 Pleasure-Way class "B" to large 5th wheel in Georgia with a street address.
The '87 Ford in AZ
The '05 T&C along Hwy 1 by Jade Cove just north of Gorda, CA
Our new home 

Last winter in the Ehrenberg-Quartzsite-Yuma area was great. New friends, new places & good living. In the spring I met up with several friends from the internet (some I'd known for over 20 years). I met my new bride at the spring south east vandweller get together.

My camp at the RTR 2016
With friends camped in Ehrenberg , down by the river
Fortuna pond, Yuma AZ
Hot springs, Holtville, CA

The SE GTG in northern Alabama

I'm not sure what direction the future holds but travel (with a home base) is the plan. Speaking of travel it's 2017 and about time we were heading towards Arizona...