Palm Trees in southern Florida

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Winter ...

Where to go for the winter if you're in an RV?

That's a question that we have to ask...  When your house has wheels and you'd like to able to wear shorts all year the question "where to go for the winter" is real.

I see it as three choices.

Southern Florida has the best weather, that brings lots of people so advance planning is necessary. I'm talking about making reservations 11 months ahead for some of the state parks and many of the commercial RV parks.  
If you didn't plan a year ahead, you can get lucky if you keep at it, but there are no guarantees. 

The Texas Gulf Coast is nice.  It's not as expensive as southern Florida and it's less crowded so you can get by with less advance planning.  There are a lot of RV parks down by the Gulf but you probably ought to make reservations, as there are more RVers every year it seems.  Texas has Whataburger too!

The Southwest... southern New Mexico, southern Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California.  Plenty of BLM land that's cheap or free to park on, RV parks all over the place, RVs of all sorts and even Hot Springs!  

Holtville, CA free Hot Springs, 40 miles west of Yuma.
There is a free 14 day BLM area
and a long term visitors area (LTVA) there.

In Quartzsite, Arizona a lot of RVs show up for the month of January. 
There are the rock/gem shows, a huge flea market & the big RV show, plus all kinds of RVers there for the show & free places to camp. Great sunsets too!

Sunset over the Colorado River

It's not just Quartzsite. Out to New Mexico, down to Yuma, east into California and north up towards Nevada you can find RVers enjoying the "better weather"... better than where home is. Yuma was nice.

I've spent 3 winters in Arizona (one at an RV park) & one on the Texas Gulf Coast (Rockport RV park).   This winter we'll be in Florida!

Over those years spent elsewhere, I've looked at the temperature map when it got cold, so I could see where I needed to be in order to be wearing shorts again!  It was usually southern Florida.

In Florida & hooked up. 

We are in an RV park in Florida and we're plugged in! 
It has been a long time since we had full hook-ups (FHU). It's nice to turn on the faucet & not hear the water pump running.
One of those little things.

We have other reasons for Florida besides the better winter weather.
We have some family to visit in the area and I've waited 50 years to "see" the beaches around Sebastian Inlet. I'm going to do it this season!

Around Sebastian Inlet is where Kip Wagner found the lost Spanish Treasure Fleet in the early 1960's.  He wrote a book about it, "Pieces of Eight". I read that book in 1968 and never forgot. 
Here it is, 50 years later and I'm getting closer!

Monday, November 12, 2018

I found a time machine!

We found a long parking spot!

We had stopped in the town of Woodstock, Vermont to look at the covered wooden bridge and just generally wander about looking... being a tourist.

The Woodstock VT covered bridge

The first thing I noticed was the date on the covered wooden bridge, that was the the month & year of the music festival in Woodstock, New York!

The bridge sign, hmmm. Woodstock 1969?

Just across the road was the town library, I like to visit the different libraries, they tell a lot about an area.  This library had what looked like a permanent used book sale area before you went into the library proper, so I took a look around. 

I don't have a lot of room for real books, I do most of my reading on a Kindle these days.  But I cannot just walk past a book sale without looking...

[On a personal note I'm always saddened to see a library getting rid of books, I understand the realities of room, I use a Kindle but still... it's a library!]

One book in the hardcover "coffee table" book area caught my eye... "A Day In The Life Of America".  Photographs, no surprise there, not too much written, again no surprise. All these pictures were taken on the same day across America, that was different!

It appears to be by Rick Smolan & David Cohen

It was like $3... I bought it! I figured I'd read it & pass it on.  I went in to pay & talked with the librarian a bit, seems she'd been a traveler and when she arrived in Vermont she felt like she had found "home". She just never left... 

Vermont as viewed from the covered bridge
Vermont was a nice place but it's land locked. 
I have to admit that if I'd seen Maine before I'd seen the Northern Lights in Minnesota while camped on Cass Lake that summer back in '91, I'd have gone to Maine when I retired from the Coast Guard!
Maine to me is a rural place, a dirt road but still just 20 minutes from town & the salt water. Just an hour from a "big city" (Bangor).

The book... 

One afternoon I went out, sat in the sun and opened the book "A Day In The Life Of America" and started at the beginning. A couple of hundred professional photographers are spread out across the country and they take pictures of American life that day... all day. The thousands of photos were whittled down to what made the cut for the book. The photos were arranged according to the time of day that they were all taken and there was a map with a dot to show where that picture was taken. This was done well!

I first noticed some places I'd lived or visited, that took me back to "when" these photos were taken, May 2nd, 1986. Then I had to remember where I was in May of '86 (Port Angeles, WA) and what was going on in my life (my daughter Brandy was not yet a year old).

As I went through the book I noticed little things... this was before digital cameras, they were using film. Watches, a lot of people were wearing watches... this was before everyone carried a cell phone that tells you the time. There were other things too.

Time passed. I was reminded of some things I had not thought of in a long time. I was reminded of a few things I wanted to look up & see how things had changed over the years. There were people named in the book, I wonder if they rose above the masses in the last 32 years?

It was like I had opened a time machine to that day in 1986... A very pleasant couple of hours!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

One Hundred Years Ago Today

One hundred years ago today the papers were signed early in the morning and the war would just stop at 1100 hrs. 

Some people it seems just cannot get enough of it....

This is at the WW1 Museum in Kansas City, Missouri

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Fall Vandweller SE GTG at Tumbling Creek,Tennessee.

We're sitting here at what Cuzzin Dyck tells me is the 8th Annual Fall Southeast Get Together here at Tumbling Creek in Tennessee. 

Tumbling creek is just out our front door

Cuzzin Dyck started it & he's been rolling with it every year since then. He's friends with a lot of the locals (good folks!), there is fire wood and a fire going almost all the time.
The nearest towns are Ducktown & Copperhill.

Folks hanging around the camp fire

This is my 3rd one but I have been here camping at least once when it wasn't a GTG. Nice place! 

The spot is an abandoned Forest Service campground. Some years back, the Forest Service showed up one night, picked up all the tables, the fire rings & boarded up the outhouse and capped the well.... the next morning it was no longer a Forest Service campground...  

This is a 'bring everything yourself' camp.  There is a creek and places to park or set up a tent. You are on your own for toilet facilities too.

The view from the far end

The view from the main road

There is a fair amount of shade so solar does not do as well as at some places... It's one in the afternoon right now, Rich has sunlight & will have it the rest of the day, Dyck too. Our panel should be getting full sunlight in an hour or so...
A good Verizon signal but no ATT.

Larry the RVing Kitty

A bunch of friends show up for as much or as little camping as they care to do or have time for.   You occupy your time doing what makes you happy & sit around the campfire shooting the shit... This is just friends camping in the fall.

Usually meals are fend for yourself but every now & then someone gets an idea & we all join in. 

Good eats!

We had a really nice pot luck a few days back, EVERYTHING was great!  Mac-n-cheese, homemade egg rolls, Chicken Parmesan, pickled vegetable salad, sliced tomatoes, garlic bread, brownies & peanut butter fudge.  Last night I made a big pot of simple spaghetti, someone else had hard rolls & herb-garlic butter... good good good!

There was some talk of chili & a roast tonight.

There are forest roads, old homestead sites, a fishing lake at the end of this road and the creek. Tumbling Creek is a nice one too!

This morning it was in the lower 30's.  I had to put long pants on yesterday evening and a denim jacket over my hooded sweatshirt this morning. Any less of a campfire & I'd have had to put shoes & sock on! 

Dressed warm

The fire keeps the toes warm!

It's getting near time to head farther south!!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Belfast Maine

We've been up this way for a while now parked on a friends place not too far from Belfast. It's a really pleasant part of the world!

Parked at a friends for the summer

Dirt roads, tar roads, dirt to tar to dirt roads. Trees, lots & lots of trees of all types. A very green land. Farms, dairies, farmers markets & homesteads.  

Book stores, used book stores all over the place! 
I've been places where there are no book stores & that's not here!

The road to our friend's house

There were several farmers markets

I have never seen such a small place with so much to do every day,  the local free papers had numerous activities listed for every day during the summer.

The harbor. Just a beautiful place full of sailboats, I don't remember ever seeing this many twin masted sailboats in one place before. 

Floating docks
Boats tied off to buoys in the harbor

A lot of sail boats

There is a walkway along the shore and there is a foot bridge over the bay that used to be a train track. 

The foot bridge ran where the RR tracks used to be

The foot bridge can open for boats

The ship yard tour was a good one.
We went inside the huge boat shops too.

There is a thriving downtown with book shops, bike shops, art shops, bakery & places to eat.

There were several streets and they were all active

And the lobsters! Can't forget the lobsters...

Right on the water

Good eats here!

At the grocery store ...
this was the day after the prices went up

Our dinner one night, $18 & they were steamed
before we took them home
At home, ready to be cleaned & eaten

We ate them on a lobster roll. 

I didn't know what a lobster roll was until we stopped at a roadside stand. Lobster meat on a hot dog bun with melted butter.  Spendy but good!

We also had a boiled lobster dinner for two at a seaside restaurant near Rockland.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bread Ties

Every time I go to open a new loaf of bread I grab the tie & start to turn it to the left to loosen it, then stop when I realize I'm going the wrong way!   These ties need to be turned to the right to open it.

A new loaf from the store

I come from a land where "righty tighty - lefty loosey" is king and every time I pick up a twist tie that is on backwards I wonder about it. 

For something different here's a tape 

I went online & looked at bread tie machines to see if there was a reason... that was no help. 

I went and looked to see if anyone else had noticed this & maybe found an answer? 
Sadly, it looks like I'm just another crackpot.

One thing I did learn on my search for "why the ties loosen backwards" was what the color of the tie means. It's a general sort of code for what day the bread was baked.

Blue is Monday
Green is Tuesday
Red is Thursday
Friday is White
Saturday is Yellow

My fascination with this got me thinking about another subject I actually care about, which way the toilet paper comes off the roll.

This question I found had a definitive answer, with US Patent No. 459,516 dated Sept 15, 1891, granted to Seth Wheeler.

Over the front

Getting back to the bread ties...
You can say "clockwise" to tighten.  I suspect there are a lot of people out there in the 21st Century who are not familiar with which direction a clock's hands turn... maybe I should just let that one sit....

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Broadcast TV & the satellites

The other day we were at a local fair, the "Maine Wild Blueberry Festival" in Union, Maine.

The local fair

It was not huge, it was local. A lot of 4H animals, canning, produce, art, crafts & food, harness racing too!  

A lamb

Harness racing

A midway with the usual rides and games... I found out (again) that my body does not like the rides like it used to!  Maybe I'll remember this time?  

This Ferris wheel is about my speed these days

A rural kind of fair. My wife & I split a bottle of "Moxie", a soda pop that's "distinctly different", an old time New England brand.  It's not often that I run across a new (to me) soda pop.  Yes, it was different.

All kinds of stuff to see at the fair but the one that stood out to me was the lonely guy selling Dish satellite TV. As we walked past he got our attention and asked "who is your current provider?" My wife answered, "Over the air," & I said, "An antenna", he said, "Thanks, enjoy the fair," and sat back down.  It looked like he had time on his hands...

I have to admit that broadcast TV using the antenna that came with this RV is more than enough most places. 

The stock RV antenna on a Maine back road

There are only a few things I care to watch & my laptop with the Hauppauge USB dongle is a TV and a fine DVR, so I can watch what I want, when I want, if I want.

If that's not enough there is the internet.

The MiFi brings the internet

We don't need satellite TV for entertainment... 

Actually, we have books too, both Kindle & real books.

The RV antenna up close

After all that big talk about antennas, just watch me the first time I get the chance for satellite or cable TV !  :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The "East" Coast

A special note to those of you who left a comment that never made it to the blog, I just now found them!

Blooger used to notify me when a comment needed to be oked, seems that stopped sometime...

Sorry about that! I REALLY enjoy all the comments!

 I'm a West Coast guy.  My ingrained view of the East Coast comes from stories I've heard from people I know, stories from television,  stories from movies and from novels I've read. A quick visit to NYC when I was 10 years old doesn't really count, nor does six months at a Coast Guard school in Elizabeth City, NC.

So now I've traveled up the East Coast ... and the time has come to say that, in reality, it is not like I'd thought.  Here is what I've learned so far ...

1. The East Coast is just another part of America
2. There is a lot more water than out in the west (wetlands, streams, creeks, bays & what not).
3. The Atlantic Ocean gets warm in the summer.
4. There is a huge amount of green almost everywhere.
5. There are lots of people out here, people everywhere!
6. Folks are friendly.
7. There are a lot of low clearance places & roads I'm not allowed to drive on with an RV.
8. EZ-Pass for all the toll roads & bridges is a good thing because there are lots of tolls where we've been so far! 

Our Route

Driving to the NC Outer Banks

Ballast stone from Blackbeard's ship
Beaufort, NC
Geno's is one of them

Philadelphia is known for many things, Philly cheese-steak sandwiches are one of them. 
I was not impressed.

Now the Horseshoe Burger at the Horseshoe Cafe in Benson, AZ .... That was memorable!

Independence Hall