Saturday, March 31, 2018

Kings Game Despite Protests

In Citrus Heights at Sister’s House

www.kcra.com/article/kings-increase-security-at-golden-1-center-due-to-protests/19637288  30 seconds into video

Because of a very unfortunate police shooting in South Sacramento (where I grew up), two times the Sacramento Kings played home games, and two times protestors shut down the entrance to the game only allowing around 2,000 people into the game instead of the normal 17,000+ they see at home games.  Now remember, the reason we quickly drove from Florida to California, 3,000 miles in 140 hours, which included six nights of sleep, was so that Sandy and Arny could attend the Kings Game on Thursday night (29th) that sister Patti had arranged for them, along with the neighbor who bought the house mom and dad use to live in next door to Sandy and Arny.  This “neighbor” is named Eric, is around 30 years old, and use to mow Arny’s yard when he was a lad…you see, his mom lives next door to where mom and dad had once lived…so now Eric and his wife live next door to his mom.

In order to be sure that they would ‘get into the game’, they decided to be there when the doors opened….which is normally 5:30.  Well, LOTS of people had the same idea…and Sacramento had full security to assure that the doors would not be blocked by any protestors.  The funeral was this same day, but the family asked protestors to not block streets of the staduim, so it worked out well.  And KCRA News had full news coverage, and the above picture was part of their ‘security’ news coverage.  And guess what?

From KCRA video, Arny, Patti, Eric and Sandy in line to get into Kings Game

There they were in the background of that first picture…you can see Eric’s #10 Kings Shirt, and all you can make out of Arny is the bald spot on the back of his head…and Patti always ducks out of pictures!

Anyway, they had a great time.  The Kings lost, but it came down to the wire.  They got home at 10, and Euleda (Arny’s mother) was awake…but she had two good sleep periods between 7 and 10, but coughing wakes her up a few times each night.  No, she does not have a cold…the doctor said that it is just a congestion in her throat that builds up, she coughs, it is gone for awhile.

Arny giving morning treats

As for us…we are recovered from the long trip, and everyone is back into the groove of things here in Citrus Heights.  WELL, almost into the groove of things.  You see, Sandy works just 2 blocks from the Kings Stadium…so on Thursday she just stayed downtown.  Patti came and picked up Arny and Eric, they left at 4:30.  By 5:15 they were all inside the stadium.  They only forgot ONE THING….no one game Bubba and Skruffy their afternoon treats that Sandy normally gives at 4 pm when she gets home from work.  Well…they survived….

Tonight (Saturday) we are having dinner at Black Angus for dad’s 90th birthday.  Tomorrow, we are having lots of people over at Arny and Sandy’s for a birthday party.  I’ll try to get lots of pictures….

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Home Away From Home with our Home

In Citrus Heights as Sister’s House

Arriving at my Sister's House

Arrived at my sister’s house at 2:20 pm.  Had a welcoming committee which surprised us…

Welcoming Committe when arriving at my Sister's House

That is my mom and dad, nearly 178 years of living between the two of them, and coming up on 70 years as a married couple, probably closer to 72 years of loving each other.  They arrived about an hour before we did, and waited outside for at least a half hour…thank goodness it was a mild afternoon with temps in the 70 range.  Arny made the sign, and they sat there waiting our arrival…and stood up as soon as we turned the corner to enter the cul-de-sac. 

Bubba happy to see us, but...

Bubba waited patiently at the sliding glass door until we got the motorhome safely tucked away in the backyard…and then I let him out, and he went to see his mama.  Bubba is nearly 15 years old, and has been with Marcia for over 14 years.  He was happy, gave her some friendly wags as only Bubba does, sat up on the chair for some pictures by Marcia, and then out the door again to see if Skruffy was getting into his food and ‘his’ territory.  Yes, she went over and smelled it…thank goodness she went on to other smells and did not eat any of it.  It was quickly taken up from floor as Bubba will now be on Skruffy’s eating schedule again, along with what ever else he gets from Arny’s mother Euleda’s meals.  Yes, Bubba was happy to see us…but he is also feeling like that child who has been at Grandma’s house for a week (3 months in his case) and LOVED the freedom and attention and Love that he received.

Sister Sandy giving out afternoon treats

When sister Sandy got home from work at 4, the dogs get their afternoon treat.  Bubba gets dog treats, Skruffy get about an ounce of fried pork loin.  They look forward to their morning and afternoon treats…we wonder if Skruffy realizes how many treats Bubba got that she did not get while we were away for nearly 3 months.

L-R: Sandy, Euleda, Mom, Dad

As we waited for Arny to return from KFC with the chicken dinner, we all sat around and visited.  From left to right, that is Sandy (sister), Euleda, Mom and Dad…Marcia was sitting next to me.

New visitor in backyard....a duck

We were told that they have been having a regular visitor while we were gone….do you see it out there on the lawn?

New visitor in backyard....a duck   New visitor in backyard....a duck

Four wild ducks have been frequenting their backyard, and tonight one of the Mallards came to say hello to the new people with the loud dog…which scared it off when she came out to do her business after dinner around 7:30.  Now with Bubba, the ducks just played with him…one coming up to the sliding glass door and knocking on it with its beak until Bubba came to the door.  When outside, Bubba would chase it, it would fly to another part of the grass, and they would play like this for awhile.

Around 6 I took mom and dad back to the Independent Living Facility, came back and fed the dogs.  Wondered how Bubba would do since he has eaten when he wanted for the past 3 months…but he ate all his food faster than Skruffy ate her food.  Out they went (which is when Skruffy scared the Duck away), and back in after 10 minutes for the night.  Now Bubba has been getting up around 4:30 for the past 3 months…we will have to see how long it will take for that to change.  It is so nice to be at our home, away from home, in our home.  Motorhome life is just WONDERFUL!

Trip from Bakersfield to Citrus Heights

As for our trip today…we left at 8:15, got gas just north of Bakersfield, and continued up Highway 99 to the first rest area where we had breakfast.  Got up to Citrus Heights at 2:20 … a 6 hour trip, 141 hours from Florida to Northern California...WOW.  YOU KNOW why they call it Highway 99 don’t you?  Because you go about 9 miles down the road, and that last mile you hit about 99 pot holes, just to start over again…a few miles of good road, followed by a mile or two of REAL BAD roads, over and over and over again.  Sorry Nancy, but YOUR town gets the ribbon for THE WORSE portion of highway 99.  We honestly thought we were back up in the Yukon like we were two years ago…it was BAD BAD BAD.  Let’s hope the NEW GAS TAX that uncle Jerry Brown put in a few months ago will actually go to ROADS this time…but my guess is, it will go to fighting legal battles against a President who they just despise and hate so very much…and that is as political as my blog gets.  Honestly though, I truly don’t think Jerry’s father Pat is looking down from wherever he is and smiling at his son’s actions…but again, this is just my observation.

Orange Grove RV Park–California We Have Arrived

At Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, CA

Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield

Our first RV park on our entire trip.  Full hookups (good for long showers and empting tanks), electricity so that we can turn on lights at our leisure, watch tv (cable is not good, but over-the-air has ME-TV and Grit, two of our favorites), and here, at this park….

Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield

…Oranges from December through March…but in March, you need something to get them high up in the tree, as you can see some up in this tree.  This park is FULL of orange trees, and you can take as many as you want to take as long as you don’t climb trees or hurt branches.  Also, there is the California Fruit Depot right around the corner where you can buy oranges, dates, nuts…all sorts of things.  They open at 9, we plan to leave by 8.  It is 5 1/2 hours to Citrus Heights, and we want to be there by 2…and we need gas.

Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, next to neighbor of sister and brother-in-law

Asked this guy in the new truck with older 5th wheel where he was from…
“Sacramento” he said.
“We are headed there…” I said.  “Left Florida Wednesday night.”  Got that look….
“Wow, that is some traveling!”
“Yep…headed for my sister’s backyard in Citrus Heights…”
“Well, that is really where I am from…where at in Citrus Heights?”
“Off Antelope…” as I described the area.
“Heck, that is just down the street from me…I live right next to the church by the old Van Marin homestead….”
We talked some more…but what a small small world this is.  He ate at the restaurants I worked at, he knew of Arny’s Corvette Body Shop on Auburn, etc. etc.  But he did not know Arny, although they both have lived within 1/2 mile of each other for years and years.

Route from Phoenix to Bakersfield

This is the route that I prefer to get from Phoenix to Bakersfield.  It is 20 miles shorter to that I-10 through San Bernardino…but the traffic…yuck!  The only hitch going this route is that along highway 58 there is this place called Kramer Junction.  There is a stop light because highway 395 and 58 cross each other.  There is ALWAYS a backup at this light…especially in the middle of the day.  Took us 20 minutes to get through that intersection, otherwise it was all just fine despite the high wind warning near Needles along I-40.  The good news, much of highway 58 is now two lanes each way, and when they complete the highway going around Kramer Junction, and over highway 395, that is going to be very, very nice.

Monday, March 26, 2018

In Phoenix, How I Choose Rest Areas to Stay In

From Cracker Barrel in North Phoenix

Street View Google Maps, Cracker Barrel North Phoenix

Here is the back, and only, entrance to the Cracker Barrel in North Phoenix where we met our good friend Laurie tonight for dinner, and where we are staying the night … hoping to get out before they open in the morning.  This is the first time we have stayed the night here, with permission of course from staff (who commented that RVers do it all the time).  Although this is right along I-17, there is a sound wall between the Interstate and the Cracker Barrel, and the RV parking is behind the building. 

Google Map, normal view, Lordsburg New Mexico

Finding a Rest Area that is going to be ‘good’ for sleeping, which means that 1) it is allowed, and 2) it won’t be loud with trucks coming and going all night, is a hard thing to do. One source I use along the Interstates is Interstate Rest Areas.  There are ones you can purchase access to, such as OvernightRVParking.com, but I have not found the need to spend $25 to access this…I guess it is the librarian in me…I can find it myself.  Many states have rest area locations on their Department of Transportation websites.  I Found another good rest area last night in west New Mexico, in the town of Lordsburg.  We were going to stop at a rest area near Gage New Mexico, but when I saw it, I knew it would be a killer for sleeping.  I looked further and found this one in Lordsburg.

Google Map, Satellite view, Rest Area near Gage New Mexico

First choice above, I thought we might be able to get into one of those white dots areas, but that is closed off at night.  We would have had to park parallel like the trucks are doing, close to the Interstate.  Also, above the rest area is a very active train track.  Yes, you can stay over night, No, we would not want to unless it is our only choice.

Google Map, Satellite view, Lordsburg New Mexico Welcome Center

30+ miles down the road from where we planned to stay is Lordsburg, which has a Welcome/Rest Area, shown in the bottom left of the picture above…the red circle is the area that we, and other, motorhomes parked last night.  Even though the Love’s Truck stop is nearby, and a Pilot/Flying J there in town…we still had about four trucks…but they were quiet…other than the one motorhome which ran its generator (started around 8 pm and never stopped even though they got there before us!)  The train tracks were plenty far away, and this parking area is buffered from the Interstate by the building and also the Interstate drops low for the bridge…so it overall was quiet.  Thank goodness the motorhome, which was an upscale model, had a very quiet generator.

Google Map, Satellite view, Atchafalaya Welcome Center, Louisiana

Now the rest area we stayed at on Thursday night was better…the trucks are in the upper portion on the other side of the raised Interstate, the cars and RVs are separated in the south section, and the RVs are in that red circle.  The only thing you really hear are trucks coming off the eastern bound Interstate ramp, and also as they go back up…but it is not that bad unless they are using a engine brake.  Personally, I was tired from driving I did not hear a thing at either.

Google Map, Satellite view, Kerryville Texas  Rest Area

After we ruled out the Walmart in Boerne Texas, we went down the freeway and stopped at this rest area near Kerryville, but what we needed to do was dump our waste tanks…which is in the red circle area highlighted in yellow.  Thank goodness we saw the Cracker Barrel sign just before the rest area, and called, and we were able to stay there.

Google Map, Satellite view, Kerryville Texas Cracker Barrel

This Cracker Barrel is ideal…it is away from the Interstate, RV parking in back, and they do allow overnight stops.  It was great until around 4 am when Marcia woke me up with, “Don’t you hear that beeping?”  (Well, no, because I was sleeping….)  “Yes, I do now…I’ll get up and look into it.”  The beeping was not coming from us, nor our car…it was coming from the direction of the Hampton Inn.  It sounded to me like the Fire Alarm we had in the Altheimer Library, but from a distance.  When I build the Altheimer (oversaw the construction as the Library Director), they insisted that ‘code’ required a fire alarm…which did not have to be hooked up to any agency, but had to be active.  So if a kid pulled the alarm, no sirens would come…but it was as loud as could be inside until staff remembered ‘how’ to turn it off.  Anyway, that ‘beeping’ Marcia heard lasted a good 30 minutes or more…probably more for I would not know because I went back to sleep. 

We have stayed at as many Cracker Barrels in the seven years as we have rest areas…but way more Cracker Barrels these past three years than rest areas.  Have never been turned down at a Cracker Barrel, and never kicked out of a Rest Area or a Walmart.  Have also stayed at Casinos, Fred Meyers, Bass Pro Shop, Cabela's, and a few others.  The key is to search the Internet, ask the manager or staff, and be sure to look on Google Map, Satellite view and Street View.  Even then, you might not spot the nearby railroad tracks…but at least you can have an idea what you are getting into.

It is 5 am, slept ok...Marcia struggled, I think she is anxious to see Bubba...off we go (once coffee is ready in another 10)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Through Texas in under 30 Hours!

West New Mexico Rest Area along I-10

image

At 881 miles. this stretch of I-10 from Louisiana to New Mexico (or from New Mexico to Louisiana) is by far the longest stretch of Interstate in any one state.  I-5 running up and down California is next at 796.5 miles.  I have gone all the way up and down I-5…but NOT in a single trip.  This is the umpteenth time I have done I-10, and this is the fastest that I remember, and the best driving conditions with just a little fog between Fort Stockton and San Antonio, little wind, no rain, no snow, no ice…but traffic in Houston, San Antonio and some in El Paso, especially where they were doing road construction.  However, the traffic only slow us up by maybe 20 minutes in each of these cities…not bad considering. 

image

Wish I could say the same about ‘weather’ in New Mexico…but alas…as soon as we crossed into New Mexico, within 3-4 miles, it started to rain, and the wind was blowing from the west as we traveled north to Las Cruces.  The rain stopped just long enough to get gas, then hit with a force as we traveled west along I-10.  Our goal was to get to either the yellow or the red balloon on the map…we actually got to the black arrow which is a NICE welcome center / rest area on the south side of the highway but with easy access from either west or east traffic.  SCORE!   It is also on the other side of the Interstate from the busy train tracks.  SCORE!!  And it is too small for big trucks to come in and stay…besides, there are 2 or 3 truck stops that are in the town.  SCORE!!!  Along with super good Verizon signal, so tomorrow we will stay until church is over, then head on to Phoenix where we are meeting our friend Laurie whose mother passed last year.  A week ago we told her we would make it for breakfast on Monday…but this trip has gone so quick, we are meeting Sunday night at a Cracker Barrel, and I already got permission to stay the night there.  Smile 

Family in Sacramento….we SHOULD be pulling in on Tuesday afternoon….looking forward to seeing you all, and, of course, seeing Bubba.

Had a decent nights sleep with one quiet generator going ALL night.  (Why do they park right in the middle knowing they are going to have generator going?  I understand they might have a medical need for having a generator run...but for gosh sake, pick an end sight away from the rest of the folks!)  A few trucks did come in last night, but for the most part it was fairly quiet for a rest area. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Cracker Barrel for Dinner and Sleep

At Kerrville, TX

We planned on going to Boerne, Texas today…to the Walmart.  Once there, I bought some stuff, and decided to head on to the Rest Area about 30 miles down the road to dump our waste tanks and fill with water.  On the way there I saw that a Cracker Barrel was just 5 more miles down the Interstate, called them, and they said that certainly we could park there all night, just let them know we are there.  I replied, “Oh, we will be coming in for dinner, no doubt about that!”  She laughed.

Today we went through two large cities….Houston around noon, and San Antonio right at 4 pm.  Yep, a white knuckle drive at times, but I have driven through much worse.  Decided not to stop and see my oldest brother Jim and wife Carol (Sorry you all), but we just need to get to Sacramento by Wednesday so that my two sisters and Arny can go to the Sacramento Kings game on Thursday.  We will be sitting with Arny’s mother, getting her to bed, stuff like that.  THEY (Sandy and Arny) do this EVERY DAY, TWICE a Day!!!! (well, Sandy gets a break Monday through Friday due to her real 40 hour per week job)  Yes, taking care of an elderly (the mother is 95 years old) takes a lot of work and dedication…and I love to give them a break anytime we are in the area. 

All is well with the battery system.  I guessed right…that the alternator was expending so much energy to the bad battery with corroded connection, that it did not have enough juice to share with the house batteries other than keeping them around 12.4 volts.  Today when we stopped, the house batteries were up to 12.8  and the engine battery was 12.9.  Of course, over time they drop down a bit…but even after dinner in Cracker Barrel, and having lights on for awhile, our house batteries are still at 12.75, which is great.  Of course, my credit card company texted, emailed and phoned me today wondering about two purchases in the $100 realm at two different Walmarts in two different towns just 27 hours apart…but a text back and an email back fixed that right up!  Actually, I don’t mind that type of call…except if I don’t know the phone number, I won’t answer it.  So that phone call resulted in a phone message, and it was hard to understand until we stopped at the rest area and could listen to it without the noise of the highway.  Perhaps if it wasn’t going through the bluetooth to the radio/gps, I might have been able to understand it better…but that is not as safe doing it that way while one drives.

Tomorrow is going to be a LONG LONG day…we are going to get through Texas, and we have 508 long miles of Texas left…

Pictures?  Well, we have taken a few...maybe in the next post I will share a few...

Friday, March 23, 2018

Atchafalaya Welcome Center & New Battery

At Atchafalaya Welcome Center, Louisiana

We left Perry Florida Wal-Mart at 6:45, got to Flying J nearly Quicy to fuel up, then feed Skruffy, and westward we went.  At the Alabama Welcome Center at the Florida Alabama border I realized that our batteries...both house and engine, were not charging the way they should. After a 45 minute nap to think about it (ok, we were both tired), I checked the engine battery and found the naughty "c" word...corrosion! I cleaned it the best I could, and we drove on.  Looked up the closest to the Interstate Walmart I could find because I was sure I put one in a few years ago...and it was a Walmart battery.

A good Walmart to stop at was just the other side of Mobile.  Looked online and they had the battery I needed.  When I got there I went in and verified that they had it, went out and took my old one out (5 minutes) and back in.  Guess what, the battery I took out was from June 2013...5 years ago, before we even owned this one!  I must have put a battery in the JAYCO that burned up in 2014.  I got this same battery, put it in after cleaning up the terminals even more, and off we went.  The initial cleaning did help charge the house batteries, but the engine was still struggling, so glade we spent the $100 now.  New battery is doing great.

Had traffic along I-12, and more in Baton Rouge...but we made it to Atchafalaya Welcome Center, were we stayed less than 3 months ago!  Tomorrow looks like another long day, trying to get to Boerne Texas Walmart...455 miles away without a time change.

Both of us slept MUCH better than the first night.  In bed by 9, sleep came fast, up at 6.  About a dozen motorhomes parked here where the trucks have to stay on other side of the raised Interstate.  Coffee is perking, we should be on the road soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Perry Florida Walmart

From Perry Florida

We pulled into the church parking lot around 2 pm, Marcia proceeded to put her clothing and stuff into her drawers and cupboards.  Around 4 we both took a 90 minute nap, by 6 we were inside the church eating our Subway Tuna Salads.  Church started at 7, over by 8:30, we were on the road by 9:15.  We forgot two items, AA batteries and wet Swiffers.  Since we were headed up US 19, and the condo is a block off 19, we pulled into the complex, I went in quickly and got our stuff and we were off again.  The 170 miles to Perry took 3 1/2 hours.  We got 5 hours plus of rest, and the coffee is perking as I write this.  530 miles to go today...

Monday, March 19, 2018

3 Hours 20 Minutes to Put Internet on Vacation, We Leave in Less than 40 Hours Now

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs Area

Today Marcia went to Bible Study, Skruffy and I took a small load to the Motorhome and turned the Fridge on.  At 12:20 Marcia was done, we were waiting for her, and back to the Condo to get more stuff ready.

 Wicker Chairs replace recliners

I then took our reclining chair apart, brought in the two wicker chairs that are out on our covered patio area, and went to get the motorhome to put the chairs in.  (above that is Skruffy in her bed between the chairs, her towel on the chair to the left, and my shirt in the chair to the right with my shoes and socks on the floor.)  I could have waited and made this change on Tuesday, but the chairs are not light, and I wanted to split up the work load even though it is 30 minutes there and 30 minute back.  Add in a stop at the store to get spring water and diet tonic water, the whole process took over 3 hours.  Tomorrow I bring the motorhome over again and we load up the refrigerator, the pantry, our clothing, toiletries…just about everything except for one days of clothing and our computers.

Frontier

Shortly after 8 pm, after we ate a nice dinner, I needed to contact Frontier, our Internet provider, to put our service on vacation.  We got Frontier on November 2016 with the understanding that we can put our account on and off of vacation with no charge each year.  We have a 2 year contract, and the contract years will only count down when we have and pay for service.  We also have a 100 MPS line for the price of 50 MPS…it comes to $65 per month after taxes.

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

I logged onto the account, then started a chat.  I was unsure which of the four categories they offered was the right one to contact, so I tried billing…and a message said that no one in billing was available during this time period.  I next tried Tech Support, and I immediately connected with Mahala.  Note the time above, it was 8:15 pm. 

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

One minute later she is transferring me to customer service (an option that was NOT on the list I had to pick from earlier).  Note:  8:16 pm…..

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Above you see my last communication with Mahala….8:16 pm.  My next contact was at 11:01 pm.  In between this what I saw was a Queue….first was “You are the 37th person in the queue…” type of message.  SLOWLY the queue got shorter and shorter until Angelica shows up 2 hours and 45 minutes later!

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

So I reply that over 2 1/2 hours in queue is not what I expected…then went on to provide my account number (which I have taken off the chat above), and that we want vacation time again and the fix of an overpayment from when we came off  vacation back in January.  You see, in January they charged the 100 MPS amount.  However, when I called, they said it was going to be fixed…and future bills did fix this, but I never got credit for the $35 overcharge for January.

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Things are moving along now…in just 3 minutes we are down to business, but she asks me the date for vacation despite the fact that I provided that already…

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Then there is the “You will be charged…”, at which I told her NO, I was not charged last year, at which point she looks it up, sees that I was not charged, and waves both the one time charge, and the monthly vacation charge.  Ok, now let’s work on the $35 credit from the overbilling…..

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

So in seven minutes, Angelica has us on vacation starting Friday, and starts working on the $35 overcharge….

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Ten minutes later, much of which is dead noise (no communication with her) I finally get her to admit that she is now on queue, at which I can’t help myself and say, “not another 2 1/2 hours I hope….”

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

At 11:30 she finally gets permission to process the $35 adjustment, after I said, “Look, this is pretty easy….”

Chat with Frontier which lasted 3 hours 20 minutes

Five minutes later she is done with me…it took from 8:15 to 11:35 to get this done.  And I follow her directions, AFTER I get a pdf printout of the chat conversation, and guess what????  There is no survey at the end of it….when I choose “end chat”, chat ends, it goes away, but no survey.  I remember the last time I did a chat with them, I thought I could get a printout of the chat after the survey, and it went to the survey, but I lost the opportunity to print out the chat.  Well, I got this one, and it is on file, and I will use it as I need to in order to get past the extra charges they attempt to throw on you.  Of course, I could change over to cable tv, that is with Brighthouse…but from people say, they are just as bad.  But I have learned my lesson…this contact needs to be done first thing in the morning when the wait is not nearly as long.  But 3 hours and 20 minutes????  That is beyond long….funny when I said, “I have reached beyond my boiling point”, she was able to immediately give me my credit.  Talk about customer service….


Saturday, March 17, 2018

7th Year of Travel–Our Plans

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

2018 Planned Travels

After our motorhome burned in a storage fire back in 2014, we have come to understand that our plans are just that…’our’ plans.  Plans can change…but you still need them.

On Wednesday we plan to go to church, and hit the road that night.  The fridge will be turned on Monday morning, and Tuesday I will bring it by the condo to load up our clothing, food, etc.  On Wednesday all we should have is our computers, a few toiletries, some dirty clothes, Skruffy, Marcia and myself.  Hoping that Wednesday will be an easy day, it doesn’t take too much to secure the condo (disconnect TVs and appliances from outlets, shut down water heater, turn off water, plastic wrap over toilet bowls and tanks…stuff like that.)

I have two maps, which will remain private, which I made with planned stops for the trip to Citrus Heights.  We MUST be there no later than the morning of the 29th…hoping to arrive on Wednesday, perhaps Tuesday night…but it is more likely we arrive Wednesday.  So one map is for arriving on Tuesday, the other for Wednesday, with where we plan to stop each night.  Both have us in Phoenix on Monday morning where we plan to have either an early breakfast or late breakfast/early lunch with our friend Laurie.  Dad turns 90 on the 1st, mom’s birthday is on the 25th.  In early June they celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary! 

In May we do plan to do a trip which will probably include a short visit to the Santa Cruz / Monterey area, then over to Yosemite, and from there we ‘might’ go south and around to the east side of the Sierra’s, up to Tahoe and back to Citrus Heights.  That is not shown on the above map…but is part of plans so far.

After the Anniversary, we will have about 6 weeks before my oldest son gets married in July over near Santa Rosa.  During that time we plan to go up to Southwest Oregon, where we spent much of last summer.  It is cool, not too full of people, and we really enjoyed that last year.

By August we plan to head east, going through Salt Lake City to visit my daughter, then take our time going through Colorado.  I’ll have to visit my Doctor in Little Rock again this year, and will probably do that after visiting my son in Kansas City (along with other relatives), heading through Fort Smith for a visit with Marcia’s relatives, and then on to Little Rock.  This appointment has not been made yet, so I have no ‘for sure’ time period yet…but most likely it will be in September.  From Little Rock we plan to head up to Chicago, where we will probably camp in North West Indiana again, and visit with friends and relatives of Marcia’s up in that general area. 

Marcia needs to renew her driver’s license by late September…and that is our plan as to when we get back into Florida.  That can also be done online, so if we want to stay out longer, we can…but we are planning to be back in late September.  So it will be a quick trip out to California…not so quick getting back.  As always…I do much better about posting a blog while we travel than I do sitting in one place for extended time periods.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Skruffy Sees the Vet….AND…

At home in the Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Skruffy

Hello EVERYONE, Skruffy here.  I just saw my Holiday Florida Vet last week.  They poked me, they felt me, they rubbed my body, they petted my head, they even pried my mouth open.  Of course, the WORSE part is when they stuck those things up my A…

Skruffy, I told you not to talk about that to everyone!

Ok dad, but you know…that feels real strange…have they ever done that to YOU?

Not at the VET’s office Skruffy, but at the Doctor’s office they…Hey, just get back to your story.

Ok….So the visit at the Vet’s office lasted about 8 hours…

Skruffy, it was NOT 8 hours, more like 45 minutes…

Well, it FELT like 8 hours, especially when they stuck that …

Skruffy, enough of that, you want me to tell this story, or will you be good and continue???

Ok, I will be good.

Vet Exam Room Wall    Vet Exam Room

Above are pictures of the exam room.  They put me on this big, cold metal table (the one that says Trifexis, whatever that means).  Dad took these pictures as they had me in the back room taking a blood sample and sticking this huge instrument up my …

Skruffy!  I warned you…

Ok dad…anyway, I like the stuff up on the wall…and dad wishes they had that TV on because I think he got bored while I, ugh, well, I had better not go there or dad will yell at me again.

Anyway, after they drew the blood, and gathered some of my wewe out on the lawn (thank goodness I had to go), they took me back and talked to dad about me.  My weight?  I lost 1/10th of a pound, which is GOOD for a diabetic dog (we normally gain and gain until we get sick…)  They would like me to get my teeth cleaned, but dad does not want to put me under, so that just isn’t going to happen.  I did not need a rabies shot, and they gave me some medicine to drink, and told dad that my blood work would be ready on Monday.

In the meantime, dad did the taxes and got them off in the mail, and on Saturday we drove 45 miles over to see the great-grand baby (did you know that it took us 90 minutes to drive 45 miles both there and 90 minutes back?  Tampa traffic this time of year is very hectic…had something to do with a Grandprix, the Gasparilla Music Festival, some guy named Tiger, and Snowbird season all falling at the same time.)  On Sunday, mom and dad went to church, then came home, then went out to eat again with Ginger.  Finally, Monday came.  Mom had a final appointment with the Neurologist, who said that she is doing just fine, and will see her again next year.  Then we dropped mom off at Bible Study, which is really a bunch of older women who sit around and…well..do what ladies do.

Skruffy!  Now be nice, you know that these nice ladies don’t sit around and talk.  Mom has been going to this Bible Study from way before we brought her into our family, and they really do have study lessons…maybe not for the entire 2 hours, but for much of it!  Anyway, are you going to get to the news about your blood work?

Yes dad, and sorry to any of those ladies who might read this.  I just know that when I get together with the dogs in the doggie park we talk about our owners all the time!   Anyway….while mom is at the Church, dad and I go over to the motorhome, let the engine run to charge up the batteries, and this time dad used this lemon furniture polish on all the woodwork getting us ready to leave next week.  Then we picked up mom, and we stopped at the vet to pick up the blood work.  I stayed out in the car with mom, and when dad came back he said….

Skruffy and her Award of Excellence (photoshopped into picture) 

…I earned a medal of EXCELLENCE!  My Fructosamine came back at 257!  Normal is between 177 and 314, so I am right in the middle of normal, which is EXACTLY what you want with a Diabetic dog!  (Single fructosamine measurements should be interpreted in the light of clinical signs of diabetes, body weight, and blood glucose concentration. In general, the closer the fructosamine concentration is to the reference range for healthy dogs, the better the glycemic control.)  In fact, all my blood numbers we looking good.  Can’t wait until I can tell Bubba that I got an Award of Excellence…we will be seeing him in just 2 more weeks, because dad says that next Wednesday, after church, we will be back on the road headed to Uncle Arny and Aunt Sandy’s house…which means, I get more Pork Treats in my diet, and I get to run all over that beautiful backyard and chase Squirrels…and I hope that Mallard that Bubba has made friends with is still hanging around when I get there.

Thank you Skruffy, you did a good job.  


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

They FINALLY Sent Pictures of Bubba, and Time in a Bottle

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

First…Happy Birthday to my oldest…


Bubba

Bubba got a hair cut from Petco on Saturday, and they sent some pictures of him to us…boy, doesn’t he look good!  For those who might not know it (new to blog), Bubba is our other dog who is not allowed to live with us in the condo.  Skruffy can live with us because she is Marcia’s service dog.  Since we were only going to gone from Sacramento for 3 months, we asked my sister Sandy and husband Arny if Bubba could stay with them while we were gone.  They agreed, and PROMISED to take good care of him.  So, I blew up the picture to see just how they are doing taking care of Bubba…

Bubba lost a leg (photoshop)

HEY!  You forgot to tell us the groomer cut his right front leg off!  WTH????  (That “H” stands for “heck” mom)

Bubba Crying

And “THEY” say he is “SO HAPPY”…well, what is with all those TEARS coming down his eyes?

Bubba

The TRUTH BE TOLD, we KNOW Bubba is in good hands, and we are just jealous that Bubba probably likes it there more than he would here…after all, WE DON’T HAVE ARNY HERE!!!!!  (or Sandy)  And it isn’t just the Arny Treats and Sandy Treats and Euleda Leftovers that make him happy either…

Time in a Bottle 

The late Jim Croche had a famous song that all us old timers know called “Time in a Bottle”…it is a love song….
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you…
Well, although I like that song, what I am talking about is the time change which seems to bottle me up each and every year.  This time change happens this weekend…but it has already bottled me up…  This past Saturday I told Marcia it was time to change clocks…she changed the radio alarm on her side of the bed.  The only other clock we have is the stove clock, which I planned to change on Sunday…otherwise, the computer clocks and the cell phones change automatically.  Other than the car and the motorhome, we have no other clocks to change.  Around 2:45 am I awake to take care of my nightly business (high blood pressure pills make me do that often), and I look at my cell phone and see that it is 2:45…but Marcia’s clock radio said it was 3:45.  I know from past experiences that the cell phone might need to make a call…so I call the Skruffy Phone (the one she wears when I am not with Marcia) and I hear the phone answering message.  I close my phone…it still says 2:45.  I bring up my computer…it says 2:47.  I type into Google “time change” and find out the time change is on March 11th, not March 3rd.  I go back to bed…Marcia stirs…I say, “Ignore your clock…the time change is next week…”  Now, we will have to see if we are late to church this coming Sunday….

Eight Things to Know about…
  • It’s “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.

  • Though in favor of maximizing daylight waking hours, Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward.

  • Englishman William Willett led the first campaign to implement daylight saving time. 

  • Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time.

  • Daylight saving time in the United States was not intended to benefit farmers, as many people think.

  • For decades, daylight saving in the United States was a confounding patchwork of local practices.

  • Not everyone in the United States springs forward and falls back.

  • Evidence does not conclusively point to energy conservation as a result of daylight saving.

Source: 8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time from History.com

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Took the Motorhome out for a 250+ Mile Ride

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Marcia and Jerry, 50+ years for friendship

Ever since Marcia’s friend of over 50 years moved to just north of Jacksonville, we have tried to get together with her while we are in the state.  A couple of years ago we met in Gainesville, which is about 125 miles from us, and 100 miles from them.  So on Tuesday, I went and got the motorhome at 7 am, getting back shortly after 8 am, fed Skruffy, we loaded up and were off by 8:20.  It was a nice ride, the motorhome ran very smooth, and no leaks in the plumbing either!

Map to Cracker Barrel in Gainesville

Pulled into the Cracker Barrel at 11:30, after stopping at the first rest area we came to on I-75 for a Skruffy break, and two more rest areas down the road, just shy of Ocala we stopped for a Dave break.  (BOTH of these rest stops have separate areas for RVs from the Trucks….nice.)  Jerry, who was driven to the Cracker Barrel by her daughter Ruth, arrived at 11:45, and we did not leave the place until nearly 2:30.  It is so great to see these two ladies talk and talk and talk…what a friendship they enjoy dating back to when Ruth was just a toddler.  Skruffy did well in the motorhome, although I did go out to visit her around 1:15…gone are her high anxiety days of being alone…but she does much better when Bubba is around.

Lamb Shanks

This has been the week for going out to restaurants.  Mary, our fabulous next door neighbor who keeps a solid eye on our condo while we are gone, turned 82 on Tuesday.  We took her out on Monday to celebrate, and she wanted to go to Tiffany's Restaurant in Palm Harbor where they serve Lamb Shanks as a special on Sunday and Monday. (Like the ones pictured above, and they came with a salad and a veggie.)  Tonight we took Marcia’s brother Mike, wife Sandy and daughter Alysia out to Longhorn for their annual birthday dinner.  Their actual birthdays were within the past few months, but this was the first time we could get together due to sickness within their family, and their granddaughter got married a few weeks ago….so they have been busy and sick at the same time.

One more medical test next week, and a quick meeting with the neurologist to go over the results of the test he had run, and Marcia will be done for the year.  We have pulled silverware and other cooking items out of the RV to run through the dishwasher, and it is time to start putting things back in again.  Yesterday I got the oil changed for the HHR, and tomorrow I get the oil changed for the motorhome.  The next few weeks will be busy getting ready to take off again…