October 2007 Archives

Awake: 7:33am Temp 35 sleep 7+10 partly cloudy overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

The Foote Family is leaving their hotel @ 9:00am this morning. Nick, Eriko & Jerry woke up early to have breakfast with them & to wish them a “Bon Voyage.” They expect it’ll be midnight local time when they arrive back to Indiana, PA. It sure was dandy that Kevin made it possible & Katrina could join us in having our mini reunion in Seattle.

Speaking of Katrina; Kathy calls her mid morning & they talk for over an hr on many subjects including furniture & roommates. Katrina plans to pick Karina up on Halloween, bring her to her condo where they’ll make supper and then take her “trick-or-treating before bringing her back to the treatment center.

Bill M. calls from Olympia, WA; he has a plan for tomorrow’s rendezvous.
Kathy does (2) laundry loads this morning.
I call the RV park in Portland & make a reservation for (1) week of camping.
Kathy retracts (2) slides in prep for tomorrow’s travel. Then I call Nick to let him know that we are on our way to his condo.

Upon arriving, 1st thing, Nick & I put the final touches on the radio wiring; push the radio into its slot receiver on the dash, snap the face plate on & give it the final test & “bingo!” Not only does Eriko have a better looking dash but she also has a good looking radio that works like a radio should + playing CD’s. This project is finished.

K & I play with Jerry for awhile during Nick’s rearranging of some of our family photos on line. Then K & I walk (6) min & attend the vigil Mass @ St. Anne’s church. When we return, Zack had arrived & a discussion about dinner was in the works; Eriko had a good plan but when Nick called that restaurant, the wait time was (1.5) hrs. Seems that every restaurant the boys called…long waits. Out of curiosity, Zack calls a local place where we all ate @ just last yr; he was told that if we came soon, the wait would be short.

The receptionist was right on; our wait was relatively short & dinner @ the Pasta Bella in Queen Anne was very good; K & I share eggplant stuffed with artichoke on a bed of pasta in marinara sauce & spinach, gorgonzola, candied walnut salad. I, as well as Nick, did carry Jerry around to distract him a little while waiting for our dinners to arrive; otherwise, our gathering & meals were great.

Back @ the condo, we say our goodbyes with love to Nick, Eriko, Jerry & Zack; then we do some quick looking for one of our favorite cheeses: Rembrandt aged Gouda. We found it @ Ken’s Market, close to Zack’s house. Back in Issaquah, we visit the Fred Myers grocery store for more milk & yogurt before arriving @ the bus by 10:45pm.

After watching the weather channel & doing a little organizing, it’s lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 6:43am Temp 35 sleep 7+ 21 sunny but cool overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

K & I were both a little sluggish this morning but still managed to arrive @ Nick’s condo before 11:00am. Today’s plan for the gang is to visit Little Howe Park; even though the name doesn’t imply, it is a larger park than the last one visited.

I, of course, choose to finish the radio project. Today I need electricity so Nick drives the VW into the big condo garage; brings out a long extension cord & wishes me luck.
@ 1:30 a lunch break opportunity; for Eriko’s meals, how could I refuse?

Back on the radio job, the driver’s side rear wires on the door were both broken; probably from yrs of door opening & closing. Tricky as it was, the wires took solder & I wrapped them both with electrical tape. How long will they last? I don’t know. Using the triple “A” battery method of speaker check proved that this speaker is workable. Next the challenge of routing (2) wires: a (12) volt & a good ground wire through the firewall up & out of the radio recessed box. This took some time; luckily there were some dead wires throughout the trunk from the kaput alarm system that I could use; plus, a healthy wire from the positive battery post that was already fed through the firewall & long enough that I used it & attached a ground wire with tape to feed both of them up & into the recessed radio box. After more soldering & taping of wires to the radio, I press the radio’s on button & voila, there is music from (2) speakers; not quite stereo but it was crisp & clear. It’s 4:30 now so that’s close enough to being almost finished. I use the remote to open the BIG door of the garage & park the VW on the curb around the corner.

Nick calls just as I was entering their condo to wash up; they are finished playing @ the Little Howe Park & walking back to the condo. Kathy fills me in on the playground activities. She started by pushing Andrew on the swing for (10) min while Kevin was pushing Andrew for about (5) min. Then the boys & Eriko played in the rather large, black sand/dirt sandbox where there were several large trucks & other toys for them to use to build & move the sand/dirt around. Andrew & Jerry played a lot with Nick on several slides. A short spin on the merry-go-round gave the boys a little thrill before it was time to head back to Nick’s condo.

We all joined up at Dick’s restaurant at the bottom of Queen Anne Hill where we had hamburgers, French fries, & milk shakes; not the most nutritious food, but the milkshakes & French Fries were quite good. And the atmosphere was quite relaxed & kid friendly.

Before joining the rest of the gang at the Foote suite, Kathy & I did a little shopping on Queen Anne, looking for a fun activity book for Matthew to use on the airplane ride tomorrow. We spent the rest of the evening yakking & playing with the boys while snacking on chips & salsa that Melissa bought.

Finish watching DVR movie: “Edison, the Man” with Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman, Charles Coburn, Gene Lockhart, etc. Sequel to YOUNG TOM EDISON perfectly casts Tracy as earnest inventor with passion for mechanical ingenuity. 1940. You creative inventors out there, this story has your name on it.

Lights out: 12:23am

Awake: 6:08am Temp 41 sleep 6+07 sunny & cool wind overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

It was slow going into Seattle this morning; a (3) car accident on I-90 + (2) areas of road construction nearly doubled our normal trip time.

Time is passing fast & I’d like to get the new replacement VW radio installed & working, so I ask the gang if I might be excused from other activities this morning & afternoon. They are going over to see Zack’s place of living & I’m confident that he is busy cleaning up the joint before their inspection.

Before leaving the campground, I make sure I bring my fluke meter, scissors, electrical tape, needle nose pliers, a triple “A” battery, screwdriver, wire strippers & the “Juice,” a smaller Leather-Man knife.

Sitting in the VW for (1.5 hr) was not so bad; the sunshine warmed the VW enough that the cool wind was negligible. Progress was slow @ 1st, but it soon became obvious that all those extra wires were dead & not being used, rendering the previous alarm system kaput. About the same time as the wire cutting was going full force, a cell phone call lures me to lunch inside the condo; Eriko is serving her Japanese meal which is not only very good, but also very healthy.

After lunch, Kathy drives Nick, Eriko, & Jerry in his car seat now transferred to our car, to join the Footes at Zack’s place. Zack & Nick spent about an hour entertaining Matthew, Andrew, & Jerry by jumping & bouncing with the boys on the trampoline. They all then moved into the house for a while before Melissa & the boys take the bus back to the hotel & Kathy drives Nick & family back to their condo.

Meanwhile, on the project & using the Fluke meter + the triple “A” battery, the front speaker on the passenger side came to life. The (12) volt supply I’ve been looking for is not to be found for whatever reason, so using Nick’s jumper cables & going directly to the radio power & accessory input &, with (1) speaker connected, the radio lit up & out came a clear voice & music. Next I pull back the hose covers that protect the wires from the dash to the doors to get the color code. Using the triple “A” battery again for the other (3) speakers to sound off; right rear passenger speaker; wires intact but no sound; rear drivers side, wires are broken & will need to be connected & soldered; front driver’s side, healthy wire but no sound.

(30) min later, the gang drive up from visiting Zack’s place; I happily demonstrate the progress of music from (1) speaker & a BIG smile radiates from Eriko; that encouragement alone made my day.

Then K & I chauffeur Nick, Eriko, & little Jerry, in his car seat, down to the Foote hotel & join them for dinner of: Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes & a mixed salad. Zack joins us &, afterwards, we visit the Foote suite for (1.5) hrs of gab & kid fun. K & I return to our bus by 9:05pm.

We watch ½ of the DVR movie: “Edison the Man.”
Lights out: 11:24pm

Awake: 5:40am Temp 56 sleep 6+28 rainy & windy overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

Kathy goes shopping early @ a fabric store nearby for micro fiber & thread; she doesn’t find what she’s looking for.

Nick calls: Nick & Zack gave the gang a tour of the Isilon Company early this morning; all went well. K & I had a $5.00 tour last yr so we skipped a repeat. Now the gang is rendezvousing @ the Children’s Museum again to spend the day. A great idea since the weather is not very pleasant outside.

We meet with Nick about 12:30 & have lunch together upstairs @ the food court. Then enter the museum @ 1:40 & stay until closing time @ 5:00pm. The kids have not tired of all the different things there are to do; it’s rather peaceful seeing them explore & figure things out on their own accord plus the interaction with other kids of similar age.

I make (1) trip back to our parked Suzuki with my umbrella to move to another (2) hr parking spot. Zack is working today so I fill in, spending quite a lot of time with Andrew; some time with Jerry & a little time with Matthew. Kathy spends more time with Matthew and a little time with Andrew.

Hotel dinner: sweet & sour chicken, rice, & mixed salad. Zack joins us for dinner & we begin watching the 1st (4) innings of the World Series game together downstairs.

After moving upstairs for more chit-chat & visiting with the Foote Family, K & I drive to Trader Joe’s for some needed groceries before arriving at our bus around 9:15pm.

Late DVR movie: “Frankie & Johnnie Are Married” with Michael Pressman, Lisa Chess, Alan Rosenberg, Stephen Tobolowsky, etc. TV producer-director Pressman decides to direct his wife in a small-theater production of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune” to help restore her self-esteem as an actress & possibly bring the (2) of them closer together. 2004. This movie was great entertainment; no problem keeping Kathy awake here.
Lights out: 12:01am

Awake: 6:30am Temp 48 sleep 7:08 sunny overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

Nick calls & gives us a head’s up for an early arrival today. It takes us approx 35 to 45 min from our campground to Nick’s condo. Today we arrive @ 12:00 noon.

Nick’s VW was acquired after the previous owner had a security system installed & later, that radio was stolen resulting in a lot of cut wires. The owner purchased another radio but did not have it installed. Tra-la-la along comes Monte; I volunteer to take on the challenge of installing the new radio. Nick & I scrutinize the bundle of cut wires drooping from the empty radio tray on the dash. Sometime this week I’ll bring my Fluke meter + other tools to start the process. It would be nice for Eriko to have music in the car she drives. Next Nick shows us the bedroom closet flooring where there was once a wall; now the narrow wall is removed leaving a missing piece of flooring on both sides of the closet. I don’t know if we’ll have time to get this project resolved but K & I do take measurements in the event we do.

@ 1:30pm, Melissa & the boys (-Kevin, who is attending the computer conference) arrive @ the condo; we plan on going to a nearby park & fly paper airplanes that include balloon air thruster assistance. Before we start out for the park, however, I try my best to perfect this idea inside the condo. The planes would fly just fine without the assisted thrust; but with the balloon attached with double-sided tape, the thrust was too great & the plane was uncontrollable. The balloons needed a slower release of the air which I couldn’t regulate. More study will be forthcoming.

We visit the small park anyway; it was a mere (10) min walk down the street. The boys enjoyed the double long slides & other high-tech equipment while I tossed a few regular paper airplanes around just because I like to. After a number of slow sliding, Matthew advanced to being braver & slid down the slide without applying the brakes or having any assistance. Andrew watched his brother carefully but continued using his braking power. Little Jerry enjoyed each ride no matter which adult was with him. The slide was definitely the main attraction. Zack, without a doubt, was one of the guys those kids loved to be with on any of the rides.From here, Melissa & the boys took the bus back to their hotel & we drove Nick, Eriko, & little Jerry in his car seat.

Hotel dinner: broccoli, cheese soup & a mixed salad. Later, Zack, Kathy & I make another trip to Safeway for more ice cream & cones; which we all have as dessert in the Foote suite. Around 8:00pm, I started reading a book to Matthew & he fell asleep; I thought perhaps my reading was dull & maybe it was; then Melissa tells me that is what she wanted to happen. K & I are back to our bus by 9:15pm.

Katrina calls & leaves a message that she arrived safely to her condo in Denver.

We finish watching DVR movie: “The Ideal Husband’ with Cate Blanchett, Rupert Everett, Jeremy Northam, etc. 1895 period comedy about a stalwart member of Parliament who becomes a blackmail target & can’t stand the idea that his devoted wife will find him less than perfect. 1999. We should watch this one again; we failed to find the humor. Kathy says, “No, we shouldn’t; once was enough!”

Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 52 sleep 6+54 cloudy overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

Drive Kathy downtown Seattle to the BIG thrift store, Salvation Army, for shopping. Eriko picked Katrina up @ Zack’s place & they are (15) min ahead of Kathy. The Foote Family arrive about (30) min later; they rode the bus. I look the place over, talk with our gang & then drive to Nick & Eriko’s condo. I’ve been asked to baby sit little Jerry for (2) hrs while Nick & Zack attend a mandatory company meeting @ Isilon.

Arriving @ the condo, Jerry had just fallen asleep & Nick was putting him down for his late morning nap. Nick instructs me as to where the diapers & wipes are kept, what food to give Jerry when he awakes, etc. Shortly after that, Zack picks up Nick & I am alone with a (1.5) yr old

Taking advantage of some free time, I call Linda in Alaska & ask to have our mail forwarded. Then call one of our ole neighbors from Alaska; they are now living in Tacoma & we plan on a rendezvous for next Sunday. Next I settle down with a good magazine & before I know it, Eriko & Katrina arrive. We talk for (10) min & then who comes walking out of the bedroom with all smiles: it’s Jerry. My baby sitting job was a complete success; nothing to it!

Then we all meet @ the Children’s Museum @ the Seattle Center about 2:00pm. Nick & Eriko are members & bring Jerry here often. There are many things to see & do for the young kids & they really have a ball & we have fun watching & playing along with them.
Kathy made sure that a family picture was taken since Katrina will be leaving & flying back to Denver later today.

After (2.5) hrs @ the museum, K & I with Katrina, hustle ahead of the gang & back to the hotel where she has her suitcase & bags stored; get the bus schedule to Sea-Tac Airport, walk across the street & see her off. It was extremely nice that she could join us in a mini-reunion for a day & ½. We did all sing “Happy Birthday” to her a few days early as we were leaving the Children’s Museum.

Dinner @ the hotel with the Foote Family: beef stew with a mixed salad. Afterward, Kathy, Zack & I walk to the nearby Safeway grocery store & buy some ice cream for the evening dessert upstairs in the Foote suite with the rest of the gang. Back to our bus @ 8:55pm.
We watch ½ of the DVR movie: “The Ideal Husband.”

Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 6:15am Temp 50 sleep 5+47 cloudy with intermittent light rain overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

Melissa calls @ 11:00am; she wants us to pick up a few groceries for tonight’s dinner; just before we leave for shopping, she calls again; they decide to go shopping instead & ask us what we need. Kathy already has the salad made & the dressings & cheese ready.

En route to Seattle, we top off the Suzuki’s fuel tank & visit a Fred Meyer grocery store for a wine check. Then we drive downtown to visit with the Foote Family in their hotel suite. Nick, Eriko, little Jerry & Zack arrive later.
About 3:30pm, the Foote Family + Eriko & Jerry ride the bus over to the train station & greet Katrina coming in from Portland; having Kat with us will make our M & K reunion complete. During their absence, Nick, Zack, Kathy & I get into a busy discussion about the illegals coming into our country.
The Foote suite is well equipped: a full kitchen complete with dishwasher, large refrigerator, toaster, microwave, garbage disposal, coffee maker, quiet bedroom with separate door, etc.
Kat & the rest of the gang return from the train station around 5:15. Zack & I supply the wine which was served before & during our dinner of: spaghetti with meat sauce, toasted garlic bread & mixed salad. A very good meal made by Melissa, Kevin & Kathy. thanks guys.

Throughout the evening, it was most interesting to watch the interaction between Andrew & Jerry who are (5) months apart. Without much talk, they seem to communicate pretty well. Before the kids’ bedtime, the balloon festival began in the living room; blowing up & letting go of the colors continued for over an hr; then the evening ice cream cones are distributed. It was fun!

K & I return to our bus by 9:15pm.

Later DVR movie with popcorn: “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” with William Holden, Jennifer Jones, Murray Matheson, Torin Thatcher, etc. Well-mounted soaper set in Hong Kong @ a time of Korean War. Eurasian doctor Jones falls in love with war correspondent Holden; effective telling of true story. 1955. Yes, we agree; like a soap opera but, still a little touching.
Lights out: 11:51pm

Awake: 6:05am Temp 46 sleep 6+49 cloudy overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

Call John B. in PA. We update each other on activities. John reports all is alive & well with the Koffee Klub gang & they have been having Indian summer-like weather.

Kathy does (1) load of laundry.

According to our Lady Garmen GPS, there is a Costco store a mere (1.3) miles from our campground. After a few phone calls, we collect a small shopping list of things to pick up from Costco. Thinking this will be a quick trip, we acknowledge Nick’s request to be @ his condo by 1:00pm. Entering the traffic pattern for Costco was an instant traffic jam. The parking lots & fuel station were maxed out; lines like I’ve never seen. We cancelled the fuel plan, finally lucked out with a parking spot & proceeded to get into another traffic jam inside the store with shopping carts. It was a mistake; we think these people may be shopping early for Christmas and/or finding a way to spend a wet, blustery day.

We arrive @ the Nick & Eriko condo ONLY (45) min late & admit our reputation has been tarnished. Regardless, they welcome us with open arms & smiles. Nick has taken the week off from work & Zack will take a day off here & there during our week of visiting. These young adults look good & the condo looks larger since N & E did some furniture rearranging.

Little Jerry is napping now but when he awakes about an hr later, he’s a bundle of activity, very friendly & always smiling.

@ 3:30 the Foote family arrive by bus from their hotel room, about a (15) min ride. They flew in yesterday around noon time; Andrew is all smiles to see people he knows; Matthew is sound asleep in a sling carried by Kevin & little Nathaniel is also sleeping in a sling carried by Melissa. Kevin will be attending a computer conference in Seattle most of next week. When the boys are all awake, they entertain themselves by playing with Jerry’s toys.

After a meager attempt at catching up with the adult activities of the northwest, K & I excuse ourselves & attend the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Saint Anne’s church just a (7) min walk up the street.
When we return, the Foote family, as expected, has returned to their hotel & we are asked about dinner; Zack, our leader in gourmet food, suggests Indian cuisine. Nick brings up a menu on his computer, we make our selections & he makes the call & places the order. They wait (20) min, then N & Z drive down the hill for the pickup. With a smile, Zack treated us to these delicious meals; what a guy! After some more catching up & good conversation, K & I return to our bus @ 9:15pm.

DVR movie: “The Desperate Hours” with Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin, etc. Extremely well acted account of escaped convicts terrorizing a family household; inspired by actual events.1955. A real thriller; don’t miss seeing it.
Lights out: 12:28am

Awake: 5:45am Temp 41 sleep 6+15 rain overnight @ Spokane, WA.

A lull in the rain gave me time to climb the ladder & clean off (2) slide tops & sides before retracting them. During breakfast, another heavy rain wave moved into the area.

We leave the Spokane Costco parking lot @ 10:35am. Rain with cross & headwinds continue on I-90; this is day three of my arm muscle workout. In the valley of Ellensburg, the wind subsided somewhat & a parade of fall colors greeted us until climbing through the Snoqualmie Pass where the wind with rain & snow flurries kept our wipers busy, not to mention Kathy’s steering, braking & leaning movements.

Arrive @ the Issaquah Village RV Park @ 3:10pm.

Today’s travel: 269 miles 4+47 time 5.6 mpg 48 gal used 56.1 avg speed.

Nick & I talk several times during the afternoon & evening. Heavy rain, wind, & fog plus giving ourselves a little time off was our main reason for not driving into Seattle today to begin the reunion with our kids. Besides, Eriko & little Jerry won’t be home from daycare until after 7:00pm anyway; we make plans for tomorrow.

7:00pm dinner: Delicious pork chops, marinated in milk & seasonings for hrs, fried pasta with bread cubes, & a mixed salad.

Finish our DVD movie: “Since You Went Away” with Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton, Shirley Temple, Monty Woolley, Lionel Barrymore, etc. Tear-jerker supreme with Colbert @ her best; story of family suffering through WWII with many tragedies & complications. 1944. (4) hrs in length, a little slow @ times but it’s well worth seeing the warmth & tenderness of this family.

High travel temp=59 Lights out: 11:30pm

Awake: 5:25am Temp ? sleep 6+04 overnight wind & rain overnight @ Billings, Montana.
We ran our generator about (4) hrs total last evening & this morning for heat & TV weather coverage.
Kathy walked over to Wal-Mart & checked on Micro-fiber & embroidery thread, generally perused the groceries, making price comparisons and bought nothing.

We leave Billings @ 8:40am & continue following I-90 westbound. The day started out beautiful; about (200) miles later in Butte, MT, we top our tank with (163) gal @ $3.31 per gal. Slowly the weather changes from sunshine to dark clouds & then the persistent head & cross winds with constant rain try to spoil our scenic views once again. Gosh, it’s déjà vu all over again, passing through Idaho, we run into snow showers while descending into & passing the historic town of Wallace, ID.

Approaching Coeur d’ Alene, ID, Kathy calls the Spokane Costco store for permission to park for the night. The supervisor approves that request with no problem. Turns out, their parking lot was extremely full with automobiles; we drove around the block & tried the other side for space; sure enough, a long open expanse of asphalt awaited us.

Today’s travel: 534 miles 9+15 time 90.3 gal used 5.9 mpg 57.7 avg speed.
After parking, K & I visit Costco for some light grocery shopping & wine.
Late dinner: Kathy’s chili with Triscuits. With the moon & stars visible, we open (2) slides for the night.

Late DVR movie: “Since you went away.” We watch only an hr & then retire for the night.

High travel temp=59 Lights out: 11:20pm

Awake: 6:24am Temp 42 sleep 5+40 partly sunny overnight @ Littleton, CO.

We leave the Chatfield RV Park in Littleton @ 7:40am. Following US-83 to I-25 to I-90 to Billings, Montana; 98% smooth roads enhanced the (400 miles) of scenic views, but the next (191 miles) of strong cross-winds & headwinds with constant rain put a damper on that pleasure. (1) comfort stop along the way. Just before darkness set in, we pull into the Wal-Mart parking lot @ Billings @ 7:40pm for the night. Many RV’s have already parked in the east section & quite a few more continued to arrive throughout the evening. We keep our slides retracted for the night.

Today’s travel: 591 miles 10+00 hrs 102 gal used 5.8 mpg 58.5 avg speed.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, leftover brown rice, leftover eggplant from our family meal @ Buca di Beppo in Denver & a spinach salad.

Late DVR movie: “Mildred Pierce” with Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, etc. Crawford won an Oscar as housewife-turned-waitress who finds success in business but loses control of ungrateful daughter Blyth….especially when she finds they’re competing for the love of the same man. 1945. Not a happy story but most interesting to view; plus it could be of help when raising those young children.

High travel temp=61 Lights out: 11:21pm

Awake: 6:44am Temp 36 sleep 6+06 cloudy overnight @ Littleton, Colorado.

Kathy does (3) laundry loads this morning while I program our Pioneer GPS for Issaquah Village RV Park in Washington State, near Seattle. After retracting (2) slides, storing the portable water filter & dumping our waste water tank, we visit Kat’s condo mid afternoon to finish up the rest of those things on her: to do list.

Kathy drives to the nearby King Sooper grocery store to buy more milk while I add another bulb & clean up the porch lamp unit & replace the burned out bulb for the patio. As a final fix on the list, I re-do her bathroom door hook &, hopefully, make it more secure for hanging her heavy bath robe.

We say our “goodbyes & nice to meet you” to Leland. Then we drive in separate cars to Buca di Beppo, an Italian Restaurant in the “immigrant” style (10) min away. It’s a large restaurant with 350 seats and a multitude of pictures covering all the walls. We have a wonderful dinner with Katrina & Stephanie, served family style; we shared an apple, walnut, gorgonzola, romaine lettuce salad, garlic bread, eggplant parmesan, a (4) sampler of cheese dishes & some good wine. Both Katrina & I split the bill; nice of you Katrina.

Both Kathy & I did enjoy our “work camp” program on Kat’s condo for the week. She has a real comfortable place & it felt good for us that we were able to give her a helping hand; also we enjoyed getting to know her roommate, Stephanie, a lot better. Stephanie has a good eye for decorating so it should be interesting following the changes she inspires Katrina to make along the way. We return to our bus by 8:30pm.

Evening DVR movie: “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” with Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers, Telly Savalas, Lee Grant, etc. Bright comedy about Italian woman who’s accepted money from (3) American men who all think they fathered her child during WWII. Now they’re all coming back to Italy for Army reunion & Mrs. Campbell is in a state of panic. 1969. The story was so-so & a little corny; don’t waste your time.

Later, Kat calls Kathy to discuss dress choices for the wedding she will attend in Portland, Oregon on Saturday.
Lights out: 12:44am

Awake: 6:48am Temp 43 sleep 6+41 partly sunny overnight @ Littleton, CO.

Mary Jane calls around 10:30am. We talk about meeting in downtown Littleton for coffee but haven’t picked a particular spot yet. They’ve been in Denver several weeks now visiting their daughter, Kelly, & her husband, Bill, on the occasion of the birth of their first child, Sophia. They also visited their son & other granddaughter, Taylor & will return to Alaska tomorrow. K & I decide to checkout downtown Littleton in our search for a suitable meeting place; we discover the cleanliness of the town & how alive & active the main section is with many stores & businesses. Kathy asks a young lady about the nearest Starbucks; she directs us (4) blocks north & after seeing this, we declare our meeting place when we call Mary Jane & Gene again.

Early afternoon, Gene & Mary Jane appear. Kathy treats all of us to a Starbucks of our choice & then we gab for the next (2) hrs about anything & everything while sitting outside under the Starbucks umbrellas. @ 3:30, we say our goodbyes & “Bon Voyage” for now; it was really nice seeing them again & getting updated on the latest news.

Now K & I are hungry. Just next door is the IL Vicino wood oven pizza place. We share an 8” pizza which was great; something to keep in mind for dinner.

Kat calls: she is on her way home from school so we meet her @ the condo. A few more fix up things left on my list: replacing another switch; this one for the front porch light. In the garage, the cable guys made some oversize holes when feeding their cables through the sheetrock. I use a wood epoxy filler that hardens strong to fill those holes; once it’s sanded & painted, it’ll be tough to see where it was fixed. Also, using the ladder, replace a burned out light bulb on the landing leading to the 2nd floor bedrooms.

Dinner with Katrina @ the IL Vicino pizza place. K & Kat share a half & half chicken & mixed veggie 10” pizza & I have a small 8” pepperoni. Their pizza is pretty darn good. Kat treats us to the wine & pizza dinner; thank you daughter Katrina.

Kat & Kathy ride in Kat’s car, I in our Suzuki & we drive back to our bus; Katrina wanted to see our newly renovated motorhome. She doesn’t stay too long as the hr is late. We say our “goodnight” & then finish watching the DVR movie: “The Farmer’s Daughter” with Loretta Young, Joseph Cotton, Ethel Barrymore, Charles Bickford, Rose Hobart, etc. Young won an Oscar for her irresistible performance as a naïve but straight-thinking farm girl who goes to work for a senator and winds up running for a congressional seat against his party. Delightful comedy with an excellent cast. 1947. No question about it; this movie should be on the top of your list.

Lights out: 12:38am

Awake: 5:44am Temp 43 sleep 6+33 light rain overnight @ Littleton, CO.

Last night we asked Kat to call us when she wakes up & then we’ll drive over to her condo; today she & Kathy are shopping for furniture: a bed frame, corner end table, coffee table, curtains, other miscellaneous, & some groceries. Before they leave around 10:30am, I hang a golf ball from the garage ceiling that will bump Katrina’s windshield when she pulls in reminding her that her car is positioned correctly.

Throughout the day, Kathy calls (3) times on the cell phone & gives an update on their progress; which was nice. Meanwhile, I am busy replacing a (3) way dimmer light switch in the dining room; putting a double door stopper on the pantry door; vacuuming the laundry room & replacing the leaky plastic (4”) dryer hose with an aluminum hose. I also make (2) trips to Home Depot (6.8) miles total, for parts. I believe there are only a few remaining fixes yet to do on Katrina’s list.

During one of my return trips from Home Depot, Mary Jane & Gene call (friends from Alaska) on their cell phone; tomorrow we plan to rendezvous in downtown Littleton.

That vacuuming wore me out so I take an hr break & read some of the Sunday newspaper. Shortly after that hr, the girls arrive @ 6:30pm. Would you believe, they visited (14) stores, got some ideas, including pictures of possible furniture purchases; Katrina wants to include Stephanie in the decisions. A visit to Costco yielded a large box of goodies, but they didn’t purchase all they were after; sometimes it takes a while to find just the right thing. Around 7:00pm, Melissa calls from PA; we (3) share an hr of talk time.

Kathy & Katrina put her bed up on the bed-frame and up on 7” lifters they bought today. The plan was to give Kat some storage space under her bed, but after carrying (2) boxes from the garage & re-analyzing the set-up, they decided it wouldn’t work; the bed-frame legs are too narrow for stability. They removed the lifters, put the casters on the bed-frame and repositioned it on the floor; then took the boxes back to the garage. Katrina will have to come up with another plan. They also hung a mirror on the back of her bedroom door, using (2) different adhesives but neither did the job. So, Katrina will have to come up with another plan for that also.

Late dinner @ Katrina’s condo: Leftover veggie & noodle soup & Mongolian beef from the Thai Hiep restaurant of last night + a few spoons of yummy chocolate ice cream. K & I return to our bus by 9:45pm.

Start watching DVR movie: “Farmer’s Daughter.”

Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 5:41am Temp 54 sleep 6+12 dark clouds overnight @ Littleton, CO.
K & I have no breakfast, just coffee; then drive to Kat’s condo arriving @ 7:25am.

This morning, Kat is taking us to meet her little “sister,” Karina, about a 35 min drive to the northwest part of Denver. Kat goes into the facility to sign in & bring Karina with us for about (2) hrs. We visit the local Starbucks where Kathy has a latte, I have a hot chocolate, Katrina has a Chai tea & Karina has soy hot chocolate (Katrina found out the hard way several months ago after treating Karina to ice cream that she is very allergic to milk). Karina is 12 yrs old & comes from a very dysfunctional family; her mother is an addict & she doesn’t know who her father is. She and her younger brother have been in foster homes & are now living & going to school at the Tennyson Center.

The wind is cool this morning but K & I join Kat & Karina in walking around a section of Sloan’s Lake. As the story goes: in 1861, farmer Sloan started digging a well on the north end of his farm; the next day he was amazed to find the water from his well continued to flow like a fountain, spreading over a wide area of dry prairie he owned. By the time it slowed, a 200 acre lake had appeared. The newly formed lake soon became a favorite recreation site for the Denverites for swimming, boating, fishing & ice skating in the winter time.
Karina loves walking around this lake with Katrina & we enjoyed the walk as well. Karina will be going with other kids to the amusement park @ 10:00am today so Katrina returns her to her facility. Katrina often speaks of Karina so we were happy to have the opportunity to meet her.

We return to the condo where Kathy makes oatmeal for our breakfast. Then I continue with fixing the things on Kat’s list. Her garage door sometimes will not recognize the open or close signal. I found one of the sensors had drooped giving it a hit & miss kind of reliability. After tightening (2) screws, it appears to work fine. Next, a yucky job of cleaning hair from a bath tub & a shower; using part of a hanger, a hook is made that really scoops up the hair.

Katrina & Stephanie analyze the living room & continue their talk of changing the furniture. The neighbor (2) houses down have a couch & loveseat for sale & they are interested in buying these. We go to the neighbor’s & Steph & Katrina carry the loveseat back while muscle woman, Kathy, carries the pillows. Some time is spent discussing the value of the purchase & what to do with Steph’s hide-a-bed & Leland’s large recliner chair now in the living room if they decide to go thru with the change. The decision is made, both must go & Katrina will purchase the sofa & love seat.

Moving Leland’s BIG lounge chair was quite a feat. He was very unhappy about moving his chair downstairs, but Katrina & Steph persisted & practically carried it down the stairs themselves. Leland did assist but not willingly.

The (3) girls go back to the neighbor’s, make the deal & the same carrying teams bring the sofa back. Once the pieces are in place, the slip covers put on, the other furniture moved out or around, the living room looks great.

Kathy & I attend 4:30 vigil Mass @ Saint Mary’s church; a (15) min drive. Strong winds kicked up & rain began during our Mass time. Shortly after we left for church, Stephanie’s father, Jim, picked up the girls & they attended his church. When they return, Jim invites all of us to join him for dinner @ the Thai Hiep restaurant for some great food & conversation. I like Jim; he’s a nice guy.

During the evening, lots of rain, lighting & thunder; we return to our bus & finish watching the DVR movie: “Pat & Mike” with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray, William Ching, etc. Hepburn is Pat, top female athlete; Tracy is Mike, her manager, in pleasing comedy. 1952. We both enjoyed this movie; we think you will too.

Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 6:34am Temp 41 sleep 5+42 cloudy overnight @ Littleton, CO.

Kathy brings frozen tuna steaks & other food for our dinner tonight @ the Kat condo. We arrive @ 9:30 am to continue our work camp program. I work (4) hrs on the storage shelves before taking a lunch break @ 1:30pm. During this time, Kathy has been cleaning
the patio & the (2) window wells, ridding them of an overabundance of spider webs and leaves & washing the effected windows. In order to clean the window wells, she had to remove the windows and screens & climb through the openings into the wells; a very dirty job. But what a difference!

@ 4:30, K & I make another trip to Home Depot for (1) more Bull nose particle board. This time, we brought the cardboard piece we used yesterday & Katrina’s strapping to do our own fastening down on the Suzuki’s roof. We also made a quick stop for groceries @ the King Soopers store along the way. Our return coincides with Katrina’s return from her teaching day.

I continue work on the best storage shelving I have ever built & actually finish this project @ 8:00pm. Whew! Pictures, we have pictures. Katrina was all smiles as was I.

Dinner: @ 8:30pm: Tuna steaks with rice pilaf, broccoli, cauliflower & a mixed salad. Stephanie arrived home too late for dinner so it was Leland, Kat, Kathy & me.

We return to our bus approx 10:00pm.

Start watching DVR movie: “Pat & Mike.” I didn’t want Kathy to miss any of this great story so I watched an hr & then, backed up to where I thought she had dozed off.

Lights out: 11:29pm

Awake: 5:48am Temp 44 sleep 5+42 sunny Overnight @ Littleton, Colorado.

Kathy continues getting things ready for tonight’s dinner @ the condo before driving over there.
Today I start building storage shelves in the recessed area of Katrina’s garage. 1st however, I move many boxes & tubs that Katrina had stacked in the recessed area to give myself more room & a feeling of: “work in progress.” Next, K & I go shopping for supplies: Home Depot, Ace Hardware & Lowes were scrutinized, but Home Depot won out having most of what we think we need for the job @ hand.

(4) Bull nose particle boards (8’ X 15 1/4”), nails & stud finder, (2) (8’ X 1 ½”) wood strips & (60) metal rigid ties.

Our big Suzuki must have shrunk during our shopping spree as the (8 ft) boards wouldn’t fit inside the car for travel. This took some time, but with help from the outside staff using cardboard & string, they affixed the boards on top of the car semi-rigid enough for the (3.5) mile return to the condo.

I could hardly wait to get started but now I ask myself: what have I gotten myself in for? For the next (3) hrs, I measure twice, cut once & actually finish the 1st layer before being notified of wine time. I began feeling a little more comfortable about this project now that my plan of attack seems to be panning out ok. This is my 1st ever storage shelf & my own ideas.

Chianti wine, compliments of Leland; then dinner for (3): Stephanie is still @ work: Spaghetti with Italian sausage, mixed salad, & garlic bread. Steph arrived late but did consume her glass of wine that had her name on it. K & I return to our bus @ 9:45pm.

Late DVR movie: “Over 21” with Irene Dunne, Alexander Knox, Charles Coburn, Jeff Donnell, etc. Zesty comedy of middle-aged Knox trying to survive in officer’s training for WWII service, with help of wife Dunne. 1945. Cute story.

Lights out: 12:52am

Awake: 5:16am Temp 42 sleep 5+54 mostly sunny overnight @ Littleton, CO.

Katrina calls @ 7:30am & gives us a short shopping list for when we go to Costco. After breakfast, we fulfill that request by stopping @ King Soopers grocery store & Costco. We also call Melissa to see if she has any requests for items from Costco. She must have been out with the boys as she didn’t return our call until hrs later. Our shopping trip took a mere (3) hrs due to the stocking up of our own basement grocery supplies.

Katrina told us earlier that she plans on being home @ her condo@ 4:00pm. We arrive @ 4:05 to see no one. We were told that her roomies have different working hrs so ringing the doorbell was not an option. Although the inside door was open, we thought best to just wait. About (30) min later, Katrina pops out the door to say: “how long have you been out there?” She arrived before 4:00 & was talking with Leland; one of her two roomies.

Katrina’s condo is in a great location; close to mall & grocery shopping; major highways ¼ of a mile away; surrounded with comparable condos & homes of equal or higher value; lots of trees & greenery; tennis & swimming pool usage, etc. She & Leland give us a grand tour of all the rooms & garage. We liked her place immediately.

And then: K & I begin perusing the “list” of things to do during our visit. We of course, volunteered to do another “work camp." This time for our daughter Katrina. She showed me the bag & box of tools that she borrowed from a teacher’s husband to assist in getting these jobs accomplished. I was impressed as I sorted through the bag & box: DeWalt power drill, portable skill saw, extension cord, tape measure, hammer, leveler, drill bits, channel locks, etc, etc. Like, how did that guy know what tools I would need to do these jobs? I can hardly wait to begin.

As we are having wine before dinner, we talk with Leland about his work & family; Stephanie arrives, Katrina’s other roommate, & joins in the conversation. It’s getting late & we have no plans for dinner. Katrina mentions that she has veggies & chicken so both she & Kathy put together a chicken stir fry with salad for the (5) of us for dinner. We continue our talk until around 9:45 & then return to our bus @ Chatfield RV Park, a (15) min drive.
@ the bus, Kathy begins prepping meat for tomorrow’s dinner @ the condo.

We finish watching the movie: “Fear Strikes Out” with Anthony Perkins, Karl Malden, Norma Moore, Adam Williams, etc. Stark account of baseball star Jimmy Piersall & his bout with mental illness. Perkins is properly intense, with Malden superb as his domineering father. 1957. This is edge of the seat entertainment & based on a true story; don’t miss it!
Lights out: 12:06am

Awake: 5:43am Temp 47 sleep 7+04 sunny overnight @ Goodland, Kansas.

Last night I ran our generator (4) hrs for cooking, washing dishes, heating water, watching movie, etc; this morning, (3) hrs.
@ 7:30am, Kathy walks over to the Wal-Mart store & checks for some micro-fiber & thread; she finds neither. Meanwhile, I clean many smashed bugs from our windshield.

We leave Goodland @ 9:03am. 100 miles west on I-70, we stop @ the smallest Flying “J” fuel stop ever; only (4) stalls. Top off our tank with 153 gal @ $3.03 per gal.

We continue on I-70 until just after Limon & then follow the scenic State road-86 to Castle Rock & I-25. There was little traffic on 86 with a lot of up & down hills & curves. Scenic….yes, but once is enough.

Just before joining I-25, I made a wrong turn & had to find a turn-around place without detaching our tow car to get back on track. That seemed to have started our dummying up phase; for the next (2) hrs, we just had difficulty finding & deciding on whether we should sign up & stay in the campground we originally planed on.

For example: the entrance to Chatfield State Park is (12 ft 4 inches), our coach height is (13 ft 2 inches); another (180 degree turn). In our attempt to find the other entrance, we drove to & parked in the Army Corp of Engineers parking lot; another (180 degree turn). Chatfield State Park nickel-dimes campers & charges for every vehicle, in addition to the camping fee, each vehicle, motorhome included, is charged a daily fee. To avoid the daily fee we chose to buy an annual state park pass good for admission to any CO state park for one year ending Dec. 31st of that year. That’s a good deal for someone who buys it at the beginning of the year and plans to use several state parks; we were charged the full pass price even though there is less than 3 months left, but it was a way for us to save a few dollars. Though we don’t need to use their showers, we did observe that they are pay showers, 3 min. of water for 50 cents.
We decide to stay & sign up for a week; next time, we’ll seriously consider our ole Flying Saucer RV Park….if they are still in business. This is a very nice park however & well planned; if one can ignore all those little extra charges they sneak in, you’ll love it.

We arrive @ our campsite around 2:45pm. 1st on the list to do: call Katrina & leave a message.

Today’s travel: 220 miles 4+45 time 42 gal used 5.3 mpg 46.3 avg speed.

Just across the field from our campsite, there is an active model airplane flying club & all different types of aircraft are flying. I talk Kathy into checking it out & spend about (40) min talking to one of the guys about his club activities.

Waiting for Katrina to return our call, we go on a little grocery shopping trek to Costco & begin stocking up on some good stuff.

Katrina returns our call around 6:00 pm. She wanted to finish her thesis for her Masters program before we arrived in town & now she has. We discuss visiting her tonight but don’t have info on the campground’s gate closings; the signs say 10:00 pm but are they enforced? We make plans to visit tomorrow.

Dinner: Leftover beef with brown rice, corn off the cob, mixed salad & toast.

Finish watching the movie: “The Lady from Shanghai” with Rita Hayworth, Orson Wells, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders, etc. The camera’s the star of this offbeat thriller, with the cast incidental in bizarre murder mystery about an Irish adventurer (Wells) who joins seductive Hayworth & her husband (Sloane) on a Pacific cruise. The famous hall of mirrors climax is riveting. 1948. For it’s time, the touring scenes are nearly priceless, plus the story line is not too shabby as well.

Start watching another movie: “Fear Strikes Out.”

High travel temp=78 Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 4:15am Temp 72 sleep 5+14 low dark clouds overnight @ Newell.

@ 6:00 am, with Kathy still sleeping, I walk to the service bay & talk with Creslie, our assigned service coordinator, about our audio entertainment dilemma. He agrees to send someone out to our coach to see what the problem is.

Around 7:00am Roger, the electronics tech, visits our coach & starts to trouble shoot the audio speaker glitch. About an hr later, Kathy figures this entertainment fix will probably take some time & leaves to buy more good meat @ Nott’s Meat Market downtown.

Meanwhile, I retract our remaining (2) slides, disconnect & store the outside water filters in prep for hopefully traveling sometime this morning. 30 min later, that low big dark cloud let loose with a lot of heavy rain. Roger is making some progress but not enough. During a lull period of the rain, he gets another Marantz surround sound unit from the production factory & plugs in all the cables to continue the troubleshooting. The problem persists.

Finally, Roger declares that he needs a 2nd opinion; goes into the service building & brings Ron, the other electronics tech, with him. Together they try different remotes to pin down the cause of (4) speakers out of (5) not working. Then @ 9:40am, Ron discovers a cable leading from the DVR that somehow, got disconnected. He plugs the cable in & “bingo”, (5) speakers are talking; our surround sound is alive & well. They exchange the substitute Marantz for the original to keep the Harmony remote control program intact, plug all the cables, test the remote & sign us off with a “have a safe trip.”

Kathy returns around 10:00am; after she stores the meat, I drive the coach out of our parking site; we hook up the Suzuki & leave the Newell Service Campground in Miami @ 10:46am. The rain has stopped; low dark clouds have moved eastward & the roads are dry now.
We drive approx 30 min in Oklahoma & the rest of the day in the state of Kansas. One (15) min comfort stop including the outside check. US Route 69 to US 400 to I-96 to I-135 to I-70 to Goodland, KS., arriving @ the local Wal-Mart @ 7:30pm local time.

Today’s travel: 517 miles 9+15 time 89 gal used 5.8 mpg 59.9 avg speed

K & I go inside the Wal-Mart; talk with the night supervisor & get permission to park in their parking lot for the night. We’re joined by several semis during the night.

Late dinner: Polish sausage, cauliflower, whole wheat noodles & a spinach salad.

Watch the O’Reilly Factor & some more of the movie: “The Lady from Shanghai.”

High travel temp=78 Lights out: 10:39pm local

Awake: 6:36am Temp 75 sleep 7+13 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

Kathy goes grocery shopping before 8:00am to beat the crowd @ Wal-Mart.

I begin plotting the route for our Northwest travel.

After Kathy returns from shopping, she calls Zack & leaves a message.

Kathy calls Nick: we share talk time & discuss looking into a speaker phone for our cell phone so we can avoid asking the same questions & topics.

Later Zack calls: we share talk time & he & Kathy have some serious discussions about his future.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade chili & noodles with crackers.

Evening movie: “The Bad News Bears” with Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow, Joyce Van Patten, etc. Bright comedy about hopeless little league baseball team that scores with an unlikely combination: a beer-guzzling coach (Matthau) & a female star pitcher (O’Neal). 1976. So-so. What we didn’t care for was the young kids spouting four-letter words.
High temp=78 Lights out: 11:01pm

Awake: 6:46am Temp 73 sleep 6+25 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

Today turned out to be “Communications Day.” Mid morning, we take turns talking with
Melissa; both of the boys have runny noses & are not sleeping well, Kevin & Matthew are working on the shower knee wall & there was discussion about our up-coming rendezvous in Seattle

Nancy L. calls from Sequim, WA. Their house is finished & they are now living in it. They spent much of the summer landscaping & will be returning to their winter residence in Mesa, where they both really enjoy living, at the end of the month.

Sister Corinne calls from Lilly, PA. We share talk time. She accompanied Don & Josie to the funeral of our Aunt Aggie in Ohio & related a most interesting true story. When Aunt Aggie was dying her daughter, Betty Ann, requested that if she should come back after death to come back as a squirrel. During the funeral service, a squirrel entered the church, slowly walked in front of the altar & took rest under the casket before leaving the church. Many in attendance saw this event which brought consolation to Betty Ann. God sure works in strange ways!

Kathy does (3) loads of laundry.

Call one of our destination campgrounds near Seattle, WA. & make reservations. She had only (1) big rig site available for the length of time I asked for so we lucked out.

K & I attend vigil Mass @ Sacred Heart Church just down the road. They have started “saying the Rosary” before vigil Mass during the month of October.

Dinner: leftover beef roast, broccoli, brown rice & a mixed salad.

Call my cousin Flossy in PA to wish him a “Happy Birthday.” He & Anna drove to Ohio & back for the funeral of our Aunt Agnes.

Call my brother Don & Josie & wish them a “Happy Anniversary.” I think they have been married for (47) yrs now.

Evening movie: “Irma La Douce” with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon, Lou Jacobi, Herschel Bernardi, etc. Lemmon falls for prostitute MacLaine & will do anything to keep her for himself. 1963. Cute story with a very colorful red light district.

High temp=85 Lights out: 11:23pm

Awake: 5:43am Temp 73 sleep 6+03 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

We were ready to blast out of here this morning until realizing, try as I might, I can only get (1) speaker out of (5) working. What happened? The production department is going full speed ahead today but the service department has only a skeleton crew working & no electronic techs. If this glitch turns out to be a big problem, then staying around will be worth our wait; if it’s a little thing that I overlooked, then we’ll give each other a kick in the pants.

Watching other motorhomes leaving this morning with people we know was a little tough on us but we’ll try & make the best of our time. One thing I do look forward to doing is: organizing my computer desk & getting the things that I moved into the basement back into my desk drawers & desk top etc.

Mid afternoon, John B. calls from PA. He gives me an update on the Eddie Rickenbacker Airshow in Ohio that he & a few of my PA buddies attended last weekend; I wish I could have been there. It was good hearing from John.

With a lot of motorhomes leaving, the most sought after campsite has become vacant & Kathy wastes no time in parking our Suzuki there to hold on to it. About an hr later, I bring in all slides, disconnect the shore power & maneuver into position to occupy that most revered site.

Dinner: delicious pork chops from Notts (that small, independent grocery store established 1919 that Kathy found yesterday) with brown rice & a mixed salad.

Late movie: “The Lady from Shanghi” not finished due to late hrs.

High temp=86 Lights out: 12:21am

Awake: 5:05am Sleep 4+46 overnight in Service Bay # 12

1st thing this morning, Roger & Mooney do the finishing touches on the TV trim which matches the wall pattern. Then Roger continues working diligently on removing extra wiring from the Bose sound system & slowly installs the new Marantz unit.

Meanwhile Kathy, one of two coach cleaners, starts cleaning in the back & works her way forward. Both she & Cheryl are very thorough & meticulous in their jobs. The guys tease them but love them dearly as they are noted for their sense of humor & cheerfulness.

Lunch today for all employees & customers was on Boyd Metals; a local company that supplies the Newell company with a lot of good steel. By the way, the Boyd that we know at Newell is not part of that business. The hamburgers with all the trimmings, sausage, sauerkraut, baked beans, potato chips etc, were very delicious. K & I really appreciated being invited as we made it our dinner also.

Kathy drives into town to visit a certain thrift store & the library & also discovers a new (to her) little neighborhood grocery store that is known to have good meat which she decided to buy some of.

Meanwhile, our coach gets repositioned into bay # 14, the alignment machine spot. Aligning a motorhome with a steering tag axle usually takes over (3) hrs & Claude is one of (3) who does that magic. Later Claude gives me the before & after reading print out. When the alignment is finished, Kathy the cleaner does her final clean up & our coach is ready to be moved to the outside campsite.

@ 4:45pm, Kyle, another Newell driver, takes our coach around to the front of the service building & parks it in a campsite. I visit Creslie & Twila for the paperwork printout. No charge for all of these renovations; the 1st PM (preventive maintenance) was on Newell; the renovations were on Sam & the fixes were on our (2) yr guarantee.

We are happy to be all done. Tomorrow it will be (1) month since we’ve arrived. Kathy was very patient & understanding throughout the process & I learned a few more things about how our new systems work & what to do when they don’t work so my education time was well spent.

Our dinner was the leftover hamburger, etc from lunch.

We finish watching the movie: “Tokyo Story” with Chishu Ryu, Chicko Higashiyama, So Yamamura, etc. An elderly couple (Ryu) visit their children in Tokyo, who are too busy living their lives & treat then tactlessly. Quietly powerful story of old age, the disappointments parents experience with their children & the fears the young have of time passing. Not shown in the U.S. until 1972. 1953 with Subtitles; it’s a masterpiece. I found myself thinking about this story days later.

Not being too familiar with our new Marantz sound system, I was unable to get surround sound working while listening to Fox News or this movie. It was working just fine on (4 speakers) after Roger did his magic; however the system was (1) bracket shy so the 5th speaker had to wait to be installed on the wall late this afternoon. I’ll check with the manual in the morning for further ideas.

Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 5:09am Sleep 5+24 overnight in the Service Bay # 12.

Wow! 2nd day in a row these techs are getting after our projects early; we like that.
Tracy visits & continues working on the (2) bearing covers that he started taking apart last Friday; after (2) different mechanical attempts, the repair is made & tested good.

Roger, an electrician with electronic talent, begins troubleshooting our Bose wireless audio system. It took some time & he even called in Ron, another electrician with electronic talent, to confirm that our Bose system was completely kaput with no backup replacement unit. After about 40 min, a decision was made @ the service office to replace our Bose system with a new Marantz surround sound system; we were delighted to hear about this changeover.

Surprise for Kathy: A new Advantium oven arrives & Kathy is all smiles. Turns out Boyd shot the deal down so Sam the action man came to the rescue. Randy unpacks the oven while Roger rewires the space for 120 volts in lieu of 220 volts; then Mooney, Roger & Randy all (3) work together in mounting the oven in its former cabinet over the kitchen galley.

Next, Roger & Mooney bring in & fasten down the TV in its higher bracketed position.

Bill, one of many from the paint shop, notifies me that the engine doors have been painted with the lines matching the coach lines, doors hung & level. I check it out & he’s right on; they look great; Boyd will be pleased as well.

K & I have been hanging out in the customers lounge a lot today; having Charlie & Nancy from Texas to entertain us helps a lot. I do my “check it out” wandering frequently however, & that keeps us both updated on progress.

After 5:00pm, we have our wine time with cheese in our coach, then dinner @ Hungry Henry’s just down the road. We share a catfish & salad meal.

Movie in the customers lounge: “Once Upon A Time in the West” with Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, etc. Cardinale is waiting for the railroad to come through, unaware she’s been targeted by hired killer Fonda (cast as one of the coldest villains in screen history). 1968. Not to be missed; I’m not kidding. We nearly changed the channel because of such a s-l-o-w start. It was super good even though it was a “Western.”
Back in our motorhome, the gals shampooed our bedroom carpet. Another surprise; it looks new again. They set up (2) blowers to dry the carpet overnight; we walked on it with plastic booties.
Lights out: 12:19am

Awake: 5:18am sleep 6+15 overnight in Bay # 12.

Mooney, the cabinet man & James the electrician, come into our coach to raise the structure that holds the TV above the desk. Raising the TV about (7) inches was another item we wanted changed before we signed on the dotted line. Along with the structure change, James changes the electrical wiring to relocate (3) speakers.

Now that the granite tile is dry, Randy cleans that tile in the kitchen & dinette area. Meanwhile Bobby takes care of a dragging roller on our retractable steps. Then Randy grouts the entry tile that he’s added per our request.

Mid afternoon, I pay John another visit, then Sam & then Boyd; then back to Sam. All of this is about that Advantium oven that Kathy is frustrated over. With the Boyd zilch reaction, I felt I'd better keep after this.

Meanwhile Kathy is downtown Miami again: visiting the library, the thrift stores & grocery shopping.

Later afternoon, Bill from the paint shop, removes our (2) engine door covers & takes them to the paint shop. There was a slight misalignment in each door which, to the casual observer, could be detected & taken as not good workmanship. For Boyd, VP of engineering, that would be corrected & repainted ASAP. When I brought this item to his attention, we got action.

Now, with the full size refrigerator in place & the granite tile laid in two areas, tonight the carpet man cometh. Bernie & another fellow laid wide strips of paper just outside our coach, maybe a (50 ft X 30 ft) area taped down on the floor. Dave the carpet man will use this as his cutting & measuring table.

Tonight K & I thought we would eat out until we realized another sudden storm just raged up with strong winds & heavy rain. The workers barely missed that action when getting off work @ 5:00pm. We grabbed a box of Snyders Sourdough Pretzels & a can of mixed nuts for our 7:30 dinner tonight in the customers’ lounge.

We both share talk time with Melissa in PA who reported their trip to D.C. went quite well. They visited Billie Anne & Jason & a local Zoo & a few museums during their (3) days there. Melissa also reported that the Ford Van was a lot quieter with new weather-stripping.

Kathy attempts to reach our friends, Marge & Tom, who have just returned to Denver from their first European trip. However, they were not to be found at their son’s or daughter’s houses. Perhaps they’re out to dinner. Kathy will try again this weekend.

During our individual talk time, a visit or two was made to check on Dave’s progress. No doubt about it: he’s a pro.

Late movie in the customer’s lounge: “A River Runs Through It” with Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Emily Lloyd, Brenda Blethyn, etc. A preacher (Skerritt) teaches his sons about life, grace & love through the art of fly-fishing in their native Montana, but as the boys grow up & follow very different paths they find that fishing is the one bond that still draws them together. 1992. Good story with one of those surprise endings.

Speaking of surprises: when we return to our motorhome, we could hardly believe what a difference a beautiful carpet made to our living room.

Lights out: 11:45pm

Awake: 4:30am Temp 60 sleep 4+43 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

At 6:00 am & still dark, I get the telescoping ladder out, climb up on the roof & sweep off the leaves & debris from the (2) slides we left out overnight.

Dave, a Newell driver, takes our coach around back & inside Bay # 12.

Mid morning, I talk with John, VP of customer service, about Kathy not being happy with her Advantium oven & would like to exchange it for a newer one that has the convection feature. Later, John talks to Sam who talks with Boyd who eventually visits & has a talk with Kathy. She explains why she dislikes her oven to Boyd who listened carefully & then his response: zilch.

This morning, with all due respect, nothing was done on our coach. Monday usually brings a fresh group of coaches that need some attention & the schedulers assign techs to different machines matching their skills to the problem or fix required.

During the afternoon, we had more action. Randy grouts the entire kitchen & dinette area & that was impressive. During the grouting, Bobby satisfied the Bendix brake recall on certain coaches & ours was one of them.

After 6:00pm, we Carefully have dinner in our coach due to one side of the kitchen having recently laid wet granite tile:Tuna with egg & cheese on a whole wheat bun.

Tonight’s TV: Modern Marvels & the O’Reilly Factor.

High temp=79 Lights out: 11:03pm

Awake: 7:38am Temp 65 sleep 7+40 cloudy, windy & later, heavy rain, strong winds with thunder & lighting overnight @ Newell Campground.

Kathy makes one of her many specialties: sourdough pancakes with real maple syrup & bacon & eggs. Later she does one more load of laundry.

I begin downloading more photos to our family website. The speed was not so fast; (4) pics per minute. After (3) unplanned signal losses, the downloading finished @ 11:00pm. Over 970 pictures, but my category was scattered. I’ll need to clean it up & have it all attached to: Texas Touring 2007.

Call G.W. in eastern Tennessee. He was en route to the airport to fly his airplane so we didn’t talk to long.
Call Jack S. in South Carolina. He & his wife just landed & now they are in a rental car; so the mountain terrain they are driving through is not so good for cell signals; we’ll talk later.

Katrina calls while driving back to her condo after visiting a colleague from her master’s program. Unfortunately, I had to forfeit some of my talk time due to a fast moving weather system; with (2) slides retracted, the gray water drained, my timing was off enough that I did get wet.

Dinner: A tender roast with gravy & a mixed salad.

Mary Ann & Ed call from Long Island, N.Y. It was so neat trying to catch up with the yrs lost & our attempt in expressing how those small kids have grown into adulthood so fast & what each of us has been doing in retirement, etc. One hour of phone talk isn’t going to cover it but now @ least, we know each other’s phone # & e-mail address.

High temp=82 Lights out: 11:49pm

Awake: 5:45am Temp 64 sleep 6+15 sunny & windy overnight @ Newell campground.

Kathy does (1) load of laundry & then dashes off to Wal-Mart for some needed groceries.

While she is out & about, I actually take the time to read a few RV magazines from my stash, spend some time on the computer & pay a few bills.

We attend 5:00 pm Mass @ Sacred Heart Church a few miles down the road. Father Gregg delivered a common sense homily which was quite good.

Dinner: pork ribs on bread with gravy; leftovers from the Rotary Club in PA of nearly a month ago (they’d been frozen); & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: “Ghosts of Mississippi” with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods, etc. Straightforward drama about Mississippi assistant D.A. Bobby Delaughter (Baldwin), who reopens the case against the murderer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers (30) yrs after the fact. 1996. Well done recounting of a true story.
High temp=85 Lights out: 11:58 pm


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