April 2008 Archives

Awake: 6:09am Temp 59 sleep 6+17 partly sunny, rain after 4:00pm overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass; while in church, I inform John B. that we can’t make the KK meeting today.

Leaving @ 8:30am & driving the Suzuki, we grocery shop @ Wal-Mart & Martin’s in Indiana, PA. After this, we visit the Foote family to begin our new project this summer, we call it: “will work for food” program.

Kevin & Melissa would like to have a larger storage shed built in the back yard with a concrete floor after first getting rid of the current rusty metal one.

Remember last yr when K & I loaded & delivered (2) van loads of firewood to the Footes? Well, under the supervision of Kevin & with his & Matthew’s help, Kathy & I, join in moving all that firewood again; this time, about (35) ft to another corner in the back yard in preparation for a start on the new storage shed.

Meanwhile, Melissa who has not felt well all day, suffering with GI problems made an early dinner for all of us: homemade pizza & a mixed salad; both were quite good. Of course, Melissa was unable to eat any of it.

Then Kevin takes (4) seats out of the Toyota mini Van, loads it up with miscellaneous cardboard, small limbs, branches etc, & I ride with him to the recycle center in ………. & tossed the stuff in the appropriate bins.

Rain was predicted for Indiana, PA @ 3:30pm; as K & I were leaving the Foote house @ 3:20, rain began to fall. Sometimes those forecasts can be so accurate.

K & I take showers & then walk to 6:00 pm vigil Mass. After Mass was over, we didn’t hang around & gab with people we know…..dark clouds above were already active so we high-tailed it back to the motorhome catching only a few heavy drops.

Dinner: Leftover Tuna stoup with Triscuits.

Talk with Gary & Rosemary C. He tells me that Rosemary wouldn’t ride with him on his motorcycle anymore. “The only way she’ll ride with me is if I get new tires or buy a new motorcycle so I bought a new motorcycle.”

DVR movie: “That Hamilton Women.” Someone wasn’t paying attention even after the 2nd chance….so: to be continued.

High temp=72 Lights out: 11:15pm

Awake: 5:38am Temp 55 sleep 5+57 clouds, then sun overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the KK members for an hr; hot topic today was 3.5 yr old Lydia. She has so much experience hanging around adults, she thinks & talks like one of us. In fact, Bill M. & I asked her if we could be her boyfriends; “OK” she said, “but I also have another boyfriend.” “That’s ok” we told her. She is sooo smart & cute. Her grandma says she’s “4 going on 12.”

After breakfast, I decide to satisfy my curiosity regarding our septic system. Built in 2002, we’ve been using it part time during the summer months ever since. Sometimes only a month, other times, (3 to 4) months; we spent a winter here during 2005/2006 & that was definitely a different adventure.

Back to the septic system; I remove one of the covers from the (1500) gal tank & the inside looks normal. Then I ask Kathy for help in removing a concrete cover from the (500) gal tank; using a tree limb to lift the heavy lid worked best; looking down into the Dozing Tank, we could only see muddy liquid, about ¼ full. This is a good time to check the system. While Kathy watches the Dozing Tank, I turn on the pump & alarm system. The alarm sounds, the pump runs & the muddy liquid begins to be pumped into our leech bed. Once the float begins to hang down, the alarm cuts off & the sump pump stops. The liquid is now close to the bottom of the Dozing Tank & we are satisfied that it works as advertised.

Next, I want to resolve the “O” ring water leak on my primary filter in Pump House # 2.
I’ve known about this since last summer but couldn’t find the right size “O” ring. Even in Pahrump, I took a chance & purchased (2) “O” rings especially for this fix….too small. Similar to finding another canister, I couldn’t find the correct rubber ring. No numbers or name for clues.

During my last visit to the Krumenacker Hardware Store, a large canister was seen among the others; I asked Herm: “if I bring my filter canister here, could we open that large canister & check to see if the “O” ring will also fit my canister; I did & it did. They let me have the “O” ring; they will order extras & I can settle up later. Wow, another job finished.

During my outdoor time on the water works, Kathy had been vacuuming; she finishes about the same time as I; she requests that the vacuum filter be cleaned…which I do.

While Kathy makes grub, I Skype Ray….he is descending & climbing stairs now.

Alert….alert; the groundhog has been spotted. Al, the eliminator, is called; he reports quickly in the appropriate attire; the groundhog crawls back into his den.

Dinner: leftover filled pepper & a mixed salad.

While I am doing the dishes, Katrina calls & relates that she and her friends had an enjoyable evening on Thur. She was a little disappointed because she let the pork chops cook too long & they were a bit dry, but this was a small flaw in an otherwise delightful evening. She also feels that the “Stephanie” situation may have finally concluded & she is thrilled if this is so.

DVR movie: finish watching: “Indiscreet.” with Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert, etc. Bergman is renowned actress whom American playboy Grant romances & can’t forget. 1958. Yes, it was slow & we tolerated that; if you skip all but the last (30) min, you’d be better off.
High temp=76 Lights out: 11:52pm

Awake: 5:40am Temp 46 sleep 6+11 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the K.K. members for an hr. Hot topic today: none; too many subjects of similar interest to fairly judge.

Kathy doesn’t care to join me for lunch with the Rotary group today (I told her we won’t be cleaning highways) & she missed not only a splendid meal but also a good meeting.
Our lunch consisted of: meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, red bean soup, buns & cake.

After returning to the bus, K & I walk over & briefly visit our neighbors: Chuck & Shirley. We observed that Chuck was limping & in answer to our inquiry he filled us in on his injury. Yesterday, while maneuvering a 325 gal water tank (mostly empty, but still heavy) from his truck it lurched forward, falling off the truck & onto his leg. A visit to the ER, several x-rays, & (3) stitches later he is now healing.

The other day I watched Chuck slowly climbing the outside stairs & using (2) fly swatters, one in each hand. Since they have been so nice to us all these yrs, we decided to give him an electric hand held “Bug Zapper.” I doubt if he’ll be killing (7) in one blow, but I just bet he’ll enjoy seeing them burn in hell. Wouldn’t you know it; Shirley has to get one up on us by giving us a loaf of her homemade bread, which by the way, is top dough.

The Foote gang, minus Kevin, arrive @ 2:20 with big smiles. Although we are now, more or less….baby proofed, the boys still need some casual monitoring; i.e. we were outside enjoying the warm temperature, walking the field & tramping through the forest a little when Andrew insisted he was cold. Kathy said to him: “I don’t think you’re cold. Gramma usually gets cold first & she’s not cold.” But he ignored that comment & slowly but carefully headed toward the motorhome. I suspected no one was paying attention as he climbed up the stairs, took off his shoes (an honorable act indeed) & disappeared from view.

Since I am a little more tuned in to the abundant buttons, switches, & levers, that when pushed, pulled, turned, etc could cause trouble or damage to him or our home on wheels, I quietly snuck over & inside to see what was happening. Here the little rascal had taken the foot stool down from the couch in the bedroom, was trying to upright it so he could climb high enough to push buttons for lots of lights + open & close the pocket door. He watched with interest when his big brother Matthew did it & now, he knows. He was so cute as he looked @ me with those BIG innocent eyes. A few minutes later, he was happily tramping thru the nearby forest with the rest of us & the door was definitely closed on our M. H. Anyway, we enjoy them immensely & look forward to their next visit with other ideas to keep them happy, safe, & occupied.

When the Footes arrived, they brought the package that Matthew called & told me about. I waited until the coast was clear & then, with a huge smile, opened this treasure package to find out it’s exactly what I was hoping for: more Nescafe Excella Coffee from Japan. This shipment should hold me for the rest of the year. A BIG “THANKS" goes to YOU ERIKO. Next time in Seattle, I’ll try & get another one of your speakers working.

More excitement: looking out our living room window to the southwest, I spot a large cat with a rather long tail; my Leica binoculars beg to differ. It is a groundhog; last Thursday we covered this animal thoroughly on Hot Topics. What can I do?….call the nearest big game hunter…..Al, I say to myself.

Within (30) min we hear a nearby rifle shot; outside, I see Al dressed like a hunter should be; his tripod retracted, rifle with large scope @ his side, Sherlock Holmes pipe smoldering & a big grin expression. Al tells me: “I got him right between the bark.” He shot one of my tree stumps swearing that it looked like a groundhog. As we are talking, we both could see the animal weaving thru the trees making his escape; too late for Al to expand the tripod to get a steady shot.

Living in the suburbs of Nicktown can be scary but also fascinating.

Dinner: Tuna noodle stoup & 4-bean salad.

After dinner, Ray & I Skype for a good (20) min with a wonderful signal.

Later, we Skype with Nick & family; the signals were not good but I did manage to get my BIG “THANK YOU, ERIKO” message out.

Start DVD movie: “Indiscreet.” This movie was slow starting; Kathy was much faster stopping. To be continued.

High temp=72 Lights out: 11:41pm

Awake: 6:00am Temp 50 sleep 5+55 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I join our Koffee Klub meeting @ 8:30am; hot topics today: PA Primary, skunks & fishing. @ 9:30, some of our members & we attend the Children’s Mass. Afterward, outside of church, my 1st cousin Florentz & I have a good high tech talk session, so much so that after breakfast in the motorhome, I pay a visit to Florentz & Anna to witness this high tech activity.

He opened their (40) yr old cistern for cleanout & minor renovations; this includes a new “gate valve” & new PVC piping (5) ft deep & a (50) ft run under their backyard to the tree line. Fortunately for Florentz, one of his sons has a heavy machine rental business & naturally, Flossie made good use of it. For his age, (78) my cousin still works plenty hard.

Dinner: leftover turkey dinner from yesterday’s BIG lunch & a mixed salad.

Mid evening; Katrina calls from her condo in Littleton; we listen & talk for 1.5 hrs. A majority of this talk had the words “Stephanie” attached. Katrina is desperately trying to make calls without using that particular word. On a more positive note, Katrina is looking forward to entertaining a couple girl friends tomorrow night & had some cooking questions for Kathy.

DVR movie: “The Man who Knew Too Much” with Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, etc. Film buffs argue which version of this exciting story is better. We vote for this one, with Hitchcock in fine form weaving dry British humor into a story of heart-pounding suspense; young girl is kidnapped to prevent her parents from revealing what they’ve learned about assassination plot. 1934.

High temp=70 Lights out: 11:29pm

Awake: 4:44am Temp 50 sleep 5+17 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, Pa.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub for an hr; hot topic today: small group of us will meet for lunch @ the Presbyterian Church in Heilwood, PA. About a (15) min drive; each election yr, this church group cooks up a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings + dessert & beverage @ a reasonable price. This will be our 2nd time to do this.

Before we leave, Melissa calls & invites us to join her & the young boys for a library visit; I had to tell her we have already committed ourselves, but we’ll see you Thursday, right? “Yes” she says, “the boys are looking forward to another visit.”

Kathy calls AARP to get the breakdown on our supplemental insurance payment. They will send a letter to us specifying our monthly premium so we can forward it along with other necessary papers to the union for some reimbursement.

Next, we drive over to Mary Jean’s home & pay our Real Estate Taxes for 2008. Then we drive to Heilwood & meet up with the group of (6) for the turkey lunch. Portions were so large we both ate about ½ & took the rest home with us. As we were finishing our dinner Bill M. arrived and we spent some time with him while he feasted. En route to our MH, we made a stop @ Gillos, a small grocery store in Alverda, PA where Kathy purchased some locally grown & produced lean bacon & hamburger.

My buddy Ray calls on our landline; we talk for (20-30) min. Ray appears to be making good progress with his knee exercises.

Due to a BIG lunch, our dinner is: simply popcorn.

DVR movie: “Random Harvest” with Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Philip Dorn, Susan Peters, Henry Travers, Reginald Owen, etc. Colman is left an amnesiac after WWI, & saved from life in a mental institution by vivacious music-hall entertainer, Garson. 1942. We both loved this story; so touching, so romantic. It’s definitely a “must see!”

High temp=67 Lights out: 12:05

Awake: 6:11 Temp 53 sleep 6+35 partly sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00 Mass, then join the Koffee Klub afterward; hot topics today: The Pennsylvania Primary tomorrow.

Back @ our motorhome, we take turns using the computer & writing thank you & Passover cards to mail.

We phoned Gary & Rosemary over a week ago without any call back; we figured they must be out of town; as the week zoomed by, we calculated their trip to be longer than we expected. Well, today Gary called & wondered why we didn’t get in touch with them. He read in my blog that we had arrived in Nicktown on Sunday, the 13th. We think their phone recorder messed up as we did call & leave a message on that Sunday. We agree to plan a rendezvous soon.

5:05pm, Skype with Ray for (14) min; Ray is following his doctor’s orders as he should.

Dinner: Stuffed peppers & a mixed salad.

Skype with Nick & family for a good hr. Most of the time we had great video & audio; we love it when this system works well.

No movie tonight….. High temp=66 Lights out: 11:27pm

Awake: 6:53am Temp 50 sleep 6+51 intermittent rain until evening Overnight @ Nicktown.

@ one of our previous Koffee Klub meetings, someone mentioned that the Saint Benedict Church is having an Italian lunch with homemade lasagna, noodles & spaghetti sauce, sausage, green beans, homemade Italian bread, a mixed salad & homemade Italian cream cake + a beverage. We arrived about 12:35pm just in time to sit with Theresa, one of our distinguished Koffee Klub members, her sister-in-law, Louise, who lives in Nicktown, & her sister, Julia, & her husband, Bede, who live in Patton.

What a meal….it was so delicious, I ask Kathy to get their recipe for the lasagna & she found out: it’s top secret & no one dares to tell.

Back @ our motorhome, we watch Pope Benedict XVI saying Mass @ Yankee Stadium which went on for about (4) hrs. Heartwarming it was, to watch the Pope say Mass to some 80,000 Catholics & be very calm & relaxed in the process. I think he has practiced this a few times. It was wonderful to see so many Catholics expressing positive feelings toward the Pope as well.

Skype Ray in Ocean Park early evening; our audio & video were much improved, mostly due to our faster Internet speed.

Late evening, we finish watching DVR movie: “The Valley of Decision” with Greer Garson, Gregory Peck, Donald Crisp, Lionel Barrymore, Preston Foster, Marsha Hunt, etc. Polished adaptation of Marcia Davenport’s novel about labor & Class struggles in 1870 Pittsburgh & a star-crossed relationship between a housemaid (Garson) & the son of a steel mill owner (Peck). 1945. Great story & terrific acting; another one you don’t want to miss.

A few snacks were abundantly available during the show: popcorn, mixed nuts, Triscuits & pretzels.
High today=56 Lights out: 11:36pm

Awake: 6:21am Temp 55 sleep 6+09 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & afterward, talk with Rosemary L. She was in Johnstown last night & spoke with my sister, Corinne, who didn’t know we were back in Nicktown. Oops, we forgot to call Corinne; I purposely didn’t call my brother because of his busy tax time.

The Hot topics today with the Koffee Klub members were bitterness, guns & religion.

Back @ our motorhome, we call Corinne & try to smooth over our forgetfulness. Then, Kathy does (3) loads of laundry while I spend time on the computer & go thru some more of our forwarded mail from Alaska.

Dinner: leftover spaghetti with meat sauce, brazed spinach with ham & yellow pepper, leftover couscous & a mixed salad.

Short Skype session with Ray; I didn’t know that he had visiting company.

Finally finish watching DVR movie: “Sleuth” with Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine. Lighthearted mystery tour de force for (2) stars, adapted by Anthony Shaffer from his hit play about games-playing mystery writer Olivier leading his wife’s lover (Caine) into diabolical trap. But who gets the last laugh on whom? Delicious from start to finish. 1972.
You don’t want to miss this one says Kathy.

Because the evening is still young, we start watching DVR movie: “The Valley of Decision.”

Today’s high=76 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 5:58am Temp 49 sleep 6+52 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & afterward, talk with Rosemary for about (15) min. She lost her husband, Herm, earlier this year. She says it’s been difficult without him but she has so many kids & grandchildren to keep her busy, she’s doing alright. We intend to pay her a visit soon.

@ the Koffee Klub meeting, there were so many “hot topics” I found it difficult to assign just one for the day; usually when the distinguished Mayor of Nicktown honors us with a visit, our world expands ten-fold.

From here, we visit the Krumenacker Hardware again; this time to purchase (2) large water filters for our pump house # 2. Today I intend to access our well water & have it hooked up to our motorhome.

After breakfast, I run the well pump in # 2 pump house for over (3) hrs discharging water onto the ground without filtering; making sure all the sediment is flushed out since it has been dormant since last September. During this time, I finish connecting the new smaller filter to the portable unit; then install the (2) big new filters in pump house # 2; then run water thru all (4) of the new filters for (15) min & make the connection to our motorhome.

Now that the water project is finished, I am ready to get our high speed Internet hooked up & running. Using the Quick Start Guide from Verizon, I install all the filters (electronic not water) on my regular phones, then run the Y-cable from the phone jack to the modem, Ethernet cable from the modem to the computer & connect the power cord to the modem. I hold off turning on the modem until I am asked when running the DVD setup program.

When running the DVD software, all went as advertised until I had to make choices that I felt unnecessary. That’s when I called my computer buddy expert Ray in Ocean Shores, WA. He informed me that I don’t need to choose @ all; “just keep your normal home page” he tells me. “OK, Ray, but how do I back up?” That’s when I make a call to Verizon or so I thought.

My 800 call was answered by a nice young female in Manila, Philippines; she spoke very good English. We spend the next hr & 42 min, phones glued to our ears. She couldn’t get the modem address changed to operate the Ethernet; we went thru many tests of the equipment to no avail. We were both very patient with each other & that was good. Finally, after consulting with the top analysts in the building, (600) employees, she proclaimed that our modem has a problem & she will have a new one shipped by UPS in (2) business days. Meanwhile she did get the wireless portion of the DSL working for now. I thanked her for her calm & patient manner + technical expertise & suggested that she take a coffee break before her next call.

Dinner: leftover Tuna steak with Triscuits.

DVR movie: continue watching “Sleuth.” This time Kathy lasted about (30) min before the 1st blackout. I was nice; I gave her (2) more chances & then closed the theatre for the night.

High temp=79 Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 5:13am Temp 44 sleep 5+35 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub members for an hr; hot topic today: Groundhogs.

I invite Kathy to lunch with me on the occasion of this special occasion: our 37th wedding anniversary. First I visit the bank to prepare for this exciting adventure; then a group of us (10), don orange vests, gloves & take (2) bags each & head down the chosen road from Allport limits to the Cambria Hills Golf Club. Our Rotary group cleans up a (3) mile section, both sides, each yr. Kathy volunteered with us last yr & agreed to help us again this yr; a free lunch was her reward, (not quite the wining & dining her friend, Marge, might have had in mind). It was a good lunch of Italian sausage with sauteed peppers & onions; couscous, cucumber salad; broccoli soup; & strawberry cake. After lunch & a short Rotary meeting, K & I return to our motorhome with a quick stop en route @ Giant Eagle for groceries.

Matthew calls & tells me that I have a package @ their house. I ask him to describe it; he tells me the box is rectangular & not too big. I request that he save it for me then Melissa wishes both of us a Happy Anniversary. Later, my brother Don calls & wishes us a H.A. Katrina, too, calls to wish us a H.A. My sister Corinne sent us an e-mail with H. A. wishes as did our friends, Marge & Tom, & my buddy, Mark. Mark included quite a fancy selection of family photos complete with a musical background. My sister, Mary Jo, sent a H. A. card to our Alaska address; we received it today in our forwarded mail from AK mail. Such planning & thoughtfulness; especially that card Mary Jo sent.

Dinner: popcorn with the movie: “Sleuth.” (15) min into the movie, my champion road cleaner was fast asleep; I was a little tired myself so we closed the theatre for the night.

High temp=74 Lights out: 11:06pm

Awake: 6:52am Temp 33 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I join the Koffee Klub @ 8:30am; the hot topic today was: ants. The rest is classified.

Then we & some of our members attend the 9:30am children’s Mass. Afterward, we talk with my 1st cousin Florentz & his wife Anna.

Back @ our coach, Zack calls while taking the bus to work; he reports that his classes @ U-W are going well; KT’s classes via computer are going well also & the (4) cats & (1) dog are getting along better. We both enjoy hearing from Zack more regularly.

Mid afternoon, I visit the Krumenacker Hardware store in town. Would you believe, I found a filter canister that will work as a replacement for my portable filter unit. All the searching I’ve done elsewhere & it’s found just up the street. I am so excited; I can’t wait to get started on the renovation project immediately. My project is ½ finished when this fancy white van drives up; the Footes have arrived, minus Kevin, & this time, we are ready & they are ready.

They bring kites, flimsy ones that don’t fly well but our breeze is good & that helps. After quite a few “go fly a kite” trials & errors, I introduce the balsa wood airplane to the boys.

A correct launch is tricky & neither Matthew nor Andrew has figured it out yet, but that’s ok. With a good breeze, we had some high flying machines. Matthew wanted to build his own airplane as he watched me put the parts together to build our 1st one & he thought he could do it. Well, I just happened to have another one still in the package with instructions. Being very careful, Matthew separated the wing, vertical tail, horizontal tail & pilot + cockpit from the thin balsa sheet. The main fuselage was one piece with slots to slide the other parts into.

I was coaching Matthew as gently as possible….but, not gently enough as Matthew broke the wing into two pieces trying to slide it into the fuselage; his big eyes focused immediately to see my reaction. He didn't know that I’ve been trained by FDX to remain calm in the aviation environment so I merely told him; "we’ll tape the wings together." You should know: his plane flew better than the one I put together; go figure.

Kathy, Melissa, Andrew & Nathan took turns inside & outside the motorhome, playing & talking. Matthew came in for snacks which Melissa brought; of course, he had to get his insulin shot first. Kathy had made some meringue cookies which are considered a diabetic free food, tho very sweet with Splenda, & Matthew gobbled them down after his snack of apple, peanut butter & honey sandwich. Andrew enjoyed them also.

The Footes leave around 5:00pm. Having some outdoor activities of interest, plus some nice weather, sure keeps those boys smiling; we had fun.

Dinner: ham & asparagus strata & a mixed salad.

After dinner, we watch the Democratic candidates: Hillary & Obama verbally duke it out for over an hr. No movie tonight.
High temp=69 Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 5:12am Temp 29 sleep 6+07 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 6:00am Mass; we count (14) parishioners present. Afterward, we return to the bus, have breakfast & then join the Koffee Klub members for a rousing meeting.

Mid morning, Kathy talks with Melissa; confirming the time she would like to have us join her & the boys for an afternoon @ the Indiana Public Library; “1:00pm” says she.

Meanwhile, I convince Kathy that we should leave early because I would like to continue my search for a replacement water filter canister; she reluctantly agrees. 1st stop: Culligan Water Purifier of Indiana, PA. They have canisters but not one to match mine. 2nd stop: Trader Horn of Indiana; nothing even close. 3rd stop: Sears; close but I’ll keep looking.

Search time is up for now; we arrive @ the Foote home @ 12:55 & begin our walk with Melissa & the boys @ 1:20. There is no hurry; this is a casual thing. Along the way, the boys find stuff along the sidewalk to pick up & examine, look @ bugs, run up & down ramps, watch tree trunks being chewed up by the municipality equipment, etc. We had walked about 1/3 of the distance when Melissa suddenly realized she had forgotten to bring Matthew’s insulin with her; she has Nathan slung on her body & reminds us that the boys know the way to the library so keep on walking while she returns home to get the insulin.

Well, these boys have been trained; they stop @ crosswalks, they carefully watch the traffic signals & they are tuned in to the safety rules when walking the sidewalk. We were impressed. Melissa caught up with us @ about the ¾ mark & we reached our destination @ 1:50pm. Story telling begins around 2:00.

Before the story telling begins, a charming lady much younger than I introduces herself & begins to ask all sorts of questions; turns out she is the Commissioner of Indiana County. We had quite a nice chat until she was summoned to be the reader for the story book. All totaled, there were probably over (25) little people there for story time. The children’s section of the library is bright & informal with many books & some play areas. I can understand now why Melissa loves their library & the boys look forward to their visits.

After 4:00pm, we follow Melissa & the boys outside to have a snack on the Courthouse lawn & seating areas. Now the boys use the outside ramps to the Courthouse to run up & down & use up some energy. Then it’s the casual walk, on a different route back to the Foote mansion where we arrive @ 5:45pm with Kevin outside to greet us. Truly, having this serendipitous experience made it a most pleasant & cheery day for us.

Before we leave Indiana, we check the Tractor Supply Store & Lowes to no avail on canisters that match mine.

Dinner: leftover meatloaf & Triscuits…. & popcorn later.

Finish DVR movie: “Marked Woman” with Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell, Jane Bryan, Eduardo Ciannelli, etc. Bristling gangster drama of D.A. Bogart convincing Bette & (4) girlfriends to testify against their boss, underworld king Ciannelli. 1937. Good entertainment but not for youngsters.

Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 5:40am Temp 28 sleep 6+25 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Kathy fills a cooking pot full of warm water…..to melt the heavy ice from our car windows; then we attend Mass @ 8:00am, today’s special intention is for Herm Lieb, a good family friend, who passed away several months ago. Afterward….we join the famous Koffee Klub members @ the conference table in the community center & do we ever have fun….YES, it’s good to be back home again.

Valerie @ the post office has a bundle of mail for us; good thing we drove the car here.

My 1st almost successful water canister fix in Pahrump lasted maybe (20) seconds; the 2nd almost successful water canister fix lasted (2-3) weeks before it, too, blew its lid. I was so tempted to try a 3rd fix…always the charm you know, but the good times with people & busy Las Vegas adventures sidetracked my intentions & maybe that was for the best. But now that we are back in the area where these canisters came from; I make a call to the secretary of the guys who provided the canisters. She says she’ll check it out.

Mid afternoon, we are in for a surprise. I look out our front window & who is driving up our driveway, but the Foote family! They had an appointment for Matthew at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, finished sooner than they thought they would, & took a chance that we might be in our motorhome for a visit & we are. We welcome them with open arms & big smiles; no runny noses or coughing could be heard. We are happy to see them all, even Kevin.

Matthew is developing a real understanding of his insulin needs & testing. I asked him to explain the entire testing procedure; he took out the glucometer (used to measure blood glucose level), matched the control number on the testing strip to the setting on the glucometer, pricked & then squeezed his finger to get a couple drops of blood (the first wiped on a paper towel, the second applied to the testing strip). Then he read the number on the meter & told me what it was. Melissa has done an exemplary job working with Matthew to get to this high level of understanding. Accepting the 6 shots of insulin each day is a bit tougher for him. Fortunately, God is giving Melissa an extraordinary amount of patience & creativity; she pretends to be the food that Matthew is about to eat & asks him repeatedly while preparing to give him the injection, "Can you eat me now? Can you eat me now?" To which, Matthew replies, "No" until the shot is given and, then with a big smile, replies with a resounding "YES!" and starts eating.

As the Foote boys (not Kevin) roved around & explored our newly renovated motorhome, we soon realized that our baby proofing had not yet been done; we’ll definitely try to remember that in the future. This was a little thing, not to be overstated; we’re delighted to be able to visit with our grandsons, they are much more important than things, but life is made easier for all with some temptations removed.

After the Footes drive off, we watch the nat’l news & then have a dinner of: meat loaf, baked potato, asparagus, & salad.

Late evening; we finish watching the DVR movie of: “Elvis: That’s the Way it was.”
Since the evening is so young & Kathy is so beautiful, we start another DVR movie called: “Marked Woman.” Ahaa, Kathy wasn’t as awake as I thought & she lasted only (15) min; to be continued.
Lights out: 11:05pm

Awake: 5:53am Temp 45 sleep 5+55 partly cloudy overnight near Staunton, VA.

We’ve been keeping a good eye on the next weather system ever since leaving Lenoir City, TN. This morning, while watching the news, they reported that a tornado touched down in the Knoxville area yesterday causing some severe damage. Our destination today forecasts: 80% chance of rain/snow with winds. I say to Kathy: “let’s do it.”

We leave the Walnut Hills RV Park @ 8:25am, continuing on I-81 northeast to State Road-37 to Winchester, VA, then US-522 to I-70 to Breezewood, PA & US-30 to Bedford, PA & I-99 to US-22 to Ebensburg, then old US-219 to State Road-553 to Nicktown, PA. Kathy makes a call from Ebensburg to our near neighbor, Chuck, & confirms that the lane is clear. We encountered some very dark clouds overhead while passing close to Altoona, with only a drizzle, then again when passing thru Ebensburg, also with only a drizzle. We arrive in our parking site in Nicktown @ 2:25pm with some form of light snow & drizzle. Smooth roads again today & (1) stop for info from the PA Visitor’s Center on I-70.

Today’s travel: 246 miles 5+05 time 43.1 gal used 5.7 mpg 48.4 avg speed.

It feels good to be back to my home town again & I do believe Kathy is kinda happy to be here as well, esp. since she’s closer to her grandsons & their family . We waste no time in getting our umbilical cords attached, our slides extended, etc.

Somehow we missed a call from Zack in Seattle. I am suspicious that it’s a tax return question; I return the call & leave a message.

I give Ray in WA a call on our landline; he’s doing ok & exercised twice already.

Dinner: Spaghetti with meat sauce, asparagus & whole grain bread with dipping oil (balsamic vinegar & olive oil).

We call & talk with Melissa & Kevin using both phones on our landline; how nice it is to have two phones.

We call Katrina & leave a message; she returns the call. She continues to be uncomfortable with her ex-roommate, Stef, and how to determine the amount of her security deposit to withhold for damages & cleaning.

Late evening, we watch even more of DVR movie: “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.”

High travel temp=57 Lights out: 11:15pm

Awake: 7:10am Temp 61 sleep 6+36 morning rain overnight @ close to Staunton, VA.

We drive the Suzuki (20) min to downtown Staunton & tour the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & the house he was born in. Interesting fellow; evidently loved by the people, he could have easily been elected for a 3rd term had his health been better.

Next, we take the free trolley ride (twice) around the city; seeing the town from both sides of the trolley. I have not seen so many beautiful Mansions (well kept) since visiting Carthage, Missouri in October, 2002. This city seems to have it all; a very clean & vibrant downtown, free bus transportation within the city, a Shakespearian playhouse, Frontier Culture Museum, Mary Baldwin College, at least (6) churches in the downtown area, etc, etc.

After our city tours, we share a corned beef wrap with fruit for lunch @ the Pampered Palate Café just around the corner from the Visitors Bureau & Trolley stop. Then we visit (2) stores of interest before taking a peek @ the newly renovated (by $21.1 million) Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center.

Next we walk to & attend the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on North Augusta Street. Aside from being a beautiful church inside & out, of early English Gothic style, they share their limestone with greenstone from Chester County, Pennsylvania giving it a very special panache.

En route to the campground, we make a quick stop @ the local Martin’s store for some milk, yogurt, etc.

Dinner: leftover Tuna steak & popcorn later.

We watch “Modern Marvels” about the latest high tech changes now happening in Disneyland….. & a little more of “Elvis: That’s the way it is.”

Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 7:17am Temp 51 sleep 6+03 some clouds overnight @ Salem, VA.

We leave the Dixie Caverns RV Park @ 12:02pm. Then continue northeast on I-81 to US-11 to State Road-655….arriving @ the Walnut Hills Campground @ 1:40pm.

Today’s travel: 90 miles 1+48 time 14.4 gal used 6.3 mpg 50 avg speed.

After check-in & pay our fee, I opt to back-up using Kathy’s eyes…into the BIG RIG parking section in lieu of going some “3000” ft out of the way to their turn circle.

It’s such a nice day here that we decide to walk around the campground starting with the upper tier sites that have a view of the lake, then down the hill & walk around the lake.

This place has some history; built out of what was originally a plantation property, the park property (now reduced to about 45 acres) was part of a larger track of land & was a part of the Beverley grant from the King of England, John Christian, who settled here in 1732. The original Walnut House was built circa 1736 & is being lived in today. One can still see evidence of an outdoor kitchen & the foundations of outbuildings, many housing the slaves of the plantation.

In 1965, the Koogler family purchased the plantation property & developed the land into a campground to serve the many visitors coming into & through the Shenandoah Valley. After 1990, the BIG RIG area was developed with more modern conveniences, like 50 amps, cable TV, water & some with telephone modem hook-ups. We were counting on having a big rig site.

Back @ our coach, Ray calls: his partial knee surgery went ok. Now home in Ocean Park, WA, the doctor orders daily exercises for Ray.

Dinner: Tuna steaks with squash & mixed salad.

After dinner, we watch the O’Reilly Factor, then Int’l News.

Late evening: we call & talk with Eriko & Nick; tomorrow they will fly to Las Vegas where Nick is attending a computer convention for (5) days. Eriko is looking forward to seeing some of Vegas.

DVR movie: “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, Greta Scacchi, etc. Charming, witty adaptation of Jane Austen’s comedy of manners about a headstrong young woman who makes a habit of playing matchmaker for others, but can’t recognize her own true feelings…or those of the men who surround her. Paltrow is delightful & surrounded by an ideal cast. 1996. Maybe this movie should be mandatory viewing for high school students; lessons learned could change our youth for the better.
Don’t miss it!
Lights out: 12:34am

Awake: 7:00am Temp 54 sleep 6+ 58 partly sunny overnight @ Lenoir City, TN.

We leave the Soaring Eagle Campground @ 9:45; following I-40 east to I-81 northeast to Salem, VA. Very smooth roads throughout our time in Tennessee I am pleased to say.

We arrive @ the Dixie Caverns Campground near Salem, VA @ 2:33pm.

Today’s travel: 269 miles 4+41 time 42.8 gal used 6.3 mpg 57.2 avg speed.

After checking in, driving to our site, connecting shore power, & disconnecting the Suzuki, we drive to the town of Salem which was a bit more populated than we expected. Main street was clean, active & historically preserved; had we not used so much time stocking up our wine closet @ Kroger, we could have done a walking tour of these old classic buildings.

Next, we travel about (8) miles to Roanoke, VA & immediately find ourselves in rush hr traffic. Visible on a hill from many points in the city, we slowly make our way to the historic Gainesboro Saint Andrew’s Church, which is one of the state’s leading examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. Disappointingly, all visible doors were locked so we could only admire the outside features & the view of the city from the church steps.

From here, we auto tour the downtown streets of Roanoke & the outbound traffic now makes for a more efficient operation. Eventually we visit the famous Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Built & operated by Norfolk & Western Railroad for over (100) yrs, this place is a Roanoke landmark. We didn’t realize this famous building was donated to Virginia Tech in 1989, then restored & reopened over (10) yrs later with the new conference center. It was then that we also became conscious of being close to the area (Blacksburg) of Virginia Tech where some (32) students were massacred by a mentally ill South Korean senior student from that univ. on April 16, 2007.

Dinner: mixed salad & later, popcorn.

DVR movie: “The Match Maker” with Shirley Booth, Anthony Perkins, Shirley MacLaine, Paul Ford, etc. Endearing Thornton Wilder comedy about middle-aged widower deciding to re-wed….but the matchmaker he consults has plans of her own. Solid performances with fine period detail. 1958. We both enjoyed this story.

Lights out: 1:14am

Awake: 7:04am Temp 54 sleep 5+58 partly sunny overnight @ Lenoir City, TN.

GW calls @ 8:22am; he & Miyako are (20) min away & he asks if the coffee is ready; “come on over” I tell him.
They drove their daughter Manami to school in Knoxville before visiting us; I think we gabbed for (3) hrs or better, trying to catch up on each others activities since visiting in April of last yr.Today they have a few things to do on their ranch but invite us over after 2:00pm; that will work for us as I would like to mail our tax return & letters.

K & I drive to the nearest post office (Kingston) & send off our letters & tax return. Then drive up the mountain to GW & Miyako’s beautiful ranch. We continue our gabbing while Miyako temps us with some Japanese snacks & bottled water. Later, Miyako leaves to pick up Manami @ school; she will then transport her to swimming class in Oakridge, TN.

Meanwhile GW gives us a tour of the newly installed red carpet downstairs & the finished theatre room. He demonstrates the theatre by showing a movie called: “One Six Right: the Romance of Flying.” An independent film about the general aviation industry as seen through a local airport. Within a short period of time, it has achieved a cult-like following & presence among pilots & aviation enthusiasts worldwide who see the film as being able to communicate their passion for aviation both local & national. We didn’t watch the entire film as we were running out of time, but I really enjoyed what I saw & may have to purchase this DVD.

Next, GW gives us a tour in his pickup truck of his newly acquired (62) acres; last October, the bidding was fierce….long story, but GW rode out the turbulence, shot down the developers, scared off other bidders & ended up with the spoils. He wanted to have a large buffer between his farm ranch & other buildings; now they have it & it’s a view to behold.

From here, in our Suzuki, GW guides us over to the town where history was made in the early forties: Oak ridge, TN. We meet up with Miyako & Manami @ the Flat Water Grill & have a delicious dinner with more casual & meaningful conversation. Kathy & I share an excellent filet steak dinner. GW & Miyako asked us to hang around longer but, with all due respect, we are looking forward to seeing & spending some time with the Foote family, especially those grandkids + other people around town. Without a doubt, we’ll be visiting GW, Miyako, & Manami any time we’re in range of their home on the range.

DVR movie: “A walk in the Sun” with Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, Sterling Holloway, George Tyne, Lloyd Bridges, etc. Human aspect of war explored as American battalion attacks Nazi hideout in Italy; good character studies of men in war. 1945. Certainly a different twist from the usual war films; however Kathy didn’t care for it.

Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 9:15am Temp 61 sleep 6+59 partly sunny overnight @ Lenore City, TN.

I walk over to the campground office & sign up for (2) more nights @ the Soaring Eagle.

Then look over our tax return; we both sign on the dotted line, write out (3) checks & plan on mailing these out this afternoon.

Early afternoon, we drive the Suzuki to downtown Knoxville, find our way thru the old town section, across the Tennessee River & back over the bridge again to walk the river walk. Along this (1.5) mile walk, there are historical plaques to read & recordings to listen to telling of the pioneering days when Knoxville first began settlement & how the river played a big role in its development. This was such an interesting stroll that I completely forgot about mailing our tax return & letters. We made one futile attempt, then gave up because all post offices would be closed. En route to the campground, we did some light grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart arriving back to Soaring Eagle @ 6:45pm.

Dinner: Kosher all beef franks with broccoli, baked beans & whole grain bread.

Mid evening Skype with Nick & family; about (35) min…we muted the audio, used our cell phone & watched the video action.

DVR movie: “The Day They Robbed the Bank of England” with Aldo Ray, Elizabeth Sellars, Peter O’Toole, Hugh Griffith, Kieron Moore, etc. IRA members plan to rob the Bank of England in this meticulous caper film. 1960. It wasn’t easy; these guys worked hard for their treasure….with a surprise ending. Check it out!

Lights out: 1:06am

Awake: 7:23am Temp 51 sleep 6+51 sunny overnight @ East Memphis, TN.

No early start for us today; due to the area deluge of last week, this campsite is like a swamp & filling up our water tank requires stringing our extra (50) ft hose across the swamp to the nearest faucet. While Kathy walks over to the office of the Agra center to pay our camping fee, I auto fill our pure water tank with some 160 gal of very good tasting Memphis water.

Ron D. returns my call from yesterday; he was in Anchorage for a week giving simulator training to the guys up there; we talk for some (20) min & then Ron arrives @ his current destination: the Memphis simulator.

We leave East Memphis @ 11:12am & continue traveling I-40 east; 1st stop: Flying “J” in Fairview, TN to top off our fuel tank: 162.6 gal @ $3.82 per gal. Then continue on I-40 & arrive @ the Soaring Eagle RV Park near Lenoir City, TN @ 5:40pm. Kathy called the Soaring Eagle Park when we were about (130) miles out…..good thing too because they had only (2) sites vacant for the night; when we checked in, the other lucky guy arrived right behind us.

Today’s travel: 350 miles 6+03 time 54.1 gal used 6.5 mpg 58 avg speed

I call G.W. & leave a message; he returns the call with a plan for Wednesday.

Dinner: leftover pork chops & wild rice.

DVR movie: “Anthony Adverse” Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Woods, Anita Louise, Edmund Gwenn, etc. Blockbuster filmization of young man gaining maturity through adventures in various parts of early 19th-century Europe, Cuba & Africa. 1936. Interesting story, I could watch it again.
Lights out: 2:16am

Awake: 5:53am Temp 45 sleep 6:03 partly sunny overnight @ East Memphis, TN.

We meet Bob & Libby N. @ the Owen Brenner Restaurant on Popular Ave. Since we’ve seen them last, they have sold their home in Germantown, became grandparents of twin girls, bought a new condo in midtown, a condo in Knoxville & Bob has come out of retirement & started a business with his brother-in-law. Their granddaughters, Sophie & Eliza, were preemies with many physical problems requiring hospitalizations & surgeries, thus the purchase of a condo in Knoxville so Bob & Libby could be near to help. They both look good & haven’t aged a bit since we last saw them (2) yrs ago. This all “you can eat buffet” brunch was oh-so good & difficult to avoid overeating.

From here, we follow B & L over to their new condo; Bob was able to choose early, they selected the middle floor with a private elevator + a full parking garage below. They seem very comfortable in their new condo.

Now it’s our turn; we invite them for a tour of our new home-on-wheels. I give the outside tour & Kathy, the inside. After much gabbing we say our goodbyes around 3:30 & head for Mississippi to find Dale & Donna M.

Dale & Donna live in a retired gated community with the golf course & club house being the most active of activities. When we arrive, D & D were enjoying a visit with their nearby neighbor Harvey, gabbing away on the driveway; we joined that gab session which lasted another (2) hrs…meeting Harvey’s wife mid way. Then D & D & we swingers (we chose the swing), spent another hr on their porch trying to figure out where the yrs have gone. Around 8:30pm, D & D give us a tour of their new home. They have thought out & put in several pluses like a deep, wide kitchen sink; a walk-in pantry with lights that turn on & off with the opening & closing of the door; etc.
Dale told us they fell in love with a similar floor plan of a house in Mississippi; when asking how much for the plans, the owners told them $4,000.00 to which Dale said: goodbye. A friend of a friend mentioned that he knew someone who could duplicate those house plans & the rest is history.
Donna’s mother passed away last year & Donna is still sorting through many of her mother’s things which have found their way to Donna’s home

Sometime after 9:30, someone hints that we should have some dinner; Donna is not going to cook @ this hr so Dale makes a few phone calls, finds the Panda Buffet still open in Holly Springs, MS; only a few miles up the road. We drive our separate cars & continue our gab time while devouring the delicious Chinese buffet. It was really nice catching up with Bob & Libby + Dale & Donna today. Maybe next time, we’ll slow down enough to spend more quality time with these good people. So many people to see, so little time, etc.

Back to our motorhome @ 11:50pm; no movie tonight; we are both worn out.

Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 7:07am Temp 45 sleep 6+31 overnight @ East Memphis, Tennessee.

Kathy’s good friend Jodi F. calls @ 7:07am….she’s raring & ready to see our home on wheels; Kathy invites her over within the hr. Jodi is given the $2.00 tour, more special than the average Joe or Josephine receives; then Jodi transports us to the nearest Perkins Restaurant for breakfast & more catch up time.

Back @ our coach, Jodi & Kathy choose to do things in the city & I support that opportunity; this is a rare get-together for them.

Meanwhile, my aviation buddy Jack S. calls; we gab for close to an hr. He has gone back to line flying vs. being a line check airman & simulator check airman. @ age (58), he hasn’t decided yet to extend his flying career beyond the (60) yr mark.

Our ole neighbor Bob N. calls; I agree to a rendezvous for brunch tomorrow @ 11:00am; I’m sure Kathy will go along with this.

And finally, Donna M. calls; the missing family with whom we spent many times together during the (80’s) have identified themselves They have moved to Mississippi, sold their old home & had a new home built. I ask her if a visit with them tomorrow afternoon would be suitable, “by all means” she replies.

Jodi drops Kathy off at the motorhome around 3:10. They had an enjoyable afternoon garage sailing & hitting their favorite thrift store, “Goldsmiths on Summer,” where Kathy learned the fine art of thrift shopping from Jodi many years ago. Then they visit Adrienne, Jodi’s daughter, & her husband, Kevin, in their 1920 newlywed home. They are doing a fine job of renovating the old place. Adrienne had intestinal bi-pass surgery about 3 weeks ago for Crone’s disease; she looks good & reports she feels even better. Kathy & Jodi really relish whatever time they can spend together.

I bring her up-to-date on the recent phone calls & tomorrow’s plans.

Then call & leave a message for Ron. D.

K & I drive (3) miles & attend the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Saint Francis of Assisi; a well attended & comfortable experience. Afterward, we drive another mile north & do some light shopping @ Costco before they close for the weekend.

On the occasion of this occasion, I invite Kathy to have dinner @ Corky’s BBQ with me tonight, just a few miles from our motorhome; the occasion is “she doesn’t want to cook & I don’t want to do dishes!” We share an order of dry ribs & each have a beer.

Back in our bus, we Skype with Nick; signals are not good so we use cell phones & watch each other’s video. No movie tonight; Kathy is worn out.

Today’s high=62 Lights out: 11:50pm

Awake: 5:33am Temp 46 sleep 5+54 sunny overnight @ Newell campsite, Miami, OK.

We say our goodbyes to Sam, Darrel & Jackie & leave the Newell Service campground @ 8:05am. US-69 to US-400 to I-44 to Joplin, MO. Then I-71 to Bentonville, AR to I-540 & I-40 to Fort Smith, AR, then cross the mighty Tennessee River, quite swollen from heavy rains & lots of flooding in nearby fields along the way. We continue thru Memphis to the Agra center RV Park in East Memphis arriving @ 4:30pm. En route, we encounter some light drizzle but, luckily, most of the rain had moved further east. Our parking site was gravel surrounded by grassy, muddy swimming holes.

(30) amps is the max for this campground; using our Newell adapter & another borrowed adapter from our kind & considerate neighbor, Don, I was able to have (30) amps on both electrical legs which supplied an adequate amount of electricity for our short stay in East Memphis.

Today’s travel: 451 miles 8+47 hrs 72.1 gal used 6.3 mpg 51.3 avg speed. We made one stop for outside check & comfort.

We continue to try to locate Dale & Donna, our good friends from the ole days when living in Memphis; last yr around this same time, we looked up phone #’s & left messages with some of their kids to no avail. June, 2007, by coincidence, Dale had found my Blog & e-mailed; I responded but then, no answer….. then the address was no good; we don’t give up easy. Downloading the Memphis white pages, we again call and leave messages on 2 of their children’s phones; hopefully one of the numbers will be good.

I call & leave a message for my aviation buddy Jack S.

Kathy calls & talks with her good friend, Jodi, living (15-20) min away; we & Jodi are too tired for a get together tonight. It’s decided to phone in the morning and make plans for Saturday.

Finish watching DVR movie “Sweet Smell of Success” with Burt Lancaster,Tony Curtis, Marty Milner, Sam Levene, etc. A story about ruthless, all-powerful columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Lancaster) & a smarmy press agent (Curtis) who’ll do anything to curry his favor. 1957. We had to watch & listen to this flick closely; it was bad but also very, very good.

High travel temp=59 Lights our: 12:36am

Awake: 5:32am Temp inside 69 sleep 5+16 overnight in Newell Service Bay # 9

Cheryl & Kathy (cleaners) visit to check how close we are to being finished; “not yet” I tell them; “Ron is removing, replacing & testing a few auto switches related to the work he & Whitey did yesterday.”

Mid afternoon, all glitches & updates are finished; Robert takes us on a short drive for a check on steering wheel adjustment & to check for rattles, then parks our coach outside in the premier Newell parking site. Then the coach cleaners, C & K, do their wonderful magic making the inside of our motorhome look new again.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry before & after dinner.

Kathy calls Melissa to wish the Footes a bon voyage, thinking they were leaving tomorrow for their DC trip; she was a day early as they’re not leaving until Sat. So we laughed & shared some talk time, reminding each other we were looking forward to our PA rendezvous and, of course, we wished them safe & happy travels.

Dinner: chicken curry, asparagus in Boursin sauce, (5) grain rice, & grapes.

DVR…We watch ½ of the movie: “Sweet Smell of Success.”

Lights out: 11:39pm

Awake: 5:36am inside temp 69 sleep 5+34 overnight in Newell Service Bay # 9.

Ron, the highly respected & very busy entertainment & electrical specialist, rings our bell @ 6:35am. He will be shutting our electricity off ASAP for (4) hrs or more to update our (3) Outback inverters. He & Whitey will be working side by side.

K & I grab a warm Kathy muffin + our coffee & head for the customer lounge where we hang out for hrs. Darrel & Jackie join us off & on throughout the morning. Later @ 10:30, Kathy goes grocery & clothes shopping in town; @ 11:30, I self tour the factory during the workers lunch break when the production line is idle, catching up on a lot of the latest gadgets & different floor plans.

Ron & Whitey finish their update project on our inverters @ 2:00pm.

Ray & I have a great Skype session mid afternoon & Kathy returns from her shopping @ 4:45pm.

Dinner: leftover stuffed pepper, squash & leftover pork.

DVR movie: “Duel in the Sun” with Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, etc. Sprawling, brawling Western has land baron Lionel Barrymore’s sons, unbroken, short-fused Gregory Peck & solid-citizen Joseph Cotton vying for the hand of hot-blooded, half-breed Jennifer Jones. Peck & Jones take a lusty love-hate relationship to the max in the steaming desert; a near epic with great musical score. 1946. You Western fans will love this story.
Lights out: 12:16am

Awake: 4:31am Temp inside Service building: 68 sleep 5+53 overnight inside service bay # 9.

Randy, the notorious tile man, finishes the one tile replacement having a flaw that Kathy couldn’t live with …. Unnoticeable to me, but, tho small, glaring to her!

John finishes covering the # 4 slide access slot that allows one to check on the heavy slide bearings in the event of a problem.

An hr later, Randy, the notorious tile man, who has many other talents, brings in a round mirror that he constructed & mounts it above our large bedroom light.

Zack calls from Seattle as he waits for city bus transportation; he has started a good idea. Since we have only one cell phone, in lieu of talking with one of us for (30-40) min each call & then repeating that same or similar message to the other person, he’d rather call & talk (15-30) min with just one of us @ a time; then the next time he calls, he would talk with the other person. We can easily share the news of what transpired ….We like this idea. This time, the call was for me & during my talk time, Merle from Tulsa paid a short visit so I put Zack on hold for about a min.

Kathy calls Katrina, not available. Later, Katrina returns the call: this is day two of her solo sojourn during spring break & so far so good. She’s hiked, met & talked with many people, taken in the sights with the help of Lady Garmin, spent some time on Bible study, & just generally enjoyed some time for herself by herself. She has the urge to pick up hitchhikers, after all she has 3 empty seats, but Kathy strongly discouraged this practice.

Ray calls on Skype; audio & video were both good. I am using the Wi-Fi from the Service facility which is quite a bit faster than our air card. Ray will be going into the hospital for knee surgery on the 7th; depending on how serious the doctor finds his condition, he’ll either do a partial or full knee replacement.

I call AARP for a status check on being accepted as supplemental health insurance; I was told my request has been fulfilled.

Dinner: Quick braised spinach, albacore tuna steak & leftover couscous with asparagus.

Evening Skype with Nick, Eriko & Jerry; strong Wi-Fi makes a nice difference.

DVR movie; “The Citadel” with Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson, Rex Harrison, Emlyn Williams, etc. Superb adaptation of A.J. Cronin novel of impoverished doctor Donat eschewing ideals for wealthy life of treating rich hypochondriacs, neglecting wife & friends in the process; tragedy opens his eyes. 1938. Very good story; something we should all be highly aware of.
Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 6:25am Temp 65 sleep 6+23 thunderstorms, rain…heavy @ times overnight @ the Newell campground, Miami, Oklahoma.

Dave knocks on our door around 6:30am; I was dressing when the light from his flashlight shown thru. “About (15) min I tell him.” Later Kyle comes aboard & drives our coach over to the dump station, then into Service Bay # 9. The Techs were standing in line with notes on their papers of what glitch to fix. We know most of their names &, of course, they know ours.

Salesman Brian visits us late morning; we discuss the competitive edge that Newell now has over the Prevost converted bus; Brian sold Prevost buses for over (15) yrs before switching to Newell around 2004. He is very good @ his job.

Outside: strong winds, heavy rain with thunder, etc. It’s good to be inside @ this time.

Mid afternoon, a break in the weather allows me to walk over to the office & pickup our forwarded mail from Alaska.

Our glitch list is reasonable so we casually expect to be finished by Thursday. Today, the techs fixed some (5) out of (18) glitches…with nothing real serious.

Dinner: Pork chops, wild rice, & salad with apple sauce.

DVR movie: “The Spiral Staircase” with Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith, Rhonda Fleming, etc. Superb Hitchcock-thriller with unforgettable performance by McGuire as mute servant in eerie household which may be harboring a killer.1946. If you enjoy good mysteries, this is close to the top.

Lights out: 10:38pm

Awake: 7:19am Temp 54 sleep 6+22 overnight rain & overnight @ Newell campsite.

After breakfast, Kathy phoned her friend, Jodi, in Memphis. They discussed beaches in New Jersey that might be good places for house rentals in July & Kathy gave her a heads up that we might stop in Memphis when we finish at Newell.

Early afternoon, Darrel & Jackie pull into the Newell campground area; within (30) min, Darrel rings our doorbell. We met this young couple last September when our coach was getting a good makeover @ Newell. Darrel tells me he has a dead battery on his Rubicon Jeep. I waste no time in moving our Suzuki into position to jump his battery; then I let him use our battery charger for however long it takes for a good charge.

While traveling thru Oklahoma on Friday, we encountered several areas of road construction & one in particular, narrowed us to a single lane. Near the end of that construction was a tanker truck & another unit parked off to the side with a water hose spraying water on the road. I slowed down to about (30) mph, feeling comfortable that we wouldn’t get our coach splattered with dirty water. Well, when we arrived @ the Newell campground & stepped outside, nearly all the passenger side outer wall of our home was loaded with short white streaks….. looked like we’d had a milk shower; go figure!

While Kathy uses the cell phone on our free day to catch up with family & friends, using Windex & paper towels, I clean the spilled milk from the side of our home….. it took about (1.5) hrs but I didn’t cry.

Dinner: Couscous, & we can’t remember what else, but of course, it was good.

DVR movie: “Humoresque” with Joan Crawford, John Garfield, Oscar Levant, J. Carrol Naish, Oscar Levant, etc. Ambitious violinist Garfield gets involved with wealthy, unstable patroness Crawford. No cardboard soap opera here; superb performances, handsome production, hilarious support from Levant & a knockout finale. 1946. This story was tops; add it to your list.

High temp=64 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 5:33am Temp 48 sleep 6+26 light rain overnight @ Newell Service, OK.
Early morning, Ray & I Skype, but not for long as my signals are poor.

Later, Nick & I try Skype; after (2) shutdowns we revert to the cell phone.

Late morning, K & I visit the service building out of curiosity; then the outside pre-owned motorhomes for sale. During our outside self tour, Katrina calls, very excited to tell us she has purchased a Garmin GPS. However, she purchased the cheaper version without voice & we suggest that she would be better served by the talking model. She heeds our advice, ends the phone call quickly, & goes back to exchange units; ten min. later, it’s a done deal. Now she has time to talk while waiting for the GPS to be installed. She plans to start her Spring break (5) day solo auto adventure to Durango, Ouray, & other points of interest on Mon & Lady Garmin should be a big help.

Back in our motorhome, Melissa calls twice; keeping up with the happenings in the Foote household & discussion about Matthew & his diabetes are often interrupted by some of the kid happenings in the Foote household to the point of ending the calls.

K & I attend 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Sacred Heart Catholic Church; afterward, a quick stop @ the local Wal-Mart for bananas, onions, milk, etc.

Dinner: stuffed peppers & (4) bean salad.

Melissa calls for the 3rd time; due to Nathan’s waking up after a short talk with Kathy, the opportunity for me to talk with Kevin about his Ford van & their Burnham furnace Boiler is available so we take it.

Late evening, Ray & I try Skype again to no avail; then we revert to our cell phone.

DVR movie: “All of Me” with Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant, Madolyn Smith, etc. The soul & spirit of a crotchety millionairess (Tomlin) enter the body of a young, idealistic lawyer (Martin) with often hilarious results. 1948. Amusing & gets better as it goes along. You can’t help but laugh a lot.

High temp=54 Lights out: 12:57am

Awake: 6:18am Temp 38 sleep 6+30 overcast overnight @ Amarillo, Texas.

Smooth roads continue on I-40 east but we have a cornering headwind today. We make a fuel stop @ Flying “J” in Sayre, Oklahoma: 159.8 gal @ $3.82 per gallon. Ouch again!

After topping our tank, we continue on I-40 to Henrietta, transition to US-route 75 north to Tulsa, then toll road I-44 to Miami, Oklahoma ….arriving @ the Newell campground @ 6:25pm. Our fuel stop was our only stop.

Today’s travel: 486 miles 8+48 time 72.1 gal used 5.8 mpg 55.3 avg speed.

Dinner: clam chowder, oyster crackers & a spinach salad.

DVD movie: “I married a Witch” with Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward, Cecil Kellaway, etc. Watching Veronica & Fredric perform together is a treat in this very pre-Bewitched farce. Look for Susan Hayward in a small role. 1942. Good entertainment as well as surprising mysterious video effects for the time period.

High travel temp=64 Lights out: 11:07pm

Awake: 6:01am Temp 49 sleep 5+57 sunny overnight @ Edgewood, NM.

After our more normal breakfast, we leave the Wal-Mart lot @ 9:50am & continue on I-40 east. Today we are blessed with a good tailwind from the west so my steering wheel spends a lot of time in the idle mode. We arrive @ the Amarillo Ranch RV Park @ 2:35pm.

Today’s travel: 262 miles 4+26 time 33.4 gal used 7.9 mpg 58.9 avg speed

Without extending the slides, we hop in the Suzuki & explore some of the south section of Amarillo; stopping @ Albertson’s, the Party Place & United Grocery store; all the while searching for some good Texas wine that we found last yr. The problem for us, we buy a couple of bottles to taste, then, if it’s not so good, no problem; but if it is good, we’ll be already in another state like Oklahoma & the wine we had last yr could only be purchased in Texas.

Back @ the motorhome, Kathy gives her white wine a taste & she likes it; I save my red for tasting @ another time.

Dinner: Lamb chops with mint jelly, (4) bean salad, rice pilaf, broccoli & cauliflower.

DVR movie: “Crack-Up” with Pat O’Brien, Claire Trevor, Herbert Marshall, Wallace Ford, etc. Art critic O’Brien remembers surviving a train wreck that never took place; it’s just the 1st incident in a growing web of intrigue & murder. Tense, fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller with many imaginative touches. 1946. Pay attention; the average couch potato will not digest this one.

High travel temp=74 Lights out: 11:48pm

Awake: 4:51am Temp 61 sleep 6+44 sunny overnight @ Boulder City, NV.

After we each eat a “Kathy” muffin, we leave the Canyon Trail RV Park @ 6:46am; traveling south again on US-93; 1st stop, security check @ Hoover Dam. Light traffic to the Dam & a thorough search of our motorhome by (2) officers; one inside & one outside, had us “on the road again” within (30) min. Smooth roads on US-93 & very scenic; I-40 thru Arizona, roads were often times smooth, often times a little rough. I-40 thru New Mexico was most impressive with long stretches of new asphalt. We pulled into a picnic rest area for an outside check & inside comfort stop. Just then, Zack calls from Seattle & we share about (45) min of talk time catching up on his car maintenance, roommates & girlfriend situation + his work.

From one of our (7) campground books, Kathy selects the Hidden RV Resort campground just east of Albuquerque; @ 5:30pm we arrive to find out the campground host had gone home (her workday over) & she left a note with campsite directions & our site number. However, when driving to that site, it was already taken by a big 5th wheel & the rest of the campsites were either too small, far from being level or couldn’t comfortably accommodate our rig. While Kathy leaves a note explaining the situation, a nice young man from a nearby campsite walks over to discuss just what transpired; he tipped me off to a nearby brand-new Wal-Mart where we could easily dry-camp for the night. Maneuvering was very tight leaving this…..so called Hidden Valley Resort but luckily, our steering tag axle proved its worth again.

Opened in early March, 2008, this new Wal-Mart would not have been listed in our Wal-Mart Locator Book so we were very thankful to have that info from the young gentleman camping @ the resort.

Today’s travel: 577 miles 10+25 time 92 gal used 6.3 mpg 55.3 avg speed.

Dinner: Tuna salad with Triscuits, cottage cheese & a spinach salad.

DVR movie: “Three Days of the Condor” with Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman, etc. Redford, a reader for U.S. intelligence office, learns more than he should & suddenly finds himself a hunted man. Dunaway is excellent as innocent woman who shelters him. Good suspense yarn. 1975. Yes, thrilling & suspenseful but maybe just a little too much bloodshed & killing for our sensitive minds.

Lights out: 11:56pm

Awake: 6:22am Temp 57 sleep 6+19 sunny overnight @ Boulder City, NV.

About a month ago, Jim, our campground host in Pahrump, told us about a silver & gold mine tour available in the small town of Nelson, NV. Yesterday, Hoover Dam; today a mine tour.

Now that we’re in Boulder City, it’s only about a (20) mile drive over to Nelson from our campground; 1st a short distance north on US-93, then south on US-95 & then State road-165 to Nelson, population (45). We had no phone number to call for the mine tour times but we left mid morning anyway & arrived in Nelson @ 10:30am.

Small town it is, but such a different & beautiful….mountainous hide-away area they have. (2.5) miles beyond Nelson lays the Eldorado Canyon Mine. As I mentioned, we didn’t know the tour schedule so when we arrived, a school bus full of young children were scheduled for the 1st tour starting @ 11:00am & they divided that group into (2) tours.
K & I were scheduled with the 1:00pm adult group tour.

In the meantime, there were plenty of interesting thing to see & explore. Old buildings with artifacts going back to circa 1800; tools, mining equipment, utensils, etc; we also drove (5) miles further east, parked our Suzuki, walked ¼ of a mile thru the canyon & dipped our hands in the mighty Colorado river.

Our mine tour consisted of (8) people, including our guide Bobbie; she & her husband Tony bought (54) acres in this area (14) yrs ago. They knew about some of the mine tunnels but just last yr, discovered a lower entrance tunnel with many wings diverting to other open areas that expose a lot more of the history of this (80 to 100) yr old active mine. Using a flashlight, we could easily see the gold/silver veins where the miners tracked the heavy veins of silver & gold ore which they extracted. It was phenomenal!

En route to our motorhome, we auto tour the downtown area of Boulder City….nice town. Then we make a quick stop @ Albertson’s & back to our campsite.

Dinner: leftover Italian sausage from PA, asparagus & a mixed salad.

DVR movie: “No Sad Songs for Me” with Margaret Sullavan, Wendell Corey, Viveca Lindfors, Natalie Wood, etc. Moving account of dying mother Sullavan preparing her family to go on without her; ironically, Sullavan’s last film. 1950. I found this story to be very touching & emotional; it would be interesting to learn if others feel the same.

Lights out: 11:07pm

Awake: 6:18am Temp 49 sleep 5+31 sunny overnight @ Las Vegas, NV.

After breakfast, we leave the Outdoor Resorts of America Las Vegas @ 10:35am. Drive east on State road-160 to I-15 to I-215 to US-93 & arrive @ the Canyon Trail RV Park in Boulder City, NV @ 11:43am.

Today’s travel: 1+06 time 26 miles 5.3 gal used 5.0 mpg 23.7 avg speed.

After we pay our camping fee, park & plug in the electrical shore cable; without opening the slides, we get back onto US-93 with our Suzuki & continue heading south, but not so fast. Hoover Dam is a mere 6.5 miles from our campsite but it takes us (50) min to get there. Construction & security are the culprits.

After that experience in patience, we enter the Hoover Dam welcome center & take our place in another line that moves slowly toward the big screen theater; some old film clips during early stages of building the dam & some later clips that up-date what effect the harnessing of the mighty Colorado river & Lake Mead has had on downstream farming & electrical power provided.

Then our large group squeeze into an elevator, descend down some (53) flights deep into the core of the dam, where we witness hearing & seeing the huge water pipe that carries some of the water from Lake Mead into the turbines that spin (17) generators, providing many Megawatts of power for California, Nevada & Arizona. The whole operation looks quite good for being (73) yrs of age. Our tour guide was the best & the tour lasted about (1.5) hrs. Back @ the welcome center, we walk through a museum area that describes many more technical functions in depth, plus pictures & artifacts from the (1930’s) dam building. Then K & I walk the breast of the dam, taking pictures along the way. The latest big happening @ the Hoover Dam is a high by-pass road system under construction; due to open in 2010. This will surely speed up traffic going south on U.S. 93 from Las Vegas to I-40.

We were having a snack of Pretzels @ the Hoover Dam parking facility when John B. called from Nicktown; he lost most of his honey bees, (5) hives, yesterday & feels pretty bad about it. He is not sure why but intends to find out more about their mysterious death. With less traffic now, we return to our motorhome in (20) min.

Dinner: tuna steak, broccoli with Kathy’s homemade mayo, brown rice & a mixed salad.

DVR movie: “Dark Victory” with Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, etc. Definitive Davis performance as spoiled socialite whose life is ending; Brent as brain surgeon husband, Fitzgerald as devoted friend register in good soaper. 1939. Not too shabby; quite entertaining actually.

Lights out: 11:57pm


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