Monday, August 31, 2009

Painting prep starts.

Location, Home, CA

Friday I bought several samples of the paint we would like to use on the house. I painted swatches in several places to see the effect in sunlight and shade. They are all shades of tan with an off-white trim. We will only use two colors but paint the front door a contrasting color, maybe red!

The house color will be the first swatch on the left while the trim will be the fourth from the left.

I moved everything away from the house so we can pressure wash it. That is the best way to get all the dirt off. Clyda has been trimming the plants back that are close to the house. There aren’t many but it needs to be done.

Saturday I bought one more sample to try but the tan looks like muddy water so that one is out. The samples come in small jars which cost about $3.00. So much better than buying several quarts to get the same effect.

Saturday afternoon we attended a birthday party for a friend who turned 70. What a great house and yard they have! A nice pool with covered patios for shade and plants everywhere. A DJ supplied music and a local pizza parlor supplied the food. Not pizza but tri-tip and chicken. All very good!

On Sunday after church I started to pressure wash the front of the house. I immediately flushed out a lot of termite droppings around the window. Not good news. It was worse back of the garage as the first starter board had lots of termite damage. I guess after 43 years I can’t complain.

This morning Craig’s friend showed up ready to work so we removed the rain gutter at the back of the garage and pried up the first starter board so we could cut off the nails with a sawzall. Then it was just a matter of pulling the board out while lifting the drip edge and shingles. Simple!

Old starter board out.

New starter board in.

I bought new starter boards, primed them and we had them installed by afternoon. Meanwhile Craig’s friend marked and cut the front fascia board to remove the “Swiss scallop” which came with the house. It was the last remaining added feature on the front of the house. It now looks modern.

Front fascia before.

The front of the house and the north side were presure washed. There is a little termite damage but nothing as extensive as the back of the garage.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A plan for painting the house

Location, Home, CA

I now have a plan for getting the house painted. A friend of Craig’s who lives around the corner is painting the rental he lives in and is quite handy. He came by today and we talked about what needs to be done for the prep work. He has most of the things we need to do the job including the spray gun. Preparation is the key to getting a good paint job. I need to walk the isles of the major Big Box improvement store for some materials we will need. Maybe tomorrow.

We sort of have a color picked out but I will buy some samples to try before I buy the final paint. Just as luck would have it, I got a 10% off coupon for the Big Box store in the mail today. So, I will use it to purchase all the major items including paint.

In the last blog I mentioned converting some Microsoft Works files from new to old format. It turned out not to be a problem as several converters are built in and it was a simple task to convert all the files.

On another tech note, I ordered an enclosure for the laptop hard drive so I can use it as a standalone backup drive while traveling. It requires no power but runs off the USB cable. Simple and elegant!

I also started to disassemble my Dell laptop in search of the possible problem as to why it quit. Searching the internet I found two possible problems listed. One is the internal AC power receptacle may be defective and the other is a possible problem with the BIOS. The BIOS is the heart of a computer and it tells things how to run and in what order. There was a BIOS update several years ago but I was afraid to try it. So, I am taking it apart. More on that in a later blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chores at home.

Location, Home, CA

I finally got to the rest of the RV chores after church this morning. Tanks dumped, carpet vacuumed, floors scrubbed and the last of the items removed to the house.

We had rain yesterday for several hours. Just sprinkles with no accumulation. Most of the time we just continued whatever we were doing outside.

On Friday, I ran all the berry vines through the shredder along with some brush Craig had cut which hung over our fence in back. In all it filled three garbage cans. I will leave it in the cans for a few months to compost then put it on plants as a side dressing or in the garden.

I am trying to get my Netbook computer to look like my desktop. By that I mean to have both with the same software on them. Wellll, it isn’t quit that easy as the desktop is old software and the Netbook is new. I loaded Microsoft Word on the Netbook from my original disk that came with my Dell laptop. That was fine except it loaded a bunch of junk I didn’t want and it also messed up my Microsoft Works software. The easiest thing would be to wipe out Works on the Netbook and install the old Works and Word. However,,,,,I have files created with the new Works on the Netbook and I don’t want to lose them. I need to see if they can be converted somehow. Always something I guess.

I do like the Netbook because of its size and speed. The keyboard gives me problems as the keys are smaller but spell check takes care of a lot of those problems.

I did get all the data entered from our summer trip so here it is:

Length of trip, 90 days
Total miles for the truck, 4441
Total miles for the trailer, 2891
Total fuel in gallons, 345
Total cost for fuel, $897.82
Ave cost per gal of fuel, $2.60
Lowest cost per gal, $2.299
Highest cost per gal, $2.949
Ave MPG*, 12.67
Camping costs, $2429.57
Ave per day for camping, $26.99
Highest paid per day, $38
Lowest paid per day, $11

Compared to the last few years, the average cost a day for camping has gone up quit a bit. Last year we paid about $17 per day.

* Average for all miles driven both with and without the trailer behind.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Like running a hotel.

Location, Home. CA

Getting back to reality after living on the road for 3 months is the pitts. We have been home for 3 days but I find I am still dragging things out of the RV. Progress is being made however. The linens are washed, the bed is made, the refer has been emptied and cleaned, the books have all been moved out, cloths have been removed, and the bathroom and shower have been cleaned. Still remaining is vacuuming the rugs and scrubbing the floor and dumping the tanks. I leave that until last. It is like running a hotel.

Little work has been accomplished around the house however. I need to get on to the big job of getting the house ready to paint the outside. There are a few things I want to do before I start on that. I would like to replace the rear garage door as it is really weather checked. Lots of loose paint needs to be pressure washed off the eaves and the front fascia board needs to be trimmed to get rid of the ginger bread look.

One other job that needs doing is to rebuild the woodshed back of the patio fence. I don’t intend to use it for wood storage but rather as plain storage for RV stuff while we are home.

I did get the boysenberry vines untangled and back up on their wires. It was an awful mess with new vines mixed in with the old ones. I cut the old vines at the ground, pull the wires out and then pull the old vines out to be shredded. After putting the wires back I start to untangle the new vines without breaking them and putting them up on the wires. I cut off all but about 6 or 8 new vines as that is plenty for next year. Later as the vines grow I will cut off the lower leaves and any new growth until the berries are bearing next spring.

The pictures show the heap of vines removed and the tangled mess of new vines before they are put on the wires. After they are all up on the wires they look ready for another year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home once again

Location, Home, CA

We drove home yesterday, Monday, from Tehachapi and arrived about 2 PM. We unloaded some things and Clyda got the laundry started.

Sunday in Tehachapi we went to the Mountain Festival which was held in a park and on several streets. The park had craft and food booths along with entertainment. After looking at the craft booths and having an Indian Taco, the ladies went home while Budd and I cruised the streets filled with old cars. It was quit a show as we guessed the number of cars at 500 with even parking lots filled. We heard that some late arrivals were turned away due to lack of space.

Sunday afternoon Ron and Becky arrived from Merced. They are on their way to Mammoth for a few weeks of camping. Most years we go also but had stopped there on our way North in June so will pass this time.

Monday morning after a nice breakfast by Budd and Brenda, we got Ron and Becky ready to travel and we left also. It was a great weekend with friends and we thank Budd and Brenda for the great hospitality.

I haven't totaled up the miles yet but hope to do so in the next few days. We were gone exactly 90 days.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hot August nights.

Location, Tehachapi, CA

Hot August Nights is over. After 5 days of fun and sun, we have moved on to visit Budd and Brenda in Tehachapi before going home.

Last Sunday we left Dunnigan fairly early to avoid traffic on I-80 and I-680 on our way to the Elks Club at Walnut Creek. I-80 was BAD. The lanes are being resurfaced but only the 2 inside lanes are done. That leaves the 2 slow lanes a bumpy chopped up mess. At times 45 MPH was too fast as the truck and trailer were all over the road. I-680 is not much better as it has lots of dips and broken cement and makes for a bad ride. We were really glad to get off the road.

The Elks club has only one RV site which was occupied when we got there. We were offered a site across the parking lot with no hookups for $10 a night. That’s not a problem as the solar panels will keep the batteries charged and the refer runs on propane. We packed what we needed for 5 days and drove to our friends Cindy and Gary’s house.

The temperature had increased to the upper 90’s so Cindy and Gary were already in the pool when we arrived. Needless to say, we soon joined them . Don and Bev arrived later to complete the group for this year. Budd and Brenda couldn’t make it this year.

We spent the next 4 days lounging around, drinking, and eating with an occasional dip in the pool. At night we would take a dip and end up in the spa before going to bed.

On Monday morning we drove to Oakland and took the ferry across the bay to San Francisco and walked through the old ferry building which now houses shops and eateries. We had lunch at The Slanted Door a Vietnamese restaurant which normally requires reservations well in advance even for lunch. However, due to the slow economy, we were seated immediately. We tried several dishes and the food was good for a lite lunch. We returned to the pool by early afternoon.

Waiting for the ferry.

Snacks, anyone?

On Tuesday we drove to Treasure Island which was created from mud dredged from the bay and checked out the old terminal building which was built for an exposition in 1939. Later it became the headquarters for the Navy and only recently was turned over to the city of San Francisco. We drove around the island which eventually will be host to some high rise buildings, shopping and housing.

San Francisco skyline from Treasure Island.

A little chilly on Treasure Island.

On leaving the island we drove to Golden Gate Park and parked under the De Young Museum where we went to the ninth story observation deck. It is a great place to get spectacular views of San Francisco for free. We had a bite of lunch next door at the Academy of Sciences building before heading back for more pool time.

On Wednesday the ladies shopped and the guys went to Costco and Fry’s. Pool time followed.

After breakfast out on Thursday, Don and Bev left for home. The rest of us laid around the pool most of the day and played games on the Wii.

Friday morning after breakfast, Clyda and I went back to the Elks Club and picked up the RV. We drove south on I-680 to I-580 and eventually to I-5. We traveled south to Hwy 46 which took us to Hwy 99 and Bakersfield and to Hwy 58 to Tehachapi. We arrived about 4 PM at Budd and Brenda’s. Their daughter Kori is with them since she had baby Jessica and their daughter Julie from Mesa, AZ was visiting for the week. We had not seen either girls in about 9 years.

Saturday the ladies and baby Jessica drove Julie to Burbank to catch a flight home. Budd and I checked out the Mountain Festival in Tehachapi which we will visit again tomorrow. Our mutual friends Ron and Becky will arrive tomorrow for one night on their way to Mammoth for a few weeks. We will drive home on Sunday.

Now for all those readers who wondered why there was no blog, I hope this explains what we have been doing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting close.

Location, Dunnigan, CA

We again had an easy drive from Yreka to Corning, CA. The weather also warmed up to the low 80’s. Our stop last night was Woodson Bridge RV Park east of Corning about 6 miles and on the banks of the Sacramento River. Sounds good, right? Well, not quit. It is one of those RV parks that reminds me of places you see in the south. Lots of big trees, old trailers, dilapidated buildings. No TV service but they did have WiFi for a fee. First hour free then $5 for all day. The kicker is that it is Use Net which is so slow as to be unusable. I declined.

A nice view of Mt. Shasta south of Yreka.

To top it off, the oak trees dropped sap all night on the truck and RV which looked like a speckled shiny paint job this morning.

We drove to Dunnigan to day and stopped at Happy Time RV Park which was another of those parks with a lot of old trailers around the edges, a poor driveway, but it did have green grass between sites so I picked one with lots of grass and shade. Temperatures got into the 90’s today but the AC made it ok. Oh, and they have free WiFi. Good signal but slow. I sat in my chair outside until it got dark. Very pleasant.

A comment: I have been dreading the drive down I-5 as the road in the past has been in very poor condition. To my surprise, it has been a pleasant drive with a very good road bed most of which is new blacktop. We just rolled along.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moving south.

Location, Yreka, CA

We had a fairly easy trip to Roseburg, OR even with the heavy traffic. We checked in to Twin Rivers RV Park west of Roseburg. Twin Rivers is a very nice secluded park with lots of trees which actually make it a little dark during the day.

After lunch we decided to check out a few wineries in the area. We headed west intending to make a loop back to the RV park. The two wineries we stopped at were surprisingly large and had been in business for many years. The second one was Melrose Winery which was a converted barn with awesome landscaping. They also have a new large outdoor facility for weddings, and other events. A really nice place.

Melrose Winery large event facility.

Clyda had called an old high school friend who lives in Roseburg with her husband who I had served in the Navy with. (Short story, 4 Navy swabs married 4 girls who went to high school together. Two of us couples have been married for 47 years while the other two had divorced).

Anyway, we got together last night for Mexican food and later for a few hours of catching up on families and acquaintances. This morning Gary came by the RV park with some frozen salmon filets he had caught. It was a great short stop with old friends.

Thanks Gary and Judy.

This morning we drove to Yreka, CA and stopped at Yreka RV Park. It is probably the most expensive RV Park we have stayed at. Because it is fairly new I guess they figure they need to pay for it in a few years. Oh, well, on southward tomorrow.

It is cool and spitting rain with more to come tonight they say. Warmer weather to the south I hope.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meeting friends in Portland.

Location, Wilsonville, OR

A quick update on the past two days. We arrived at Pheasant Ridge RV Park in Wilsonville south of Portland about 11 AM on Monday. After lunch we drove west towards Newburg and the wine country. We did take a round about way which took us over Parrot Mtn with all of its large ranch’s and big, big houses.

Eventually we reached Newburg and stopped at the visitor center to pick up some maps of the wineries in the area. They gave us free tickets for wine tasting at a small winery south of town call The Four Graces. It is named after the four family daughters. Very nice place but very pricey wine.

We continued up the road which turned to gravel and climbed another mountain to reach a winery called Torii Mor. Very nice place decorated in the Japanese style. Continuing up the road we eventually completed the circle and ended up back in Newburg. By now afternoon traffic was building so we found the river road back to Wilsonville. This is a very country winding road with lots of sharp corners. Slow, but a nice drive.

We met our friends Thomas and Debbie for dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s Grill for dinner. We closed the restaurant I think. Thanks Thomas.

On Tuesday, an old friend from our Boy Scout days came to lunch at the RV. We had a nice few hours of conversation. Later in the day Thomas and Debbie came for a camping dinner at the RV.

Today we are off to Roseburg, OR.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No sweat travel day.

Location, Kelso, WA

We got an early start today and drove through Seattle without any problems. The goal was to get through before they closed the I-90 bridge for the Blue Angels which would cause traffic to back up on I-5.

We did get on the road by 7 AM as I had hoped to and the traffic was light all the way to Kelso. We arrived at Brookhollow RV Park before noon which was at least 2 hours earlier than I had planned. So much for my planning. I usually am right on about travel times. Not today.

We stayed in all afternoon as it warmed up enough to put the AC on. After dinner we filled the truck with fuel and took a walk along the dike which surrounds one side of the RV park. It is a great hiking trail and used by people in the RV park as well as locals.

We are in no hurry to leave tomorrow as we only have about 75 miles to go.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Heading South.

Location, Lynden, WA

Another warm day but the temperature has really moderated the last 2 days. I spent part of the day getting the rig ready for the road. All the jacks are up, tripod stowed, tanks dumped, and big items inside stowed.

We plan on a 7ish AM departure tomorrow. I would like to be through Seattle before traffic builds up. This weekend is Seafair, with Hydrofoil races on Lake Washington and the Blue Angels above it . The floating bridge across the lake is closed while the Blue Angels perform. I want to be long gone by the time that happens.

We have been in Washington for more than 7 weeks. Actually the time has gone quickly. We did lots of tourist things which only happens if you spend some time in one area.

Our goal tomorrow night is Kelso, WA