Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weather and RO water system.

Location, Home, CA

The weather certainly has been curious this week. We had 0.8 inch of rain earlier in the week which I don’t think was forecast, at least not in the amount we received. Since then we have had intermittent sprinkles most days. As soon as you think it is safe to go out, it sprinkles. It is supposed to do this again next week.

I have worked on the reverse osmosis water system which supplies filtered water to 2 sinks via a third faucet in each and the icemaker. All the filters needed replacing so I ordered them on-line. I also wanted to separate the ice maker from the faucets as each has its own secondary filter. There in was the problem. I couldn’t get water from the faucets after making some changes so rightly surmised that something wasn’t connected right. Further inspection this morning validated that assumption.

Part of the problem involved the placement of filters and connections to the water lines. All of this was behind a rather full water softener. I did eventually move the softener, again, and make the necessary correct connections. Then it was a matter of finding all the leaks which only occurred one at a time of course. Frustrating!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

More electronic education.

Location, Home, CA

I am making progress with the new phone toy. I still have a few things to check out but so far, it looks good. I did get the email to work so now I can look at emails as they come in both on the main website and on my Gmail account. Pretty neat!

I need to spend some time with the camera as I want to use it as our backup camera for our cruise. I can’t use the email feature while on the ship as they have their own service which is a pay service (figures). I will use the alarm clock feature and the camera during the cruise and the phone before and after the cruise.

I bought a “skin” to cover the face so it doesn’t get scratched but still allows me to use the touch face. Well, the darn thing was so complicated to put on that I took it to Best Buy and had them install it. Cost me $7.95 but it is guaranteed for life.

I mentioned in a previous entry about planting squash and gourd seeds in pots before putting them in the ground. Well, the squash plants are up but no sign of the gourds yet. Now I need to figure out where to plant them. They really need full sun and with our large tree in the back yard, we don’t get full sun there. Clyda suggested the flower bed on the patio which right now is full of rocks and gee-gaws. Clyda’s stuff. It would be a good place.

I have been scanning more 35 mm slides. My goal is to do that for an hour a day. I also started work on a long forgotten basket. An hour a day, that’s all it takes. Yeah, right!!! I think all of today’s work will need to be undone as something doesn’t look right with the weaving. Sigh!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The wonder of electronics.

Location, Home, CA

It is amazing how electronic gadgets have taken over our lives and how we come to depend on them. First, it was the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) which didn’t do much more than keep track of phone numbers and addresses (contacts), then cell phones, and now smart phones which combines all of the above and then some.

We were due for new cell phones as ours are more than 2 years old, so after some research, I decided I needed a smart phone to combine a phone, contact list, and internet while on the road. I chose the Motorola Droid from Verizon. It is an amazing piece of technology I must admit, but boy, does it have a steep learning curve. Partially, because there is no manual and even the Motorola web site has only minimum help.

So… I have been trying things for the last several days but still have a ways to go. A few good points are the Google Android interface which forced me to get all my contacts on Google and all my dates, etc, on Google Calendar. For once, everything is in one place. I can now do without my trusty Palm organizers which were requiring more and more battery charging time as they age.

I have managed to take pictures, send them to GMAIL, and forward them to friends. I have listened to Internet music on Pandora, checked news and weather on-line, and checked out about a hundred applications (apps) available for free or purchase.

I am having problems with looking at emails however. I can’t quit figure that out yet. Speaking of emails, I can use the phone as a connection to the internet for my laptop when no WiFi is available. That is called “tethering”.

It truly is a wonder of electronics.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Things are moving forward.

Location, Home, CA

I have been lazy this past week about writing. Nothing too much going on. I have been getting all the paper work needed for our upcoming cruise completed. Goodness has the amount of paper work increased since our last cruise several years ago. Also, clothes are an issue. It seems we just don’t have all the clothes required for this cruise. I guess the Levis, and old spotted shirts we usually wear around here just won’t do. I hope it is all worth it in the end.

This week I pruned the boysenberries of all the suckers that naturally grow. These need to be cut off until the berries ripen as they take nutrients from berry production. There are a lot of blossoms and also a lot of bees which is really good.

I planted some squash seeds in bedding pots. Actually, way more than I need for our use but I will pick the best plants to put in the garden later.

I have been researching new cell phones as both Clyda and I need new phones. The batteries on ours are getting tired. Besides which, Verizon keeps sending us coupons for new phones. I really like the new Motorola Droid with all the apps from Google and the fact that it has unlimited email. That would certainly solve some of our email problems while on the road.

I have been looking at airline fares for this fall instead of driving the RV for our nieces wedding. Flying means a rental car and hotel room so I don’t know if the tradeoff is worth it yet. I also looked at airfares to go see my folks sometime this summer. Money, money money!!!!

I shouldn’t complain too much as I will be getting quite a chunk of change back from Uncle Sam this year. Yup, taxes are done and will be mailed tomorrow. That’s a good feeling! Not the taxes but just getting them over with.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Winter trip data.

Location, Home, CA

Not much rain out of the supposedly “double storm” for Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, no rain on Tuesday and only enough last night to wet the pavement. It did lower the temperature down to the fifties and later in the day the wind came up and it was really chilly.

I have been entering data from the trip into my spread sheets so here are the results:

Total miles traveled = 5213
Total miles pulling the trailer = 3963
Total camping fees = $1141.98
Ave cost of camping per day = $22.39
Total trip days = 70
Days of paid camping = 51

Total fuel used = 455 gal
Total fuel cost = $1281.20
Ave MPG = 11
Lowest paid for fuel = $2.599 in Texas
Highest paid for fuel = $3.159  in California

Costs are definitely rising based on data from previous trips. Especially camping costs. In Texas we paid $185 per week which included a Good Sam discount. We have little choice for where we stay while in Houston, in fact no choice as it is the only RV Park in northwest Houston. We have stayed at more Elks Clubs in the last two years of traveling as they are generally cheaper but you do give up some amenities. Also, we spend as much time “boondocking” (camping without hookups) as we can. This obviously only works well in the west where there is lots of BLM and state lands suitable for camping.

Camping was relatively cheap in the past but over time the costs have continued to climb. Some of these costs can be offset by subscribing to camper clubs such as Good Sam and Passport America. Good Sam gives you a 10% discount while Passport America gives you 50% off camping fees. We did use Passport America on this trip at three different parks which saved us quit a bit of money. It more than paid for itself.