Thursday, January 29, 2015

Austin, TX

I'm tired today so a quick synopsis of the last few days.

We arrived in Fredericksburg without problems. The next morning we drove to Medina, the “apple Capitol of Texas” which is south of Kerrville for some Food Channel famous apple pie. They make the biggest or I should say tallest apple pies and ship them all over the country.

We bought 4 pieces of pie then had a picnic lunch under the trees.

Yesterday we drove from Fredericksburg to Austin, TX. We are camped at McKinney Falls State Park for 2 days. Yesterday we “vegged” in the warm 75 degree sun.

Today we drove to the LBJ Library which is on the edge of the University of Texas Campus. After touring the library we walked over to the Darrel Royal Football Stadium and caught the #20 bus to the capitol. We first went to the Capitol Grill for lunch then took a guided tour of the capitol. The legislature is in session so it was a busy place. Who knows who all we rubbed shoulders with or rode the elevators with today.

Door hinge.

We were going to tour the Bulluck State of Texas Museum which is a few short blocks North of the Capitol but by then all these senior citizens had had it for the day.

We did walk down to St Mary's Cathedral with it's large stained glass windows before catching the bus back to the LBJ Library.

We tool the bus today because there is no parking near the capitol for a dully ¾ ton pickup. Besides, parking is free at the LBJ Library. The bus cost $2.50 for seniors for 24 hours. Much cheaper than parking fees.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tired of driving already.

I'm tired of driving. Especially across West Texas.

This is only the first day driving across West Texas but I am already tired of it. In the past I didn't mind it but for some reason today was tiring.

We were surprised at how much snow remained on the ground between Deming, NM and El Paso, TX from the storm a few days ago.

We are camped at Balmorhea State Park east of Van Horn Texas. Our plan was to camp a few miles east of here at a cheap roadside RV park we have used before but when we arrived we found the campground full of oil field workers. So we back tracked several miles to the state park.

More miles tomorrow to Fredericksburg, TX.

A few photos from the rest stop west of Las Cruces, NM.

 Us in the background.
Brenda taking photos with snow on the hills.
Clyda and I with the big roadrunner sculpture in the background.
Heading down the hill toward Las Cruces, NM

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Willcox, AZ.

This morning we were lazy.

About 10 AM we drove the 2 blocks to the Rex Allen Museum in Willcox because it was ccccccoooold. About 32 degrees when the sun came up. We had been here before but Budd and Brenda had not. It had been long enough ago that I had forgotten many of the things in the museum. They still hold Rex Allen days every year in October.

Myself, Budd and Brenda.

We then went 2 doors down and visited the Marty Robins Museum. This is a much smaller museum but still interesting. 

The two museums are separated by a wine shop, which wasn't open.

Budd and Brenda. 

We then got groceries and fuel and ate lunch before hooking up the rigs. I dumped the tanks and we left about 1:30 PM, we arrived in Deming about 4:30 PM. We had some wind from the East on the way which cut down on our mileage a little.

We again fueled up and plan to leave tomorrow about 8 AM for Balmorhea, TX. Another 300 plus mile day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quartzsite and beyond.

We are out of Quartzsite.

The Big Tent Show was a bust as far as I am concerned. Very few things to do with RV's but lots of Pain Relief booths, pillow booths that no one should be without, yeah, and LED booths. How about a set of pots and pans that would require a 45 foot motor home with trailer to haul them all. I doubt if 1 in 5 women RV'ers even care to cook.

Doing the shuffle in the big tent.

One more sunset on Plamosa Road.

Lots of rocks as usual and rusty junk. We saw lots of that. That and high prices to boot. Still, there were lots of people. I overheard someone say that it was the biggest attendance since 2007. Who knows!

Clyda, Budd and Brenda arrived about 6 pm on Tuesday after a long drive from Bakersfield.

On Wednesday morning we went into the big tent and ambled along. About the only thing we collected were pamphlets and some maps.

About lunch time we connected with friends Tony and Joanne and decided lunch at Beer Belly's, the Adult Daycare Center, was perfect. We snagged two tables and all ordered hamburgers for lunch. Perfect place to sit and talk. After a couple of hours, Tony and Joanne went one way and us another. We hope to camp with them this summer.

Beer Belly's is an outdoor bar with music and food at the entrance to the Big Tent. It really collects a crowd.

On Thursday we shopped Greasewood Downs. More Rusty junk. I did buy a book for 50 cents. Big deal!

In the afternoon we drove to Bouse for cocktails and to visit Jack and Judy, John and Connie, Bill, and Gary. All are old friends who winter south of Bouse. Really nice to see everyone again.

This morning we left Plamosa Road about 8:20 and arrived at the Elks club in Wilcox, AZ at 4:10 PM. About 360 miles with mostly good road. The temperature is 51 degrees but expected to get to 18 degrees overnight. Chilly!

We ate dinner at the Elks Club. Good food and friendly people.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Quartzsite Day 6.

The big tent show opened today. I heard it was crowded so I will go on Monday after all the weekend looky- lews have gone home.

I have made several forays into town but I must admit, it looks the same as last year, and the year before, and the year before......

I have had no problem parking, and maybe that is because I know where to find the best parking for each swap area. Experience!

Quartzsite in pictures.
Our camp.

How do they get all this stuff here?
Need some letters?
A flock of metal goats?
Pump jacks for $150 each.
Rusty stuff.
A little humor.

 Do these glasses make my nose look too large?

More later.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Arrived in Quartzsite.

Parked in Quartzsite at our normal site on Plamosa Road.

We left Las Vegas, NV just after 8:30 AM and had a fairly leisurely drive to Needles, CA where we stopped for lunch at Carl's Jr. Not that we think Carl's has such great food but it does have a large parking area and easy on and off access to I-40.

We arrived at Plamosa Road at 1:50 PM California time. Arizona is on Mountain Time, one hour later than California.

We just parked the rigs and will finish set up tomorrow. There was a fairly nice sunset, our first.

We had a small fire before calling it a day.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rain, rain, rain.

Rain, in the desert.

It rained most of the day. It started about 9 AM and quit sometime this evening.
Actually, quite a bit of water standing on some streets as we ran a few errands today.

Friday night the knob on my electric heater broke. I suspect it got fragile over time with the heat from the heater. It is repairable but I don't have a knob at hand so the next best thing was to buy another heater.

We were at Fry's, an electronics store which also sells appliances and they had several small heaters to choose from. I bought one which was similar to the one I already had. This new heater puts out much more heat than the old one as I found out during the night. Even on the low setting I woke up during the night because it was too warm in the RV.

Watched some football today and ran a few errands, like grocery shopping. The last chance for major shopping before we leave tomorrow for Quartzsite. There are grocery stores in Quartzsite but most just carry the basics.

From the road.

Friday, January 9, 2015

CES Day 4

CES is over for 2015.

Today was the last day.

I spent my morning looking at all the exhibit spaces in the Westgate Hotel ballrooms adjacent to the Convention Center. These spaces were all occupied by companies from China, Taiwan, and Korea. None of these are companies with any name recognition but rather are start-up companies hoping to find a niche market in the US.

I didn't see anything of interest except I did score a possible 2 GB thumb drive. I say possible, because I will not use this thumb drive until I check it out in on a computer not connected to the internet and not one that could infect my other computers if this drive is infected with a virus in any way. I will also reformat this drive before I use for the same reasons I explained above. Can't be too careful.

Because this is the last day of the show, many vendors are more generous with their give-aways and some even sell their products although this is frowned upon by the Consumer Electronics Association. Many vendors do sell because of the cost of shipping products back home so it is a good deal for vendor and buyer.

I stopped by the LG Electronics booth and saw this unique washer. It has a smaller load washer on the bottom. They also have a dryer that uses a heat pump instead of gas or electricity for drying. The heat is recirculated within the unit instead of exhausting it to the outside,

Final thoughts on this years show.

It was obvious that attendance was up from the 160,000 count from last year. Final figures will come later. Booth count was way up and 40,00 plus foreign visitors from 145 countries attended the show.

Bloomberg estimated that all the booths lined up end to end would be more than 2 miles long. I have no doubt about that figure as I walked some of those miles more than once.

3D printing still has a way to go. Mainly because it is so slow. However, certain Best Buy and Home Depot stores are selling 3D printers.

Curved TV screens seem like the wave of the future.

Most new embedded cameras in PC's will come with Intel's new “RealSense” feature which allows voice and hand gestures for commands. These functions were developed in conjunction with Food Network for use in their studios.

Get used to the term “The Internet of Everything” or IoT for short. It was everywhere at this years show and really means that everything is connected in some way using the Internet. Things like cars, houses, phones, music, and personal medical devices all connected.

We will spend another couple of days in Las Vegas decompressing and running errands before driving to Quartzsite on Monday.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day three at CES.

Day three is done.

I spent all morning in North Hall and as I expected, it was mostly Automotive electronics with some audio sound systems thrown in.

All the major world car makers have a presence at this show. It is quite a change from a few years ago when only a far thinking few showed up. There are all electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and even hydrogen powered vehicles. The hydrogen power by Toyota is still a few years away but the infrastructure is being put into place. By 2016 five Northeastern states will have hydrogen refueling stations.

Of course, the talk of the show and TV is the self driving cars by Audi and BMW. I see them driving around the show grounds and also on the nearby streets, Kind of weird to see the driver just sitting in his seat but not doing anything. 

Then there is the Chevrolet Corvette. It is the Z06 Stingray with 460 HP if you have the 7 speed manual transmission. Top speed is 190 mph. Quite a leap from my 1962 Vette.

Here are a few other vehicle oddities I saw. Are they cars or motorcycles? All have a single rear wheel.

How about a glass car? TRW Corporation built this to show all the internal workings they provide to the automotive industry. 

Again, it is hard to get a good photograph as the booth lighting is deliberately harsh to show off the cars.

Then there is this. I think it was a Jeep to begin with and then they added speakers, lots of speakers. Maybe it is Speaker powered, a new type of drive system.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CES day 2.

Oh what a relief it is!

Two Aleve in the morning to combat the leg, hip, and foot pains and a pair of Merills on my feet instead of dress shoes made all the difference in comfort this day. No problem staying on my feet most of the day and also feeling much better at the end of the day.

Much accomplished today in getting some of my questions answered by Canon and Samsung.

Some really impressive displays that I will go back to for hopefully better photos.

I did stop at the Sony display and watched a rotating very, very thin TV which was less than the thickness of my index finger. I took several photos as it turned and edge on the TV is barely visible in the photo.

Curved TV's are also the rage this year. As I said to one Samsung representative, “I am always a decade behind the curve”. He laughed and said “Me too”.

I spent a half hour in the crush of people at the GoPro sports camera booth not realizing I was standing next to the owner/developer of the GoPro and everyone was trying to have their photo taken with him. I did not get my photo taken.

Tomorrow I am in the North Hall in the morning or all day if that is what it takes. Mostly automotive electronics I think.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day One of CES.

Day 1 of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is over and already my feet and hips hurt from all the slow walking from booth to booth.

Dick and I decided last night that we would visit the 3D printing area which this year is at the Sands Convention Center.

Our normal mode of transportation is to drive to Circus-Circus and park in their back lot and then walk to the front where the Number 7 Route buses are which take you to the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). However this morning there was a slight change as buses were going directly to the Sands which saved us a lengthy transfer at the LVCC.

The 3D printing area has really grown since last year. We saw many displays of 3D printed products including those made with a sugar base which is eatable. Even chocolate can be used to make eatable products.

Most 3D printing is done from coils of plastic much like that used in a weed whacker and are built up layer by layer and all controlled by a computer program. It is not a rapid process and many small pieces may take up to 24 hours to complete.

Some future materials that will be used are wood, limestone, iron, and bronze.

How about a wearable plastic dress? I can't imagine that it would be very comfortable to sit down while wearing this.

This afternoon I switched venues to the LVCC South Hall Lower floor where a large robotics area had been setup. Here were displayed floor robots, widow cleaning robots, and solar panel cleaners. There are also robots to clean your BBQ grill and how about a Beer Pong playing Robot. It hit the cup almost every time. 
 Two window cleaning robots, one inside and one outside.

Beer pong robot.

The rapid growth of Helicopter drones is very evident. In fact they are everywhere at the show. From one booth 3 years ago it has grown to thousands of square feet of displays. From palm sized to large drones 3 and 4 feet in diameter, all were on display.

Probably the most unique were the ones made by Qualcomm who are better known for their cell phone technology. When asked about this one of the exhibitors explained the cell chips were very adaptable to the drone technology. They certainly are also unique in shape as you can tell from this photo, They look more like the old WWI tank shapes but are very functional.

Drone is the wierd blue shape with green propellers in the middle.

I apologize for the poor photos. There are so many people vying for attention that trying to get photos is difficult. Also, all drones must fly within a cage for safety.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Just a short post.

A short post to say that I have arrived in Baker, CA with no problems.

After dinner at the Mad Greek restaurant I caught up on all the blogs and decided to post this short note

All went well with today's travels. I had no real traffic until I climbed the Grapevine on I-5. Even them it was not bad as there were few trucks. There were however lots of folks going home from the holidays with their cars packed to the gills and boxes and bags strapped to the top and back.

Much traffic on Hwy 58 to Barstow and also to Baker. Folks coming South on I-15 from Las Vegas were backed up in many places so I am sure it was a long ride home for many.

The Mad Greek was the busiest I have seen it. It was also nice and warm so Dick and I lingered after our meal. The outside temperature is 47 degrees with a slight breeze at 8:30 PM.

Tomorrows drive is only 90 miles so we should be there around noon time.

More later.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year.

A Happy New Year to all!

I have been remiss on my blogging lately. Everyday I tell myself that I need to blog but always find an excuse to not do it. So, I am watching the last football game on TV for today and typing this entry.

For the last several days I have been working from a to-do-list in preparation for leaving for Las Vegas on Sunday morning where I and a friend will attend the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) next week. The show is 4 days of nonstop over the top displays and cutting edge electronics. Some of the new stuff even shows up as products we use in 2 to 3 years. Four days of walking endless isles looking at products takes it's toll on the feet and legs. Having done this for years, I have learned to take numerous breaks. Also. I never pick up any of the magazines or heavy literature until the end of the day as they are just dead weight.

After the show ends and a couple of days of shopping, buying groceries and eating at In-and-Out Burger we will drive to Quartzsite, AZ for a long week. Clyda, Budd and Brenda will join us there about the 20th of January.

From there we will drive with both RV's to Houston, TX, visit Tim and family and then move on to New Orleans and the Florida gulf coast. It has been Clyda's wish to see the white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle for some time. After all the repairs to the RV this fall, now seems like a good time to do this trip.

More blogs from on the road.