Friday, October 31, 2014

Indianapolis Marathon

Saturday, October 31, 2014 – Happy Halloween 

Snow and rain At 12:30 p.m., our son, Steve came by the house to take us to Indianapolis.  Tomorrow, he will be running in his seventh Monumental Indianapolis Marathon.  There have been seven of them here and Steve has run in every one of them.  His son, Nick is racing in the 5K. 

Unfortunately, the weather right now is a downright cold and blustery 37 degrees.  Driving over here, we passed through several snow showers.  We lost an hour when we arrived. 

The kids are preparing for the race.Tomorrow's runners

Played a game of Gin Rummy and got beat again.  Snowing out.  Snow covering the cars and the grass.  Winter is coming.  Going to be a cool morning for running, I bet.

See you later.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Computer

Thursday, October. 30, 2014

Worked very hard this morning, cleaning the house.  Decided to take a break and go to Best Buy to look at laptops.  My laptop is old.  It is a Gateway with Vista and I think I bought it in about 2007, so it is 7 years old and has served me well.   The time has come for it to become my back-up.   With everything I have installed, I just didn’t want to wait till it quit and then I would have to update my new computer from memory.  That wouldn’t be good.

I have been looking at new computers online for quite a while, so today is the day to make a move.  Wasn’t sure I would buy or not, but wanted them to educate me with what they have that fits my needs.  My sales rep, Ryan was a very personable young man and very knowledgeable about computers.  I went over my needs and he showed me a few laptops.

imageI narrowed my search to the Lenovo and Asus.  After a little playing around with a couple models of each, I decided on the Asus.  It is a 13.3” touch screen Notebook and rotates 360 degrees, so it becomes a tablet.image  It runs on Windows 8.1 powered by an Intel Core I5 with 8 GB memory and a 500GB hard drive.  The propaganda says that the battery will last around 7 hours, which will be nice when boondocking.

I played around with it for a couple of hours and then Dolly pulled me away to bring in plants.  She has collected many plants and cactus over the years.  Tonight and tomorrow night are going to get down in the 20’s, so if it was going to get done, today was it.

Plants and cactus

Dolly lost by 5 points in Gin Rummy last night and the Royals lost the World Series by 1 run.  She beat me good tonight and we’re watching a little Thursday night football while lying in bed.  Got to get a good night’s rest because tomorrow we’re heading for Indianapolis, IN.  More on that in the next blog.

See you later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Hitch for the RV

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I had an appointment this morning for 8 a.m. at Wherry Welding.  In my October 18th blog entry, I gave the background on the new hitch.  Well, this is the day they are going to take the old hitch off and put the new one on.

New hitch for the RVTheir work place is only about two miles from my house, so earlier I took my truck with a bike in the back, left the truck in their drive and rode the bike back home. 

I arrived right on time and Glenn, the owner came walking out to tell me where to put the motorhome, so his employee could work on it.  Of course, that meant I had to back it into their garage.  No problems.  They guided me right in.

After we discussed what needed to be done, drove home and finished my coffee and had breakfast.  Then I played around with Google Maps.  I saw the Google travel maps George from Our Awesome Travels has on his blog and wanted to do the same with my blog.  I did end up with a rolling map that will suffice, but could not figure out how he came up with the image map of their daily travels.  I’ll keep playing around till I come up with an image that is easy to make.

1-20141028_170829At 2 p.m. I received a call the RV was ready, so my wife ran me up there and I paid the $293 to get it out of hock and brought it home.  It is definitely a solid hitch.  It will hold up to 16,000 pounds, but the motorhome can’t handle near that much.  It will easily handle my Jeep, so I am happy.

Got beat pretty good in Gin Rummy tonight, but the Royals are doing great.  7-0 in the 2nd inning.

See you later.





Monday, October 27, 2014

Verizon Jetpack 6620L

Monday, October 27, 2014

This morning, I had to run some errands, so ran into town to do them.  The Verizon Wireless store was right there, so I decided to go in and just check out the customer service and ask a few questions.  I have been researching the Verizon website for months now, but could not pull the trigger on buying anything.

Last winter, when Dolly, Fergie and I went on our RV journey, I borrowed my daughter’s Verizon Jetpack to use when my AT&T WI-FI Hotspot would not pick up a signal.  Ended up using the Verizon Jetpack most of the time.  Not because I couldn’t get an AT&T signal, but because it was easier.   Didn’t have to worry about picking up the phone before leaving the motorhome.  There were several places that only Verizon worked and the same for AT&T in other areas.

Prior to my travels last year, I also bought a Wilson Sleek for both Verizon and AT&T, and a Trucker’s antenna, so I was ready to boost signals.  I didn’t really keep track of which signal was more prevalent during my travels last year, but I’m betting it was Verizon.

My sales lady, Melissa was very helpful.  She went over the costs, if I bought Verizon smartphones and 6 gigs of data, and it would be $30 more a month than what I have for 10 gigs at AT&T.  Decided to stay with AT&T for now.  We love our Samsung Galaxy S3 phones.  

Then we looked at the new 6620L Jetpack with 4 gigs.  jetpack Figured I would bump to 6 gigs in December, when I start on my journey.  By dropping my AT&T data from 10 gigs to 1 gig, I would end up with the same monthly fee between the two of around $130 a month.  Dolly only uses around 500 mg a month and I use around 5 gig.  I’m the data hog.  Found out from Melissa that my old employer, State Farm, would pick up the $35 hook-up fee.  I’m glad I stopped in the store and didn’t just purchase online.  Gained a lot more information and saved some money.  

One day, I will switch to Verizon for my phones.  There is a Verizon cell tower about half mile from my house, so it only makes sense to get the best signal.  The AT&T tower is about three miles away and on the other side of a hill.  I get one to two bars without a booster for AT&T and five bars on the Verizon jetpack.  

Those Royals are having a tough time, but I guess, I should be glad we won one game in San Fran.  It’s still going to be tough to win two games straight, even in K.C.

Played Gin Rummy and Dolly won.  Tired of this back and forth play.  Time to watch some Monday night football!

See you later.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Yard Work

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Just another beautiful day!  Clear skies and a high of 75 again.  Farm Received a call at 7 a.m. from my son, Steve.  He had to go to work and wanted me to go over to my daughter’s house to let their bulldog, Bobby out because his family had gone away for the weekend.  Forgot to take a photo of Bobby, but did get one of the lake behind their house.Ironwood Lake
Decided to tackle the front walkway this morning.Leaves  Made short work of that and took out to the burn pile. 


Couldn’t resist taking a photo of our house through the Weeping Willow tree.  No leaves falling off of it yet.House through the Weeping Willow
Fergie on the runFergie and I went for a walk up the road and back during the afternoon.  She is running hard to catch up with me.  You can see the wind turbine farm at the top of the road. 

Wasn’t till evening before I got around to starting the fire.  That is a quarter moon at the top. 

Leaves burning
Settled in for the evening, beat Dolly in a game of 500 Gin Rummy and we’re watching the Giants beating the Royals.  Last night’s game didn’t go well for the Royals.  I think they decided they won in the 6th when they were ahead 4-1 and stopped being aggressive.  Ended up losing 4-11.

Only have a month before I head out on my long journey to the Southwest.

See you later.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Beautiful Fall Day

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Foggy morning

Started out with a little fog and by 10 o’clock it had burned off.  Today is going to be a beautiful sunny day with a high of 75.  Can’t beat that for the last week in October.

Fall leaves

Today is a good day to feed the burn pile with pine needles and leaves.  The back yard has so many trees with leaves, I decided to just spend a few hours on the driveway.  If I had known it was going to be three hours of back breaking work, I would have stayed in and watched horror movies on SyFy. 


Now that I have finished, I am happy.  Lots more to go, but done for the day. 

Still waiting for the PCM for the jeep.  Hopefully, all goes well and the part comes in next week and it works.

Took a shower, played Dolly in some 500 Gin Rummy and got beat.  Now, we’re watching the Royals beating the Giants.
Royals beating Giants

See you later.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Painting the Ceiling

Friday, October 24, 2014

Painting the blue room Dolly and I did some work in one of the downstairs bedrooms this morning.  Had some boxes laying around and the ceiling needed painting due to some old watermarks.  Been putting it off for years because we rarely go in that room anymore. 

Used to be our computer room when the kids were at home.  We used to compete in computer golf every night for years.  Had some good times with the kids back in the nineties. 

For many years it became a storage room.  Earlier this year, we went through the stuff in there and found that most of it was junk, so cleaned it out.

We have five bedrooms in this old house and back when the four kids were home, we used them all.  Now, we only use one.  The rest just stay closed.

Dolly and I were so sore after taking out boxes, cleaning the floor and painting that ceiling.  I keep thinking I can work like I could ten years ago, but it doesn’t go that way.

Took it easier for the rest of day.  Watching the World Series now.Illinois sunset

See you later.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not Much To Say………

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Doug, Dolly and Fergie

This pretty much sums up our day, not much going on & not much to say………………

See you later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Counting Down Work Days

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fergie on lookout

My one day of work this week was today.  Scheduled to drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., but we were so busy, I stayed an extra hour to help out. 

I always leave my truck keys in the center console when I park for the day, so I never lose them.  I only have one set because I’m too cheap to pay $80 for a second key.  Never had a problem for the 7 years I’ve owned the truck, till today. 

Arrived at work like I have a thousand times, but today, my brain was thinking wrong.  Decided to unlock the passenger door, so pushed the unlock button on my door.  But then, I decided to leave it locked, so pushed the lock button and stepped out of the truck and shut the door.  Problem… both doors locked as they should, but my brain didn’t think that way.

Fergie on the move Luckily, some years ago, I bought a key remote for $20 and my wife keeps it in her purse.  Never needed it till today.  While driving parts around, I stopped by the house and picked it up and my problem was solved.

Tried my cleaned camera this afternoon, and unfortunately blowing air is not going to remove the one spot in the upper middle.  There were three spots, and now down to one.  May have to live with this one till someone gives me a solution.

My jeep is still sitting in the garage waiting on a new transmission CPU.  I received a copy of a text from the company that is providing my brother-in-law, Evan with the new transmission CPU.  It said that the CPU was back ordered.  The ones they have in stock are bad, so they ordered more and will test before sending it out.  The text mentioned that we would be the first to receive one since we are first on the list.  Hope that is good.  Luckily, I still have a month before I leave, so not worried yet.


My 2003 CobraSold my 2003 Mustang Cobra to buy my 2006 Jeep.  Another step toward changing interests (old age).

Watched my favorite TV program, Survivor and now have it turned to the World Series.  The Royals didn’t do well last night, but looking a little better tonight.  If they don’t win tonight, it may be a short series.

See you later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cloudless Day in Illinois

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 

Today was just beautiful here in Bloomington.  Not a cloud in the sky.Illinois farm field 

It is my brother, Dick’s birthday today.  He is 14 months younger than me and lives in central Florida near the east coast. 

At 8 o’clock this morning, I took the motorhome to Wherry Welding to have the owner take a look at the underside to see what needs to be done to strengthen it so I could pull a trailer with a race car inside.  Total weight would be around 8000 pounds.  He said it would cost about 12-14 hundred dollars.  Too much.  Asked how much to just weld the new hitch on and that would be about 3-4 hundred, so that is the way I decided to go.  Could always take it back later to add strength when and if we ever pull the trailer.  Don’t need anymore strength to pull the jeep since there is no tongue weight.

Didn’t have any plans for the day, so Dolly and I decided to clean the Sony SLR camera lens and inner mirrors of the camera.  I have a cleaning kit that comes with a small suction blower.  Instructions say to not touch the inside of the camera and place the camera into cleaning mode.  Did that and blew air onto the mirror and all around the inside. 

I thought I had it done, so went out late in the day to take some pictures.  This squirrel was curious to see what I was doing.Squirrel

At first I thought the spots were gone, but they weren’t.  Went through the process again and found that I did not place the camera in cleaning mode.  When the “Cancel” or “Okay” screen appeared, I didn’t notice it defaulted to “Cancel” so I canceled the mode.  This resulted in the mirror not moving to where it could be cleaned easily.  Here is a photo with the spot.  You can see it in the upper center. Looking South from back yard

In this picture, I used Picasa to clean the spots in the sky, so you wouldn’t think there were space ships over the house.Back yard

Will have to wait till tomorrow when the sun is out to test again, so stay tuned.

Time to watch the World Series.  I went to high school in North Kansas City, Missouri.  I am hoping the Royals do well.

Old fence 

See you later.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beautiful Day but Sadness in our Cat Family

Monday, October 20, 2014


The other day, I posted pictures of our cat family and mentioned that they were getting older, not realizing that in just two days, our sweet Snowy would die quietly in her sleep last night.  We will miss her silent meow and sweet disposition.  She was 18 years old and lived a happy and long life. 

Snowy originally belonged to our son, Jim.  When he moved to an apartment that did not allow pets back in 2000, Snowy was left with us.  She then became a part of our cat family.

Snowy and Shadow spent a lot of time together.  Not so much with the other two.  I wonder if Shadow will miss Snowy?

We took him to the Vet to be cremated this morning and will add his Urn to the other family cats we have had since living here.

Was going to just sit and mope all day, but decided that since it is such a beautiful day, I would cut the grass and vacuum the leaves.

I think I will leave the driveway alone till more of the leaves have come down.  Can’t see doing this more than once.

Driveway Need to blow drivewayGot the backyard cutIn the Fall I put the vacuum connection on the mower.  It has a couple of leave bins to collect the cuttings, making things a lot easier to do.  Used to rake each Fall, but this is easier on the back.

Back yard freshly cut The front yard is done.Front yard

Felt much better getting outside and working in the yard.  Snowy is still gone, but made the pain more bearable.
See you later.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quit my Job

October 19, 2014

In preparation for my trip this Fall, I gave notice to my manager at Advance Auto Parts the other day.  My last available work day will be November 22, 2014.  Since I only work one half day a week anyway, I may not work past my scheduled day this coming Wednesday. 1-20141019_163721

I have worked at Advance since April, 2008, so my part-time job has lasted over six years.  When I started, I worked four days a week for 5-6 hours a day.  My time has slowly dwindled till lately, I have only worked one to two days a week for 5 hours a day.  However, there have been weeks when I have been asked to work because of sickness and vacations, making some weeks an unplanned four or five day week.  My work ethic over the years makes it hard for me to let the “company” down when I am needed. 

Well, soon I will not be on anyone’s payroll and can do what I want when I want, if Dolly approves.  Some things never change.  I am surprised she has approved my solo journey out West this winter.  She knows that I really want to go and I think she looks forward to a little alone time with her animals and family and doing things on her own schedule without having to always take care of me.  We shall see how this works out.  Picture of Snowy Fergie heading for food bowl

I know it is important to do new things as we get older, and this will be a major one for both of us.  We have not been apart for four months since I did my Army tour in Viet Nam back in ‘68 and ‘69.

See you later.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Travel Plans are Coming Together

October 18, 2014

Dolly and I have discussed how this year’s trip would come together.  I want to go and she is concerned with leaving our cats and our pregnant daughter-in-law, Sarah.  The cats are old and need more care than when they were younger.  Three of them are in their teens.  Last year, while we were gone, Dolly’s favorite, Calisto had a bad tooth infection and nearly died.  Evan, had to come by each day for weeks to give him medication that saved his life.  Our grand baby is due in the middle of April which would be fine because we could be back by then, but she worries that something may come up earlier in the pregnancy, and she would want to be here in that event.  There were a lot of trials and tribulations in conceiving this child, so I do understand her concerns.  Anyway, the bottom line is - I go and Dolly and Fergie stay.

Snowy is 18

Shadow is 13

Calisto is 17

Chloe is 9

I am not worried about Dolly making it through the winter by herself, because she has the whole family here to help if she needs it.  I am worried about me going alone.  I know it will not be as much fun without her, but my biggest worry is cooking.  I have never had to feed myself and I am not sure I can learn to cook.  I just know I want to go and my physical ability to do this is getting less each year. 

I have even picked a date for beginning this year’s adventure.  My daughter, her husband and my two grandkids are going to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to have Thanksgiving with Evan’s mother and her husband, Bill.  They do this most years.   The plan is for the grandkids to come with me in the motor home and Evan and Kristi follow in their car.  We will stop at a campground for the night in southern Missouri and arrive at their home on Thanksgiving day.  On Friday, I will start my journey to Southern California at a snail’s pace.

Have several items that need to be done before I can leave for this year’s southwestern trip.  Last year I bought a new hitch for the motor home to pull the jeep.  The current one has problems that needed addressing.  I did use it last year, but it was not the safest setup.  I called a welding shop and made an appointment for taking the old one off and welding the new one on.  Hopefully, they will be able to strengthen the rear of the motor home so it can safely hold up to 7500 pounds.  Will know more after they have looked at what needs to be done to accomplish this.

I mentioned in my last blog entry that the jeep has a problem.  That problem is still not resolved.  Evan has received two transmission computers, and they both did not function properly.  They are now waiting to receive a new shipment and hopefully we should receive a third one early next week.  Not going to think about what if it doesn’t work.  Luckily, there is still time to handle jeep problems before the time to leave arrives, but I am a little nervous.

See you later.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LeRoy, Illinois

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Advance Auto Parts job requires that I deliver parts to two of the surrounding towns.  LeRoy is a small farming community of approximately 4000 residents.  I take highway 150 out of the southeastern part of Bloomington and drive east past the small community of Downs to arrive in LeRoy.  It is approximately 17 miles away and takes about an hour to do the trip there and back.  I only work 5 hours one or two days a week, so this is 20% of my work day.  Tough work, driving their truck, listening to music, and admiring the countryside on such a beautiful day. 1-20141008_103632



I know when I am close when I pass these very large grain silos on the outskirt of LeRoy.1-20141008_103218 
The main road through town circles around a beautiful park in the center of town. 
Not too much in downtown.  No stoplights in town or tall buildings.
There is a small garage right on Rte 150 as you enter the town and is owned and run by the Hutton family.  This is my parts destination.
See you later.