greatbear: (forearms)
It's coming down to the wire as Jeff and I work at getting things ready for our first camping trip of the season at Deep Creek Lake in western MD. We're still hoping for a mystery guest to join us, but have not heard anything back yet. I hope this post serves as a bit of cage rattling.

I installed the new water pump, fixed up all the fans, added RFI filtering to two of them that, when running, completely wipe out radio reception and the television. No more. The new water pump is in as well, with some mods to the mounting to make it quieter when it runs. The replacement is not quite up to the capacity of the original, but will do. I plan to add an accumulator/pressure tank in order to even out the water flow and minimize the pump cycling. I should be able to squeeze a one or two gallon tank in the compartment the pump hides in.

Trying to clean up the exterior has been a nightmare. We evidently live in a land of mutant flies which leave permanent 'specks' in the finish. Jeff managed to scrub through the paint in a couple areas and the specks (a polite term for fly shit, as well as crap from our swarms of box elder bugs) remain. We'll keep working at it and get the trailer looking spiffy. In the meantime, I only have to finish replacing the electric element in the water heater and flushing the heater tank out and the maintenance end of things will be done on the trailer. I have to get the truck ready with an oil and filter change, a fuel filter change (somewhat of a pain but made easier by removing the front right wheelwell liner), a good scrubbing and detailing inside and out and we should be good to go. I cant wait. We need this vacation badly.

More work has been done in the garage, and after we get back from vacation I hope to finish the door trim and front interior wall project that has been taking too long. The roofs get done soon, and I can finally work at getting the sunroom finished off, some intricate woodwork for trim and soffits, some too-cool lighting ideas to get built into said woodwork and much happiness will hopefully ensue. The next major project will be a refinishing of the deck.This will be a big undertaking since I will be removing each cedar board from the floor and running it through the planer to smooth out the wood and replacing the old galvanized nails with stainless screws. The railings will get a similar treatment, section by section. Everything gets a good coating of stain/finish. Despite the recent years of neglect, the deck is still amazingly solid for it's eighteen plus years. I did that one right the first time.

Jeff must work early tomorrow morning, but I will have Sunday and Monday off. This will be a short week for both of us and Friday we hit the road for our camping trip. Our next outing will be at Hillside, then P-Town, then two more Hillsides. I'm so looking forward to them all.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
In a first, I went to PA to help out Jeff's parents without Jeff. It was strange to have time spent up there without him. I had other reasons as well. ;)

His dad's lawn tractor was acting up and in need of a blade drive belt. I had ordered the parts a while ago and took them along with tools and stuff Friday evening after a day spent running errands. I also gave him my old wood lathe, which he seemed happy to get. I didnt have any extra chisels, though. Grizzly Industrial was having it's huge tent sale on Saturday, and I had wanted to go up anyway to pick up some goodies. A nice convergence in the big sale and my weekend to go up was a cool welcome. Saturday morning Jeff's dad and I headed up, actually arriving before the official start. The parking lot was quite full, and a line at least 400 feet had already accumulated. I guess Grizzly's boasting of the one-day event drawing thousands was not an exaggeration. After getting in line and still 20 minutes before opening, the line began to stretch around the corner and along the front of the building. The showroom/warehouse is huge, with a corner of it dedicated as the showroom. This 'small' corner of the building is bigger than a large supermarket. With all these people showing up, and a first come-first serve free-for all awaiting, I actually wondered if there would be scuffles or outright fights over the bargains. While in line a representative from the place was handing out flyers with sale prices, discount coupons and instructions on how to 'work' the tent sale. Despite the crowds, things went remarkably smooth. I focused mainly on things I was more in need of at the moment. I lucked out.

I found a Porter-Cable electric pressure washer to replace my 25-year old worn out one. Issue with it? Discontinued, and was missing the soap tank. Big deal, I can use the soaping attachment from the gas powered ones I have. It was less than half the original price. Verdict? SCORE! Other people were eyeballing the thing as if it were fresh meat at the leather bar.

Needed a milling vise. Found lots, but settled on a 4-inch swiveling unit. Issue? The lead screw was bent slightly, but did not interfere with operation whatsoever. Originally $120, bought for 10 bux. Score!

Needed a machine tool lamp. Had been looking at a gooseneck fluorescent model, but did not want to pay the 60 dollars for it. Found one minus the cord for 20. Score!

Wanted one more simple miter gauge with a clamping arrangement to use among all the woodworking machines. Found one supposedly with a warped slide bar for 10 bucks. An easy fix at home and it was as good as new. Another score.

Jeff's dad shows up with a big ol' grin on his face. He managed to find an 8-piece woodturning chisel set to use with his new lathe. Issue? Missing one gouge chisel. 7 pieces for a mere 15 bucks. Verdict? Timely score.

My main reason for the trip was to pick up a monster 12" bench grinder. Conflicting info I got between the catalog and the website indicated the thing might be discontinued. Upon writing up the order, I discovered it was indeed discontinued and I got the last one. Score!

I picked up a stand for the grinder, some buffing supplies and a few other trinkets and got in line to pay. There were 14 cashier windows working, and I was still waiting more than 45 minutes to finally pay for and pick up my stuff. A woman was pushing a refreshment cart full of sodas and such for the people waiting. A really nice touch. It seems the people running the place are used to this sort of thing. There were 15 cashiers in a building outside just for the tent sale. Amazing.

I got loaded up, drove back to the parent's homestead, loaded the truck with a bunch of used, free dimensional lumber to be used for making raised garden beds here at home, among other things. I managed to thread the new belt through the six pulleys on the tractor without disassembling anything or using any tools, countering what we were told to do, in about 5 minutes flat. A happy dad then took the tractor for a test drive and mom, dad and I headed out for an early dinner. I drove home shortly after, unloaded everything (the grinder by itself was about the same as carrying a pair of [ profile] aadromas at once) with Jeff seeing everything upon coming home and basically giving me the "Ho-lee hell!" expression. I told him how much I saved, etc. The rainy evening was spent sizing up and fixing the bargains, all of which are good to go. Jeff headed out to get groceries , I stayed home because we always seem to spend more when I go along. Still, Jeff came home with a haul (Me: Ho-lee hell!), but told me how much he saved, had coupons, etc. We are so alike, yet so different at the same time. lol

Today I did mostly cleanups and other sorts in the garage and basement. The weather is (again) cold and nasty and my old body reminds me of it's age. This week, aside from earning my paycheck I will be working on the trailer to get it all ready for the season. I think I have everything needed now. I seriously need a vacation.
greatbear: (Default)
Gorgeous day today. I decided to make the best of it doing stuff outside. I climbed up on the trailer roof and installed the two Maxx-Air vent covers I had picked up last weekend. Now I can leave the two roof vent/fans open and not worry about the rain getting in. The latter was sometimes a bit of a humorous occurrence when it would rain in the middle of the night while the fan was running, since one of the vents sits above the foot of the bed. The rain would hit the spinning blades, misting us with water. This will no longer happen, and another bonus is the vents can be left open while towing, and the resulting airflow will keep the trailer much cooler for when we arrive wherever it is we are going. I have to replace the water pump and do some other minor fix-ups to get ready for the camping season. Plus it gets a serious scrubbing.

When Jeff got home from work we went for our weekly grocery haul. The cashier, in no urgency to check people out or bag their goods kept asking people about what they were doing for Mother's Day, including Jeff. Uh oh. Since I was also in line with a separate batch of groceries for Jeff's work to be billed separately, I was hoping against hope that she would not ask me. Luckily, she didn't. However, the gears were already set in motion, by the time I got home and unpacked everything, I lost it. I was trying so hard to get through the day unscathed, but it was not to be. My momentum for doing things and having fun with it all had come to a screeching halt, so I plodded through the rest of the day, taking a long nap after dinner.

Oh, well. I think I've improved over the past couple years. I will always miss my Mom dearly, however. Nothing will ever change that. Nor would I ever want to.

This will be a busy week by the looks of things. Jeff has lots of time to put in at work as he deals with state inspections and the loss of an employee. I hope to get some car work in during the evenings, as well as needed yard work. I have to rework my old lathe before I give it to Jeff's dad next weekend. If all goes well, I'll be making another trip up to the Grizzly Machinery store. My credit card will be shaking and cowering in my wallet for sure.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.


Aug. 24th, 2008 11:43 pm
greatbear: (forearms)
This weekend was our last camping trip to Hillside, wrapping up four trips there, a trip to Deep Creek Lake, and, of course, Provincetown. Seems like it was not long ago that Jeff and I were planning these trips and so looking forward to them. Now they are ones for the history books. Where does the time go?

The weather could not have been better. Hillside is notorious for having freak storms, total rain-outs and snow in May. This is to be expected in a northern, mountainous region. This time, though, we enjoyed a perfect summer, full of friends, fun, frolic, food and dogs.

It was not a perfect trip for everyone, though. Jeff was stuck working on Friday, leaving it for me to me to fetch the trailer from his mom 'n' dad's place and haul it to the campgrounds solo, with Kodi never leaving my lap. Jeff calls me later in the day saying he will be much later due to problems with one of his staff. Two of our guests were completely unable to make it due to similar coworker problems, interrupting a tradition we've had going for a while. Chris, another friend staying with us had a damper tossed on his time by a troublesome tummy bug. But, we all made the best of things and had a good time despite the setbacks. We managed to find some old friends we havent seen in ages and took some time to catch up, picking up as if we had just seen each other yesterday.

Finally got to meet [ profile] _angry_alan, smiling and looking anything but angry, relaxing and kicking back with his buds.

My Achilles's tendon was bothering me too much to do a whole lot of walking around this time around. Still, I made it up to the bonfire on Saturday night where we hung out with more friends and LJers. The strangest part of that evening? A rather excited youngish man came up to me and said he had seen me before, at first not sure where. He then matched me to the lip-sync video I did as part of the meme started by [ profile] chrisglass a few years back, who he also mentioned by name. He knew the song I used as well ("Heartbeat" by The DeFranco Family). We chatted a while about all the videos that ended up being made and how much that meme made my day(s) at a time when I needed some cheer. I felt like an unwitting rock star, with my fan club of one. It made my night.

I woke up this morning to one of the most intense charleyhorses ever in my right calf, causing extreme pain for at least twenty minutes and a limp for the better part of the day. It still hurts, and I am afraid it might fire off again some time during the night.

We said our goodbyes, dragged the trailer home and relaxed, watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. We have one more camping trip in October at Knoebels, continuing a tradition we started last year. After that, the trailer gets mothballed until next year, hopefully to take with us to many new places. And old ones.
greatbear: (vacation)
Well, another vacation has come and gone. This one definitely ranks well in the upper percentile. The weather was perfect, the food to die for, and the friends, both old and new, sealed this one as one of our best. So much to catch up on, it will take a few posts. I'll never begin to catch up on past LJ entries, so I ain't bothering. If there is something of note I should know about, let me know.

Only issues I encountered was a schizoid navigation unit that sent us on some strange routes when it was somewhat functioning, otherwise it sat stupidly, constantly searching for position. Looks like a bit of technology destined for the junk box in the basement. I also know that I can run the fuel gauge completely to 'empty' for at least 30 miles with no ill effects. We had a prime spot at the campground, with great neighbors who could always be counted on for good conversation (aside from a strange pair of silent, isolationist Quebecois with ill-mannered dogs who spent most of their time either inside their RV or outside in it's screened-in 'porch' encased in black privacy curtains). I did not take as many pictures as I had done last year (I accidentally left my memory card pouch home and I needed more space), deciding to enjoy the moments instead. Still, I have several hundred photos to pick through and upload as time permits.

I've had folks prior to and during our trip stare and give winced looks when I tell them I pulled our trailer all that distance to and from P-Town given today's prices for diesel fuel. Last year, diesel fuel prices hovered around $2.95/gal, this year a solid two bucks was added to that amount. I budgeted enough for fuel knowing that this year, diesel will hit that magical 5 dollar-per-gallon figure the oil companies have been salivating over. My prediction was spot-on.

Total miles driven: 1296
Average cost of diesel fuel: Roughly $4.95/gal
Average MPG: 11.3
Total cost of fuel: Don't remind me. :)

Worth every damn penny.

I'll be posting more as I can. As planning and luck would have it, I have only four days of work this week before my next free Friday. What are we planning to do with it? You guessed it, more camping. This time at Hillside. I'm going to need another little vacation to recover from such a rough week. ;o)
greatbear: (forearms)
Both of us are keeping our fingers crossed in hopes our little long weekend vacation coming up will happen. To that end, we will be getting things ready and preparing. We both really need this little escape. Also, the trailer that is currently parked in the upper driveway in front of the house will be left temporarily at Jeff's parent's place between excursions. This will knock about 250 miles of towing distance for each trip (for a total of over 1,000 miles over all four of our planned camping trips, not chump change when it comes to gas mileage!), and it'll be great to finally have the upper driveway clear so the shrubbery and gardens can be tended to. Plus we get our parking spots closer to the house again.

This is where I beg everyone to send good vibes our way so that no problems arise from either of our jobs to shut it down.

In geek news, I have completed two computers, one is a simple, fully integrated thing with onboard video that will replace Jeff's tired PC, the other is the new server. Both are running well after being burned in for many hours and will get installed after this weekend. Soon after that, the LAN gets updated to gigabit, some Cat5e will get run around the house and to the garage, replacing some of the remaining thinnet left over from the late 80s. Between that and a new 802.11n access point, the uber-LAN here should be good to go for at least a few years to come. Once some of the gigabit Ethernet is in place, I will begin piecing together the media/file server. I buy computers in installments - a hard drive here, a case there, a motherboard... I find the good deals online as they happen and eventually gather up enough pieces to make a box. It's like layaway combined with instant gratification, piecemeal style.

As a reminder to myself, I need to get the proper trans filter for the new truck before the trip. For the last couple days, I kept forgetting. If I use my LJ to remind me, it might help. Then again, I would be posting a lot more strange gibberish than I already do.
greatbear: (face)
I was absent from LJ for the past few days, and with good reason. It was Jeff's birthday on Friday, and to celebrate, we hauled the trailer up to western Maryland to Deep Creek Lake. Once again we set up the trailer at Deep Creek Lake State Park, an area with deep personal meaning to me, as it was my first place I ever went camping, probably at 6 years old, with Mom. The place has changed very little in those 40 years, and as such, I feel a warm comfort there. That only added to our relaxing weekend.

Jeff was enjoying the weekend away from the hassles of work (as was I, of course), and Kodi got to spend nearly every waking moment in some new adventure or just being 'part of the pack'. The weather on Friday and Sunday was fantastic, but Saturday brought heavy thunderstorms as well as possible tornado touchdown in the surrounding area. No such worries here, and the rain gave us a chance to sleep in, cuddle and relax. It cleared up by mid afternoon and all was right with the world.

We were here last year at the same time, which was the weekend after Memorial Day weekend. As such, the place was sparsely populated, very quiet and private. In short, just perfect for our needs. It was great to just unwind and enjoy ourselves.


A full Flickr Set here, with more pictures.

This is our first camping trip of the season, which has us confirmed at Hillside for three weekend, and a week at P-Town. Other than forgetting to pack some food items, the entire weekend went off just about perfectly. The rig got a whopping 11.2mpg in the ride there and back, which has several pretty long and steep mountain passes. While not stellar by any means, it aint bad considering the size and weight of the whole setup. Just have to budget a bit more for fuel costs. Hopefully we can squeeze in some more camping in different places this year. If they all turn out as nice as this one, all three of us will be happy campers indeed.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
I've been lax in my posting, but what else is new, huh?

The weekend as a whole was blessed with beautiful weather. Unfortunately, as has been the case for a while (a long while), Jeff was stuck working each of the three days, but fortunately not for long stretches. We used the time as well as the weather to our benefit, working in the yard and prepping the trailer for the traveling season. Pressure washing, a good scrubbing of the roof, some minor repairs, cleaning of the siding and the roll-up awning and it's looking mighty fine. I've been doing minor tweaks, adjustments and modifications to make it a very capable home-away-from-home. We will finish up by cleaning the inside up, stocking it with goodies and taking a little trip to Deep Creek Lake in Western MD this coming weekend. It's Jeff's birthday, and I am taking him far enough away from the area that he doesn't get easily conned into going to work. We both need a weekend away from it all, but he does so more than me.

On Monday we managed to relax a bit at our good friends Chris and Paul's place. A low-key, quiet party, I flopped about in the pool and steeped in the hot tub and relaxed with everyone else. Life was good.

Today we took lil' Kodi to the vet. He has been favoring his right rear leg, and it seemed to be getting worse. While Kodi did not complain outwardly nor even flinch at our inspections and massaging of his affected left leg, we were worried. Jeff did some intarweb research and found that a common ailment for Pomeranians is a dislocated kneecap. Today's vet visit confirmed this. Some x-rays, a shot, some other minor fussing and $331 dollars later it was confirmed what Jeff had researched. To that end, we have to try and keep Kodi from jumping, standing on his hind legs, leaping about, running/chasing after things, in short, things he does almost constantly. For a period of three weeks. Should be a chore. Especially since he will accompany us to Deep Creek Lake as well. I feel sorry for our little CrazyDogInsanityPooch. :(

I have to say, both of us are really looking forward to our little getaway. It's the first in a set of trips we are set for this summer, which includes three trips to Hillside (Bear weekends 2 and 3, Wrestling/Car Show), Provincetown (bear week, sensing a theme here), ad hopefully at least a weekend at Knoebels. Diesel fuel prices be damned, we are going to have our vacations and enjoy them. With everything else considered, it's still cheaper than hotels and flying by far. And we have one rockin' pad to stay in.
greatbear: (forearms)
Jeff and I took advantage of the rainy weather and being unable to do much yard/outdoor work and did some serious Costco shopping, a fruitless stop at Best Buy, a couple things from Giant, two PC fans and a drive enclosure from Radio Shack and a haul of plants from Lowes. Among the haul was a new 24" display for the studio PC. I'm loving it. My stimulus check as well as most if not all of my tax refund has been vaporized between this and other things in the last week.

Last night I assembled my new server to replace the 10 year old beast that's been living in the basement and working nonstop. The new one is awaiting an OS install, once that is done, I am hoping the new box is at least half as reliable as the old one.

Caution - Geek Porn Ahead: New server tech specs )

This week looks like a busy one. I gotta get the trailer ready for our first camping trip of the season to Deep Creek Lake at the end of the month. I want to pull the wheels and brake drums off to check the brakes out, inspect and lube the bearings, and clean the things up and do minor repairs and upgrades. I will probably get a new set of tires being that I heard some horror stories of blowouts with these Chinese off-brand (Mission? WTF?) things. Problem is, it's getting more and more difficult to find any trailer-duty tires not made in China, regardless of brand. Same is true for other tire types and brands. Of course, being made in China is not always a sign of inferior quality, but historically, things are not so rosy. A blowout of a trailer tire can be nasty.

Hope y'all have a good week.
greatbear: (face)
Through determination and sheer luck, Jeff actually managed to get through to Hillside on Saturday, which was the first day of reservations. We managed to snag decent (and trailer-friendly) spots for the second and third bear weekends and car show/wrestling weekend. We wont be doing the first bear weekend this time because we'll be at Deep Creek Lake instead. Besides, we've skipped on it now for a while, since it always seemed too cold and rainy. It'd be even more so being they made it even earlier this year. So, it appears that our summertime trailer travels are solidly booked. Yay! It also looks like diesel fuel will be well over four bux a gallon by then. Boo!

The weather was pretty decent the last two days, this allowed us the chance to do some work outside and enjoy the fresh air for a change. One truck is filled with shredded hardwood mulch for the front beds, that will work it's way around this week. Today some courageous croci shot up and blossomed almost level with the earth as if to say they've had enough cabin fever and want springtime to make a showing.

The studio reconfiguring is almost done, though the room is a mess still. I need to pick up another USB hub for remaining peripherals. Pics when it's done.

With the arrival of decent weather, I took the MINI out of mothballs and will drive it around this week. I have some minor tuning, tweaking and maintenance to do on it before my trip to the Dragon in early May. I'll be needing tires too, and have a spare set of SSR Competition rims to wrap them around. The garage is looking like a tire store these days. I need to rack them up somehow and get them off the floor.

I got a ton of things to do just to catch up this year. It's not gonna be easy. Or cheap. But I'll manage somehow.
greatbear: (forearms)
Spent a fairly relaxed weekend up in PA with Jeff's 'rents. And Kodi. And, for the first time in a while, Kodi again tossed his doggie biscuits all over Jeff a mere ten minutes from our destination. Perhaps this would not have happened had we not been delayed due to trees being blown into the roadways by a storm that got into town about a half hour before us.

It was also our first visit in quite a while, so we needed to make up in the way of Mother's and Father's Day presents. At our past exploration of a new Best Buy in Columbia (which is basically the same as the old one, which is the same as every other BB you'd wander into), we spotted a Westinghouse digital picture frame. We thought it the perfect gift for his mom, so I loaded it with some of the nicest and most memorable shots I have taken over the year of his family members. Turning the thing on, you are greeted with a configurable slide show of pictures on a very bright and sharp 8 inch diagonal LCD. It was an instant hit! I was later presented with a stack of pictures to be scanned and put into the frame. The thing even does video (actually, more like silent movies. No sound. But that's kinda a good thing here).

We got his dad a pressure washer. He wasted no time trying it out. Another hit. More Gerberra daisies for the front of the house and some other trinkets were bought while wandering about in Lowes.

Went out later that Saturday to do some shopping for the new trailer and to see Shrek 3. We liked it, but it's clearly the weakest of the three flicks.

Got back today and futzed around the house and the trailer. This week, the evenings will be spent doing chores, working on the yard, the truck and whatnot. More busybusy stuff. But we are making nice progress I think.

The trip up and back was accompanied by my new portable GPS, a Lowrance iWAY 600C. This little bugger rocks. In addition to the usual 2- and 3-D maps, it has detailed US waterway charts and topographical overlays, and satellite imagery to boot. It's like Google Maps in a box. Plays mp3s and Ogg Vorbis audio files, and can display photos on it's incredibly bright and sharp 640x480 screen. It seriously kicks ass, and can be used in anything that moves. It's waterproof too. Highly recommended, especially if you are a geek like me.

Off to bed, it's gonna be a long week.
greatbear: (forearms)
We're back from a nice, relaxed weekend way out in the western panhandle of Maryland. Despite a little bit of rain, the 370-some mile trip went off without a hitch. In fact, aside from a little incident of bumping a tree while backing the trailer into place, the whole thing went off almost too well. Kodi was remarkably well behaved; this trip being one of the longest he's been on and only needing one break in each direction. The old truck handled the mountain climbing with aplomb, snarling it's way up the worst of the roads in the 90+ degree heat without blowing it's cool. My transmission project from '03 helping to handle the load. By the top of the 3-5 mile runs at over 6% grade, the temp gauge was on the high side, but the downhill runs cooled everything off in no time and got things ready for the next climb. Not bad for an 18 year old truck. To top it off, I figure I got about 12mpg in the process.

We had arrived at Deep Creek State Park and a nice sized space with electric hookup. Setup was a breeze. Chipmunks were everywhere. It was a quiet weekend, the Memorial Day prior apparently was pretty much filled. We had friendly neighbors, which is almost always the case when camping. The three of us had some nice hiking time along the lake as well as a nice drive around the area.

There is another reason aside from the scenery and facilities as to why this my choice for the 'maiden voyage'. You see, this was the place where I learned to love camping, thanks to Mom.
Many pictures, and lots of warm memories... )

With this trip being an unequivocal success, both of us cannot wait for our next combined outings next month. First will be a weekend at Hillside, from there will be a whole week in Provincetown for Bear Week. Warning signs not required, but should be. P-Town has some terrific food.
greatbear: (forearms)
Today was Jeff's birthday. Both of us too busy with work and putting extra hours to really celebrate, but I picked him up after work for a nice little din-din at the local Chinese place. From there, we collected Kodi and took him for his last day of 'puppy middle school'. He did so well, doing his little tricks and commands without much fuss, he made his daddies proud. I guess it was Kodi's birfday gift to Jeff. He surprised us both. GOod dog.

There is a tire in the living room again. When car parts get delivered and I dont have a proper chance to install them or at least take them to the garage, they end up being brought in, unpacked and inspected and then linger around till I can deal with them. This one was a long time coming, the wheel being on backorder that was looking like mid-July. Somehow I got my replacement stuff early. If I get a chance, I will pop it on tomorrow evening. After work, Jeff and I finish loading the trailer, finish unloading the mulch from the big ol' Dodge, hitch 'em up and come Friday at noon, head off on our little shakedown cruise to Deep Creek Lake. If all goes well, it should be a nice trip. It's full of unknowns, not the least of which is how many times I will have to stop to make Kodi more comfortable.
greatbear: (forearms)
The weekend was a nicely productive one. Spent most of it working in the yard along with Jeff, weeding, mulching, planting. Today prior to cutting grass, I moved a tarp that had blown off a pile of random firewood that ended up in the lawn. Two snakes slithered out, keeping me in their gaze. The snakes didnt bother me, what did was the patch of 'earth' under the tarp that resembled a huge ant colony. After grabbing the snakes and tossing them into my neighbor's weedpatch yard (I did not want to be making sectional snakes with the tractor, and, unlike Jeff, I dont mind having snakes around) I dug around in the loamy earth looking for ants and found none. Now, unless this is something that the snakes had done (nesting? I'm no Samuel L. Jackson expert when it comes to snakes, I just know the difference between a snake I can pick up or one I should avoid) I think this might indicate a subterranian termite colony or something bad. I hope not. I'll be keeping an eye around the area just in case. Anyone in my readership have any ideas?

Today was an unsettling day for me for the first half. I was bumming about the loss of Mom (as usual), couple that with Memorial Day, some very bad news I read on LJ earlier and the fact that I seemed to be running over landscape rocks due to my failing eyesight and getting slapped with low hanging tree branches made me lose it and attack an offending tree by crashing the tractor into it repeatedly. Yeah, I get like this sometimes. With Jeff at work and my awkward headspace, I retreated into the new trailer where I had been earlier in the day. The a/c was on (gotta give it a trial run!) and it was quiet. I gathered my senses once again, by that time a good friend came over for a visit and I mostly reset my brain. Jeff came home, we had a nice dinner and I got more grass done until I somehow snagged a steel cable in the yard (dont ask) and had to take two of the three blades off the mower deck to untangle the mess. By that time it was too late to finish. Everything got put away and I have been taking it easy since.

I am finally getting the replacement wheel/tire for the Stratus delivered tomorrow. It's been on order since early March, and I'm actually happy, since the scheduled backorder receive had kept on getting pushed out, all the way to mid July. I have a spare wheel on order to prevent such nightmares from happening. I did the same for the MINI. There is a good chance that these extra wheels will sit in the garage until the cars are no longer with me. It's insurance.

I'm getting some gauges and other goodies for the truck. I either lost or had given away some gauges I had (namely trans temp and a voltmeter), so I bought replacements from Summit. I most likely wont receive them in time to install them prior to my shakedown cruise with the trailer next weekend, so I will not push the old truck too much over the mountains till I know things are not overheating below the floorboards.

I made a bumper sticker for the trailer:

"R V Having Fun Yet?" There seems to be a certain amount of bad punnery that goes with camping.

I have some long hours to put in this week, so it's time I hit the 'post' button and haul my ass to bed. G'nite.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
This morning, Jeff and I brought home our new toy:

The ol' Dodge grunted the thing home with no drama. There is no doubt that there is some serious weight being bandied around behind the bed. This is the biggest 'toad' I have hauled with the truck to date. Prior to that the largest had been car trailers. 18 years ago I bought the truck knowing full well I would beat the hell out of it. To this day it's still doing it's thing, albeit quite a bit more bashed and crusty than the day I brought it home. We'll see how things go. Sadly, it would appear that if I plan on doing serious traveling with this trailer, a new truck is in order. In the nearly two decades since the '89 Dodge shattered the status quo on diesel pickup power, durability and efficiency with the Cummins engine, things have only gotten better on all the aforementioned counts. As well as more expensive. I might have to treat myself next year.
greatbear: (Default)
A very busy weekend for us. On Saturday lot of my time was spent prepping the Mini Cooper for my annual trek to the Tail Of The Dragon. A separate post about this is in the wings, since there is a bit more to it than burning up tires, brakes, gas and chasing bikers on their crotch rockets. It's emotional this time. Jeff and I scooted off for a while around noon to do some shopping and wouldn't you know, we ended up with this:

Clicky for more towable goodness )
We decided that time has come to do some more traveling, taking time from work and seeing and doing more on our own terms. The maiden voyage of our towed abode will be a weekend at Hillside then up to Bear Week in Provincetown. The P-Town weekend is something we have been looking forward to for quite a while now, it will be our first real vacation in a few years. This is part of the 'get on with living' pledge I made for myself.

Today, along with tinkering with the Mini, I started getting the old truck in shape. It's got some new work to do. We also took Kodi in for some needed grooming at Petco. What resulted can only be termed a bad hair day that will last for a while. Me and especially Jeff were pretty upset, though Kodi was his usual overly playful self. Next time, we are going to tackle the grooming ourselves.


greatbear: (Default)

December 2016



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