Thursday, September 30, 2004


The scenery from Ami's Acres. We didn't entirely miss the high county fall

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


We've been on a schedule the last few days. Had to get to Glenwood Springs
on Monday, so we could be ready for a job on Tuesday. All settled back at
Ami's Acres. It's very familiar here now. Got some client set-up work done
Monday afternoon.

Good thing I got some preliminary work done, because the client only wanted
me to spend one day with him, then leave. He wanted to go on a backpacking
trip. Darned volunteer treasurers. They want to take time off to play.

The job went well. I've worked on several housing related jobs this year,
but this is our first Habitat for Humanity. It was fun. And I like the
darned volunteer treasurer a lot. He likes to hike and run and kayak.

Oh. This is a first, besides being our first Habitat for Humanity.
Glenwood Springs is our first two-client town for the mobile effort. We
hope to continue to build on the momentum.

Back to Louisville. Move back into the house. It's been vacant for a month
again. It's about time to be back. I really need a haircut.

We're back in town, with not a trip planned for the next three months.
Guess you won't be hearing any more from us for a while.


Our neighbor Dan said something really interesting just before we left on
this trip. He said: "So when are you guys going to move into that thing
full time so you can rent your house to me?" He rents the Warembourg house
next door, to the south. He's a great neighbor. We like him a lot.


Maybe we can get enough jobs next year, we can travel and not even need the


Off through Monument Valley. On to southern Utah. Stopped early to watch
football. Go Broncos!

We can always get an elevation reading from the copilot. Except the whole
time we were in California, the copilot thought we were fifty feet below sea
level. Guess it needs a calibration.

What a difference a state makes. Diesel in Needles was $2.60. We drove ten
miles across the border into Arizona and bought it for $2.02. Must be the
difference in gas tax. Seems like a lot of people in Needles would drive
across the border and pay gas tax to Arizona.


Off through Monument Valley. On to southern Utah. Stopped early to watch
football. Go Broncos!

We can always get an elevation reading from the copilot. Except the whole
time we were in California, the copilot thought we were fifty feet below sea
level. Guess it needs a calibration.

What a difference a state makes. Diesel in Needles was $2.60. We drove ten
miles across the border into Arizona and bought it for $2.02. Must be the
difference in gas tax. Seems like a lot of people in Needles would drive
across the border and pay gas tax to Arizona.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


Headed north. Passed the town of Hope. Of course, on the other side of
town was the sign, "You're beyond Hope now." Highway 89 north from Congress
is a slow road. The surface is good, but it is scenic. 20 mph road, all
the way to Prescott. Very scenic desert mountains. Advisories posted for
vehicles over 40 feet in length to turn around and go back. No problem for
us. We're 39' 10" (plus the tow car). No problem. Prescott is a mountain
town. Beautiful setting. It's all weathered granite and pinon pine. It a
bigger town than we expected.

Kept moving. Still north. Stopped for the night at Sunset Crater National
Monument. Saw a stellar's jay. That's it. One stinking stellar's jay.
Beautiful campground. No birds. A pine tree forest. Black volcanic
cinders on the ground. No brush. An open forest. Nothing on the ground
but pine needles. 7,000 feet. What a difference a day makes. Same state.
Ninety-five degrees yesterday in the low desert. Twenty-nine degrees this
morning in the high desert.

When we first got here, we asked for a bird list. We always do that just in
case. Sometimes we get lucky, and they have one. We asked. They looked
all around. They said they had one but couldn't find it. By the time we
left, I could have volunteered to write the bird list for them. Stellar's
Jay. One bird.


Morning bird walk. Got to listen to the quail and see a roadrunner.
Bendire's thrasher. Just like the curve billed thrasher, but it's smaller,
with a slightly different habit, and without the sharp whistle call. This
has been the most productive birding trip for us in years. An eighteen-bird
walk this morning. 332 on the life list.

I've been reading a wonderful book about birding: called the Big Year. I
don't usually take the time for "sport reading", so this is a real treat.
It's a fun account of how crazy people can be. People record their
life-lists, and see how many birds they can get. Some people embark on a
Big Year, and see how many birds they can get in a year. We're talking
about a North American Big Year. North America is carefully defined. North
of the Mexico border, and no more than 200 miles offshore. For a Big Year,
you need to be in the seven hundreds to get any attention. That's more
birds than are normally found in North America. You have to spot rarities.
You have to chase birds. You have to tune in to the rare bird alert, and go
on a moment's notice.

We have a Big Day so far. Our Big Day is eighty-five birds.


A really interesting thing happened. Well, it's really interesting to me,
anyway. My blood pressure dropped 30 points. 30 points! I've been
struggling with the blood pressure issue for the last few years.
Unmedicated, my blood pressure was 150 over 100. I agreed that was too
high, but I didn't like any of the blood pressure medicines. In some way,
each one interfered with my life. Well, things change. Now my blood
pressure averages 130 over 70. Unmedicated. Haven't had a pill in months.

So what happened? That's not a question to you, that's a question to me. I
don't know. I haven't done anything specifically designed to change my
blood pressure. There is an interesting coincidence with the change in my
work habits, however. The drop in blood pressure has occurred since we
started this mobile office, life on the road thing. That could be a factor.

There are a couple other coincidences as well. Racquetball is gone. I
didn't get tired of it; it just doesn't work on the road. Not at the places
we stay while we're out. We always look for more remote places to stay.
Racquetball is a lot of exercise, but it's a high-energy, burst kind of
activity. Not a slow steady aerobic exercise. Since I don't play
racquetball anymore, I run. Maybe a slow steady twenty-minute aerobic
exercise every day makes a difference.

Then there is diet. We have changed the way we eat in the last year. I
discovered the cause of food-fades. My food-fades are related to blood
sugar. Protein and fat don't have much effect on blood sugar. It's all
about the carbohydrates. Particularly, it's all about complex
carbohydrates. It's easy to make the connection with sugar. High sugar
stuff makes my head buzz. It was harder to figure out complex
carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates, like bread and pasta are supposed to
be the building blocks of a healthy diet, but they can produce a glycemic
reaction just like sugar in the blood stream when they digest. Eliminate
the starchy complex carbohydrates, and my food issues go away. I just feel
good all the time. Maybe the change in diet does more than just make me
feel better.

I doubt that weight is much of a factor. With the change in diet, a few
pounds fell off. Not a significant percentage change, not much more than
5%, but that couldn't hurt, either.

Whatever the reason, I'm delighted with the change. Avoiding any kind of
medicine is a good thing.


The flowers outside our door in Arizona.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Buckskin Mountain State Park. We got a nice campsite.


The morning paddle.


Can't seem to leave. We're enjoying this "desert rat" thing.


Why do all those people want to drive out from California to the river
between Parker and Havasu? It's just the Colorado River, out in the middle
of nowhere, in the desert. How pretty could it be, anyway?


When we were at Moss landing, we were right next to Castroville.
Castroville represents itself as the artichoke capital of the world. There
are artichokes on every menu. That area represents itself as the flower
capital of the world as well. There are flats of flowers in outdoor
greenhouses. The outdoor greenhouses are like carports. Carports are like
garages with no walls. As we were driving away, through the fertile inland
valleys, we found ourselves in the garlic capital of the world. Do you know
that you don't have to be cooking garlic for it to be fragrant? Do you know
that a gazillion acres of garlic can be very fragrant? It's true. That
would have been a very nice drive for a garlic lover.

Back through the California savannah, up the grade to the windmills at the
Tehachapi summit. A few days in the Mojave, east of Barstow. An easy drive
east on Interstate 40, out of California, and into Arizona. Spotted a sage
sparrow in a rest stop. Holds his tail up high like a wren. New bird. A
right turn past Needles, and down the Colorado River to Judy's sister
Susie's house in Parker. We stopped eleven miles short of Susie's, and
checked in to Buckskin Mountain State Park. Nice place. Nice weather.
Nice day.

The grackles don't have tails. Great-tailed grackles all around, all
without tails. Must be a mass fall molt underway. They are a motley crew.
Grackles are not a favored bird. They seem to be universally despised.
They are a big aggressive bird that dominates the territory it occupies. A
whole flock of grackles makes quite a racket. They eat all the seed at your
feeders. Me, I like grackles. I like the sound they make, even though it
is described in the bird books as: "a series of loud unpleasant noises:
mechanical rattles, sliding tinny whistles, harsh rustling sounds, and sharp
hard notes."

Friday, September 24, 2004


Black chinned hummingbirds at the feeder. Took a morning birdwalk. Saw a
Verdin. Finally. A little desert bird. We've been after him for years.
Got three good looks at him. Abert's towhee. Looks just like a California
towhee, but their ranges don't overlap, so has to be Abert's. Another new
bird. Flycatcher with orange tail coverts and white throat. Looked it up
in the book. Oops. Female vermillion flycatcher.

Buckskin. A thirty-two bird park. 331 on the big list.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The dreaded digital beep. 4:30 am. 4:30 am may not sound that early to
some people, like Jamie for instance, but for some of us it's the middle of
the night. Not a continuous beeping that can be located, but a single,
solitary, sleep penetrating beep, that won't happen again for twenty
minutes. So there I am, in the middle of the night, trying to locate a beep
that will not happen again until ten minutes after I've gone back to bed.
Know how much digital stuff we have in our houses now? Know how many little
lights glow after you've shut everything down for the night?

By 6:30, I had shut down, unplugged, removed the batteries, and otherwise
disabled every single electronic gadget in the motorhome.

Beep. The computer was unplugged, both palm pilots were unplugged from
their rechargers, both cellphones were unplugged and turned off, the
stopwatch had been located and it was off, the digital thermometer had its
batteries lying next to it.

Beep. The microwave was off, the coffee pot was unplugged, the TV power was
off, the DVD player was off, the VCR was off, the satellite box was off, the
motorized satellite dish was off, the keys were out of the ignition and in a
drawer, the electric hot water heater was off.

Beep. The smoke detector was lying on the kitchen table near its batteries.
The battery powered alarm clock. The palm pilots. The plugs to recharge
things that weren't even plugged into anything.


It did it. Finally, it did it. It beeped while I was awake. It beeped
after we had given up and gotten up. It beeped right next to my head. In
the middle room of our motorhome, between the front room and the bedroom,
there is a wall. On this wall is the control for the motorhome slide, the
climate control panel for both rooms, and the carbon monoxide detector. The
carbon monoxide detector! I knew it was there. Kind of. I had seen it
there, but I guess it didn't really register. It's like a smoke detector,
but it detects carbon monoxide. It is battery powered. I didn't notice it
enough to think about checking the battery. It was going flat. Flat enough
to trigger the low battery alarm. Occasionally.

It only took a few minutes to find the cat today. He was sitting quietly in
the shower, waiting for someone to come by and open the door to let him out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


We stopped in a desert rest area to stretch our legs. We were sitting on a
bench in the shade when we spotted the new bird. It was hanging out with
some brewer's blackbirds, but it was different. It had a yellow chest.
We're familiar with yellow-headed blackbirds, they tend to hang out in
marshes, but there is no such thing as a yellow-breasted blackbird, so we
knew whatever it was, it was a new bird for us. We watched it carefully.
We noted all its coloring characteristics, and how it was different from the
other birds. We followed it when it flew, to get as long a look as
possible. We only had one set of binoculars with us right then, so we
shared, and compared notes. When we got back to the motorhome, we went
straight to the bird books to figure out what it was. We started with
blackbirds, because that's what it looked like. It didn't take long. We've
seen tons of yellow-headed blackbirds. The males are so distinctive,
though, with their yellow heads, that I guess we just ignored the females.
There, in our Sibley's, was a perfect rendition of our mystery bird. A
female yellow-headed blackbird.

Oh well.


On the way to California, we stopped for lunch outside Reno. At the place
we stopped, there was a work-of-art/motorhome struggling against mechanical
difficulties to make it home from Burning Man. Wonder what Burning Man is?
So do we. It is "an annual experiment in temporary community". What does
that mean? It means a whole lot of people get together in the desert every
year for a week and get covered in dust. We saw lots of vehicles carrying
bicycles, headed west, covered in white dust, driving home from Burning Man.
It takes place 120 miles north of Reno in a dry lakebed, where they set up a
temporary city to practice "radical self sufficiency". Everybody was
carrying bicycles because you are not allowed to move your vehicle once you
settle into your campsite. Travel is by bicycle or foot. You are welcome
to express yourself, or contribute to the community, in any way you see fit.
They advise to be prepared for loud noise and explosions.

We read that 25,000 people attended this year.

Moss landing

Pelicans perched on wires.

Imagine that.


Our moss landing beach.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


Deep in Elkhorn Slough. I can only guess at how much life goes on
underwater and in the mud. It supports a massive churning swirl of life on
the surface and in the air. Thousands of birds. Paddling and drifting with
the tide within twenty feet of the bank we watch with binoculars that make
them all seem within reach. Western Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers.
They're the tiniest littlest peeps: smaller than baby chicks. Sanderlings.
Plovers. Godwits. Willets. Curlews. Egrets. Herons. Terns. Gulls.
Falcons. Hawks. The smallest birds in the largest numbers. Progressively
fewer as the birds get larger or more predatory. A single peregrine falcon.
A red-tailed hawk. A northern harrier.

This time we got bombed by terns. Boom splash. A tern hits the water
within six inches of the dock. A look at him with the binocs. Long thin
orange bill. If it were a large orange bill it would be a Royal Tern. If
it were a very heavy red bill, it would be a Caspian Tern. Long thin bill?
Elegant Tern. A new bird.

A seal swam to see us.


You probably can't tell, but I've gone back to work. We're still on the
road. We haven't left California. We still admire and enjoy the scenery of
the day, but thoughts have shifted back to work. I think there is a lot I
can do without being right at the office. I've updated some mailing lists
for the September mailing. I can update some website pages. I have 2005
financial and capacity projections to make. I can do that stuff from here.

Here, by the way, has moved. We left the coast and headed off to the
desert. We're parked out in the middle of the Mojave, east of Barstow.
Blue sky. Ninety-five degrees. We get full hookups, shade, a small lake,
two islands, and friendly neighbors.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


The rocky coastline of Big Sur.

The cool shadows of the coastal redwood forest.

Another set of tide pools.

More black oystercatchers. More black turnstones.


Judy's nephew, John Jacobs. He and his wife are both in Iraq. They're in
different places in Iraq, but they're both there, as Marine Officers.
John's dad and wife drove down from Livermore to join us in a paddle of the
Elkhorn Slough. Sunshine. Shorebirds. We paddled into a school of
baitfish and drifted while a flock of brown pelicans pounded the water all
around us. That was pretty cool. Tidal creeks. During high tide, creeks
form along the edges of the slough. They have no flow in them other than
the tides. We get to paddle all through them, finding the main channel
through, to come back out into the slough in a different place. Marbled
godwits. Western sandpipers. Least sandpipers. Long billed curlews.
Seals and sea otters.

A nice paddle. A nice way to spend the day. Thanks John and Trish.



Birding. World class birding. Not just birding, but birding with a guide.
A trained professional. A guide whose home base is Elkhorn Slough. Before
we started he asked us which birds we wanted to see most. I didn't know.
He volunteered that if we wanted, he could just do a general tour, but if we
gave him a list of birds we were most interested in, he would tailor the
trip to that. He will tailor a trip to produce views of the birds we pick?
I sent him a list of thirty-eight birds, known to be in this area, that we
haven't seen yet. Here is a chance to add a few birds to our list.

Wow! What a day. A Big Day. I drove, and Rick the guide directed. He
told us where to stop, where to look, and set up the scope when we needed
it. We watched, we looked, Rick kept track of the birds we saw. The end of
the day count? 40? 50? Wrong! Eighty-six. An eighty-six bird day! And
of those eighty-six birds, twenty-three were life birds for us!
Twenty-three! We added twenty-three birds to our life-list today.

We started with the rocky shoreline birds at Monterey. Seventeen mile
drive. Rocky shoreline birds, headlined by the Black Oystercatcher. What a
bird. What a beauty. He looks just like an American Oystercatcher, except
he's all black. Heavy orange bill with a bright yellow tip. He has a
bright orange ring around a bright yellow eye. It's like identifying a
great kiskadee. A great kiskadee is bright yellow and black, stands on the
top of the tallest tree around, and yells. Nothing subtle about field marks
to distinguish it from some similar bird. There is no mistaking a great
kiskadee. There is no mistaking a black oystercatcher.

Picked up some forest birds, some mud flats birds, some raptors. It was a
ten raptor day. We watched so many phalaropes swimming and wading in a
pond, they looked like busy little water bugs. We got two new kinds of
cormorants. We saw a wandering tattler, a black turnstone, and a surfbird.
We saw a band-tailed pigeon, and acorn woodpecker, a pygmy nuthatch, and a
chestnut backed chickadee.

Wow! What a day.

Anybody spending some time in Moss Landing? We have a birding guide to
recommend. A good guy to spend an entire day with. He would be a good guy
to spend an entire day with even if you didn't want to go birding.

More clam chowder than we could eat from Phil's for dinner.

We ate it anyway.


Today, it only took a minute to find Rags in the cabinet under the dinette

This is a file photo I got of a Black Oystercatcher.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Mission accomplished. Not the mission of welcoming the new baby Erin. That
didn't happen. Jacob hasn't gone into seclusion, but Yousun and Baby Erin
have. We don't get to see her until some other time. Well, they get to do
what they choose to do, and we get to accommodate.

We did get the bassinette delivered. We met up with Jacob at Mike and
Katie's in San Jose, had a nice visit with them and kids Jack and Allison,
and passed on the baton. We left about lunch time, and headed south for
Pinnacles National Monument.

What a gorgeous drive! The California Savannah.

Gently rolling hills covered with grass so dry and brown it's crispy, dotted
with California Live Oaks. Inland. Hot. A hundred degrees. We saw the
yellow-billed magpies again, a California Specialty. You can't see them
anywhere but here, but once you get to the right place, they are conspicuous
and common. Just like black billed magpies everywhere else.

We have gone all these years without ever seeing California Quail. Well, we
saw them as kids, but we havent seen them since we started couting birds.
Today we saw fifty of them. Not fifty, one at a time, but a giant flock of
fifty of them all around us, clicking, and calling, and clucking. They
nurdle and chortle, scurry about, and kick and scratch dirt and grass into
the air. They are so cute! They are so cute, I want to chase them down to
hug and cuddle them. I refrain.

The perfect feeding station. The oak tree extends over the road. Acorns
fall from the tree onto the road. Cars drive past and crush the acorns.
Quail scurry out onto the road and eat the acorns. Not many cars drive
past, so the quail get all the time they need to eat.


Then we saw the Condor. We got to see the giant California Condor. They
live here at Pinnacles. They used to live here. Then they didn't. Now
they do again. Not everybody gets to see them. The condors hang out
wherever they want during the day. Sometimes they come back in the
afternoon to the pinnacles to spend the night. Sometimes they don't. Today
they did.

There are a lot of turkey vultures here. You watch them in the binoculars,
making sure there is not a condor in there anywhere. There are two hints I
have read about identifying California Condors that I really like: "If you
think you might have seen a giant condor, you haven't." That's a good one.
It suggests you'll know it as soon as you see it. The other: "From a
distance, can be mistaken for a small plane." Ooh.

Turkey vultures are big birds. Their wingspan is over five feet. They are
so good at soaring. They hardly ever flap. They look like magnificent
birds. Until the condor soars into view. The condor has a wingspan of
almost ten feet, and never flaps. The condor is deliberate in its
movements, it is perfectly steady and makes wide sweeping turns. By
contrast, the turkey vultures look downright unstable. The condor rises
from the horizon like the mother ship on Close Encounters.

Two new birds today.

Tonight we drive home for an hour to a forty degree temperature drop. A
hundred degrees here. Sixty degrees at the ocean's shore. Tomorrow, we
paddle the slough.


Different strokes.

A few days ago, we were surrounded by travel trailers. Now we have a
quarter million dollar Monaco on one side, and a half million dollar Beaver
Coach on the other.

We're the small one in the middle.

We all three agree on tow vehicles though.


Some tidepooling. We watched the tide go in and out. We watched the
cormorants flow from right to left.

Saturday, September 11, 2004



Up at seven. Stalled until nine. Drove away from Sacramento, skirted the
bay area, past San Jose, over the hill to Santa Cruz, down the coast highway
to Moss Landing. We were checked into the RV park by noon. Solid traffic.
It was like driving through central Denver. For three hours. For one
hundred sixty miles.

We were prepared for the RV Park. RV parks in the wide-open spaces can be
spacious. RV Parks where real estate is more dear, like at the beach, can
be much tighter. We measure them by the average width between spaces.
Spacious parks can have average site widths of thirty or forty feet. Tight
parks will have widths of fifteen or twenty feet. That's what we expected.
Something like a parking lot. That's not what we got. The spaces are
fairly close, it is high rent real estate, but what a beautiful park! Right
on the peninsula next to the marina. A five minute walk to the beach and
the ocean waves. Nice level cement pads. Grass. Landscaping. Seagulls.
Shorebirds. Pelicans. Blue sky. Seventy degrees. A light ocean breeze.
Ooh. We'll have to stay here a few days.

So what are we going to do? Jacob and Yousun are in no hurry to get the
bassinette. What are we going to do with ourselves until they decide they
want the bassinette delivered? Let's see. We're settled in a campground at
Elkhorn Slough. It's one of the top birding spots in the country. It's one
of the top paddling spots in the country. We have our birding binoculars.
We have our kayaks. What can we possibly do to fill the time? We'll have
to think of something.

Thursday, September 9, 2004


From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 11:50 AM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: california

The wide-open spaces at Utah Lake State Park.



We did something different. Judy did all the guy stuff this morning. She
did all her stuff too, so really that means she did everything. She
disconnected the dump hose, the fresh water line, and the electrical. She
put the slides in, set us down off the jacks, and reinflated the suspension.
She released the air brake, put it in gear, and drove us out of our site,
out of the campground, and down the highway before she pulled over. She
doesn't really want to drive this big thing, but she wants to make sure she
knows how to drive it. She can drive it. She can even drive it towing the

We're getting close to California, so we planned out the remainder of our
trip so we won't get stuck driving the big rig through any large city's rush
hour traffic. Winnemucca to Reno. Past Lake Tahoe. Over Donner Pass.
Interstate all the way. An easy day. We'll stop before we get to
Sacramento, then wait until the next morning after rush-hour, and have an
easy day down to the coast.

It was a good plan. Until we forgot the part about stopping before we got
to Sacramento. We picked out a place to stop for the night on the other
side of Sacramento. The west side. We arrived on the east side of
Sacramento at 4:30 today. Oh well. This rush-hour experience will help us
keep our focus on the rest of the days we drive in California. Stop before
rush hour!

It was a tough drive. I don't know what they do with their gasoline tax
revenue in California, but they don't appear to spend any of it maintaining
Interstate 80. What a rough road! And then, rush hour in Sacramento!
That's it! Don't leave before 9am. Make sure we stop by 3pm. No
exceptions. Not if there are any big cities involved.

A warm evening in Sacramento. Over a hundred.

I think the surge protector protected us tonight. I plugged it in to shore
power. It went through its usual set-up routine. That takes about two
minutes. Then it started rattling and buzzing until I turned it off. I
reset everything and tried it again. Same result. I moved it to another
post and got clean current, so I plugged in there with an extension cord.
The guy from the Park office came to check the outlet with a meter and found
it providing low-voltage. Yea for the surge protector. It kept us from
scrambling or frying our electronics on low voltage.

Rags the cat disappeared. He hasn't been very good at escaping lately. In
fact, he never got out the entire trip, last trip. We searched all over.
No luck. We looked inside again. No luck. It wasn't too alarming. He
always gets out, and he always stays close by. Finally, we found him. Judy
had opened a cabinet door under the dinette seat to get out her step stool a
few hours before. When she was through, she closed the cabinet. There he
was, perfectly happy, sitting alone in the dark, quietly waiting for someone
to open the door and let him out again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004



A morning visit with Tom and Kathy, and a late start. We just needed to
make it to somewhere in Nevada today. We stopped at Winnemucca. The High
Desert RV Park. Not a destination RV Park, but a nice overnighter along the
way. Now all four brothers have stayed here at one time or another.

Spoke with Jacob. He says not to hurry. They're home with the baby, Erin.
She's sleeping in a crib in their room, and they're still working on
adjusting to the baby being here already. We'll check in with them later in
the week to see how they're doing.

Figured out how to make the sliding closet doors in the back work better;
not perfect, I'll have to replace a broken roller for perfect, but much

Before we met up with Tom, I had figured out why the vanity lights had quit
working and I replaced them. We figured out why the side door was
squeaking, and how to lubricate it to make it quiet. Strong cross-winds
would cause the outside rear view mirror housings to rotate out of range.
Found the set-screws and bought the right tool to use to put a stop to that.
Next up, replace a broken fitting for the driver's side windshield washer.
And then there is that window that creaks right next to my head when we're
driving on a rough road. A rough road, like, say, concrete without joiners.
Houses always need attention, don't they.



Spent the night in the bottom left corner of the state. Evanston Wyoming.
Good data connection on the cellphone. Checked our email. Got a note from
brother David. The baby came a month early, on Thursday, her Grandpa's
birthday. Mom, Dad, and baby are fine. But now they have the baby, and we
have the bassinette. We're still three days away. A cold night. Thirty
two degrees. Morning mist rising from Echo Lake as we crossed into Utah.

Met Uncle Johnnie at an empty shopping mall parking lot in Salt Lake City.
Sunday morning. Lots of space to maneuver the rig in and back out again.
Had a nice visit. Judy fixed us all breakfast.

Moved on to meet up with Tom and Kathy at Utah Lake State Park. We each
left our home-state Friday mid-day. We crossed paths in Utah, them headed
south, us headed west. They're out for a month. Got a nice afternoon and
evening visit.

Tom and Kathy have their giant 30' green Lazy Days. You won't find many of
them on the road. Except for the one we found on our evening walk. There
are two campground loops at Utah Lake. We were parked in loop A. The other
30' green lazy Days was parked in almost exactly the same space in loop B.
A conversation with them on our way by, revealed the trouble that had caused
the people in the other Lazy Days. Tom and I both parked in pull-through
spots and left our tow cars attached. The other Lazy Days drivers had been
out driving all day in their tow car, and pulled in just about dark to head
for their camp. He was headed for loop B, but she pointed out their rig in
loop A and directed him to it. It didn't seem quite right, but clearly,
that was their spot. Then, when they got closer, they were really offended
to see how close someone had parked right behind their rig (Tom's tow car
Elmo). When they go close enough to see that the car parked right behind
was actually hooked up to tow, they stopped to reconsider, and figured out
that all was not what it seemed. They moved on to loop B and settled in for
dinner, until these two strangers came by to visit and enjoy their story.

When you visit with Tom, you figure things out. We figured out the easy way
to make our awning retract properly. We figured out why the brake buddy had
quit working. We figured out what I would need to do to realign the backup
camera so it would work as a rearview camera like Tom's and give me a better
view of what is happening down the road behind me, not just straight down in
front of the tow-car. Thanks Tom.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004


Our yard is so birdy. This time of year, the nesting work is done, birds
give up their territorial nature, and are more social as they gather into
flocks. Nobody has begun the long trip south. We wake up to a hundred
birds in our yard every morning. It is a joyful noise.

But off we go to deliver the family bassinette to Jacob and Yousun. Becky
reluctantly parted with it, and put Conner to sleep in the crib. This will
be the 24th baby to sleep in the bassinette since 1937. We can take our
time. The baby is not due for another month. We started the trip Friday
afternoon with a one hundred fifty mile drive to Wheatland Wyoming. An
afternoon and evening visit with Bill and Marge. They have since escaped to
Wyoming, but they are our first Colorado friends, the first people to come
see Becky when she was born. Longtime friends. While we are there, we get
our farm fix. Warm windy Wyoming weather. Cattle pens. Chickens. A
guinea fowl. Blue sky and cumulus. We reacquaint with Shania, the farm
dog. Bill has a calf to bottle feed. The dog waits. I can't say the dog
waits patiently. The dog is a border collie, australian shepherd cross.
Patience is not a part of this bloodline. The dog waits obediently, though,
until Bill finally relents and says "Okay Shania, go get the sheep." The
dog is gone in a flash. One full speed swoop around to the back of the pack
of sheep in a nearby pasture, and in comes the entire flock of twenty
through the gate, down the alley, into the pen, and milling around in the
back with the dog lying dead center in the opening until Bill comes to shut
the gate. No sheep are going to leave this pen. One swoop. Twenty seconds
at most. No stragglers. After, the dog patrols the fence and a few sheep
come up to the other side to get their faces licked. They're all just doing
their job.

They haven't had any rain. Wells have gone dry. They haven't had any rain
all summer, so we brought some with us from Colorado. While we were
there, it started raining after dinner and rained off and on all night. The
next morning, they had six tenths by the time we left. It was still
raining. We left the rain with them, and headed west.

We have a lot of ground to cover. Back to Cheyenne and Interstate 80. Past
the rocky outcroppings at Chugwater. Chugwater chili. They make it there.
We've never stopped to try it, but we'd like to. Railroad tracks. River
bottom. Scrub forest just starting to show some color. Fall is on the way.
Rivers of the old west. The Laramie. The North Platte. The Medicine Bow.
We crossed the southern edge of the state to Evanston.

The freeway has concrete joiners. New concrete freeways can be pretty good.
Not smooth and quiet like an asphalt freeway, but pretty good. But old
concrete freeways... well, Nevermind. I've already ranted enough about how
rough old concrete freeways are. Old concrete freeways are bad, until they
retrofit them with those concrete joiners. Every joint gets several
joiners. But what does a joiner do, really? What can you do with giant
slabs of concrete? If they've warped, you can't bend them back into shape,
can you? If they've shrunk and separated, you can't pull them back together
without making an even bigger gap in the next joint. Old concrete freeways
with joiners are definitely smoother than old freeways without them. Why is
that? What do they do, really?