Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

An easy day driving. East on Interstate 40. Across the Pecos. Through Tucumcari. Central Time Zone. Lunch in Texas. South from Amarillo to the state park.

The Grand Canyon of Texas. Two mile 10% incline. First gear engine brake all the way. Lots of good camp spots at the bottom. Haven’t been here in years. Wild turkeys wandering through the camp ground.

Monday, September 29, 2008


The dish is done. Two components replaced; the controller and the modem. The D2 is now a D3. The 6000 is now a 7000. A completely different mechanism for finding the satellite is now in play. It should be more reliable.

We didn’t expect the KOA in Albuquerque to be as nice as Santa Fe Skies in Santa Fe, but it’s not so bad. We thought our proximity to the airport might be a problem. We thought maybe the airplane noise might be an issue as the departing flights turned right over our heads, but it’s hardly an issue at all. We can barely hear the jet planes over the freeway noise. And they haven’t had any more drive by shootings since that one before we got here. And besides, it wasn’t even actually in the KOA campground. It was in the apartment complex on the other side of the chain link fence.

So, back to the satellite dish. We had to get out of the way while they worked on it, so we took a drive to the top of Sandia Peak. 10,600 feet. Nice views. Cool weather. Took a couple walks in the forest. Drove back down and reunited with the motorhome while Mike and Steve finished up making sure all the parts talked to each other. They finished by five and we’re back in our favorite Albuquerque KOA for the night.

Tomorrow, points east…. Or south…. Something south or east.

We’ll let you know.

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Another day at the KOA in Albuquerque. Watched some football. Last weekend our teams were four for four. This week didn’t go so well. Only the Longhorns won. Colorado, the Broncos, and the Boys all lost. We thought if we flew each football flag at the right time our teams couldn’t lose.

Got some chores done. There is always indoor sorting to do. Did some of that. Time to check the tires. Several times a year we have to start the big motor to run the compressor and top off all the tires. It doesn’t take much. We got nitrogen put in all the tires a while back. Nitrogen doesn’t bleed out as fast as normal air does. Periodically, though, we hook the air hose to each of the tires and one at a time let each one come up to the pressure of our air tanks, slightly below 110 pounds. Don’t want to drive on underinflated tires and wear them out.

At the same time we do the tires, we do the batteries. The chassis batteries are sealed and seem to run forever. The house batteries are new, installed last January. We need to slide out the battery drawer, rinse them off, and top them off about as often as we do the tires. Got that done too.

Tomorrow, off to the satellite repair facility to swap out some parts. They told us they could probably do the job in a day, but we’d better allow two just in case. We did. After that, there is no more room at the campground for us. Every place in town is booked for the balloon festival in October.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Santa Fe. Seventy-five degrees. Six mile commute. Great scenery. Great client. We didn’t really need to be done but we are.

Saturday. Travel day. Sixty miles. South. We’re in Albuquerque. We have an appointment on Monday to get some satellite dish components replaced.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Millions of people were seduced into buying homes they couldn’t really afford. Now millions of foreclosures, millions of families being displaced, and the personal financial tragedies do not constitute a crisis. No government help to save them. It’s the free-market economy at work. They shouldn’t have bought homes they couldn’t afford.

Now the companies that behaved so irresponsibly as to create the problem are in trouble, and they are so big that the economy will get wrecked if they go under. Now we have a financial crisis the government has to deal with.

Things go bad and individuals pay the price. The largest corporations in the country behave irresponsibly, make untold amounts of money, things go bad, and they get bailed out by the government (which happens to be a collection of the same individuals that just got burned). We blame the victims and bail out the perpetrators at the expense of the victims again?

It can’t really be this circular, can it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

santa fe

A weekend walk at the Audubon Center outside town.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Along the way

This bus was our neighbor for a day at Grizzly RV Park. Check out the cool paint job. It makes us look absolutely plain……. but then for an extra two million dollars above what we paid for our coach, it should stand out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Along the way

Lunch stop in New Mexico. Same place we stopped last year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Santa Fe

From Durango back to Pagosa Springs, but a right turn on Highway 84 before Wolf Creek Pass. Fade south into New Mexico through rolling forests. Northern New Mexico Magic. Past the steam train station in Chama. South through Espanola to Santa Fe. We’re not in our usual spot here at Santa Fe Skies. We’re over on the hill on the other side.

That’s it for Colorado. We’re working our way south. No pictures of fall colors this year. High country desert now.

Friday, September 19, 2008


And taking photos of the train I had a moment. Two people passing by. Sitting on the rear platform of the parlour car, enjoying their day, enjoying my enjoyment of their day. The picture didn’t come out, it’s out of focus, but it was a moment; a connection.


What a fine piece of machinery. A living breathing huffing chuffing sighing groaning screaming piece of machinery.


We’re in a mountain valley. Ridges on both sides. The steam whistle lives on after the initial blast, ever more gentle as it returns from the mountain walls.


Exactly the train that caught my imagination as a 9 year-old. A Christmas present. An American Flyer train. Something newer and fresher than the Lionel. More realistic. It ran on two rails instead of three. The set was called the Frontiersman. Looked just like this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Every morning. Every evening. Steam trains.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Never know

Never know who you’ll run into. Sitting here at Alpen Rose in Durango, we see Bear and Shortie from Gulf Waters. They live on the same street as we do there. They’re enjoying an exploration of the west this summer.

Nice visit. We’ll see them again down south in about a month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tow gear

The old tow gear was ten or fifteen years old. Nothing fatigued or failed, but it seemed like a good idea to replace it before anything did. Nice new smooth-working tow gear, and the change in brands from Roadmaster Falcon to Blue Ox eliminated the big bar across the front of the Jeep.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Mountains, a stream, and steam train tracks. And that’s just from the bicycle trail in town.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Another place. Alpen Rose RV Park. We’re here in Durango for a job. A quiet drive across Southern Colorado. Quiet all the way to the turn in at the park. Sixty mile an hour two-lane. No traffic behind us. I put on my blinker to turn left. I switched on the exhaust brake. I used the service brakes to slow for the turn. I timed it for oncoming traffic to clear. I checked the driveway I was turning in to. I glanced in the mirror. There was a ratty red pickup truck approaching at high speed just pulling out to pass on the left. That didn’t look good. I saw him realize we were turning left and pull back into the lane behind us and hit his brakes. That looked worse. No way he could stop at that speed. I rolled straight ahead past the turn. He pulled back out and blew by on the left at about fifty.

Things got calmer after that. There was no other traffic around, so the rest was easy. We got the coach leveled, the satellite dish deployed, and the Bronco flag hung by kickoff. The Broncos won it 39 38 by coming from behind and going for two instead of a tie(overtime) in the final moments. Bizarre game. Bizarre calls. Bizarre plays. No defense.

Life on the road.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lathrop State Park

We’ve moved on. An easy day to a favorite place outside Walsenburg, Colorado. A long walk through the pinon juniper foothills. Mild weather. A few birds. A few views.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Judy subscribes online to the Port Aransas Jetty, the weekly newspaper. It spite of what the national forecasters are saying about storm surge and surf down there, the local paper announces that the worst is over and only low-lying areas are flooded.


The impending storm draws surfers to Port Aransas. Today they were off the Horace Caldwell Pier. Hurricane driven swells are pushed to shore. The rising wind improves the shape of the breakers. As some people evacuate to safety, others flock to the opportunity. Tonight, they probably aren’t surfing any more.

Tonight’s the night. After a week of watching, the hurricane finally makes landfall. Don’t get to see what it really looks like until daylight tomorrow. The hurricane won’t hit our property at Port Aransas, but it looks like we might get a 20 foot storm surge there, with high waves on top of that. Don’t know that the sand dunes could hold that back. We’re supposed to head back to Gulf Waters in two weeks. We’ll have to wait a couple days to find out if we still have a place to go there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It’s a zero sum game, this hurricane forecasting. Somebody is going to get hammered, just don’t know who yet. It appears that Port Aransas is no longer the target. The newspeople have all moved up to Galveston Island.

We’re still watching from Colorado.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The hurricane continues its march. Ever closer. Maybe the eye will go north of us?


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


September weather has settled in. Highs in the 70s. The occasional cold front drops it to the 50s. Cloudy, and rainy for a day. Back to the 70s. 80 today.

Guess the Broncos are going to the SuperBowl this year, based on last night’s performance against the Raiders.

Almost time for the third season of Dexter on Showtime. We’ve been treating ourselves to the first and second seasons on DVD. We’ll be ready.

We hang around Becky’s house and she cooks for us. We hang around Matt’s house and cook for him. It all works.

We’ve been watching the course of Hurricane Ike for a week. Originally it looked like it would bend up toward Louisiana, but every day the projected path sags a little farther south. It won’t make landfall before Friday, so there is still considerable uncertainty, but right now it is headed straight for Port Aransas. Here is the article from our local newspaper.

Breaking news – 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9

Recommended evacuation may come Thursday afternoon

Port Aransas may be in for direct hit

Hurricane Ike at noon Tuesday, Sept. 9, appeared to be making a beeline for Port Aransas, according to City Manager Michael Kovacs.

Owners of RVs, high profile vehicles, boats and trailers as well as tourists and “folks who want to beat the curve” may be asked to leave the island Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 10, Kovacs said. That’s also when people on the 211 list – those who have no transportation or have no means of leaving the island – will be taken to Corpus Christi where transportation will be awaiting them.

Thursday afternoon, Sept. 11, the general population of Port Aransas may be asked to leave, he said.

“It takes 22 hours to empty the Coastal Bend based on this storm track,” Kovacs said.

As a result, Port Aransas emergency management officials are coordinating with Corpus Christi and Nueces County officials.

Kovacs said preference is for evacuation to take place in the daylight hours, so the evacuation timeline may be stepped up.

Hurricane Ike is expected to be a Category 3 storm at landfall. A Category 3 storm packs winds from 111 to 130 mph.

“That’s major -- 10 to 12 foot storm surge with waves on top of that. Most new stuff (construction) is 8.5 feet above sea level. The old stuff is barely above 4 to 6 feet or lower. Most housing will have an issue with that,” Kovacs said.

Forecasters have told Kovacs that Ike is “very much like the 1967 Beulah track” when Port Aransas experienced back bay and dune side flooding, Kovacs said.

The Bill Ellis Memorial Library has been closed so staff can assist with issuing disaster cards at city hall to residents who did not get cards in advance of hurricanes Dolly and Gustav.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is preparing the hurricane evacuation lane on I-37 between Corpus Christi and San Antonio (the far right lane marked with a hurricane symbol), and preparing for the general contra flow system in which all traffic is directed away from the hurricane zone, Kovacs said.

The ferryboats will operate “until we get everyone off or the weather is too bad,” according to ferry operations manager Howard Gillespie.

The ferryboats go to the Port of Corpus Christi to ride out hurricanes, and the decision to shut down the ferry operation and head for Corpus Christi is based on weather conditions both in Port Aransas and Corpus Christi Bay, where conditions can be worse, Gillespie said. It takes several hours to move to safe harbor, he added.

To anyone who plans to leave Port Aransas via the ferry, Gillespie advises that “If an evacuation is called for, go as soon as possible.”

The next update will be posted shortly after 5 p.m. today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Hung out with Becky and family for a week. Now we’re gone from St Vrain. We’re at Chatfield State Park hanging out with Matt and kids now.

We might have gotten the best camp spot.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Conner quotes

Driving past Louisville Middle School, Becky explaining that’s where she went to school when she was a kid, Conner asks: “Were you still called Mommy then?”

Later, when Becky was explaining to him that when he grew up, his kids would call him “Daddy”, and his Mommy and Daddy would be “Grandma” and “Grandpa”. He asked if that was when Becky and Brian would get a house of their own.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

St vrain state park

Does anyone have a shortage of Canada geese? I think there are enough here to repopulate the entire planet.

Monday, September 1, 2008


This is how it looks now.


This is how it looked after the windstorm.


This is how it used to look.


We suffered a micro-burst in July. A micro-burst is like a thunderstorm without thunder. It’s like a giant dust devil without the dust. It’s a sudden burst of wind without warning. We had just arrived at St Vrain State Park. I was inside opening slides when it hit. Judy was outside. The slide awnings billowed and shredded before I could get the slides back in. Judy had to wait on the lee side of the motorhome until it passed.

The manufacturer of our coach used a combined slide awning and window awning design for two years then changed to something better. Repair parts aren’t available for the obsolete design, so we got to upgrade. Now we have a front room slide awning separate from the window awning. It’s a window awning that is easier to put up and down, and is more secure when it’s deployed. We got it made out of semitransparent mesh, like the windshield screen we put up to deflect the sun. Even when the awning is out we can still see through and the awning doesn’t block out all the light.