Thursday, August 31, 2017



We get chickadees in South Texas.  Carolina chickadees.



Here in Colorado we get black-capped chickadees.





And mountain chickadees.






Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cross country running


Conner has joined the cross country team.


It’s not easy to watch a cross country race; it doesn’t all happen in one place, but we got the pre-race talk.


Early in the race.


The finish.



And right after.


Conner had a cheering section of at least six (family).  Everybody cheered everybody.  Good support.  He came in about middle of the pack.  A good time was had by all.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dog days of summer


It’s quiet here.  It’s calm.  It’s still warm.  We should be looking at the Continental Divide, but there is a haze in the air from distant fires and we can’t even see past the foothills.



It’s like a dead-zone for birds.  They’re all through claiming territories and raising young for the year.  When I walk here I usually record 30 species.  Yesterday I saw 8.  We hung out a bird feeder.

A feeder here usually gets swamped by birds, but this trip it remains untouched.  I guess we’re not usually here in August.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Driving the Jeep


Driving the Jeep, with lane sensing technology, is somewhat akin to driving a motorcycle with a rider on the back who is anticipating the corners and “helping” steer.  You end up not only steering the corner, but steering the corrective steering.  I think the lane control is a great safety idea, and I want to keep using it to get used to it, but we’ll want to adjust the sensitivity, or turn it off on winding mountain roads.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

We sent out this picture of the motorhome and Jeep


It makes the Jeep look pretty small.


So I took a picture from this angle for a better perspective.


Now the Jeep looks almost as big as the motorhome.


I’m reminded of freight trains along the highway.  They don’t put all the engines up front, they use distributed power.  Imagine topping a hill with a 100 car train and maybe five engines altogether.  On the way down the other side, the front engines will actually be holding back the momentum on the cars behind.  Meanwhile, the engines at the back are still pushing the second half of the train uphill.  If we fired up the Jeep and redesigned the tow gear to tolerate compression stresses, we could do the same thing with our setup!


We’re at St Vrain State Park for a few days.


2017 Summer Trip Map


Dinner with Becky and family!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Poor Judy


She has been waiting this whole trip, months, to get her left hand fixed.  Now it’s pretty much useless; there is no grip left at all.  She can use her right hand better and better since surgery a year ago, but almost every right hand action requires a left hand to hold something steady against the force (like opening a jar).  Not that I see this as a problem; it’s job security for me.  I reach, grab, and open everything she needs.  J


We have an appointment to get her left hand taken care of, but guess what, her doctor and appointment are in Corpus Christi, which is in the middle of a long-lasting weather event!  If she can’t get her surgery right away, that will suck, but how bad can she afford to feel for being inconvenienced by the storm, when so many people have lost their homes already, with more damage to come?  Our trip back to Texas was all planned out, but now we’ll have to watch and wait; see what route is open, which roads are closed, and when she can reschedule her doctor’s appointment.



We’re at the Laramie KOA.


2017 Summer Trip Map


It’s a big blue beautiful sky.


Friday, August 25, 2017

A $700,000,000 lottery payout


To one winner.  That person’s life has been changed forever.  Hopefully in a positive way.  But what a terrible idea.  One person.  $700,000,000.  A million dollars could change one person, or family’s, life.  Why not 700 winners of a million dollars each?


I’m such a communist.



A three-state day.  Idaho, Utah, and just into Wyoming.  We’re in high desert, but we’ve climbed up into the Rockies now, at 6,700 feet, and have finally gotten out of the forest fire smoke.


2017 Summer Trip Map


Thursday, August 24, 2017

There's a hurricane coming


To the Texas Gulf Coast, but we’re not going to be there to see it (or to run from it).  Mustang Island, where we used to live at Gulf Waters RV Park, might get a direct hit.  Most of the island is 3 to 6 feet above sea level.  They’re expecting an 8 to 10 foot storm-surge.  Doesn’t sound good.  What would a barrier island that’s 6 feet above sea level look like in a 10 foot storm surge?


Then it’s supposed to rain for days.  The entire island is under a mandatory evacuation order.  We’ll probably get a lot of rain at Sandpipers down in the Rio Grande Valley too, where we live now.  Flooding.


We drove east to Twin Falls, ID today.  Finally getting less forest fire smoke than we’ve had for the last six weeks.


2017 Sumer Trip Map


We’ll keep an eye on the storm from way-north, and hope for the best for everyone and everything in the path of this hurricane.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017



We were just heading out on a trip to Colorado and back!


But the trip took on a life of its own and it ended up looking like this:


2017 Summer Trip Map


We’ve gotten everything we needed from Beaver Coach Sales and Service.  Now we’re out on the next leg of this trip.  We drove to Burns, OR this afternoon.  This isn’t an elegant park we’re at, but they made a spot for us, and it’s nice to be here and on the road again.


As we were waiting to get the new car all set up to tow, I got to thinking about how well the adaptive cruise control and lane sensing work on the Jeep.  How much longer will we need to mess with tow gear and instead be able to just tell the car to follow us and check the rearview camera every once in a while to make sure it hasn’t gotten lost in traffic?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

All good things


We’ve left our Crooked River Ranch spot


and our kind hosts Rick and Sheri.


And the Deschutes River.


And Steelhead falls.



We’re back to the shop in Bend.


The towcar was supposed to be finished today but this afternoon they discovered they needed one more part.  The part will come in tomorrow morning.


Monday, August 21, 2017

We celebrated the day with an eclipse brunch



The camera automatically adjusts for ambient light, so the photos of just before


And during the eclipse


Don’t show as dramatic difference as there was.  It got dark enough for the solar garden lights to come on.


As it got dark, it got noticeably cooler; about ten degrees.  The goldfinches that had been savaging the sock feeders only moments before all disappeared except for one solitary bird that sat out in the open, plaintively peeping until it got completely dark, then he went quiet too.  Our total bird count for the duration of the eclipse was 1.


I took just a few pictures of the eclipse.





Mostly we all just soaked in the moment.


The eclipse is coming!


But we’re ready.



All of us!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Crooked River Ranch


2017 Summer Trip Map


That’s where Rick and Sheri live.


They’ve got a house and property.  A spot with hookups for our RV next to the pole barn.



A patio in the back.


That looks out over this.


Not only that, they feed birds!


This is the birdiest place we’ve been for weeks!  Quail running all over the ground, scrub-jays, a stellar’s jay, goldfinches, and a pinon jay!  Year bird!  All day long, there are birds.


Oh yeah; and we get to hang out with Rick and Sheri.  What a great place to be.


Friday, August 18, 2017

It's a funny thing


We actually like it here at the Beaver Coach Sales and Service parking lot.  They drive the bus into the bay every morning about 8:00 to work on it.  We get to go in and out of it during the day as we need to.  We leave here and go out in the car during the day as we can, and come back in the afternoon to the coach rolled back out and plugged in waiting for us. 



We especially like the way it looks with that accountants’ gray Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited parked right in front of it.  That was the reason for our long day yesterday.  We’ve been looking at Jeeps along the way.  We didn’t like the dealer in Bend, but we liked the dealer in Vancouver, Washington, so we drove back there, traded in the minivan, and returned here in the Jeep.  We loved the minivan, but it was just too much trouble to tow.  We’ll be glad to have the freedom of a Jeep again anyway.



It’s got Autostop/start (Like I’ve been talking about).  Pull up to a stop sign and the engine shuts off.  Parallel and perpendicular park assist.  It’s got safety features.  It overrides unintentional lane drift.  If it sees a front-end crash coming, it first warns, then brakes if you don’t.  It’s got adaptive cruise control; set a speed and if traffic slows, it adjusts to maintain distance, even if it has to stop all the way!  If traffic starts again within a few seconds, so does the Jeep.  Maybe this is the way we get self-driving cars; a little bit at a time; incremental features we learn to depend on more and more, until human driving skills aren’t required at all.


They’ve finished with the bus, but they didn’t get finished rigging the Jeep up to tow.  We only got the Jeep to them this morning, so no surprise there.  We’ll leave here tomorrow morning and relocate to Rick and Sheri’s place north of here.  They are kind enough to host us through the weekend, and the eclipse.


We’ll come back to Bend on Tuesday to get the Jeep finished.