Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Eggs

No, no, no.... those are not Easter eggs!


But, I'll pick them up anyway, gladly!

The Black Beasties are visiting again.


They come with our house sitter when we are away,
and they will return to their home this week. 
I'll miss them.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Friday, March 29, 2013

By The Numbers: Home

HOME!

  • 7270:   miles Mr. Dreamy drove the RV on the trip
  • 782:   gallons of fuel pumped into the RV (ouch)
  • 90:   number of days we were 'on the road'
  • 57:   gallons of propane used for heating and cooking
  • 24:   campgrounds visited
  • 21:   most days spent at one park (tie: Ft. Clinch State Park at Fernandina Beach, FL and Palm Creek RV Resort in Mesa Grande, AZ)
  • 10:   states visited with the RV (but we visited two additional states in the car)
  • 8:   number of feet the motorhome was driven by Dreaming on this trip (4 feet forward and 4 feet backward maneuvering in a camp site)

The dogs were thrilled to be home. They went right to work telling the bunnies who was boss. They chased bunnies for at least an hour before their tongues were dragging! No bunnies were harmed in the pursuit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crawling into my Computer

As I look through a magazine, or a book, or a site on the Internet and I pause at a picture of a beautiful place... I stare at the photo and try to imagine being there. I fantasize about some sort of magic that pulls me into the picture. Do you do that?

It happened to me recently. For real!

Mr. Dreamy and I were out driving. We were driving to nowhere, so that whenever we reached 'nowhere', we could turn and drive another 7 miles south. And let me tell you, there is a lot of 'nowhere' out there!
The road to nowhere runs straight,
for miles,

until it begins to climb into the hills.

The road to nowhere turns...

and climbs,
over hills...

and crosses rickety bridges, 
over swales...


we followed the dusty trail...

and finally reached our destination. We were, according to our maps and GPS,  seven miles south of nowhere.

And then it happened; I felt like I crawled into my computer as we drove through the gates of The 7MSN Ranch. I was in such awe of the magic, that I didn't even think to take my phone out to take pictures!

Carson greeted us as we stepped out of the car. Introductions followed. She even knows Mr. Dreamy's name! We met Smooch and I had a brief conversation with her. She is even cuter in person!

We walked through the new sun room and oohed and ahed over Carson's new addition to Heaven on Earth! Mr. Dreamy won her heart when he commented about how much he liked the color of the floor. It looks fabulous!

Then, after cutting up the watermelon we brought as a treat, and grabbing a handful of crackers, we were off to meet the zoo crew. Oh, my. More Heaven! I am so in love! I have known the crew from pictures and Carson's interpretation of their thoughts. But to see them. And touch them. And feed them.  Oh, what fun! If I had taken a picture of me, it would be a picture of  'happy'!

We met Wynonna first. Sadly, the picture I took was too out of focus to use. Perhaps because I was laughing! Wynonna apparently was interrupted mid-spa treatment. But, she was gracious and came waddling out of her home with her head covered in a pile of straw and dust. Perhaps she knows something we don't! I'm thinking I should have grabbed a few handfuls of the New Mexico dirt that blows into her pen - Carson ought to look into marketing Wynonna's miracle mud mask!

Then... drum roll.... the donkeys. Alan, George and Lucy actually left their supper to come over to the fence to say, "Hi"! I'm thinking the rattle of the baggie containing watermelon pieces may have given them a clue.


Carson has adopted a special routine for feeding the equines their treats where no one gets trampled in the process. Each equine, including the handsome Hank, gets a piece, in turn.


Lucy tried to push her head through the railing a bit further than the others, hoping I would forget I had already given her a slice.

And then, it was time to go. 


Even George had something to say about that!

Picacho Peak

When I think of the Civil War I think of Georgia and South Carolina. I think of Fort Sumter. I think of Atlanta and "Gone With the Wind". When I think of the Civil War I don't think of Arizona!

 Source

However, April 15, 1862 marked the date of the westernmost conflict in the Civil War with the battle of Pichacho Pass. In my opinion the term 'battle' seem a bit grand, as the conflict involved only 10 Confederate cavalry attacked by 13 Union cavalry. The skirmish was mismanaged by the Union leader, James Barrett, and after an hour of shooting, with losses on both sides, (including Barrett himself) the remaining Union soldiers withdrew. 

We were fortunate to be in the area of Pichacho Peak for a reenactment of the battle. Reenactment? Well, not really. But the men had fun pretending to fight and the spectators, including myself, enjoyed the day in the Arizona sun. 

As I sat with Picacho Peak at my back, I could see the Confederate soldiers forming ranks in the field. In the real skirmish, the men were all mounted. No horses here, sadly! 


The Union forces advance with far more men than were involved in the original conflict. 




Cannons fire back and forth as the ranks engage each other in combat, taking shots at each other from the brush. The announcer explained that unlike real soldiers in the war, these soldiers would not die, at least not until their powder ran out. And, furthermore, with the investment made in purchasing the authentic clothing, most would not fall to the ground!


Following 'the battle' we wandered through the encampment.  Most of the reenactors camped out for the weekend and one could occasionally glimpse a concession to modern times when blowing tent flaps revealed inflated mattresses or comfy cots. We strolled through at lunch time. Some groups remained true to the times, dining on cold sausage and large chunk of cheese on tin or wooden plates. Others enjoyed another concession to modern times, purchasing burgers and chips from the concession stand. (So, is that how we got that word?!!)


Many individuals and groups displayed various antiquities. A woman was spinning brown cotton, and explained the differences between types of cotton; white, green and brown. Did you know that there was something besides white cotton?!
Antique fire arms were exhibited, including this Gatling gun. This particular model had a 'stick cartridge', the long, black rectangle on top, which held about 20 rounds of ammunition. More cartridges are stored in the box next to the gun. 


Medical equipment of the day was displayed and a 'Doctor' shared the gory details of field surgery. One fellow rather enjoyed remaining in character as he looked for medical help!



Monday, March 25, 2013

Gypsy Jabbers: Bird Dog

I see the bird. 
I see it in the tree.  
I see a bird on a nest in the tree. 
I see baby birds in the nest with the mama bird. 
I know they are there.
They don't fool me when they sit like statues.
I want the birds. 
I could be a mama bird. See?! 
I can sit still for hours and hours and hours. 
Just like you are doing, Mama Dove. 
I have as much patience as you do. 
Maybe more.
I have hair that can keep baby birds warm. 
Let me up there to take care of your babies.
Better yet, why don't you come down here.
I can take care of you.
Heh, heh heh!


And you thought I was a herding dog!

If you 'biggify' the picture you can see
two chicks squabs in front of mama's breast.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

3 weeks, 2 days, 7 hours, 38 minutes

That is how long I have been without a reliable, in-house, Internet connection! A lifetime, it seems!

Nope - I haven’t been incarcerated. I think inmates probably have better access to the Internet than I have had!

Nope - I didn’t go summer in Antarctica. But, even there, I am sure scientists and personnel living there have access to the Internet.

Nope - I haven’t been at the Space Station, and even there I am sure they are ‘connected’.

I have simply been out on our RV, in campgrounds that did not have connectivity. Oh sure, I had the occasional visit to a hot spot - but sometimes Mr. Dreamy just didn’t want to relax at Starbucks for the time it would take for me to read blogs, leave comments and post my own updates. Geesh... he just doesn’t understand!

So what does one do when there is no Internet? 

It is amazing how much more time I had! I would bet you all know that! I think we all spend more time than we sometimes care to admit writing and tweaking posts, uploading pictures or finding other illustrations and responding to comments. Then, there are the hours we can spend reading other blogs and responding to our blog friends’ posts. Oh, so back to my original question.... what does one do?

Here are a few examples of how I filled my extra hours!
  • water aerobics class
  • walking the dogs
  • bike riding
  • using the agility equipment with the dogs
  • visiting with new friends
  • feeding the dogs
  • playing water volleyball
  • brushing the dogs
  • sightseeing
  • taking the dogs to the dog park
  • reading
  • taking a pickleball lesson
  • hiking with the dogs
  • shopping
  • cleaning up after the dogs
I am still not home... but we have turned the RV in that direction. The fact that my house had 12” of snow this weekend is not exactly inviting! 

I can’t promise that I will be back to daily posting. Nor can I promise to visit all of your blogs, like I’d like to. But, maybe I’ll have more opportunity than I have had in the past few weeks... and eventually I will be home with my very own high speed wireless router and Internet access!! 

I read an article about what long term RV travelers miss about home. One person missed long, luxurious showers. Another commented about having only one car to share between two folks. A third person missed their own washing machine and dryer. No one commented about missing a decent Internet connection!

I can’t wait to hear read what has been going on in your lives and I look forward to telling you about some of the things I have seen and done.... when I finally get a good connection to my world!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Camp for Old Folks


Now, for your entertainment,
here is my version:

Hello Brudder! - Hello Sistah!
I'm at camp - with the Mistah!
Life is really - entertaining,
It's been sunny and I missed the day of raining.

This camp is really - just a big resort,
For the seniors - leaving their home ports.
Driving south - to escape the cold.
Most of the time we claim that we are not "that old!"

Half of Missouri - And the Dakotas,
Lots from the northwest - And from "Oh Canada!"
Here for the winter - where it's not dreary
Is there anyone left in Winnipeg or in Calgary?

We can golf - we can play pickleball.
It's a darn shame - we can't do it all.
We've been swimming - we've been biking.
I'm glad I'm not at home where it is icing. 

We walk the dogs - to the doggie park.
There they romp and play - Tucker barks!
It is something that they both enjoy,
But we must tell Tucker Gypsy's not his squeaky toy.

In a few days - we will have to go.
Then we'll head north - but we'll drive real slow.
We'll go home - it is time, you see,
It is time that we both learned to face reality!

Enough of the awful rhymes! We are at a 55+ RV and golf resort. It tickles me to see all of the 'seniors' acting like kids at camp. Everyone rides around on bikes, or in golf carts, on their way to all kinds of activities, following very busy schedules. They are so busy that they tire easily and happy hour has been moved to accommodate them... drinks are poured around 4:00 PM! I took a quick trip back home to visit with my dad, who is doing quite well. Mr. Dreamy felt that I was cheated out of my 'camp' experience, so he wanted to stay at camp for another week. 

It is time for me to head to the pool for morning exercises! 

More later.....

Evening on our 'street' at camp


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Centus: Code Red

Jenny Matlock has asked us to incorporate the words, "Code Red" in our responses, using no more than 102 words. I generally challenge myself to use each and every one of the 100 words in my writing, but this week I decided to give in to my first reaction to the prompt.

To see how other folks responded to the challenge, click on the Saturday Centus image below and click on links on Jenny's site.



Code Red!
Options discussed
Decisions made
Emotions raw

Rush to the hospital
Edgy and exhausted
Death cheated this day




Friday, March 8, 2013

Fright Lines

When you enter into the world of RV ownership it can be confusing, at best. It is very different than owning a car. The car is a neat package. It all comes together and Ford, or Toyota, or whoever made it, basically makes all of it, or at least takes responsibility for all of it and tries to help resolve problems you may have with any part of the vehicle. An RV isn't like that. An RV is made by up to four different entities; the manufacturers of the chassis, the engine, the transmission and then there is the body builder.


Our motorhome has an Allison transmission and a Cummins engine attached to a Freightliner chassis. It has a body by Tiffin. We go to Tiffin for repairs or help with the 'home' and to Freightliner for most repairs having to do with how the thing moves; the engine and transmission and all of the pieces that connect the two and make it go.


However, sometimes things happen that cause a bit of finger pointing, and you are told that you need to talk with Allison, or Cummins or someone else.

A few weeks ago we were in Red Bay, AL at the Tiffin service center for repairs and service on the home. Then we made our way to Gaffney, SC, and visited the Freightliner service center for repairs and service on the engine and power train. You know, adding fluids for the engine, aligning the wheels... that sort of thing.

While we were in Gaffney, Mr. Dreamy and I went to camp. We participated in "Camp Freightliner" to learn more about the chassis and its operation. The camp was jam packed with information. 
Sometimes more than I wanted to know.
Sometimes making my head hurt!
It was frightening!


I mean, take a look at this chart... one of many. The red line does this, the green does that, but if this button is pushed it overrides some sort of switch and something else happens. Oy-vey!

But, I put in my time and tried not to get distracted by 
blog posts, 
or Facebook, 
or email!
I took notes and nodded my head, 
sometimes pretending I understood.

and,

in the end,

I earned my shirt!

Source

The next day we went by the Freightliner factory. It was amazing! 


They don't allow pictures, so I can't show you how immaculate the factory was. I can't show you the nifty little robot engine that pulls carts with parts from one area to another. I can't show you the men and women putting each and every piece on the chassis. It begins on one end of the line as some lengths of steel that are then bolted together. The engine, which is also partially assembled in the factory, is bolted on, along with tanks, batteries and  a suspension. The chassis moves sedately down the line and more and more is attached. Finally, the engine is cranked up and someone drives the chassis out the door.


The day we visited the factory they were planning on building 26 chassis for school busses, 26 chassis for motorhomes and 28 chassis for delivery trucks.  Wow!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Check-Out Any Time You Like

We took a side trip to Mineral Wells, Texas, to do some shopping. (Trust me, Mineral Wells is not the shopping hub of the nation!) Imagine our surprise at seeing this grand building looming over the city of 16,000.


A few clicks on the iPhone and I discovered that this is the Hotel Baker, which opened days after the stock market crash of 1929.


This opulent hotel had a bowling alley, restaurants, meeting rooms, a beauty shop and a swimming pool for guests staying in any one of the 450 guest rooms.


The hotel was built to encourage tourism for local spas where guests could enjoy the healing waters, after which the city was named.


The hotel went into bankruptcy in the 30's, served as a temporary home for military dependents of soldiers at Fort Wolter during World War II, and managed to stay open until the 70's, despite declining visitors. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and remains vacant.

Upon seeing the derelict building, I couldn't help but think of Disney's Tower of Terror at the MGM Studios.
There is a likeness, don't you agree?


I react emotionally to old buildings. I can almost feel the energy and hear the hubbub of voices from the past. Maybe I have psychic abilities that I have never channeled! People have reported ghost sightings in the Hotel Baker. One reported ghost is the mistress of the hotel manager who committed suicide by jumping from the top of the 14-story building. Visitors have commented that they smell her lavender perfume, hear her footsteps, or see her red lipstick on the rims of glasses. Another ghost is that of Douglas, the Elevator Operator... what? Maybe there is more to the Tower of Terror connection than I thought! Douglas' story is rather gruesome. He was crushed, at the waist, by the elevator. Evidently that part of the story is true. As to whether this was murder, planned to look like an accident, or whether it was truly an accident is left to conjecture. I am not certain that I'd like to encounter Douglas, his upper body has reportedly been seen floating in the air of the basement. But, if I did happen upon him, perhaps then we would know the real story!

What kind of reactions do you have to old buildings? 



For more information about Hotel Baker visit:

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