Monday, May 19, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
My wife and I were driving the back road into Crestview. We made a turn onto a side road I was sure would was to the main thoroughfare. It did, but was blocked off for an antique car show. I won't say we're aficionados of antique cars, but we do like looking at them and saying, "They don't make them like that any more" a lot.
So we strolled the main drag (car pun intended) gawking at all the classic automobiles. I didn't bring my camera, so I was snapping photos with my cell phone. It was too bright to see the screen properly, so I just pointed and pressed the button. Wouldn't you know it: in every picture, I had my fingers over the lens.
A little research shows it to be a Gray Rat Snake, which apparently sounds worse than it is. It's non-venomous, and feeds mostly on small woodland creatures. It burrows and climbs trees, but for some reason decided to stretch out in the middle of the road. Maybe the sand was toasty warm.
I know now that the snake is harmless, but the prudent thing at the time was to grant it a wide berth, which I did.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
I go for a walk around the park once or twice a day. It keeps my blood pressure down.
Yesterday, I was strolling in the far side of the grounds when I spied about eight to ten tent, and a lot of bicycles. Oh, and about fifteen people, too.
I strode up to one of the women (who happened to be the leader of the group) and made a joke about how the rain made all kinds of strangely-colored mushrooms spring u pp. We chatted for a while, and I learned that this was a bicycle club from San Diego. They were spending 58 day cycling across the country.
Cool. Something new to add to my bucket list.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Literally, the second the words, "this isn't so bad" passed my lips, it turned to a torrential downpour. In traversing the remaining 60-70 feet, I was soaked to the skin.
Our dogs, who are all brave enough to chase off the toughest intruder, are scardy-cats when it comes to thunder. One boom is all it takes for them to start barking up a storm (pun intended). I was mostly trying to console Cutie, our big dog, because when she gets started, the others are uncontrollable. She curled up n back of my legs, her normal place to hide. Soon, though, that wasn't good enough, so she climbed over me, and crawled up the edge of the bed until she was right in my face. Which she started to lick. That made her feel better for a few minutes, but a sudden crash of thunder had her running for the window to bark away the storm. I got her calmed down, and she curled up behind my legs again. From then, with every roll of thunder, I was wrapping my legs around her to keep her quiet.
The storm finally ended just before dawn, when I managed to get about a half-hour's sleep.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
That, however, only lasted as far as Shreveport. The engine started to run rough, with the occasional backfire. It got worse by the end of the day, when we crossed into Mississippi. The next day, it was gradually worse, until we arrived in Florida, when the backfiring was almost constant. We had stopped several times to try to find a mechanic to fix it. What we found was that RV repair shops don't fix engines, and truck repair shops tend to specialize in diesel.
When we arrived in Florida, I checked over the engine to see if I could determine the problem. It was, as I thought, a loose spark plug wire. We put it back, and the engine runs fine again. One of our neighbors crawled underneath just now to see if I had seated it correctly. I hadn't. It's fixed now, though.
|Here's the troublemaker|
We pulled into Mississippi last night, after 9pm. We were trying to at least make the state line, because it was half the trip, and the more travel we completed yesterday, the less we would have to do today.
We spent the night in a rest area just east of the river. Gas at the nearby station was $3.39. This morning it w a s $3.42. They must have known we were coming.
There was a beautiful view of the river from the rest area. Unfortunately, we left before dawn, so I couldn't take any photos.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
A man pulled up alongside of us, beeping his horn. He shouted something about tire tread, and pointed to our trailer. Pulling over, we saw that one of the tires on our trailer had ruptured (and was gone), and the rim on that side was ruined.
Luckily, he knew of a nearby tire place. We limped over there, and found they were able to help. However, they didn't have the 14-inch rims we needed and so replaced both sides. (On the bright side, we now have a spare for the trailer. An hour and $300 later, we're aback on the road again.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
I had it all figured out: thirty-six hours to Holt, Florida, in three days. Not enough money for overnight stays, so we would sleep in rest areas, and drive whenever we could. $900 would cover the trip, about $300 for parking fees, leaving just enough to pay the bills.
I filled the tank as much as I could before we got on the road. Most (probably all) gas stations have an upper limit on charges. At the first gas station, that upper limit was $125, and I could only fill the tank twice. After that, the gas pump refused my card. Since I had about an inch of gas left in an 80 gallon gas tank, I knew it was not full. A few hours later we stopped for more gas, but the station would only let me pump ninety dollars. A third stop netted me only forty dollars worth of gas. We weren't even out of Arizona yet, and almost $400 was gone.
Since I wasn't yet able to fill the tank to the brim, I had no idea of how many miles per gallon we were getting. Though I knew it was wrong, my best estimate was about 5 miles to the gallon. I redid all of my calculations (which were based on eight miles to the gallon), and realized there was simply no way were going to make it to Florida on the money we have. We could get to Dallas, but would be destitute.
And that's why we're in Amarillo. The money that was supposed to take us all the way across the country brought us here, with just a little bit left over. The place is nice, with clean restrooms and some exercise machines, and free coffee in the morning. Everything we need is within a couple of miles. We are going to be here for at least a month, hoping that I find enough work in that time to finance the next leg of the journey.
In retrospect, I recognize my mistake: my calculations were based on a best-case scenario, excluding the cost of the initial fill up, which should've been around $300. When I do this again next month, I'll assume 5 miles to the gallon, and the need for an initial top-off.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
I've mention our problems to very few people, liking to keep private things private. But I did mention it to a few. Some of those people took up a collection, and presented us with a card and $35 cash. Okay, it's not much. But it was enough to lift our spirits.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Recently, I changed my route, in order to walk more miles each day. Now, instead of walking past the tank, I'm walking toward it. Now I see what was written on it, which I ignored before.