Friday, March 21, 2008

Chompin' At The Bit

Well we haven't been doin' to much with the relatives here visitin', can't get out on the road. If we don't get a goin' somewhere soon I'm considering callin' this blog RV no-timers. I'm startin' to get a minor case of "Hitch Itch" and I can't seem to shake it, even though I know our wings won't be clipped for much longer. In April we are goin' up to do some much needed maintenance on our place in North Carolina. We have had a home in the Smoky Mountains for nigh on 22 years. It used to be our vacation destination for years but now that we can travel anytime there's a lot more to see out there. We purchased it as a vacation rental and it has done us well over the years, even considered retirin' there, doin' six months there, six months here. I think we'll take the "Lance" with us and maybe do some explorin' up on the Blue Ridge Highway, and there's a Forest Service camp called Standing Indian I always wanted to try.

Well we now have two pigs in the pen, the black & white one (that I call Domino)I posted earlier and this red one.
Ever since the red one went in the pen there has been a bigger black one hangin' around every night at the pen. The boys moved the game camera out there and been getin' pics of her nightly. I guess she must be the red ones mother or maybe we broke up thier MahJong group. The two in the pen and the black one that visits nightly are all "Sows". The other night we had a new visitor, a small black and white "boar", that the boys would like to catch so's they can have little piggys. This is a new pig that we have not seen in the three weeks that they have had the game camera set up, so they were excited. Stopped to see my neighbor, and old cohort from work, the other day for a visit. Seems he's also trappin' him some hogs and got four in the trap in one night, two small "sows", a small "boar" and the black "sow" we're seein' every night. The black one got out of the cage somehow before he had a chance to remove any of them, so she's trap shy for sure now. She must have figured how to open the door and squeeze out, or she just belonged to a magician at one time and it rubbed off. He also caught another small "boar" so he has 2&2 now, gettin' to be a regular pig farmer.

Here are some pics from the game camera.

This is the black one that's comin' round to visit every night.

This one weve only seen once and we'd like to catch it cause we think it's a "boar"

Before I let ya go I'd like ya'll to say a little somethin' to the man upstairs, cause we have a close friend in the hospital with heart trouble. Barb & Noel are our friends from Wiconsin, and where here visiting just last week. Seems she was having shortness of breath and is in the hospital in St. Cloud, FL. Hope to sneak over there and see her come Saturday.

All fer now.

See ya down the road as we're 'Dancin on the Wind'

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Night Shuttle Launch March 11, 2008

Let's see if I can keep todays post short. Got some thing to get done today.

We left home after puttin' the Lance on the truck and loadin' all our possibles inside. Not to much in the way of provisions this trip cause we just planned on cookin' some hamburgers for dinner and goin' out for breakfast the following morn, makes for much easier doin's for the Mrs. We took Linda's Aunt & Uncle with us, a little crowded in that Lance but we got by fine.
We headed for the same general area we were for the last launch and wound up about 500' north of our turn off Hwy. 50. There were line of RV's parked in the grass on the river side of the highway, surprised to see so many people here already as it was just 2 in the afternoon and the launch was scheduled for 2:28AM. Glad we got there when we did cause there was just enough space left for all of us to park, as Noel & Barb followed us up and George & Della came over from Sebring. We all got settled and sat back to enjoy the beautiful day, temps in the low 70's and sun just a shinin'.

Linda's Aunt & Uncle, The Queen herself and George

After dinner the 'Parkin Buzzards' started hawkin' places to park from $10 across the street to $20, per car, and as much as $60 for a 5ver' or big coach on the riverside. I like our spot much better, directly accross from launch pad 39A and how much did we pay this time, $0, nothing, nada. The area really started fillin' up and we felt there were many more people this time than the last launch which was in the afternoon, not in the middle of the night! There must have been 100's of people gathered on the median strip in the highway, tried to get some pics with the camera in night mode, but all the moving traffic played with the shutter I guess. About 11PM we turned in to 'try' and get a little shuteye until closer to launch time. With all that commotion it was like tryin' to sleep on a float in a parade, I got maybe 20-30 minutes in the following 3 hours.

When launch time finally neared, the sky that had been clear as a bell was a solid overcast, causing some concern over the launch probability. Oh sure just my luck, get all these people together, haul truck all the way up here, to get up in the middle of the night to find the launch has been postponed. Well NASA didn't disappoint, everything went off as scheduled, but the weather conditions limited our viewing to about 20 seconds before the shuttle dissappeared into the overcast. These are the two best shots I got because of the weather.

NASA had a much better shot on thier Website, but they seemed to be a tad closer than us.

After the launch and people started to clear out, we all made our way to bed for some much needed sleep. Come mornin', around 8AM, we pulled out and went for breakfast then headed home.

This is the scene, post shuttle, in our back pasture this afternoon.

"Safari Update #2"

This is the pig that has a new home at our house. She's about 75 pounds.

Well not as short a post as I intended but someones got to tell the story.

See ya down the road as were 'Dancin' on the Wind'

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Project Day & Prep for a Shuttle Launch

Today was a project day for me. I've been meaning to install an exterior jack for the TV, on the truck Camper. Everytime we stay in an RV Park that has cable TV we have to run a cable from thier connection thru the sliding window in the front of the 'Lance' to our TV. Not that bad but you have to "Watch out for that wire" moving about inside the camper, and when 'skeeter' season gets here I don't want any voids that'll let them little ladies gettin' thier wickerbill in me and mine. I've had the exterior jack for a while so's I figured I'd see if I could get that done today. I had some ideas on how I was gonna accomplish that job, but every possibility I came up with turned out to be a washout for one reason or another. You see our amplifier and cable hookup is up under the cabinet over the kitchen sinks.
I originally was going to run the connection out the wall behind the TV. Two problems with that, first that would involve having to run a second cable from the connection to the TV and second it would put the connection outside up so high on the camper I would have to use our step stool to connect it. So I'm tryin' to figure how to connect it to the amp, where it should be, and I'm tryin to figure where in the heck did they run thier wires, when I pull out the silverware drawer and son of a gun, there's wires runnin' from under the counter and up the wall.

So I carefully pull up the paneling on the bottom shelf of the cabinet and there's 12v & 110 wires runnin' underneath. There is a small portion of a hole in the wall that can be seen when that panel is installed on the shelf. So now I need to get my cable down thru the wall so I start pushin'. Did you ever try to push cooked spagetti thru a straw, it don't fly, I guess I'll have to go get that fishtape up in the attic to pull it instead (I was just tryin' to cut some corners). Fishtape in hand I decide to pull 2 strings up the wall instead of the cable, 2 because then I'll have an extra for the next time I get a brilliant idea we need some new wires in this area. After the string comes pullin' the cable with one pull string and tyin' off the other for the future.

So now I strip the cable, I use RG-6 cable all the time because it will carry antenna, cable and sattelite signal, and crimp my connection on. Now seems the Lance people didn't put this cable on so they saw no reason to leave me enough room to connect this cable on the center connector on the amplfier. I had to get my RotoZip out and route a trough thru the blocking they provided to mount the amplifier. Now this end is complete.

The rest was easy. I decide to fasten the paneling on the cabinet bottom with small screws instead of the staples the factory used, in case I have to open it up again someday. The way it normally works for me, no matter how much thought I put into it, as soon as I zip that part of the project up, Mr. Murphy smiles down on me and I have to open it up again cause of something I missed or forgot. You know they say the third times the charm, well I'm tryin' my best to get it right the first, if not I'm makin' provisions for the second. Then it was easy to pull the screws that hold in/down the stove/oven to get me access behind it, run my wire, choose where I'm gonna drill out thru the side and install the exterior box with jack. I sealed her up with 'Geocell' chaulking, thats what the Lance people used on most of the exterior. I find it flexible and much, much tougher than silicone. I'll have to add the exterior pics as we had unexpected company arrive as I was finishing up and my camera was already put away. I plan on buildin' a page on the website for all my RV modifications as soon as I can get to it.


Here's the finished product.

As I mentioned in the title of todays post we're preparin' for a shuttle launch. Early Tuesday mornig at 2:28am Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for a launch. We will be there to watch her lift off. I hope to have some nice night shots off the launch, we'll have to see how my camera performs in the dark. I'm gonna load up the Lance in the morning and we'll leave for the Cape right after lunch. We hope to get in a county park along the river directly accross from the launch pad in the same general area we were in last time. We've seen many night launches from our property here but this will be a first, to see it up close and personal. We figure if we get run out of the park we have other options runnin' around in our little heads.

I mentioned company, well Noel & Barb pulled in today with thier 5ver and they are going with us, an unexpected surprise. Linda's aunt & uncle are staying with us and they are going with us as well. They are not "campers" so we'll see how they like it. George & Della are also coming over with thier Lance and will meet us up there. Lots of good friends & excitment, proves to be some fine times.

"Safari Update"

My son borrowed a game camera, one of those you set up and forget. well we've been gettin' all kinds of pictures of the hogs that that are rootin' up everthing. Got a second trap, but just been throwin' corn out gettin'em used to the traps. Last night they set one of the traps and this mornin' we had us small sow. The boys hurried built her a pen and now she has a new home. I'll have to put some pics in my next post.

Hope to see ya down the road as were 'Dancin' on the Wind'