Nick Russell

May 232017
 

Note: With the official start of summer less than a month away, I thought today would be a good time to repost this blog from 2010.



A lot of us snowbirds and fulltimers who have been sitting still much of the winter are hitting the road, and weekend warriors are getting their RVs ready for vacations and summer camping trips. Is your rig ready for summer travel?

RVs are complex machines, and while I am far from a technical person, even I am capable of taking a few steps to make sure our motorhome is in the proper shape for the long miles ahead. It doesn’t take a mechanic or an RV tech to prep an RV for hot weather travel.

It takes just an hour or so to inspect your RV or tow vehicle’s chassis systems, which is time well spent, and can avoid hours sitting on the shoulder of the road waiting for a tow truck to arrive, and even more time spent in a repair shop.

The first step is to check all fluid levels: engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, radiator coolant level, and windshield washer fluid. While you’re in the engine compartment, check your air filter. A dirty air filter can really cut down on your fuel mileage, and make your engine work harder, too. Also, check all of your belts and hoses, as well as hose clamps for cracks or worn spots that can lead to failure (and expensive repairs) on the road. Spend a few moments looking over your wiring. Is anything frayed or loose? Did critters spend the winter nesting in your engine compartment, gnawing on the wire insulation?

Step two is to check your windshield wiper blades for wear, and then turn them on and be sure both are working properly. Then, check all exterior lights, including headlights, turn signals, emergency flashers, brake lights, and marker lights.

Next, check your starting and house batteries to be sure they are filled with distilled water, that all cables are tight, and that there is no corrosion on any connections.

Walk around your RV, looking for any leaks, and if you spot any suspicious spots on the ground, check to see where they came from.

Your tires are next. Check for uneven wear, any cracking or weather checking, and use a good tire pressure gauge to be sure all are properly inflated. I use a TireTraker tire pressure monitoring system to make this chore easier, and to monitor my tires when on the road.

Next, deploy all of your awnings. Are they working properly? Are they worn or frayed? Are the anchor clips on your window awnings secure?

Once you are done outside the RV, go inside and make sure that your air conditioner(s) are working properly. Extend and retract your slide rooms. Do the same with your leveling jacks. Check your refrigerator and water heater for proper operation if the RV has been stored all winter. When things sit for long periods of time, the gremlins seem to go to work on them.

No matter where you live, or where you spent the winter before starting your summer travels, it is always easier and cheaper to get a problem fixed at home than it is when you are broken down on the road.



A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – It’s true, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

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Facts Is Facts

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
May 222017
 

I was a little surprised when I got an email and blog comment from someone accusing me of being insensitive to African-Americans because of yesterday’s blog, In Search Of Aunt Jemima. But then, I guess I shouldn’t have been because I know some people wake up in the morning looking for some reason to be offended. But really, talking about a product that is currently available on grocery store shelves makes someone a racist? When’s the last time you saw somebody picketing Safeway because they sell Aunt Jemima pancake syrup? And by the way, the person who sent the email isn’t a person of color, they are as white as snow. Oops, I probably shouldn’t have said that, either.



I suspect this is the kind of person that thinks they should take down monuments to Confederate soldiers because that will erase the history of slavery. As an old (black) friend of mine’s grandmother used to always say, facts is facts whether we like them or not.

Anyway, enough of that. It’s been a while since Miss Terry and I went down to our fishing pier and just sat and enjoyed the scenery, so that’s what we did yesterday. Walking out on the pier, the water was so clear that we could see to the bottom, where crabs and other marine life were busy doing their thing.

Even though it was in the upper 80s, there was a nice breeze blowing off the water. Sitting on a shaded bench watching the boats going by, the fish jumping, and the birds diving into the water in search of a meal was very relaxing. We reminded each other that the pier and the easy access to the Intercoastal Waterway were both part of the reason we bought the home we did, and that we need to do that more often. We really do live in a very special place.

We spent an hour or so just soaking it all in, then stopped by to see our friend Jim Lewis, whose allergies have him under the weather little bit. Jim was busy coughing and sneezing, and he seems to have both down to a science. I wish I owned stock in the Kleenex company.

After we left Jim’s, we drove into New Smyrna Beach with the intention of driving down the beach. This is one of the few places in the country where you can drive on the beach, another being Long Beach, Washington, another of our favorite places. In fact it was a real tossup between there and here when we were looking for a home.

Unfortunately, when we got there the tide was too high and the beach was closed to traffic. That happens sometimes. Better safe than sorry. So we made a stop at Publix to pick up a few things, then came home and Terry fixed dinner.

We notice that with so many snowbirds gone, the roads, stores, and other businesses are a lot less busy lately. Having lived in a resort area in the White Mountains of Arizona before we hit the road as fulltime RVers, we know that the local economy depends on those tourists and snowbirds, but we also know that the folks who live here year round kind of breathe a sigh of relief when everybody leaves and things get back to normal for a while.

Congratulations David Schumaker, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. We had 53 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



Thought For The Day – Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now, and then got it back.

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May 212017
 

Note: This story is from the September-October, 2014 issue of the Gypsy Journal

We’ve all sat down to a breakfast of pancakes and Aunt Jemima syrup at one time or another. While munching away, did you ever look at the picture of the large African American woman on the label and wonder if she was real? You may be surprised to learn that several women portrayed the pancake princess over the years.



Wikipedia says that the inspiration for Aunt Jemima was an old minstrel show song called Old Aunt Jemima and that the Aunt Jemima character was prominent in minstrel and vaudeville shows in the late 19th century. Some accounts claim that the character was actually a white actor in blackface, who may have been a German immigrant.

In 1890, the R. T. Davis Milling Company, which produced Aunt Jemima pancake mix, hired a former slave named Nancy Green to be their spokesperson. Until her death in 1923, Green represented the company, including appearing at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893.

The Quaker Oats Company acquired the Aunt Jemima brand in 1926, and in 1933 hired Anna Robinson, reported to weigh 350 pounds, to play Aunt Jemima as part of their promotion at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.

She was replaced by Anna Short Harrington in 1935, who played Aunt Jemima for fourteen years. Born in North Carolina in 1897, Harrington supported five children and was able to buy her family a large house with her earnings.

Over the years several other women played the role of pancake icon and things get cloudy trying to identify who they were and when. Rosie Moore was the last woman to represent the character Aunt Jemima for the Quaker Oats Company, touring the country as a company spokesperson until the late 1960s. Her headstone at the Hammond Colony Cemetery in Robertson County, Texas, said she played Aunt Jemima for 25 years.

In the Red Oak Presbyterian Church Cemetery a few miles north of Ripley, Ohio we found the grave of yet another Aunt Jemima. According to her gravestone, Rosa Washington Riles was the third Aunt Jemima employed by Quaker Oats, recruited in the 1930s and touring until 1948. Though I couldn’t find any official documentation by the company of her employment, at least one website said she was employed as a cook in the home of a Quaker Oats executive names Mills and went out for pancake demonstrations at her employer’s request.

While many women played the character, a lot of black women felt that the portrayal of a slave-era “mammy” was offensive and hurt the image of African American women. The term “Aunt Jemima” became slang to describe a female version of the offensive label “Uncle Tom.” Current Aunt Jemima products depict a slender, more modern woman with a stylish hairdo.

To me it doesn’t matter who the “real” Aunt Jemima was, as long as my pancakes are covered with lots of her sweet syrup.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



Today is your last chance to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

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May 202017
 

As I said in yesterday’s blog, we purchased a SimpliSafe security system for our house and yesterday Terry and I installed it. It was a quick and fairly easy process, just like their advertisements say,



The first step was setting up the base station, which receives signals from all the different sensors we installed and transmits to the company’s monitoring hub. Setting it up basically consisted of plugging it in. Even I could do that.

Then we installed a keypad near our front door, and another one at the door between the garage and Terry’s loom room, which is how we usually come and go from the house.

We also installed entry sensors on the doors. Everything attaches with 3M double sided tape, or you can use screws if you prefer.

Next we installed motion sensors throughout the house. I was also going to buy glass break sensors, but the tech I was working with at SimpliSafe to design our system said that would be redundant.

And this is a 105 decibel siren. That alone should scare off any intruder. We also installed panic alarm buttons in a couple of places, and security cameras. All in all, I think we are well protected.

Everything is pretty much plug and play. You mount the sensors or whatever, remove the tab to activate them, and the base station tells you the new component is wirelessly connected and working.

The only snag we ran into was that even though we are less than a mile away from a tower, the Verizon signal here is very flaky and can’t be depended upon. When I activated SimpliSafe’s monitoring, they could not get a reliable signal. I had expected this, since our Verizon cell phones are so undependable here at the house. Sometimes we will have three bars of signal and five minutes later we won’t have any.

I called SimpliSafe’s tech support, which has been very easy to work with, and after running a couple of signal tests the person I was working with said they will send me out a new T-Mobile module, which is supposed to be better for our specific area. He wasn’t sure if it would get to us before Monday, so until then we can use the system, it just won’t be remotely monitored.

Overall we are very pleased with the equipment and the quality of service we have seen so far from SimpliSafe. I think it’s going to turn out to be a good investment.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Don’t worry what people think. They don’t do it very often.

Check Out Nick’s E-Books In Our Online Store

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A Lot Going On

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
May 192017
 

Now that we are getting closer to the end of the month and to the start of our summer travels, we have a lot going on. We don’t have an exact departure date yet because I have an appointment with my new doctor at the VA Medical Clinic in Daytona Beach on May 31st. Assuming he doesn’t want to schedule me for any tests or some kind of a follow-up visit, we hope to be on the road the first week of June.



In the meantime, my son Travis and his wife Geli will be here next week for a few days, and we’re getting ready for their visit. Don’t ask me how this happened, but while I am a confirmed meat and potatoes man, my son and his wife are vegans. I may need to have a DNA test done just to check on that paternity thing.

With the batteries topped off and the tires aired up, we moved the Winnebago back to the storage yard until we are ready to start loading it for our trip. We have plenty of room to leave it parked on the concrete apron in front of the house, but the rules in our little community say it can only be there for a few days for loading and unloading. Folks are pretty mellow about things like that and nobody seems to have a problem with it. In fact it was parked here for over a week when we were moving into the house but I try to get along with people and don’t want to push things.

One concern we had was leaving our house unattended for so long. Our little community is very safe and there aren’t many problems, but things do happen. Of course, it won’t be completely unattended, since my friend Jim Lewis lives just down the street and has a key and will be coming by to pick up our mail and check on the house every day or two.

But just in case, I ordered a security system from SimpliSafe and it arrived yesterday. So part of today’s activity will be getting it installed. It’s a wireless system and it looks like it’s pretty easy, and will include 24/7 monitoring. I probably went a little overboard in the number of sensors and motion detectors and such that I ordered with it, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind. I looked at several different companies but SimpliSafe was one of the best recommended around. I have a friend who was in the security business for most of his life, and he told me if he were going to order a system it’s what he would get.

Along with the security system, yesterday UPS also delivered printed copies of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels series. If you prefer printed books over e-books, you can order your copy today on Amazon.



When Miss Terry and I were out running errands yesterday she spotted this hawk standing in someone’s yard. We watched it for a couple of minutes as it just enjoyed the sunshine, then it flew up to the roof of a house.

It hadn’t been there more than a few seconds when a small black bird came down and landed beside it. I told Terry the newcomer was going to become the hawk’s dinner if it wasn’t careful. Boy, was I wrong! The next thing we knew the little bird was on the attack, diving at the hawk that was many times its size like some crazed Kamikaze or something. The hawk wasn’t having any of that and it took off, looking for someplace more peaceful to hang around.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – No matter how rich and famous you become, the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.

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Just Do It

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
May 182017
 

In a blog post a couple of days ago titled The Best Laid Plans, I wrote that the coach (starting) batteries in our motorhome needed replacing, and that the Lifeline AGM house batteries had dropped very low from phantom loads while the RV has been parked in our community’s storage yard for the last few months. I outlined several plans in that blog as to how I was going to try to get the motorhome started and the batteries charged up.



Yesterday I decided that instead of messing around with all that, I would just follow the advice of the Nike shoe company, and just do it. So that’s what I did.

I started out by removing the two coach batteries and taking them to O’Reilly Auto Parts and buying replacements. When I was a youngster, carrying big heavy batteries (they are bigger than car batteries) wasn’t any big deal. But by the time I got those suckers out of the battery compartment behind the motorhome’s dual wheels and carried them to the front and put them into the back of the Explorer, my back reminded me that I’m not a youngster anymore, and haven’t been in a long, long time.

I decided to buy the replacements at O’Reillys for a couple of reasons, one being that there are several of them on the Oregon – Washington coast where we will be this summer so if I need a replacement it will be convenient, and also because they automatically give veterans a discount. That’s always appreciated. Besides that, a couple of times when I have needed something for the Explorer or pickup, the folks at the local O’Reilly store have gone way out of their way for me.

The young man who waited on me today probably regretted that policy, because when he was carrying the old batteries in, (yes batteries, he carried one in each hand by their handle, which made me feel old because it was all I could do to carry one at a time) one of the plastic handles broke and the battery landed on his big toe. I’ll say one thing for him, the young man sure could dance on just one foot.

He also carried the new batteriess out and put them in the back of the Explorer for me, although this time I noticed he did them one at a time. I guess you can teach a young dog new tricks.

Back at the storage yard I installed the new batteries and got behind the wheel of the Winnebago, wondering if there would be any problem starting it after it was sitting for so long. Nope, it turned over a couple of times and fired right up, as did the generator.

I left it running while I went the three blocks back to our house and told Terry to come with me, because the storage yard’s entry gate is kind of narrow and I wanted her to guide me through it and then guide me while I backed up onto the concrete apron next to our garage.

Once I had the motorhome parked I plugged it in and started to reconnect the house batteries so they could charge off of the inverter/charger. That’s when I realized that at some point I had lost one of the bolts that connects the cables to the batteries. No problem, I jumped in the Explorer and drove to the nearby hardware store but they didn’t have anything. So I had to go the other direction into town and back to O’Reilly’s.



I called Terry to tell her I would be a few minutes longer, but she didn’t answer her cell phone, which I didn’t think too much about. Well, I didn’t think much about it until I got home and realized I had left her standing in the garage while the rest of the house was locked up, and her cell phone was inside. She said it was kind of funny at first, until she needed to go potty. I reminded her that we have a urinal right there in the garage. Yeah, she didn’t think that was funny either.

I checked the motorhome’s tires and added air where needed, and I will leave it plugged in and parked here until this evening. By then the house batteries should be charged up just fine. While it’s here we may start cleaning the inside a little bit in preparation to moving things back in that we will need when we hit the road in a couple of weeks. We’re getting excited!

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances. – Martha Washington

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The Little Drummer Boy

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
May 172017
 

Note: This story about the youngest Civil War soldier in the Union Army is from my book Highway History And Back Road Mystery II.

When President Abraham Lincoln called for 100,000 volunteers to fill the ranks of the Union Army in 1861, long lines of men and boys streamed into recruiting centers across the nation. Local volunteer regiments formed in small towns and big cities across the North.



In August, 1861, the Third Volunteer Company, organized by Captain Samuel Mott in Delphos, Ohio, was mustered into the Army at St. Mary’s, Ohio. Among the eager recruits was an eight year old fatherless boy named Avery Brown. The minimum age for enlistment during the Civil War was eighteen years old, though younger boys were sometimes allowed to enlist with parental consent. But eight years old was far too young, and Avery was turned away.

Born September 28, 1852, the red haired, blue eyed youngster had a harsh childhood but did not allow it to dampen his spirits. Avery endeared himself to enlistees by playing his snare drum as a morale booster at the recruitment station and Captain Mott took the young boy under his wing. Captain Mott decided that the 4’6” tall boy had as much spirit as any full grown man under his command, and if Avery wanted to serve his country, he damned sure should be allowed to serve!

Twice Avery accompanied new recruits to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, and twice he was denied permission to enlist. On the third trip, Captain Mott refused to allow the processing of the latest batch of 101 recruits, unless the drummer boy was also allowed to volunteer. “I have come here with 101 men who are ready to enlist on one condition, that our drummer boy be mustered in with us and permitted to go to the front. Otherwise we disband right here and return home,” Captain Mott declared.

The Army needed those men, so permission was reluctantly granted, and on August 18, 1861, Avery Brown was mustered into Company C, 31st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at the age of 8 years, 11 months, and 13 days, making him the youngest enlisted soldier in the Civil War.

Four days later Avery’s unit was assimilated into the 118th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Rudolph Ruel. On September 11 they left for Cincinnati by railroad, and on the 15th the unit crossed the Ohio River and stopped at Covington, Kentucky.

The 118th then moved on to East Tennessee, crossing the Cumberland Mountains to engage heavily entrenched Rebel forces at Loudin, Tennessee. The enemy was routed and the victorious 118th marched to Knoxville, where they met strong resistance and were forced to withdraw back to Loudin. They advanced to Kingston, Tennessee, where they remained during the seventeen day siege of Knoxville.

When the Confederate forces withdrew from Knoxville, Avery’s unit marched to Tunnel Hill near Chattanooga. From there the 118th joined the Georgia Campaign. Their next contact with the enemy was at Resaca, Georgia on May 25, 1863, where the Rebels were forced to retreat. From then until the end of the Battle of Atlanta, they were constantly under fire and took many casualties.

Along the way, Avery was presented with a captured Confederate drum at Burton’s Station, Virginia. He carried it for one and a half years. during which he was called the “Drummer Boy of the Cumberland.” Avery Brown served on the front lines for eighteen months, during some of the bloodiest battles the 118th fought, until illness forced him to take a disability discharge in 1863. By the time of his discharge, he had suffered from mumps, measles and rheumatism, the latter making it necessary for him to quit the Army. Stoic in the face of so much human suffering, the young boy had tears in his eyes as he left his company for the last time. In June and July of 1865, the majority of the unit’s survivors were mustered out. Of the 1,000 men enlisted in the 118th Regiment, only 400 returned home.

After his discharge Avery lived in Delphos, Ohio for three years. In 1866 he moved to Elkhart, Indiana, where he worked as a stonecutter and musician. Over the next 25 years, Avery Brown organized bands throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, becoming one of the Hoosier state’s best known solo cornetists. He became close friends with Charles Gerard Conn, who owned the Elkhart-based Conn Musical Instrument Company, and became a member of Conn’s Veteran Light Artillery, the only all-veteran company of its kind to be formed following the war.

Due to his friendship with Conn, Avery was in a unique position to test every new Conn cornet model as it came out of the factory. In recognition of Avery Brown’s service to his country, and as a tribute to their friendship, Conn presented Avery with a special gold plated engraved cornet, which became Avery’s most cherished possession.



Avery and his wife Cynthia left Elkhart during the 1890s to move to Texas, Wisconsin, and then Michigan, but they returned to Elkhart a few years later, where he lived out the remainder of his years.

The youngest Civil War veteran died at his Elkhart home on November 2, 1904, and is buried in Elkhart’s Grace Lawn Cemetery. The captured Confederate drum he played is on display at the Elkhart County Historical Museum in Bristol, Indiana, along with his discharge papers and a tintype photograph of the young “Drummer Boy of the Cumberland.”

Thought For The Day – The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Ellen Parr

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The Best Laid Plans

 Posted by at 12:31 am  Nick's Blog
May 162017
 

Something I learned early in my Army days was that you can plan an operation down to the last detail and spend weeks talking strategy, but it can all go out the window the minute you put boots on the ground. That’s why you should always have a Plan B. And it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan C and a Plan D, too, just in case.



That strategy has served me well not only in the military, but in business as well. And it extends into every aspect of life. As I said a while back, I knew our Winnebago motorhome’s coach batteries needed to be replaced, but rather than do that before we parked it for six or seven months, I planned to buy new batteries right before we hit the road.

The motorhome is parked in a fenced storage yard here at our little community, and I wasn’t surprised when the coach batteries were real low when I checked it a while back. My plan was that when we were getting ready to hit the road, I would start the rig’s Onan diesel generator and let it run for a while to charge the coach batteries, and if that didn’t give them enough power to start the engine, I could use the Battery Boost switch to bring the house batteries into the circuit and give me enough juice to start it.

But when I checked on the motorhome yesterday, my digital voltmeter showed that my house batteries are very low. Like 7.7 volts. This even though I had turned off all of the circuits with the battery disconnect switch. When I told Greg White about them yesterday, he said certain things like the CO2 alarms and propane alarms are still engaged even when you hit that battery disconnect switch. Apparently over the months, they have pulled the house batteries down

Fortunately, they are two year Lifeline AGM batteries, and I am pretty confident that they will come back up once I charge them. We had the same batteries in our MCI bus conversion, and when Lifeline supplied them to us they encouraged us to use and abuse them as much as we could, running them down to seven or eight volts routinely before recharging. Sort of a torture test, because they wanted us to tell our readers just how much abuse they could take. We did exactly that, and after eight years of fulltiming, the batteries were just as good as they were the day we put them in. Back in those days we did a lot of dry camping. Our longest stint without being hooked up to any kind of utilities was over seven months.

The easy thing would be to jump the batteries, but that’s a problem because there is another motorhome parked right next to us, and there is not enough room to pull a vehicle in and jump the batteries. And there’s no power in the storage yard, so I can’t run a cord to a battery charger and charge them up that way. So Plan B is to see if I can jump the generator itself with my Ford pickup. It’s in the front of the motorhome on a pull out tray and easy to access. If I do that, I can plug my battery charger in and charge the batteries.

And if that doesn’t work, Plan C is to connect two or three sets of jumper cables together and see if they will reach the battery bay. But since it’s right in front of the dual wheels in the rear of the motorhome, I don’t know how well that will work out. The longer the run of wire, the less power you’re going to get at the other end.

In which case, we have Plan D, which is to go ahead and buy the new starting batteries and install them there in the storage yard. Instead of crawling around in the dirt in the storage yard, I would have preferred to wait to install them until I pulled the motorhome over here at the house, where we have a huge concrete apron to park on. But that was way back when we were still working on Plan A. I will let you know how things work out.



A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – When I’m finally holding all the right cards, everyone suddenly wants to play chess.

Check Out Nick’s E-Books In Our Online Store

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We Like Quiet Weekends

 Posted by at 12:03 am  Nick's Blog
May 152017
 

This past weekend was a quiet one at home, which suited us just fine. We don’t always feel the need to be on the move, and sometimes we like days like that.



Florida is in a real drought and in desperate need of rain. Wildfires are burning all over the state. We got a little bit of relief on Saturday when a storm system brought close to an inch of rain to us here in Edgewater, but that’s all gone now and it looks like it will be a while before we see much more.

I tried to get some writing done Saturday morning, but just couldn’t get into it for some reason. So instead, I parked myself in my recliner and spent about three hours reading. I mentioned a while back that I’m into a book called The Son by Phillip Meyer, which has been made into a series on AMC. While the TV series does not follow the book word for word, both of them are darned good. Check out the e-book, it’s only $1.99 on Amazon.

While I was busy doing that, Miss Terry was putting together her new little Kromski loom, which will go with us when we hit the road in a couple of weeks, as well as finishing up a weaving project on her Baby Wolf loom.

Yesterday I was back in writing mode, cranking out over 4,000 words in my next Big Lake book. I’m over 20,000 words now and hope to get some more done before my son Travis and his wife Geli arrive for their visit.

Since I can’t buy clothing off the rack in my size, dwarf portly, any pants I purchase have to be shortened. I had several pairs that I bought a while back, so that kept Terry busy yesterday. I think she likes having her own sewing room almost as much a she likes having her own loom room.

Something else Terry likes is the beautiful bouquet of roses that Travis and Geli sent her for Mother’s Day, along with a box of chocolates and some scented bath oil. It really made her day.

I offered to take Terry out for dinner yesterday, but she said that with it being the weekend and Mother’s Day, most restaurants would probably be pretty crowded and she would just as soon have something simple at home, so that’s what we did. All in all it was a very nice weekend.

As much as we like quiet days at home, eventually we feel the need to get out and do something. So I think either today or tomorrow we may run into Daytona Beach and goof off a little bit and have dinner out.

Congratulations Roy Vannoy, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 87 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.



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Thought For The Day – Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. – Susan Ertz

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It Won’t Be Long

 Posted by at 12:58 am  Nick's Blog
May 142017
 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. If you don’t do anything else today, be sure to tell your mom you love her. Mine has been gone a very long time and I wish she were still here so I could say those words to her.



Here is a picture of Terry’s mom, Bess Weber, holding her when she was less than a week old, with her proud daddy Pete looking on. Now you know where Terry gets her good looks from. Happy Mother’s Day Bess. Thank you for giving birth to such a wonderful person.

It won’t be long before we head out for our summer travels. This is the longest we’ve sat still in one place since we started fulltiming way back in 1999, and Terry and I are both looking forward to being back on the road. But at the same time I’ll admit that we are also a little reluctant to leave our comfy home here in Florida.

I’ve been waiting for an appointment with my new primary care provider at the Daytona Beach VA Clinic to get all my meds replenished before we take off. Our target date for getting on the road was the first week of June and I was hoping the appointment would happen soon enough to meet that deadline. And sure enough, yesterday I got a letter informing me that the appointment was scheduled for May 31st. That’s cutting it pretty close to the bone! I have two other appointments at the VA hospital in Orlando on June 1st and 2nd for a sleep study, but I will be rescheduling them for when we return in the fall.

The next couple weeks are going to be pretty busy. Besides getting the motorhome ready to roll, which will include replacing the coach batteries, my son Travis and his wife Geli are going to be here for a few days toward the end of the month. We are really looking forward to seeing them and showing them around the area.

Terry didn’t want to load her Baby Wolf loom back into the motorhome for the three or four months we will be on the road, but at the same time there’s no way she could go that long without weaving. So at a fiber festival awhile back she found this Kromski rigid heddle folding loom with a stand that will be going with us.

She put it together yesterday, and it sure is tiny compared to her other two looms in this picture. But Terry said she hopes it will fill the need while we are traveling.

I think the universe is conspiring against me. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been trying to lose some weight, and I’ve been walking a mile to a mile and a half a day on our treadmill. It’s been working out pretty well and I’m down about 15 pounds, but for the last few days the treadmill has been acting up.

It’s an old NordicTrack that came with the house and has seen a lot of use, and probably very little maintenance, over the years. The walking belt keeps getting out of alignment and going over to the left side to the point where it rubs on the side of the machine. I went online and downloaded a manual for the treadmill, and we were able to adjust it, but it won’t stay in place. And now it will just suddenly stop. When you’re going along at a pretty steady pace and it comes to a screeching halt, it’s pretty easy to fall on your butt. I know, because I’ve done it.

Now keep in mind that Terry also uses it daily to walk her mile and has no problems. It only does it to me. I guess I can’t blame the treadmill anymore than I could blame a horse for throwing me. If I had someone my size walking all over me, I’d probably do the same thing.



More online research tells me that it probably needs a new walking belt, but for what they cost we can find a much newer used treadmill. I know a lot of people buy them and use them for a short time and then they just become coat racks and CraigsList is full of them. But we will probably wait to do that until we get back home in September or October. In the meantime, we will nurse the NordicTrack along and see if we can keep it alive for a little while longer.

A lot of you took advantage of the free e-books I listed in yesterday’s blog, You Can’t Beat Free, and thanks for letting me know. We’ll do it again one of these days.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before your boss does.

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