Nick Russell

Apr 242014
 

We’ve had a wonderful time here at my daughter Tiffany’s place but it’s time to say goodbye. The road is calling and we must answer.

I’ve always said that the hardest part of the fulltime RV lifestyle is saying goodbye to the people we love. But the greatest part is that we get to come back again, and again, and again. And you can bet that we’re looking forward to getting back here next summer. By then we’ll really be ready for another granddaughter fix!

Hopefully the high winds that were here yesterday and are predicted again for tomorrow will give us the break the weatherman promised for our trip today. We plan to take U.S. Highway 60 east into New Mexico and at Socorro we’ll jump onto Interstate 25 for about 42 miles before US 60 splits off to the east again, and get back on the two lane road. I’m shooting for Fort Sumner, which is 380 miles.

Several people have invited us to stop for a visit as we pass through their area and while we appreciate it, we won’t have the time. We have to be in Elkhart, Indiana next week, which is about 1700 miles, so we’ll be in what I call “get there mode.” Just racking up the miles and not playing tourist along the way. I know that’s not the way most RVers prefer to travel, but for working RVers like us it’s just part of the job. Compared to some of our friends who are vendors working the RV rally circuit, this isn’t any big deal. Back when we taught at Life on Wheels, 500 mile days were not unusual for us. I’m glad we’re not doing that any more!

A few days ago I shared that a representative from Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s imprint for mysteries and thrillers, had made me an offer for the rights to Dog’s Run, my latest mystery novel. A few readers have asked me if I accepted it, and at this point we don’t have an agreement. Their first offer was either a lowball effort or they think I was born yesterday. I told them thanks, but no thanks, and they may or may not up the ante. The ball’s in their court. Somebody made the comment that it must be quite an ego boost to have Amazon courting me, and I said that the real ego boost is having them court me and being in a place in my writing career to say no.

Speaking of books, in less than the first 24 hours, 125 blog readers have entered this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Blizzard audio

Thought For The Day – The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

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Apr 232014
 

Yesterday I wrote about how much we love the fulltime RV lifestyle, but it’s not for everybody and we have seen a lot of fulltimers come and go over the years. Some dropped out because once they were out on the road away from family and friends they realized that it just wasn’t for them, some had to hang up the keys due to illness or a death, and some just couldn’t afford it.

And then there are some people who just couldn’t get it right and failed Fulltiming 101.

So how do you fail at fulltiming? How hard could it be? I’ll give you a few examples of things we’ve seen people get off the road for.

One complaint I have heard over and over again from wives is that their husbands want to drive 400 miles a day, never stop for a break, and sleep every night in truck stops and WalMart parking lots. One guy bragged to us that in their first 13 months on the road he had never paid for a campsite and had never spent two nights in the same place. His wife was absolutely miserable. She said she didn’t sell her house and leave her grandkids to look at the world through a windshield. They are now off the road. Another fellow told us that their long awaited Alaska trip was a total bust. They left their daughter’s house near Seattle on June 1st and were back July 4th. He told me they never saw an animal. Broke both windshields in their motorhome as well as their dinghy, blew four or five tires and basically tore the RV and toad to hell. Once they were back at the daughter’s house I don’t think the wife ever went back inside the motorhome.

Inflexibility is another killer for fulltimers. We met a couple once that at any time had reservations made and paid for a full year in advance, all in two week increments and never more than 200 miles apart. If something happened to delay them, like a mechanical problem or breakdown that put them off the road for a day or two, they couldn’t just go to their next stop and stay 12 days instead of 14. No, he had to cancel the existing reservation and make a new two week reservation, and then change every reservation after that to get back on their two week schedule. Within six months he was constantly sick to his stomach and having chest pains, and a doctor told him he needed to change his ways or make a drastic lifestyle change. While most people become RVers to escape a stressful lifestyle and relax, this man found RVing too stressful and had to stop so he could relax!

A husband and wife have to be on the same page about their RV travels. We have met couples where all they did was go to bluegrass music festivals, or tractor pulls, or places to play golf because that’s what one person (usually the husband) wanted to do and the wife never got to go to the places where she wanted to go, or do the things she wanted to do. Or one person is a Type A who wants to be on the go all the time and the other prefers to sit in one place and smell the roses. I am guilty of that myself. I like to run around and see everything there is to see, and sometimes Terry has to remind me that she needs some downtime to weave, spin, cook or just recharge her batteries. I need that downtime too, or else I’d burn out, and I have worked at moderating things so we’re both healthy and happy.

But it’s not just us guys who are guilty. We’ve met some wives that seemed to work very hard at making their RV experience less than pleasant. A couple of years ago we were at the Escapees Sumter Oaks campground near Bushnell, Florida and met a man whose wife refused to leave the motorhome for the three months they spent in Florida every winter. He said she told him she didn’t want to leave the kids and grandkids in Wisconsin and that if he insisted on dragging her away in an RV she wasn’t going to make it easy on him. She had no interest in anything there was to do or see, or in meeting any of her campground neighbors. She preferred to stay inside and pout. I’m pretty sure that was their first and last attempt at RVing.

Those kids and grandkids I mentioned seem to be the biggest problem for a lot of women. They just can’t handle not being a part of their lives every day, and we have known several couples who stopped RVing because the wife was miserable away from the little ones. I’m not sure what they plan to do when those kids grow up and go off to college or get married or whatever. “Wait up kids, Grandma’s going on your honeymoon with you!”

If you’ve read this far, you probably realize that the way to avoid a lot of these problems is with two simple words, communication and compromise. Talk about what you both expect from your RV lifestyle. Be honest and say, “This doesn’t work for me. How about we do this now and that next week?” When we were teaching at Life on Wheels, one of our most popular seminars was The Reluctant RVer, which addresses these issues and more. I’ll be presenting this seminar at the Escapees Escapade rally in Goshen, Indiana in May. I hope we see you there.

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Blizzard audio

Thought For The Day – Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.

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Almost Done

 Posted by at 2:58 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 222014
 

I’m almost done with the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, and as soon as Miss Terry gives me her recipe column I’ll be ready to print it out for her to proofread. Then I’ll ship it off to our printer sometime this evening and they’ll check it out one more time. I’m always glad to put a new issue to bed. This will be our 15 year anniversary issue. That’s a lot of travel stories and RV adventures!

Except for two or three outside articles over the years and Miss Terry’s recipe column, I’ve written every word of every 36 page issue. I’ve never counted, but one of our readers once estimated every issue averaged about 60K words. And then I write an average 500+ word blog 7 days a week, and let Bad Nick do his thing too. No wonder I’m tired!

Northern Arizona is known for high winds this time of year, and today the weather report is for 30 to 35 mile per hour winds, with possible gusts to 50. I sure am glad we’re not going to be traveling in that!

While I was working on the paper yesterday, Miss Terry decided I deserved a treat, so she made her signature pizza for dinner. No matter how many times we’ve had it, the first time I bite into a slice it still amazes me that anything can taste that good. Between the pizza, cinnamon rolls, pork tenderloin and other goodies she’s been cooking and baking while we’ve been here, I think son-in-law Scott and I have both put on ten pounds. Scott told Terry he’d build her any kind of custom kitchen she wants with any appliances her heart desires if she’ll only stay and keep on cooking for him. And I think for a minute or two she seriously considered it!

I got an e-mail yesterday from a couple who sat in on some of our classes at Life on Wheels several years ago, telling me that they were all ready to hit the road fulltime on two separate occasions and got cold feet and backed out both times. But the third time was the charm and April 30th will mark the end of their first full year on the road. “Why in the world did we wait so long?” they asked. “We’ve had a couple of minor speed bumps along the way, but overall every day has been a wonderful adventure and we love this lifestyle!” I replied that I hate to say “I told you so, but….” If there is one common regret almost all fulltimers tell us about, regardless of how long they have been on the road, is that they wish they had started sooner.

We know the feeling. Terry and I started when we were 46 years old and we have never had one moment of regret. Sometimes when we’re hanging out with Tiffany and her family we think about how much we are missing by being on the road, but then we remember all that we would be missing if we ever hung up the keys. Nope, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. There is still too much left for us to see and do.

Thought For The Day – Never argue with a man who loves the sound of his own voice.

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All Work And No Play

 Posted by at 4:03 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 212014
 

I lost a lot of time while we were with our friends Jim and Shar during her last days, so I’m behind schedule on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal. So the last few days I’ve been pretty much chained to my desk, making up for lost time.

But you know what they say about all work and no play, so yesterday afternoon I took a couple of hours off to try out the new shooting range that son-in-law Scott made for me on the back end of their property. It was a lot of fun, and a good opportunity for Scott and I to bond. Or at least that’s what we told our wives before we went off to burn up some ammo.

As it turns out, Scott is a pretty good shot. Almost as good as the old man with my Colt and Kimber .45 semi-automatic pistols and a pretty even match with an AR-15. In fact he may actually be better and was holding himself back a bit to save my ego. I appreciate that. Smile

Scott shooting

Back at the house, we spent some time hanging out with the kids, watching TV and having dinner. About 9 p.m. we called it a night and headed back to the motorhome in time to answer some e-mails, write the blog, and then I worked on the paper until bedtime.

We had planned to hit the road today, headed for the Midwest. But the weather report is for high winds the next couple of days, something that is not uncommon here in northern Arizona. So I think we’ll hang out a little longer while I finish the paper and wait for things to calm down. That means we’ll have to hustle a little bit to get to Elkhart, Indiana, pick up the new issue from our printer in Michigan, and get it mailed out by the end of the month. It’s about 1650 miles, so we can do it in four or five days. Yeah, I know, it’s not the laid back travel style most RVers prefer, but sometimes you do what you have to do. We’re not retired and it’s all part of the job.

Congratulations to Sandie Dixon, this week’s winner an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. We had 138 entries in this week’s drawing, and if you haven’t won yet, stay tuned because another drawing starts soon.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – Invest in America. Buy a Congressman.

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Lost River Cave

 Posted by at 3:03 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 202014
 

Since I have been spending most of my time working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, I have dusted off a story from our July-August, 2004 issue. But first I want to wish happy birthday to two very special ladies, my cousins Beverly McKiddy and Berni Frees. I hope you both have a wonderful day.

There is a hidden treasure in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A serene underground oasis located right in the center of town. A historical relic of Indians, outlaws, and Confederate raiders. A romantic meeting spot for couples for over a century. Nestled on the floor of a scenic valley, unseen from above, Lost River Cave will touch the heart of every adventurer or romantic.

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The cave provided shelter to Native Americans inside its massive natural opening for thousands of years. In the 1790s, Europeans settled the area and built a mill inside the cave entrance that operated for over a century. It was the only known cave mill operation in the world.

During the Civil War, John Hunt Morgan led his Confederate raiders behind enemy lines to wager war, burning the railroad depot at South Union, Kentucky in the fall of 1861, then hiding out in Lost River Cave as Yankee troops searched for them. A year later 44,000 Union soldiers camped at Lost River before heading south to Nashville and the Battle of Stones River.

Following the war, outlaw Jesse James and his gang were believed to have sought refuge in the cave after robbing the Southern Deposit Bank in Russellville, Kentucky on March 18, 1868. A Bowling Green doctor told his wife he had been kidnapped and taken to the cave to treat an injured gang member by Jesse James himself.

In 1933 an underground nightclub operated in the cave, and people came to dance to the big bands of the time. For decades dances were held in the cave and the old dance floor is still there, with a crystal chandelier hanging overhead. Over the years many couples have chosen the romantic spot as the site for their weddings.

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The cave takes its name from the Lost River, which only comes to the surface in four spots in its 85 square mile basin. A “blue hole” in the river just outside the cave entrance has been said to be bottomless. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not calls the Lost River the shortest and deepest river in the world.

Nature trails show off the area’s native wildflowers and trees, and the butterfly garden is a hit with visitors young and old alike. The cave’s owners have built a nice attraction that is popular with school groups, tourists, and locals alike. Lost River Cave features an underground boat tour that carries visitors underground to experience all of the cave’s wonders. Though not as awe-inspiring as nearby Mammoth Cave, Lost River Cave is an interesting and beautiful attraction and well worth a visit the next time you are in Bowling Green.

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Lost River Cave is located at 2818 Nashville Road in Bowling Green and is open daily, rain or shine. Parking is limited to cars and trucks. Getting an RV into and out of the parking lot could be challenging. For more information on Lost River Cave, call (270) 393-0077 or visit their web site at www.lostrivercave.com.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – Instead of looking at the hundred reasons to quit, look at the thousand reasons not to give up.

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Apr 192014
 

Yesterday started with the grandkids swarming in to give us hugs and kisses. Can you think of a better way to start the day? I sure can’t!

I’ve been working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, which has been a slow process because the kids love hanging out with us, and it’s hard to type with two little girls sitting on your lap. Not that I’m trying very hard to discourage them, of course.

As much as they love grandpa, I think the girls love their horses just as much. Here they are on Winchester, a very mellow guy who looks like he has some mule in him. For years my dad rode a mule named Tony on the border, and Dad always said he was smarter and more stable than any horse ever was. Personally, I don’t ride anything I can’t put gas in.

Girls on Winchester

Girls on Winchester 2

Yesterday was Destiny’s birthday and Terry spent most of the day making a cake and other goodies for her party, with a lot of help from Destiny and Hailey. You can see by her smile that she was having a great time.

And here’s the birthday girl with the finished product.

Destiny birthday cake 3

During the evening the girls decided it was time to decorate Grandpa. How do you like my new look? The things a grandpa does to make memories with the little ones! Smile

Painted Nick

Yesterday I had a telephone call from a young woman who is an Acquisitions Editor with Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s imprint for mysteries and thrillers. She told me that they would like to republish one of my mystery novels, Dog’s Run, under their imprint. We talked about where they wanted to take the book and the marketing plan they had for it, and she made me an offer. I didn’t accept it, but agreed to look over the full proposal, which she will be sending me early next week.

Speaking of books, for an interesting view that integrates science and the Bible, check out Michael L. Dourson’s Messiah’s Star, which is at the introductory price of $2.99 for just a little bit longer.

And today my friend T.R. Harris released A Galaxy To Conquer, the final book in Part 2 of The Human Chronicles Saga. If you like science fiction you’ll love this book, in which all the great forces in the galaxy clash for one final, epic battle to determine who will come out on top. Don’t miss this exciting, final volume of The Human Chronicles Saga — one of the bestselling sci-fi series on Amazon for the past two years.

You still have time to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – If you think your wife has a good sense of humor, try leaving a trail of rose petals to a sink full of dirty dishes.

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Apr 182014
 

We have another birthday to celebrate this week. Granddaughter Destiny turns seven today. I know I used this picture just a few days ago, but it’s my favorite one of her. I just love that expression on her face. She’s always coming up with something to say that blows me away.

Destiny at desk

Several people have asked how we like our new memory foam mattress. Based upon our first night on it, we love it so far. Yesterday morning was the first time I did not wake up with back pain in as long as I can remember. Usually, Terry is awakened by tingling in her hands or sore shoulders, but yesterday she had neither. Someone asked if there was any odor with the bed. When we first unrolled it we could smell the foam or something, but by bedtime it had pretty much disappeared.

Speaking of our new mattress, I am convinced that sometimes the internet makes people crazy. After reading yesterday’s blog about the new mattress, a regular blog reader sent me a message on Facebook suggesting we should have gotten a Sleep Number air bed instead. I replied, telling her we had one and hated it, and it was like I called her grandbaby ugly or something. She went off on me, saying that obviously we had no idea how to properly inflate a Sleep Number bed to adjust it for our body weight, and added that if I lost 100 pounds I might have found it more comfortable. She finished by saying “Don’t blame the bed because of your shortcomings!” Huh? What’s that all about?

The snowbirds are flocking out of Arizona to start their summer adventure, and I have had several write me asking for directions for the bypass around El Paso, Texas that I wrote about last year. It’s an easy trip and avoids most, but not all, El Paso traffic. Though it sounds complicated, these roads all run into each other and are very easily negotiated. From Interstate 10 in New Mexico, take exit 162 and then take State Route 4Loop 375 and take it to US 18004 east 7 miles to State Route 213. Turn south on SR 213 and in about 2 1/2 miles it will cross into Texas and become FM 3255. Continue south 5 or 6 miles and you’ll join US 54 south. From there, get on Loop 375, which goes through Fort Bliss (all freeway) to US 180 (about 87 miles). Then take SR 54 south 55 miles to Van Horn and get on I-10 there. US 180 and SR 54 to Van Horn are good two lane roads, we have been over them many times in our bus and in our motorhome. The total route is about 173 miles from the time you exit I-10 in New Mexico until you rejoin it at Van Horn. By comparison, staying on I-10 straight through El Paso all the way will save you about 30 miles. To us it’s worth every bit of that. Be sure to have enough fuel onboard because once you leave El Paso there are not many places to stop, if any, before you get to Van Horn.

Do you have a set of those tire covers that are supposed to protect your RV’s tires from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, or are you considering purchasing a set? My friend Roger Marble, who spent 40 years working in the tire industry, has some interesting observations on them in his RV Tire Safety blog.

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

And for an interesting look at life from a computer tech’s point of view, check out Horror Stories From A Computer Tech. It’s free today and tomorrow on Amazon and includes seven true stories about the craziest, creepiest, and funniest customers an in-home computer technician encountered on the job.

Thought For The Day – You are about to exceed the limits of my medication.

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Pony Pedicure

 Posted by at 3:03 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 172014
 

A little after eight yesterday morning a farrier came over to trim the horses hooves, and even though it was at least two hours before my normal wakeup time, I was out of bed and ready to watch. I mean, how many times do you get the opportunity to see a pony pedicure?

We have been amazed at how patient and well behaved Hailey’s horse Pixie is. She just stands there calmly while Hailey grooms her, braids her mane and tail, and picks her hooves and never blinks an eye. But she didn’t like getting her feet messed with by this stranger. She didn’t kick or bite, but she sure didn’t cooperate either. The farrier had to muscle her around and let her know who was boss to get the job done. I have added farrier to the list of careers I’m very glad I don’t have.

Farrier and Pixie

Farrier and Pixie 2

Terry and I both have back problems, and for years we have tried to find a mattress that will give us a comfortable nights’ sleep. We have tried a Sleep Number airbed and a couple of innerspring mattresses and have not been happy with any of them. We have talked to several people with memory foam mattresses who seem to be very happy with them, so last week we ordered a Night Therapy Elite 12" MyGel Ultimate Memory Foam Mattress from Sam’s Club. It has thousands of gel beads for better air flow movement, which makes it cooler, since one complaint we have heard about memory foam is that it can be hot to sleep on.

It arrived yesterday in a cardboard box that measured 22x22inches by five feet long. We carried the box inside and carefully tore it away, revealing the mattress rolled up tightly inside. Once we removed the plastic wrapping it unrolled and quickly expanded to it’s full queen size of 60×80 inches We left it lay flat for twelve hours or so before Terry put on the sheets and blankets, and by the time you read this we’ll have had our first nights’ sleep on it. Hopefully it will be a good one.

Bed rolled up

Mattress unrolled 2

Mattress unrolled

I spent most of the day with my friend Jim Lewis, helping him sort through some things and talking about the recent loss of his wife and what life holds in store for him next. Just a quiet time with a good friend and I think we both needed it.

When I got back to Tiffany’s place, her husband Scott replaced several struts on our motorhome’s bay doors. Hopefully I won’t have them coming down on top of my head any more. I’ve learned from experience that it hurts!

We finished just in time for a delicious dinner of Miss Terry’s homemade chicken noodle soup, along with yeasted biscuits. And yes, the recipes are in her cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. Tiffany and Scott keep trying to talk us out of leaving next week but Scott says if I have to go, maybe Terry should stay behind. Yeah, he likes her cooking too.

Be sure to enter out latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – You can never elevate your own character by stepping on someone else’s.

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Never Enough Hours

 Posted by at 3:01 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 162014
 

It seems like there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish everything I want to do. Yesterday was a good example. We started the day visiting with Tiffany, who comes out to the motorhome every morning for coffee with Terry. It was Tiffany’s birthday, so I had to tease her about getting older, of course. I’m a dad, it’s my job.

While Terry and Tiffany were chatting, I answered a dozen or so e-mails, deleted another fifteen junk forwards, and approved some pending comments on my latest Bad Nick blog. Usually, after a person has left a comment or two that have been approved they stop going into the moderation file and appear automatically. Moderation is to prevent spam, which the blogs attract a lot of.

Then I went through the comments and did something I very seldom do; I deleted one and banned the poster from leaving future comments. I believe in the right to free speech and allow people to disagree with me or other commenters as long as they stay respectful and do not become abusive. We have had some heated debates in the past, and that’s okay. But several times in the past I have had to warn this person not to use profanity or attack other posters personally. He did it again yesterday, singling one person out and calling them filthy names. That was pushing it too far and now he’s gone. I apologize to anyone who was offended by his remarks.

Later on I spent some time cleaning a couple of rifles and sorting through my shooting bag to get things organized. Son-in-law Scott built me a shooting range here on their property and it wouldn’t be right of me not to show my appreciation by using it, right? Hopefully we’ll get that done in the next couple of days.

After Scott got home from work and took a shower, the four of us drove into Show Low for a birthday dinner at Cattlemen’s Steak House. This restaurant wasn’t here when we lived here, and we were very pleased. Scott and I had had rib eye steaks, Terry had grilled salmon, and Tiffany had the blackened prime rib. It was all very good, but the sample of her prime rib Tiffany shared with me was the best. The service was fast and friendly, and the portions were generous. This one will definitely get added to our Favorite Restaurants guidebook.

There was one woo woo moment when I noticed this stain on one of my spoons. I said I wasn’t sure if it was the Grim Reaper, the Madonna or a demon. Then again, it may have just been a stain. But we speculated on how much I could sell the spoon for on eBay.

Spoon image

We got back to the ranch about 7:30 and visited for a while, and then had a delicious banana nut cake, along with strawberries and homemade whipped cream, courtesy of Miss Terry. She called it a strawberry banana split shortcake. Whatever it was, it was the perfect way to end a busy day.

I’ve been running a sale on Big Lake the last two weeks, down from its regular price of $3.99 to just 99¢, and a lot of people have taken advantage of it. But all good things must come to an end, and today is the last day for the reduced price. Take advantage of it while you still can, and I bet you’ll enjoy it enough to read the rest of the series.

New Big Lake cover

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link 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.

big lake 2

Thought For The Day – I chose the road less traveled and now I don’t know where the hell I am!

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Apr 152014
 

I want to start the day by wishing my daughter Tiffany happy birthday. Wow, was it really 32 years ago I first held that beautiful little girl? Where did the years go? Today she’s a grown lady with kids of her own. But you know what? Dad still loves holding her. Tiffany, I love you very much, and I am very proud of the woman you have become. And I’m very glad that we are more than father and daughter, that we are friends too. I cherish every minute we spend together.

Last night when I stepped outside to watch the lunar eclipse it was darned cold! I heard from my pal Al Hesselbart, historian for the RV Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, Indiana yesterday, and he said it was 78o Sunday, and Monday was predicted to be 25o with two to three inches of snow overnight. Hopefully it’s going to start warming up a bit, and not a minute too soon in my opinion. It’s even too cold to play on the tractor!

In spite of the cold and the fact that she was shooting without a tripod, Terry managed to get this picture of the “blood moon” as it’s called.

Blood moon

We’re planning to start our journey east to Indiana for Escapade about this time next week, and I’m hoping the weather will cooperate. Because we never know what to expect this time of year, we’re giving ourselves plenty of time in case we have to change course or find some place to sit still and wait out passing storms.

A lot of people have been asking if we will have printed copies of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen, at our vendor booth at Escapade. Yes we will, and if you would like an autographed copy you can place an order now and pick it up at Escapade. To order your copy, log onto www.paypal.com and make a payment of $14.95 to editor@gypsyjournal.net. This is for pickup at Escapade only. If you want a printed copy mailed to you, you can order it at this link on Amazon. Unfortunately, copies ordered from Amazon will not arrive autographed, but if we cross paths somewhere Terry will be happy to sign it for you.

CoverTerry

Though big cities like Tucson and Phoenix have become civilized, depending on what you call civilized, parts of Arizona are still the Wild West. There is a little general store a couple of miles from Tiffany’s place, and this sign greets customers. I bet they don’t get a lot of trouble there!

Guns Welcome Concho store

Speaking of the Wild West, things got pretty heated up in Nevada recently in a standoff between Federal authorities and a rancher and his supporters who claim he is under attack, though it seems like tensions are easing a bit. Bad Nick has been watching the situation and has a few observations to make in a new Bad Nick Blog titled Sometimes You Have to Pay. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Oh, my opinion offended you? You should hear the ones I keep to myself!

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