Saturday, November 03, 2007

Photos from Bottomless Lakes State Park

Good evening from Deming, New Mexico! I'm parked at an RV park that would be great, if only the roads were paved. There are people here who full-time and winter here, but ... I wouldn't winter full-time in a park where the roads are not paved.

I found out what the deal was with my water leak! It didn't leak at all last night, and I was not hooked up to the water there. Instead, I used my water pump and the water from my freshwater tank. Sometime during the night it occurred to me that something between the spigot and the RV was the problem -- the water pressure regulator! I remembered that Michael would replace ours from time to time because they would "go bad." I never knew what that meant -- how some brass fitting thing would "go bad," but ... evidently that's what happened.

I got a new one here at this campground and .. tada! No more leaks! I asked the guy here how the leak could fix itself, and he explained that sometimes when the pressure is too high, the fittings inside the coach sort of stretch a bit, and leak. Then, when the pressure's normalized, the fittings reseat themselves. Sounds odd, but I'll take it!

The drive here was beautiful. I love the scenery and terrain between here and Roswell, along NM 70, following the Hondo Valley for part of the way, then going up into the mountains by Ruidoso. Just lovely. I drove past White Sands National Monument, not stopping this time. I will again. Just not today. I also did not stop in Alamogordo, another of Michael's and my favorite spots. I will again. Just not today. :)

As I drive, I think about a lot of things. Some things I see make me laugh. Today, going down highway 380 in eastern NM, the speed limit was 75. Sure, the road was good, straight and long, but 75? And then we came to a little town and there was a school crosswalk marked. The sign for the crosswalk warned us to slow... to 55! LOL these must be some hardy kids around here!

Another thing that made me laugh: Coming through Las Cruces, NM, I saw a company's sign: Freedom Fence. Huh? :D

Coming from Roswell to the mountains from the east, I counted 11 squashed skunks. Then, on the western drive from the mountains, I counted 15 squashed rabbits. This counts only the ones that I could tell what they were, without like... getting out to look. And I didn't see any skunks on the western side of the mountains. And there were no rabbits on the eastern side!

Ok, I have pics from the Bottomless Lakes State Park! Be sure to click them to see them bigger.

Becky, this first one is for you. There was this plane doing skywriting....

This is my RV at the campground:

Maddy and me doing our little hike... and some photos from the trail:

Lazy Lagoon -- one of the Bottomless Lakes:

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bottomless Lakes?

Hi, everyone!
My "Where is Janee now" link is saying tonight that I made it only as far as western Lubbock, but I went farther than that! I actually made it to close to Roswell, New Mexico. The APRS link updates only if I get my signal out to a station that sends it to the internet, and stations are not as common out here.

The drive was beautiful! Almost the moment that I crossed the TX-NM border, the terrain changed dramatically. Suddenly, the cotton fields gave way to stubby cholla bushes, blue-green sagebrush, and yuccas. The ground is still that west-Texas red, and that will continue on across NM. The topography is still pretty flat, but there are a few small hills. For most of the way, I could see for miles out to the horizon, cricket oil pumps bobbing rhythmically -- hundreds of them. (For a photo of a cricket pump, see this link: )

I stopped at Wal*Mart and got diesel (2.99 a gallon) and got just over 15 mpg, a little less than my overall average. While I was there, I went in and got peanut butter, granola bars, and .. LOL.. bologna! It had been years since I'd had bologna, since Michael didn't like it. I enjoyed 2 slices for lunch and Mmmm! I loved it. :) Yes, I realize that I'm eating badly. I'll have plenty of time to get into better habits later.

Tonight I'm parked at Bottomless Lakes State Park, just east of Roswell, NM. The lakes are odd, because there doesn't seem to be any other water in this area. These lakes were formed from sinkholes, which were formed by dissolving of salt and gypsum deposits under the ground. When the ground collapsed, water filled in the sinkholes and made lakes -- very pretty lakes! I'll go walking with Maddy around here tomorrow morning.

(By the way, I still have not missed any days of doing my walks. Some people have wondered how I manage to do this every day, even while Michael was sick and I was caring for him. I just DO it!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Traveling across West Texas

I've always loved Texas and today I love Texas even more than I remembered. As I drove from Sanger (near Denton which is just north of Dallas) to Lubbock today, I traversed beautiful countryside.

There were miles and miles of cotton fields which always amaze me. Many of these fields are the round kind with the irrigation arm that circles around. It seems funny to me that cotton needs water at all. I mean.. it's a fiber! I wondered, seeing these miles upon miles of white fields, how many times I've seen cotton fields from the air and just assumed that it was snow on the fields!

Another thing that I wondered about is those crosses that you see alongside the road, indicating that someone died there. I wonder why there are only crosses. Do people of other persuasions just not mark the highways in this way? Or are Christians worse drivers than others? I don't think that this particular sort of display is a very good advertisement for Christianity. ;)

I took these photos along Hwy 114 at a rest stop. You will likely not see so much of me in my photos from here on out.

Tonight I'm at the Lubbock RV Park, just north of the city. Michael and I had stayed here twice in the big blue RV. The guy didn't remember me, though. I love the place with its big level sites and a field full of prairie dogs! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

APRS and me

Many of you know about the "Where is Janee now" link on this blog. It's over there -----> on the right, under Links. If you click that, it will take you to my FindU page with a map of where I was last spotted. Clicking the Satellite view gives my favorite look at things, because you see the terrain and roads!

Here's where I am tonight, Halloween 2007!

So what IS this and how do I do it? This is done through magic. LOL not really! It is actually an application of amateur radio, married to internet technology. It's called APRS, which stands for Automatic Position Reporting System.

In order to use this, you have to be a licensed amateur radio operator with a call sign. (Mine is KC9JNE, and yes, that is a vanity call sign!) You have to take a test, and it's easy enough that I could pass it. You don't have to know Morse code anymore, either.

So what happens is this: The radio is hooked on one end to an antenna, which is on the side of the RV. On the other end, it's hooked to a GPS unit. For this, I use a really old one that isn't even in color -- not my Jack whom I use to figure out where I'm going.

I program the radio with my call sign and put it on the proper frequency, which happens to be 144.390. I tell it how often to beacon my position, and what message to send out with my position.

And then this message, called a packet, goes out to all the other APRS stations. Some of these stations are called I-Gates -- internet portals! These stations broadcast my position then to the internet, to FindU, and maybe other sites, as well.

Of course, the information is nearly always a little bit outdated, so you can't exactly watch my RV going across the country, but the information you get is cool and fun. Not only can you see where I am, but what altitude and how fast I'm going.

So the big deal today is that I actually had to do some setup work to get this working again. Michael had the radio set to his call sign, but, with him gone, I couldn't legally transmit under his call sign. So I had to change it to my call sign, change the outgoing message, and then update the links in my site.

I did all of this yesterday and today and now it's working! YAY! If you go there tonight, you can see the campground where I'm staying! (LOL I've been so excited about this that I realize that I have not yet had supper, and it's after 7 and dark out!) :D

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can a person talk more than 700 minutes in a month?

Yes! I proved that last month. In the period ending 10/20, I talked 2353 minutes. Not counting the IN calling (from Verizon), I had an overage of 506 billable minutes. I had updated my plan to 900 minutes, but not soon enough. Am I happy about this? Let's think.

Ok, so here's the deal. If you've been talking to me and do NOT have Verizon, you owe me a box of fine chocolates. :) There. I feel better now.

P.S. Annette, have 's hold off on cleaning the garage till I get there. I FEEL like there isn't anything I need there, but... you know, there probably is.

Traveling Chick

So I'm a traveling chick. Today is my 6th day on the road, counting the days I was in Louisville (which wasn't really "on the road," since I was with family). Well, OK, so I left Louisville on Saturday, so today is my 4th day on the road.

It's also Tuesday, which marks 4 weeks since Michael died. (That still sounds very strange.) I have yet to buy myself flowers on Tuesday, though I had told Michael that I would. I want to get a little vase that will fit snugly into the cup holder -- one that has a sort of snug top so that the water won't spill out easily. See.. I'm starting to take sentimental ideas and make them into practical concerns. I wonder what stage of grieving that fits into. :D

So, with the travel, the hard parts have been getting the electronics to work (radio, sirius, CD player, TV), getting psyched to eat, stopping (it's easy to keep going!), and seeing things that I would love to just talk to Michael about.

The easy things are hooking up the RV, getting fuel, chit-chatting with people, going to bed whenever I please, and eating whatever I want, whenever I want.

I have not done much tourism stuff yet. I did stop at a shopping mall ydy and had lunch and looked around a bit, but that's not really a touristy thing. ;) I had thought about unhooking today and exploring this area a bit, but I feel sort of rooted here. I'll unhook tomorrow. I need to get milk and something exciting to eat. After 2 days, I'm already pretty tired of frozen pizza.

The Shreveport weather is beautiful. It's 64° and bright sunshine. I have the windows open, vents open, and blinds shut on the sunny side. Last night it got down to 50 and I slept with my window open! I love sleeping when it's cool. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

On the Road

Hey there, everyone!
I did it! I got the little Navion packed up, tossed the dog and cat in, and headed off down the highway! I actually left on my birthday, the 25th of October. I stayed 2 nights outside George & Angie's house, spending the day of the 26th shopping with Angie and Becky. We all had a great time and they bought me a shirt and a sweater. I also bought a jacket with a zip-out vest.

So I left Louisville on Saturday morning, driving till I got to Decatur, Alabama -- about 300 miles. The Point Mallard Campground was lovely -- wooded and packed with campers. I did get a beautiful little site tucked away by myself, though, and I was happy. I walked that evening around the little neighborhood near there.

On Sunday, I walked again in Decatur, this time down to the Tennessee River. Then I drove another 300 miles, ending up in Jackson, Mississippi at the Springridge RV Park. It is an urban park and I got just a tiny site right next to the bathhouse/laundry room. It was a lovely evening, though, so I took out my green chair, tied Maddy to it, grabbed a beer and a bag of Doritoes and just had a time! Supper was frozen pizza which I cooked in my MW/convection oven. It turned out great! I watched the Red Sox win their last game to secure their 2nd World Series title in the past 80 years (or something like that). Exciting game, too!

Today's Monday the 29th, and I enjoyed it. I walked around the campground in Jackson, Mississippi to start the day. Then I showered and breakfasted and unhooked, before heading back down the highway. I stopped a few times, enjoying the beautiful weather every time. Maddy loves to stop at rest areas and walk around, so I gave her that opportunity a few times. I stopped at the Pecanland Mall in Monroe, Louisiana, and had lunch there. I also found (!) my Orange/Ginger products at the Bath & Body Works! Yay!

Tonight I'm at Shreveport, Louisiana at the KOA. It is a beautiful place and I'm happy. I was sitting outside, just soaking up the ambience, when Sylvia and Char from across the road called out for me to come over there. Maddy was with me, too, so she came along and got to meet Sylvia's dogs. :) We talked a bit and then Sylvia was telling me about this great catfish place up the street. I told her that, if she'd drive, I'd buy her dinner, so off we went. But it was closed, alas.

I heated pizza (from last night) and ate that for supper, and then, along comes Sylvia, with pot roast, potatoes, and peas! I told her that I'd have that for supper tomorrow. Many campers are special people. I've decided that I'm actually going to stay here another night, too. I may take the RV into town a little, just to explore a bit, and to get some groceries.

So I'm having a good time of it! I have not had any problems. The hooking and unhooking stuff is really easy. LOL I guess I could say that I do have ONE problem. I can't figure out how to turn on the radio on the dashboard. I have figured out how to play CD's, though, so I have been listening to CD's. I will consult the manual on my "off day" tomorrow and learn that.

I am online using my new Verizon thing. They have WiFi at the park, but I wanted to try out my Verizon card instead. It works great!

The other big accomplishment of the day is that I made myself a new "cozy" for my bluetooth phone earpiece. It makes lots of noise to people I talk to when the wind is blowing, so I had a foam piece I fashioned for the end of it. But it got lost when i was walking around near the Tennessee River at Point Mallard. So this time, I got a bigger piece of foam and hollowed it out so that I could stick the bluetooth device down in there. The part that hooks onto my ear and the receiver part that's against my ear is not inside the foam. It looks sort of .. err... funny, but it works, so there we are. Next move for me will be to get a Jawbone. I saw one today at the mall and... yowza, it's cool! Red! Wooo hooo!