Saturday, December 06, 2008

Roses but no Raindrops

I've been busy, busy with cleaning up the cottage -- the dust of the summer which had settled on things, both inside and out. Actually, the inside was mostly ok, but I had some dog hair to sweep up. I got out the chairs and table for my front patio, and put out the chairs and table for my entry deck.

Then I set about clearing some space in my closets, cabinets, and drawers, just in case *someone* should be coming to live with me. Hey, I don't know; it could happen! In any event, it was time to clear out stuff that I don't need anymore, things that I replaced when I went shopping with Jack in Traverse City, for example!

I found that I had two kitchen scales and two small Cuisinart food choppers, so I gave away one of each of these. And I gave away an RV thing that we'd gotten for our big RV, but which I do not need for this little one. So now I have some cabinets the way I like them: empty! :)

Yesterday was computer club, and it was somewhat disorganized, as the meetings tend to be early in the season. I'm happy that we have interest in having some programs, though, and we're going to form interest groups, rather as we did when I was program chair. The point is that the only person learning from someone getting up and talking about a topic is the person who's doing the talking! So our groups will get together and research a topic and develop a presentation from the research they've done. We'll all have our computers with us, so we can be following along.

Today I went with John and his dog Sam to Randolph Park. Sam and I did a quick walk about, while John waited. After my walk, I went back, found John, and we all went and did a tour of the Rose Garden, which is lovely right now. The funny thing is that, of all the many times that Michael and I went to that park and walked around the Rose Garden, never were the roses in full bloom, but now they are! I can't imagine that we had not walked there in early December! I know.. where are the photos? Someone didn't think to bring her camera!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Back in The Old Pueblo

I arrived here in Tucson yesterday at about 1:30. The APRS map shows me in front of John's cottage, where I paused while he came out to greet me. My cottage is on the next road south of there, over toward the west, just immediately west of the cottage with the red tile roof. The one in the picture is not mine, though, because my awning doesn't cover my whole site. (I can tell that the satellite image of this park was taken in the summertime, because the park is so empty!)

So I've been a busy beaver, getting things moved from the RV into the cottage, getting the cottage cleaned up, taking care of business matters, and answering all of the "how was your summer?" inquiries. I do love the people here!

One of the business matters that I've been working on today was getting the title to the car that Annette has, so that she can own it. I knew that the title was in my Pima safe deposit box, but I didn't remember where the key was. I thought that I knew where it was, but, the place where I thought it was... did not prove to be correct. I searched and searched. I looked in every drawer and cabinet in the cottage. I looked in every drawer and cabinet in the RV. (One would think that I would know every crevice of this RV, after having spent the past 6 months in it!) But the key remained elusive.

I went over to the Credit Union and asked the pleasant woman how one proceeds, should one become unable to find one's key. She checked. $100 to drill out the lock, and more to replace the key! Yikes! Unacceptable, I thought. So I went back home and thought about the key. I remembered the day that I got the box. I remembered that the key was in an envelope with a snap, just like the one that I'd had for my SD box at the IU Credit Union. But the one for Pima, I recalled, was light blue!

I thought about this light blue, and then I could see the envelope, next to something orange. And I knew immediately exactly where it was. I went out to the RV and got into the cabinet where my orange purse was... and there was the key case, with some Tucson-related cards. Why I'd taken the key in the RV, I'm not sure.

Back to the CU and I got the title which was snuggled safely in my SD box! I signed the back and had that notarized.

So, Annette, I have to get the other key from Al and Donna, and then I'll Priority the package to you! I'd say Monday will be your day.

I got most of my clothes put away, but I still have more culling to do, believe it or not. I thought that I'd culled enough in Bloomington, but ... no. I'd forgotten how many things I had here! I have one huge bag ready to take to Goodwill, and I'll likely have another small bag by the time I'm done. Some of the things going to Goodwill are things that I had gotten at Goodwill in Big Rapids. They served me well, but I won't need them now.

62° here right now. 22° in Bloomington, 18° in Big Rapids. Jack went cross-country skiing today and had a very good time of it. I've never cross-country skied, except on a Nordic Track, which Jack says is actually very much like the real thing. Maybe someday I'll join him on the trail. I'd like to. I just miss him.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Running on Empty

I awoke early today, did a quick wash-up, unhooked, and hit the road, getting gone by 7:15 am. I ate my banana and part of the apple fritter that I'd gotten at the grocery ydy. The banana was great - just a bit green so that the peel came off with some difficulty in spots. I love them like that! The fritter was ... doughy. Ick.

The temperature when I left was 49°, and there were just a few wispy clouds. The temperature warmed rapidly, so that the next time I looked at the temp, it was 71°! It stayed in the 70's for the rest of my drive across central and western Texas.

In fact, I didn't notice much of anything, but the traffic and the beautiful countryside, as the trees gave way to shorter trees and then brushy stuff and tumbleweeds. Do you know what happens when you run into a tumbleweed with your vehicle? Poof! It disintegrates!

Oh, and there were more wind farms! West of Abilene onward toward Sweetwater, and then more down the highway. Their gentle clockwise rotations ... I wondered why they are all white -- why no one has thought to paint them in colors or patterns.

I was listening to Sirius radio -- the Roadhouse station, which is classic country -- lots of somebody-done-somebody-wrong songs. Love it.

I was about 35 miles from Van Horn, Texas, traveling on 20, merging onto 10, out in the middle of literally .. nothing.. when I looked at my fuel gauge. Not only was it sitting on E, but the light was on, telling me that I was on my last gallon or so. I didn't know how long it had been on.

My mileage indicator told me that I'd been 347 miles since my fill-up, though, and that was not far enough! The wind had to have been a factor in my low fuel performance. I went back in my mind, trying to remember when I'd last passed an exit with a diesel station. I touched the Where To on my GPS, and found that there was a fuel station, Chevron, in 8 miles. Cool. I slowed to 55, wanting to conserve what fuel I did have, so that I could make it the 8 miles.

I climbed some minor hills and glided down the other side, and finally made it to the exit. Turning off the highway, I saw that the diesel price was 3.85. Ok... whatever.. I'll pay! But ... no! The pumps were bagged "out of order." The station was closed!

Checking the GPS again, I found a station 13 more miles down the road. But could I make it 13 more miles? I prayed. I called Jack and asked him to pray, since his prayers likely mattered more than mine. I counted down the miles. And I prayed.

I do have Good Sam Emergency Road Service, but I could not imagine sitting out in the middle of nothing waiting for someone to bring me fuel. The thought seemed unacceptable. I prayed to get to the exit. And I prayed that the station there would be open. And I prayed that, if they were open, that they would have diesel.

I've never imagined that God could concern himself with things like whether some lamer who didn't pay attention to her fuel gauge would make it another 13 miles. Surely He was busy taking care of who wins the playoffs or someone passing an exam, right? Anyway, I prayed.

Ten miles... 9 miles. I told myself that I have walked 9 miles. I could walk 9 miles today, but.. I didn't have to. 8 miles.. 7.6 miles... 6.4 miles.. I prayed. I cried.

Three miles. And I could see a red flashing sign in the distance. It was the fuel station. The flashing told me that it was open! 2.5 miles... easy walk. 2 miles. 1.5 miles.. I prayed. I could see that the flashing sign had not only red lights but green ones! Green is the color that they use for diesel prices on these signs! Was it so for this one?

One mile... The sign said exit one mile. And when it was 0.7 of a mile, the GPS told me to exit here. And now I could see that it was diesel that they were advertising! I prayed that I would make it all the way to the station. And I sobbed with relief as I pulled up to the diesel pump. I called Jack to tell him my happy news and to thank him for praying for me, and I got out to pump.

On and on the fuel pumped.. 26.47 gallons it took! And this was into a tank that holds 26.4 gallons. The price was 43 cents a gallon LESS than what I'd paid at the last stop, also in TX. I was the only one there. I had a real Twilight Zone feeling about the whole experience, like that the station had been put there just for me, that somehow God arranged for me to have more fuel than the tank would hold... I don't know.

So I drove on in to Van Horn, stopped at Pizza Hut and had a personal pizza. Again, I was the only person dining in the Pizza Hut. And I went over to the neighboring DQ and celebrated the moment with a Blizzard -- Chocolate Extreme, with additional Snickers and Heath. :)

Tonight I'm in Las Cruces, after having driven 497 miles today. I'm at the Hacienda Resort, which is quite a nice spot, with a gorgeous mountain view, and the sunset and 70° were wonderful treats for me as I did my walk around the park.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Longhorns, and Windmills and Buttes... Oh, My!

I awoke this morning in Mt. Pleasant, showered, unhooked, and headed out. Soon I stopped for fuel and stopped again soon after that to adjust my passenger's side mirror. I need to tighten the thing, but I don't have the necessary allen wrench yet. So I have to adjust the mirror every time I stop, or after I have gone over some bumpy roads.

I set the GPS so that I'd go via Denton, TX, which took me north of Dallas. I did wave as I went by, Lynell! Just west of Denton, I saw my first prickly pear cactus since last spring! Soon after that, I started seeing long horns on some of the cattle, and then, near Breckenridge, a roadrunner ran across the road in front of me!
North of Abilene, I went through an enormous wind farm, with probably hundreds of huge windmills. Here is a photo that someone else took of this wind farm. It amused me that there were cattle grazing throughout this wind farm, and they seemed completely unaffected by these huge turbines.

I had a Kashi TLC bar (cherry & chocolate) for breakfast, along with a cranberry juice that I got at the gas station. Lunch... um... cashews. I didn't stop for lunch. I did stop in the afternoon, though, at a little grocery, and picked up a few convenience non-perishable meals that I could enjoy along the rest of my trip.

On the "little road" through Denton, I went through several county seats, passing by some really cute and cool courthouses. Texas has 275 county seats. Now.. wouldn't THAT be a neat photography project? Andrew, one of my favorite readers, reminded me of my Indiana Courthouse photography project. Michael and I did this a few years ago, taking 3 years to travel all over the state of Indiana, photographing every county seat's courthouse, along with some street scenes.

At about 3:30, I arrived at KOA of Abilene. After hooking up, I went for my walk, one of those round-and-rounds in the campground. Then I fixed my dinner, one of my convenience things -- a chicken, pesto, cheese wrap, that I assembled and microwaved right in the box. It was sort of salty, but it was pretty good.

Tonight I'm watching HGTV (yes, on cable!) and catching up with email. Next I'll do the USA Today Sudoku, and then hit the rack. I'm about 12 hours from Tucson, which means that I'll be there on Thursday or Friday. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Doves on the Wing

This day started out with the weather calm but cloudy in West Memphis. I had a shower, about 5 minutes of which was warm. I unhooked and drove off. I had a fuel stop, a couple of Rest Area stops, and then it was time for lunch. One HOUR is how long it took me to get my food and to get it eaten... at Wendy's in Arkadelphia. At least it was good. I got chili, a Caesar salad, and a root beer. I saved the salad.

Sometime this morning, just before I crossed the White River in Arkansas, I saw an amazing sight -- probably 100,000 white and gray doves both swirling through the air, and noshing on corn in a field. What a wonderful thing to see!

After I left Arkadelphia, the wind picked up, and I fought it all the rest of my drive, making my shoulders sore from the effort. I didn't go much further, stopping at Mt. Pleasant, TX, just a third of the way from the eastern border of TX to Dallas, on I-30. My APRS shows me ... not there yet. Remember, it will show my position only if it "talks to" a station with an internet gateway, and these gateways are usually rarer in the west than in the east.

After I got here, I went for my walk just around the KOA campground. Then I set out to connect the cable TV. Connecting it was not a problem, but getting it to actually work? I couldn't figure it out, even after consulting the owner's manual! Instead, I needed to call my TV expert -- Jack! Setting up the cable in this TV is a 4-step process:
  1. Connect the cable outside.
  2. Put the switches by the radio to Radio and On.
  3. Turn the green light in the cabinet by the TV OFF.
  4. Turn the TV on with the remote. Then click the Menu button and go to TV > Cable.
I know. It seems like a lot to me, too, but tonight, I'm enjoying HGTV while I do email and blog! :)