Friday, August 11, 2017

Tennessee Backwoods

Today's Spotty Tracking

Today was a  rainy humid day, with intermittent showers most of the day long.
I needed both a bike ride and a few WalMart items to replenish the RV supplies (AA batteries and a couple small propane bottles) - so after a while I noted the rain was slacking off.  I stepped outside several times to judge the clearness of the overhead clouds and skies, and decided to risk it and take a ride. Several times.
Each time I'd change into my puke-yellow biking shirt and get set up to ride, the rain would start again.  I'd go back inside, change into a presentable shirt so I could DRIVE (Yuck) into Niota, only to find, once again, the sun was out and brightly shining. 
About the third cycle of such nonsense, I finally decided to risk it and ride instead of drive, and I was miraculously able to make the run without getting soaked.
The route into Niota from the Sherwood homestead is only about 3 miles, but there are lots of fairly steep hills 'twixt here and there.  Thus it involved a lot of huffing and puffing to accomplish this mighty trek in spite of the shortness of the distance.  The altitude here is only around 700-900 feet, so one would think the additional oxygen would make it easy for an old mountain goat.  It is always a bit tougher than I think it should be.  It has nothing to do with my lack of exercise during this trip, with maybe a few hours of riding during a month of driving, har har.
The big city of Niota Tennessee (pop. 718) for some reason does not have a Walmart, the RV'ers favorite venue.  It does, however, have a rather well stocked Dollar General which was my destination for the day.
The roads are paved and not too bad to ride on, until I topped the last small hill approaching the Niota metropolitan city limits.  As I smoked down the hill at 30 MPH, I encountered a fair sized pot hole that thankfully wasn't deep enough to destroy my trike, but at speed it was enough to jar everything and make my teeth rattle.  No wheels bent or blew out, and as far as I know nothing deployed into the shrubbery next to the road, so all was well.
I arrived downtown to the stares of several folks who may well have never before seen such an odd contraption patrolling their streets.  2 or 3 cars with drivers stopped and watched me as I parked the trike and bumped it up onto the sidewalk near the store so I could cable-lock it to the shopping cart rack.  It took me several minutes to get situated, take my helmet off, put on my boonie floppy hat, take a drink of water, and start to enter the store, and only then did several cars finally back out and leave the parking lot.
The store was packed like an old fashioned drug store, with odds and ends clogging every aisle, and I enjoyed my search for my intended and unintended purchases.  Unfortunately they did not stock small propane bottles for camp stoves, so I had to ride farther up the busy street to find a gas station that DID sell such things, and the price made me gasp: $10 for ONE tiny propane bottle.
I did indeed miss my normal $3 or so WalMart pricing.  But pricey or not, it was a successful shopping expedition, and I returned to the RV safe and sound and tired and sweaty.  Humidity is normally high in these parts, and after all the rain it is downright soggy in the air.  Thank goodness for a good shower in the RV.

Ride Started: 1:44 PM    Ride Ended:  3:37 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.0  Ending Voltage: 12.8  Lowest:  12.8
Beginning Blood Glucose:  289   Ending BG Reading: 93
Lowest Temp  71F      Highest Temp:  82F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  5.4
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
3.1 MPH                                  5.2 MPH                    28.5  MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
1 hour 30 mins                       1 hour                        20 minutes

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 35

Today's Tracking

DATELINE:  Niota, Tennessee (Jessica & Steve's Place)

We're currently visiting our Grandkids Tyler and Katrien.  Beautiful country here in TN, and the air is a bit.... humid.
But that's no big deal when you want to try out a  Rails-to-Trails route not far away.  The Eureka Trail is short but scenic.  It's gravel and mostly flat but other than nature there's not much to look at.  I found the colorful signs along the trail interesting:
"Eat Less Salt in Your Diet"
"Find Exercise"
"Find a Babbling Brook" (Wasn't babbling, but there was a small trickle)
"Tips for Exercise"
"Eat More Vegetables"
All of which seem a bit off the beaten trail, literally speaking.  The only people who can see these signs are already out in  the boonies WALKING or riding the trail and are thus most likely already interested in all the above.  My thought ws these signs of admonition might be better situated in local doughnut shops, 7-11 stores, bars, etc, where people who really need such signs can ignore them.
Only 6 miles of trail here, and every tenth of each mile has a helpful sign along the trail.
Actually this is much improved from when I rode it 2 years ago, when the trail was mostly large rocky gravel and tough to ride, and overgrown to the point of discomfort with bounteous weeds and tree branches.
This happens to be an area smack in the middle of the upcoming Solar Eclipse.  We have already experienced a couple of these in our lifetimes but may linger long enough to see this one too rather than rushing home after 2 months absence.
Grandson Tyler was my guide from here to there and back, me on my Catrike and he on a "normal" upright mountain bike.

Ride Started: 10:55 AM    Ride Ended:  2:44 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.0  Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  13.0 
Beginning Blood Glucose:  120   Ending BG Reading: 57
Lowest Temp  75F      Highest Temp:  82F   
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.83 
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed  
3.7 MPH                                  6.5 MPH                    27.7  MPH 
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time 
3 hours  45 mins                     2 hours 9 mins          1 hour 36  minutes

Thursday, August 3, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 29

Most Recent Moving Track for the RV

Well, I haven't kept up this travelogue very well recently.  We are currently parked in the kids' driveway in Wheaton IL where we will be at least for a few more days before departing for other grandkids' residences.
We spent the week previous enjoying the Marshall MI Bluegrass Festival.  For those not in the know, bluegrass festivals involve arriving several days early (Sunday in this case) and just knocking around sorta dry camping (there is usually electric and water available) until the music groups start officially playing onstage on Thursday.  The days leading up to the fest are not totally wasted, as all sorts of "parking lot pickers"  tend to find each other and jam, with the inevitable standup bass fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and one or more guitarists rounding things out.  The occasional dobro player appears, and that is always an enjoyable addition to the riffs run off at unbelievable speed.  Enjoyable, high stepping music, with several of us dancing in the weeds, dirt, or concrete both inside the festival shelter and between RV's as the ad hoc groups start lighting up the sky with their hot licks and lyrics.  Lots of old time songs, many unrecognizable songs written by its performer, and even old country and rock 'n roll songs sung to a lively bluegrass beat.  Great stuff.
Just a couple samples, all the groups were great:

The only slight negative to this week of music enjoyment ws ME.  I started feeling a bit off about the second day, and absolutely miserable by the third day, and then things got UGLY.  After a visit to the local Urgent Care, I was reassured that all I had was a raging UTI, or Urinary Tract Infection.  I have seen others with this infection but until now it had never bothered me.  For those unaware, it means it HURTS and BURNS to PEE !!  And for an old man having to pee a lot, it was indeed an eye opener.  Jacque fed me some Cranberry Juice Extract.  It tasted like cesspool slime and the only benefit I can think of is that after drinking a taste of THAT in the morning, nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the day!
A little research, after the fact as always, discloses there is little to no evidence cranberry juice helps such situations.  The doctor's prescribed horse pills, however, DID work, and I am much better though I have another several days of pills to take morning and night.  Things are flowing normally again, so I am once more a happy camper.
I've been riding the trike on and off around various neighborhoods, but here in IL the tracker does not seem to have contact.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 13

Today's Tiresome Tracking

DATELINE:  Goreville Illinois, Hilltop  Campground

We spent an enjoyable Sunday and Monday nights parked in front of our  Anderson  cousins in  Springfield  MO.
We  reluctantly left this morning and  crossed the  IL state line  about an hour ago and are  now encamped   in a  PAID-for  RV slot where we are running both AC's on high power trying to suck the  humidity out of the air and will dump our  nasty stuff from both tanks in the morning.   So far all functions are  nominal in the RV except for intermittent stoppage of our hot water heater.  We currently must switch it off & on several times but so far it's keeping us supplied with  great hot water.
We were cruising along at highway  speeds (60 MPH) on Route 60, the original coast-to-coast highway that never  received the glory or acclaim that route  66 did, which only  ran from Santa Monica CA to Chicago, a non coast-to-coast route for real.  Of a sudden there were  several sets of  brake lights stopping right in the middle of  the highway, and we realized  there was  a  HUGE wreck involving 2 jack-knifed semi's.  Evidently one was slowing down and the other slammed into him from behind, resulting in both rigs jack knifing across the  eastbound lane, with the forward-most truck  jack knifing so sharply that it sheared the cab off  the tractor chassis.  Missouri state patrol soon showed up  and efficiently directed stalled traffic over to the   westbound lanes, allowing us  to resume travel only  30 or so minutes after the wreck occurred.  Of course we were unable to learn of the fate  of either driver nor the exact story of the accident.
Wrecks in NM normally seem  to block traffic entirely for hours on end, and it was impressive to see the  highway patrol here actually  get  things moving instead of forcing traffic to back up for hours and miles on end.

Monday, July 17, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 12

Up-To-Date Tracking via Ham Radio APRS

DATELINE: Springfield, Missouri

We drove all day Sunday after leaving Sherry and Ben's RV Parque and arrived early that evening at Cousin Jerry and Sally's Front Yard RV facility in Springfield, a favorite town for many peoples including ourselves.
Again a bit tired from all the windshield time, we are laying over 2 nights before heading onward and eastward toward southern Illinois.
Springfield is a nice break from the heat and humidity of OK, since it actually cols off noticeably when the sun goes down. An unusual concept for this trip so far.
Who knows where we'll wind up after that, but we ARE looking forward to a big Bluegrass Festival in Michigan the latter part of this month.
-Gotta sign off for now, since Jacque brought me an ice cream bar.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 8

Today's Tremendous Tracking

Well, thus far we have enjoyed two "Free" nights of RV camping, courtesy of Sam Walton.
Tuesday we pulled into the Walmart parking lot in Rock Springs, WY, and since it already had multiple RV's parked in a cluster at the far end of the parking lot, we didn't even ask permission.  We just pulled in and occupied a large spot (Almost 50 feet including the "Toad" towed Ford Exploder.  In spite of the few who ran their engines and generators, we enjoyed a restful night's sleep there and moved on along toward Denver wherefore to call upon Susie and Jeremiah.  They had recommended a nearby RV park but we were disappointed to find it almost overflowing with NO vacancies.  So we pulled out of there and went to the closest Walmart, where we immediately found "No Camping or Overnight Parking" signs posted all over the place.  We got on the mobile internet and found a Sams Club in Thornton, called them on the cell phone, and YES, they did indeed allow overnighters there.  It was a long drive across the Denver metroplex but we could find no other RV camps listed and of course Denver is just naturally crowded since it is so large.
Then we fought traffic back over to Aurora where Jerry & Susie live and they treated us to a very tasty buffalo dinner at Ted's Place, as in Ted Turner.  Then we bid our fond good-nights and fought our way back across Denver traffic to spend the night at Sam's Club.  We assumed the parking lot would be clogged with other RV's but there was only one other 'customer' that stayed the night in a van camper next to us.  
Turned out to be very cool and quiet and we enjoyed another night's peaceful rest.
This morning we broke camp late, hoping to let some of the Denver rush hour crowd dissipate, and fought I-70 eastbound traffic for 10 miles or more before it thinned out into normal interstate traffic.  This led us to the Kansas State Line whereupon we traversed the unending expanse of Kansas most of the day.  Tonight we could find no Walmarts or Sam's Clubs so we pulled into a Kansas State Rest Area where hopefully we can attain another night's peace and quiet for minimal additional expense.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RV Grandkid Tour 2017 Day 6

Tracking for the last 6 Days

We left home on 6  July, headed first to Utah for our  Shelley  Family Reunion, staged in Riverdale UT.
We stopped for the first night in Monticello UT at a small RV park which, along with  being rather un-neighborly,  charged us 43-something bucks for an RV hookup which had  no viable TV  available.
This ticked us off  because  we think it's a bit of a  rip-off paying more than TWENTY  bucks a night, which even at that rate adds up to  ~ 600 a month.    Which is a rather steep price to pay for a  narrow parking  spot, even with electricity  and  water and sewer.  At least WE think so.
We then spent  2 nights parked in my sister's driveway, sucking their  electricity trying to stay cool,  in Sunset UT.   Went to the fam reunion  on Saturday  and attended Church  meetings with her and her hubby Bill on Sunday. Left  Monday morning and arrived in the  wonderful small Mormon town of Hyrum UT in the famed Cache Valley and stayed one wonderful  night parked in the  Funk's  ample driveway with  enough electricity to  run BOTH air conditioners  - which  was wonderful.    Great people living in a small friendly town  where everyone smiles   and waves, even the little kids.
Now parked in Rock Springs WY at Walmart amongst a growing crowd of  other RV's  parking for the night.   Off to  Denver in the  morning to visit Susie and Jerry (daughter  #2) and  thence eastward to catch up  with Jacque's side of the family.
More later, to coin a phrase.