Saturday, April 30, 2016

20 April, 2016 - Going Home, Crossbows, ATV's and Emergency Rooms

Were back home again.  We've been anxious to get back home so we left a couple of weeks earlier than originally planned.  We also made some changes in how we are going to do future trips (both in the winter and during the year).  One of those changes is becoming more mobile.  To do that we had to pare down on what we have in Nevada and make the motor home easier to relocate.  There's just too many places to go and see and as the saying goes, ... "we aren't getting any younger!"

So ... we began with moving things into storage that we planned to take back to Montana this time. One thing we learned is that the more room you have the more things you accumulate so we ended up renting a 16 foot truck from Budget Rental.  Their prices were a lot cheaper than U-Haul or any other company we contacted and the truck was very adequate for what we needed to move.  We also rented a tow dolly to tow the car on.  That way Susan and I could trade off on the driving and make better time.  We also closed out the storage unit we had. We're trying to reduce the clutter in our lives both here and in MT.

We had a couple of more things to do before we left so we got them finished up.  One was a fence repair project but the Park Service didn't drop the materials off where they were supposed to (we don't have a clue where they put them!) and we already had the rental truck scheduled so they'll have to do that one themselves or wait for us to get back next year.

The other thing was to clean out the motor home and put a new master cylinder on it.  The master cylinder shouldn't have been a big job but it took me awhile to get it done.  One problem was a lack of tools.  If I had had a cement floor, jacks and my air ratchet I'd have finished it within an hour at most.  But when you work on the dirt with hand tools only it takes a bit longer.  But it's finished now so we have reliable brakes again on the motor home.

Susan went to work on the motor home removing the things we were taking home and packing up and mouse proofing the things we left in it.  I cleaned out the storage compartments leaving only the tools I needed there.  Susan loaded up the car several times for our trips into town to the storage unit. Finally it all came together and we were ready to hit the road.

One of our trips to storage.  We were organizing things in the storage unit and decided to take a break.  Susan's phone battery was low so she set up the portable RAV - 15 solar panels to charge her phone while she used it.  We carry one of these and one set of  Goal Zero 7.5 panels with us in the vehicle at all times.  We have three of the RAV - 15's and two of the Goal Zero 7.5's.  Either does a fine job of recharging our cell phones and tablets.

Scott got a "bubble machine."  It's battery operated and you fill the reservoir with soap then turn it on.  A "wagon wheel" arrangement of hoops is turned by a battery powered motor.  As they turn the hoop ends drop into the reservoir.  When they come back out of it they are rotated over a vent with a fan blowing underneath it.  The air blowing through puts out hundreds of bubbles.  It will keep small children occupied for quite a while.  A calm day works best!  

Las Vegas smog!  We had to go to Vegas to get our truck and do some final shopping.  We stopped at Harbor Freight Tools for ramps.  We waited over 30 minutes for them to find the ramps (to load the ATV) I wanted but they never did.  So we left there without the ramps and made the rounds of Walmart and Costco.  One of the Costco stores there has lots of drinks and we wanted to stock up on Mean Bean coffee drinks for the trip and to have on hand in MT.  We bought several cases to take with us.  After that we headed for Budget Rental to pick up our truck.  That was uneventful as was the trip back to the camper.  We still needed some ramps though so after dropping off the truck at the motor home we drove back to Vegas in the car to buy some ramps.  I chose different ramps and they actually found them in the back room so we paid for them and headed back to the lake.

Odie knew we were getting ready to hit the road so she made it a point to stay underfoot.

One the road again!  Scott likes to travel which is really good since we do so much of it.

I believe this was taken in Utah.  Utah has a lot of places we want to explore and we plan on spending more time there in the future.

Home in Montana again. Those familiar with snow country will recognize the tall post circled in the background.  When you see these it means go south in winter!

We are within 175 miles of home here! That was a welcome sight!

Well ... we had so much to do when we got home and everything took far longer than planned.  We had just pulled into the driveway when I spotted a gopher in my garden area so I grabbed one of my crossbows and a blunt arrow and ended his hole digging, crop eating career ... permanently!   That was just the first of our opportunities to increase our patience.

Our two youngest kids and one son-in-law helped us unload the truck which was very much appreciated.  We put everything in the living room except for the outdoor stuff so then we had a living room stuffed full of things we needed to find a place for in an already over stuffed cabin and storage buildings.  Susan has been very busy putting things away.  We are going to have several loads going to thrift stores.

Second item was that we needed to find and ATV for Susan.  This is where living away from populated areas sucks.  We spent two days in Kalispell before we located a suitable machine for her.  It's a Yamaha 350 bear, full time 4wd and it's in great shape and works good.  But there's more to the story ...

We looked at a couple of dealerships and the last one had a nice new 300 cc ATV we liked.  Susan took it on a test drive and when she got back we stood next to a pontoon boat talking to the salesman.  Scott was, of course, climbing on the pontoon boat. I got annoyed with the salesman (a young guy) who kept moving into my line of vision because I was watching Scott instead of him.  (I guess salesmen think it's important to have potential customers make eye contact?)  Anyway, I was really getting annoyed the last time he did it and as soon as he sidestepped again I heard a thump then Scott was crying very hard.  He'd fallen off the side of the boat to the pavement landing square on his lower back and butt.  He calmed down after a few minutes but still hurt so we took him to the emergency room to have him checked out.

After poking, prodding, and having him do stretches and bends they pronounced him healed and sent him home.  Okay, it was more detailed than that and they did a good job checking him out (two doctors and three different nurses) and determined that no bones were broken and probably no internal injuries.  Scott was feeling better by the minute so he took off his doctor "costume" and we left with instructions on what to watch for and to have a follow-up visit with his pediatrician if anything looked wrong.

Our next stop was McDonalds because he wanted to play in play land and we were hungry.  So fifteen minutes out of the emergency room he was playing on the equipment in McDonalds with other kids.  The recuperative ability of children is amazing!  That was on the first day of our ATV search.  The second day we answered an ad for the Yamaha and bought it.  We still hadn't turned in the rental truck and it had unlimited mileage available so we used it to transport the ATV home.  Then we drove it back and turned it in to the rental place.  We still needed to drive the car back 70 miles to home.  That was another long day!

The next saga was our internet.  I drove into Eureka to upgrade our internet service.  We got home on Sunday and on Monday morning I was in at the telephone company to have the internet upgraded to the highest level we can get.  It was slow and we kept getting a "no internet access" on our computers.  It was late in the day by then so first thing the next morning I called tech support and they did their thing which didn't help and they forwarded a repair order to the phone company.  They did some things and told us it was fixed.  It wasn't!  So we again went through tech support who Passed the buck to the phone company.  We needed to go to Kalispell again on another issue which meant we were gone all day (more about that trip on the next post).  Got home, still no internet!!!!

After almost a week of screwing around we finally have as good a WiFi as we can get at our current location.  But, that took place after the 20th so I'll tell more about that and my emergency room visit in the next installment.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 10, 2016 Power boats, Rain and Desert Flowers.

We are approaching our final week here in Nevada (at least for awhile) and are finishing up some projects we began a few weeks ago.  Of course we are still reserving time for having fun too!

A friend of ours had his power boat here and took us out for a ride.  Needless to say we covered more of the lake in a couple of hours than we could have done in days in our kayaks.  One one open section of the lake Scott got to take a hand at the wheel.  He was thrilled to say the least and absolutely confident that he could pilot the boat at least as well as we did (and maybe better).  He did pretty well but I don't think his skill level is up to docking it yet.

Ours boys in green were at it again that day.  This one did a couple of rounds then dropped some large things out of the plane.  We had a good view from the dock while taking the boat back out of the water.

Scott was having fun making "sea-monster" tracks on the dock.

We never seemed to get enough time in the pool!  This section is a lot like spending time in a Jacuzzi.  The water almost feels like a massage!

We were told by a local friend that the desert doesn't handle rain well!  Years ago we thought that the porous sand would let the water sink into the ground immediately but that isn't the case.  There's enough clay mixed in that the water can stand for days after a rain.  Of course it can also run off in great enough volumes to create floods.  This was in front of our motor home.

Scott, of course, took full advantage of the water to have some fun.  The boots were helpful for about the first two steps.  Then he was in over their tops.

He was still having fun though.

One of the projects we finished up was repairing some fence around a local spring.  These are scattered across the desert and easy to find if you know what to look for.  The fence was to keep the burros from harassing the Desert Bighorns that came here for water.  The bucket is about half full of fence clips for steel posts.

On the hike in we were treated to a dazzling array of wild flowers.  The colors on desert plant flowers are so brilliant it's like God is giving them a special favor to make up for their harsh growing environment.  I've labelled those we know the name of.

These are similar to the Sahara Mustard but these are okay.

Indigo Bush

Hedge hog and creosote.


Hedgehog cactus



Baby birds in their nest made inside an old spool of barb wire hanging on a fence post.

There are literally hundreds of other flowers that didn't make it in this post.

It always amazes me when people see no beauty in nature.  Even the most harsh environments have their own special kind of beauty.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

March 31, 2016 A New Toy, Kayaks, People Falling Out if the Sky, Redstone, and Dust Storms

The temperature's climbing and we're starting to get homesick.  We've been busy with a lot of different things the past couple of weeks.  My biggest head-ache was doing our taxes!  I'm printing up paper copies of the taxes plus the worksheets and keeping one set on file here in Nevada and taking one complete set back home to Montana.  The total number of pages between the federal and state corporation taxes and federal and state personal taxes is over 150 pages.  That will be 300 pages total.  It cost me around $60.00 just in print cartridges. I also keep secure copies of everything in memory sticks.  I sent some paper copies of my taxes from 2014 to the VA for income verification awhile back.  Just those needed for that cost me almost $10.00 in print cartridges and another $10.00 (plus) in postage.  I'll also have copies on my computer, three memory sticks, and an extra hard drive.  Most stored miles apart in different places.

The annual Overton Yard sale was okay this year.  It's been better in previous years.  I think that the paper wanting $25.00 just to put you on their special map might have dropped the number of sales.  We still got some great buys though.  I picked up a couple of new Mora sheath knives for $4.50 each, a nice Brunton compass and an altimeter, a 7 1/4 in, Skil Saw and a bunch of other stuff.  This photo is in the Lin's (grocery store) parking lot.

We have a new machine to use and play on.  We've been planning on getting a pair of these for quite some time.  I bought this one from a friend in Nevada.  It's used but in good shape.  Scott has given it his seal of approval.  It's a 700cc and should be good for some work at home too.  We'll Get Susan's when we get back to MT.

Scott made a "volcano"  in his sand pile using the tire pump to make it "erupt."

This was the first time we made kabobs.  We decided it was easier to cook the meat on one then the veggies and fruit by themselves.

It was delicious!  (We had sweet potatoes inside the foil.)

It's springtime in the desert and the wild flowers are just gorgeous!  It was a wet spring so there is even more color than normal years.  The next time I post I'll have even more flower photos.

Scott found this guy squished on the road!  We told him to never pick up a live one!

Of course we've had our share of sand storms this year.  It's been windier than normal.

It's been beautiful as well!

And the guys in green have been up to their usual antics of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes into the cold waters of Lake Mead.

On the few days when the wind is not blowing you'll find us on the lake in our kayaks.

This guy was more curious than afraid.  There are a lot of coyotes this year.

This is on the other side of the lake.  We found a nice sandy beach where we played for hours.

Scott used Susan's camera to record some of the things he thought important.

He took lots of photos of coyote tracks, and bugs and rocks and ...

... old farts napping in the sand and sun.

Time to head back.  Scott is always eager for the next adventure.

The donkey was ready for us to leave as well.  He brayed at us when we began paddling away.

Scott and his cousin Anna.  She's a year older than he is but he's bigger.  They play well together (most of the time!).  His other cousins were there too along with our son-in-law and daughter.  They had some things in storage and came back to move them to their new home in New Mexico.

This is at Redstone in the Park.  Naturally it's more impressive when seen in real life.  There are several different types of rock in this photo.

And the sunsets are nearly always colorful.

My wife (Susan) has a new book out:

It's available in both Kindle and print versions.