Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This might be harder to believe except for having spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking a KOA campground dump station (among other things) and watching some very peculiar dump practices.

From ""
A Stella Award Winner.
The Stella's are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds. That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States.
The following are this
This year's favorite could easily be Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the R.V. left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreation vehicles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back To The Routine

Mr Milo Mr Milo
Brother Ernie and his dogs Walter and Wolfie left this morning. It's always nice when we can get together for a while. It's also always nice to see them go. Doggies are so energetic compared to a cat. We were lucky this visit to have mostly dry weather. We only had rain the last day of the visit so less mud was tracked in. The furniture slip covers came off as the trucks tail lights went out of sight. Mr Milo, our beloved and understanding cat, was shown that the doggies were gone and he then wanted to take a walk outside after a through inspection of the front of the house where the dogs had been. The yard was policed to get rid of doggie presents, another reason cats are better because they use their litter boxes. My poor eyes have a much more difficult time, now days, differentiating brown leaves on the lawn from doggie presents. It's sort of like an Easter egg hunt, without the profit.
It's a gray drippy day today, good for tinkering inside.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Easy Does It

Wilton Greenhouse Strawberry Poinsettia
The yard plants are happily in the green house, and just in time. Rather sad to see the warm weather leave. With the crisp air, it's a good time for hiking the local parks. I've been ignoring them for quite a while. On the right is the "Strawberry" Poinsettia plant (plastic Poinsettia flowers on real strawberry plants.)
Doggie Platform Doggie Platform
Brother Ernie and I made a clip on platform for his truck. Walter, the dog, needs a little help getting all the way up into the truck cab.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday’s “Thanksgiving” Dinner

Fridays "Thanksgiving" turkey dinner had the usual effect.

The dogs love to get their holiday bones.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

Ernie's Truck Ernie's Truck
Brother Ernie arrived in his truck about noon with his dogs Wolfie and Walter.
Courtney, Dawn and Dawn Ernie and Lou
The rest of the day was preparing for tomorrows actual Thanksgiving feast. Dawn and Courtney were picked up at the airport and we had a nice crock pot dinner of pork sauerkraut and potatoes.
Wolfie and Walter, Ernie's Dogs
When the dogs arrive, Mr Milo is locked up in the back of the house with a child gate and the dogs get the front and use of the doggie door. Mr Milo doesn't seem to mind being in back, or is it just that he really doesn't want to be up front with the dogs.
The weather is still reasonably warm, just a chill in the air. Not like most Thanksgiving days. A frost will probably come soon so the plants in the yard get to go into the green house this weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lou’s Birthday

Today is Lou's birthday. She says she just turned "30," odd for a recent retiree. I like younger women all the same.
The time is near to let the tryptophan go to work. My brother Ernie and Dawn's friends Dawn and Courtney from UCLA will arrive tomorrow evening. Our Thanksgiving diner will be Friday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Clean Up

Lou and I have been busy cleaning and going through junk. With so many boxes of valuable junk this may take a while. The stuff is more interesting because much of it was placed into the study closet when we moved in and not looked at since. Too valuable to throw away, then. A lot isn't so valuable now.
The collection of old computers is interesting but probably not too useful. In chronological order: Bally, Ohio Scientific C4P, Aim65's (home builts), Commodore Vic 20's, Commodore 64, Commodore B128 and C128's, Apple II, Apple III, and then a lot of PC junk. I think I'll check with the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to see if they're missing anything.
My prize computer I haven't been able to locate for years. I built it in 1962. It was very usefull. It added numbers up to a result total of eight. Probably stuffed in the attic?
More about My Computers

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

San Francisco Walk

I've been busy digging through the study closet which was full of boxes that were put in there when we moved in, 14 years ago. I figured it was "about" time to look in the boxes.
12th Street Side Yard
Yesterday, I cleaned the gutters at the San Jose house. Of course, to do it right, I had to chop down a bunch of trees on the North side of the house. Nothing's ever simple. I can turn any 10 minute job into a day job anytime.
Of course, now I get to go buy a small chain saw to cut the large lower trunks of the trees and bushes. Then I get to dig out the stumps, then pour concrete, then put in a fence. Make that a 10 minute to a month job.
Stairway to Coit Tower Stairway to Coit Tower
Coit Tower
I had to attend a meeting in South San Francisco today. I've been wanting to take a train ride for a while as well. I checked the location of the meeting related to Caltrain stations. It was only a mile and 1/4 walk so I combined the two and rode the train to the meeting. After the meeting, I still had a perfectly good ticket that would get me to San Francisco from South San Francisco. Tickets are for zones which included both my meeting location and the rest of the way to SF. I took a little walk around San Francisco along the Embarcardero from the Caltrain station, up Telegraph Hill to Coit tower, out to Fisherman's Wharf and then back to the train. I like the walk (climb) up Telegraph Hill. It's a steep stairway path with nice gardens in the yards on either side and a flock of about 40 green parrots are in residence in the trees. They're kind of noisy, but interesting. At the top you get a great view of the bay at Coit Tower.
Golden Gate Bridge
The required picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Alcatraz Island
And of course Alcatraz Island.
A nice walk.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It’s Been A While

We've been traveling in our Sea Breeze motorhome for a while now.
Here is a list of all articles posted to date:

5/30/2003, The Beginning
5/30/2003, The First Trip, Went to The Pinnacles
6/12/2003, Redwood Country, Benbow RV Resort
6/30/2003, The First Trip With The Toad, Mill Creek State Park
7/12/2003, Driver Training, Santa Rosa
7/30/2003, Co-Pilot Training, Mr Milo The Cat
8/12/2003, Oregon, Along the Coast
10/12/2003, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
12/30/2003, Christmas In Las Vegas
2/12/2004, Wine Country, Bothe-Napa State Park
4/12/2004, Gold Country and Yosemite
4/29/2004, Antique Tractor Show, Visalia
5/12/2004, Preparing To Leave
5/15/2004, Rules Of Travel
5/27/2004, Getting Our Motosat
5/28/2004, Ferndale For The Kenetic Sculpture Race
5/29/2004, Kenetic Race, First Day
5/30/2004, Kenetic Race, Day 2
5/31/2004, Kenetic Race, Day 3
6/3/2004, Awaiting The Big Trip
6/20/2004, Getting Close!
6/25/2004, Remembering The Last Big Trip
7/1/2004, The Big Trip
7/2/2004, Portland
7/4/2004, Multnomah Falls
7/4/2004, The Wedding
7/5/2004, Boise
7/6/2004, Looking Around Boise
7/7/2004, Old Pen and Hagerman
7/8/2004, Crators of the Moon
7/9/2004, Idaho Falls
7/11/2004, Yellowstone NP
7/12/2004, Yellowstone, Old Faithfull
7/13/2004, Yellowstone Porcupine
7/14/2004, Yellowstone Beaver Ponds
7/15/2004, Yellowstone, Rainy Day
7/16/2004, Yellowstone, Natural Bridge
7/18/2004, Grand Tetons
7/19/2004, Jenny Lake
7/20/2004, Jackson
7/21/2004, On The Road
7/22/2004, Cheyenne
7/23/2004, Cheyenne State Museum
7/24/2004, Cheyenne Frontier Days
7/25/2004, Cheyenne Family Get Together
7/26/2004, Guernsey, Wy
7/27/2004, Oregon Trail Ruts
7/28/2004, Fort Laramie and Agate Fossil Beds
7/29/2004, Fort Robinson, Nebraska
7/30/2004, Hot Springs, SD
7/31/2004, Cooling It In Hot Springs
8/1/2004, The Caves
8/2/2004, Mt Rushmore, SD
8/3/2004, Sturgis and Deadwood,SD
8/4/2004, Devils Tower, Wy
8/5/2004, Gillette, Wy
8/6/2004, Sheridan, Wy
8/7/2004, Sheridan Laundry
8/8/2004, Butte, Montanna
8/9/2004, Coeur d'Alene, Id
8/10/2004, Spokane, Wa
8/11/2004, Mount Vernon, Oregon
8/12/2004, John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon
8/13/2004, On The Road Home
8/14/2004, Home
8/19/2004, San Mateo Fair
8/19/2004, About The Pictures Of Our Summer Trip
8/27/2004, Adjusting
9/3/2004, Monterey, CA
9/14/2004, San Luis Obispo, Ca
9/16/2004, El Chorro Regional Park
9/20/2004, Bakersfield, Ca
9/21/2004, Kernville, Ca at Lake Isabella
9/22/2004, Alabama Hills At Lone Pine, CA
9/22/2004, Tuttle Creek BLM at Lone Pine, Ca
9/23/2004, Mt Whitney Trail
9/25/2004, Kearsarge Pass Trail, Onion Valley
9/26/2004, Bristle Cone Pines, Big Pine, CA
9/27/2004, Fall Colors Near Bishop Creek
9/28/2004, Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows
9/28/2004, Laws Museum, Bishop
9/29/2004, Reno, Nv
10/1/2004, San Francisco GG Park
10/20/2004, Office Setup
10/25/2004, Bedroom TV
10/28/2004, New Batteries
10/29/2004, Photo Link Updates
11/6/2004, A New Toy, A WebCam
11/8/2004, I proved it again!
11/10/2004, Pinnacles, National Monument
11/12/2004, Pinnacles Balconies Trail
11/14/2004, Pinnacles South Wilderness
11/15/2004, Home Again
11/28/2004, Thanksgiving
12/6/2004, Milo's Back, Dogs Gone!
12/7/2004, The Smog Test(s)
12/9/2004, VOIP Phone
12/18/2004, King City
12/19/2004, Refugio State Beach
12/20/2004, The John Wayne Special
12/21/2004, San Diego
12/22/2004, Balboa Park
12/23/2004, San Diego Zoo
12/24/2004, Museum of Man
12/25/2004, Christmas 2004
12/26/2004, San Diego Natural History Museum
12/27/2004, San Diego Fleet Science Museum
12/28/2004, Final Day At Balboa Park
12/29/2004, Didn't Go Far
12/30/2004, Landers Family Visit
1/1/2005, Bakersfield
1/4/2005, Back To Work.
1/11/2005, Mojave National Preserve
1/12/2005, Las Vegas, Sam's Town
1/14/2005, Las Vegas, Rio
1/15/2005, Las Vegas, Mundane
1/17/2005, Las Vegas, Limo Ride
1/17/2005, Las Vegas, Outdoor World
1/18/2005, Old Ways and New Ways
1/19/2005, Leaving Las Vegas
1/20/2005, Quartzsite
1/21/2005, Quartzsite, Day 2
1/22/2005, Quartzsite, Day 3
1/23/2005, Quartzsite, Day 4
1/24/2005, Solar Panels
1/24/2005, Quartzsite, Day 5
1/25/2005, Quartzsite, Day 6
1/26/2005, Quartzsite, Day 7
1/27/2005, Quartzsite, Day 8
1/28/2005, Quartzsite, Time To Leave
1/29/2005, Hole In the Wall
1/29/2005, Mitchell Caverns, Ca
1/30/2005, Bakersfield Again
1/31/2005, Palo Alto, Back Home
2/18/2005, Fencing
2/19/2005, San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade
2/25/2005, Of Mice And Men
2/26/2005, Bakersfield
3/5/2005, When It Rains...
3/6/2005, The Clan
3/7/2005, Uncle Doug's Back Home
3/10/2005, Bakersfield, Kern River Park
3/13/2005, Bakersfield Walk
3/17/2005, Solar Panels Are On The Job
3/20/2005, Family Get-Together
3/22/2005, New Tires
3/25/2005, Kern River Park, West End
3/30/2005, Leaving Bakersfield
4/1/2005, Home Again
4/8/2005, View From Our Satellite
4/9/2005, Lucky Us
4/12/2005, Fencing
4/13/2005, Macromedia Users Group
4/14/2005, Dawn's Honors
4/15/2005, Tax Time
4/16/2005, Tulare Antique Farm Equipment Show
4/16/2005, On The Road to Tulare
4/17/2005, Highway 198
4/24/2005, More Fence Work
4/28/2005, Done Enough
4/29/2005, RV Service Time
5/4/2005, One Down
5/5/2005, Now It's Cold Again
5/7/2005, Missing Part Run
5/9/2005, Tinkering
5/12/2005, Toad Back, Sounds Like New
5/13/2005, A Visit To The Morgue
5/16/2005, Bakersfield Again
5/20/2005, Nothing Exciting
5/21/2005, Bakersfield's Pioneer Village Museum
5/22/2005, Mr Milo and Friend
5/30/2005, Yosemite, Hight Water
6/5/2005, More Bakersfield
6/9/2005, Hart Park
6/19/2005, Fathers Day
6/30/2005, Retirement Reunion
6/30/2005, Tut Visit
7/4/2005, Tut II
7/6/2005, Visitation Map
7/6/2005, A Birthday
7/12/2005, Here Comes The Heat
7/13/2005, Another Birthday
7/16/2005, Open House
7/18/2005, The Long Hot Summer
7/19/2005, Ahhhh!!! Cool at last!
7/22/2005, Back to the Heat
7/31/2005, Slurp! Slurp!
7/31/2005, Come On By!
7/31/2005, Visited Home Base
8/2/2005, SLO Here We Come
8/5/2005, Guadalupe, Ca
8/10/2005, Cool San Luis Obispo, Again
8/11/2005, Arroyo Grande, Ca
8/14/2005, Cool(er) Bakersfield
8/21/2005, Home Again
8/27/2005, Garage Sale
9/1/2005, A Long Walk
9/4/2005, Another Good Sale
9/4/2005, Politics, "As Usual?"
9/8/2005, Back to San Luis Obispo
9/11/2005, SLO El Churro Regional Park
9/13/2005, Pismo Beach, Ca
9/15/2005, Go Fly A Kite
9/16/2005, Wonderful Bakersfield
9/24/2005, Exciting Bakersfield!
9/29/2005, Muskrat Love
10/2/2005, House Mover Groupies
10/4/2005, Tehachapi Railroad Loop
10/14/2005, On The Road At Last
10/15/2005, East Shore RV Park, San Dimas, Ca
10/18/2005, Pismo Beach Enroute Home
10/20/2005, Highway 1,
10/31/2005, Home Life
11/2/2005, Ugly Job Done
11/3/2005, New Articles And Layout
11/4/2005, There's Hope
11/12/2005, A Visit To The Tank Farm

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Visit To The Tank Farm

Dawn and Don visited the Tank Farm (The Jacques Littlefield Military Vehicle Collection). More information about this wonderful collection may be found here and here.
Panzer In Shop Inside Panzer
Panzer Engine Block
The German Panzer tank above is in the shop being restored. Many parts must be re-fabricated. When the restoration of the tank is completed it is basically like new except with disabled guns and dummy ammo. All the typical things that would have been in the tank like tools are there.
Museum Buildings Museum Grounds Tanks
The museum buildings are shown above. There are 4 display buildings, each with 5 bays. There are about 6 tanks in the bay above right. In addition, there is a 5th building which is similarly sized and house the restoration shop.
WWI French Tank Many Tanks
More tanks. Some for one or two people, some for five or more people. Some tall and some short.
Tank Poster Tanker Cat
Tanker Cat Tanker Cat
Tanker Cat
A poster about tanks on the wall showing a panther(?) cat. Several pictures of the museum cat.
Many Tanks
A Real 'Thing' Cat With Mike Green, Our Guide
More tanks in the second building we went through. The cat joins our guide, Mike Green, when he was talking about tank canon shells.
Half-Track Motorcycle Kelly's Half Track
On the left above is a half track motorcycle. I bet the steering wheel really helps (not). Above right is an SdKfz8 12 Ton Prime Mover from Germany built in 1938. It was used in the movie "Kelly's Hero's". Note: Some of these tanks and equipment were used in movies prior to the current owner getting them and restoring them. They aren't used for movies now because they are being preserved and movies can be very hard on them.
Not shown, because my camera battery went dead, are the big tanks and the SCUD missle launchers. We ran out of time and only got to see three of the four diplay buildings but it still took three hours to see what we did see.
The museum isn't really a museum, yet. It's the private collection of Jacques Littlefield. It's located on his estate in town of Portola Valley just West of Stanford University. While one of these tanks may only cost its scrape value of maybe $500 to buy, it may take $2 million to restore one. There are lots of tanks here. The restoration of this equipment is undertaken by paid staff. This is a dedicated collector. Just the estate would be costly. It's in the hills (mountains for folks from the East coast). It's adjacent to the thousands of acres of open space in the hills above Palo Alto. Needless to say, the owner isn't hurting.
Since this is a private collection and located in, effectively, a residential area, visitation is limited to 3000 people per year. They are looking for a building somewhere nearby on the San Francisco Peninsula to house some of the tanks, possibly 100 for display. This collection is a treasure. Most of the tanks are operational. It would be great to see it open to the public for all to see like the nearby Hiller Aviation Museum.

Friday, November 4, 2005

There’s Hope

Yesterday we accepted an offer on our house in Bakersfield. It was a full price offer. We listed the house for $299,950. When we were trying to sell the house ourselves when the market seemed really hot, we offered it at $349,900. We had lots of Lookie-Loos but no offers. Over the three months we held open houses we gradually dropped the house to $309,900. Our effort was just finding what the real price should have been. Just one year ago, the best we could have hoped for was about $180,000. A nice increase. The offer that we accepted was the second offer in less than 2 weeks listed with the Realtor. It's a 30 day escrow so we'll let you know how it goes. It will be nice to have this behind us.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

New Articles And Layout

I added a couple of new articles to our RVexperience. Both these articles are related to yesterday's experience, sort of. One is about our macerator pump that is used to drain the holding tanks using a small hose and when the drain point may be up to 20 feet higher than the RV.
The other article is about another bad black water experience we had due to making bad assumptions.
Macerator Use
What Drains Where?
I also made a couple of changes to's layout. I added two sub-blogs one titled "Don's Random Thoughts" (yes I do occasionally think, though not as often as I should). I moved a previous post to it to start it out (I didn't have a thought today.) The second sub-blog is "Our Itinerary" which will contain notes on our plans. Our itinerary isn't guaranteed, just a list of what we might do.
I also renamed "RV Park Reviews" to "Campground Reviews". It just seems more descriptive.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Ugly Job Done

Enough procrastination. Today I installed the new black water tank valve and replaced the drain coupler. Not too bad of a job, not as bad as I thought it might go. We left the tank "empty" since we drained it last time in Pismo Beach and I tilted the RV away from the drain end to try to keep "stuff" inside the tank. I still ended up with a gallon or so of stuff that drained out into a tub. I'm glad that at least the drain valve seems to be a standard item so the replacement fit well.
The replacement drain coupler will be the last replacement possible without replacing most of the rest of the drain piping. For this reason, I added a protective skid on the bottom of the drain pipe to protect the drain coupler from damage as we bottom out on just about every speed bump and driveway entrance.
Black Water Drain Valve Holding Tank Drain Coupler
Above left is the black tank drain valve that was replaced (the dark black). Above right is the drain coupler that was replaced (again, the dark black.)
Holding Tank Drain Area
Above is the service compartment where the drain hoses are kept (top center and bottom left.) The drain outlet is on the bottom left. Note there is very little ground clearance.
A nice long shower and the experience is almost out of my mind now. As bad as I try to make this project sound, the worst day rv'ing beats the best day working everytime!