Monday, February 26, 2007

Cold Season

I hate colds. I usually do get a winter cold, like now. Not a serious one but enough fpr me to settle down and not do much. It has been a typical cold, a couple of days feeling like you might be getting a cold, a couple of days feeling bad, and a couple of days feeling pretty good but still like you just had a cold. It kind of ruined the week because I pretty much take it easier on all the days. Easier as in doing nothing.

I have been tinkering with the web sites and trying to learn a few things. I've been playing with the look and feel of this site. I apologize if you happened by during one of the failures. I've also been playing with the Google Maps they now work well but not on this site until I change the theme (the stuff that makes this website look like it does) I'm using here. So I'm looking at themes that are constructed in a compatible manner to Google Maps. I'm now testing them off-line so this site will work until I make the change. During one of my previous tests, I knocked this site down for about 30 minutes and that worried me. Here's the link to the test site with the theme I'm thinking of using if I can customize it appropriately. It's also using an upgraded version of WordPress, the blogging software that is used for editing this site. So, when I make the changes, everything will be upgraded. It's also on a Windows server not a Linux server like this site and that has presented some additional problems. So, the fun never stops

We're headed to Reno Wednesday on the California Zephyr . The weather seems to be cooperating and there will be snow on the mountains providing wonderful views through the Sierra mountains. Since we got the RV, we almost never stay in hotels but, since were traveling light and the RV wouldn't fit in the backpack, we'll be staying at the Silver Legacy during our visit there.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nice New Windshield

The crack Starting to revove windshield
The RV received it's new windshield this morning. Quite a project. Two guys worked for about two hours to complete the job. It really was a bit odd replacing the windshield when it didn't really obstruct much of the view but it was still growing and cracks could easily wander at anytime.

Windshield replacement Windshield replacement
The crew was quite good, a nice installation and all cleaned up on departure. They were from Quality Glass in Santa Clara and did the work for our GMAC Insurance. It was interesting that when they arrived, the glass fit. After all, they ordered it over the phone based on my reading the number engraved on the windshield which was a bit worn.

Removed windshield a bit worse for wear The last inch is the hardest
Two things were difficult, getting the windshield out and getting the last inch of the seal in place. The installer kicked out the windshield which broke it a whole lot worst than the original crack. On the right above, the installer is working on that difficult last inch which took about 15 minutes to complete.

All done A smiling RV
Job complete. On the right, the RV seems to be smiling now.

I've picked up a nice cold so am relaxing today. I did get the printer re-installed on the engine hump. I had removed it yesterday for the smog check and fortunately I remembered not to install it until after they did the windshield. One of the installers was climbing around on the dash to do the windshield installation. It's nice to move everything out once in a while to clean "possible". We normally only clean "as far as possible".

To See

I decided to make a list of interesting things to see. We like arboretums, museums, National and State Parks, and???

The list had to start somewhere so here goes. I'll add them to a database later to allow easier sorting to match our route. I'll enter both things to see and things seen.


  • Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, Ca, 626.405.2100,

  • Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, Az, 480.941.1225,

  • Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Wy, Salt Lake, Ut, 801.581.4747,

  • National Tropical Botanical Garden, 4425 Lawai Rd, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, 808.742.2623,

  • UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA, 510.643.2755,

  • University of Washington Botanic Gardens, 2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, 206.543.8800,,

  • San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum, nineth at Lincoln Wy, San Francisco, Ca, 415.661.1316,

  • Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 N Hwy 1, Fort Bragg, Ca, 707.964.4352,

  • UC-Davis Arboretum, 1 Shields Ave, Davis, Ca, 530.752.4880,

  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, 1500 N College Ave, Claremont, Ca, 909.625.8767,

  • Van Dusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, 604.878.9274,

  • The Living Desert, 47-900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, Ca, 760.346.5694,

National Parks:

Visit all National Parks and Monuments as we pass if we haven't yet seen them.

Waterfalls: Any and all.


RV/MH Hall of Fame, Elkhart, Indiana
Tour all RV Factories

more to come

Monday, February 19, 2007

RV Smog Checkup

Today I got up early, actually 7:30 was never early during the working life but is now days. I do stay up late most nights so my so my days and nights are just offset a tad.

Anyway, I was up early to wakeup the RV so it could get a smog check. Darn, I hate these things recently. I took it to the test and repair station that passed the old Volvo.  The RV passed with flying colors.

I worked on the arbor some more adding some wire to the top to help support the plants. I also cold galvanized the welds. It's now finished except for the flag stone deck.

Tomorrow, the glass shop comes by to replace the RV drivers windshield. It was broken a while back. The crack is only a little over a foot but could spread with any bump so its going to have to go.

It's now time to play a little. Next week we'll take the train to Reno for a couple of days and then we may hit the road for a little while shortly there after.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Arbor Nearing Completion

10 Squirrels at Wilton
Every morning, Lou sprinkles some bird seed on the ground under the oak tree. While it's called "bird" seed, the squirrels probably eat the most of it. There's quite a crew here. Ten squirrels enjoy their breakfast, then the birds pick at it the rest of the day.

Arbor, Almost finished Arbor Foundation
The new arbor is nearly finished. It's installed on its foundation now and ready for cold galvanizing. Even the swings were hung today. It sits a little high now because the new flag stone deck will be about 4 to 6 inches higher. The new deck will come up to just below the cross piece. The columns just slip on tenons on the rods driven into the ground. Some wire will be strung around the top to help support the vines.

This project is now far enough along to allow us to take a little trip without the wisteria and violet trumpet vines getting away without support.

Dawn's Old Swing Set
Here's Dawn's old swing, build with similar construction twenty-three years ago. It still looks like new. With this new arbor capable of providing kids swings if needed we might try to find a good home for Dawn's old swing. I'd want it to go to someone who would not just dispose of it when their kids get tired of it and pass it on to another good home. It should last another 50 years at least. One of the neat things about it is that it doesn't tip. I can swing up even with the top bar without worry of tipping and it's not fastened to the ground, just a wide base. Besides a safer swing, it also is fully welded and has no bolts or sharp edges that always seem injury the kids or me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Totally Gone With The Wind

We enjoyed a musical show at Gunn High School Wednesday night. These musicals are performed by the Gunn Choir, students and staff and assisted by a couple of intermediate school choirs as well. They are just wonderful often displaying the outstanding talents that of some of the students. These are BIG productions with a cast of "thousands", almost. This show was no exception. It was a re-run though. The plays are written by Susan Hersage, usually politically topical, and always fun. This play was performed previously in 2002. You can see video of that show and other choir performances. The teachers and staff that participate aren't afraid to make fools of themselves and everyone appreciates it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The New Arbor

New Arbor Beginnings Old Arbor No More
On the left above, where the old arbor was. On the right, beginning the new arbor construction.

New Arbor Taking Shape
The arbor starts to look like an arbor. It's upside down here for easier brazing. It's been raining and I had to stop work and rescue tools several times during the day for showers. I stopped for the day a little after this when a deluge arrived. It's always hard to start a project like this but once it gets going it gets easier.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Queen

We thought we'd see a movie. Lou was interested in "The Queen" so I logged on to see where it was showing. What luck, it was showing at our neighborhood theater at Palo Alto Square. Since it was close, about eight blocks, we walked over. Since we've been having a lot of rain, we picked up three matching $2.99 umbrellas at IKEA a couple of days ago. While it wasn't raining, there were wet looking broken clouds overhead so we each carried our nice walking stick type umbrellas.

We enjoyed the movie. It was a typical British movie without the Hollywood BOOMS and effects. It was an excellent film. The Palo Alto Square Cinemas are a typical movie house so pictures aren't needed unlike the wonderful theaters we've gone to just prior, the California in San Jose and the Stanford in Palo Alto. It was clean and in good repair and the film was in focus unlike your typical movie house.

When we exited the theater, the sky was clear. Our umbrellas had done the trick, as usual. If you have them, you don't need them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Our Aniversary

A number of years ago, Lou and I visited Reno and got married. That doesn't, or shouldn't happen too often in one's life. So why should our memories of things differ so much? Most likely because my memory is failing.

We planned on taking the train but we had the worst snow storm in decades shortly before our departure date and the tracks were closed for several days. We drove up to Oakland in hopes they would get the tracks cleared. They didn't, so we went to the Oakland airport to see if we could catch a flight. Nope. There was one from San Francisco so we reserved the flight and headed for the airport. We made it there without any problems, parked in longterm parking, caught the flight and were in Reno.

When we made our reservations they were for round trip on the train and for the hotel. A "little" snow storm couldn't stop us. We enjoyed our time there including getting married and continued to hope the tracks would open so we could return by train. Three days later, they did on the morning of our scheduled departure.

We enjoyed the train trip through the sierras with the most snow ever to be seen for many years prior. Of course, we returned to Oakland. The car was at the airport. A little walk to the Bart station, then a bus to the airport and we were finally on our way home. Nice trip.

At least, that could be what happened.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Lots of rain recently. I was working on the arbor before the rain started but couldn't continue in the rain. I need to weld the structure together and wouldn't want to ruin the equipment. So I diverted my efforts to actually clearing room by the shop under cover. Cleanup is only a last resort for me. If it isn't rain, it's material shortages, or tool shortages or?? so it's taking a while. I'm not really in a hurry though. Seems like any reason to stop diverts my efforts. This isn't really different than any other of my "projects".

I also attacked the mess in my study, a little. Now there's a project. There is so much "stuff" there. Little is of value. Each time I return to it I recognize less of it is valuable. Maybe someday I'll find the desk top again. It's a rainy day project so hope the rain remains.

Being a person with a short attention span, I've also been working on computer projects especially learning about Flex.

So, as you might guess, little progress is made on anything. Hopefully, a bunch of "littles" make a job , or two, done, eventually.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

New Barrels For The Fountain

Wilton Fountain Remodel
We've been tinkering with the fountain, again, installing barrel liners. Unfortunately, the spouts have to be extended so we're glueing extensions onto the spouts that came with them. Nothing is easy?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Exciting For Me?

When we're not traveling it's more difficult to make regular entries in the blog. There is also the fact that the blog title includes a reference to "Travel..." but when we're home, we aren't traveling, geographically at least. We are traveling through life and that will have to do for why there are non travel related entries in the blog. Also, I don't really want to maintain both here and there blogs. One's enough.

I've spent some more time working with Flex2 trying to get a test application going. It is a little different way of doing things from the Clarion and Alpha5 products I normally use for applications. I'm not spending as much time on it as I should though.

I think I've finally got a plan, or at least an idea of how I want to build the new arbor. it will be made of emt or fence top rail tube, be octagonal with alternating 18" and 72" sides. The 18" corners will have hanging baskets and the longer sides bench swings, chairs or fountains. It will sit on a flag stone deck. I've had several ideas on how to do it and this is the current and probably the way it will be since I start cutting tube tomorrow.

We went over to Gunn High School yesterday and today since school's out on the weekend. We flew our RC planes and drove our RC cars. We're just big kids too often.

The weather has been nice for the past few days. That's good.