Sunday, July 31, 2005

Edgewood, NM

We arrived in Edgewood about 1 PM and pulled into Jason and Jeneane Weaver's yard. They have set up an RV parking spot for Jeneane's parents who are full timers and it worked out great for us. They have 50 amp electric service which allowed us to run our air conditioner.

It was like old times. Many of our Valley View friends were there for a pot luck lunch and card games afterward. We did our best to catch up on what everyone has been doing and what has changed. The biggest surprises were how much the younger generation has changed. Several of the kids we remember as young teenagers are now married and some even expecting!

Noel and Donna Jennings (Deidra and Dominic's grandpa and step-grandma) drove up from Albuquerque to see them. He needed a grandkid fix. Boy do we know what he means!

Crystal Schmidlapp ("Aunt Bistol") came over to see the kids and they had a nice, but short, reunion after almost five years. She was at Deidra's birth and has been a special friend ever since.

We took a drive around the area to see what had changed, including a drive by our old house. The new owners have made some nice improvements, and there are tons of new houses sprouting everywhere. Edgewood looks little like the small rural community we moved into 20 years ago.

Deidra and Dom slept with Whitney and Ashley - all in one room. The bedroom door couldn't even be opened until a kid moved out of the way.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


When we have been in one place for a while, it is always a challenge to get stuff put away and get on the road. We finally left Destiny Dallas at about 11:15, after saying good bye to our good friends and neighbors Wayne and Judy Crump. Wayne retired on Friday after 42 years at General Motors and Judy's last day at American Airlines was also Friday. They will hit the road before we get back from vacation so we won't see them till late fall.

It was a rather uneventful trip to Amarillo. The kids as well as PoppaNana think the truck is a great way to travel. We have a refrigerator and microwave, TV, table and bench seats, as well as an upper bunk. Everyone has room to move around as they wish and the truck rides very well, especially with the trailer in tow.

About the only downer for the whole day was the fueling stop at Flying J. I can't get used to spending $400 for a fillup! Of course, that should take us about 1,600 miles so at least we are not stopping a couple times a day like we used to with the smaller truck.

Tomorrow we will stay at Jason and Jeneane Weavers in Edgewood. Looking forward to seeing lots of old friends.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Leaving on Vacation

We picked up the truck with the new bed and storage. It is beautiful. I would be hard pressed to find anything I would have done differently. Pictures will be posted later.

This is a short post to let everyone know we will be on the road for the next two weeks. Our plans are to get to Amarillo tomorrow, Edgewood on Sunday afternoon, then up to Durango on Monday and probably Tuesday. From then on our plans are very fluid and we will just poke along as we see fit. Possible stops are Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Arches, Dinosaur, Rocky Mountain and Pikes Peak. Basically a swing around Colorado.

I'm beat from packing so that's it for now. We will post as we have access.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Zoom, zoom, zoom

I think most people would agree that I have a lot of driving under my belt. I have driven in 49 of the 50 states over the past 42 years, most of Canada, Europe and some of Mexico. I've spent extended periods of time in many areas. I think I am qualified to make the following observation: People in Massachusets and Rhode Island drive faster than drivers anywhere else in the country!

Now, I am not talking about a few drivers. Every area has some people who are going to blow by everyone else. And some areas have very high average speeds which means some are going very fast and some are driving near the speed limit. What I am talking about just about every driver of every vehicle. Posted speed limits here are interpreted as "minimum" speed and almost no one drives the minimum.

We noticed how fast everyone drove during the 2 months we lived there this past winter, and I have made several trips to the area since then. Each time I am again overwhelmed with the speed of the drivers. I-95 between Providence and Boston is three lanes most of the way. It is posted at 65 mph, but in my experience (including this morning on the way to the airport) if you are not driving at least 75 you will pass no one and be passed by almost everyone. This is regardless of changes in the speed limit such as when it drops to 55 for construction. The closest experience I can relate driving in this area to is my experience 34 years ago driving on the autobahns of Germany.

The high speed is not limited to the interstates. People drive the narrow streets and roads of the area at whatever speed they wish. Speed limit signs serve no purpose whatsoever and you almost never see anyone stopped by the cops.

Of course, there are some places where even someone who wants to obey speed limits is inclined to ignore them. Every area has some speed limits that make no sense, but Rhode Island is at the top of my list. When we lived there last winter I took a back roads route to work. It was scenic and fun. The road through MA wound through some small towns, up and down hills and in and out of built up areas. Just before you cross into Rhode Island, the speed limit is 45 as you wind your way up and down a heavily wooded hill and around some blind corners. 45 to 50 is about all you could drive on this section without skidding off the road.

Just as you cross the RI state line the road widens considerably, straightens out and moves into a much more open area. Here you would expect the speed limit to stay 45 or maybe even go up to 50. But no. It drops to 30 for about 2 miles! There is no way anyone is going to drive 30 in that area, and no one does. After the road makes a sweeping turn to the right the speed limit goes up to 40. Same good road, same open country, and people average 55.

Makes me wonder if it isn't time for national standards for speed limit guidelines in places other than interstates. I think it is way past time for national drivers licenses and for vehicle licenses. All the different rules and charges are merely a throwback to the old days when we were far flung colonies and are now being used to fund programs that have nothing to do with driving. I realize this is less important to those of you who have never moved out of the state you were first licensed in, but for those of us who have moved a few times it is a big hassle and expense.

Just wanted to get that off my chest. If Don can use his blog as a bully pulpit, so can I.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Battleship Cove

I know it's been a while since this was updated, but I can't seem to get Dianna interested in maintaining it. And me -- well, I have to work. Most of the time anyway. Today is
Saturday and I am in Rhode Island again. I came up on Wed and worked in the office Thursday and Friday. I have to go in tonight at 6:30 for a few hours, but I had the day to explore. The weather is warm and beautiful for a change so I drove down to Battleship Cove in Falls River, MA for the day.

Battleship Cove has several ships to explore. You can visit their web site at Battleship Cove to see what they are all about. I have toured many ships but this museum has to be one of the the best. Most ships I have toured in other places are only partially restored and you are guided along a fairly limited path through just some parts of the ships. These were almost completely open.

The destroyer Joseph Kennedy was quite interesting since I don't remember being on a destroyer before. Somewhat cramped quarters, but an interesting ship none the less. You sure have to learn to climb small steep stairways, and it is very easy to hit your head.

They had two PT boats restored that you could look into through openings in their hulls. You could not actually get on these boats. Pretty impressive wooden boats that could hit 50 MPH.

The Lionfish submarine is similar to others I have toured, but this one is in good condition.

The Hiddensee is a Russian missle frigate and it was interesting to see all the Russian writing on the equipment. It looked very much like the American ships except it seemed to me to be much more roomy for the sailors. Their rooms were larger and the whole ship felt uncrowded. That surprised me.

Then I toured the Battleship Massachusetts. That is one big ship! They give you a guide for a suggested way to tour the ship, and even with that I got lost several times. I toured the Texas several years ago and it was not nearly as good as this ship. I was able to go almost anywere I wanted. They were really small floating cities.

They offer a camp aboard program and during the summer they have hundreds of kids who spend the night. Most are boy scout or some other kind of group, but even families can make the arrangements if they wish. It's a pretty neat program, but it did result in hundreds of the little buggers running all over the place. Fortunately, it is a big ship and they all spent more time sitting on the guns than crawling through the engine rooms. It was really fine.

If I had one complaint it would be that there is so much to see and they do not really do a good job of posting directions. It would have been much easier to tour all the ships if they had painted some lines on the deck, or even had directional markers to guide you on prescribed routes so you could be sure to see everything and not spend so much time just trying to figure out where you were!

Anyway, it was a fun day for me. I'm sure Dianna would not have enjoyed it nearly as much so it worked out well. I return to Dallas tomorrow and we spend the week getting ready for vacation starting next Sat. Actually I will take Thursday and Friday off to go get the truck and make preparations to leave. Our plan is to tour Colorado this year. More on that later.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Truckless & Eagles

With my truck in Kilgore to have its bed made, I have been forced to ride the scooter to work every day. Not that this is a hardship. I really enjoy two wheels again, but the weather has made it less than completely enjoyable. Three of the four days it was cloudy in the early morning and then a line of thunderstorms moved through. Every afternoon the storms had cleared in time for me to ride home dry. I thought for sure that Dianna would have to come get me a couple times, but I lucked out. One day it never got above 80 which was really nice. The rest of the week was about 95 and it is not a lot of fun riding in that weather. I even had to buy a new hemet. The ones we purchased when we bought the scooter are not ventilated and my head felt like it was in a steam cooker by the time I got home. I purchased a ventilated helmet and it is much improved. I don't know why all helmets are not made that way.

Dianna has spent most of the week working on a shirt for Darin. He is a big fan of eagles and she made him a shirt with the biggest pattern she has ever attempted. She even had to split the design in two because her machine can only do 64,000 stitches per pattern. This was something new to learn. She had several snags that drove her to frustration, but she kept at it till it was finally done. On the top is the pattern and on the bottom is a photo of her version. Darin should be pleased.

Monday, July 4, 2005

A New Bed

Saturday we took the truck to Herrin Truck Bodies in Kilgore Texas to have a custom bed built. The work will include a new air hitch to replace the commercial hitch and a motorcycle loader so we can carry the scooter. The bed will have stairs up from both sides and a very large storage compartment across the back of the cab. When you live in an RV there is never enough storage.

It will take Herrin all month to finish the bed, and we are hopeful it will be ready in time for a planned vacation trip the first two weeks of August. If not, we may have to take the pickup with the camper, but that is just too small for the two of us and the grandkids as well. We'll see what happens.

We went nowhere else all weekend and pretty much tried to stay cool and out of the traffic. Dianna worked on embroidery again and finished beautiful patriotic shirts for the Jennings family who went to the big fireworks show in Addison. They really looked nice.