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August 25, 2019

Home At Last - lickity split

I’ve already presented the numbers, easy those are from the log book.  Now to add a narrative.
When we left Dayton, our San Diego house sitter (yup – the kid brother) had returned to Tacoma General for an angiogram.  We’re envisioning an angioplasty for him next and the empty house will probably be mouse invested and overgrown by the time we can get there.

We sprinted from ex-neighbor (San Diego) Al’s house in Floyd Knobs, Indiana toward Denver.  Our son Michael lived in the area for a couple decades, BIL Bobby even longer, and niece Lora a new arrival.  In Denver we’ll have an airport, a place to leave the RV and fond memories to relive.  As all is well in Tacoma, we set our sights on home, and see no reason to delay.

We stopped in Kansas City for lunch at Q39. Last time here we stopped at Arthur Bryant’s – the original KC BBQ.  This time we stopped at what Yelp listed as the best KC BBQ.

We opted for the 3-item combo, the chicken and beans were both mediocre but the pulled pork and brisket are top notch.  Go for the  brisket!

We’re averaging well over 300 miles a day and out of wine!  We opt for a local vineyard Prairie Fire, because I like the name.  They are a dry farm estate winery.  What they can grow is all we can get.  We took a couple bottles of their Chambourcin, one as a gift -  if it makes it to San Diego!  Not sweet, but strong earthy undertones showing off the year it was born and dry farmed.

Finally in Colorado I can sit outside with my coffee and catch up on email without a mosquito trying to eat me alive, we’ll be here at least a couple days.

After a day with BIL Bobby we schedule a meetup with niece Lora, husband Andrew and baby-to-be Bing-Bong.  Bing-Bong is due in early December.  We meet them in Golden as it’s on our way and close to their new home in Winchester.  Geez, Golden has become a tourist trap since we were here last!

Back on the road I have it timed to arrive in Palisade CO on the western slope of the Rockies, where they have the very best peaches! and the best farmer's market of the trip.

We took a flat home.  It is NOT permitted to bring fruit or veggies into California, so be advised.

Finally home, Rufus is washed, waxed and parked along side the house.  I’ve now completed the rubber/vinyl preservative.  I'm using Car Guys pump spray, the area on the right looks much better than the untreated area.

It’s time now to take on some maintenance items.  I’ve replaced the plastic ties on the refrigerator screens as one was about to fall out.

It’s also time to do a self-service on the generator.  It got a lot of use this trip!  Like most ’air-cooled’ engines the oil is the real heat dissipation.   Onan offers their own oil, a conventional/synthetic blend of SJ.  I use Mobil 1 of the same 10-40 viscosity, a fully synthetic and less susceptible to heat, although it is slightly more susceptible to attracting moisture.

Be sure to check the foam filter on the breather tube.  Yup I need to replace mine.

Ah -  the short that was revealed by the water pump failure is somewhere in this bundle.

I’ll find it … eventually!

And that microwave turntable motor … That’ll be a task!

In the search for the short I also uncovered why the kitchen sink drain is slow the sink and cooktop are part of our slide out.  There’s an acute kink in the sink drain when the slide is in.  That’ll take some engineering …

How did the house fare?  It was not rodent infested!  The front yard cleaned up nicely with a quick edging and mowing.

The back not so good, the corn and tomatoes are already spent

But the peppers are raging!  The red jalapeno will join the poblano as part of my chipotle dip.


With enough jalapeno left for more … and more!  Want some?

There is a  big area in the back lawn that needs attention … But we’ll have navel oranges all next year!

Guess I better adjust the sprinklers!, if I want to save the lawn

Although we took a walkabout at Mission Bay and South Mission this morning, l'll
save that for another post.

August 21, 2019

Road Trip 2019 - Hot/Squat and the numbers

First the numbers:

Days on the road: Budget – 84; Actual – 74
The trip was cut 10 days short, skipping West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.  There were issues at home that required our attention and once pointed west … there was no reason to delay.

Miles driven: Budget – 8916;  Actual – 8401

Diesel Fuel: Budget – 595; Actual – 555.52 gallons
Both the miles driven and fuel consumed reflect the shortened trip.  I expected better mileage than the 15.35 we actually had.  I underestimated the hit we’d take on the mountain roads and the headwinds.  For several reasons we cut the trip short and returned home via the I-70 freeway. We take a hit at freeway speeds.

Fuel cost: Budget 2229; Actual – 1775.27
I am always way off trying to budget fuel costs as fuel in California is more expensive.  I do not shop for the least expensive diesel, but rather the one with the least bio content.  We found 5% diesel #2 for $2.76 in North Dakota and $4.80 in South Lake Tahoe, CA
.Campgrounds:  Budget -  1130.60 ; Actual – 1294.83
Considering 24 of our 74 days were free this is way high, even for us!

Dining out: Budget – 750.00; Actual – 1025.06
We lunch eat out often and then there are those 6 Marion’s Pizzas…. Four of them made it home!, of course we did travel fast, or a couple more might have been eaten along the way.

Misc: (laundry, haircuts, showers): Budget – 50.00; Actual – 36.50
A surprising number of campgrounds had free showers. Only Michigan offered free laundry and I did treat myself to a haircut.

Museums and entry fees:  Budget – 150.00; Actual – 97.25
This includes the $65 fee to drive the Ice Fields Parkway.

Entertainment: Budget – 250.00; Actual – 460.08
We enjoyed concerts at the Fraze, but having Kg performing at DCI we just had to go for both days  The Pictured Rocks cruise was a lastminute $90 splurge, and I think worth it for the memory.

RV Misc:  Budget – 500.00; Actual – 320.10
Repairs on an RV are never easy, nor inexpensive.  The Kiwkee steps I could do myself, but took it to a shop to recharge the AC.

Overall:  Budget – 4200 (50/day for 84 days) ; Actual 4680.57 (63.25/day for 74 days)

The Hot and the Squat:
My Hot/Squat list is purely hedonistic, it is what we experienced when we were there.  Your experience, and tastes, will vary.

Best RV Park (value):
Sandy Lake Minnesota at $13/nite.  We had a W/E lake front site, with free showers and free laundry

Worst RV Park (value):
Bad River Casino at $20 nite offers a cramped corner of their parking lot with 30 amp electric.

Best Free Overnight:
Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Mountain.  We’ve enjoyed the area many times in the past and will again when we travel 395.

Worst Free Overnight:
A Colorado rest stop on I-70. We were literally tucked under the I-70 eastbound lanes.  OK most states, including CO, do not officially permit overnight parking in an Interstate Rest Area, but I tend to consider sleep a part of driving safely and have never been asked to leave.

Best Scenic Drive:
Ice Fields Parkway, hands down the most ‘obscene beauty’ continually along the entire drive.

Worst Scenic Drive:
Eastern Colorado on I-70.  It is flat, dry, hot and windy.

The Wildlife Headcount:
Black Bear: 13 including cubs
Grizzly Bear: 1
Elk: 2
Mule Deer: 4
Big Horn Sheep: 5
Rocky Mountain Goats: 0;zip;nada – even in Glacier NP noted for them!
Bison: 1 up close in our campsite!  Others at a very safe distance :)

Damage report:
On our last travel day the water pump failed momentarily.  I could smell smoke in the kitchen, where the power distribution is located.  But not in the bathroom, where the pump is located.

Once the order cleared the pump again began working.  ARG!  There was a short somewhere, and it may be hard to find.  I hope I can find it without burning up the RV.

It’s good to be back home to SoCal and the ocean.

August 13, 2019

RiverScape - festivals and goodbyes

RiverScape Metro Park is located downtown Dayton on the bank of the Miami River.  It’s a great park to watch the river go by, practice surfing or play in the fountains.


The Celtic Festival is likely the biggest festival hosted at RiverScape.  We know a bit of what to expect and head straight to the main stage to catch the Fitzgeralds of Bancroft Canada.

Their music (most all original) is rooted in their French Canadian upbringing.  They all play the fiddle, the sisters also play the piano, and the brother the guitar.

They coin their original choreography as ‘Step Dancing’, where they perform a combination of Irish, tap and clog dancing.

Fran, at some point, has taken dance lessons for all three.  When she learned they also offered a DVD with lessons … she was first in line! If you are thinking of Step Dance lessons, stop by : )

If you have the chance to watch them in person, you'll not be disappointed.  A very talented family.

And of course there is something for every foodie.
Pretty high-stepping are good, but nothing screams Celtic like the pipes and drums.

On our last full day in Dayton we again rode our bikes first to the Fraze for Art on the Commons.

All artwork is created and displayed by local artists.  I had no idea Dayton art could fill some 4 dozen booths.

and perform freehand on the sidewalk

From the Fraze we again picked up the K19 bike path for the ride down to RiverScape, this time for the German Festival.  Again  there is lots of music

and singing.  This is something like the 12 Days of Christmas where a new item is added each verse and all the previous added items are repeated … in German!  It's certainly fun to listen to.

And, of course more food trucks!

All this great food … and we shared a brat!, with German potato salad and sauerkraut.

There were vendors for Bavarian items like hats and steins, but no cuckoo clocks.

On the ride back we went thru the Oregon District.

Taking the opportunity to pay our respects and express our sorrow at the loss of 9 lives.

Dayton is supporting the hashtag DaytonStrong as a symbol of unity.

I’m not feeling really funny today, but for your Fun Fact:
Ohio not only invented, but installed the first electric stoplight and the first ever ‘Push to Walk’ pedestrian crossing button.

We are now heading, with best speed west.  My kid brother is back at Tacoma General for another cardiac test, leaving our home ... to the mice! 


August 12, 2019

Dayton - the music and eats

The Fraze Pavilion was donated to the city by Ermal Fraze, late Kettering resident and inventor of the pop-top can.  It calls itself ‘The Home of Summer’s Best Music’, Sheryl Crow recorded her C’mon America DVD here.  The Fraze is just a half mile away, so we always go to several events here.

Breakfast with the Beatles is a national radio show recorded the last Sunday of the month.  On the first Sunday of the month it is broadcast at the Fraze, coffee and newspapers provided.  Other breakfast items are available.

The Happy Together Tour featuring members of The Turtles, Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett, The Buckinghams, The Classic IV and my favorite The Cowsills.

  The Cowsills perform their hit Hair!  "Gimme it down to there ...."

On select Thursdays bicycle riders get in free.  While in the concert your bike is inspected and new lights added if needed.  For our ride the concert was Face2Face, a tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John.

IMHO - This concert took a bit to get really going, with first Joel then John on stage.  But the last hour and a half really rocked!, with both banging on their pianos, really putting on a great performance.

However, the best concert we attended was Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, at 85 he has 5 decades of experience, and it shows, he is still quite the performer and has a heck of a good backup band, some have been with him for 40 years.

With 50 years of hit songs he had a lot to choose from.  Fran and I tried to guess what the encore would be. My choice Grease turned out to be the 3rd song performed, Sherry a bit later.  So what was the encore?  Bye Bye Baby  a nice exit song.

Saturday we attended the Festival of the Vine, with the New Basics Brass Band.  You might think I’m here to check out the wine selections, and you’d be right.  But of the 6 wine tents only 1 offered a ‘local’ wine.  In this case local is broadly used to include Indiana!

The remaining tents all offered familiar names that they might have picked up at Dorothy Lane Market on the way over.  18 from California and 5 from Washington state.

I asked Reggae Wines of Indiana for a ‘local’ red that was dry enough to gag, and was offered ‘No Opposition’ a very dry red blend.  It really hit the spot.  In talking to the vintner, tho, I learned the grapes are from Lodi CA. Still looking for midwest dry red.

But the rest of the extended family was here for Johnny, the trumpet player. That’s him on the far left, a cousin.

We sat with his dad, Carl, right up front where Johnny could not miss us.  Johnny came over to chat a bit between sets.  I tried to get a picture of him and one with his dad, but both attempts were photobombed.

We eat out a lot when we’re here, but my favorite stop is Marion’s Pizza.  The walls are full of the Hey-Day years of Vaudeville and road shows that performed in Dayton and stopped in to enjoy their pizza. 

While here we always keep an eye out for a Marion’s discount.  It's not just #1 in Dayton, but ranked #1 nationally... at least they claim so.

At 25% off we enjoyed a large deluxe, while picking up 6 more To-Go.  The freezer in Rufus will hold only 3 boxes, I have to double them into 3 boxes.

I’m not a big chocolate fan, but Ester Price may convert me yet.  They are addictive!

We're not sure if either the Ester Price or the Marion's will make it all the way home.  Want a sample catch us on the way, or it might be best to stop in Dayton next time you pass this way.

Today's Ohio Fun Fact:
Both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame are located in Ohio.  OK you knew that ...
But did you know the term Rock'n'Roll, that defined a genre of music, was coined by DJ Alan Freed of Cleveland? OR the first ever NFL game was played at Triangle Field in Dayton?
ref:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Freed
ref:  https://www.profootballhof.com/news/nfl-s-first-game-remembered/

It's time for us to say so-long to Dayton, until next time.  I have one more post on Riverscape in mind, hope to get that together in the next couple days.