Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Carolyn's Doctor Visit

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 72 degrees, clear skies

Carolyn went to the doctor for her allergies today. She received three prescriptions, which we hope will help her start feeling better. She slept better last night, which may have been due to the fact that she was so tired from not getting much sleep in the past week because of the cough.

There’s still not much to report on the outage other than that it continues to go as planned. As with any project of this size, there are little issues that come up that we have to solve, but that’s why we’re here. The real test for this project will come next week when we begin doing the tasks that we had problems with last fall.

That's enough about work. I would rather talk about RVing and traveling.

When we were in La Vegas several years ago, we were surprised to find there was as much as we found that didn't require a casino or buffet restaurant to have fun. Such as the beautiful areas to visit around the area. One of our favorites was Red Rock State park, located north of Las Vegas. This rock formation is named Elephant Rock. I know it's hard to see the semblance in the picture, but we could see it in person.

This next one is of Red Rock State Park, showing the desert outside Las Vegas. Looks a little desolate, doesn't it?

In an effort to restore a little balance to the pictures, here's one of the snow covered hills located across the road from where we were staying near Carson City.

These pictures are just a little taste of what we hope to see this summer.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Las Vegas, Nevada: City Of Wonder

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Carolyn's Got A Doctor's Appointment

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 49 degrees, high 82 degrees, clear skies

I took things into my own hands with getting Carolyn a doctor’s appointment for her allergy problems. Her symptoms are not getting better, and since it appeared she wasn’t going to call the doctor for an appointment, I did it myself this morning. She has an appointment for tomorrow. Hopefully, he can help her get over this bout of allergies. I may be wrong, but I think Carolyn's relieved that I went ahead and made her an appointment.

There's not much to say about how the outage is going at work, other than it seems to be going well, with nothing unexpected so far. The true test of how well the outage will progress will occur next week when we start getting into the work that caused us so many problems last fall. With all the lessons learned that have been incorporated, we should be okay.

Several years ago, we spent about a week in an RV park outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, home of the US Air Force Academy. We enjoyed the July weather that reached highs of about 70 degrees, with lows in the 40s. Perfect! One of the sights that we enjoyed touring was The Garden of the Gods, located a short distance outside the city.

Although it can't be seen in these pictures, this is a popular area with the folks who live there.

One of the popular pastimes in the park is rock climbing. I think I'll pass on that. The little white speck in the shadow is a climber.

Now that I think about it a little, the area around Colorado Springs would be a good place to spend some time this summer. Who knows, maybe we'll go.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Canon City, Colorado: Climate Capital Of Colorado

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 44 degrees, high 72 degrees, clear skies

The alarm seemed to go off as soon as I fell asleep last night. 0400 hours came in a hurry. I didn’t realize I was as tired as I must have been, because I almost slept through the alarm. That’s unusual for me since I usually sleep so lightly. I can only hope I continue to sleep this well at night for the whole outage.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to get up and get ready for work in a hurry. When the hours are as early and long as what I’m used to working, any time saved in the morning is a bonus. Most of the time, my lunch is prepared the night before. In addition, I lay out my clothes, take a bath, and shave if I’m inclined to do it, and get everything ready that I can so I can get out the door as quickly as possible. When I get up, I wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair (at least what’s left up there), get dressed, grab my lunch, and hit the door. Doing that saves time for sleeping and takes away the early morning stress by having everything I need already taken care of. My memory is not what it used to be. But, then whose is when they get to be as old as me? Fifteen minutes after waking up, I’m ready to go.

Work is moving along with the occasional little hiccup that arises in the course of the day. One of my jobs is to help take care of the little hiccups that arise. I don’t actually solve the problems but help the work groups who are causing the hiccups get their stuff together. That means I offer suggestions, and in some cases just letting them know that they have a problem solves the issue. Aha! I have the word for what it is I'm doing: facilitating.

The job involves a lot of time be spent out in the field, but that means I get to see a lot of people I know from the past. Relations between us are good, so it’s not as though I have to pop a whip to get the support the project needs. Overall, it’s a pretty good job.

What was that? A train just slammed to a stop outside the RV with a noise as though it was coming off the rails. I'll be glad when we don't have to listen to those things again.

I heard that the wildflowers are starting to show up in Texas. This spring should be a real show stopper for the flowers with all the rain that has fallen. I think one of the most beautiful sights we have seen is a field of bluebonnets waving in the breeze. It almost looks like blue smoke covering the ground.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Eufaula, Alabama: Big Bass Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Outage Started

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 72 degrees, clear skies

The shutdown at work began today, and everything seems to be going well. This shutdown has a different feel to it, and that’s meant to be a positive statement. Many lessons learned were taken from the last outage and applied to this one, and experience tells us that this site is very good at using lessons learned. One month to go, if everything goes as planned!

Normally, when I’m driving to work, I try to review in my mind what’s going on at work and what I need to be concentrating on for the upcoming day. As I was driving in at 0430 hours, the early morning was so beautiful I just enjoyed the drive. The moon was nearly full, the sky was clear, the stars were shining brightly, and I didn’t see any other vehicles during the drive. Although I’m sure I could have slept a little longer, the beauty and serenity of the early morning made getting up so early a little easier to bear.

The outages at this plant take place in the fall or spring, during the time of the year that has the nicest weather for the entire year. The outages usually last about a month, and a common complaint heard around the site is why do we always have these outages when the weather is so nice. The short answer is that the electricity is not needed as badly at those times of the year. Today was no exception to the nice weather, as the sun was shining brightly, the humidity was low, and the temperature was a moderate 60 to 70 degrees. With the wind, it was even a little cool. Just another typical day at the plant during an outage.

When I arrived home from work, Carolyn had prepared one of our favorite dishes, Oriental Beef Stew, for supper. Ummm, ummm, good! She must be feeling a little better. I hope she is, since it looks like she's too stubborn to go to the doctor.

This is the first day of what I'm sure will become a grind before it's finished. I'll try to keep everyone up to date on how the progress of the outage is going, and who knows, maybe we'll finish early. I could handle that.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Temple Terrace, Florida: A City For Living

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Basal Cell Cancer

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 52 degrees, high 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies

When I was younger and stupid in a lot of ways (not that I don't still have my moments), I worked and played in the hot southern sun without a thought as to the consequences. Like basal cell skin cancer and worse. As a result of heredity giving me fair skin, the sun was harder on my skin than many people. The problems didn't start showing up until about 15 years ago when our family doctor at the time recognized some warning signs that allowed him to start treating the issue before it became overwhelming. Before that doctor retired, he removed a couple of places on my back that I wasn't aware of, as well as one on the left cheek of my face. The common thing about these removals were that they were minor surgery performed in the office.

After that doctor retired, we were fortunate in finding another family doctor in Glen Rose who was just as diligent in helping with skin cancer. The big differences in the doctors was their ages and the method of treatment. The doctor in Glen Rose was about 25 years younger than the one in Bay City, which may have made him more aware of different techniques, or more in favor of using different techniques. I had a place on the tip of my right ear that I wasn't aware of (who notices these things except doctors?) that the doctor in Glen Rose wanted me to have removed. He prescribed a cream that I applied to the area on the ear twice a day. Now, how in the world could a cream remove a basal cell cancer?

Apparently, the cream contains an acid type of substance. After about a week, the place on the ear began turning red, as though it was getting sunburned. A week after that, the ear was blood red in that spot. In another week (three weeks of treatment in all), the ear was really inflamed looking. People were asking me what was wrong with my ear. Within a week after stopping the treatment, the ear color was returning to normal, and the basal cell cancer was gone, and it hasn't returned after five years.

When we were in Glen Rose for our physicals in December, the doctor asked me to use the cream on a place on each arm as well as one on my right hand, all at the same time. Three weeks later, the treatment was finished, and the healing started. Now, here it is two months later, and I can hardly tell where the spots were.

Why am I writing about this topic today? Well, summer's on it's way, and maybe my story will help someone make the decision to try to protect their skin better than I did. If damage is already there, there is an alternative to surgery that is a lot less expensive.

Okay, enough of the public service message.

Today is my last day off before the outage starts at work. I can't remember ever having two days off before an outage started before, but I like it. At least I'll be rested for a couple of days, and then it'll be a long slog until the work is finished and we're outta here.

I was able to finish most of my need-to-do chores yesterday. Today, I finished the list I made up yesterday, which meant I went to the laundromat to wash our clothes and dumped our holding tanks. When I'm working, Carolyn usually does the laundry, but she's been sick, so I took care of it. Besides, I really don't mind washing clothes. I mean, how hard can it be to put the laundry in the machine and push buttons? It's not like we're having to beat it with a stick in a creek.

We met Lori and the grandkids at K-2 for lunch. Carolyn really didn't feel like it, but maybe it helped her to get out for a little while, and I know she enjoyed seeing everyone.

After lunch, it was back home and resting for a long outage. Only about a month to go and we're on the road again!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fowler, Colorado: A Great Place To Grow

Not all who wander lost.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Day Of Chores

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 70 degrees, clear skies

We can hardly believe how nice, overall, the weather has been here in Bay City for the last four weeks. Sure, there's been some rain, but it's staying cool, which is a big thing for us. In past years, we've seen 100 degrees in March several times. That's too early for that kind of heat. Especially when it usually doesn't cool off until late fall.

I was off work today, so I took advantage of not having to get up early. I woke early, but was able to turn over and go back to sleep until about 0700 hours. That felt so good!

Once I was awake, I thought that the best way to make sure I accomplished the things I wanted to do was to make a list. So, after about five minutes, I had a list that kept me busy for at least half the day. There are still a few things left to do, but I'll finish those tomorrow.

While I was busy, Carolyn was still suffering from her allergy problems, although the cough medicine has helped. The RV doesn't require much to keep straightened and cleaned, so that helps her a lot. She woke up coughing early this morning (try 0200 hours), so she spent the rest of the night on the couch, where she managed to get a couple more hours of sleep. I hope she can sleep better tonight.

Drat! there goes another train. I can feel the RV shaking from the train passing by about 60 feet away.

We were getting low on propane, so I had a tank filled. That should last us until well into the summer, if not the fall. Then I checked the oil leak on the truck that was caused by the shop not tightening the oil pan plug properly. It looks like I was able to stop the leak. Why is it so hard for a shop to do that?

I paid our lot rent for the next month. If everything works out the way we want, that should last us until we leave. In other words, we want to be finished with the job by the time the rent is due. We plan to be here for our oldest grandson Julian's graduation from high school. That won't happen until the end of May, so we were thinking of taking a little circle trip to the south for a couple of weeks, then come back here in time for the graduation. Plans - I like to make them.

Late in the evening, I went to the WalMart Mall and bought groceries. That's one more chore I don't have to do tomorrow, and it wasn't busy like it usually is on Saturday. It was almost like going to the Mall in the middle of the week.

Overall, it was a productive day off, and I even got to meditate a little. What more could I ask for?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Flagstaff, Arizona: Flag Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two Days Off

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 70 degrees, rain early, then clear skies

We’re two days away from the outage starting at the job, and it appears as though everything is ready to go. The preparations for this shutdown seem to be going much better than the previous one that was conducted in the fall. It’s going so well that everyone will be taking the next two days off before the outage officially begins Saturday night. If the shutdown goes as well as the work leading up to it, I should be finished here by April 28. Then it’s on the road again!

This morning before I went to work, I though I had Carolyn convinced she needed to go to the doctor for her allergy problems. Not so. I guess it hasn’t gotten bad enough. She did decide to start using some cough medicine that had previously been prescribed for her, so the cough has gotten better.

Before we went to California, we had heard many of the disparaging things that people say about the state. Regardless of how some of the people act or how expensive it is to live there, Northern California was a beautiful place for us to visit. After all the negative things we had heard, it was a pleasure to see so much of the natural beauty, and meet people who were actually nice. Our trip along the coast on US 101 was one of the highlights of our entire time on the west coast. We turned north at San Francisco, and took about three weeks to explore the area up to the Oregon Coast.

Here's one of the pictures we took of the hills near the coast above Jenner.

Among the natural beauty was all sorts of wild flowers. This picture is just one example of what we saw all along the coast.

So, do we want to visit California again? You betcha!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Healdsburg, California: A Town For All Seasons

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Old Masonic Hall, Acton, Texas

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 65 degrees, cloudy, light showers

It rained again today. We've been here almost four weeks, and there's been rain at least nine of those days. That means rain about one out of every three days. I'm ready to go back to the high desert.

In 2005, we were in Acton, Texas, checking out the area. While we were there, we visited Elizabeth Patton Crockett's grave site. Sarah was the widow of Davy Crockett, legendary hunter, frontiersman, and politician. Davy came to Texas and died as a hero of the battle of the Alamo. The new nation of Texas awarded his wife several hundred acres of land in the Acton area. She lived in the area until her death, when she was buried in the Acton cemetery. Elizabeth Patton Crockett's grave site is the location of the smallest state park in Texas, at 0.006 acre.

When we were in Acton, we happened to see this beautiful little chapel with stained glass windows. While we were admiring the outside of the chapel, a lady opened the door and asked if we would like to see the inside. Yes!

Here's the outside of the Old Masonic Hall.

We went inside the little chapel, and were amazed at how beautiful the stained glass windows were. The room was bathed in light from the windows. We felt privileged to be able to see the inside of the building, since it is not open to the public. One of those cases of being in the right place at the right time.

Here's a picture of some of the stained glass windows from the inside.

Carolyn hasn't gone to the doctor for her allergies yet. She coughs, sneezes, sniffles, suffers with a headache, but she's hanging in there. I, on the other hand, got tired of all that stuff for myself. I went to the doctor and am now starting to feel decent again. Hmmm. I wonder if there's a lesson there for Carolyn?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Austin, Texas: Bat City

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Walking At Work

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 43 degrees, high 70 degrees, partly cloudy skies

It's a good thing my feet and legs have a little time to get used to the longer hours and more walking at work. I must have walked ten miles at work today - okay, at least eight miles, and it felt like more. The work site is a large complex, and I seem to be going out to check how work is going a lot more often than I was just last week. Some of the work groups have golf carts to use, and so does the one I'm working with. The only problem is that one golf cart to use among 30 people means that I haven't been able to use it. And I don't think it'll be available for the time I'm here. So, even though I'm not going for my long morning walks since I started working, I'm getting plenty of walking on the job. Hey, that means I'm getting paid to walk!

I've mentioned many times that I like to find beautiful old courthouses during our travels. One of the most memorable was the Ellis County Courthouse, located in Waxahachie, Texas. We visited the nice little town of Waxahachie on a Saturday, not knowing that the town was holding a grand prix festival in the downtown area, including part of the race track course winding around the courthouse. The current courthouse was built in 1896, and is the latest in a series of four that were built. It is built of red sandstone and granite. The style of architecture is Richardsonian Romanesque, whatever that is.

Waxahachie was going to be the location of a super collider machine that would encircle the entire town, but the government canceled the project years ago. Oh, by the way, Waxahachie is pronounced Woks a hatchee. The word is an Indian word that supposedly means, among other things, buffalo chips, cow creek, buffalo creek, and fat wildcat.

Some popular movies were filmed there, including Places In The Heart, Tender Mercies, 1918, The Trip To Bountiful, and some episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. When the scenic beautiful of the downtown area and the Victorian homes are seen, it's east to see why the area is popular with film makers.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waxahachie, Texas: The Gingerbread City

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 41 degrees, high 70 degrees, clear skies

We're easing in to the longer hours at work. By the end of the week, I'll be on a full fledged outage schedule: up at 0400 hours, at work by 0500 hours, off work at 1800 hours, eat supper and in the bed by 2100 hours. I'm getting too old for this stuff.

My allergy problems continue to improve slowly, but Carolyn's still haven't turned the corner. It's difficult to persuade her to go to the doctor, so I guess she'll have to get a little sicker before she does.

When we were in Washington, we visited Olympia, the state capital. It's surprising sometimes how beautiful the state capitals can be. Especially when it is in a natural setting like Olympia is. Another thing that we notice is how small the capital cities usually are. I guess I had a pre-conceived idea that cities that are important enough to be the seat of government of a state would be big and crowded. Not so in many cases.

The picture below is of the Washington state capital, looking across a lake toward the building. The area around the capital has beautiful landscaping and statues of people that figured in the state's history. With all the rain the area gets, it shouldn't be that difficult to keep plants and flowers looking beautiful.

Last week at work, one of my co-workers had to go home sick early on Monday, and didn't come back until today. He was diagnosed with shingles, which came out on the left side of his head and face. He was still suffering with the illness, and he said it was very painful. Two years ago, our doctor recommended that we both receive the shingles vaccine as a precaution. Boy, am I glad we did that!

If any of the readers haven't received the vaccine, it may be something to consider. In addition to my co-worker having the disease, my sister Judy also suffers from it. According to our doctor, a person has to be 60 years old to receive the vaccine. Still, it may be worthwhile to see what a doctor would say now. Medical knowledge continues to improve.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Olympia, Washington: Celebrating The Past, Embracing The Future

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fuss And Wind

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 53 degrees, clear skies, windy to 35 mph

All the stuff going on in Washington has created quite a fuss, with most of the country appearing to be against what happened today. Maybe that's why the wind was blowing so hard today. I have a feeling this controversy on health care reform is far from over.

I was feeling better yesterday after taking the drugs prescribed by the doctor and doing the other things he suggested. So good, in fact, that after I posted the blog last night, I decided to have some cereal with milk. Bad mistake. The milk caused me to get congested again, and by the time I was ready for bed, the cough was back.

When I went to bed, I had to get up because I couldn't breathe. Instead of trying to go back to bed immediately, I went to the recliner and stayed there until well after midnight. By then, I could breathe better, and tried going back to bed. I was able to sleep the rest of the night. At this time, I'm back to where I was yesterday, and I'm trying not to do anything to cause another flareup. At the least, that means no milk products. We stayed at home so we wouldn't be exposed to the wind and more irritants.

My brother Terrell and his wife Kathy came into town today for a few weeks, and he called to see if we wanted to go to supper tonight. We had to decline because we're trying to get over this allergy mess, but we'll get together another time.

So, what have we been doing while sick this weekend? Not much of anything except trying to feel better. A lot of reading, television, surfing the Internet, meditating, looking out the window and thinking about what we would like to be doing.... This is such a bore.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fort Davis, Texas: Highest Town In Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day Of Spring

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 64 degrees, cloudy, rain, hail, wind

Did you note the weather conditions for today? It was cloudy when we woke, but we knew it was going to start raining before noon. In an effort to get the chores finished before the rain started, we took care of our grocery shopping and laundry early, and were watching a movie when the rain started. The timing was excellent! The rain continued for the rest of the day, and it's supposed to get down in the 30s tonight. Spring has arrived.

My visit to the doctor yesterday paid off, as I had the best night of sleep last night since about ten days ago. If I continue to improve this well, I should be feeling really good by the time I go back to work on Monday. Now, it looks like Carolyn is going through the same problems I've been suffering with. It will be interesting to see how long she fights going to the doctor. She fusses at me about going to see the doctor when I should, but she's just as bad as me. I may have to keep after her about it so she'll go to make me shut up.

Over our years of this RV lifestyle, we've been fortunate in being able to stay at some beautiful places across the country. One of the things that we look for in an RV park is the spaces far enough apart so we don't hear the people next door talking or using their bathroom. In the park we're in now, the spaces are much closer than we like, but it's the best we can find for the time being.

Another thing we look for in RV parks is rules that are sensible, such as no loud music or generators in use after 2200 hours at night. A rule of etiquette among RVers is that people don't infringe on each other's space unless invited. That means kids stay in their space. Spring break is going on in Texas this week, and the owner of the RV parked on our east side has his family visiting from Dallas. No problem with that, except they have six kids, ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old. The RV they're staying in is about 25 feet long. Can you imagine six kids in a 25 foot RV? I don't know how they handle it. Wait a minute, I do know how they handle it. The adults make the kids stay outside all day. What do kids do when they're outside with nothing to do? Scream, yell, throw things at the other RVs, go in and out of other spaces, peek in the door if it's open..... None of that goes over well with Carolyn, who says she's about over it. It's a good thing the kids will be leaving tomorrow. If they weren't, I would probably be looking for another place to park.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Knoxville, Tennessee: Underwear Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Doctor's Visit

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 47 degrees, high 72 degrees, partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies, breezy

The Texas gulf coast is a great place to live and visit. Stretching from the Louisiana border at the Sabine River to the mouth of the Rio Grande River at Brownsville, there's plenty to see and do. Obviously, water sports such as fishing, boating, diving, and swimming are foremost on most people's list of things they like to do. In many ways, the Texas coast reminds me of what the undeveloped Florida gulf coast was like before runaway development there changed it.

Now, having said how great a place the coast is to live and work, there are some definite downsides that we found out about by living here for a long time. There are world class mosquitoes here that attack like killer bees. The weather is so wet that it rains here when it's not raining any other place in Texas. The winters are usually wet and cold. Golf is a challenge most days because the wind blows so hard. And, then there's the allergies. We have never experienced respiratory problems like we have here that are caused by allergies. Examples include pine, oak, and cedar tree pollen, flower pollen, crop residue, mold, mildew, dust, and chemical plant effluent.

Why am I writing about allergies AGAIN? After posting yesterday's blog entry, I watched a little television, then went to bed. Five minutes after lying down, I started coughing and couldn't breathe. I thought I was getting over the allergy problems that I had been suffering with for the last ten days or so, but it was obvious the problems were not ready to turn me loose yet. Finally, I got out of the bed so I could breathe. A few minutes later, I lay back down, and again had problems breathing. Carolyn suggested I prop up some pillows in the bed and try to sleep leaning against them. No luck.

I tried using my recliner in the living room, and that seemed to help me breathe a little better, but didn't help with the cough. Late in the night, I went to the WalMart Mall to see what they had that might help with the congestion and cough. The Mall had some over the counter stuff that I picked up, because I was looking for relief wherever I could find it. The upshot of the night's problems is that I got about an hour's sleep, and felt so bad this morning.

When we lived here, I had a doctor I used when the allergy problems would hit. I was at his office when they opened this morning, and was taken right in to see the doctor. He told me my problem was the allergies causing all the symptoms I described earlier. Of course, I knew that already, but he's go to do his thing. Springing into action, the doctor did several things, including giving me an injection, prescribing two prescriptions, and advising me how to handle the allergies in other ways. I don't remember what was in the injection, but it seems to have already made a positive difference. If I'm not better by Monday, I have to go see the doctor again. Here's hoping that tonight will be better.

If any of the readers plan to move to the Texas coast or spend more than a few days, be aware that if you live here long enough, you will be attacked by the dreaded allergies. I can tell you from several close encounters that they will knock you for a loop.

I hope people don't mind my rant about the allergies. The rant seems to make me feel better, though.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bay City, Texas: Gateway To The Great Outdoors

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Virginia City, Nevada

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 70 degrees, clear skies

My allergy ailments seem to be getting better, just in time for the longer hours at work. The only problem is that Carolyn is now starting to suffer from her allergies. She's trying to say that it's my fault she is having problems. That means she's allergic to me, but that's never been a problem. Or, it means if I hadn't taken the current job, we would be somewhere else and the allergies wouldn't be an issue. Oh, well. We have to be somewhere.

Today was the last work day of the week. Thank God! I've been dragging around at work since I've felt so bad. Maybe by the time I go back to work on Monday, I'll be feeling a lot better. I hope so. Can you imagine how hard it is to work when you don't feel good?

The preparations for the shutdown continued, and it seems that the issues we had for the last shutdown in the fall haven't been a problem so far for this one. Now, if the actual shutdown goes as well as the preparations are, it should be a fairly easy job. One can only hope.

When we were in Nevada, we visited Virginia City, mentioned many times in the television show Bonanza. Virginia City began life as a boom town after silver was discovered in the area in 1859. The population reached as high as 30,000 people, and over 400 million dollars in silver were mined during the town's peak years. The current population is about 1,000 people and the town is the nation's largest National Historic Landmark. As might be expected, the primary money producer now is tourism, with about 2,000,000 people visiting in a typical year. There are many old buildings in the town, including homes and the school seen below, which was built in 1878. A quirky note: Samuel Clemens used his pen name Mark Twain in Virginia City for the first time.

As I said earlier, the picture above is of the school. The one below is of a typical classroom in the school. It's hard to believe the classroom is as old as the school, because it looks like some of the classrooms I used when in school. Hmmm, maybe I'm getting older than I thought.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Virginia City, Nevada: Step Back in Time

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deer Lodge, Montana

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 47 degrees, high 70 degrees, mostly clear skies

Before we went to sleep last night, it was cool enough that Carolyn decided to put a blanket on the bed. When we got up this morning, we were surprised by how cool it got overnight. That blanket felt good!

I was tired when I got home from work. It seemed that we were very busy today, and I spent more time on my feet than I have since I've been back. We were told today that more than 1100 temporary workers are on-site to support the shutdown, so we should have plenty of help once the outage work starts. That's important, because in the last few years, it has been difficult for the plants to fully staff for their shutdowns. The shutdown starts on the night of March 27, so it's not that much longer. Yes!!

One morning in Idaho, we were getting ready to leave the previous night's camp ground when I noticed that a tire on the RV was almost flat. I changed the tire and decided to take a chance on not getting the flat repaired until we stopped that evening. Normally, we wouldn't move without a good spare, but that particular time, we decided to tempt fate. Luckily, we didn't have any more tire problems that day, so when we were parked that evening, I took the tire to a tire store in Deer Lodge, Montana. I explained my problem to the store manager, and they took care of the repair, which was a nail puncture. When the tire was repaired, I asked how much I owed, and was told there was no charge. Huh? No, wait a minute, how much do I owe you? Again, the answer was no charge. I told the person I was dealing with that he couldn't support his store like that, and he said it was no problem, and enjoy our stay in the area. I even tried to tip the worker who repaired the tire, and he wouldn't take it. Do you think we have a favorable image of that little town? We stayed a day longer than we had intended because of the service we received at the tire store.

While we were in Deer Lodge, we went to the old Montana State Prison, which has been replaced by a new prison west of town. In addition, we visited the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, which covered over one million acres of land at one time. The town reminded me of many of the little Texas towns that we see. If it didn't get so cold in the winter, it would be a place for us to consider as a home base. Hmmmm - we're RVers. We can consider any place as our home base. Something to think about. That doesn't mean we have to stay there in the winter.

This picture is of the main street in Deer Lodge. Looks familiar, doesn't it?

The area around Deer Lodge has been featured in several movies, including Rancho Deluxe and Heaven's Gate.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Deer Lodge, Montana: Museum Capital Of Southwestern Montana

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mount Rainier

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 55 degrees, high 57 degrees, clouds and rain all day

One of these days, we're going to find a place to spend some time where it doesn't rain as much as it does along the Texas coast. We've been here about 18 days, and we've seen rain on at least seven of those days. I know, that's normal here, but doesn't mean we like it.

We continued our preparations for the shutdown at work, and the rain didn't help matters. Some of the work outside had to be deferred until tomorrow, when the weather is supposed to be better. As on most days, part of my day was spent in meetings, which I appreciated with the way the weather was. Compared to the last shutdown in the fall when we worked on the other reactor here, there have been very few issues that have arisen, and the few that have come up have been easily handled.

When we were in Washington on our trip to Mount St.Helen's, we were impressed by the natural beauty of the forests, lakes, streams, and the farms that are in the area. Now, our primary reason to be there was to see Mount St. Helen's, so imagine our surprise when we looked to the north and saw the most spectacular mountain we had ever seen. That mountain was still well over 100 miles away, yet seemed to dominate the view. When we asked some local folks what the name of the mystery mountain was, the answer we got was Mount Rainier. Wow!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Aberdeen, Washington: The Port Of Missing Men

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 56 degrees, high 73 degrees, cloudy skies until noon, then mostly clear skies

It was a busy day at work, but the kind of busy that helps the time pass and things get finished that need to be done. Another wave of people came in to the site to get their training and background checks completed so they can be ready to go for the shutdown in less than two weeks. Work areas around the plant are busy, with the pre-shutdown work progressing on schedule. I'm ready to get going!

In yesterday's post, I commented on some rudeness we encountered from a few Washington residents while we were visiting Olympic National park, located on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. A representative of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau commented on the post, apologizing for any rudeness that might have occurred. I thought it was really nice of her to respond to the post, and as I said in my reply to her, that area does not have the only rude people. We have encountered rude people in a lot of places, but the vast majority of people are friendly and helpful. What happened won't keep us from going back to the area, and we encourage everyone that has the opportunity to visit the park to do so. It is a truly beautiful place.

The Olympic National Park is not the only attraction in northwest Washington. The entire coastline is beautiful, and the little towns are, as Carolyn says, "So cute"! One place that caught our eye was the town of Sequim. At the time we were there, the Sequim Lavender Festival was ongoing. Lavender plants usually do best in a drier climate, so why does it do so well in northwest Washington, where we all hear it rains most of the time? The Olympic Mountains act as a wall to the rain from the west. As a result, the area averages less than 15 inches of rain a year. That sounds like my kind of place.

Here's a picture of one of the lavender fields that the Lavender Festival is held for.

That's about it for the news from here today. I'm wore out, so I think I'll watch a little television and get ready for bed. The clock seems to alarm way too early.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sequim, Washington: Lavender Capital Of North America

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Remember in yesterday's post that I wrote that the allergies seemed to be hanging on? Well, it's official. I feel as bad as I have since this stuff grabbed hold of me last week. I've been treating the allergies with medicine that has worked in the past, but isn't doing quite as well this time. Maybe I'm just impatient with how fast I'm getting over this mess.

I walked this morning, but cut the distance down some in an effort to keep from getting so tired with what I'm suffering from. Didn't work, but at least I got a little exercise. When I got home, the television held an attraction for me, since I didn't feel like doing anything else. After awhile, I felt better, so I decided to flush the water heater and check the sacrificial anode. The anode needed changing, so I also took care of that. Then I dumped our holding tanks, so we're good for a couple of weeks on that. By the time those chores were finished, the television called me back, as I was dragging again. In between little naps, I watched an excellent college basketball game with Mississippi State and Kentucky. The game was nip and tuck all the way, going to overtime on a last second shot by Kentucky, who eventually won the game by one point.

The rest of the day was spent taking it easy and trying to feel better. I hope I feel better tomorrow. It's back to work for four days.

When we visited the state of Washington, we liked it, although not as much as we liked Oregon. One place that stood out to us was Olympic National Park, located in the Olympic Peninsula. The park includes Pacific coastline, a temperate rain forest, and the Olympic Mountains. It's fascinating how the west side of the park receives a large amount of rain, the mountains receive so much snow that there are several glaciers located in the park, and there is a beautiful coastline that is part of the park. It was a very nice place to visit, and we would love to go back. Only one thing marred our visit there. It was the attitude that several Washington residents displayed toward out of state visitors, including ourselves. I heard several derogatory comments about the out of state visitors, such as why don't they go home. Fortunately, most of the people we met in Washington were friendly and helpful.

Here's a picture we took of the Olympic National Park.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Port Townsend, Washington: City Of Dreams

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Time Change Tonight

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 74 degrees, clear skies

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead an hour, if you haven't already. It wouldn't bother me if the time was left the same all year. I don't care whether it's daylight saving time or the regular time (what is that called?), but leave it one or the other. I hate these time changes.

Now that the time change tirade is over, here's what happened today with us. In two words, not much. A morning walk was nice, but seemed to wipe me out. I think the allergies are still hurting me. When I got back home, I rested a little, then started doing some puttering on the outside. Most of the time was spent on more cleaning on the truck and RV, but I also checked the oil pan leak I had last week. I noticed that there appeared to be a small amount of oil building up on the oil pan drain hole bolt. I got under the truck and wiped the oil off to try to see where it was coming from. There was not an obvious crack, so I checked the plug. Surprise! I was able to tighten the bolt about 1/4 of a turn without over tightening it at all. Why is it that the shops have such a hard time tightening this bolt? This is the third time I've had to tighten the same bolt after oil changes. I guess I'll have to check it from now on.

While I was doing all the stuff outside, Carolyn took a load of laundry to the RV park laundromat. By the time we were both finished with our little jobs, it was lunch time. We ate while watching another movie I picked up at the library yesterday. Later in the day, I went over our tax return for 2009. Everything looks good, except for the the amount of money we sent the government last year. Yuck!!!

The rest of the day was spent watching a marathon session of Ice Road Truckers on television. We don't have any ambition to go to Alaska in the winter. Brrrr!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The Red Rose City

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Clean, Condition Roof

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 43 degrees, high 63 degrees, clear skies, breezy

Remember all the chores I had planned for today? I got all of them finished, and then some!

The first thing I did was take a long walk this morning. Even though I have been suffering with allergies this week, my throat felt better this morning, so it was a good walk. I rested a few minutes after the walk, then gathered everything needed to clean the roof on the RV. It took about an hour on the roof to do the cleaning. When I finished up there, we had lunch while I was waiting for the roof to dry so I could apply a rubber roof treatment. After lunch, the treatment was applied, and the major chores I wanted to do were finished. But, wait, there's more!

Our CPA called and said our tax return was ready to be picked up. I went by his office and reviewed the return with him. Everything looked good, but I'll check it again before I mail the return. Then I went by the library to return some books and check out some more, as well as a couple of movies. When I got home, we watched a movie with Jodie Foster that we liked. Have you ever noticed that you can depend on certain movie stars to have good movies? Jodie Foster is one of those stars that we can usually depend on.

After the movie was finished, I did some well deserved meditation. Then, I finished up the chores I wanted to do today by washing the RV and truck. By then, it was time for supper, so we met Lori and her family at Victoria's Mexican Restaurant. The food wasn't bad, and we enjoyed talking to everyone. Spring break is next week, so the kids were excited about being out of school. I think Lori's looking forward to the week off, too.

When we bought the new RV last year, the service manager at the dealership told us if we would bring the RV back about this time of the year, he would have the roof cleaned and treated for $400.00. Well, don't do me any favors. I bought the materials to do the roof for about $30.00, and there's enough to do it two times. The total time spent on the roof was about two hours, so I feel like I was making almost $200.00 per hour by doing the work myself. I'll do that all day long.

So, as the reader can see, it was a busy day, but a lot was done. And to top it off, I saved some money by doing a job myself. The allergies seem to be doing better, too.

Now, what can I get into tomorrow?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Greenwood, Mississippi: Cotton Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mount St. Helens

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 62 degrees, high 75 degrees, fog early, then partly cloudy skies

This picture was taken as we approached Mount St. Helens from the north. We were there about 24 years after the eruption, and it was amazing how much damage was still evident. A few weeks ago when a climber fell into the crater and died, it brought back to me how overwhelming it was to be as close as we were able to get to the mountain.

It was a little busier at work today, which is fine with me. Compared to the last shutdown, this one is going very well so far. We were commenting today that at this point before the last shutdown, we were already dealing with several issues. No issues so far this time. Could this be a positive omen for this shutdown?

Today was the last work day for this week. I've been fighting allergies all week, so I'm ready for a few days off. That's not to say I won't be doing anything. Tomorrow, I plan to clean the roof on the RV. Then, since cleaning the roof usually leads to cleaning the sides of the RV, I'll do that, also. If I feel like it, I'll probably wash the truck. So, a busy day planned for tomorrow.

A reader commented on yesterday's post that it must be hard to be engaged after doing so many of these shutdowns. I’ve been working in the nuclear business for a long time, and know how important it is to be aware of what’s happening on the job at all times. I think I do a good job of staying alert and being able to respond to whatever comes up. Do I ever think about what I want to do when a job is over, or what I would rather be doing at a particular time? Absolutely! I think if a person loses touch with their dreams or only thinks about the present time, it would make for a boring existence. One of my favorite things to do is to make plans for what we’re going to do tomorrow, next week, next month, six months from now….. It doesn’t mean that we’ll do all of the things I plan for, but I always have something ready for us to do. Such as, try to find some wildflowers this weekend, go to one of our favorite restaurants in Columbus, go to Florida to visit family, find cooler weather in the summer, and on and on. The possibilities are endless.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Olympia, Washington: The Capital City Of The Evergreen State

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alsea Bay Bridge

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 73 degrees, fog until about 1100 hours, then partly cloudy skies

One of the things I like to take pictures of besides old courthouses is beautifully shaped bridges. We've seen some of the most beautiful ones in the Northwest. The one below is the Alsea Bay Bridge, located at Waldport, Oregon. Throw in the beautiful scenery of the area, and there is usually a good picture there. Carolyn usually doesn't like crossing bridges, no matter how beautiful they are. She had a real problem crossing the bridge over the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon. It probably didn't help that I kept saying stuff like "Look at that"! Her response: Keep your eyes on the road!

The day at work was more of the same as the last few days. Reviewing plans, meetings, walkdowns, second guessing what we've done so far, and more. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm ready to start doing some real work. Sooner it starts, the sooner it's over.

Remember I said in last night's post that I was going to have to cook one night because Carolyn was doing such a good job of taking care of me? Well, she called me at work just before I started home and told me I was cooking. Okay, I'm cooking. That's cool. What are you hungry for?

We worked out what I was cooking, which turned out to be DQ hamburgers. Is that a surprise to the people who know us? I stopped at the local DQ, which was very busy with all the extra people in town, and 20 minutes later I was home with supper. It wasn't bad, but not as good as what Carolyn prepares.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waldport, Oregon: Where The Forest Meets The Sea

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lake Tahoe

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 68 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, light showers

One of the places that Carolyn always wanted to visit was Lake Tahoe, which is located on the Nevada/California state line. We went to the lake from the Carson City area, since we were staying at an RV park just south of Carson City. We had to cross a mountain to get to the lake, but I can't remember the name of it. The lake is located at an elevation of about 6200 feet, and is the second deepest lake in North America at 1,645 feet deep. What attracted our eyes were the mountains on the opposite side of the lake, and the beautiful color of the lake's water. Was the visit worth the effort? Absolutely!

At work, we continued our preparations for the shutdown coming up in less than three weeks. Schedule reviews, action item list reviews and closings, tracking the work we have occurring at this time..... Enough planning! Let's do it!

The traffic at work is getting worse by the day as more and more people arrive to support the shutdown. About 300 people will be supporting the project I'm working on, and another 1,000 or so will be here to support the refueling efforts and other activities going on. That's a lot of people coming to the area for about two months, and a big boost to the economy. As an example, the RV park where we're staying usually has about 15 spaces rented. At this time, they have about 40 spaces rented, and I'm sure more will come in before the shutdown starts.

Carolyn had another nice meal prepared for supper. I may have to reciprocate and cook one night. That means I ask the question, "Where would you like to go for supper, Dear"?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Carson City, Nevada: Proud Of The Past, Confident Of The Future

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Long Meeting At Work

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 68 degrees, cloudy, windy, rain

When we're traveling, we tend to try to go to the less crowded places. We don't need the large tourist traps, such as Disney World. In fact, we don't need the small tourist traps, such as Silver Springs. We're happiest when we can find and explore examples of Mother Nature's handiwork, such as this picture of the Oregon coast near Pistol River. Just imagine a place where the low temperature averages in the 40s, and the high averages in the 60s. Then, throw in the type of beauty we found along the Oregon coast, and I think we may be as close to Heaven as we can get on earth.

The weekend was a good one for relaxing and rest. So good, in fact, that I didn't sleep well last night. Up and down throughout the night, I finally got up for good about 45 minutes earlier than normal. I'm tired tonight, so maybe I'll sleep better.

Most of the day at work was spent in a meeting to assess the project's readiness to begin the shutdown and the modifications that we will be responsible for. I think the project is ready to go. I know I am. Let's get 'er done!

The remainder of the day at work was spent continuing to review changes in plans since the last shutdown. The project served us lunch as part of the meeting, and it was pretty good. These people at the plant like to eat, and this site is the only one I have worked at that a person is more likely to gain weight than lose it during a shutdown. People are always bringing in food to share, and management is liberal with designating days as free lunch day. I'm going to have to watch myself at work.

Speaking of eating, Carolyn had a very good supper ready when I arrived home. Pork chops, green beans, potato salad, etc. Now that I think about it, I'm going to have to watch what I eat at home, too.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Brookings, Oregon: Where Flowers Meet The Sea

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Death Valley

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 65 degrees, cloudy skies

Here's a picture I took during our visit to Death Valley. A lot of the area was the type of hills seen here. In the range of mountains in the background, there is a small speck of white, which is snow on the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Does anyone remember the TV show "Death Valley Days"? When we were in the valley, the temperature only got up to 99 degrees, which I thought wasn't too bad. Carolyn had a different opinion about that. The differences in elevation and temperature between inside and outside the park were amazing. We were as low as 282 feet below sea level in the park. When we came out of the park, we went to the west and went up to about 6,000 feet. When we got out of the valley, we saw a wall of snow covered mountains to the west. These mountains were the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The highest mountain there is Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet above sea level. What a difference in elevation and temperature!

Oh, by the way. Carolyn didn't like Death Valley. Can you imagine that?

Today was the third day of the weekend. If I'm going to be working, it's nice to have three days a week off. We didn't do much this morning, other than me taking a walk. I watched a college basketball game, which was pretty good except that my team didn't win. To me, college basketball is like college football. The college players play with a lot more enthusiasm than the pros do. Most of the college players will not be pros, so they are trying to get the most out of the experience. There are so many of the pros that turn me off with their attitudes.

When the basketball game was finished, we went to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few groceries and some things that Carolyn wanted for crafting. The rest of the day was spent watching television, surfing the net, and reading. Just the kind of day I needed before going to work tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bishop, California: Mule Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alcatraz Island And The Bridge

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 62 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

Most people have heard of Alcatraz Island, where many of the the worst criminals were in prison. Just as many people, if not more, have heard of the Golden Gate Bridge, at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. We were fortunate enough to see both of these landmarks on the same day. How did we do that? In 2004, we wanted to go to San Francisco to do the tourist thing, but didn't want to fight the traffic in the city. So, we took the ferry from Vallejo, located across the bay, into the city. Our route took us by Alcatraz Island, and we were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge at the same time. Neat!!

It's easy to criticize the way things are done in California, as well as the politics, lifestyles, and any number of other things. Having said that, there are several things we like about the state, including the northern part of the state, the natural beauty, the climate, the small towns, and the people. If we're fortunate enough, we want to go back and experience the state again. It's almost as good as Texas.

We were pretty busy today, starting with the long morning walk. I sure miss those walks when I'm working. I do some of my best thinking when I'm walking along, enjoying being outside. When I returned from the walk, we took the laundry to the laundromat and got that chore out of the way. After lunch, I checked to see if the service facility installed the oil pan plug properly, since we have had a couple of instances where the plug wasn't tightened, resulting in an oil leak. No problems today.

By the time that chore was finished, it was time for some meditation. Got to take advantage of the opportunity every chance I get. When the meditation was completed, I went up on the roof to check the caulking to make sure there were no cracks that would cause the roof to leak. The caulking looked good, so while I was up there, I lubricated the gears and mechanism for the TV antenna. Then, the vent crank for the bathroom was acting up, so I lubricated it. After a squirt or two of WD-40, it worked like new.

By the time all that was done, I thought I would be ready to stop for the day. Nope, when I got on the ground, I realized the basement needed cleaning and straightening (again), so I did that little job before going in. Now, I was ready to stop.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - San Francisco, California: Fog City

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Redwood Trees

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 60 degrees, cloudy skies

When we went to the west coast and northern California in 2004, we saw many amazing things that we hadn't seen before. Some of the most impressive sights we saw were the giant redwood trees that the state of California and the federal government have decided to save for posterity. After seeing these huge trees, all we can say is we're glad there are people with the foresight to save these majestic giants.

I had several things that I wanted to get done today on my day off. First on the list was a long walk this morning, which was the first time I had walked since last Sunday. It felt good to get out in the cool morning, stretching my legs and enjoying the early morning coolness. By the time I returned home and rested for a few minutes, it was time for us to go to the dentist for our checkups. That turned out to be a problem. It seems the dentist's office called everyone and canceled their appointments for today. Everyone was called, that is, except for us. There was only one person at the office, so naturally she apologized that we didn't get the message. Anyway, we're set for our checkups two weeks from today, only a week before the long hours start at work.

Since we didn't get the dental checkups done, I decided to take the truck in to get it serviced. It was time for the oil change, and I don't like to forget that. Then we went to lunch, since Carolyn has been nice enough to have supper ready every night when I get home from work.

After lunch, I took our tax information to the CPA, where he and I had an in-depth discussion about the problems the country is having and how to fix those problems. It's too bad the politicians don't listen to their constituents. If they did, maybe we would be happier with their performance.

The next stop was at the library, where I returned some books and checked out more. Then a quick stop at the bank to take care of some business and I was on my way home. By the time I returned home, I was ready for some meditation, which has been in short supply.

Tonight, we met several friends from work, along with Lori and her family, for supper at a local restaurant. I had not seen several of these people for years, so it was good to renew acquaintances and find out what has been happening with them. Time sure does fly. I still have to reiterate, though, that these folks are getting old!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Trinidad, California: Where The Redwoods Meet The Sea

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 40 degrees, high 60 degrees, partly cloudy

When we were in Eureka, California, we were impressed by the climate, the friendliness of the people, the natural beauty, and Eureka, itself. This picture is of one of the many Victorian style homes in the town.

Now, having told you what we liked about the Eureka area, here's one thing we didn't like. We have never seen as many young people panhandling (begging) as we saw in Eureka. I asked one of the long-time residents what attracted the young people to the area, and he said it was because of the availability of marijuana in Humboldt County, where Eureka is located. What made the begging even worse was the fact that the free loaders would get belligerent if they weren't given any money. Needless to say, I made a lot of them angry.

The job I'm on now works a normal schedule of ten hours a day, four days a week. That means if we're not involved in a shutdown, we get three days a week off. So, that's the schedule I'm on for the next three weeks, leading up to the shut down starting about three weeks from now. Once the shutdown starts, I'll work 13 hours a day, six days a week until the shutdown is over, 5 to 6 weeks after it begins. I'm getting too old for this stuff! This will probably be the last one for me.

In the meantime, today was more catching up in changes to the planning since the last shutdown and reviewing schedules. I'm ready for the shutdown to begin. The sooner it starts, the sooner I'll be finished and can get back to the retired and drifting life.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Eureka! (I Have Found It!)

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What Trains?

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 36 degrees, high 56 degrees, clear skies

There are several things that attract us to the RV lifestyle that we love so much. The freedom to change locations at the drop of a hat, the many great people we meet, little jewels of towns that we visit, and so many other things. One of the best things about this lifestyle is the beautiful countryside we find. This picture is of the coastal mountains near Fort Bragg, California.

I guess we're starting to get conditioned to the train noise. Until last night, we were jarred awake several times a night as trains roared through our living room. Last night, neither of us noticed any train noise, other than me hearing some background noise. I tend to sleep lighter than Carolyn, so I feel pretty good about starting to get used to the noise. The noise is still there, but I'm not noticing it as much. If I start noticing the noise again, I'll console myself with the fact that this will be over eventually. When I ask some of the long term residents of the park what they do to be able to live there with the train noise, they usually say "What train"?


Today was more of the past couple of days: meetings, work package reviews, walk downs of areas, getting re-acquainted with folks, thinking about what we'll do when this is over.... Wait a minute. I need to stop thinking about what we'll do when this job is finished. Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate.

Now that my life is not devoted to the daily grind of work (other than the occasional job), I pay more attention to how people act. Every morning this week, I have driven what I think is a safe speed for the road that I travel to work. Each morning, I have had several people pass me as though I was standing still, all on their way to work. Now, I enjoy what I do and like the people I work with, but can you imagine driving as fast as these people do to get to work? They must really like their jobs.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fort Bragg, California: The Undiscovered Jewel Of The Mendocino Coast

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where Are The Wildflowers?

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 42 degrees, high 55 degrees, clear skies, windy – a little chilly

Usually at this time of the year in Texas, we’re starting to enjoy the beauty of the wildflowers. Bluebonnets, Paint Brushes, Indian Blankets, etc. add splashes of color to the countryside, making a scene that is unforgettable. This year, we have not seen any wildflowers yet. During our 300 mile drive to Bay City last week, we didn’t see a single wildflower, even though we were looking for them. We think the primary reason we’re not seeing any flowers yet is due to the winter being colder and longer than normal. One thing that should give us a lot of wildflowers is all the rain that has fallen this winter. Once the flowers start popping out, it should be a glorious sight to see.

The picture below is a good example of the wildflowers, especially bluebonnets, that are to be found near Brenham, Texas.

I continued getting caught up with the changes at work today. Meetings were attended, walk-downs were performed, procedures were reviewed, and I talked to more friends and coworkers. One thing I’ve noticed about the people that I know here, besides the fact that they are good folks, is that they’re all getting old. What happened???

Our dentist is in Bay City, so we’re going to take advantage of our time here to see him for our six month checkups. We have appointments for Friday, and if this one goes like they have for many years, we won’t need to have any repairs performed.

It’s tax season, and like our dentist, the CPA we have used for many years is here. I have an appointment to see him on Friday afternoon so I can give him our information. He and I usually have a good conversation about our travels and what we’re doing. In addition, both of us have the same basic political and economic beliefs, so we get to commiserate with each other about how well or badly things are going. Sometimes when we’re here between tax seasons, I’ll stop in and say hello so we can bounce ideas off each other about how to fix the country’s problems. This meeting should be interesting.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Brenham, Texas: Baseball Capitol Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Day Back At Work

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 60 degrees, heavy rain early, then clear skies, then scattered showers

The weather today reinforced why we no longer care much for living near the coast. It just rains too much!

The picture below was taken in the Petrified Forest in Arizona. Legend holds that anyone who takes a piece of the wood from the park suffers bad luck until the wood is returned. The park has a problem with people taking souvenirs, and it may be that the legend was started to keep people from taking the wood. Whatever the truth is, the fact is that there used to be a lot more petrified wood in the park than there is now.

Today was the first day on the new job, which should last about two months. Of course, if it was less than that, it would be fine with me. We're already missing the road and being free.

Working in a nuclear power plant is an eye opener for people who have never been in one before. The security is very strict, as it should be. New workers or workers who have been away from the industry for more than a year usually have a wait of more than a week for their security clearance to come through so they can be unescorted workers. No one likes to be escorted, but the only way to obtain a security clearance is to have a worker's personal background exhaustively checked to ensure that people who might be a danger in a plant are not allowed to enter them. Now, having said that, I was able to obtain my unescorted security clearance before lunch today. It helps that I was here for the last outage, which was only three months ago.

Most of the day was spent reviewing changes in planning and getting reacquainted with friends and co-workers from the past outage and past jobs. The relationships I've formed over the years are one of the reasons I enjoy the work so much. However, I'll still be ready for the job to end so we can hit the road again.

Oh, by the way. Carolyn prepared a very good chicken pot pie from scratch for supper. The first thing she asked me after greeting me was when can we leave.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Holbrook, Arizona: Gateway To The Petrified Forest National Park

Not all who wander are lost.