Friday, February 26, 2010

Chain reactions.

Everyone has heard that if you stand in a crowded place staring up at a fixed point, persons passing by will look up as well. I have done this several times. It works beautifully in a mall when one is with a group of people wearing strange hats. It also works in gas station parking lots.

We were pulling out of the lot to get back on the road. The Commodore was pulling into the first part of a three point turn, when over a concrete wall (thanks to the excellent vantage point provided by our dear Tallulah) we spied a remarkable sight. Probably even more remarkable was that we had time to get the camera taken out and put together in time to get a picture.


We have not yet had time to positively identify this fellow, but it was beautiful, and we really enjoyed the sight of him. (Note: It is not in the fence, the fencing was just there, between us and it.)And as far as we could tell, the guy in line behind us enjoyed the sight as well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Tallulah Go!

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning, we left PA around 5:30-6:00 am. We had some difficulty getting started, mostly because the firefighters were very busy taking care of public roads and things, and could waste no time um... looking after the campground that they run. But we got going, after two or three rollbacks to get some traction. Once we were going though, we made excellent progress. There is something rather fascinating about having been in three different states by 10:00 in the morning.

We ended the day in Montgomery City, MO. All roads lead to Missouri, for us. Still, it was quite cool to be back on the west side of the Mississippi. Exceedingly cool, in fact it was downright cold at a snug little four degrees.
The Admiral had to be in Kansas City, MO by noon today, and all he had was a nice easy three hour drive. A decent start, and nothing to it. Ha. The door of his new truck wouldn't open. Note: When having issues with stuck doors, find a place with a locksmith. We ended up calling service station after service, all of whom were highly sympathetic and totally willing to help, by giving us another phone number. Finally we discovered Frank's Quick Change, and the problem was solved in time to allow the Admiral to reach his destination on time.
We are camped in Bonner Springs, Kansas, for a grand total of six states in forty-eight hours. It's not a record, but it is enough to make one's head spin. "Where are we?" is the question of the day.

So, today, Kansas, tomorrow, on to Colorado. Hopefully, anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ship's Cooks?

Saturday the crew, the Admiral and the Commodore took a short voyage to Pittsburgh, PA. There the found a farmer's market, where they purchased farm eggs and apples. The crew preferred these apples over the apples that came from the grocery store. We were then faced with the trouble of what to do with the store apples, as wasting them was certainly not an option. The A.B.s declared that they knew just what to do, as they had a recipe the apples would just suit for. Trusting they that would not make false claims, we let them loose in the galley. After the discovery of a communication malfunction between the Commodore and the Captain, however, A bit of trouble with the ship's new cooks was brought to the light.
Whether or not they actually read the recipe has not yet been ascertained.


Disaster is creeping in. What do we do?!

Call in the Captain.

The 2nd A.B receives instruction.

 The rescued finished product. 
Apple Crisp, the umm, vegetable for supper.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From area Eighty-Four.

Okay, so this isn't exactly Eighty-Four, and actually, Eighty-Four is a rather boring place, just a little town, nothing particularly interesting, although it sounds like it should be. Our actual town is Jefferson, and our actual campground sounds like it is right behind a firehouse. It is.
We have had a pleasant enough stay here so far. It is the only campground open in five counties or so, and the number of persons here reflects that. For the first time since we came out in January we have neighbors at an uncomfortable lack of distance.
The Admiral's old truck is most definitely finished. It has been turned in and stripped down to provide for the new truck. When the new truck is finished being built, we will high tail it for Colorado, where the Admiral has appointments to make.
Until then, we are enjoying the first twenty-four + hour period with no snow since we left Iowa. It was so warm out that the ice started melting, which resulted in a very wet mess, but the sun was shining so beautifully that we went for a walk anyway, and we spied some sights that might have seemed strange to us a month or two ago.
 There used to be a picnic table here, but it made a New Year's resolution to be invisible, and it hasn't been seen since. 

My guess is that the owner of this truck was considering a Mohawk haircut, but decided to try it out on the truck first. 

I still find the fact that the icicles on the roof are almost the same size as the man on the ground rather disturbing, but it is really not that uncommon here, and I am sure I will grown accustomed to the sight in due time. 

There is a snow being standing beside the First A.B. in this picture. Snow beings are very good at camouflage, and this one is particularly well blended with the snow mountain in the background, so one has to look closely. 

The crew decided to check out this hill for sliding prospects. It was too steep, and the creek at the bottom was slightly discouraging.

And then we spotted it. The nasty side of snow. The dirty, grimy, snowplowed heap of it. 

That was pretty much what our walk looked like. And the funny thing was that we spent most of it commenting on how warm the weather had gotten today.

Pictures From the Visit

Here are the pictures from the last day of our visit with the Commodore's brother and sister in Pennsylvania and their families.

 As mentioned, the Commodore was very happy about seeing her siblings.


And her relatives looked pretty happy too. (Uncle Joseph, Aunt Patti, and their nephew, I.J.)

The Second Mate and Cousin Chris.

The First Mate, Uncle Joe, and me, the Captain. I have no idea what we were watching, but it was clearly fascinating.

Nick, actually smiling!! Sort of.

Vicky and I.J. 

Aunt Jen.

Why are all the little kids so excited?

Brayden, the Commodore's very first great-nephew. 

And everyone's favorite part. 

Apparently the car used to be totally buried.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Did Arrive,

Our journey from IL to PA took longer than expected, but we did arrive on Sunday. We left on Friday, and drove until we reached the Heartland Resort in Greenfield, IN. After being exceedingly annoyed by the discovery that 1) the electrical pole was at the wrong end of Tallulah, 2)the water spigot was frozen and 3) the "plowed" site still had to be shoveled out by the First Mate. In the morning, as we were packing up the camper in the morning, the Second Mate spotted a raccoon. When the rest of us managed to see the creature, it was promptly re-identified as a weasel. We were all very excited because none of us had ever seen a weasel before, and it was funny to see the flocks of bird flying away from him after he moved up the river, which was frozen, and beyond the reach of our camera.
We drove as long as we could on Friday, but weather conditions and crazy drivers sent us off the road long before we had reached our desired destination. Of course, there were no open campgrounds where we stopped. We stopped in town and plugged Tallulah into the hotel room so we could run the heater and avoid any freezing.
We then managed the rest of our journey on Sunday. We arrived at he Homestead Campground in Green Lane, PA and found that a place had been cleared especially for us. By the time we finished setting up, our Uncle Joseph had arrived to ferry us to his house to hang out with his family, where the Commodore's sister came to visit with us later on. We stayed the night, and had fun, although no one got nearly as much sleep as might be desired. Yesterday was spent in more visiting.
 We thought that we were leaving today to head back West to Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, but three feet of snow fell between here and there last night, and in that part of the country they are experiencing 30 mph winds, so we thought it would be better to wait here and continue our visiting.

Pictures to follow as soon as they are taken, as we forgot all of our cameras in Tallulah when we left her.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The crew has been growing crabby of late. Being snowed in, it seems, soon grows a bit old.

But not for long.

The order to sail is in. The Admiral's truck, after meeting with ill fortune on the high seas, was rescued and hauled away for diagnosis by folks who sound awfully like pirates claiming salvage. The truck will, therefore, have to await repair for another day. Meanwhile, another truck, as yet un-outfitted for the task ahead of it. The Admiral's task is to go to Pennsylvania and prepare this new truck for duty. This means a visit with the Pennsylvania relatives, a prospect that the Commodore (and the rest of us) are by no means displeased by.

So, tomorrow we leave IL for the land of even more snow. We rise as early as possible and depart with the first sign of thawing.  Fortunately, the Admiral swept off the roof and the over-the-slide awnings yesterday. Otherwise, we would have that job to deal with in the morning. (The slides will not pull in correctly if the awnings get heavy with snow and ice.) We are also very happy that tomorrow morning will be considerably warmer than this morning was - we woke up to -4 F and frozen waterlines. The Commodore's sister claims that it is warmer in PA. Whether the weather will hold remains to be seen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowed In

Our travels brought us to the middle of nowhere in IL and the sudden breakdown of the Admiral's truck has left us stranded here. The snow that began yesterday afternoon has not yet stopped, so besides being stranded we are also, for the first time ever in the lives of the majority of the crew, snowed in.
We did not begin our snow adventures very well. Last night after supper, the Commodore made the unpleasant discovery that the gray tank was full. The Admiral and I had no choice but to go outside into
 the cold and empty it.
Just the thought of it was enough to make us shiver, but we survived.

This morning, we were a bit more cheerful about our situation. Being snowed in is very like being hurricaned in. Only colder. The only thing for it is to wait the whole thing out, and try to have a little fun.

Since the Admiral did not have to leave at the break of day, he and the Commodore cooked breakfast for the crew. We were lucky enough to have farm fresh eggs from a nearby Abbey that we visited on Sunday. Believe it or not, there is a very big difference.

Store Eggs

After breakfast, the younger crew members decided to go sledding. The floats that they were sliding on are wearing thin, but there is still enough slippery left to slide on. After a while, they even managed to convince their captain to join in. 

Their first order of business was to give me a lengthy lecture on proper technique.

After that, there was a demonstration. It was not a successful demonstration.

So my instructors decided I could just try the hill, under close supervision.

And that was at least a better idea.


We still had to try again.


Finally, we did get down. A crew ought always go through with what they attempt, after all.

Even if that means that all there is left is walking back up the hill to Tallulah to eat soup, lounge around, and nurse whopping bruises on knees for the rest of the day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow Day

We made it all the way back east across the frozen Mississippi River to Illinois. Although our previous time in IL did not inspire any fondness for the state, we were compelled to change our minds when we accidentally stumbled across a Dick Blick outlet store in Galesburg. After two hours that went by terribly quickly, we moved on to the only open campground in this part of IL.

Today, the crew enjoyed the thrills that can only arise with the combination of snow, a great hill, two year old inflatable rafts and and a day off from swabbing the deck can deliver.

We've spent hours trying to find appropriate sledding gear, but it would seem that the natives snagged them first. We finally realized however, that what's good for the water is good for the ice.

Of course, I would say that the best part is that it is not even necessary to inflate the rafts. They did  begin with them inflated, but that didn't last long. 


And of course, this was followed up by a snowball fight, but there are no pictures of that because the First Mate required chastising for conspiring against the Captain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


One of the interesting things about living in an RV is the neighbors that one runs into. Sometimes they are nice, and sometimes they are not. Once, we were even camped next a very loud group of  ogres. Another time, we were neighbors with a family with an extremely pleasant boy about the about the same age as the 1st AB. And, of course, there were our Alabama neighbors in Wyoming, who gave us antelope meat. Whether nice neighbors or not nice neighbors, however, they are usually at least a little bit interesting. 


We were parked beside the RV in the above photo for three days. It looks like a perfectly average Class C. There were no people in it during our stay; empty RVs are not often terribly interesting.Last night I took a new route home from walking the dog. I noticed some writing on the back of the RV. I stopped to read it. 


 The "about the author" says
"Life story of an Iowa farm boy who grew up during the great depression and with no high school or formal education went on to become a pilot , prisoner of war in World War II. A leading farmer, business man and entrepreneur in Iowa.A father of six children and other acomplishments."
Despite having never met this person, I am inclined to believe he may have been very interesting.