Good Times with Good Friends

 

Here we are in Golden, Colorado.  The photo above shows the pretty sky and some nice rock ridges to climb.  The view that day towards Denver did not look quite so nice:

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Along the ridge nearby are a few old mine entrances.  This picture made it in just because of the warning sign.  It says “ABANDONED MINES CAN WILL KILL YOU!”

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We have been blessed this week with seeing many friends that we have not seen for too long!  Lonnie and Laura had us over for a very elegant dinner.  The table setting was gorgeous, the company delightful, and I forgot to take a picture!  We are so much like family there – I wish I had a picture.  Sigh.

Great long-time friends Giny and Joe came over one evening.  The rangefinder camera in Joe’s hand really works… because it is a cover for an iPhone!  Great seeing them!

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Steve is a buddy who retired from his dental practice just a couple of months after I did.  It was fun planning our practice transitions simultaneously, and it was fun getting together with Steve and Laura again this week!

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So it’s been a busy time.  We got a little snow, but nothing that lasted more than a few hours.  I got a few more cities up on my Antarctic Adventure page, including a couple videos, which you can see HERE.

And I’ve almost finished the dulcimer!  At the time of this picture, I had to add two more tuning keys.  Now all I have to do is get it strung!IMG_2005

Plans Change Again!

Well, last week I PROMISED that I’d have lots of good pictures up from our South American trip.  Then we made a last minute decision to make a trip from Houston to Denver and catch the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention… So a lot of the time I thought I’d spend sorting pictures was spent relocating!  But Dear Wife Cherryl did a lot of the driving so I did get to spend some time sifting through pictures, but I’ve had the last two days in meetings so I’m no where near done.  But if you’d like to see the partially done work, it will be in a special page for the whole South American Adventure.  Click HERE to jump to it.  Maybe next week I’ll have it done!

This blog is just for the trip up from Houston.  We broke it into a few relatively reasonable drives-  Monday we drove to see our Son-in-Law’s parents in Keene, Texas and had a good evening with them.  Then a couple more hours down the road and spent the night in a rest stop.  When we opened the refrigerator first thing in the morning, a large glass casserole dish (Full of yummy enchiladas), fell from the top shelf to the bottom glass shelf and the glass exploded!  Not the dish, but the glass cover over the bottom drawer.  What a mess!  It is obviously safety glass, and shattered without leaving huge jagged glass shards, but little pieces went everywhere!  Took quite a while vacuuming and sweeping repeatedly.  Have you every vacuumed out the inside of your refrigerator?

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We spent another night in a little almost abandoned campground in New Mexico.  The sunrise was pretty in spite of the spartan landscape.

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Every once in a while we have to put fuel in our moving house, and it’s easiest at the truck stops.  Here we are playing with the big guys:

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As we drive, we can keep an eye on our “Toad” vehicle through the rear video camera.  With the son coming up directly behind us, I thought the view was nice, so I’m sharing it here:

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Here is a view of our present campsite.  Cherryl took this after a short hike up to the top of a little hill in the park.

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Here is the famous “Peeping Tom Bear” looking into the Colorado Convention Center.  Some of the meetings were fun and others barely tolerable.  That’s the way it goes!

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Then we got to have dinner with longtime friends (and former hygiene team member) Debbie and Mike.  It’s been a good, but busy week!

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“Home” Again

Well, we’re home again.

Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned… (So you’ve noticed that too!?)

After our South American Cruise ended last week, we spent a few days in Santiago, Chile.  We got up Monday morning at 2:40am, to meet our 3am scheduled ride from the wonderful hotel to the airport.  That all went well, our flights went well – Santiago to Panama City, and then on to Houston.  We even got bumped to first class for that second leg!  But it was over 10 hours of flying, and many more waiting around, so we arrived in Houston Monday evening rather tired.

My original plan was that I would have most all of the week to go through all the pictures we’d taken, and get at least the first half of the trip a little better represented than I have so far.  Here’s where it started going a bit differently.

We have never left Fudge Ripple, our “home with wheels” for this length of time before.  I’m not usually too worried about things going wrong while we’re gone, but I try to take the usual precautions (Water shut off, nothing loose outside, windows closed except for a couple rainproof windows cracked open, etc.).  I will admit to a bit of worry when I got an email from the park where we left the motorhome saying there was a huge storm forecast, and to take needed precautions.  What could I do while away?

Turns out the storm was a wimp and nothing happened.  But while we were so glad to see our home, we found out the water heater was not working.  We have a really cool water heater (Too cool if it’s not working!) that heats the water on demand; technically giving an endless supply of hot water, if you are hooked up to the water in the park.  Tuesday the first priority was hot water.  The weird thing was the heater was actually hot, but we couldn’t get hot water in the house.  I looked all over for blown fuses or thrown breakers, to no avail.  So I called the manufacturer.  They were very helpful, had me do a bit of diagnostic work and told me quickly that I needed a new “Summer loop pump”.  There are three pumps that send water through the hot portion of the heater – two for the furnaces; front and rear, and one for the hot water.  We ordered the pump, second day air, with the hope that I could install it myself.  He asked if the main hoses from the burner go up over the frame rail, and when I affirmed that, he said “Too bad – you’ll have to empty your storage area, take out a wall, and then get to the distribution box with the pump.”  The good news is that all our junk stored stuff is on slide out trays, so I can slide them out, climb into the “basement” storage area and reach the partition wall which had to be removed to access the box with the pumps.

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The recalcitrant pump is in the spotlight on the left.

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Thursday we got the pump, and I was able to install it pretty easily, considering.  Great to have hot water again!

 

A major distraction this week was my dulcimer.  Around Thanksgiving I got myself a Christmas present – a kit to build a Mountain Dulcimer.  They are easy to play, and I thought it would be fun to create my own.  So I spent a fair bit of time on it instead of pictures.

Here I have glued the front and back onto the sides, and using a few spare books in lieu of clamps.

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This is after the glue set – waiting for the edges to be further trimmed and sanded.

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Now all sanded, ready for applying the finish.

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First coat of finish oil applied, it will get to dry enjoying the view out the window.

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Another fun thing this week was Cherryl getting invited to join some of the ladies in this park for a daily exercise session.  While there, they invited us to a regular Thursday evening get-together at a crazy local hangout called the “Train Wreck”.  It was fun to meet lots of the folks who are staying in this park pretty much full time.  We had fun meeting lots of them, but I will admit it was so loud that shouted conversations were needed, and a guy with my poor hearing didn’t have much of a chance!  Fun anyway!

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There were other paperwork distractions during the week, (Naps!) so guess what – my week devoted to sorting through pictures didn’t work out that way.  I have gotten them culled from all the photo gadgets… it works out to slightly under 4,000 pictures!  So NEXT WEEK, I PROMISE, I will get started showing you a few of my favorites!

 

 

 

 

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in South America.  So everything is the southernmost… the pizza place, a pub, whatever, is billed as the southernmost.

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This city is so close to the south pole that the curvature of the earth makes the horizon veer down to the left.  Ha!

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You might notice these were taken from our balcony on the ship… a nice view, inspiring a bit of sailboat envy.  But some of the waters we’ve traversed lately erase small boat envy, at least in this part of the world!

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Airport with a nice backdrop.

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This is Lago Acigami, way south in Argentina.

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So here is the southernmost post office in South America.  If you didn’t get a postcard from us, don’t feel bad.  Nobody else did either.  It was closed.

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Absolutely Amazing Antarctica

We’ve  been blessed with an amazing adventure in Antarctica!  In the Antarctic Peninsula the sun comes up at about 2:15am and goes down at 11:55pm. (At the South Pole, they have one sunrise and one sunset per year!)  The whole time the sun is up is stuffed with awesome vistas!  (As are the other 3 hours… it never gets dark in this summer; only a bright twilight)

The snow is so perfect it looks almost edible… like it may be marshmallow cream (Is that edible?) or frosting.  Icebergs go slowly past our view, sometimes with penguins perched on top.  One berg had a dozen on its flat top – a hundred feet off the water level!  I’m told they climb up using their toenails (Webnails?) and beak like crampons and ice axe.  They like it up there because they have no predators while resting up there.  I think they must have an elevator up the center of the iceberg.

Speaking of Penguin Predators, we’ve seen tons of whales.  Yes, tons.  Mostly Humpback Whales, but I saw a couple of Orcas without a camera to prove it.  And there are birds closer to land who enjoy a Penguin lunch… I met a guy who saw one snatch a Penguin and play tug-of-war with another bird over the meal.  And he showed me the pictures to prove it!

The hardships we have had to endure are plenty…

  1. How can you sleep when it is so beautiful outside?
  2. It’s really cold outside!
  3. How can you take time out to eat when it’s so beautiful outside?
  4. Sometimes it’s really windy outside!
  5. How do you sort through 3,500 some pictures (And counting…)
  6. The Internet is either nonexistent or extremely slow. (You’d think we were at the end of the earth or something!)

Ok, so all of these “hardships” are meaningless… as to the cold and wind – no problem.  I just wore long johns, jeans, a T-shirt, a sweater, two sweatshirts, a jacket, hat and gloves. Simultaneously.  I felt like the Michelin Man.  And while many times we’ve had 60mph winds, many times it has been extremely calm, and the captain and others have repeatedly said they haven’t seen such great weather in the last 3 years.

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The Internet problem is real, however.  So I am trying to put up a couple of pictures, chosen almost at random, and when we get back to the U.S. of A. I will try to pick out my favorite 3,000 or so 😉 and either post them here or print out a book.