Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30

Done with another month

Tomorrow is the beginning of what many RV'ers have been looking forward to, it's October, the month of departure to the South. Let's just hope that everybody will be able to make it, after all for many RV'ers it is one heck of a long distance to drive. We just got word that two of our friends who are actually camp hosts, have been stranded with broken transmissions on their motor homes.  We have experienced the same on our truck back in 2005, and that was our very first snow-bird winter. 

A tranny repair or replacement can easily break a travel budget and ruin the pleasure of RVing.

Had a busy day
I did mention our shed-building project yesterday. Today's weather was very accommodating for continuing the work and with the outlook on several days of rain, I decided to hurry up as I sure wanted to save the plywood floor from getting too wet. So before I even started on the end walls, I put on the roof. At 5pm I had all the rafters and the OSB sheeting in place. With another hour to go until supper, I rolled out the underlayment and nailed it down. Put up the flashing on the upper end as well. Meanwhile Bea had done all the clean-up on the ground and put the electric hand tools back in the garage.

With only 2 breaks for lunch and coffee I feel thoroughly tired and played out. A nice hot soak in the tub was necessary and got me restored so I could find a few thoughts to write about after a delicious roast beef supper. 

Got a haircut from Bea as well. Started to look a lot like Santa, you know. When all the hairdots started falling from my head I picked up a dot which had nestled in a shirt fold. It was mostly white with some grey strands. I used to have dark hair - when there still was most of the hair in place. 
Today there ain't. But let's put it the way my cousin in Norway used to say: A nice face needs a lot of room. 

Thanks for stoppin' by!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29

Traveling around the World
When I was much younger I always wanted to travel around the world. I would have liked to see China, Russia, Asia, South America and Australia and of course North-America with Canada. I thought of it as an easy thing to do. I dreamed of high-strung expeditions into areas where no whites had ever been. I am sure my parents must have been afraid I would make reality of all my wild phantasies.

Later I did see other countries, but I was never in Southern Europe, never farther east than Finland and I sure have never been in places like Australia or South America.

I have reached an age where common sense is prevailing and I would never go to countries with political unrest (and that is most of the world today) or where my safety would be jeopardized, like f.ex. Mexico.

Yet I have recently seen a lot of Africa and other continents. I have been flying low over the glaciers of Greenland, then continuing right to the depths of the Grand Canyon. On a mere whim I have been visiting my birthplace in Northern Germany an been back in the mountains of Norway seeing that our old farmhouse has still been taken care of.

How is all that possible?  Well you have long since guessed it. The answer is GOOGLE EARTH.
Ever since Google Earth appeared on the Internet I have been traveling the globe. And like with all other internet related technology, Google has impoved this application immensely. Today there is f.ex. street-view, where I can leisurely "walk" the streets and look at peoples houses.

I can also make a jet-flight from any point to any point on earth. I can find hotels in any town, I can even book my room. I can see the latest weather. The image above shows that the East of Canada is currently under a lot of rain clouds. It also gives me the temps on any place of the globe. I have a friend in Darwin, Northern Australia. I have been "visiting" his house from above. You want to see it? Wait a sec. and I'll find it.

Here it is: (they don't seem to have street-view yet)

What Google did was putting me and my dreams together. I can travel the world, without leaving Campobello Island.  
....but I must admit I would LOVE to see Australia in reality. Haven't seen that chap since he left Germany in 1985. 
Had a great shed-building day today. After the materials arrived I got my tools out in the open and started hammering and sawing. After an afternoon coffee-break the weather changed and we got a bit of rain. That ended my work for today. 
New and recycled materials for the shed

We welcome another 4 new followers: J.D. and Becky, Runningliner, Russ Krecklow and Doris Purcell. Hope you guys are having fun here. 

Thanks for visiting and Happy Trails!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28

Wow, wow and wow!
I am truly humbled about today's activity on American-Traveler. Al's mentioning the blog has resultet in an unprecedented rush of readers and we got 2 new followers today. Come right on in Janna + Mike and Dave + Susie. Thanks for being followers.
Janna and Mike have a blog called Tin Teepee/Log Cabin. Their pics from Montana are really looking great. Dave and Susie are hoping to one day get on the open road and "feel the wind from the back!" That is a very fine goal as there is so much to see out there.

Over here we had another one of those beautiful early fall days. After I had puttered around with the building of a new addition to our garage I decided to take Molly out for a beach walk. So we were both getting into the car and headed on the 3-minute drive to Herring Cove Beach.

A fresh breeze from the South-East had brought up a bit of a  surf and it sure kept me from building up a sweat. Molly was completely absorbed in finding stuff she could either eat (yukk) or sniff on. Two lonely beach wanderers came from the other side, but keeping their path close to the water's edge, they did not greet. So I just walked on, taking in the stunning scenery. 

Suddenly a little bird jumped out of the shadow of a piece of driftwood. he flew ahead of us for maybe 50 feet, then sitting down again. As we kept on walking we got close to that birdy again. And this time it was just sitting there. I was afraid Molly would start chasing it but she didn't. I praised her for that and slowly approached that bird in a crouched-down position.

It looked at me with real curiosity and did not seem to be afraid at all. I got as close as 5ft before it started on another short flight. I had never seen birds like that on our beaches and it looked quite a bit like it was lost. But I have found out that it was a Semipalmated Sandpiper. Of course I did not have my Nikon 3100 with me, arghh, so I had to find a pic on WIKIPEDIA. In order to put in the correct link I tried to look it up again, but made a spelling mistake like Semiplamated Sandpiper. Google didn't take that too friendly and asked in a rather naive way:  Did you mean Separated Sandpaper? I sure got a chuckle out of that.

After a while I found a white driftwood log and it seemed to me that this was an inviting place to just sit down and look around. Molly kept her beach-combing close, and I was spiding across the blue Bay of Fundy. Across from us, there is the Island of Grand Manan. It is a bit farther south and located off the coast of Maine. Grand Manan is the southern-most place in New Brundwick. We have not visited there yet, but may do so one day. It is said to be very beautiful as well.

The sun was warming my back while I had the cool breeze in my face. Almost a summer day, I thought and got up for the walk back. At this time I saw an elongated gleaming white spot on the horizon. It had just emerged out of the coast line of Grand Manan and it was moving north, riding on the horizon. It was the Grand Manan ferry heading towards Blacks Harbour on the Canadian main land. What an unbelievable peaceful sight!
You can even find Dollars on the Beach
- Sanddollars -

Returning home, I stopped in at the post office.
Talking (and listening) to Kathryn is always interesting, but today I got surprised to say the least. She asked whether I was selling my truck. "Trying to", I confirmed. After all it had been placed along the road with a For-Sale sign in the windshield. Kathryn told me then that "a guy" had asked her what I would be asking for the truck. As Kathryn hadn't even seen the truck being for sale she sure didn't know the answer either. So now I told her and she promised to let "the guy" know.  

What I am asking myself is, of course, why are people asking the post lady for the price of my truck, instead of coming to me and get it first-hand. Is the local post office  some kind of an unpaid broker? When I was telling Bea the story we both laughed. ISLANDERS... we said.

Are there similar experiences out there? I just wonder.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 27

A Regular Day
Today's errands included a short trip to Customs and meet the lumber truck for a small delivery of deckblocks. They are intended to function as a simple foundation for a shed. The shed will actually be an add-on to the garage. I plan to build it mostly out of recycled materials. But I have to see how far I get with that. I already know that I will need roofing materials and some OSB and plywood. 
After the delivery was made, I jumped in the car and was off to St.Stephen to pick up the repaired slide-out canopy at the uholstery. 
Lightning over Ethel Lake,Alberta
It was a beautiful drive in an outstanding weather. The U.S.-Hwy 1 is kind of snaking along the St.Croix River which also is the border between the U.S. and Canada. With the beginning fall colors and the deep-blue water I got a feeling of being on a vacation tour. When coming back I stopped at Walmart in Calais to get a few things.
Moraine Lake, Alberta
Back at home I mounted the canopy back on the slide-out, and it actually seemed to fit, though I suspect they have cut off 2 inch from the width, but it still works out. Hope it will hang on for another few years.

A neighbour is actually looking for a new FORD truck. So maybe he is interested in buying ours. Time will tell.

And I guess that's all for today. Thanks for visiting here and see you tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26

The Darker Side of Life
Years ago I had a business partner. We got to be friends but after our immigration to Canada he was on his own. His business went bad and down and he lost just about everything except his family. From time to time I have called him. Last time he told me they were living in a rental place, a small apartment in town. His wife was ill of cancer and he himself had been suffering from diabetes. The State wouldn't pay out his pension as he hadn't reached the age yet. They were living a sad and miserable life. 
Alberta Sunrise
Today I called again. After many rings he answered the telephone. We spoke about how it was going, what they were doing. It turned out that his wife was still battling the cancer. He himself was going to a hospital on friday for he had been diagnosed with a blood-clot behind his eye. Because of the increased eye pressure he could not see much. Both cannot drive a car anymore so they have to rely on public transport. 

It was all sad news. He still had his humour, at least on the phone. How it is really looking I don't know.

But it made me think about how very vulnerable a good life can be. How fast can everything make a turn to the bad. 
We must be thankful for what we have, and for the good things in life we once enjoyed. It is just not sure we will have it tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 25

We welcome NAN as follower #20. If you have your own blog we' be interested to read it. Thanks for joining.

We and the weather
As humans we are never too bored to talk about the weather. Weather is what we are seemingly concerned about every day. We talk about weather to our family, our friends, neighbours, work-buddies and especially to strangers.

Weather talk is non-political, never embarrassing to anybody and therefor safe to talk about. Also it is a welcome opportunity to bash about the weather men (and women) and rant about it when the forecast proved to be wrong. If you have any doubt about this, just check the blogs. There is hardly any every-day blogger who hasn't rambled on about the weather. 

The all over-shadowing question is whether there ever is a perfect weather. One day it's way too windy, the next too calm and muggy, it is too cold or the record-breaking heat is unbearable. A terrible fog caused a couple of accidents and on a cold winter morning cars are piling up in the ditches along the Interstate. I'm sure there can be too much rain and when the snow is piling high in northern latitudes we RV'ers call home to tell them how cozy warm it is in our winter resort in the South.
We kinda have to rub it in well for them up north.

It is understandable that we talk about things like the weather to strangers, as we do not know the person's favorite topics or interests, so we quite rightly assume that weather is something everyboy has an opinion about.

But what about your family? You know them quite well but yet you don't talk to them about things you know they want to hear about. When I call mother I know we will come in on the weather. You'll find it in the emails as well. 

The high priority of weather talk is also mirrored on TV and Internet. Weather Channels seem to grow up like mushrooms. And the Ladies and Gentlemen from the media who are presenting tomorrows weather to us seem  to have entered into a contest about who is the most elegant or sexy appearance on our screen.  Weather is way more than rain or sunshine. It has become entertainment for all it is worth. Without it our TV-evening would hardly be complete.  When a tornado has ripped apart a little town the first thing we want to see is the extent of the damage. When flooding occurs washing away bridges and roads, isn't it most gratifying to see it happen on the news? Weather is what we will talk about the next day. 

Global weather changes are attributed to our senseless use of fossil fuels, and has long since become a milk cow for governments who bolster their hap-and hopeless budgets with a CO2-tax, never spending a thought about that the extra funds will never neither change the weather  nor change our use of fossil fuels.
Raccoon Beach at low tide
But I guess this is as far as I can get with my weather rant, otherwise we are getting political here and since I don't really know your political view I better keep to the weather and the weather only.

By the way, summer came back to Campobello Island for another great warm day. In fact it was so nice that the convertible got out of the garage and we toured to Raccoon Beach. Molly was riding in the back and enjoyed the great view around. 

Supposedly tomorrow will be another fine day, but then we have to run a few errands again, like  seeing the dentist and getting the slide-out canopy to the upholstery.

Have a great week and make sure you enjoy the weather. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24

A very quiet Saturday
It is clear that it is Saturday. Blog postings have come in much earlier than usual. Most people have more time on their hands on a day like this. Besides, over here it is REAL quiet. Fog all day, rain, and you literally see nobody on the road.
We are just hanging around. Picked up a few of those red apples when the rain stopped for a moment. Walked the dog too, having apple cake in the afternoon, listening to some quiet music, reading a few pages in a book, then dozing off to dream land.

Molly sure thinks it's boring.

Oh and I looked at our travel route. Found a shortcut from Amarillo,TX to Las Cruces,NM. Makes no sense to drive through Albuquerque then.

Must admit I'm getting kinda itchy. Happens every fall.
The other day I backed up the motor home a bit so I could get to the slide awning on the driver's side. That canopy needed to be taken off and resown. The old tread is giving in. Had to look up instructions for replacement of Carefree Colorado's Canopy. Had to take the end caps and the deflector off. Then, most importantly, is the insertion of a cotter pin to stop the spring from unravelling with a heck of a force. Of course I had no cotter pin, so I found a long-enough nail and poked it through the hole. Worked great. Next step is loosening the pivot bolt on the left side a bit so the roll can rotate freely. Now I rolled off the fabric. Then I removed the pivot bolt on the other (right) side. Now I could lift up the roll and slide the fabric out on both sides. (coach side and roll) When I had it all out I put the roll back behind the bracket and replaced the pivot on the right side.

When resewing the fabric it is important to use a weather resistant tread. Otherwise you'd do it all again next year.
We will get the fabric to an upholsterer on Monday.

But first we have to get through sunday. It is supposed to get to 25C (77F) over here, and it's my guess that it will go together with a lot of humidity. That will make it a no-work-day for sure.

Have great Saturday night!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Germany: Test drive ended in disaster  

A test drive at an auto dealership in the town of Apolda in the German State of Thueringen recently resultet in a total damage of 103.000 Euros.  A 77-year-old woman had just started out from the dealership, when she hit a parked car at the curbside. Terrified, she abruptly turned the wheel, thus loosing control over the car and shot back across the curb, went through a hedge and back onto the lot of the dealership, where she raced through a sales stand, rammed three other cars and finally broke through the show windows on the opposite side, finally ending her disastrous test drive by ramming her vehicle head first into the tail of another car parked behind the building.

The only positive which can be said is that nobody got hurt
What's wrong with this picture?

Had to mount the last piece of the gutter today. Did something go wrong?
September 23

The magic date...
This day, September 23, has been holding a special meaning for me since 1982. For it is a fact that I could have been dead since then.

The road home had always been narrow and bumpy. It runs along a Fjord offering great views of the mountains.
I was driving a 5t box truck and had just been at the lumber yard for some plywood, heading home.The gravel truck I met was over the median and I steered right to avoid a collision. My truck came over the edge of the black-top, a 3inch drop. and I went into the ditch. Frantically I tried to get out of it, managed, but then careened over to the left side of the highway, got off the pavement there, went across the rocky beach and hit a massive boulder. The impact was enough to lift the back of my truck vertically into the air. The front windshield fell out and I followed through the opening. The truck rolled over me and went into the sea, where it came to rest at low tide with the engine still running. When I got to myself I looked up and around and what I saw truly puzzled me. I was draped upon the broken windshield and my eyeglasses lay right in front of me. I stood up and tumbled up the slope to the highway, where a car stopped for me.

A quick check at the doc's office revealed no broken bones no blood, no nothing. 

The only pic I have of my truck is a dias slide which I cannot reproduce here. But you'd never believe that the driver of that truck would have made it out of there alive, not speaking of without a scratch.

When my girl friend picked me up in town we passed the site of the accident. A company had been called to get the truck out of the water, which by now had risen to the windows. In order to tie a wire to the vehicle they had to rent a boat!! After the truck came back onto the road they discovered a dead fish inside!!!!

The gravel truck driver never stopped. After he was identified he denied having been across the median and I had no witnesses.I some times think of this incident when driving our big motor home, and it makes me a real careful driver!

So please, stay between the ditches!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 22

American-Traveler has a new follower. As No. 19 we welcome Ron from the Old Geezer Blog  Glad you found us!

In January 2007 I wrote an article for a travel publication about Laughlin,Nevada.


The Story of Laughlin, Nevada is also the story of a self-made man by the name of Don Laughlin. Don grew up on a farm in Ovatonna,Minnesota. From his early days he had a desire for those brightly coloured gambling machines, which, at that time, were prohibited in most States. From his saved money Don bought slot machines from a mail order catalog and placed them in a variety of bars and clubs. As Don got more and more machines one day he was given the choice of either having to leave school or the gambling business. Don left school. 

At age 21 he was married and had an infant child. He had heard about a town called Las Vegas and moved his familiy west into the desert. Las Vegas gave him the opportunity to learn the gambling business from the ground. So soon he started his own business in town and bought the 101-Club north in town. 

After some years he sold the club and went to prospecting once more. As he was flying over the border between Nevada and Arizona with his own little plane he discovered an old motel shack on the shores of the Colorado just on the opposite side of the sleepy town of Bullhead City. It was a bankrupt, boarded-up 8-room motel which eventually would have collapsed in the winds, had it been left to it's destiny. However, Don had a closer look at this place and finding the owner he purchased the place for the outragous sum of 135,000 Dollars. After some repairs he rented out 4 rooms and placed slot machines in the building. The other 4 rooms he needed for his own familiy. Travelers came and stayed in his premises, spending money on dinners and room and board. At that time no road connection existed between Bullhead City and the Nevada side. 

During the seventies Dons business grew and the U.S. Post demanded that a name was found for the place. Don just named it Laughlin to the best of his last name. The eighties came around and Don had to do many additions to the existing building. Soon he offered more than 100 rooms and a restaurant.
Don Laughlin's Dream by Night

The rest of this story can be seen and experienced on-site in Laughlin, as Don Laughlins Riverside Hotel and Casino. And yes, Don put up the money to build a bridge across the Colorado. He also got the Airport build which is located on the Arizona side. Today you can fly to Laughlin from any airport in the U.S. Of course Don Laughlin does fly from the roof top of his Hotel Casino in a little chopper. :-))

Davis Camp County Park
And across from Laughlin on the Arizona side lies Bullhead City. Economically Bullhead City has gained from Laughlin's growth. We had put our rig into the Davis  Camp County Park, which is really a nice and cheap place to park, but I must say that the strong winds blowing down and over the top of the Davis Dam can make life a bit uncomfortable.

Davis Dam

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 21

Summer officially over
Even though fall should start today we got quite a warm day here on Campobello Island. It was almost like the summer wanted to remind us that we still could go in shorts and short sleeves.
And the morning fog could not hide the sun for long. Molly and I went to Herring Cove Beach early to check out whether I could shoot a couple of nice pics. 

And pictures we got as you can see. The long line of sticks in the water is part of a Herring Weir, meaning the dumb little herrings must swim along a net which will finally lead them into the round weir from where there is no escape. Setting up a Herring Weir is quite an expensive affair. And it rarely survives the winter storms.

The sun was still relatively low and appeared a bit "gloomy" behind the fog. Molly had a great time with sniffing up all the half-rotten seeweeds and what worse she could find. The tide was quite low so the beach appeared huge.
Herring Weir

Whenever I get to a beach it reminds me of my home town Eckernfoerde,Germany.  Growing up in a  coastal town had a profound impact on my later choices in life, especially the last one with seeking out coastal surroundings here on the East Coast of Canada.

One of the most interesting coastal landscapes we have seen is the Charleston/South Carolina area. It was in November 2009 that we ventured down the East Coast to Charleston. Of course we had both read Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" and consequently, Charleston held a special interest for both of us. The beaches are gorgeous and the water is really warm, even in November. But Charleston is also a very special city. For everyone with an interest in architecture must be thrilled about wandering the old town. Most famous of course is the walk along the "Battery", from where we could see Fort Sumter out on the island. It was here that the American Civil War started in 1861. 
We all know how that ended. 
At James County Island RV-Park

Along the "Battery" in Charleston

We also visited the Hopsewee Plantation, which was not a cotton plantation but produced rice of a special quality. Indeed the rice was so special that it was even exported to China. Under a big storm saltwater flooded the fields and destroyed the operation.

Only the park, the main house and a few small buildings, one of them the former slave quarters, remain.

If you've never seen this area we can recommend to stay at the James Island RV-Park. It is not too far into the city and one can also easily get to the beaches.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20

Can you spell A-P-P-L-E?
Today I went into our "Jungle" to look after those blackberries when I discovered an apple tree which was almost completely hidden behind other trees and overgrown with all kind of bushes and weeds. What really caught my attention was those bright red apples hanging up there. And they were big, so this could not just be any wild apple-tree growing here. However, I could hardly get near that tree. So I went back and got a saw and a bush cutter. This way I was able to get to the main stem of that apple tree. As I picked one of these delicacies and ate of it I started to look around  whether EVE was lurking in the bushes, and realized that I had found a real treasure. 
Not only were there no worm holes in them, but they were juicy and very tasty. I picked a bunch into a shopping bag and showed them to Bea in the kitchen. Bea got about as excited as I was and started to research what sort of apples we actually had on the property. For that she picked from 4 different trees and cut them open. 

But I think the only one we are kind of sure about is the big red one. It looks like a Mc.Intosh-apple, but could be a Baldwin-apple as well.

Whatever it is, we are looking at a downright phenomenal apple harvest. And that at the same time when blackberry vines are giving us an enormous crop. Guess we won't be buying jelly for a while.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19

Underground and into the Caverns
Before we left The HOT SPRINGS in 2007 we were told that we should pay a visit to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. So after passing through the dirtiest city in the South West, El Paso, we were heading up Hwy 180 into the mountains. We stopped at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one night. We were almost blown away up there by a ferocious storm, but the view of EL CAPITAN was well worth it. I should mention that the drive up from El Paso to the Guadalupe Pass is an extremely long and steep incline and can easily stop your truck from pulling up that heavy 5th.wheel. We were down to the 1st.gear and barely made it with our 14000pound trailer. 

Guadalupe has no internal park roads and the visitor can explore the park on foot trails only. But like in all National Parks, dogs are not allowed on the trails.
Anyway there is a lot of history in the Guadalupe Mountains and we should have spendt more time there. But the Carlsbad Caverns were the goal and after a rather cold night at Guadalupe we went off to Whites City.

The road to the Park center leads up into the hills behind Whites City. A big building is on top of the hill housing the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Information Center. Since we purchased the National Park Pass our entry was free. But we rent two information phones as that gave us necessary information on this selfguided tour.

We got into an elevator which brought us 750ft. down into the caverns. As soon as we entered the walkway through the caverns we were overwhelmed by the beauty and size of this cave. We had chosen "The Big Room" and we knew that this cave is just one of 300 caves, where not everyone has been explored yet. The height of The Big Room is 78m, or about 230ft. The stalagtites and stalagmites are beautifully shaped and appear in different colors, though the lighting in the caves is based on white light only. In fact about 1200 light fixtures are installed and a light master, specially trained, takes care of the illumination. 
A church-like atmosphere made us whisper, because a loud spoken word will carry 1/2 mile through the cave. And indeed we felt like being in a church. I think if God ever wanted to build a church in his creation this must be it.

Our tour was 1 1/2 miles long but took us more than 2 hrs to complete. It is an eerie feeling to know that all this is so far underneath the earth's surface.

This is sure a funny looking guy
We left the Carlsbad Caverns the same day and reached the town of Pecos, which basically is a huge intersection between Interstate 20 and Hwy 285. So we decided to stay at a truckstop right on the intersection. The parking area was huge so we backed up against a fence and settled in. During the next few hours dozens and dozens of trucks arrived and before we knew it we were squeezed in between these huge trucks. Well one cannot expect it differently on a truckstop, however what we did NOT expect was that the truckers left their engines idling all night. That provided a certain "entertainment", which, I am sure, many RV'ers have experienced..