Well, it's September 2nd. The leaves are starting to fall in the RV park here in Regina. September 15th is Paul's last scheduled day at the refinery. This is by choice. Not for lack of work to do. There is a enough work to last a long time that some of the people who left after the shutdown will be coming back in the next few weeks.
Juanita is still busy at the thrift store. Becky and Ezekial have moved back to Fort Saskatchewan. Nick is scheduled to follow in a couple of weeks. He is back there for the Labour Day weekend for house hunting but will return to Regina for a bit more work.
Sonja and Sasha are involved this weekend with horseback riding events in Meadow Lake. Debbie and Juanita were texting about this last evening as we drove north to a friends acreage to work on the quonset doors. Got one working and the other half done. One hanger to go and there's a place for the Hyundai for the winter.
Juanita plans to go up to Meadow Lake for Debbie's birthday celebration next weekend and we both plan to go up there to spend a couple of days tidying up loose ends before heading back to Regina and a planned border crossing into the States on September 19. We are due at Way of the Cross as GL's for the October, November, and December SOWER projects. It looks like Juanita will come back to Canada in January for motherly events while I may go to Nicaragua to help with Medfest. Stay tuned.
Larry, Dog & Quonset
Adjusting Quonset Door Hanger
My Book of the Year (at any age, but especially if you are within ten years of retirement)
This book was in the permit office a few weeks ago, a gift from somebody's doctor friend. I glimpsed at it. Somebody else glommed onto to it and I didn't get the look at it I wanted, but one glimpse was enough. I knew I wanted to see more. Lust of the eyes? That evening the Kindle store was seven bucks richer and I had the book on my iPod.
The book rings true. It explained to me why my retirement was working on so many levels and laid out ares of needed improvement and specific steps to take. It will take work to follow those recommendations and some time to determine if they are as beneficial as they are said to be, but I can't wait to see the results and I can't wait to see the results before recommending the book. Sometimes you know an idea is correct even before you've had time to try it. This is one of those times.
Buy it. Read it. Live it.
Two down and one to go.
Some of the Darwinian biology explanations may be off putting to some. It's like finding a cherry pit while eating pie at a friend's home. Just quietly put the pit to one side of the plate and enjoy the pie. Even if it's apple.
I have read the yellow book (For Men). Juanita bought the pink one (For Women) yesterday. ((UPDATE - September 28th. Juanita finally got around to starting the Women's version after catching up on library books due. Starting with the foreword it is far more erotic than the men's. Link pulled, pending completion of reading book)). If you use the above links to purchase the book from Amazon.ca I get five or ten percent of the purchase. That would be nice, but more important to me is that you get the book somewhere and apply its message. Dozens of people benefited from our Dukan experience (one tried it and passed it on, etc.) I sincerely think that this could be much more important than Dukan to your physical, spiritual and emotional life.
Closely Watched Balloons
Hot air balloons have to be the most unreliable form of transportation invented by a Frenchman. If it is too windy they can't go up. If there is no wind. If there is rain. If there has been too much rain affecting landing. And so on. While we really enjoyed our experience aloft a few years back, getting to the point where the balloonist was willing to go up was an unparallleled nuisance.
This summer in Regina must be abnormal. Many, many morning there have been flights observed on my way to work and many evenings as well. Above are a few pictures from the iPod.
Inspired by Younger Next Year we went for a walk on the shores of the Wascana one evening this past week. It was very pleasant with cooling off from the heat of the day and many other walkers, joggers, etc. There was a dragon boat practicing for the up coming race on September 1st. And a glorious sunset.
Probably the best part was the stop at the Dairy Queen on the way home to cash in the BOGO coupon that Juanita received on her birthday. Hmm. maybe this healthy living stuff will be a challenge. Just what do you do for a mini date if you don't recreationally eat?
Folsom Saskatchewan Blues
With the upcoming CCMA (Canadian Country Music Awards) in Saskatoon, CBC promoted awareness by holding a number of contests. One of them involved rewriting the lyrics of the Johnny Cash country classic Folsom Prison Blues from the perspective of a half ton pick up truck.
You may recall last year's story about the (near) death to Big Blue
Big Blue was our three-quarter ton pick-up. I heard about the contest on Friday after work and as I went to bed started thinking about the song challenge and BIb Blue and couldn't get it out of my head until I got back up and wrote something and submitted it to CBC radio.
They read one verse of mine on the air on Monday afternoon. However the contest was for just one verse which would be added to three other verses. The final result of the contest was announced on September 7th. Four entries from different people went together pretty well and sounded good sung by the country and western singer / judge. Unfortunately none of them were mine. Oh well, I've never been noted for playing well with others.
Here's my effort. I enjoyed writing it and enjoyed even more being able to go back to sleep. Five a.m. comes early.
I bought Blue for a pittance And sold it for a buck Blue was an F250 All I needed in a truck It wasn't none too pretty But that don't matter much It hauled the wood and gravel And furniture and such
Up the Hills of Cypress And back to Meadow Lake Pullin' a two horse trailer It had the guts it takes Then sittin' in the forest One fateful windy day A fallin' giant poplar Said no more haulin' hay
Drivin' down the road one day The radio was on The Afternoon Edition Said something could be won I pulled Blue right over To call on my cell phone And when the session ended The cup was mine to own
Blue is no longer with me Another's hobby now Still I'm drinkin' coffee With a little cow The logo on my cup Is a faded CBC But still it brings back memories Of my truck Blue to me
Juanita went back to Meadow Lake this weekend for a birthday party. She informed me that the trees have taken revenge on the little gold coloured 1985 Chevrolet Spectrum seen in the background of the above picture. I guess we have all winter to think about the solution for that.
It's September 28th. Here we are in Harlingen at Way of the Cross. The truck and trailer and we made it okay. The truck ran pretty well until a few miles short of the destination and then really poorly after placing the trailer. It had a very bad vibration when we went grocery shopping after setting the rig up. A glance underneath resulted in borrowing a ride and making a trip to the parts store for a u-joint and the dealer for a driveshaft center bearing. With some advice and help from Matt, the ministry mechanic, all is well again.
But back to the start of the story.
We had planned to leave midday from Regina and drive only as far as the Walmart in Minot, North Dakota. The strong westerly winds changed our plans. The best strategy I know of for dealing with winds up until they are too strong to permit driving at all is to slow down. Couldn't see that being too friendly to anybody following us on the two lane highways between Regina and Minot so we went East to Winnipeg on the four-lane Trans Canada. With a following/ quartering wind mostly until we got to Winnipeg we could drive faster. Also we would not be holding up anybody else. No sense provoking others to passing unsafely, especially if they guess wrong they do it where you have no choice but to be involved in their bad decision.
We stopped for gas at the Flying J west of Winnipeg, listened to the weather reports and decided that the winds were just going to get worse overnight and that we wanted to be south of that. Heading south from there we had to slow down for the cross wind, but at least we were not holding up traffic except when the highway compressed to one lane for road work.
Our leave-at-noon-drive-until-four-plan deteriorated into a drive-until-midnight-plan. Oh well, at least it was one time zone to the east and only eleven body-time when we shut it down for the night.
Also, there were no line-ups at the border.
Maybe that is not a good thing. Each time we cross the border we answer many of the stock questions. They must get bored asking the same ones over and over. A border guard with time on her hands may have a tendency to relieve her boredom in uncomfortable ways. Two years ago we were asked "How you two know each other?". How does one answer that when you have been married close to forty years? This year she asked "Are you carrying any dry rice?". We accurately answered. "No." But what are they looking for? Asian contraband? Would they be worried about wet rice?
Way to pass the hours traveling down the highway - Make up smart aleck answers to border guard questions.
Way to pass hours at the border - actually use smart aleck answers. This is just conjecture. I have no intention of testing the theory.
We parked overnight in our usual truck stop in Grand Forks. It is now a Flying J so the collection of semi-resident trailers have been dispersed to other squatting spots. It was a lot warmer than the last time we visited and decided it was too cold to sleep so we might as well carry on north.
The rest of the trip was pretty much on the rails of our usual routing.
We overnighted in the parking lot of the WalMart in Vermillion, South Dakota. It is now open 24 hours a day so if they still sold cups of coffee we wouldn't have to wait until they opened in the morning to get some. They don't so we didn't.
We stopped at the Camping World in Council Bluff, Iowa and bought three vent covers and some other supplies. One vent cover was removed because we needed the hinge details to buy a new one and it was easier to get at then the one that failed. So two were replaced in the CW parking lot with the third left for another day. Once one of a set of plastic parts dissolves into rubble you might as well do them all. The one that broke into pieces on our first day of travel was under a rain cover so the heat may have got to it quicker, but even so the other two wouldn't be far behind. I was happy to replace the two on a nice sunny day with lots of time before we found out on the road that the rain shield over the broken one only worked when the rig was sitting still. After all, that one is over the middle of the bed. Even rain water is unacceptable as a bed-wetting medium.
We overnighted in another WalMart in McPherson, Kansas and then carried on the next day to the Passport America park in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Guthrie was the territorial capital and, briefly, before the state seal was stolen away to Oklahoma City, the state capital. It has lots of old buildings and things to explore. The State Capital Publishing Museum was closed due to the day or the temperature so we didn't get to tour that this trip. Maybe next time. We keep trying. But we did get to watch a gunfight enacted on the street in front and then walked around and explored a bit until it was time to take a one-hour trolley tour of the town. Learned a lot about the history and the architecture.
Later we met up with Indira who we last saw in Nicaragua in January. She is now married and living with her husband, Jesse in Edmond a few miles from Guthrie. We had a good visit over Italian food and, afterwards, Braum's ice cream.
Over the next few days we managed to hook up with a couple of other SOWER couples on our route south having good visits with Rick and Melissa Young and Len and Karen Cook. Hopefully we will see them again this winter in the Valley.
We also stopped for the semi-annual service of the tranny at Greatstate Transmission in Corpus Christi and had our walk on the beach on Padre Island. The RV park at Mathis is looking more dismal each year. We discussed finding something a bit more upscale next time we are in the area.
So here we are. It was good to meet up with the staff that are here. Some are still away for a break. We look forward to that.