Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Verde River Trip account posted

Howdy, LBR's! Believe it or not, I've spent OVER 2 hours writing up my account of my Verde River Trip this past weekend. I know some of you have been awaiting a detailed account of this adventure. Well, I put it on the other blog--it's a huge amount of writing! It's here:

I haven't yet processed any photos and I expect that to take yet another hour or two in itself.  I have run out of time for this morning.  Maybe I will get to the photos tomorrow morning.  I hope so, I have some good ones.  Anyway, enjoy the writeup, it's as complete as I can make it.

I got out of here at 9 am yesterday and arrived back with Susun at 1:30 pm.  That's an amazing Hunter Thompson style round trip to Mesa and back in near record short time.  I was so tired upon return I actually took an hour long NAP!  Johnny don't nap, does he?  Well, he sure did yesterday!

After arising from the nap, the wind was howling pretty good.  So, I decided to make a windproof fire enclosure so we could have a campfire in a high wind.  I spent almost 2 hours messing with it and it turned out perfect.  I will get some photos up and running later.  Anyway, we can now have a fire in a gale force wind.  We have a nice light dinner of chicken breasts and sliced tomato and I went to bed a little after 7 pm.  UP at 5 am this morning and got busy writing a about 5:45.  Whew--glad that writeup is behind me.

What's on tap for today?  Good question--we have no clue--tune in tomorrow to lean how it all turned out.

Cheers!  J&S

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Totally Tuesday

Looks like the last post here was Friday. Suddenly it's Tuesday. The river trip was great in every way. Much fun and enjoyment. Although we departed the Childs take-out at noon, I didn't arrive home until 3:30 pm and wasn't fully unpacked until 6 pm. By then it was Campfire Time so this is the earliest opportunity for a few words on El Blog.

Many Thanks to Dex & Jodi for a wonderful trip. We will write a much longer post about the adventure later this week. It's time to tidy the house and head to Mesa to pick up Susun. Hopefully, I can get there well before lunch time.

Supposed to be 86 degrees down there today!

Have a great day & Cheers, jp

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tale of Two Saturdays

Today feels so much like a Saturday that I'm going to accept and welcome the feeling. That way, I get to enjoy Two Saturdays--one today and one tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be a Go-Go Day. I have to be over at the Verde Ranger Station at 7:30 am to begin rigging for the three-day, two-night Verde River trip.

I can guarantee you I won't be blogging tomorrow morning--nope, I won't be writing anything until maybe Monday evening at the very earliest. It's probably gonna be Tuesday morning. Maybe I will post a few Tweets if I have a cell signal while we are hanging out at Beasley Flats tomorrow morning.

Dexter and Jodi and myself are the only people on this trip so it's gonna be real laid back and casual. The stretch we're doing is normally done in a single day. We're taking three days to do what most people do in a few hours. So, yeah, that's pretty laid back. Dex is the official Forest Service River Ranger so he has to make "visitor contacts" and all that formal stuff. I think I'm gonna be the Designated Photographer. We shall see.

Gotta go to Cottonwood today for a variety of various stuff. Well, time has slipped past this morning and I'm already running late. How's it possible to run late when you're retired? Beats me--but it happens.

Have a great day & Cheers, jp

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This Campfire's for Dave

Thanks Dear Friend Dave for your kind voicemail.  It was Most appreciated!  All these photos were taken tonight in honor of your voicemail.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weed Wars

Spent 3 straight hours spraying--laid down about 50 gallons of diluted spray--used about a gallon and a half of 41-percent glyphosate concentrate. 

Counting the prep time and the cleanup time, it was a little shy of five hours. Big piece of work! 

Now we are prepping to go to Mesa so Susun can catch her plane tomorrow. Will take the backroad through Payson. Whew, glad that's done!

A Wendy's rendezvous

Unsettled morning weather prevented us from getting a jump on spraying weeds yesterday. By and by, I discovered the new 4-gallon back sprayer was missing a key part.  So, it had to go back to Cottonwood Home Depot anyway.

Meanwhile, Susun was coordinating a meeting with her daughters and grandsons at the Camp Verde Wendy's.  Most of the day revolved around the sprayer and the rendezvous.  After a lengthy return process and some renegade guerrilla shopping techniques, I was able to get the vital piece and left Home Depot with a nice new feng shui sprayer.

We went to Food City and I scored over four pounds of fresh green chiles for a mere 33 cents a pounds! WOW! That's newsworthy. We traveled off to Dead Horse Ranch State Park, hoping to see Max C. No luck. We did see some familiar faces and therein lies several stories we hope to tell on our Arizona Volunteers! blog.

Finally, the girls called and we aimed for our rendezvous at Wendy's It came off without a glitch and young Gage frolicked in the parking lot. Baby Van even reached out and touched me. They are both sweet baby boys and it was great to see the girls and Peter again. They had a fine time at The Hogans.

The Big Deal for me was getting my .22 single shot back in my hands. My Dad gave it to me way back in 1956. It has no monetary value whatsoever--just sentimental. It was marooned at The Hogans back in 2006 and we forgot to pick it up last fall when we went there. Whew, now it's home again.

Got the new sprayer assembled and enjoyed a real nice all mesquite campfire. The evening light on The Mogollon Rim is spectacular this time of year.

We can still hear Wet Beaver Creek rumbling on the other side of the National Monument. It's a familiar, comforting sound, almost like the pulse of the earth purring.

We wrote a blog post a couple of days ago about the peak of the Verde River flow. Click on the Snowbird blog to read it. Anyway, the river came up good again yesterday but didn't come close to its March 19 peak. We continue to feel confident that the Verde is "past its peak." It's still a fabulous level, fluffy and plumb with melted snow water--but it's almost certainly in a downtrend of daily flow peaks from here on out.

Today is a mixed bag. We hope to spray weeds. We also MUST go to Mesa so Susun can catch her flight to San Diego early tomorrow morning. We awoke this morning to a fairly heavy frost so we are once again doubtful about whether we can spray. Sure, we could spray in the afternoon, but we will be long gone to Mesa by then.
This whole spray gig is turning out to be a real delicately-balanced chess game.
I've never used lawn chemicals before--especially of this magnitude. Messing with 41% glyphosate isn't something anyone takes lightly, especially when we're sitting on five gallons of the stuff. There are all sorts of terms and conditions and technical issues to be aware of. If it's "right" we will spray. If it's not, we won't. Simple as that.

Cheers! jp

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Falling behind

For every blog post I make, it seems I wind up two posts behind! I look at the recent posts and realize they are two days old and think, "Gee, John, whazzup?"

I sent an email to a Dear Friend yesterday saying I felt like a twig being carried along in a flood. What we're doing clearly isn't as hard or of the level as what we did in November-December. At least we aren't immersed in a daily grind of total grunt work. However, we are immersed in a high speed flow of events and activities. Time seems to speed along like Tod and Buz in their Corvette in the Route 66 TV show.

Sunday, we had a fine short snowshoe up on the Coconino Plateau near the Willard Springs exit on I-17. Went to Cottonwood for some frenzied shopping and then enjoyed a wonderful, beautiful afternoon at the home of The Three Wheelers. Thanks, Brad, Kate & Joshua, that afternoon is a Golden Moment in our memories!

Yesterday was as close to grunt work as we've been since we arrived here almost 2 weeks ago. We both worked hard for 8 hours in the yard. Didn't even take a lunch break. I fired up the new $350 high wheel weedwhacker and Susun went hand to hand against the mesquite trees. We had a very successful day and now the place looks great once again. All of the work was in preparation to spray weeds today but it looks like Weed Karma has given them a temporary stay of execution. As you can see from the graphic, there's plenty of water vapor over Arizona. That blob of orange stuff is water vapor. It's progged to rain today. Not much, mind you, but ANY rain pretty much cancels a weed spray day. Dang, all dressed up and no place to go!

Talked to Dear Friend Dex A. last night. He invited me on a three-day, two-night river trip this coming weekend. I think I will clear my decks and say "yes" and go.
Thanks, Dex!

Dear Friend and LBR Kris C. sent Susun a note saying she (Kris) is enjoying the blog. We appreciate such notes. Kris said she uses the blog to keep up with what we are doing. That's why I titled this blog "The Daily News." It's good practice for me to keep this blog updated and it does help our family and friends understand how our lives are evolving. I only hope that the blog doesn't turn into "The Daily Snooze!"

Personally, I don't like blogs that aren't updated. I won't go visit them. Why should I? So, on that note, we pledge to do a better job at penning a regular dose of Daily News. Thanks for your patience and understanding, jp.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quick note Sunday

Been real busy lately--no time for blogging. Hope to get a lengthy update later today. Trying to get outta Dodge here so we can go snowshoeing up by Munds Park someplace. How often does anyone getta go snowshoeing on March 21 in Arizona? Not real often. More later--TTFN, jp

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nice day for a hike

We enjoyed a great inaugural hike March 18.  Woods Canyon is an awesome place.  Here's the USGS hydrograph for its flow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The streak continues

Yep, it's another Blue Bird Day!  The streak will end probably tomorrow as high winds sweep in a so-called cold front.  Yeah, right!  Temps will probably drop from the mid-70's down into a more reasonable upper 50's or low 60's.  Some cold front.

This morning I penned another water and snow report.  Click on the Arizona Snowbirds blog link at top left to see it.  It's full of good news.

Yesterday was quite busy.  I did manage to saddle up the bicycle and ride over to "well" of Montezuma Well National Monument.  Although we are contiguous to the National Park property, we are at the far west end of the Monument and the famous "well" itself is at the far east end.  The place was packed, not even an open parking spot.  People everywhere.  That's normal for a spring break.  Wet Beaver Creek was running real nice.  Spring at the well is always awesome.

I put quite a lot of time into the Volkssport thing yesterday.  It's moving along nicely.  It now appears 100% certain that we will get a club up and running in Idaho Falls this year.  That's good news.

I spent most of the afternoon cutting dead mesquite limbs from trees across the street.  I filled 3 wheel barrows to overflowing with the wood and then processed it down into campfire size pieces.  I then totally rearranged the woodshed and neatly stacked the mesquite next to the juniper.  Hopefully, we will now have enough wood for this visit plus enough to get us rolling next November or December or whenever we show up here again.  There are no firewood sellers out and about right now--they are thick as flies late each year--now they are totally vaporized.  Who's buying firewood now?  Nobody.

Susun and Stasea arrived at 4:15 and we enjoyed a nice afternoon and early evening.  Susun took her to Cornville about 6:30, returning well after dark.  Gary and I visited by firelight for quite awhile.  it was great to see Stasea.  We last saw her in Idaho Falls in the fall of 2008.  However, we hadn't seen her here at the straw house since sometime in the late 1990's.  She's doing great and has all the latest and greatest electronic stuff.  She's visiting friends in the Cottonwood area and will return to spend Friday night here at the Second Chance Ranch.

This morning's been pretty continuous.  Got up at 5:30 and, gee, now it's 8:30 and all I've done is send and receive emails on various volunteer projects.  Writing that snow and water report took a long time, too.  Hopefully, we will be able to go hiking today.

Well, that's all the news I can muster up this morning.  Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clear & Sunny

Odd how the weather has been clear and sunny each morning since we showed up here.  A week ago we were scraping ice off the trucks in Fillmore and faced a very dicey day.  Ever since then it's been smooth sailing. We even have a flock of mountain blue birds on the property.  It is too snowy for them to be in the high country.  They are hanging out here just below the Mogollon Rim waiting for the snow to go.  They have a long wait.

The Phoenix daily paper has a big front page story on the water.  Salt River Project is going to have to spill one million acre feet this year!  That's right.  The reservoirs are already full.  Roosevelt reached it's highest level ever.  There's one million acre feet in the snowpack right now and ALL of it is going to have to be spilled downstream. Wild!

Yesterday was another local travel day.  In Idaho Falls, we can shop several stores and perhaps drive maybe 5 miles, never more than 10 in a single day.  Here?  Well, a round trip to Cottonwood is 50 miles.  Yesterday we drove 60 miles because we threw in a side trip to the Village of Oak Creek (it has a Sedona address and Zip code) to get our mail. 

We spent $350 on one of those push-behind weed whackers.  There's no doubt we will need one and I really don't want to borrow Gary's or Brad's.  It's normally $400 at Sears.  We also finally found some generic glyphosate (AKA Roundup) and will begin spraying weeds either today or tomorrow.  We kept yet another appointment, running into Brad and Josh in the Safeway parking lot.  It sure was great to see them.  We might get together today.

Didn't get back home until 4 pm.  Lots of little nit-picky household chores.
Gee, I started typing this before 8 am and here it is well after 10 am--those nit-picky household chores really DO stack up.  At least the house will look nice when Susun & Stasea arrive early this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping Our Appointments

We both really love it when we absolutely KNOW we've kept our appointments and show up at the correct time and place to meet someone or do something.

Here's how we kept a great appointment yesterday. First, we prepared to go to Phoenix. Just before we locked the front door, we thought, "Gee, maybe we should call Home Depot near Anthem and see if they still have the freezer." So, we paused to make the call. Some woman answers Extension #303 and says, "Are you the guy who talked to Jerry Saturday?" Um...well, yeah. "Well, Jerry got it all wrong. We don't have a 5 cubic foot freezer and never had. He looked at the wrong freezer."
Um...well, gee...thanks, I stammer and hang up.

Ok, now what? I sat down outside with the local phone book and began calling all of the appliance listings. One guy told me 5 cubic foot freezers were almost impossible to get because "the factory burned down." That's encouraging. Another woman said, "There's no way we could EVER get you a five footer!" Finally, just because I had run out of phone numbers to call, I called Sears in Cottonwood.

SURPRISE! This guy says, "They just lifted the hold on those freezers and we can sell the one we have in stock." WOW--I hot-footed it over there pronto. While we were loading it up, the guy tells a story. He said there was something wrong with previous 5 cubic foot freezers and they had been recalled or forbidden to sell or something like that. Meanwhile, they got the latest, greatest version of the little freezer in last Thursday but were forbidden to sell it. A notice from "corporate" came in late Saturday that is was "OK" to sell the freezer. I just happened to be the lucky guy that called first about the ONLY 5 cubic foot freezer in stock in this part of America.

OK, so now what? Well, I knew I couldn't levitate the freezer out of the truck by myself so I went to Home Depot to buy two eight foot 2x6's. I would make a safe ramp to slide out the freezer. So, I am walking idly down the main aisle and I hear this voice--PARSONS--the voice calls out real loud. SO I whip around and there is Max Castillo--standing right there just like we had an appointment or something. WOW!

As chance would have it, we were standing right next to some great patio furniture, so we sat down and had ourselves a righteous ol' 30-minute meeting just like it had been scripted or something. Max says he was driving along and saw our old green truck so he went into Home Des-pot (as he calls it) looking for me. Meanwhile, I had been thinking about Max all morning and regretting that Monday was his day off.
I really wanted to see and meet with Max--just like we did in the comfortable confines of Home Depot.

Now, THAT'S keeping our appointments.

Why was meeting with Max so important? Well, we logged over 400 hours volunteering for Max from January-May 2007. Max is Manager of the Arizona State Parks Verde River Greenway. Our volunteer project was to write a canoe paddle guide for a six mile stretch of the river and then to form a "friends" group for the Greenway. (Click here to get the links to see the canoe guide.)

Well, anyway, I have been hoping that I could volunteer again on this trip to do more river guide map making and so forth.  Max had indicated some interest a few weeks back.  Meanwhile Max had a meeting with the Forest Service last week and they pledged their support for an expanded river guide.  The feds also pledged their GIS unit support, too.  This is critical since the GIS unit has been cut from State Parks due to the Arizona budget mess.  So, yes, it was a great meeting and involved my top priority as far as volunteering down here goes.

If Home Depot in Anthem would have had the freezer I would have missed a key appointment here in the Verde Valley.

Spent the remainder of the day shopping in Cottonwood.  Bought various food, etc.  Returned home at 2:30 and got the freezer unloaded, installed and up and running by myself.  Then spent the remainder of the day beginning to make racks for our dutch ovens.  Enjoyed a nice campfire well into the dark hours.  'Twas a great day.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I guess we've just enjoyed a BBB--BIG BLOG BREAK! There's been no posting since Friday. Nary a word. The spirit has been willing but the fingers have been AWOL.

We got lots done this weekend. Pretty much everything is ship shape. Everything that needed to be assembled has been assembled. All the little nit picky chores are done. Stuff has been made to stand up and salute. Sheds are clean and organized.

Trucks are washed and fueled. Even the chrome wheels on the little truck have been polished! All my tools have been placed in their proper spots, awaiting future duty. Susun even finished the memorial to her Mom, Doris.

I have our mountain bike in tip top shape. The tires have been slimed, and all the bike parts are affixed and tuned. It's ready to roll should the need arise.

It's been more work than we expected. That's usual, I guess. It's been four 9-hour days in a row. Luckily, it hasn't felt like the level of work we had to do last Nov.-Dec.

Now we enter a new phrase of hustle-bustle. Susun leaves early this morning to pick up Stasea at the Phoenix airport. I drive down to NW Phoenix to buy stuff, returning later today. Susun comes back Tuesday or Wednesday. Stasea spends one night here and then one or two nights in Cottonwood. Stasea spends Friday night here. Sarah, Peter and the grandsons show up Saturday morning for breakfast. Stasea joins the family and drives off to The Hogans. We may or may not see Sarah & Family on their return--we hope we do. Meanwhile, Susun then flies to San Diego March 25, returning March 29. That means I have to drive Susun to Mesa March 24 and return to pick up here the following Monday. Hopefully, we will all be back here healthy and happy the evening of March 29.

If that sounds complicated, you're not the only one to think so. I've been trying to understand this schedule for days and daZe. It's already changed a few times and I expect it to change yet once again--probably sooner AND later. I am happy that Susun daughters will be able to visit The Straw House and I'm looking forward to meeting her Grandsons and son-in-law, Peter. I know it's typical that such Family Matters are always in a perpetual state of flux. I just think I need scorecard to see who's on first base and who's up to bat!

Whazzup with a buying trip to Phoenix today? Hum...good question. Well, we've decided to buy a very small freezer so that's the main goal. As you surely expect, however, I will manage to squeeze in a visit to my Holy Grail--Harbor Freight. A guy can never have enough tools, right guys?

I am also going to stop at Fry's Electronics in far Northwest Phoenix. At a bear minimum, I'm going to buy a desktop publishing program but I will probably buy more than that. What happens when you turn a geek loose in an electronics store? Um, well,...use your imagination!

Saturday night we enjoyed yet another campfire. This one was exceptional in that we built and maintained the fire in a 20+ mph wind. I always take a stout wind as a stiff challenge. Who's gonna let a little wind prevent a fire campfire, eh?

Gary & Robin came over for corned beef, cabbage, carrots and camaraderie last night. We have so much fun visiting with them. It's incredible that they wound up being our neighbors. Gary and I have been Dear Friends since the summer of 1980--that will be 30 years this summer--I guess we will have to have some sort of a party before we leave next month to celebrate this factoid.

Well, sorry for the long absence away from the keyboard--I didn't have either time or inclination to sit here at the computer when the weather has been so nice for so long. C-YA soon, jp

Friday, March 12, 2010

Busier Day than anticipated

Yes, it WAS a "user friendly Friday," but it turned out to be far more busy than I had planned. First, I spent a long time roaming El Net looking for information on whazzup with the NPS--our neighbor. I found a 58 page document that finally explains what they are doing out there on the other side of our shared fenceline. Gee, it's a $600,000 project! They say they have a "public outreach" component but they never outreached to us. Oh, well...consider the source.

Dear Friend & Neighbor Gary brought over some real eggs from real chickens and we got to chatting about this and that. One thing led to another and Gary decided to help us get water out of our well. By and by, we fiddled with the wiring and, POOF--water comes jetting out the end of the pipe. No more water thievery needed.


After Gary left, we spent a couple of hours getting TV into the house. Then we unloaded all oru tools out of our tiny attic. Then I assembled that Patio Caddie grill and got it feng shui. By and by the trash company delivered a big trash container for us. Now I won't have to drive off to the dump. Whew.

Well, by and by, I decided to run off to Camp Verde and buy a nice 2x2x3 galvanized cattle tank. Why? Well, when we pump water, the water will have someplace to go--that's why. Then I went to the grocery and spent ten bucks and came home about 5 pm.

We had a nice campfire and enjoyed oysters and crackers for dinner. I finished up the day by visiting with Mr. Freely on the phone. When I am on a nice long call, I sit outside in one of the trucks. Lo and behold this HUGE raccoon ambles in front of the Nissan. it's the biggest coon we've seen since 1996 when we hiked out onto the Pacific Coast beach in the Olympic National Park. They have terrorist coons there. This coon was as big as those terrorists. Scary BIG!

Maggie sent a truly hilarious email about her name. Apparently, she has had similar issues with her name as I have had with Randy (and Rudy, too, by the way).
Maybe she will give me permission to reprint her email in this blog. it's a true hoot. Like I said, Maggie--you get 10 gold stars for that one!

Well, time to trundle off into never, never land. C-YA tomorrow. jp

User Friendly Friday

Do you remember when the term "user friendly" became part of our cultural lingo? I can't remember when it was. It seems like to came about when we started messing with 8-track tapes or cassettes or maybe early answering machines or VCR's. I'm guessing the term is probably 30 years old.

Why's that relevant to this blog post? It just seems like a nice description of our upcoming day today--real user friendly here at Laid Back Randy's. It's so nice not having to face a seemingly endless array of daunting chores, projects, tasks, "must-do" things and so forth.

As we were sitting around our first campfire last night, we both remarked how nice it is to be able to pick and choose what we wish to do. There's no pressure, no deadlines, no "looking over our shoulder," no waiting for the other show to drop. It's very refreshing and somehow the iconic "user friendly" popped into my blogged mind. That term really sums up the relaxed way we went through our day yesterday and plan to go about our day today. Whew, it's been a long time coming!

We were busy throughout the day yesterday but not in a harried or hurried mode.
Both trucks were unpacked. All the food items were arranged nicely in the pantry.
Everything is pretty much in its place. Susun completely redid the bedding. It's lightyears better than it was before. We have a nice heated mattress pad. If you've never used one, they are a real treat--so much better than an electric blanket.

I did have a fleeting moment of mild paranoia yesterday. I stole some water. Yes, it's true, I am now a broad daylight water thief! I put our four empty water containers in the truck and headed over to Montezuma Well National Monument to obtain our non-culinary water. Opps, the ditch wasn't running and the spigots are still shut because of freezing temps.

What to do? I went back to the house and grabbed a hose and headed off in search of a spigot. I found one on the backside of the C-store near the post office. I debated whether to do inside and ask permission or possibly offer to pay for the 20 gallons. Hum....what if they said no? It was late in the day and my options were slim and none. So, I just hooked up the hose, filled the bottles and hot-footed it out of there. I imagined someone running from the back of the store--"STOP, THIEF, STOP!" Luckily, no such thing happened. I will go in today and (hopefully) make proper arrangements for future water withdrawals.

It was great to get a campfire up and running again. There's really nothing like the smell of juniper smoke wafting over a landscape. It's quintessentially southwest--right up there with Kokopelli, lizards and kerchief-clad coyotes.

As you can tell, there's not a whole heck of a lot going on here at The 2nd Chance Ranch!

One last tidbit: this morning's paper says Flagstaff's 138 inches of snow ranks #11 on the "all time" list. There is speculation that a Top Five finish might be possible. I will probably write a longer post about this on the Arizona Snowbirds blog.

Have a great day! j&s


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dawn of a New Day

So great to wake up here this morning. The storm is long gone and the skies are crystal Arizona Blue Bird late winter azure. If you could bottle this blue or put it on a ring finger...

Believe it or not, our first daily newspaper showed up in front of the house about 630 am this morning. Yep, The Arizona Republic got it right! Susun is now in her reading repose mode.

There's also nothing like real java perked on a gas stove top to fill the straw house with the wonderful aroma that only coffee can exude. We've opened up all the shutters and the sun is streaming into the house.

There was a very hard frost last night--I'm guessing the overnight lows were in the mid-20's here, maybe lower--thick ice on windshields.

Nothing on the property was molested in our absence. It's just like we left it yesterday. That's a big relief. It's so nice to look around and not see huge expensive, time-consuming projects staring you in the face.

Gary and Robin came to visit in the fading dusk last night. They were taking their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks for their evening walk. It was so fun to visit with them.
A light rain came down as we stood on the ramada giggling and swapping stories. We had a long talk with Mr. Freely, too, last night. I don't know if we could have made this trip without his help. He truly was an awesome Air Traffic Controller for us. We must have exchanged at least 50 texts between his email and our cell phone--maybe more, who knows?

Anything we do today will seem like we are slackers compared to the past few days. We plan on kicking back, unpacking at a slow pace and doing real minimal chores.

As we were passing through Kanab yesterday, we noticed a new kinda, sorta food/coffee place. It had a great big sign announcing that it was "LAID BACK LARRY's" place and the subtitle was "Chilling since 1949." The signs and building were decorated with the obligatory lizards, petroglyphs, kokopellis and other pseudo hip motifs.

Well, it got me to thinking. I'll bet none of you know the name of my youth was Randy. No kidding. My middle name is Randolph so my parents named me Randy. I spent 18 years of my life known as Randy. As soon as I turned 18, I changed it to my first name--John. ALL of the people in my hometown still call me Randy. My Mom calls me Randy. I lead a double life--Randy by Indiana and John everywhere else.

Well, after I saw Larry's place yesterday it got me thinking, maybe I should call this place, "Laid Back Randy's--Chilling since 1947!" Gee, now if I can only paint some hip motifs on our house walls...nah, Susun would string me up.

Well, ya'll have yerselfs a righteous nice lil ol' day and enjoy Many Cheers! (Laid Back Randy)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Online in Arizona

Wow, what a day! Bottom Line: We're Online Again. It's nearing 10 pm MST and I'm bushed. Going to bed now. I've done some righteous hand-to-hand combat with Qwest Tech Support to get reconnected here. Obviously we got 'er done. Long story.

Meanwhile the day's drive was off the charts. The last couple of hours was totally white knuckle to the Nth degree. We're danged lucky to be here in one piece.

We got all our infrastructure up and running and ate a real meal cooked on a real gas stove. Life is good.

It's winter down here--no kidding.

Well, lots more tomorrow--we're safe and tucked into snuggies. Many Cheers, jp

Time to go

Took about an hour to scrape and free up the trucks. The camper shell locks were frozen and I had to thaw them with hot water. Major work this morning--and without coffee, even. We walked over and looked at the old statehouse. Now it's time to go. I got a snippet of great news--Idaho Volunteer, Inc. is now a "certifying organization" for teh Presidential Volunteer Service Awards--this is a big deal!
Well, off into the snowy overcast yonder. Cheers! J&S

The Decision Making Process begins

Okie, dokie, folks, here we are again--Stay?  Or go?  If go, when?  If stay, why?  Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Here are the basic facts.  There is light snow and overcast conditions in Fillmore.  The temp is just below freezing.  There's a LOT of ugly rock solid snow frozen stiff in the parking lot.  The trucks are encrusted and probably "frozen in place."  Way off a few miles distant, I can see the faint pinpricks of headlights moving south on I-15.  So, we know the interstate is open and flowing, as they say.

Radar confirms the storm is gone. Meanwhile, the high temp here is progged in the low 40's.  The webcam on Utah 20 is dead.  The webcam on I-70 shows a fairly knarly scene. That's about the sum of what we know--other than the fact we haven't had coffee yet.

Let's now enter the realm of speculation.  Utah's highway people (AKA: UDOT) are really, really good about plowing and cindering. They really pride themselves on their aggressive approach to snow and ice.  Meanwhile, you have to realize that I-15 is MAJOR long haul route and serves 4 out of 5 of all the people in Utah!  Utah 20, is the major link to get truck traffic into Arizona via Panguitch and Page to I-40 at Flagstaff.

There's NO way UDOT will have a bunch of jack-knifed tractor-trailer rigs blocking the Utah 20 summit at 7900 feet.  Nope, not with this long a time period to plow and cinder.

Right now, I favor the "GO" mode.  The hard work is going to be cleaning ice and snow off the trucks and getting loose from the stuff here in the parking lot.  If it's progged to be in the 40's today, it's going to start warming up pretty pronto.  All we need is temps in the mid-30's to be home free.  We're going to presume UT 20 is well cindered by now and safe.  We still have to option of adding an hour to the trip by heading east on I-70 23 miles and then south on historic US 89 through Big Rock Candy Mountain Country along the Sevier River through Butch Cassady's birthplace and onto to Big Fish, Utah (AKA: Panguitch).

The Los Alamitos Traffic Circle

John, what in the world is the above picture doing in your blog? Is the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle located in Fillmore? Or Utah? What's going on here?

Naturally, I'd like to tell you a story. One of the many "fun things" about a road trip is the learning, education and downright mind expansion that goes on as one traverses wide swaths of geography. Being the inquisitive sort, I am always curious as to "this and that."

This morning, it's still snowing and Susun is still sleeping. We finally figured out how to get the room heater to work well and it's nice and toasty. With so much time on my hands, I figured I might as well learn some stuff. So, I began by Googling Interstate 15. It was once US Highway 91. I was looking for a way to interpret the Spinning Wheel motel in context of how people traveled what's now called OLD US Highway 91. Main Street in Fillmore was once a busy highway.

My online research took me through a lot of highway history. It seems that Old US 91 once terminated at a place called the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle in Long Beach, California. It was built in 1930 in preparation for the 1932 Olympics and was the first major "roundabout" constructed in America. I became fascinated with this traffic circle and went looking for any historical photos I could find.

That's how I stumbled onto Nikolas Schiller. Who's he? Well, he appears to be the most avant garde cartography I have ever encountered. His work is really "out there" and it's totally amazing stuff. Click here to read a 2007 Washington Post article about the guy. Imagine Martin Escher Meets Google Maps. Anyway, that's how the beautiful artwork above wound up on this lowly blog. Click here to go to Schiller's blog.  It has more of his maps and the right hand sidebar has links to other major media articles about him. You can bet I will be spending a lot more time looking at Schiller's "art maps."

As most of you know, Susun and I have a HUGE soft spot for maps in our lives. We both share a common passion and love for maps of all kinds. One of our many mottos might be "Too many maps is not enough!" So it is with particularly ironic that I "discovered" Schiller sitting here in a snowbound motel on Old US 91. Fillmore will never quite the same again. Ah, the webs we weave here in The Spinning Wheel Motel!

Well, that's just a tangent story--but that's the fun sort of stuff we love about traveling. Somehow, odd connections get made and strange thing get discovered. Interesting ideas are pondered and mysterious questions posed. Travel is good for your brain. Do it more often.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Here's a story. So, we're kicking back and enjoying Happy Hour here in downtown Fillmore, right smack across from the county seat itself. Susun bought herself a USA Today back in Scipio and so she's way happy. I got WIFI so I'm way happy--how much better can it get? OK, so I decide to check email, it's an upstanding American thing to do. Brush yer teeth and check yer email--you know how that goes. So I check the email and, Sarah sent a great photo of The Boys Gage & Van At Play in a San Diego Park. Oh, Susun was really excited. It was so fun to be able to pivot the laptop and show it to her right in her "reading position." Ah, the wonders of technology! How did we manage to survive road trips back in the Jack Kerouac Daze of Number 2 pencils?

Snappy Ain't so Snappy

Snappy's gotta be a little grumpy tonight! We're watching local TV here in Fillmore--actually the local TV is from Salt Lake, Cedar City and St. George. Get this--Beaver got 13 inches of snow! WOW--that's only 60 miles from Fillmore. We are so danged glad we didn't go there. THANK YOU, Mr. Freely for helping us out today. AWESOME!

(Edited later in the evening) It's after 8 pm and still snowing hard. NWS Doppler radar shows NOTHING here but I can tell you it's snowing HARD here. If this keeps up, we're gonna be here another night--no doubt about it.

It's funny, the Salt Lake Metroplex was mostly dry. We had some light rain here and there but nothing significant. It was dry in Nephi, too. Only when we got about 20-30 miles south of Nephi did it turn terrible. We passed three rollovers within a half mile at Mile Post 206 and then saw another two rollovers at Milepost 196. We were almost the first on teh scene at the 196 rollovers. Luckily, a tow truck driver was first and he was helping the injured out of their vehicles. We kept on driving as our double rig would have created a problem if we tried to park it beside the road.

Visibility had generally been about 5 miles but started dropping rapidly as we progressed south. It soon became a mile and then a half mile and finally a few hundred yards. The snow started swirling and I could feel a slight loss of traction on the freezing road surface. That's when we decided to "bag it" and head for safety in Fillmore.

Territorial Capitol

Here's the Crown Jewel of Fillmore. Click here for the Wiki on this building. 
You can Google up a lot of stuff on Fillmore.  Apparently there's a huge mushroom operation here.  Cambodians and Vietnamese apparently provide the worker-bee power to operate the place!  Click here for the article where I found this factoid.

Spinning Wheel Motel

Here's some shots of the Spinning Wheel Motel.

Deano's Pizza

Our Dear Friend Deano must be following us.  He opened up a pizza shop in Fillmore.  Maybe we will go see what Deano's serving tonight!

Welcome to Fillmore

Here we be in Fillmore, Utah.  The pix pretty much tell the story.  More later.  We're safe and sound and tucked into a nice room at the Spinning Wheel Motel--right smack across from the Courthouse @ 65 S. Main St.  $30 a night.

Hitched and ready to go

All we have to do now is blow the pipes.  We're probably gonna be outta here before 9 am.  Yeah, it's later than we wished but, hey, it's all good.  jp

Radar Loops

Looks like we're heading into a medium decent storm.  We're leaving today regardless of the "wither the weather."  However, looks like we're going to be cautious and judicious about our travel speed and distance goals for the day.  If we wind up only as far as Salt Lake City, so be it.

I'm enlisting the assistance of one of our Major LBR's to text us about the conditions in the Salt Lake Metroplex. When you click on the link below, you get access to both the Salt Lake and Cedar City Doppler radar sites.  Click then on "composite" or on "Storm Total" rainfall to understand the position and progress of this system.  The key thing we want to know is how the center of this storm is situated with its relationship to I-15, particularly the Salt Lake metroplex.

Here's how you can text us with reports.  First, please use your email to text but try to stay under 160 characters.  Here's a milepost guide to I-15:

Try to text in the format "MPXXX" 2 MPYYY"  Use "GRN" for the color green on the radar.  We're primarily interested in whether we're driving smack into the teeth of the storm.  We will "eddy out," if that's the case.  You can use Mapquest or Google Maps to match cities with the mileposts on the trucker guide.  Generally speaking, the metroplex starts (from our end) at MP 357 (Willard) and ends at MP 257 (Spanish Fork)-- it's 100 miles of mayhem.

Thanks for helping us today.  Our goal is to get to Fillmore but Nephi will do and Salt Lake, too, if necessary.

Well, gotta start powering down the house.  We might add one post before we leave and we might not.  Check the Twitter at left for periodic updates today and tomorrow.  If we wind up with WIFI tonight, we'll blog again--otherwise, Twitter's carrying the load.

Happy Trails and Many Cheers!  J&S

Monday, March 8, 2010

No Posts? No Problem!

Sorry I haven't been posting lately.  Been a blur since Thursday.  We're trying to get outta Dodge.  Mired in Molasses.  Hopefully, we will be leaving tomorrow---early!  Wish us luck.

Two crowns installed at the dentist today--another wheelbarrow of money delivered.

Spent all day packing, packing, packing.  It just goes on and on and ON!

I guess that's all I can say.

Cheers, jp

Arizona Snow & Water Report

Here's the link to today's report:

It's pretty amazing down there.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Blast from The Past

Dear Friend Bryan B. (AKA: BTB) sent along some "historic" photos of Yours Truly.  I waited until today to open them.  I wanted to be fully retired when I took a look.  I think you can see why when you look at them.  As near as I can guess, these were taken 27-28 years ago.  WOW, how times change, eh?  (If you double click on a small picture in the slide show, you will go to the full album and then you can see larger versions.  Yikes!  I DOUBT that you really WANT to see larger versions, that's whyt I made the slide show so small.)

A Surprise Party!

Everybody loves a surprise party. 
Here are some photos of my party yesterday. 
I haven't written captions yet but, hey,
at least I got the photos posted!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thanks, Deano!

There's some people in each of our lives who are "baseline people."  They always help you understand who you are.  They are like lighthouses on a stormy coast.  If you can see their light, you are OK.  You know where you are.  We reach out to these people and hold on.  Deano & Lora & Susun & I don't often get a chance to reach out and hug each other but we are nevertheless joined at the hip of karma and destiny.  D&L have played a HUGE role in the lives of J&S.  And so it is that Deano left this great comment on my blog post this morning.  I know he won't care if I share it here. (Right, Deano?)

"Stepping off into a new place--taking a breath of fresh air. The new smells, taste and feelings as the bulbs push their way up into a new season--flowering to longer days for us to see, smell and view. Welcome to the love of life--the new beginnings, the peace of mind, heart, and soul you share with us all.  Thank you, Deano"

Thank YOU, Deano! (jp)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Only one day left

The countdown continues.  Today was a proverbial big day.  There were certain things I simply HAD to get done to "get outta Dodge."  No exceptions.  No procrastination.  No weasel room. Stand & Deliver.  "Git 'er dun!"

Well, I stood and delivered and got 'er done.  Now, we've lowered the flaps and you can feel the aircraft settling ever closer to the runway.  We've all been there (done that)  a ba-zillion times.  The flaps extend, the wheels go down, the airplane willingly grabs hold of earth's drag and it begins to settle ever so slowly toward the runway.  You sit there staring out the window watching the earth rise up to the airplane, watching the wheels dangle down below the wing.  You wait and you watch and the glide continues ever so slowly, like a great dance in the low sky.  You feel the pilot pull up the nose ever so gently and you feel the plane approach stall speed as it settles gracefully to earth.  BOINK!  The wheels hit the runway and blue smoke shoots to the rear.  You're back on earth again, well grounded and intact.

That's what's happening to me tonight and tomorrow.  I felt the flaps extend this afternoon and I know I will see the wheels lower tomorrow morning.  We're on the glide path now, locked into airport radar and avionics.  It's a glorious feeling, coming back to earth.

I am happy and proud to have booked and made this flight successfully.  It's been a long time on this flight.  I'm glad it's finally almost over.  I can hardly wait to deplane.  I can hardly wait for the flight attendant to tell me I can unbuckle my seat belt.  These are moments to savor as the plane glides so gracefully back down to earth.  Oh, how wonderful!

Art Bench Public Debut

If this was High Fashion, we'd be seeing 20 gorgeous artistic park benches parade flirtingly down the runway, as the obligatory bevy of haute couture fashionistas applaud politely.  Well, dream on, this is Idaho Falls, so the next best thing is a newspaper article placed front and center on the first page of The West section of today's edition.  Actually, getting Good Press is a high art form unto itself and our Collaborator Carrie has mastered both the skill and knack of generating buzz from the media.  Way to go, Carrie! (Click here to see a PDF of the story.)

As you can see (if you read the story), the reporter made mention of the blog we have been helping Carrie construct.  It's a small blog but has a lot of content relevant to the art bench project's process and procedure.  You can click this address to visit the blog:

Well, my last week jumped from 40% over to now being 60% over with the passage of a single day.  As expected yesterday was a High Speed Day.  The best news took place about an hour after I got to work--they finally decided to elevate Debby to the Director's position!  YEA!  (Cue raucous celebration.)
Debby is really Happy and so is everyone else.  We are all so proud of her!

The Advisory Council was a sweet meeting.  Six of the members showed up and we had a great visit, talking about "old times" and so forth,.  Crystal S. announced that it was her last meeting, too.  Ken S. had sent in a note that he was leaving as well.  I suspect Bill & Joyce from Dubois will be waving good-bye, too.  It was a special meeting and everyone said very nice things about each other.  Nick finally showed up an hour after the meeting started and introduced himself.  None of us let on that we already had been celebrating Debby's new promotion and we all acted appropriately surprised when he made the announcement.  If was a fun charade.
I will miss those people.

I talked at length with the guy who got the NVUM contract--he lives within sight of the ocean at Cambria, California.  He knows his NVUM, that's for sure.  I don't know if we will be able to work something out but I'd suspect that we will, just as we have speculated in prior posts.

LBR Maggie J. sent in a great blog comment via email.  I don't think I should repost it here without her express permission.   Anyway, it was fun to have such a long comment on the blog.  Comments from Loyal Blog Readers (LBR's)  have really dropped off in recent weeks.  Not that I am counting such stuff--I don't have a traffic counter on this blog.  Things go in cycles and I'd suspect comments will pick up--maybe it's a full moon thing.

ANd a final closing note today.  Here are a few phrases from a story I just read in the LA Times this morning:
"kumquat chutney dog," "gut-punchingly delicious," "and, underneath it all, a profound, relentless tang."  Yeah, I know what you are thinking, "Well, whadda ya expect from The LA Times, John, Shakespeare?"  The quotes above were lifted from a foodie article about a new hot dog joint in El-Eh, The Slaw Dogs.  Man, this guy is really on to something!  If you don't wind up salivating when you read this article, maybe you need to have your saliva glands checked out!  I've mentally been playing "Who Let The Dogs Out?" as I reflect on this awesome article.  Click here to read it in its 'native' format. This is a keeper-classic, at least as far as avant-garde foodie stuff goes so I also printed the article and saved it to my Google Docs.  Click here to read the PDF--it doesn't have the photos.

Speaking of which, some of you know of my fondness for that Baha Men's classic "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
This morning, perhaps in honor of my impending retirement, I decided to capture the coding for a pirate YouTube of the original music video and place it on a separate webpage without all the YouTube garbage.
Click here to visit this page and watch the 3:14 video.  WARNING:  This tune and video are loud and obnoxious and the video signal is very low quality.  Chances are you won't even come close to making it all the way through the 3+ minutes. I like it but you probably won't. Good luck & Cheers!, jp

PS--The latest gubmint water stats for the Arizona basins was posted this morning--I extracted the meat of it and tacked it up on the AZ blog accessible via link at top left.  Yippie-Skippie!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Calendar pages

Back when I was a kid--that's somewhere back in a past life--I really enjoyed going to the movies.  Funny, these days I really don't like movie theaters or movies either, for that matter.  A lot of the movies I watched way back when were black and white movies.  I also loved late 1950's and early 1960's black and white TV shows.  Why do I bring this up?  What is this, some clip out of Reminisce Magazine?

No, dear readers, it's because I remember a rather common scene from movies of that era.  It was a scene to denote the fast passage of time.  Here's what they would do.  They'd point a BIG fan at a small wall calendar, the kind that had a page for every day.  And they'd blow the fan in such a way that the calendar pages would just blow right off the wall and time would go flying by and, before you knew it, a year or two could pass in a few seconds.  Young movie/TV viewers knew right away what this trick meant--it was a segue to the future.  No problem.

Well, that's what I feel is happening to me right now--my calendar days are getting blown away just like in some old time movie.  Poof, gone, just like that.  This week is 40% finished and tomorrow is set to be yet another one of those good old days when the calendar page is set to get totally blown away in a nano second.  BAM, as Emeril would say--GONE!

I shuffled vehicles around a lot this morning, got an oil leak checked out in the Nissan--it's a rear tranny seal.  Hum.  Got Susun delivered to her morning gig, beet feet for the dentist, arriving ontime at 10 am and leaving just before noon.  Ugh, what an unpleasant experience.  Anyway, I now have two fake teeth in front--they are even doubly fake as their crowns are temp crowns--not the permanent thing--that will come at 8 am Monday next week.  What a fun way to drop 800 dollars, eh?

Made it to the office before Debby left.  They are still bumbling around about whether to give her the Director's position.  Geeze!  Carrie came in on time at 1:30 and we worked non-stop until 3 pm. I left about 3:30 and then ran some hurried errands--got my passport pix taken, got some face-to-face time at the Verizon phone center and made the obligatory visit to the WINCO Spa & Total Relaxation Center.

Meanwhile, Susun was prepping for one of her patented "girl's night out."  I will post her pre-departure photo tomorrow.  She's SOOO social!  I sure am happy she has so many social opportunities here.  It's great!

Tomorrow's going to be a fast lane morning--hustling right up to 10 am when the Advisory Council convenes.  It will be my last meeting with them.  Meanwhile, I have to get some reference letters ginned up for two projects.  I have some real pressing phone calls to make, too.  Meanwhile, we still don't know if they are going to hire Debby.  What they do not know is that if they don't hire Debby for my position, she is most likely going to quit.  So, things are kind of hanging by a thread right now.  I might have to write the annual grant for RSVP between now and Friday--in addition to everything else that's going on.  Hum....

Meanwhile, we're chipping away at our remaining tasks--we've got to get postal forwarding orders turned in tomorrow.

I took the plunge and bought health insurance on myself today.  Our total premium for both of us comes to a grand monthly total of $380.  Yeah, it's a rip off but it's a whole lot better than it could have been.

We've decided to dip into savings and pay off every debt we have right now--charge cards, dentists, property taxes, you name it.  We want to say that we retired totally debt free.  The clock is ticking on getting all of that done.

time doth fly-eth and calendar pages DO get blown away!

Something about Monday

I've been a Blog Slacker lately.  Seems like a long time ago since I sat here pecking away at the keyboard hoping words arise from QWERTY chaos.

Why is that Mondays are so infamous for their own brand of chaos?  I suspect people worldwide of all cultures have their "issues" with Mondays.  It wold seem that Monday should be just like any other day of the week but it's obviously NOT. The mathematical odds are that Monday should share only a 14.2857% portion of weekly weirdness.  Chances are it's probably at least double or triple that.  How come so much weirdness always happens on Mondays?  (Answers gladly accepted.)

My Monday Mayhem started at precisely 5 am--that's when I got up and somehow stepped into a Texas Tornado and got whirled around and spit out just in time for Happy Hour at 5 pm.  A lot of my weirdness involved going to the dentist at 9 am.  Gee, deja vu!  I will be going BACK to the dentist today at 10 am.  Yeah, I'm gonna drop another few hundred bucks in the process, too, and endure all sorts of painful procedures.  Dentists should give you a wheelbarrow and tell you to go to an ATM and fill it with 20 dollar bills and bring it back and dump it in the lobby of their office.  I mean that's basically what happens when you walk through their front door.

What little time I had in the office in the morning (45 minutes) consisted of things I can't even recall.  Then it was a rush to arrive at the monthly Parks & Rec. Commission meeting and I only arrived 5 minutes ahead of time because I had set my watch up by five minutes and forgot I did it.  I guess I did myself a favor.

Anyway, Captain Dave (that's the guy who runs the Good Ship Lollipop Parks) put me and Carrie up at the top of the batting order.  I introduced the topic and called for a show of hands on how many people had read the blog I sent to them Sunday.  Only two hands didn't go up--Truants!  I gave the project a real nice verbal rep and then passed the baton to Carrie.  Naturally, she delivered a smooth and polished presentation and then we took some questions and smiled a lot and 22 minutes after we started our schtick, they voted unanimously to approve the project.  The Greenbelt brochure project came to a close yesterday, too, with a unanimous vote of acceptance.  Gee, that's only been 11 months since we started that one.  Well, time marches on and "progress happens."

After the meeting, I went ovrta Wally and cheated.  Yep, I had 95 cents worth of chicken poppers.  I took my little cheater stash ovrta the Subway and sat down and imagined I was God, or at least Jesus.  I started looking at every single human being and tried to imagine that I loved them unconditionally.  Pretty soon, I decided God and Jesus had a whole lot MORE love than I could ever muster up.  There just wasn't any way I could imagine anybody EVER loving the people I saw walking back and forth through that store!  After I finished my little cheater snack, I decided I'd had enough religious overtones to last me for awhile and I headed back to the office.

About the time I arrived there, a headache came on that rendered me basically useless.  it doesn't take much to render me useless and a good ol' fashioned headache will work everytime!  I stuck it out for awhile and finally bagged it and headed home.  Funny how going home almost instantly relieves a headache.  Whew, tough day at the office.

I ran around town trying to get some final errands finished, did some shopping, bought some jumbo shrimp and finally got to settle down and relax for awhile.

Here's how it's shaping up for us--More dental work today, some office hang time, too, more errands this afternoon.  Tomorrow: Advisory Council @ 10 am, and then various remaining office chores and more errands and packing--maybe throw in an oil change or two for grins.  Thursday: maybe I take Thursday off.
Friday--I was gonna take Friday off but Susun told me I can't.  That means there some conspiracy going on at work.  Anyway, Friday will be my last day.  Friday night--celebrate.  Saturday, get crackin' on packin'  Ditto Sunday.  Monday morning: Dental work to fit two crowns.  Start to blow pipes and power down the house.  Tuesday: Departure?  We shall see.  While are are clearly on the glide path at work, it'll be a sprint to the finish at home.