Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Living near a tourist mecca brings an annual tsunami of travel trailers, motorhomes and tricked out vans to the highways criss-crossing Eastern Idaho.
Every year just like the proverbial clockwork, some of those rigs get in trouble, often BIG trouble! They crash. They burn. They roll over and disintegrate. Local media is pretty good about covering these breaking bad episodes.
Another such incident took place in Idaho Falls August 18, 2020. Idaho State Patrol said, "Appears something may have broke on the trailer." We've read that snippet fairly often over the years and it haunts us.
And over the years, we've found all sorts of trouble waiting to happen on our travel trailer. How 'bout severe stressing cracking on the front of the hitch? It should have cracked off but we caught it before it did. How 'bout amazing stress cracking on the rear bumper? It should have fallen off but we caught it before it did. How 'bout bad spring shackles? They were an eyelash from breaking in half but we caught them before they did? How 'bout a bad, misaligned axle that caused rapid, excessive tire wear and tire overheating that should have caused a sudden blow out? Luckily, we ID'd and remedied the situation before it caught us by surprise. How 'bout two safety chains woefully inadequate to hold the trailer in event of a hitch failure? Luckily, we detected that issue and now have safety chains strong enough to lift the trailer off the ground if necessary. How 'bout bad wheel bearings? Oh, yeah, let me tell ya about wheel bearings. We now service them once a year and lubricate them between each and every trip. Peace of mind ain't cheap and sometimes it's downright dirty but whatever it takes, we're ALL IN.
How 'bout an inverter that should have caught fire but miraculously didn't? Yep, replaced that, too. How 'bout an old refrigerator that could have injured or even killed us with a sudden escape of all its ammonia? Now we don't even bother with an onboard fridge. And how 'bout a leaking propane system that could have exploded? Yep, found it early and got 'er fixed. New trailer brakes? Got them, too. We carry two spare tires, redundant hitch jacks and much more that I can't even remember right now.
It's all about regular inspection, early detection, rapid repair and ongoing replacement. There's just no other way to roll.
People towing older trailers are really riverboat gamblers disguised as tourists. They are routinely endangering themselves and their fellow travelers. Each year the local media chronicles a litany of "all the usual suspects": Blow tires, burned bearings. Wheels flying off, trailers too big for the tow vehicle causing a rollover; people too cheap to buy anti-sway bars getting swerved into a collision. Propane tanks catching fire. You name it, we've read about it....or seen the aftermath first hand. When a travel trailer rolls over it just doesn't get a few dents and dings. Nope. It explodes in a tornado of cheap, thin fake wood and tiny little so-called studs. Travel trailers are a lot like eggs. Once you break 'em, there's no way to put 'em back together. They're G-O-N-E!
That's why our travel trailer life revolves around "Inspect, detect, repair and replace." Ain't no other way to roll!
Be safe and travel smart! Happy Trails!
Sunday, August 9, 2020
(Editor's Note: Photos were added to this post using the Mobile Blogger App after the post was written on the laptop.)
|You wouldn't think we could spend all day on this small space.|
But we did!
Why and how is it that we can ALWAYS find something to tinker with on, in or related to out 16-foot travel trailer. You'd think that we would ahve long ago run out of things to tinker with. It never ceases to amaze me that we tinker with the little things practically everyday. Of course, we don't begrudge that reality. Nope, we actually enjoy that reality. Tinkering is one of our fun nebulous hobbies. The travel trailer provides a seemingly endless cornucopia of Tinker Toys.
Yesterday is a classic example. We spent HOURS tinkering with condiments. Seriously? Yes, indeed.
You see, space is very limited in such a small travel trailer. There is only a portion of one small overhead cabinet that can be used for oils and condiments. It's less than one cubic foot....way less. I can't even begin to quantify the number of hours we've spent tinkering with that small space.
We have a plastic container that's supposed to hold canola oil, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Trouble is that is has NEVER held all of those items. It's held a few but never all of them. So yesterday was THE Day to tinker with that small plastic container and force it to hold those five items. That's why I spent hours tinkering with condiments. Every single original store-bought bottle is far too large to share space in the small plastic container with the hour other store-bought bottle. Producers of each of those five ingredients want you to use a LOT of the stuff they sell. So the first step is to sell you a large bottle of their stuff, far larger than you will need for a long time. Even the smallest bottle of either canola or olive oil is insanely large. Ditto the others.
So the challenge was to find five appropriate bottles that could fit comfortably in the small plastic container without having to cram them into their tiny spot. You'd think it would be EZPZ to find such bottle. HAHAHA! You'd think WRONG! After several hours of searching around town in several stores, we finally did find five such bottles. But then each bottle had to be "treated." That meant removing the labels, cleaning out the old contents, removing adhesive residue from the outside, drying, etc. But we finally did "git 'er dun" after all these years. All five ingredients are FINALLY united in the same small plastic container and will be easier than ever to reach up and obtain for cooking on the travel trailer stove top.
While we were at it, we redesigned the remainder of the small space and also have better than ever containers for salt & pepper, two bottle of hot sauce, Parmesan cheese and Thai green curry. That small space is the best organized it's ever been and we're quite proud of it. We don't care that it took hours yesterday. We don't even think about the time spent. We think only of the results..and they are good.
Today, we will turn our attention to the herbs and spices drawer and then to the pantry. One thing we know for sure after all these years...we will NEVER be done tinkering with this (or any other) travel trailer. It's ALL part of the process and all part of the FUN!
Since we're determined to put up one post a day, we really needed to have a was to post while on the road. We're heading up to Island Park Tuesday for our third camping trip there this summer. It's nice to know we will be able to blog from the phone. In case yer curious, there are all the OLD water pipes the city contractors have pulled our of 12th Street. The new pipes are huge compared to these old 1930's pipes.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
We first got together in September 1987. We then proceeded to live happily ever after. Well, along about after 27 years together, we up and decided to tie the knot. We both think it was in 2014 but neither of us can remember. Sounds about right.
But first, we must digress. We got married the first time without knowing about it. It happened on May 26, 2001, in the Escalante, Utah, Town Plaza. I introduced Susun as "my wife." After all, we were in a heavily LDS community that would have frowned an unmarried couple living together at Cowpuncher Guard Station up north of town.
Anyway, the very second I uttered those words, Utah State Law declared us man and wife. If course, we didn't know it at the time and it was many months before we read the Utah Common Marriage Law. All you have to do to get married in Utah is pronounce your spouse as your spouse. POOF! Yer married!
Well, back a few years ago we decided we oughta get married right and proper, like with a license and stuff. Anyway, August 8th that year was a Friday and it also happened to be the weekend of The Idaho Falls Roarin' Youth Jam. Susun had agreed to volunteer for the Habitat For Humanity booth down beside the Snake River on the Greenbelt. Susun's job was to run the toilet bowl. Say what?
Seriously. Kids would come up to the booth and Susun would hand them a ball and they would try to throw it into the toilet bowl. The title of the toilet bowl gig was "Make a Splash For Habitat." Of course, most kids love any parody of a toilet bowl so they were lined up anxiously awaiting their turns to make a splash. Naturally, Susun wore some old clothes that would still look OK after all the toilet stuff went down.
Well, sometime that morning, I got the bright idea to get married. It wasn't something we had talked about but I figured "eight-eight" sounded pretty good and so why not? Well, so Susun took a break from her toilet duties and we went across the street to the County Courthouse and bought ourselves an actual marriage license. It wasn't real expensive--$28 as I recall.
Well, Susun then resumed her splash management duties and eventually came home for a nap. Meanwhile, I was busily engaged in trying to find some appropriate official to marry us. It's not as easy as it sounds. Idaho Falls isn't exactly known as a Marriage Mill. Well, by and by, I learned that a well known retired Bonneville County Judge performed THREE marriages a week and ONLY on Friday afternoon. You needed to have $25 CASH--NO checks accepted.
The Clerk's Office told me she had only ONE opening left that day and I better hurry to make an appointment. Luckily, I was able to do so and then I rushed home. "Wake, up, wake up, Susun, we gotta go get married." Susun groggily arose from her cozy napping nook and we rushed off to the Courthouse. After all, it was Friday and time was quickly slipping away.
The Lady Judge escorted us into her old Courtroom, the one where she had presided since like forever before she retired. And she was a gabby judge. We got to talking about the Teton Dam Flood in 1976 and she showed us where she put her back to the wall of the Court room and felt the whole Court House vibrate. Well, Susun was getting pretty impatient with all this gabby flood stuff.
So, the Judge rather begrudgingly stopped talking about the flood and said some words and pronounced us Man and Wife. And then we rushed off to get the license duly recorded before closing time. We made it with 5 minutes to spare. That minor detail cost $10 so the total cost of our wedding was $63 and there were a total of three people in attendance. Sorry, no cake.
Anyway, once in awhile, Susun puts on her grubby old clothes she wore that day and I always compliment her on her wedding dress.
We don't have any pictures of our wedding. It's just a memory that comes around once every year on eight-eight.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetie Susun, I LOVE YOU!
Friday, August 7, 2020
Well, we're not a newcomer so that leave only one other possible description for us. Luckily, we've never shied away from weather predicting just because we're foolish. We enjoy the intricate challenges of weather prediction and so we foolishly forge on.
Our weather predicting penchant periodically ebbs and flows according to a fairly predictable annual cycle. At some times of the year, we're silent and don't bother with weather. Generally, we're most active in the wet seasons. However, our forecasting typically comes alive right about now in early August as we attempt to read the tea leaves portending the changes of seasons from Summer to Fall.
In Arizona, that would be a colossal waste of time and truly foolish! Here in Eastern Idaho, it's quite a bit of fun since it is SO subtle, SO inscrutable and yet SO real. You see, Fall tends to come early here in Eastern Idaho and it typically catches people by surprise. Why? Well, the biggest factor is almost certainly the juxtaposition of Hellacious High Heat when a sudden stealthy surge of tell tale Fall weather conditions.
For example, a week ago we were quite literally cookin' here in Idaho Falls. In fact, the cook had the oven cranked up and our daily high temps were breaking records. Any time a summer high temp record gets broken you can pretty well assume is actually, really is HOT!
OK, here we are a mere one week later talking about the onset of Fall. Is that crazy foolish or what? On the surface, it seems rather insane but Eastern Idaho is filled with climatic surprises and a sudden shift to Fall weather often happens to be one such surprise. We suspect such a surprise is in store for Year Twenty Twenty.
Let's review the current situation and then indulge in some delightful speculation. First things first.
We believe last week's record-breaking temps were the "high point" of our typical summer heat wave.
There's no evidence or hint in the forecasts that anything approaching those temps seen last week are on the horizon between now and next year. Yes, we will see occasional temps in the low 90's but that's a far cry from the nearly 100 degrees recorded a week ago.
Meanwhile temps are beginning to trend downward, especially in the mid and high elevations. Everybody knows Fall usually tips its hand by early September. Pretty much anybody can look up at the sky in mid-September and nod knowingly and pontificate that "Fall Is Here."
If we look at the Climate Prediction Center's 8-14 day forecast, we see below normal temps are forecast. Meanwhile the Old Farmer's Almanac concurs that seasonal cooling is very likely. Those are the high cards in our poker hand to predict the onset of Fall. It's nearly guaranteed we will be cooling off nicely between now and mid-August. Once we get to mid-August, it's almost impossible for the mind-melting high temps to return. Also, needless to say, mid-August is a LOT closer to the time when everybody knows Fall is here.
There will come a time between today, August 7th and September 7th when you will actually be able to "Feel Fall" in the air. Yes, it does have a tangible feeling. It also seems to have a tangible smell as well. There's something that changes in the air quality.
That's why we're just sayin' that we've turned the corner and we're headin' down that good ridin' road to Fall. It appears our transition from Summer to Fall will be a dry one this year. In any event, your loco Fool on 12th St. is on record as predictin' Fall is right around the corner.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
We love to write about historical topics just as we love to talk about such stuff. We know that few of the Friends of our personal Facebook care much (if at all) about history. However, we DO know numerous of the nearly 600 Friends of our personal Facebook who DO care about "all things history." Meanwhile, we were (and remain) loathe to clutter up our personal Facebook with history-related posts of interest to only a very few readers. So what to do?
Why create Facebook History Pages, of course! It's EZPZ to create a Page and insanely easy to manage a Page. We have 100% control over a Page and don't have to worry about the rules and regs of anyone but ourselves. We can posts whatever we want whenever we want however we want. The Major Bonus of a Page is that we can easily share ANY of the posts we create on any given Page with anyone or any Group of our choosing. Meanwhile, ALL history-related posts are now taken off our personal Facebook page and relegated to a specific zone.
We started by creating an Arizona History Stories Page in late 2019. It proved to be immediately popular and quickly grew in numbers of Likes and Followers. In early 2020, we then created a companion Utah History Stories Page. Finally in May 2020, we added an Idaho History Stories Page.
The Arizona Page just recently cleared the 1,500 benchmark in Followers. Idaho cleared its own benchmark of 500 Followers and Utah is close behind with 476. Utah is such a history-rich state that it's very slow getting either Likes or Followers there.
Another statistic we watch is known as "People Reached." Basically it's Facebook's way to quantifying who SAW any given post or post component. That doesn't mean they were "engaged" in a post or post component--just that they saw it. We keep a keen eye on People Reached because it is a barometer of how our work is received, so to speak.
As of August 6, 2020, our combined People Reached for all three Pages is a whisker over 32,000. That breaks down with 14,000 for Idaho, 7,700 for Utah and 10,500 for Arizona. Idaho and Arizona play tag for which Page has the most weekly People Reached. Utah always lags behind but still has healthy numbers.
We first began reaching out to people about history-related topics in the early 1980's. By the mid-1980's we were earning a significant amount of our annual income by giving paid history-related slide shows to various groups. A typical attendance for any given slide show would be around 50 people. It was a VERY Good Day if there were 100 or more people in the room. Without exception, some people came up after each slide show to ask questions or tell stories. Typically two or three people stayed around to gab. The most I ever recall coming up after a slide show was perhaps ten people.
So, back in those days, our "People Reached" stats were pretty danged low, maybe 150 a week max. but most often far, far less. That's just one reason why it's so gratifying to see today's People Reached statistics. It's amazing. We can also keep track of the People Reached stat for any given post on any given page. One of our posts on the Arizona Page now has over 13,000 People Reached. And that just for a single post.
So, how do we accumulate such eye-popping numbers? Well, it's EZPZ. We belong to many, many Facebook History Groups in three states. Some of those groups have over 30,000 members. All of them have several thousand members and none have less than 2,000 members. So, we simply share our Page posts on various groups. We typically design our own posts to appeal to certain specific groups. Think of it as if we were preparing a post to a Group. Well, we do the same thing on one of our Pages. And then we simply share it to the appropriate group(s).
Meanwhile, by doing so in this manner we retain the ability to share a Page Post with another Group or a personal Friend. It's a win-win for us and creates compelling content for whatever group we aim to please.
We have a common theme for the appearance of all three pages. We use each state's very first official seal as our profile graphic. All three seals are far, far removed from the appearance of modern state seals. We typically change the cover photo on a frequent basis. Most of our posts involve some aspect of trails, roads, highway and transportation infrastructure. We keep a close eye on all commentary and remove any irrelevant comments. So far, so good.
One of the most fun things about our history gig is the commentary we receive. Most of the time the comments are appended to the posts on private history groups so they aren't seen my readers of our pages. It's incredibly gratifying to read the comments we receive each and every day. Sometimes they make us laugh and sometimes they make us cry. But either day they are priceless and special benefits of the time and effort we put into out posts.
Well, we've been meaning to do a thorough explanation of our history pages and so there ya go.
Thanks for reading. Happy History!
History Pages links:
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
I had a stamp collection. It never amounted to much but at least I tried. It didn't take long to lose interest because it was SO complex and also downright expensive in terms of a 1950's Kid Budget, such as it was.
When I was going through the detritus of my Mom's Estate in January 2012, I found remnants of my stamp collection. They were some pretty sorry looking stamps and held no nostalgic value for me. They were so worthless I had to throw them away, along with...well...we won't go there. That's a topic for another time and place.
Well, wouldn't you know? I've come full circle in my 72nd year. I'm collecting stamps again. HA! HA!
How so? Please explain.
Heck no, I ain't lost my mind, I just realized I want some nice lookin' old stamps to add some bling to the envelopes that will carry my typewritten letters to the recipients of such a retro artifacts.
Let's face it. The Postal Service has dumbed down postage stamps until they are so danged boring it would be more fun to watch paint dry that peel and stick a stamp. As a stamp geek, there's nothin' more fun that lickin and stickin' a stamp right smack dab on the envelope. Self adhesive stamps should be against the law but, alas, they are not.
I didn't realize I had any stamp collecting mojo left in my aging DNA. But then by pure happenstance I found a great looking stamp printed in 1936 called the "Oregon Territory" stamp. You can see it right up yonder at the top of this here blog post.
Look at ALL the cool stuff on that stamp. Man, now THAT's a Stamp! Well, anyway, it was Love At First Sight when I spotted that stamp. I jumped on eBay and couldn't even believe I could buy a sheet of 50 for a mere $10. I said, "You GOT to be kidding!"
But, yes, it was totally true and all I had to do was press "Buy It Now" and I didn't even have to quibble or biddle or whatever.
By and by, I realized that idea had a whole lotta merit so today I decided to go for a look-see at sheets of one cent stamps. Lo and behold, I found a sheet of 50 Roosevelt one cent stamps including shipping for a mere $4. I said, "You GOT to be kidding!" But I merely pressed Buy It Now and the stamps are MINE! Gosh, that's breath-taking.
We love typewriters and that's a topic for a whole 'nother blog post. There here post is gettin' a wee long in the tooth. So we'll wrap 'er up. Anyway, we're collecting stamps to actually USE. It's whole different concept than Old School Stamp Collecting and it's real exciting just to think about.
We're gonna go All In to Bling Out our envelopes. Heck, we might even get in wax sealing and stamping, too. Nah, Prolly not--it would really weird out the postal machine sorters.
Anyway, if an envelope shows up in your actual, real physical inbox--like what was once known as a Mail Box, and if it's decorated with a bunch of weird looking Old Timey Stamps, at least you'll know its pedigree and from whence it came.