Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 27 - 29, 2010 - "The Garden of Eden"

We departed Spring Lake in route to Lake Wilson State Park, between Salina and Russell, Kansas, 8 miles north of I-70. Of course, no trip would be complete without a stop at Wally World for provisions. After stocking the rig, we cruised toward Salina, and continued our 30 year tradition of stopping at the last Braum’s we would see until returning to this part of paradise. They have one of the best bacon cheese burgers I have ever had. CC chose the Jalapeno burger, naturally. She claims to be of Native American descent (Choctaw to be exact), but to anyone that has known her for more than a few days can attest, she is a closet Hispanic. Two, three days tops, without Mexican food, and she can become, how shall I say, “anxious”. With both of our food cravings satisfied, we continued on our epic journey. (We didn’t buy any ice cream because we are having some problems with our refrigerator; it stopped working about a week ago. The freezer works, but it is full of perishable from the refrigerator that is not working.)

After we got set up, we hiked down to the water for a swim. The water felt wonderful on this 98 degree day, being about 82 degrees and so clear you could see your feet in depths of 5-6 feet. Definitely NOT what we are used to at Lake Texoma. We spoke with several other campers, and were told of a small town of Lucas (population 422), about 10 miles from here, and strongly recommended we vist “The Garden of Eden” located there. So…………………..always up for an adventure, off we headed.

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor, a retired schoolteacher, Civil War veteran, farmer and Populist politician, began building the Garden of Eden and Cabin Home in 1907 at the age of 64. For 22 years he fashioned 113 tons (2,273 sacks) of cement and many tons of limestone into his unique "log" cabin with its surrounding sculptures. He opened his home to guests, conducting tours on the first floor and through the yard from 1907 until a few years before his death in 1932. Now owned and operated by a group formed to preserve it, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors annually.

The photo below is of S.P. Dinsmoor and his family with his first wife. He had already built the mausoleum at The Garden of Eden, and when she died, local townspeople objected to her being laid to rest there. It was decided she be buried at the town cemetery. That night, S.P. dug up her body and entombed her in the mausoleum. It caused quite an uproar, but no one wanted to re-bury her in the town cemetery after being "ripe" for so long.

After his first wife’s death, S.P. was a dirty old man, and lusted after one of the local Czech immigrants who was so poor she didn’t have a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of. S.P. convinced her to marry him, and one day, The Garden of Eden would be all hers. He was 81 at the time, and she was 20. The photo below was taken shortly after they were wed. She produced two children with him, and both are still alive today. The daughter at age 87 living on Omaha, NE and the son, 83, resides in, believe or not, Aurora, CO.

No doubt S.P. died with a smile on his face, and a twinkle in his dinkle, and is entombed in the mausoleum above his first wife. The marker simply reads “S.P. Dinsmoor & Wife”. Now we know, that not only was he a horny ol’ bastard, but a chauvinistic one as well. RIP S.P. Dinsmoor. For more information on this eccentric man, visit the web site: Just another jewel we found by staying off the Interstate highways. Try it for yourself sometime!

July 22-26, 2010 - "Cosmosphere"

We departed Oklahoma City in route to Spring Lake RV Park & Resort in Halstead, KS. One of Fester’s last business appointments (yes, he is STILL working) was to introduce his replacement to key accounts. This one was located in Hutchinson, KS, in close proximity to Halstead. While at Spring Lake, after a trip to Margaritaville, CC spotted an alligator on one of our evening walks, just below the bridge. (Pictured below) I can't verify that it was or it wasn't, but it WAS swimming faster than a turtle.

CC had never been to the Cosmophere in Hutchinson, as she has led a very sheltered and neglected life. So, it was only apropos, to right the wrongs of the past, that she be given the opportunity to experience a slice of the Smithsonian Museum in America’s Heartland. Some of the artifacts on display include a SR-71 spy plane, and Liberty Bell 7. This spacecraft was flown by astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom during America's first manned space program, the Mercury program. It was recovered from the bottom of the ocean in 1999 and restored by the Cosmosphere. The Gemini X spacecraft, as well as Apollo 13 command module Odyssey;"Houston, we've had a problem." This spacecraft served as the vehicle that housed the near fatal Apollo 13 crew through take off and reentry into Earth's atmosphere, later made into a movie by the same name with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Ed Harris.
This really is an amazing place, so far off the beaten path. Traveling down the Interstates, one would have no idea such a place existed in the middle of nowhere. But it does, thanks to some pork barrel spending, no doubt. If you’d care to investigate more thoroughly, check out their web site

We spent about 6 hours at the Cosmosphere touring the museum, sitting through an hour long presentation in the Planetarium on "Summer Constellations", and watched "Huble" in their IMAX theatre. (Great film, a must see for everyone, including the kids)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 1 - 21, 2010 "Prepping a House to Sell"

July 1 -21 2010

Arrived in Oklahoma City and checked into Twin Fountains RV Park, just North of Remington Downs Racetrack at the intersection of I-44 and I-35.

When we walked into Mom’s house, we were a little overwhelmed. On closer examination, it appeared that nothing had been thoroughly cleaned in at least 2 years. CC began by vacuuming the carpets while Fester worked on the hardwood floors. CC finished the den and living room and the bag on the vacuum was full; in only 2 rooms! It was at this point we knew we had our work cut out for us. I vacuumed the hardwood floors, mopped them 3 times, and then applied 2 coats of Orange Glo. They looked better, but far from perfect.

The garage had not been cleaned since my Dad passed in 1996. We borrowed a power washer from John, a close personal friend I went to OSU with, and proceeded to clean the garage. When we tried to move the clothes washer and dryer, the hoses couldn’t be removed because of calcium buildup. An overnight soaking in CLR helped and we were able to disconnect the hoses, only to discover they hose bibs would not seal. So……………..a trip to the plumbing supply was in order. Another faux pas we discovered was the clothes dryer was not vented. For over 40 years, it had just been venting out the back of the dryer, onto the garage floor. There was about 1/2" of lint (combined with anything and everytthing one would normally find in a garage), covering half of the garage floor. I shudder to think what would have happened if a small flame would have ignited that lint while Mom was asleep. So.............while at the plunbing supply, I purchased a "ventless" dryer kit and installed it.

After power washing the garage and replacing the hose bibs, I decided to drain the hot water tank. Big mistake. Now the pressure relief valve wouldn’t re-seat. Right. Back to the plumbing supply. Next I tackled the overhead garage doors that could be opened from the outside simply by jiggling the handle. After 2 trips to the hardware store, and about 4 hours work, they were again “lockable”.

While CC was removing papers and staples from the kitchen cabinets I tackled the job of resurfacing the built-in desk top. 40 years of serving as a catch all had taken its toll. I also replaced the broken hinges and latches on the kitchen, bath, and hall cabinets.

Back to the plumbing. The kitchen faucet was leaking everywhere it could possibly leak. New o-rings in the spout and new cartridges did the trick. Now, no more water in the cabinet below the sink. In the master bedroom bath, the wax seal on the toilet and the tank insides were leaking profusely. A new toilet was in order. In the other bathroom, just a new seat and flapper did the trick.

The water softener system hadn’t been operational in over a year, so a visit from General Ionics was in order. After re-calibration and two bags of salt, it was once again, good as gold.

From the day Mom and Dad moved in, in 1968, the kitchen had always been dimly lit, and was quite depressing. I installed 3 new fixtures, and it made a world of difference. Now, it looks bright and inviting.

Back to power washing; the back patio and bricks/mortar. The picture below speaks volumes. Only half of the steps have been cleaned. Can you tell which half? 4.5 hours later, it looked like a new one; gray at least and no longer green. Wonder what was growing on it?

CC tackled the kitchen cabinets. This project was the largest yet. The outside surfaces hadn’t been cleaned in probably 10-15 years, so there was a natural build up of grease and grime. We tried everything to cut the grime; Scott’s Liquid Gold didn’t, Spic and Span didn’t, TSP didn’t, Cabinet Magic didn’t. Fester finally concocted a blend of Mineral Spirits and Denatured Alcohol, and SUCCESS. WoooHooo!!!!! Even the inside of the cabinets had that “grime” and had to be cleaned. Total time on the kitchen, about 40 hours. Are the kitchen cabinets perfect? No. Are they like new? No. Do they look pretty damn good for 40+ year old kitchen cabinets? Without a doubt.

One load to the dump and all the “crap” that had been sitting outside for 30+ years was gone, while CC painted the rusty 500 gallon propane tank with a car wash mitt; looks like new. Good job CC.

Window cleaning; what an ordeal. Mom & Dad had storm windows installed years ago, and they had not been opened or cleaned in probably 15 years, as evidenced by the mud dobber (wasp) nests between them. Each window consisted of 6 glass panes and a screen. CC spent 3+ days on them, and now they can actually raise and lower, and as an added benefit, you can see through them.

I called my cousin Rick, an electrician, to come by and make sure all the electrical was up to code. I’m glad I did, as he needed to add GFIC to the kitchen and both bathrooms. He also discovered that when my Dad installed the dish washer, he wired it with 18 gauge lamp cord. No wonder Mom always complained about its performance. She is very lucky it did not start a fire. Depression era children just try and make do with what they have, and so it was with my Mom and Dad.

The painters started on Wednesday , July 21st, instructed to paint anything and everything paintable, inside and out, and we decided to leave for cooler weather. The 98-103 degree days and 85-90% humidity, with heat indexes in triple digits’ for 3 weeks had taken its toll on us.

We may have stayed longer if we had any support, but, it was just CC and I. We decided to come back, after the painters are through, AND, when it is cooler, to finish the task at hand.

Long days of work left us with limited energy to visit with the family and friends. We did manage some time to have dinner with our friends, John and Vicki & family, a few(?) beers with Sid and Conner, and CC even managed to have lunch with Karla. It was a blessing reuniting with old friends and we treasured every minute.

June 2010 - "Colorado to Texas"

June 1 -15

We are still on private property 30 miles SE of Cherry Creek State Park. CC and I both continue to work, and CC’s last day will be June 18. We have had fabulous “going away” parties with close friends. To say we will miss them is an understatement. We know this will be one of the hardest parts of full timing, and we will miss you all. Colorado is absolutely wonderful during the Spring, Summer and Fall, and we will be back again and again to reacquaint, and to swap lies and laughter.

June 16-21

We are back at Cherry Creek State Park. My boss came in and took us to Flemings for dinner. Also accompanying us were close friends and business associates. I was expecting nothing for my 29+ years of service to my employer, and that’s exactly what I got. A gold watch would have been nice. Heck, a $50 gift certificate would have been a plus. As they say, hindsight is 20/20, but to think one works 29+ years for a company and all they get is a steak dinner. What’s up with that? And to think I have agreed to stay working until July 30. Now who’s the dumb ass? Where’s the mirror?
June 22
We departed Cherry Creek in route to Childress, TX to establish ourselves as “official Texans”. CC’s daughter, Letta, and her husband Billy reside there, (along with CC’s grandson, Lane) and all agreed that this would make a good permanent address for our roving lifestyle. It is only 550 miles to Childress, and we have made it in one day before, but what’s the hurry? We drove as far as Lamar, CO and checked into Country Acres RV Park. By far NOT a destination resort, but OK for an overnight stop.

June 23-25

Billy (CC’s son in law), met us early to walk us through the process of becoming Texans. First, we needed to have the rig weighed. I was somewhat nervous as I pulled onto the scale. I kept thinking, please be under, please be under (weight). The green light came on and I slowly pulled off the scale. Billy and CC jumped in and Billy said, “How much do you think it weighed?” My only comment was, “hopefully under.” It was by 1,400 pounds. Wow, as I thought to myself, we dodged the bullet. OK, step one complete, now step two; vehicle inspections. After a few “adjustments” we passed. Step 3, head to the court house to register the vehicles. The lady helping us, looked up from her computer and said, “Do you have any idea of how much this is going to cost?” (I did, but from the inflection in her voice, I could tell she didn’t, until the total popped up on her computer screen.) She thought it to be a small fortune, I thought of it as about half what it would have been in Colorado, and so I guess it was a win, win, for both of us. Step 4; we made our way to the drivers license office, and things got interesting. We were told we needed ORIGINALS of our birth certificate and social security cards, along with proof of insurance. Yes we had them, but finding them might take some time, after all, we moved out of 2,400 sq. ft. into 340, and things were packed in every nook and cranny we could find. The next day we returned to apply for Texas driver license’s with the required documentation, and after much ado, received our temporaries. We were told our permanent ones would be mailed to us in 4 to 6 weeks. So now, we are “Official Texans”. Thanks Billy for all your help, because without it, we might have still been scratching our heads and wondering what to do next.
June 26-28
Depart Childress in route to Dallas to see long time friends, Rodney and Dena. Rodney and I met in First or Second Grade (depending on who you ask), and continued our education, culminating at OSU. Every once in a while people confuse us as brothers, due to the strong Irish resemblance. He and Dena were married exactly one week before CC and I were. Let’s see, what year was that? Oh yea, right after they invented dirt. We had a wonderful time, lounging in the pool, and swapping stories, some(?) of which Rodney made up as he went along.

June 29-30

Depart Dallas in route to Choctaw, OK. Our plans are to clean and prepare my Mom’s house to be sold. At this point in time, I thought 2 weeks would be sufficient. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

May 2010 - "Houseless but not Homeless"

May 2-15

Departed our "stix & brix" home of 10 years, in our new home on wheels and headed to Cherry Creek Sate Park, just a few miles away. We needed to stay in the area as we were both still working. Our plans were to stay at CCSP for a month. However, we were informed that as a Colorado State Park, there is a 14 day limit for every 45 calendar days. While there, we awoke one morning to snow. Yes, it actually can and does snow in Colorado in May.

The facilities at CCSP are clean, well maintained, and the campsites are larger than normal. It was not uncommon to see deer within a few feet of our rig.
We spent much of the first 2 weeks of "full timing" getting used to the lifestyle, and decided that it would be a work in progress. It's hard to break the 50+ year habits of living in stix & brix.
May 16-31
Our time at Cherry Creek State Park had come to an end, and we moved to private property 30 miles to the South East.
Recent events have enlightened me to the fact that this is our blog, and as such, we need to be considerate of others privacy and their interpretation of what is written. It is always hard to entirely get your point across when writing. It is much easier face to face, when all parties can hear the inflection in your voice and see your facial expressions, to know when you are just teasing or being sarcastic, or both. (which CC tells me I can be at times) Spoken words that would usually get a laugh, and a "you can kiss my a$$, you SOB", can often be misunderstood when written. So, with that life lesson learned, I will just move forward and wish those involved the very best, as it was never my intention to be malicious in any way, and just say, "Hey, Lil' Buddy, I was just joking. Geesh, I thought you knew me better than that." Thanks for everything.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In the beginning............. May 2006 - April 2008

CC and I decided that we might enjoy a retirement lifestyle that would afford us the luxury of "Chasing the Sun" and "Livin' by the 7 Second Rule". For those of you who do not know me THAT well, I tend to be a little over analytical when major purchases are involved, compounded by a MAJOR lifestyle change. (CC says I'm anal, but that is only her opinion, as I've heard no one else express that............Ok, maybe one or two, but that's all). Hence the two years of research and "crunching numbers" to ascertain we could embark on this endeavor with positive, pleasurable results.

February 2008
Purchased CC's Valentines Day Gift in Leeds, AL. Our soon to be home on wheels, a 2006 Itasca Suncruiser 38J, aptly monikered, Ms. Sol Crucero. She loved the floor plan, so that was that. (We both did actually, but I don't like to admit to it for obvious reasons). We drove the Lil Darling(?) back to Colorado in 4 days with stops in Monroe, LA, Terrell, TX, and Childress, TX. Some wondered if I had lost whatever mind I might have had, considering driving a 38 foot, 24,000 pound Motorhome, in February, in Colorado, in the snow, to be akin to havin' a screw loose. Well, I guess that pretty much sums it up. Did I take my med's today?

June 2008
Hired a Realtor and listed our "stix & brix". Needless to say we had no luck in selling it. Remember what was happening to the stock and housing market at that time? It wasn't pretty. But we were determined to live by the "7 Second Rule" chasin' the sun.

March 6, 2010
Hired a realtor for the second time, and listed our "stix & brix".

April 2, 2010
Accepted an "interesting" offer, but an offer none the less. Now what? Oh yea, liquidate ALL of our possessions by the closing date of April 30. If it won't fit in the RV, it HAS to go.

April 3, 2010
Reality has hit; more like PANIC actually. What were we thinking, moving out of 2,400 finished square feet (and 2,400 sq. ft. in the basement. Why did I move all this "stuff down there? Now, I must carry it BACK up the stairs to sell it in the garage sale) into 340 square feet of space in the RV. All of our belongings, all the "stuff" we had acquired over the years; it ALL has to go. (Well, about 97% of it anyway).

April 16 - 18, 2010
Garage Sale Weekend. In Colorado in April, are you out of your mind? What, you've never seen snow before? Wasted effort you say? Well it's at least all (or mostly all) in the garage.

April 23 - 25, 2010
Garage Sale Weekend II. By this time, CC & I are both in a state of sheer panic. We are closing in one week, and we still need to liquidate about 75% of our belongings. As near as I can calculate, we sold about $35.000 worth of belongings for about $1,800; or about 5% of it's original cost. was gone, and that accounted for something. One more step toward that goal of Livin' by the 7 Second Rule. As bad as it felt to have virtually given away so much of our lives, it was at the same time liberating. It was, after all, just "stuff".

April 25 - 29, 2010
CC convinced me (and I thought it to be an EXCELLENT idea, especially to shed some lb's from the rig, prior to moving into it) that the heavy analog Sony Wega TV's in the RV needed to be changed out to HD flat panel LCD's. Again, what was I thinking? Another project, and we still need to complete the liquidation. Again, not the sharpest knife in the drawer you say? Are you seeing a pattern here?

April 30, 2010
Closing Day. The first day of our lives (since starting college) that we were 100% debt free. It felt strange actually. I thought I would be euphoric, but it was more of tranquil calmness that settled over me. As soon as I had that cashiers check in hand, I turned in my letter of Retirement, and agreed to stay through July. They asked if I would stay for the remainder of the year, but we were just too close to shuckin' it all and hittin' the road. In retrospect, that tranquility came more from getting out of the corporate rat race (30 years with the same company), than it did from being debt free. Either way, it felt good to be on our way "Chasin' the Sun" and "Livin' by the 7 Second Rule".
PS This is my 1st blog posting, and I'm sure it's not perfect. Hopefully, it, as well as myself, will improve with age, experience and maturity. In the future CC will also be posting (fingers crossed). She may need some words of encouragement (wink, wink) so give her a shout out and ask for her comments as well.