Archive for ◊ November, 2016 ◊

30 Nov 2016 Warm and Sunny………….
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Sunset A Pismo Beach………….

I called John, at Capture, once Buddy was fed and the coffee was brewing. The phone rang but the auto attendant didn’t answer. I sent an e-mail to John who called back in minutes. We decided that getting the phones working on the last day of the month was more important than our chat.

I quickly checked my e-mails then started my brain exercises; Sudoku and crosswords. I still haven’t gotten into the routine of my exercise program and have gained ten pounds since leaving River House.

Once again Judith was up before eight. I have no idea what has gotten into her. We had breakfast and discussed the day. She had more shopping to do and I planned to play poker, go to lunch with Jake and Don and spend most of the afternoon washing the RV.

Twenty players showed up for today’s tournament. The cards were kinder to me today but not kind enough. I did just one rebuy and missed the final table by two. No cigar.

Why gain Do They Call It Rooster Creek?

Jake and Don took me to the Rooster Creek Restaurant for lunch. I got there about ten minutes early an spent a few minutes in a little park next to the creek. Bantam Roosters were walking around like they owned the place. Cool. Jake and Don’s visit, to River House, last fall gave Judith and me a lot of insight to what a “stranger” might think of the property and give us some insight to develop a plan when perspective buyers start showing up on our doorstep.

I was back at the RV park at two. Judith took off leaving me to wash the trailer. I spent two hours and finished all but one side.

Judith returned just as the sun was setting prompting us to take a quick walk around the park taking pictures of the sun setting into the ocean.

We shared the cooking duties. I fired up the tool box grill and cooked chicken breasts and thighs. Judith cooked asparagus and made coleslaw. We keep our meals simple but good on the road. The best part is we use paper plates making dish doing a five minute affair.

I’ll start the morning talking with John then attending the monthly kickoff meeting at Capture. The meeting should be over by ten when the morning tournament starts at the Coast Casino. With luck I’ll finish washing the rig tomorrow afternoon.

29 Nov 2016 Tough Day On The Green Felt………
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Buddy came calling a few minutes before six. Her latest trick is to lay right on my chest and purr. If I doze off and stop petting her I get a paw full on sharp nails. We are close enough to the ocean, just a hundred yards away, to hear the waves crashing onto the beach.

With Buddy fed and the coffee on I started with the Mini Sudoku then moved on to the Sudoku and finally completing the daily crossword puzzle.

I turned on the news. I thought when the election was over so would be seeing Trump on every single channel. NOT. If anything he is getting more coverage, if that is possible. Where in the world does the guy get the energy? Don Lemon of CNN was complaining about the cost of the restaurant where Trump met with Mitt Romney. Where was Mr. Lemon when the Obama’s were spending SEVENTY FOUR MILLION on vacations during their eight years in the White House. Obama is the first president in our country’s history that a war was on going during his entire eight years. In fact it has been going on for fifteen years. Sad. Let’s hope the new kid on the block can stop the wars and the senseless killing of our young Americans not to mention the spending of trillions of dollars we continue to pour down the rat hole.

Judith was up at eight. We had breakfast and discussed the day. During breakfast the phone rang. It was Ed Weston calling from River House. He was dowe trying to get the call forwarding to work. Telus told me it was a simple process. They said have the service turned back on and within forty eight hours it would forward incoming calls to my US cell phone. That was over two weeks ago and it still doesn’t work. In the last thirty days I have been tortured by Telus, Verizon and Sprint. In frustration I quit Verizon after being a loyal customer for over fifteen years and changed to Sprint. What a mess. It took over a month to get Sprint to credit “replacement insurance” I didn’t want and almost had my service interrupted, for non payment of those charges, in the process.

I got to the poker room just moments before the morning tournament started at ten. The first two tables were full and I was seated at table three. The action was crazy with rebuys and all ins happening on almost every hand. I usually don’t have to rebuy but that wasn’t the case today. I rebought twice and still didn’t make the final table. Because of all the rebuys a little twenty buck entry, three table tournament paid over seven hundred bucks for first. To add insult to injury I played in the 1-2 cash game and never won a hand blowing another hundred bucks. It is never easy…….

Judith and I had lunch. She spent the morning painting one of her unique Christmas cards. After lunch she was off to do some shopping and I resumed washing the trailer. According to Judith I’m working at a snail’s pace as I only washed another twenty feet today.

The sun was out and it was a perfect day for a walk on the beach. We walked north to the pier then back, a trip of about a mile and a half.

Judith broke the code and found a place to buy fresh Dungeness crab. In fact they cooked it right before her eyes and it was a decent $7.95 a pound. The minute she brought in the RV Buddy went nuts. She loves crab. We were eating it within an hour after it came out of the boiling water. Excellent.

I’ll talk briefly with John in the morning then be at the poker tournament at ten. I may go to lunch with Jake and Don the two guys, From Pismo Beach, who came to River House last fall for a week of steelhead fishing.

28 Nov 2016 A Month In The Sun………We Hope
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I got that warm fuzzy feeling when I got up at six knowing that we won’t be packing up and leaving for an entire month. It has been pretty hectic since we left River House over six weeks ago. In that six weeks we have logged almost three thousand miles on the RV, pulled the trailer on ten different days and even flew to Oklahoma and Texas for ten days. There is no grass growing under these feet….

Once my mental gymnastics were out of the way I started to put on paper my vision of the marketing program for River House. I don’t mean the videos and scripts as they are looking good. Now we need to define the market and/or potential buyers for this special property and get the marketing material in their hands.

Judith was up before eight and we discussed the day. On my to do list was getting propane, finding a BofA branch and doing all that before ten when the cards go in the air at the Coast Casino. While we were in Walla Walla we had to drive sixty miles to Kennewick to find a BofA branch. They seem to be closing lots of branches. I understand what is going on as I seldom go into the bank unless I need more cash than the ATM allows. The branch I visited this morning was huge with at least a dozen teller positions and yet just two tellers were anywhere in sight. So what is instore for banks when there is no more CASH. Call me crazy but that day is coming. Cash and credit cards will be something you will try to explain to your great, great grandkids. It is never easy…….

I walked into the Coast Casino which ISN’T a casino at nine forty five. It is a relatively small room that barely holds five poker tables. They open at nine and start the day with a three table, low entry fee Hold’em tournament. This morning I plunked down my twenty bucks and went to table 4, seat three. I recognized several players form years past. This is a local room full of old fogies that play against each other week in and week out, all year long and beyond. In poker terms it is a soft (easy) tournament and I have done well in this room. I did make the final table which in a ten minute level tournament is nothing more than an all in fest. I got short stacked and got two callers when I pushed from the button and got felted as did one other player. The minute we were out the remaining five players chopped for $215 each. I played well and that is what it is all about.

I was back at the RV Park a few minutes after noon and had lunch with Judith. After lunch Judith took off to get groceries and I started giving the trailer a long overdue bath. I was moving right along until a rig pulled in next to us and I got involved in a LONG conversation with our new neighbors. When the smoke cleared I cleaned only about a fourth of the rig.

Judith and I shared the cooking duties. I fired up the Tool Box Grill and cooked bacon wrapped fillets. Judith baked a sweet potato, sautéed mushrooms and made a nice salad. We shared a nice piece of cherry covered cheesecake for dessert.

Tomorrow I’ll play in the ten o’clock tournament. Judith wants to go to San Luis Obispo in the afternoon to shop at Costco. I’ll tag along.

27 Nov 2016 Hello Pismo Beach…………
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Grape Vines Forever……………….

I was more than pleased to see the day dawn with clear skies. The plan was to get Judith up at eight. She surprised me when she started her day at seven thirty. We had a quick breakfast, hooked up the trailer and hit the road.

The trip to Pismo Beach took us through Walnut Creek on our way to San Jose. I was worried about traffic; however, most of the traffic issues seemed to happen coming north as we went south.

MapQuest pegged the trip at five hours and our truck’s GPS suggested an hour more. Our truck was correct. We pulled into The Pismo Coast Village Resort at two thirty. In the past the WiFi has been spotty and Judith was concerned about getting a spot with good service. I let her go in and register and fight the WiFi wars. She came out in just a few minutes with a big smile on her face. The park just upgraded their WiFi and now the signal is great all over the park. Or so said the salesman…….

We came through the Salinas Valley and it is wall to wall grapes most of the way. I’m sure some of the juice finds its way to the over one hundred and thirty tasting rooms in Walla Walla.

We set up the rig and decided to take a walk downtown in search of fresh Dungeness crab. The season should be open and we thought with being on the coast getting fresh crab would be no problem. Wrong! We asked at the park office and they didn’t have a clue. I Googled crab and got a few suggestions; close but no cigar. We walked the streets and found a couple restaurants we didn’t realized existed and hope to give them a try before we leave the day after Christmas.

We will be here a full month and my goal is to not only have the marketing plan for River House ready to go but also do all the costing needed after the sale. In addition I need to crunch some numbers to better understand the costs involved if we go forward with a commercial building in Walla Walla. It is never easy.

With no fresh crab available Judith decided to make crab cakes from frozen crab we brought down from Canada. She has a great crab cake recipe which she served along with rice and peas. Excellent.

Tomorrow I’ll be back in the poker wars. Pismo Beach has a small poker room with just five or six tables and daily tournaments. The tournaments only draw two or three tables and usually last only a couple of hours. In the afternoon, weather permitting, I’ll start cleaning the trailer which is way overdue……….

26 Nov 2016 Tough Travel Day………….
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Dave and His Nice Buck………

Buddy came calling well before six to start my day. I was anxious to check the weather and road conditions. I made that job one right after I fed Buddy and put on the coffee. It was raining and the ground wasn’t white; a good thing. Next I checked the road conditions and the worst thing in our path seem to be high winds between Medford and Weed. I really wasn’t concerned about the wind. My F-450 with duals will compensate for most windy conditions.

I checked in at River House. There was no new snow and the temperature was right at thirty degrees. It has been an abnormally warm start to the winter. AND we are now a foot behind the normal YTD snow fall. In our part of the Great White North that deficit can be made up in a heartbeat.

I got Judith up at eight and we were on the road before nine. As we left Medford it started to rain harder and as we started climbing the temperature began to fall. Soon we were in to slush and light snow on the road. Next we saw a flashing road sign telling us to turn the radio on for road conditions. Before I could find the station we saw a truck and trailer pulled over to the side of the road putting on chains. That didn’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling. Soon we were at the summit and heading down the other side. The road conditions started to improve and I thought we dodged the bullet. Wrong.

We crossed into California and went through the check station. What a waste of money. We have been going through there for over forty years and have yet to be stopped or seriously questioned. What is the point?

As we approached Weed the rain started once again and within minutes we were down to 30MPH on a slush covered slippery road. Those conditions lasted for about thirty minutes then we fought rain and winds all the way to Redding. It is never easy…………….

MapQuest estimated the trip at five hours. We didn’t stop for lunch but did fuel up twice making the trip in just over six hours. We pulled into Midway RV at three thirty and paid forty nine dollars to spend the night. The space fees have just about tripled in the seventeen years we have been RVing.

David, Syd, Kate and Syd’s boyfriend Jacob met us in Vacaville for dinner. Yes, at Murillo’s. I’ve been eating there for well over thirty years and haven’t been disappointed yet. We ate, talked for over an hour then gave David his deer head before we said our goodbyes.

Tomorrow we’ll make the last leg of this trip arriving in Pismo Beach mid-afternoon. It too is about a five hour drive. Or so says MapQuest.

25 Nov 2016 Medford Today…Vacaville Tomorrow…………..
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Many times the weather forecast is far from what actually happens. That Happen this morning. According to the last forecast before I went to bed the worm was going to turn well before midnight and we should have had good weather by morning. Nada. It poured most of the night and right up to the time we left at nine thirty.

Darrell had the living room light on early signaling that he was not only up but the coffee is ready. Judy was up cooking us a goodbye breakfast. Darrell load gin and solitaire apps on my I-Pad. I’ve gotta keep that old brain working………

We said our goodbyes and were on the road at nine thirty. We no sooner got on the road than the rain started and lasted until Salem over an hour away. Mapquest said we could make the trip in four and a half hours. That wasn’t the case. Apparently “they” didn’t realize today was Black Friday and traffic would be backed up near every off ramp leading into a shopping center. The four and a half trip took a little over six hours.

We got to the KOA near Medford at a few minutes after four. We quickly registered, unhooked and I headed for Medford to meet Riley a pool buddy and friend I have known for years. Riley was sitting near the front door when I arrived at Rack’em Billards in downtown Medford. I was in this room years ago and it hasn’t changed one iota. Riley and I rented table seven and started playing eight ball. Riley is an excellent pool player and has been playing and practicing a lot. Need I say more? He beat me in eight ball and I turned the tables on him in nine ball. The plan was to go to dinner but a tournament broke out and we decided to throw in our five bucks for a quick race to two with about a dozen players. I never won a game and Riley did better but no cigar.

Riley recommended a Mexican restaurant where we got a far better than decent meal. Not cheap but………..

Tomorrow we’ll head south around nine hoping to make Vacaville by mid-afternoon. Our son, David, will come over to have dinner and pick up his deer head mount.

24 Nov 2016 Full and Happy…………..
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The wind blew and it poured all night. There are flood warnings in the low lands and plenty of snow in the mountains. I looked out the window as soon as it was light and the fog was right down on the deck. I am thrilled today wasn’t a travel day.

I spent the first two hours of the morning doing brain exercises; Sudoku’s and crosswords. I find both free in USA Today. The easy ones are on Monday’s and as the week increases so does the difficulty rating.

Judith was up at eight thirty. I got a text from Darrell a few minutes later wondering if I was still alive. I made a quick dash up the hill through the pounding rain and bone chilling wind. I grabbed a cup of coffee and we started looking over the River House marketing plan. We checked out the costs and efficiency of the sale by owner web sites. Zillow seems to be the best with over a million and a half visits to their website each month.

Judy and Judith converged on the kitchen around ten and started getting the Thanksgivings dinner together. A fifteen pound turkey seemed just about right for a dinner to feed eight. One of the things I have always enjoyed is a turkey liver and gizzard sandwich while waiting for the big meal. Judy was kind enough to let me steal a few slices from the giblets she was boiling for her gravy. I toasted bread, put on a layer of mayo and mustard and put on the slices of steaming giblets. NO ONE joined me………

Darrin and family arrived around three. The kids, Blake and Cassidy, are getting big and will soon be out of the nest. We talked for about an hour before settling down to an excellent Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was perfectly cooked. Two kinds of potatoes, green beans, dressing, two different kinds of gravy and even creamed onions were part of this holiday meal. And yes, dessert was an excellent pumpkin pie.

We broke out the chips and cards and the eight of us played Texas Hold’em. We each kicked in ten bucks to make it interesting. When the smoke cleared the kids took first and second and I took third. I donated the ten dollar third prize to Blake.

Darrin and family headed home at eight in the pouring rain. They checked the road conditions before leaving and discovered there was some flooding on INT 5 between here and their home near Portland. We’ll be taking the same route in the morning and I asked them to call if they encountered any major problems.

Tomorrow Darrell and I will tie up some loose ends before having breakfast. Around ten we’ll head south and make the four and a half hour trip to Medford where we’ll stop at a KOA for the evening. A good friend, Riley Pitchford, recently moved there and I’ll meet him at the Rack’em Pool Hall for a few games and catch to up on old times. Many moons ago Riley and I ran the Junior Pool Program in Northern California and even won the National Championship the first year.

23 Nov 2016 Happy Thanksgiving……………..
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I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of pounding rain on the top of the rig. That is not exactly what I want to hear on a travel day. I rolled over and managed to stay in bed until five thirty before getting up to start my day. It was still raining as I fed Buddy and put on a pot of coffee. The temperature stood at thirty eight and the wind was blowing up a storm. I had visions of a very wet experience getting the rig ready to hit the road.

I checked in on River House. There was no new snow but still about two inches on the ground. I checked the heating system and the boiler was working at 89%. That seems high. The meters are read at the beginning of December and we’ll get the news within a few days. Last year it was a whooper, however, we were there and had the system going full blast.

I woke Judith up at seven thirty and we started getting the rig ready. Our appointment was for nine but we were ready to roll shortly after eight. I called and talked to the owner and he said get over there ASAP. We hopped in the rig and we sitting in his driveway ten minutes later. They finished at ten thirty, I payed the sixteen hundred bill and hit the road. He gave me all the paperwork and encouraged me to go after the tire manufacturer as they are required to carry liability insurance and said “they” have covered others for this very common mishap. We are batting one hundred percent as in the fifteen years we have been RVing we have had considerable damage caused by blowouts THREE times. The cost of ownership strikes again………………

The sun was shining when we headed south for what should have been a four and a half hour drive. I knew the holiday weekend was the wildcard and only wanted to make our destination before it turned dark. We only made two quick stops; at a rest area and for fuel. The traffic was moving at or near the limit until we were just five miles from RT 205, a Portland bypass, when it all came to a grinding halt. It took over two hours to make the last seventy miles putting us into Kalama thirty minutes after the sun went down.

Darrell was waiting outside and helped me hook up the electricity. I left the truck hooked up and intend to leave it that way until we leave in just thirty six hours.

Judy had a nice dinner waiting; chicken alfredo, a salad and Texas toast. She also made a big pitcher of Sangria. We ate dinner and watched the news. Rachel Maddow was in a snit and whining. Yesterday she was mad Trump hadn’t selected any women. Today she was unhappy he did. You can’t please all the people all the time. I hope she appreciates us watching and pretty much doubling her viewership.

Judy and Judith worked together in the kitchen getting things ready for tomorrow’s big event. We appreciate the invitation and will join Judy, Darrell and their son and family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

As I type it is raining and the wind is rocking the trailer. I don’t have the jacks down which I may regret before the night is over. I just pretend I’m on my boat. Judith doesn’t buy into that concept.

Tomorrow I work with Darrell reviewing the website and working on the marketing plan. Darrell has done such a good job with the editing I don’t see any reason to spend more time and money by hiring a “professional” editor. Thanksgiving dinner should happen late tomorrow afternoon followed by a family poker game that is somewhat of a tradition.

22 Nov 2016 Who Needs The “News”…………
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Just before we left for Oklahoma and Texas we were feeling guilty about leaving Buddy behind and alone and bought her some expensive cat food deviating away from the Friskies she has eaten for umpteen years. Apparently she didn’t think as much of that idea as we did. We found uneaten food in her dish when we got home. Now she is back on the Friskies and meowing at us constantly for more……. That meowing started at five this morning.

Thanks to Buddy I had my Sudoku and crossword puzzles finished before I headed to the Senior Center. I usually leave here at five of seven and get there at seven on the dot. Heavy frost on my windshield delayed my arrival by ten minutes. I knew this would be my last morning until we return in March. I went in there with no distractions and winning on my mind. Win I did. Over the next two hours I just lost two or three times and ran the table on many occasions. When the clock struck nine I said goodbye to the morning pool gang and headed for the RV repair place.

I checked out the access so I know what I have to deal with tomorrow morning. They have a decent sized parking lot unfortunately it is crammed full of trailers and trucks.

I was back at the trailer just in time to pick up Judith and head for our doctor’s appointments. We originally thought our two appointments were in buildings next to each other but that turned out NOT to be the case. We shuttled back and forth between the two facilities taking up most of the morning. My appointment was with a dentist and all I really wanted was a cleaning which I normally get done in Smithers. Unfortunately I couldn’t make my appointment this year and paid the price. Literally. In order to get my teeth cleaned I had to get the x-rays and exam. I got the old “teeth are good but the gums have to go story” and a pitch for a couple of crowns to repair slightly cracked teeth. I told them I was if it isn’t broke don’t fix it kind of guy, paid the nearly four hundred dollar bill and drove over to the Women’s Clinic where Judith was waiting.

We met Rebecca, the lady that took care of Buddy, for lunch and also talked to her about possible involvement in the lot we might buy or the building if that all works out. She is up for the challenge which opens up a lot of different options. The world is unfolding as it should.

Judith dropped me off at the RV and went shopping. I stayed home and tried to tie up some loose ends. A simple little task like getting the River House phone call forwarded to my cell phone turned out to be way too complicated. It took well over an hour of Chatting and I haven’t got a clue if it is going to work. Ed Weston will have to make a trip to the house and punch a few buttons before we can get it working. It is never easy……………

Watching the “news” since the election has brought me to this conclusion. The news as we know it is no longer relative. The rules have changed. We don’t need CNN, CBS, NBS, FOX and the rest of the companies that would rather spin the news than present it and let us decide. Social media is in place and effective. The middle man, AKA the news, has had there day. Technology will deliver what you want at the click of your mouse lightyears before it appears on the silver screen.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day. I’ll get Judith up early, pack up the rig and take it to the Olsen Brothers for patching the area destroyed by the radial tire. We plan to be there at nine on the dot and hope we can be on the road for Kalama by eleven. The trip takes four and a half hours and I don’t want to be stuck on the road after dark on a holiday weekend.

21 Nov 2016 It Is Never Easy……….
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My day started with a call to John shortly after six. From the time I got re-involved with Capture and for the next couple of years I talked with John each business morning. Thank goodness those days are over. While I still follow the numbers daily we talk just a couple of times each month usually for less than ten minutes.

As soon as our conversation was over I headed for the Senior Center for a couple hours of pool. Richard just arrived by bus and unlocked the front door. Within minutes we had the tables uncovered and were playing nine ball. Today only five players showed, several below the norm. I was distracted today with calls to the RV Repair people so I didn’t play my best pool.

After talking with the repair place in Longview I cancelled our Wednesday appointment. It turns out the tank they installed isn’t the one that is leaking so no need to drag it back to their shop. Next I talked to the man who put in our new furnace and let him know we were having problems. He agreed to come over right after nine.

At the stroke of nine I packed up my cues and made a beeline back to the RV to wait for the repairman. Judith was up checking on tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment. It was after eleven when the repair guy arrived. Over the weekend I tried the furnace at least six to eight times and it never ran for more than thirty seconds. The repairman came in, set the temperature at seventy something and within seconds it was running and has continued to run all day long. Unfortunately he let us know the trailer had to go to his shop Wednesday morning so he can finish the repair. While the hole is repaired and the new furnace is in he has to seal up the undercarriage which will take a couple of hours. It is never easy.

We had a quick lunch; salmon sandwiches. Wonderful.

Next on the agenda was driving to Kennewick to pick up a mounted deer head for our son David. The place was almost impossible to find and was one of the most disorganized and unkempt places I have seen in many a moon. The good news is they did an excellent job on the mount.

Judith’s brother lives just a couple of miles away and we went over for a visit and to say goodbye. We spent an hour talking about old times and saying our goodbyes.

We made the one hour trip home as the sun was setting causing a reddish glow in the eastern sky. Yes, eastern.

Tomorrow I’ll start my day at the Senior Center and play pool for a couple hours for the last time this trip. Judith and I both have medical appointments which will take the balance of the morning. I’ll hook up the truck late in the day so we are ready to take the trailer to the repair place Wednesday morning