Monday, November 28, 2011

Hallelujah

Its about bloody time.  We’ve been party to the Kyoto charade ever since Gene-the-cretin bound us to it.  Finally someone has the balls to say the emperor has no clothes.  Nobody adheres to the targets, nobody believes they would make any difference if they did adhere to the targets and the biggest carbon emitters in the world don’t even pretend that they will be party to the whole stupid mess. 

Of course ElizabethIdiotMay is predictably apoplectic.  And I’m sure there’s a parade of greenies lined up alongside her being equally outraged.  I say it’s a breath of fresh air.  Finally somebody is calling it like it is. 

I don’t honestly know whether the world needs carbon emission reductions.  Maybe it does – maybe it doesn’t.  One thing I know for damn sure – the Kyoto agreement never had hope one of changing the world’s carbon emissions.  If it really matters then maybe now our leaders can sit down and talk honestly about emission reductions.  That for sure couldn’t happen under the Kyoto framework so if our government has the balls to say enough, I say good for them.  Hallelujah for them in fact.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Time off

Our life has been remarkably unremarkable for the last couple of weeks.  We’ve been hunkered down here west of San Antonio just relaxing.  SWMBO has discovered that she is an artist.  Who’d a thunk it?  She’s been snapping pictures of everything, everywhere on the trip down and now she’s painting those pictures.  And she’s pretty good.  Her hills suck but she’s good at trees, lakes and skies, particularly sunset skies.  I’m sure the hills will improve – they couldn’t hardly get worse.

Next summer some of those eco-freek, tree-hugging, granola crunching, do-gooders who invade Cow Bay are going to go home with some art by a new local talent.  I’ve seen the glazed “gotta buy something before we leave” look in their eyes and I know just exactly how to cure that problem for them.  But she’s gotta either get the hills mastered or paint really flat landscapes – REALLY REALLY flat ones.

While we were downtown we found the River Walk and had lunch.  That was also a floor covering shopping trip.  We no longer have carpet in the back half of the bus.  Marilyn ripped all that out immediately after we arrived and she has been varnishing the walls while the floor is messed up anyway.  Eventually we need to put something back on the floor but it sure as hell won’t be more carpet.  I have never understand why RV builders think that people want carpet in a residence that is going to be used at the beach or in National Parks.  Its just so incredibly stupid.  Tile or hardwood is the only way to go.  If you want something warmer you can always throw an area rug on the hard surface but at least that way you can clean it occasionally. 

As it stands now it looks like our new floor covering will be ceramic but only once we find someone willing and competent to lay it which likely means a trip back to Nipawin.  We talked to a dealer in San Antonio but his “expert” owned a conventional motorhome so he “knew” that you can’t lay ceramic tiles in a motorhome.  And he’s right - you can’t do it in a production motorhome because they flex like a cheap ladder and would crack the tile immediately if not sooner.  I don’t think we’ll tackle laying the tile ourselves but its been done plenty of times in bus conversions so that isn’t a concern.  We’ve got our favorite tile layer, Phil-the-flooring-guy in Nipawin and he’s looking increasingly like our best bet to get the new flooring done.  In the meantime we’ll live with floorpaint over the plywood.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Goddam ditch rats

This place is over-run with long legged ditch rats.  There were at least three things that I hated about Candle Lake – it rained constantly, the wind blew pretty well non-stop and the effing bloody ditch rats were thicker than flies.  I don’t know how we managed to drive to the lake as often as we did and never hit one.  I’ve killed more of those miserable creatures with a vehicle than most hunters kill with a rifle. 

When Ross and Sandy McKnight visited us at Candle Lake he was so sympathetic to my hatred of the ditch rats that he sent me a high powered sling shot when they got back home.  I was all excited about the carnage I was going to wreak with my new ec0-friendly weapon the next time we were at the lake.  Of course I was doomed to disappointment because even the marble sized steel balls that Ross had shipped along with the slingshot made no impact on the rats.  They continued to make our site their home and happily munched any plants that we or the neighbours tried to grow. 

The rats here are smaller than their Candle Lake cousins but there are more of them.  And some fools must feed them pretty regularly because they don’t realize that I am a predator.  I’m working on educating them in that regard, aided by the fact that our site is covered in pea gravel.  I’m not that great an aim as my sons will attest but the shotgun approach with pea gravel at close range is pretty effective.  And there’s a couple of ex-ducks at Candle Lake that can attest to the fact that occasionally my aim is OK.  Of course SWMBO won’t let me launch an all-out assault on the local ditch rats because she thinks it might impact our ability to return to this location in the future.  Everything in this world is a compromise.

Today we travelled from some little widespot on I-10 – I think it was called Sonora.  We arrived there in the dark last night and then I stupidly got us headed north out of town on a single lane road with no way to turn around.  The GPS said we could take some country trail to get turned around but it has lied in the past so I was reluctant to trust it last night.  Finally in desperation we did turn off the highway onto a dirt trail that led us along a couple of goat paths to a closed gate.  Fortunately there was a Texas gate leading in the wrong direction next to the closed gate so we gave that a whirl and it finally dumped us out in someone’s backyard which turned out to be large enough to turn around in.  Evidently there weren’t home – at least there were no lights on and they didn’t shoot at us.  When we got back to Sonora I parked us in front of a Mexican restaurant that claimed to be open for breakfast, thinking that we could get up early and thereby avoid inconveniencing the breakfast crowd.  Their sign lied but we left early anyway.  There was no sign of a cook or a customer at 7:30 when we left.

After we turned off I-10 I made another navigatory error in Kerrville.  That lead to us travelling a paved goat trail through the west Texas hills between Kerrville and Medina.  I quickly learned to trust their speed limit signs after one of them said 15 MPH and I assumed that “15 MPH” really meant “slow down”.  One 30 MPH switchback and a quick 100 feet of elevation later put us in 1st gear for the rest of the climb.  Some poor SOB in a minivan met us in the middle of another series of switchbacks.  I didn’t really have time to keep an eye on him but I think I left him more or less half of his lane.  He was stopped the last time I noticed and I didn’t feel us touch him so I think that was OK.

We’ll be here for 2 weeks because that is how long Thousand Trails will let us stay without paying.  Then we’ll go east to another one of their preserves this side of Houston.  With any luck by the time our 2 weeks runs out there we’ll be able to go to the project at Navasota that I rushed home from Brazil for.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nanoo nanoo

Many times we have come close to Roswell and many times we have drove on by but today we fulfilled one of Marilyn’s bucket list items. 

Tonight we’re sitting on the parking lot of the Roswell Walmart.  It’s a lot cheaper here than where we were the last two nights – the KOA on the east side of Albuquerque.  We generally avoid KOA like the plague.  I can’t remember when we last stayed in one but it was likely with the 5th wheel.  However we made an exception this time because a couple of friends are living there while they do some home renovation.  Marilyn bought a bunch of books online and had them shipped to Albuquerque so the trip was a combination of picking up books and visiting.  It’s a major saving to have stuff shipped to a US address – often the shipping is free or at least very inexpensive.  Shipping to Canada on the other hand usually starts at $25 and goes way up from there.

The Walmart is right next door to a Sam’s Club which happens to be serving up free wi-fi so that’s pretty convenient for us tonight.  Tomorrow we’ll point the bus east toward San Antonio and Houston but I’m sure we won’t get all the way to our Thousand Trails destination at Lake Medina.  We used to routinely do 1200 km days and often many more but lately breaking 500 km in a day is a pretty big day for us and I can’t say I mind that.  One time we did the trip from Nipawin to Las Vegas in 2 days and change.  I did all the driving and we ran over 1800 km in one day.  Its hard to believe that I was ever capable of that.  Now after I get the first pot of tea into me I’m looking for a rest area so I can have a nap.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It’s good to have a plan

We’ve lived the last month with no certainty about where we were going the next week.  We’ve literally had one day (or less) notice on some of our destinations so it was a great relief yesterday morning to get final confirmation that we were going to Texas.  We might actually have preferred confirmation that we were NOT going to Texas because that would have meant we were going back to the boat sooner but either way it was nice to finally have some certainty back in our schedule.

In theory at least, the client in Texas will be ready for me on Dec. 5th.  We have agreed to take 3 weeks off and we’re going to use that time to visit some friends in Albuquerque and then relax in one of our Thousand Trails preserves west of Austin.  There may actually be another project at Texas A & M but that won’t likely happen until after the Navasota project.  College Station (Texas A & M) is just down the road from Navasota so it works out well.

Right now we’re in the upper left hand corner of the top of Texas.  We cut across the Oklahoma panhandle this morning, now we’ve got a bit of Texas to get across and then we’ll be in New Mexico.  It could just as easily be southwest Saskatchewan or southeast Alberta, definitely cow-calf country. 

Now that Texas is firmly in our future we can start seriously planning our flooring renovation in the bedroom.  Only a fool would put carpet in an RV and this one was built by a pair of fools.  Eventually we’ll get rid of all the carpet but the highest priority right now is the bedroom and hallway because that is where condensation has raised hell with the underlay.  The winter we spent in the Pacific Northwet was hard on the bedroom area and we’ve been procrastinating fixing it ever since. 

Right now we’ve got the carpet on my side of the bed ripped out to the subfloor and the rest of it will come out as soon as we’re somewhere where we know that we can get everything dried out thoroughly.  Then it will get several coats of Kilz paint and finally it will get something other than carpet for flooring.  We’ve gone around and around on what we will actually put down and we won’t likely know for sure what we’re going to do until we are driving home from Lowes or Home Depot.  One thing is for sure though – it won’t be carpet.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stupid is as stupid does

I’ve long maintained that electing morons isn’t necessarily an impediment to good governance.  I can cite numerous examples in rural Saskatchewan where drunken fools populate the municipal council yet the local governance is superior to what we get on a national scale.  Sometimes morons are really practical.  They’re used to getting by in a complicated world and they understand that the job of government is to get things done expeditiously at a low cost.  That’s a good attitude for politicians, smart ones or stupid ones.

I was therefore not immediately concerned when Herman  Cain appeared on the US political scene and appeared to be sweeping the Republican campaign.  The man is obviously an ill-educated fool.  But to keep it all in perspective you need to remember that there is a well-educated fool in the White House right now so clearly stupidity is no barrier to success.  My bigger concern was that the American public could be so easily duped, twice.  So it has been something of a relief this week to see Cain brought low by his apparent inability to keep his hands off his help.  He appears to have a kind of “me first, I’m entitled” attitude which is exactly the kind of personality that likes to abuse other members of society.  I’m still disappointed that the public couldn’t see through Cain’s fa├žade but I’m relieved that he isn’t going to waltz unchallenged all the way to Washington.

On the negative side of the ledger Cain’s campaign contributions appear to be continuing unabated and his polling numbers appear to be holding up.  A good friend of mine once told me “people get the government they deserve.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It sure is flat here

We’re in a very flat part of the world.  Last night at about 7:00 we arrived in Colby, Kansas which proclaims itself an “oasis in the prairies”.  The oasis part seems a bit of a stretch, particularly so this morning in the midst of a prairie blizzard.  It was a very well forecast blizzard and if it lives up to its forecast it will be gone tomorrow but today it is thoroughly miserable outside.  Which would be why we are not alone here on the parking lot at Colby’s Walmart.

I had an early morning orientation with the Growsafe client, Colby Community College, at their farm east of town but I have no intention of freezing my ass off in this shit.  Sitting here now with the Proheat rumbling in the background and watching the blizzard outside the window its pretty pleasant.  SWMBO hasn’t broken her beauty sleep yet so I haven’t started the Onan noisemaker either.  Eventually I’ll have to though because the diesel furnace eats away at the batteries pretty steadily.

Getting out of Nebraska means we got back into data coverage on our cell phones.  When we’re permanently anchored we have the Hughes dish for internet access but when we’re on the move we depend on our Blackberries for data access.  We can tether them to our computers to get online but as often as not I just use the Blackberry to read email or for light web browsing activity.  For some reason however we were almost always unable to get online in Nebraska.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have coverage – our phones worked just fine.  It was the data coverage that was missing.  Sasktel must not like Nebraska for some reason.  We’re really getting pretty spoiled when we expect data coverage anywhere we go.  Its not that long ago that finding cellular coverage in out of the way places was still a surprise.

Yesterday I got an email from one of our slip neighbours in Cow Bay.  He was worried about Gray Hawk because she is riding a bit low in the bow and apparently is listing to one side.  I wasn’t too worried but I phoned Barry anyway last night.  We’re at about 1/3 of a fuel load and light on water so that will make her high in the stern which makes the bow look low.  We’ve got the dinghy loaded on the foredeck because I didn’t trust British Mike to get in and out of his slip without bashing our dinghy.  Barry says the dinghy is pretty well full of rain water now which could easily put a thousand pounds of additional weight on the bow. 

Barry had been onboard and assured me we weren’t filling up with seawater.  The listing thing is a “feature” of the boat.  With dual fuel and water tanks located at the extreme outsides of the boat it is pretty easy to create an imbalance.  The tanks are crossover connected and I never thought to close the crossovers before we left.   If one side of the boat ends up a little low for some reason (like the dinghy filling up with rainwater) eventually the fuel and water will drain to that side which only makes the list worse.  When we’re onboard we manage that by shutting off one side of the water until we get back to level.   Now we mainly just need to get back to the boat because she is clearly missing us.