Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday?

It is not uncommon to post pictures from the past on Facebook on Thursdays with the hashtag #TBT for "ThrowBack Thursday".

We brought along a lot of pictures with us in the bus with the intention of scanning them in and getting rid of (donating to Dwayne's sister) the physical pictures. In going through these pictures, there are some pictures and some stories that we thought our readers might enjoy, so at various times, you might see some pictures from the past, and today is one of those days!

These were pictures that we had sent to Patti's Aunt Libby and Granny as we were excited about getting "our" house soon after we were married.Aunt Libby had kept them in a photo album that we had given them.
The house on Meadowglen Circle as it looked when we were in the buying process for it - probably March 1990. Our 1984 Honda Accord is in the foreground (Patti's first Honda).

Before we could move into the "new" house, we had to prepare Dwayne's house to be rented out. We replaced wallpaper, changed flooring, and Dwayne built a closet in one of the bedrooms (he had sacrificed the closets in the master bedroom, hallway, and second bedroom to make a wonderful walk-in closet for Patti in the master bedroom).
A younger looking Dwayne looks happy to be doing work on the house. You can see we had completed more of that corner of the kitchen from the upper picture with Patti to this one. Look at that, uhm, bright teal backspash on the far right!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thunderstorms in the area - Glad we have WeatherBug

We use the WeatherBug app on our phones for weather information a lot!

Today, there are rumblings of thunder in the air - just checked WeatherBug and saw this:
Nothing real close right now... but definitely in the area. We are at the blue marker, and the red dot is the closest strike in the last 30 minutes.

Visiting friends - Runaway Bay / Bridgeport

We are stopped for a few days at Bay Landing, and got in contact with one of Dwayne's former co-workers who lives nearby, Sam and Doris. We arranged to meet up with them at a local Italian restaurant (Pronto's, delicious!). They followed us back to our rig and got to meet "Miss Doozie" and Miss Kitty.
Dwayne, Doris and Sam

We're hoping to meet up with them again while we are here at Bay Landing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Driving across western Texas

After we left New Mexico and entered Texas, there were beautiful huge crop fields. The soil was very red - maybe high iron content?

Sorry for the reflection -- much of the land had irrigation equipment, though it appears that at this time of year, everything was very green, even if it wasn't irrigated.

We looked up information about the topology of the lands we were driving through - the Llano Estacado is the name of high plains straddling NM and TX. The Caprock Escarpment is the geographic transition to rolling terrain.

It was amazing as we drove east how the flat plains suddenly changed into a ridge and undulating lands - I found this picture on the web that shows the topology - we were driving east across Texas south of Lubbock. Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by User:EvaK using CommonsHelper

Monday, March 28, 2016

Overnight in Haskell City Park

As we were planning our route, we had decided to take advantage of staying in a Thousand Trails campground near Bridgeport, TX before our rally in Durant that starts on April 8. It would be about a 6.5-7 hour drive from Roswell to Bridgeport (longer than we prefer to do in a day) so we wanted to find a place for the night. A little over halfway from Roswell to Bridgeport we found that the City of Haskell has an RV park. The writeups about it indicated that it was free the first night, and that it was right in an area of walking trails and where the local kids baseball teams practiced, so we decided to give it a try. What a nice place!!!
Haskell RV Park - 1 Free Overnight Parking, stay longer $16 per night. Come by City Hall or use Lock Box. Have a nice day!

Miss Doozie and a couple of other rigs staying at City of Haskell RV Park

We were able to leave the Jeep hooked up (just like at WalMart but with free hookups!)
It looked like a high school baseball team might be practicing in the field right behind us.

The restrooms had cute painting - boys room...

... girl's room ...

This looked to be an old house with windmill and farm equipment shed that was at the end of the RV park.

Nice walking path by the "creek"

walking path by the creek

We walked up in to "town"

Saw City Hall and the town square

Big tractor and some sort of discing implement on the main street in town

Haskell city water tower
 We found the Dairy Queen in town and got dinner. As we were walking back to the RV park, we noticed a couple of horses beyond where little kids were practicing baseball. We walked over there and found a rodeo arena.

They will have "Wild Horse Prairie Days Ranch Rodeo" the first weekend in June.

Joe was doing reining training.

There was a specific pattern that they were practicing, showing control of the horse over the calf.

Bill (on the brown horse to the left "Jo-Jo") came over and talked with us for a while. We really enjoyed getting to meet him. His wife, Tina, was also doing reining practice (in the green shirt on the left).

 We highly recommend City of Haskell RV Park. Bill said that he has an RV park south of town - I think it is Davis RV Park (if he happens to read this blog entry, please correct me if I'm wrong). If you'd want to stay in the area for more than one night, and particularly if you want more facilities (the city RV park is just gravel and no additional facilities) - you should check out Bill's RV park south of town on route 277.

Entertainment on the road... literally... on the road...

The Bluebird came with a "Musical Horn" programmed with 100 songs. Evidently you could order other songs if you wanted when Bluebird was in business. As Dwayne was driving US 380 across New Mexico and Texas today, he decided to entertain himself by playing all the songs in order. Many of the cattle we passed gave Miss Doozie a stranger look than usual!

It might be that you still can get additional songs (the Musical Horn song list has the name of PMMI Inc on the back - and while I can find a link to the company, and it has a link for electronics for RVs, it doesn't seem to be working as we're driving along).

Edited to add: The Wanderlodge Owners Group (WOG) seems to indicate that PMMI isn't in business with musical horns anymore. But ours still works! If any of our readers has a "requested number", let us know and we'll play one especially for you as we're driving down the road!!!

TOO MANY emails!

Ugh - I finally am over the top on the number of emails I get every day! (Patti typing)

I really like gmail and the fact that it filters the emails into different categories, and that helps a lot. But I end up just deleting wide swaths of the ones that come into the "Promotions" tab. I added to my problem by trying a survey site that ended up signing me up for a bunch more emails.

So... now I'm taking a different tack and each week I'm going through and unsubscribing from a number of the regular emails I get. I used to be afraid that giving them any feedback would let them know that there was a real person and I would actually get more emails, but at least with some of these, I know that I did sign up at some point in the past and I think they will honor my request to unsubscribe.

Some of the emails are from causes and companies that I used to care about a lot, but with changes in our priorities, it makes sense to have our emphasis in other areas. I'm thinking this is probably something I should do about once a year - a spring cleaning.

Already, after only two weeks of working on this, I'm seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of emails in the Promotions tab. It takes longer than just deleting a swath of emails, but ultimately I think it will make me a lot happier!

Do any of my friends do something similar that works for them?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

He is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!

What a beautiful Resurrection Day! We had the privilege of worshiping with the First Baptist Church Roswell family (and our campground neighbors, Noble and Cyd), celebrating the baptism of Gracie Colyer, and then having a great lunch at the Hills with a "random" set of friends who were just great together!

Here are some pictures of the group gathered at the Hills (Nancy and Noble will know all the names, but I'm afraid I do not!):
Missionary family from Haiti

Becca's mom, Becca, and Paisley, and Pastor Brandon's family. Raven, Cyd

Brook, Matthew, Burton, and the missionary family

Dwayne, Patti, Cyd, Noble
We pray that our friends and family who follow along with us on this blog had a blessed Resurrection Day too!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friends and (Christian) Family Members

We were invited to participate in the Easter Egg Hunt with First Baptist Church Roswell today.
As we arrived, there were already lots of folks at Melendez Park

Pastor Aaron shared for just a few minutes, inviting folks to come to worship with them at FBC Roswell if they didn't have their own church home.

Children and parents listened

And then he counted down, 3... 2... 1... GO! and they were off!

3500 eggs were cleaned up in a matter of seconds!

 I wonder if any of them pick up their rooms as cleanly?

There were also bounce houses and other fun things for the kids

Krista doing face-painting

Face-painting was high in demand!

Dwayne had the opportunity to talk with a few folks while we were there.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Behind the Big Guns Tour - Yuma Proving Ground (March 8, 2016) - by Dwayne

Behind the Big Guns – Yuma Proving Grounds tour began with an early check-in at the Yuma Visitor Center.  Next we boarded the tour bus and after a 25 minute drive north of Yuma along US-95, we reached one of the check-in gates to enter the military site.  The U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is located near the Arizona-California border, adjacent to the Colorado River, approximately 24 miles north of the city of Yuma, Arizona. 

The first order of business was an orientation.  Our bus pulled into a parking lot in front of a large building which housed an auditorium, a library, and a variety of other offices.  We went into the auditorium and met the public affairs officer who gave an interesting slide presentation on the mission and history of the YPG.  The YPG is one of six U.S. Army Test and & Evaluation Command Centers in the U.S.  The site is over 1,300 sq. miles.  It is larger than the state of Rhode Island.  There are over 2,000 sq. miles of restricted airspace.  It is one of four sites where the restricted airspace extends to space. White Sands Missile Range, Cape Canaveral, and the White House are the other three.  Commercial and civilian flights are routed around the airspace.

We learned from the PA officer that Yuma has had a relationship with the army from about 1850 when Fort Yuma was built on a hill overlooking the important Yuma crossing of the Colorado River.  There was even a 1955 Technicolor movie named “Fort Yuma” starring Peter Graves, Joan Vohs, and John Hudson.


In a typical year, over 500,000 artillery, mortar and missile rounds are fired, 36,000 parachute drops take place, 200,000 miles (320,000 km) are driven on military vehicles, and over 4000 air sorties are flown from the proving ground’s Laguna Army Airfield. Though about 90 percent of the proving ground's workload is devoted to the test and evaluation of weapon systems and munitions, training activities are important.
Dozens of units visit the proving ground each year for realistic desert training, especially before deploying overseas. Currently there are just over 2,400 personnel working there.  Only about 300 are military.  The remainders are civilian and contractors.  It is a major economic player in Yuma County, with an economic impact of over $400 million annually. Yuma Proving Ground is the largest single employer of civilians in the county.

Of the four extreme natural environments recognized as critical in the testing of military equipment, three fall under the management authority of Yuma Proving Ground. Realistic natural environment testing ensures that American military equipment performs as advertised, wherever deployed around the world. The proving ground manages military equipment and munitions testing at three locations: The Cold Regions Test Center at Fort Greely, Alaska; the Tropic Regions Test Center operating in Panama, Honduras, Suriname, and Hawaii; and at the Yuma Test Center located at Yuma Proving Ground.

We were taken to a building where a section of it had a very high ceiling where parachutes could be suspended and methods are evaluated for rigging equipment with parachutes so the equipment can be deployed from an aircraft into a war zone.  The previous base commander had traveled with us to describe some of the thought that went into the rigging and deployment of heavy equipment using an air drop.  One thing I thought interesting is that the equipment has to be very rapidly moved off the aircraft since the aircraft’s center of gravity is affected which could result in an aircraft control issue.  A drogue parachute is employed to quickly pull the equipment out the rear of the aircraft and then one or more larger parachutes are used to transit the equipment to the ground.  In addition, the equipment is attached to a flat aluminum base plate.  Honeycombed cardboard is used in layers between the equipment and the base plate to cushion.  Even very heavy equipment uses this packing method.  We saw several parachutists using steerable parachute systems.  They are the ones that have a steerable wing instead of a canopy.  They allow for more responsive handling and exceptional glide performance.  I think this may allow the parachutist to glide a considerable distance so that the air craft remains out of the immediate war zone. 

The previous base commander told us about being contacted and instructed that former president George H. Bush would be the first United States president to visit the Yuma Proving Grounds.  He would be accompanied by his wife Barbara, two friends, his personal physician and members of his staff.  This occurred in late March of 1997.  The then 72 year old former president was to be trained and to make a parachute jump over YPG’s Phillips Drop Zone.  It seems that Bush had made his first parachute jump September 2, 1944 when he had to bail out of his flaming torpedo bomber near a Japanese held island.  He spent 5 hours in the water before being picked up by the USS Finback, a submarine searching for downed fliers in the area.

Bush and his party arrived on the afternoon of Monday, March 24 at the YPG’s Laguna Army Airfield and he began his training.  The base commander thought, “but what do we do with Mrs. Bush?”  It was decided to take her and the other members of the party on a tour of the Colorado River.  She found the ride enjoyable, as the weather was pleasant, the scenery was relaxing and stories of the history of the area were entertaining.

In the evening, President and Mrs. Bush attended a formal dinner at the proving ground’s Cactus Café.  Invitees included people from both Yuma and YPG.  Over 60 diners attended.  Bush was highly complementary of both the proving ground and his dinner company.

The following morning, Bush resumed his training and completed his successful parachute jump shortly before noon. He jumped from an elevation of 12,500 feet and opened his parachute canopy at 4,400 feet.  Eight other jumpers accompanied him. 

Media representatives from throughout the nation were present, including all the major television networks, the New York Times, Associated Press and others.  Senator Kyl of Arizona provided a live report of Bush’s jump to a Phoenix radio station over his cell phone.

Before leaving YPG for his return home to Houston, Texas, Mr. Bush addressed members of the YPG workforce, greeted soldiers assigned to the base and who had served in the Persian Gulf War.  He said that he doesn’t miss the political world which had been so important throughout much of his life, but he does miss the military. 

Many activities and people came together to play critical planning roles in ensuring that the visit progressed flawlessly.  From the Morale, Welfare and Recreation people at the community café to the proving grounds force of security guards, the visit and parachute jump was a success all around.
At the end of the tour, we visited the Heritage Center.  It should be noted that before the grounds became the Yuma Proving Grounds, it was first established in 1942 when the grounds were used as a training site during World War II.  The first troops arrived at the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA) on April 11, 1942.  This area became known as “The Patton Training Center” in recognition of General George S. Patton Jr. 

During a period of two years more than a million American soldiers from at least 400 military units of every size, type, mission and description were trained in the art of desert warfare.

Yuma proving ground (YPG) is part of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and is a multiple purpose test facility.
I wish to cite Wikipedia for some of the wording and figures and the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground “The Outpost” newspaper for the article about former president Bush.  I could not have remembered all that the previous commander told us.  The bottom line; it was a great tour being both informative as well as interesting.  I recommend it.