Friday, September 30, 2016

Getting scanning done

We are still in Clinton, Indiana. The weather is cool and rainy, a good time to do some inside tasks.

So, I'm getting some photos scanned in. We have two large boxes of photos to scan in - each large box contains many file boxes of photos... and I'm about 1/3 done with one file box - argh!

From 1995, I have some pictures from a trip to Virginia for a family reunion... These don't have any labels on them - so I need help with identifying people.

In the top picture, I recognize Uncle Jim, third from the left, I think Jimmy is standing in the background, as is Regina, and Aunt Grace second from the right sitting down. I can't identify the other people.
Is that Pooh next to Regina? (Is that how she spelled her name?) And who is the man next to Aunt Grace and who is the baby he is holding?
 Who is the man between Jimmy and Regina? I think Mildred Christian is sitting in front of them.
I don't know who the curly haired man and child on top of the swing set are.
 A closer picture of the man and child.
Jimmy and Ginny(?) playing volleyball?

Mom (Ollie) with ? and ?

These were from the next day - we evidently drove down to the courthouse and Dad (Clarence) was showing us his office and computer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Visiting friends near Mt Gilead, Ohio

We left Kenisee Lakes Thousand Trails on Monday and drove to a farm near Mt Gilead, Ohio, where our RVing friends, Keith and Ruth Ann, stay during the summer on the farm where they used to live.
Keith and Ruth Ann in their rig

Miss Doozie parked at their farm
The guineas were VERY interested in their reflections on the bottom panel on Miss Doozie's side!
We had such a nice time visiting with Keith and Ruth Ann! Lord willing we hope to see them again at the Christian Fellowship BOF in Quartzsite in January.

Today (Tuesday) we made a long drive (for us - about 5 hours of drive time, 6+ hours elapsed time) to another Thousand Trails campground, right on the border of Indiana and Illinois. We'll be here until Saturday and then head further west toward Moscow, Iowa, to be there for a Monday morning appointment with HWH to work on our levelers.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ashtabula County, Ohio

The campground where we are staying is in Ashtabula County, Ohio. We picked up information at the Ohio Welcome Center about things to do, and one of the items was a Covered Bridge tour and the other was a Barn Quilt tour. We probably should have gone yesterday when it wasn't raining, but... we went today. It wasn't raining bad, so we were still able to enjoy it.

This was the first bridge we found - it actually took us a long time to get to it... we got on a main road that, unbeknownst to us, was a limited access road, so we couldn't turn off of it onto the route we had planned. Then the road names on the map we were using weren't road names that we could find on the street signs. Then there seems to be a LOT of construction going on in the county at this time of year, and one of the roads that we tried to use a couple of times had warnings about a closure that kept us from getting to the road we wanted. Nonetheless, we persevered and found this bridge... height of 13'5" in the center but just 11'2" on the sides - glad we're in the Jeep and not driving Miss Doozie!

Just after that covered bridge was a barn quilt on the side of a barn - we think that Jimmy and Regina need to put a barn quilt onto the green barn....

Here is a more complete picture of the buildings of the farm - the quilt was hung just on one end of one of the buildings.
 The barn quilts are not just on barns - they may be on barns, covered bridges, or historical buildings. They aren't really quilts either, they are painted on sign board. I read that they might be 4'x4' or 8'x8'.

The second covered bridge we found is no longer is use, but had a barn quilt on the side.

You could walk through it, but we decided not to since it was still quite wet.

This covered bridge was not on the normal use road but right beside it. It had a 5T weight restriction...

And it had a barn quilt on the side that faced the normal use road.

This last one that we found was actually quite fancy - I'm not sure that it was a historic bridge, or if it was, it has been modernized.
 One of the things that we had seen on RV Park Reviews about the campground where we are staying was that there was a low bridge on one of the routes to get to it, and so you should use the directions provided by Thousand Trails on their website.

It turned out that there were two options for routes given on the Thousand Trails site - one of them was the same as the route that the Garmin was suggesting when we got to this intersections on Saturday... you might notice that there are detour signs...

The sign says "Road closed 4 miles ahead". The Garmin was telling us we would be turning off route 45 in 4.1 miles, would we be able to make it to our turn? .... we elected to take the other route that the Thousand Trails website had provided.
Unfortunately, there was a road on that route that was closed to "local traffic only" - since we didn't know how far the "local traffic" closure went, we decided to go ahead down that route. It turned out that the road was torn up but passable and we made it through that way.

Today, while we were out, we decided to determine if we could have taken the first route that Thousand Trails and the Garmin were recommending - unfortunately, route 45 was closed just 0.1 mile before we needed to make the turn off of it, so we would have been out of luck if we had gone that way. The way we went, using the "local traffic only" road, was acceptable. We found another route that we think is better than going back on the "local traffic" road and we plan to use it tomorrow when we leave.

We stopped at the campground office on the way back (we managed to lose our parking pass with the gate code on it while we were out... the Jeep ate it...) - I mentioned to the fellow in there our problems with arriving and finding roads under construction. He said that they were working on getting an update to the Thousand Trails website and that no one in the county/road service group had let them know that there were plans to close the roads, so it had taken them by surprise. It would have been really unfortunate if we had ended up going down on route 45 only to find that we couldn't get to the road we needed... and the road before it has a 9' clearance bridge so we would have been out of luck! I guess the road service folks think that tourist season is over and only locals will be inconvenienced - and, as it turned out, we made it through ok.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Things I'm happy for being back in the US, and laundry considerations

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Canada, but it is still nice to be back "home" in the US.

Things I'm thankful for:
  • I don't need to keep track of every purchase to be ready to account for it to the US customs and immigration upon return to the US.
  • We can purchase fruits and vegetables without a requirement to consume them all before a certain date.
  • We have unlimited data internet again (hurrah!!!).
  • We are making our way back to the DFW area where we can worship in person with our church body again!
  • We can stay at Thousand Trails for no charge other than the dues/card fees we've already paid (plus $3/day if we want to get 50A) and have full hookups.
One of the things that we've been considering is whether we want to remove the washer/dryer in Miss Doozie. We had not been using it very much up to this point in our living in the bus, and I would look at the space it took up and think, "wow, more storage, maybe we could build a real kitty-privy in there and I could get the space back under my sink.."

A couple of campgrounds ago - when we were at Rideau Acres, we had full hookups (sewer connection) and we didn't find a mention of a laundry on their map, so we decided to do laundry "in house". Granted it is a bit of a pain as the washer and the dryer are the same unit - if you think about your washer and dryer at home, usually the cubic footage of the dryer is about 3 times that of the washer. So, if I wash a full load, I have to take 2/3 of it out (wet) and dry 1/3 at a time. Or, I can wash approximately 1/3 of a load and let it do the whole job from beginning to end.

A load of wash puts about 1/4 of a tank of grey water out - so it is definitely helpful to have sewer hookups. But, theoretically, I could do two loads and still only have a half-full grey tank - it definitely means that I need to have the ability to dump more often than once a week which is our normal need, but it isn't impossible to do even when we're boondocking or just on electric hookups.

So... the net is... now I'm thinking that I want to keep the washer/dryer. I've lived without the undersink storage for almost a year, what would I put in there anyway?!?!?!  And Tabitha would probably think it was some cruel plot if we moved her privy to a new location...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Back in the states

We left Canada and crossed into the US today. We had prepared a spreadsheet with information about all our purchases, we carefully ensured that we had consumed all the fruits and vegetables that we had on board. When we got to the border, the US immigration/customs guy asked us about alcohol, and asked if he could come on board - he just came into the stairwell and looked toward the back of the rig. He asked multiple times how many people were with us, including when he was standing in the stairwell. At that point, I indicated that we also had two cats, and that seemed to satisfy him.

No need to show any receipts or detail the amount that we had spent on items we were bringing back. He didn't even ask about fruits and veggies, nor about meat or eggs. Good news is that nothing was confiscated and we weren't required to pay any duty. Bad news is that we spent time documenting and planning for essentially a non-event. Oh well! I guess if we had not been prepared, they may have had more questions and it would have been worse!
One of the first things we did was fill Miss Doozie up with fuel.

In Buffalo, NY, the price per gallon was 2.239. Just before crossing the border, we had seen a price at a Canadian station of CAN$1.039/liter (CAN$3.932/gallon or US$2.985). We decided to fill up in NY because the prices in Pennsylvania were in the US$2.55/gallon (according to GasBuddy). It still cost almost $322 to fill her up, and she was only about half empty...

We are now settled in to a Thousand Trails campground in Jefferson, Ohio. It is a pretty campground, and there are supposed to be nice covered bridges to go see in the area.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Dinner with friends on the west side of Toronto

It was a chilly, rainy day, so we spent most of it inside the rig, enjoying reading and holding kitty cats.

This evening, though, we had plans to meet up with friends and former co-workers of Patti's, Marlon and Vladimir. We met them in downtown Oakville (a really pretty downtown area) at Noble Bistro ( We all had their 3-course chef's choice meal and it was really delicious.

It was WONDERFUL to get to see Marlon and Vlad again:
Marlon and Vladimir

Marlon and Vlad with Patti
Lord willing, we will end our Canadian adventure for this trip tomorrow. We plan to cross the Peace Bridge into New York state and head west to stay in a Thousand Trails campground in Ohio. We have really enjoyed our extended visit to Canada, and hope to pick up where we've left off (going further west) maybe next year!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last pictures at Darlington Provincial Park

Here are some more pictures that I took while we were at Darlington Provincial Park:
Walking along the beach

Downtown Toronto is "that way" but it was hazy most of the time so we couldn't really see it...

Another gorgeous sunset

Miss Doozie does such a great job of reflecting the sunset!

From further away - you can see there were a lot of trees around - you might see lights reflecting on the far right of the picture - that was one of the two Canadream rental units that parked in that spot on two subsequent days. When the rig came in the second night, we thought it was the same folks returning, but then Dwayne said, "He brought a different woman tonight..." Eventually we saw the guy too, and it was a different couple (and I guess, a different rig, though it was the same model!).

Before we left this morning...

Such a pretty view...

From the other side. We had one of the few sites that didn't have trees/bushes between the site and the lake - it was really the best site in the park, we thought!

We had a great dinner with Linda and Pat last night - but I forgot to get any pictures - bummer!!! We were so busy chatting that pictures totally slipped my mind...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hitch pictures

Some pictures of the underside of our hitch area for reference.

Picture taken from the curbside looking toward the hitch pin hole. Red Jeep is beyond the edge of the bus. The hitch receiver opening is not at all past the fiberglass bumper. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the opening of the receiver is 4 3/8". You can see the hook of the safety cable and the red coiled wire )that would activate the emergency brakes on the Jeep if it came totally loose) are attached into the eye loop which is welded in place.

A little longer view. The "box" on this side has a matching "box" on the other side which is fore-shortened by the angle of the camera.

From the driver's side view of the hitch pin hole and "eye" where the safety cable would hook onto.

A little wider view - again, you can see the end of the receiver is just beyond the "box" but not at all past the bumper.
This is looking "in" where the bumper was cut out for the motorcycle lift receiver. You can see that there is an aluminum frame that is behind the bumper - it was partially cut out for the receiver for the motorcycle lift. You can also see the top of the "box" that is underneath (the black part with mud on the bottom).

Another view of the bumper and the aluminum framing, and the "box" underneath. You can also see that the bumper has a raised part to make "room" for the stinger to go into the receiver.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Parts, apples, and the lake

We moved down to Darlington Provincial Park today... more on that in a bit.

We had ordered parts when we stopped by the RV place in Belleville on Friday, and they were due to arrive today. We called and the parts had come in, so we decided to drive out there today so we would have time tomorrow to deal with any problems that might come up. Before heading out there, we thought to measure the length that the "stinger" of the hitch extender would need to have to fit into our receiver and get to the hitch pin holes - that was 5".

We drove to Belleville (a bit over 1.5 hour drive in the Jeep). They had all the parts, but the "stinger" on the hitch extender was nowhere near 5" - it was more like 2.5-3". At least we knew it wouldn't work before we purchased it and got it to the bus, which would have required a trip back out there to return it. Bummer... now we have to explore other options on how we can raise the hitch receiver.

On our way out to Belleville, we saw "The Big Apple", so we decided to stop there on the way back.
Just as we entered the parking lot, we noticed various animal warning signs - I've never seen a Rabbit warning sign on the highways, but I guess this was specially provided for their location!

These are more like the signs we've seen as we've been driving on the highways in Canada.
As we entered the building, there was a signpost with distances to places all over the world!

They have sold over 5 million pies and bread!

The apple cider room

I thought this chocolate sheep with 3 little lambs was awfully cute!
We bought apple dumplings, apple pie, and cookies - yum!

Now, back to Darlington Provincial Park. Since we decided to go up to "cottage country" for the weekend, there were a lot more sites available for check-in on Monday -
So we were able to get one right on Lake Ontario - Miss Doozie is facing south looking across the lake. The site is set up for us to back into it, but then we couldn't see out the back of Miss Doozie, so we're in the site backwards... it just means we had to run the power cord under the bus - and for that view, it was definitely worth it!
We're looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow (well, doing research on what we might be able to do with the hitch receiver), and then meeting up with friends on Wednesday!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Visiting friends in Ontario "cottage country"

We drove up yesterday (Saturday) to visit Pat and Mark between Minden and Haliburton, Ontario.

Our original plan was to park Miss Doozie in the driveway of their cottage - they have a great new large gravel pad... unfortunately, Miss Doozie couldn't make the hill up to the pad without dragging her back end (literally) on the road - so we elected to stay in a campground a little ways away.

But, that didn't stop us from going back up to the cottage and visiting with Pat and Mark. It was so good to see Pat again and get to chat with her (Patti's former co-worker). Unfortunately / fortunately, also a reminder that I'm happy to no longer be working for IBM. It was also great to meet Mark and get to talk with him too.

They have a lovely cottage / home on Soyers Lake. Even though it was rainy much of the day, we still enjoyed seeing the view of the lake from their home. As Dwayne said while we were there, "I think if I lived here, I would just sit and look at this view all the time!"

So great to get to see Pat again, and to meet Mark.
Thank you so much, Pat and Mark!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Peterborough's Lift Lock

We are traveling to former IBM co-worker and friend, Pat's, cottage north and east of Toronto - we're excited to get to participate in "cottage country"!

For tonight, we have stopped at a Walmart in Peterborough, ON. Pat recommended that we visit the Lift Lock so we unhooked the Jeep and made a drive across town to see this engineering feat that is over 100 years old!

Richard Birdsall Rogers, who designed and supervised the construction of the lift lock, was born and raised in Ashburnham near the site of the lift lock. 
In 1884, he was appointed superintendent of the Trent Canal by the federal government. He convinced the Minister of Railways and Canals to undertake this bold project - building an enormous lift lock rather than a flight of locks at Peterborough. He prepared the plans and supervised construction of the structure.
He was also responsible for introducing a technical innovation to Canada - the use of concrete rather than traditional stonework in canal construction.

 A schematic of how it works... (copied from an information board)
 1. The chambers (A and B) are mounted on rams (C and D), each of which plunges into a water-filled cylinder (E and F). The cylinders are connected by a pipe (G). A valve (H) in the middle controls the flow of water between the cylinders.
2. The boats enter the chambers. In our example, the boats going downstream enter chamber A and the boats going upstream enter chamber B. During this operation, valve H is closed.
3. Chamber A is heavier than chamber B. This is because extra water has been added to it by stopping it 30 centimetres lower during the previous manoeuvre. When valve H is opened, the water under pressure in cylinder E is pushed toward cylinder F through pipe G. Ram D and chamber B rise.
4. Once chamber B is up, valve H is closed and an extra 30 centimetres of water is let in to prepare for the next manoeuvre. Then the gates are opened.
5. The accumulator (I) is a column of water with a ballast on top connected to the main hydraulic circuit. Since some water is always lost during a manoeuvre, the rising chamber may need an extra push to reach the desired height. The accumulator provides this push.

Building the lift lock involved mixing and pouring almost 20,000 cubic metres of high quality, unreinforced concrete. It was the biggest single pour of concrete in the world at the time.
Concrete is made of cement, gravel, and water.... Some 175,000 barrels of cement went into the lift lock. It was mixed to exacting specifications in a steam driven mechanical mixer and moved to the various parts of the construction site by crane and hopper. There it was poured into forms in layers 25 centimetres thick (about one foot) and allowed to cure. You can see this layering effect in the towers of the lift lock if you look closely.
The Peterborough lift lock has been working reliably since 1904. Another lift lock, built at Kirkfield, has been operating since 1907. To ensure that these locks continue to serve the public effectively they were renovated between 1963 and 1966 and some original components were replaced with modern equipment. On the whole, the basic structure and operation of the locks has remained unchanged. Famous for their advanced technology eighty years ago, they have now gained a reputation for enduring workmanship.

" The hissing, chuffing and thumping of steam machines was heard throughout the construction of the lift lock. Utility steam boilers, steam powered water pumps, locomotives and steam shovels were some of the machines that fascinated the citizens of Peterborough. This was the first time that steam had been used in construction in Peterborough."

Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to see the lock in use - it seems at this time of year, it is only commonly used for a tour boat that goes once on weekdays. But the ranger said that it was quite busy during the summer months when many boaters use the Trent-Severn Canal to travel between Lake Ontario and Lake Huron. The ranger told us that it is used by boaters doing a grand North American Great Loop from Florida, up the Mississippi, through the Great Lakes, and then ultimately down the inland waterway on the east coast.

It was a beautiful day to take in this site!