Saturday December 21 Redding, CA
A Travel Day
Our first day traveling with the new refrigerator. The travel straps are buckled up so the doors do not come open. The bars are installed at the front of the shelves and the inverter is on to keep it running. We are optimistic that all will be well at the end of the days travel.
For once the weather forecast was correct. We had waited for good weather, clearing skies and warming temperatures, and that was what we got. Not only that but we we pulled out at 9 o'clock just as we planned.
So much for clear weather. We really never had rain, just heavy mist.
There were also clear skies and bright sun. With the road curving one way and them another Linda was in a continual fight to keep the sun out of her eyes. As for me, my hat and sunglasses worked just fine.
As we approached the summit it wasn't the best, but the temperatures were well above freezing so other than the poor visibility it was uneventful.
The California Agricultural Inspection Station. For once we were just waved through.
Mt. Shasta had more snow on it than when we headed north a few weeks ago.
We were on the road for 6 1/2 hours with the inverter on so the refrigerator could keep running. I was very interested to see if that caused the batteries to lose any of their charge. The answer is obviously, no. Happy Bob. Also the bars across the front of the shelves worked perfectly. Happy Linda.
Washing the grime off the windshield of the coach. Our stopping place for the night was once again the Elks Club in Redding. Tomorrow it will be a short drive down to the Sacramento area where we will be spending the Holiday's with our children and grandchildren.
Our travels for this year are almost over. They have certainly been interesting, breaking down and getting towed twice, spending time in Mexico and having the refrigerator replaced, none of which were in our plans. Now it is time to take it easy for a couple of weeks, enjoying Life and family.
With that in mind I will quote John Engler: "Sometimes it is better to begin the journey, to get under way, than it is to sit back and wait until such time that you're convinced that all conditions are perfect and that there'll be no surprises along the route."
Sunday December 22 Sacramento, CA
Another Travel Day
Short drive today down to Sacramento where we will be spending the next two weeks with family.
The RV park gives out a gift box of chocolates as I was to learn when Linda came out from registering. I thought about joking that it was payment to me for unhooking the Explorer while she registered, but noting the way she was clutching the box I thought better of it.
She put it up on the counter and that was the last I thought of it while hooking up the utilities, etc. Once we were settled in, I commented on the fact she hadn't even opened the box. "I think I'll just throw it away," she remarked. Now I've heard her utter some very remarkable statements over the years, but coming from someone who is a certified chocolate freak, this one ranked up there near the top.
Some months ago my beautiful wife, she with the great body, decided she needed to lose some weight. Which is exactly what she has been doing, some weeks back entering the double digit category in this pursuit of even further figure flawlessness. So I guessed maybe this was the reason for that astonishing utterance.
I may not have the same gleam in my eye when presented with chocolate, but I have been known to take a bite or two on occasion. With that in mind I said I'd be glad to open it if she didn't. To make a short story even shorter, She took the box in one hand, a knife in the other and the wrapping paper was suddenly off, the box opened and a piece of chocolate had disappeared into her mouth. And when I mentioned where I thought any extra small amount of weight she might gain would go, she laughed and said, "Don't you wish." Now that is the Linda I love. Lucky Bob.
We ended the evening watching one of our all time favorite Christmas movies, The Shop Around the Corner. Just when you think Life can't get get any better, it does.
Monday December 23 Sacramento, CA
An Enlightening Day
Yesterday when we arrived at the RV park, the MotoSat wouldn't log on. The receive signal was good, but the transmitter wouldn't log on. Linda tried everything she knew, but it just wouldn't connect. She did find a post on the DataStorm users forum where someone else had the same problem and a day later it just magically connected, so we just left it on to see if we would have the same result. And the answer was there when I got up this morning, five blue lights and all all was working just as it should. Like they say, patience is a virtue. At least this time it was.
The lights over the vanity.
The new LED bulbs installed. The interesting thing about LED bulbs is they come in different "colors". There is warm white, natural and bright white. The warm white is supposed to mimic the color of normal light bulbs while the natural is more like sunlight, and the bright white is just that. I like the bright white as it gives out "more light" and everything seems brighter. As you can see, the photo with the old bulbs has a yellow cast.
We have wanted to replace these bulbs for a very long time, and with us heading off the Quartzsite in a few weeks, we decided now was as good a time as any. We had ordered them a few days ago, having them shipped to our daughters house. These were all 921 bulbs and installation was as simple as pulling the old bulbs out and pushing the new ones in.
Next was the replacement of the bulbs in the recessed overhead lights. These lights had a two pin halogen bulb that was focused downward by a reflector in the fixture. The LED replacement bulbs are a side pin, disk with the LEDs on one side. The other thing about LEDs is that the number and size of led's that are on the bulb. We opted to go with ones with a large size and greater number of led's for more brightness. The down side is they consume more power, but since it is so little in the first place we felt it was more than worthwhile.
There are different manufacturers of these recessed fixtures so what we needed to do to install the new LED bulb would vary. We had two styles of fixtures, one had a pin the center fastening in the reflector, the other had two clips on the sides. The reflector is metal and has to be removed for the new LED bulbs to fit. To do that we had to take out the fixtures by unscrewing the cover, disconnecting the 12 volt power at the connector and removing the old bulb.
The back of one of the fixtures, most were this style. We drilled out the plastic next to the reflector clip which allowed the reflector to be removed. Then it was a simple matter of pushing the pins of the LED bulb into the socket, reconnecting the 12 volt connectors, and remounting the fixture. The new bulb can easily be pushed up in the fixture if it hangs down, and the cover replaced. Talk about a difference!
The reflector after being removed. It is a heavy piece of metal. I usually don't do "How To's" of our projects but in this case I thought since it is actually so easy do even though it requires a little modification of the fixture, why not. One thing we did do was to buy LED bulbs that were the non-polarity type so there were would be no problem with them not working if the wiring to the fixture was reversed.
There are many sellers of LED bulbs out there and people report that many work. On the other hand many report they had problems with what they bought. We have been reading about LED's for a long time and had been waiting to jump in till we felt confident in knowing what we wanted. We finally decided to just do it and based on what we had read, went with M4 Products, Website. They are certainly not the cheapest, but they seemed honest and a good value. Time will tell if we made the right choice, but for now we are very pleased with how they have turned out.
Note that we have not replaced any of the ceiling mounted fluorescent fixtures with LED's, as we are still trying to determine the best way to go, plus we other than the fixture above where I sit and in the bedroom, we seldom use them. Funny how we have no problem putting three $10 LED bulbs in a bathroom fixture but balk at putting to two $25 LED bulbs in a fluorescent fixture. Of course the fact we have 8 fluorescent fixtures that take two bulbs apiece probably has a lot to do with it.
Like Linda says, new flooring, new loveseat, new refrigerator and new lights, its like we have a new coach. Life, it's what we make it.
Tuesday December 24 Sacramento, CA
Christmas Eve Day
The Christmas Season is a time of celebration and tradition. Just as Linda passed the family tradition of making the Christmas Braid on to our daughter , now she helps pass it on to her daughter.
Our other granddaughter making her braid. Think dough filled with cream cheese and sugar, baked and topped with jam. It is always made on Christmas Eve, set in a cool place, then baked on Christmas morning and topped with the jam just before serving. I can't tell you what it tastes like cold because there is never any left over. It is a very special tradition in our family.
My beloved Aunt Jane always had elves scattered around her house at Christmas. Now our grand daughters make sure those same elves are put out at their house.
If the girls are going to work, there should be someone to watch and appreciate what they are doing and that is Justin's job.
It took some time, but I finally got Justin to face the camera and smile, so of course then I forgot to smile.
Christmas Eve and we were in Church. Old Christmas hymns with modern musical instruments. The feeling is still there.
Luminaries in front of the church. They have been lighting them for the last several nights so they burn after the evening services. They have had about a dozen special Christmas Services over the past three days. Tonight's was the final service. On the previous nights our grand daughters had helped lite them. Proud grandparents.
As part of the evenings festivities we watched the cartoon version of "The Grinch" with Boris Karloff which is way, way better than the Jim Carrey movie by unanimous vote of our entire family. There was also a drive around a huge development where every block was lined with luminaries. And finally we drove down a street that is called Folsom's Dovewood Court.
Don't know what Dovewood Court is? Just Google it.
And with that I will go up the chimney in a flash, wishing all who read my words a Good Night.
Wednesday December 25 Sacramento, CA
Linda is always a very happy little girl on this day. Growing up, her family always opened their presents on Christmas Eve. Watching the smiles cross her face I think it doesn't matter when she opens them, just that she opens them. Happy Linda.
The Christmas Braid, baked and topped with jam. As I said yesterday, this is a very special tradition in our family.
The grandchildren know what their job is, distributing the presents found under the tree. They also had fun finding their Christmas Pickle. Grandma doesn't believe in hiding just one pickle, she makes sure there is one for each grandchild. Special grandma.
Yes, a photo of the after present opening mess.
The dish inspector making sure the dishes are dry. Our daughter calls Justin "The Shadow", but with a big smile on her face. Justin may be what is known as a special needs person, but "special" is what he truly is.
The family ice cream muncher was in full force in the evening. When I suggested we go to bed I was chastised. It seems she had taken the ice cream out of our "real" freezer and it needed about 10 minutes before it would be less than rock hard so that, she who loves ice cream, could scoop it out into our bowls. It was two weeks from today 47 years ago that I first laid eyes on Linda. It was the night I had to present myself so she could check me out prior to our blind date, ostensibly to make sure I was acceptable. Linda says, Life's tough and then you die. I'd say, my life was tough and then Linda approved of me.
In the stories and movies it is usually the poor girl who meets Prince Charming. I can assure you that in those days I was definitely no Prince Charming, though she was definitely the poor girl. Neither of us could have ever imagined we would be living the Life we do today. May your Christmas Day have been filled with as much joy as ours was. Happy Linda. Happy Bob
Thursday December 26 Sacramento, CA
After the Joy of Christmas Day, today was a day of rest.
I will leave you on this with a quote from 18th century novelist Laurence Sterne: "Men tire themselves in pursuit of rest." I can absolutely assure you this is not the case with Linda. She has honed rest to fine art.
Friday December 27 Sacramento, CA
Another Lazy Day
I've said it before, not every day is filled with activities, this was another of those days. I would however be remiss if I did not mention the photo. It is of the sunrise. It was taken by Linda. Every day the sun rises she is awesome. Lucky Bob.
Saturday December 28 Sacramento, CA
A Fun Day
The laugh says it all. Lucky Bob.
Thought I'd try something a little different for dinner. It was one of those -- tastes great but -- meals. Linda encouraged me to try it once again, but with a few changes. Thankfully she was following Jay Leno's advice: You cannot be mad at somebody who makes you laugh... it's as simple as that.
Sunday December 29 Sacramento, CA
A Good Day
Yes, I really do give our new frig a hug or two every day. As far as the rest of what we do, it is time for family, so once again my writing will be breif. And along that line, here is a quote from actor David McCallum: "If I had no family, my wife and I would lead a much more romantic and nomadic existence."
Monday December 30 Sacramento, CA
Another Good Day
As I wrote yesterday, we are here for our family and that was what today was, family time.
"The truth is that stress doesn't come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances." From author Andrew Bernstein.
Tuesday December 31 Sacramento, CA
Another Good Day
New Years Eve and we were out shopping. One thing that advancing years does is make you a little wiser. This was not a late afternoon shopping trip when the store aisles were packed with shoppers buying those last minute items for tonight's party or tomorrow's marathon session in front of the TV and its football games. No were were in the store just after breakfast was over. Smart Linda and Bob.
See, we did stay up to watch the new year come in.
Okay, so maybe we were watching the east coast feed at the time and it was only nine o'clock on the west coast. Those days of going out to a New Years Eve party are only memories. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it: "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."